Feb 022017

Owner of Hunstman barbers, Kyle Ross. Huntsman PR images.

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

A young entrepreneur has invested a five-figure sum to land a new barber venture in Aberdeen.

Huntsman, a new luxury gents barbers based in the city’s Union Street, has officially opened its doors after a month-long renovation on the city centre property.

Established by managing director, Kyle Ross, the business has committed to a ten-year lease and has created three jobs, with plans to increase this in the future.

Mr Ross, 27, has almost ten years of industry experience and has worked in some of Aberdeen’s top hair salons. He now hopes to bring the innovative barbering trends that are taking bigger cities by storm to the Granite City through his new business venture.

The barbers, which is based between Union Street and Albyn Place, offers a wide range of services for the modern day man, including everything from precision cutting, hot towel shaving, beard trimming and styling, to massage treatments and waxing.

It also provides in-depth consultations to its customers, which allows them to decide on the cut and style that will best suit their face shape and hair type.

Named after the inventor of the straight razor, Huntsman is the only barbers in Aberdeen to stock stylish Hanz de Fuko hair products and is the only one north of Glasgow to offer the distinctive Brighton Beard Company products to its clients.

The 950 sq ft premises has an additional 500 sq ft basement for possible expansion. It features a stylish, contemporary interior, with a black and copper colour scheme, and has a 50” plasma TV screen dedicated to playing Sky Sports.  

Managing director of Huntsman, Kyle Ross, said:

“It was always part of my career plan to open my own place, so I’m thrilled that all the hard work has paid off and my dream has become a reality.

“I realised I had a flair for the barbering side of hairdressing and I enjoy following gents trends. It is certainly an exciting time for barbers, as there has been a dramatic change in behaviour in regards to male grooming over the past few years. Men tend to be much more image conscious and it is now all about slick haircuts and facial hair.

“I wanted to create an environment that was completely different to the walk-in barbers that most men are used to. Guys can relax in the knowledge that we will spend as much time that is needed on their hair, rather than just a quick five-minute job. We talk customers through the entire process and give them guidance on what styles would suit them best.  

“My team and I are dedicated to providing a high-quality service to everyone that walks through the door. We will be focusing on regular training, so that we can provide our clients with the most up-to-date industry knowledge.”

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Jan 192017

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

An Aberdeenshire business has announced the winner of its campaign to find the North-east’s most hardworking community hero.

The Store, a farm shop, deli and coffee shop based in Foveran, near Ellon, launched the campaign in December as a way of rewarding one inspiring individual who went above and beyond for their community in 2016.
Caroline Anderson, 43, from Potterton, was announced as the winner after impressing judges with her contributions to her local community.

Fellow Potterton resident, Sammy MacDonald, nominated her to win £100 of vouchers to spend at The Store, as she felt that Caroline deserved recognition for donating her spare time to improving their village.

The NHS support manager has lived in Potterton for 11 years and  helped to found the Potterton Community Group at the end of 2015. Since then, the group has grown from a group of mums to one that involves residents of all ages focusing on the community. The group now regularly organises events, promoting the use of local businesses and the surrounding area, as a way to inject more community spirit into the village and make Potterton more sociable for its residents.

Monthly pop-up cafes, a picnic in the park, seasonal fairs, fitness classes, an adults arts and craft group, as well as a ‘zombie apocalypse’ – a fun game that involved local children trying to find the antidote to a zombie outbreak – were all successful in bringing together residents and raising money to fund community projects.

Last year, the funds raised by the group helped to upgrade a path in the area, so that more people could enjoy the countryside surrounding Potterton. This project also received funding from Paths for All, a charity that aims to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland.

Andrew Booth, owner of The Store, was so overwhelmed with the number of campaign nominations that he turned to his family to help him decide on a winner.

He said:

“It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, as we received a lot of really inspirational nominations from across the North-east. I eventually read out the shortlist of nominations to my kids and mother-in-law and they helped me decide on the overall winner.

“One of the main reasons we chose Caroline was because I wanted to give her an incentive to carry on the Potterton Community Group well into the future, as it’s still in the early stages.

“After reading Caroline’s nomination and meeting her in person, it’s very clear that she does a great deal for her local community, which is what this campaign was all about. As well as working full-time and looking after two children, she has brought together an entire community through a number of initiatives that will truly benefit both residents and the area in the long-term.”

Mrs Anderson said:

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out that I had won, I almost burst into tears. I had absolutely no idea that I had been nominated and I was completely overwhelmed that Sammy had thought to put me forward. I’ve never thought that I do anything particularly special, as there are so many people out there doing inspirational things.

“Whilst I’m the main driver behind the group, it’s entirely a team effort. We have an amazing bunch of people who volunteer their time to the group and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have done over the past year without them all.

“I receive so many positive comments about the group, that’s what inspires me to keep going and pushes me to do even more for the Potterton community. This year we want to focus on organising more social events, community projects and getting residents involved as much as possible. It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it when you see the strong bond that the village has formed over the past year. It’s amazing what a community can achieve when you work together.”

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Dec 292016

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

An Aberdeenshire business is looking to reward one inspiring NE individual who has gone above and beyond for their local community in 2016. The Store, a farm shop, deli and coffee shop based in Foveran, near Ellon, has launched a campaign to find the North-east’s most hardworking good samaritan, so that they can receive an extra special start to the New Year.

The family-run business is encouraging the public to nominate one person they believe has regularly gone out of their way to help their local community and deserves to win £100 of vouchers for The Store.

Since it first opened in 2000, The Store has been dedicated to sourcing and supplying only the finest local produce that the area has to offer. The winner of the campaign will have a wide variety of high-quality products to choose from, ranging from meats and groceries to artisan cheeses and delicious cakes.

Owner of The Store, Andrew Booth, is hoping that the campaign will help draw attention to the countless acts of goodwill that happen regularly across the North-east, and that other local businesses will also show recognition to those who have gone out of their way to help others.

He said:

“Christmas and New Year is the season of giving, so this is our way of saying thank you and giving something back to somebody who always puts their community first.

“There are some truly inspirational people out there, who dedicate all their free time to local causes and people in need. Unfortunately, we can’t reward everyone who is nominated, but we hope that our small gesture will give a deserving individual a nice treat to start 2017.

“It’s because of these Good Samaritans that the spirit of local community is kept alive and it’s important that they are recognised for all their hard work. I’m looking forward to reading through the nominations and all the selfless acts of kindness that have taken place over the past year.”   

To nominate someone who deserves to win £100 of vouchers from The Store, then email their name, the reasons why you’re nominating them and their contact details to gemma@frasermedia.co.uk. Entries close on Wednesday 4 January and the winner will be announced on Friday 6 January. The terms and conditions can be found on www.thestorecompany.co.uk.

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Apr 292016

Keith Marley (right) finds a home for ‘Jock’ the marmoset.

By Keith Marley.

Well done Aberdeenshire Council! Today, what little assistance you give to local charities was withdrawn. Today you implemented the changes governing charity shops which gave them a ‘discretionary’ 20% relief on their rates. Dated 20/04/16, the letter we received today informed us that as from 01/04/16 charity shops will no longer receive the discretionary 20% discretionary ‘top up’.

For the 30 charity shops in the Aberdeenshire Council area this means the council will raise an additional £32,650.00 in revenue from these good causes.

This was agreed by the Councils Policy and Resources committee last year at a meeting which also approved the previous year’s totals for expenditure and financing of £147,876,000 and £66,648,000. The same meeting which gave the nod to approve the purchase of winter salt supplies for the next 3 years totalling some £8,000,000.00.

But obviously charity shops and the charities they support have been scrutinised and obviously found to be not paying their fair share.

With 3 shops and a store The New Arc represents almost 10% of this additional revenue….or as we see it, ‘penalty’. The fact that the charity gets calls from various council departments seeking advice and practical help with wildlife and domestic pets doesn’t cost the council anything. The work placements we provide for school leavers doesn’t cost the council anything.

The assistance we give with council funded projects, back to work schemes, mental health schemes, young (and old) offenders, disadvantaged kids, college placements, school talks etc. doesn’t cost the council anything.

The fact that these 30 charity shops mainly occupy what would otherwise be long term empty buildings DOES provide money to the regional council. The fact that these shops pay the full rate for their insurance, water rates, rubbish bins, electricity just the same as any other business DOES provide income to the local economy.

The fact that some of these shops also employ staff, full time and part time DOES mean we are contributing to the local economy. The fact that these shops are in many cases a necessity for low income and unemployed families DOES make a difference.

Many of these shops run at a very low profit margin and along with the new minimum wage, provision of pension schemes and these additional costs their future may well be in doubt.

The closure of any of these charity shops means a knock on effect which will have repercussions on the charity itself meaning withdrawal of services, reduced capacity, and ultimately it is the council itself that will have to find the funds to provide the services which charities currently do for free.

False economy?

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Aug 312012

Long established bead and craft store Bead Crazy is re-launching as Bead POP where new owner Alex Penter is offering a weekend of fun activities to celebrate the opening.

A new craft experience is opening in Aberdeen this weekend as the bead and jewellery making supplies shop formerly known as Bead Crazy is re-launched as the all new Bead POP with a weekend of fun events that will include special offers, new products and complimentary drinks.

The fun starts at the St Andrew’s Street shop on Friday with a special late-night opening, from 7pm until 10pm, when customers can view and purchase from a range of new products and ask any craft-related questions they have, while enjoying a complimentary cocktail.

On Saturday there will be a classic tea party, complete with tasty treats and goody bags for the lucky first 10 people through the door.  So get along early!

The fun continues on Sunday with the first of Bead Pop’s new regular Sunday openings, from 12 noon – 4pm, when there will be a last chance to get a 10% off flyer, valid for two weeks, with a £10 purchase.

New owner Alex Penter, who studied design at the Robert Gordon University and was the previous shop supervisor of Bead Crazy before she recently bought the business, said:

“Even if you’ve never tried any sort of jewellery making before, I’d encourage you to come along and try something out.  We run activities for people of all abilities and you might surprise yourself by how creative you can be!

“This opening weekend is a great opportunity for people to come down, have some fun and check out the new look shop.  And, for our long established customers, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of new and unusual beads we’re now stocking.”

About Bead Pop

Bead Pop, Aberdeen’s premier bead shop, sells all materials for jewellery making and general crafts and also offers group workshops, children’s parties, one-to-one tuition, hen nights, team building activities and a repair service.

In addition, Bead Pop runs classes on designing and making all kinds of unique handmade jewellery, with staff being available to attend events at schools and charity fundraisers.

The shop is based at 19 – 21 St Andrews Street, Aberdeen and is open from 10pm until 5pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 noon until 4pm on Sundays.

For workshop bookings or any further information on what the shop can offer call 01224 630011.



Aug 232012

Candy Belle Vintiques will be showcasing vintage fashions and home-wares in a unique weekend pop up boutique in Aberdeen’s Academy Shopping Centre in Belmont Street, this weekend. With thanks to Camilla-Erika Campbell.

Following the success of the first vintage event in April, Candy Belle girls Janet, Angie, Emma and Jill decided to host a new, more intimate, shopping experience in the form of a pop up boutique.

During the two day event visitors will be able to buy from the carefully sourced collections of vintage fashion, accessories, home-wares, furniture and crafts.

Visitors can also take part in craft workshops provided by I Heart Art on Sunday.

Local business owner and co-founder of Candy Belle Vintques Janet Shek says:

“We are really excited to be bringing Candy Belle to Aberdeen in the form of a pop up boutique.  Our first fayre was such a success it is exciting to bring the experience to the next level with the boutique and provide our customers with all the nostalgia in a much more intimate and homely set up”.

The Candy Belle Vintiques pop up boutique will be in the Academy Shopping Centre from 9.30am until 6.00pm on Saturday 25th August and from 12 noon until 6.00pm on Sunday 26th August.

For more information please call Janet on 01224 905909 or find Candy Belle Vintiques on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/candybellevintiques

You can also email Candy Belle Vintiques at candybellevintiques@hotmail.co.uk

Jul 122012

Sparked by new nature trails and undiscovered woods, a local charity’s creative outdoor opportunities have been extended. With thanks to Claire McBain.

Although the official deadline for entries for the North East Open Studios 2012 gallery at VSA’s Easter Anguston Farm passed,  the farm has announced a new deadline of Friday July 27.  They also announced a boost to the space available in order to encourage local creatives to showcase their work and support the UK’s largest city social care charity.

Jane Bell, farm support worker and NEOS exhibitor, said:

“We’re thrilled to already have such an excellent response.  We’re lucky to have loyal Easter Anguston artists register for another year and we’ve attracted some very promising new faces too.  Although our gallery already boasts more entries than last year, we know there’s more local talent out there. 

“So we’ve opened up new parts of the farm, like Linn Moor wood, to create more exhibition space than we’ve had any other year.  Our new nature trail, created by Aberdeen Greenspace volunteers and Easter Anguston trainees, will be a brilliant exhibition space too. 

“We’ve also stretched the deadline by a few weeks, hoping to give those who have been weighed down with other responsibilities a chance to explore this opportunity.  For those who have been busy with end-of-term exhibitions, our gallery is a perfect outlet to extend their audience.”

“Most of the indoor space has been filled so our target artists are sculptors, ceramicists, 3D designers, land artists and others with durable outdoor exhibits.  We do have sheltered areas too, so delicate creations are very welcome.  We’re keen to work with artists to find something that suits their style and the environment they’ll be exhibiting in.  I can’t wait to explore more ideas.”

Local artist Alex Kay, who has been heavily involved with NEOS at Easter Anguston Farm over the past four years, said:

“Easter Anguston sets itself apart from other galleries by creating a unique link with art and the community.  Local creatives can showcase their work while raising awareness of the UK’s largest social care charity.  That’s what drives me to be there every year.” 

To find out more or get an application form for exhibiting at NEOS at Easter Anguston Farm, contact Claire McBain on 01224 358611 or email Claire.mcbain@vsa.org.uk

May 242012

By Suzanne Kelly.

Some months back I had a chance to take a full day course at the Nick Nairn Cookery School, but I never got my schedule straightened out in time to sign up.

Instead, I found time for ‘Quick Cook: Classic Crepes’ – a two hour lunchtime course.

I am not the most easily pleased person, but I can truly say this course was everything it should have been – instructive, enjoyable, hands-on, perfectly structured, and the results were delicious.

I already knew how to make crepes decently – so I thought.  Louise’s techniques (different and clearly superior to my usual style) were demonstrated with enthusiasm and clarity.

We were all flipping crepes and turning out beautiful, perfect golden specimens by the time Louise was done with us.  The other students were clearly having fun, and one woman was profusely thanking her friend for taking her there as a gift.  And that was even before we tasted our handiwork.  The immaculate, state-of-the-art cooking area and dining bar were a joy to work and eat in.

The savoury crepe we were making was to be filled with a smoked haddock and cheddar sauce with herbs.  I decided to taste some of the herbs before adding – and I’ve never had better except perhaps from my garden.  Louise explained what to avoid when buying smoked haddock (ie artificially coloured fish which often has other additives) – what we had ingredient-wise was the best you’d be able to get – I wish I could remember where in Scotland the cheddar was from.

As we sat down to eat the crepes we’d created (garnished with rocket), Louise demonstrated how to do Crepe Suzette.  This dish may be retro to some, but I personally love it, and it is apparently gaining in popularity.

There was no time for us to make the dish ourselves – but with the skills we had learned and what was demonstrated, we will all be able to replicate it at home. Suffice it to say that the Crepe Suzette she served the students was better than any I’d ever made, or that I’d ever been served.  (I make my own variation which I call ‘Crepe Suzanne’ with Jack Daniel’s – and I’ll be trying that very soon with my new skills).
I’d learnt a better way to cut and dice, a faster and more successful way to make white sauce, and I’ve taken away a dozen other hints and tips.

Don’t bother trying to get on the next crepe course – it’s already sold out.  But whatever your level of cooking or your specific culinary interest, there is a course for you.  I’ll be on the next full day Nick Nairn course I can get on.

Eleven out of ten.  This is a win for Aberdeen, and I wish the school every success.

May 172012

By Suzanne Kelly.

Nick Nairn’s long-awaited Aberdeen Cook School, which opened its doors on 9th May, caters to a demand from would-be cooks from across the country.  The £500,000 project is providing further jobs and a tourism boost to the north-east of Scotland.
The new Aberdeen Cook School has been a passionate desire of Nick’s for several years and is located in a stunning listed building – formerly St Nicholas Kirk’s old church hall in the city centre – which has been transformed into two separate state-of-the-art foodie havens.

Work on the building has been carefully designed to enhance original features such as the carved mouldings and stained glass windows, alongside striking stainless steel and white kitchen areas, designed by Kitchens International.

The new cook school follows on from the success of the Nick Nairn Cook School in Port of Menteith, near Stirling, and Nick explains:

“We have a disproportionate number of people coming to our existing school from the north-east, so an Aberdeen school seemed a natural progression.  Also, the north-east is a farming community and some of the finest produce comes from here.

We have found that cooking enthusiasts from this area are passionate about developing their skills and particularly enjoy entertaining at home.  They can commit time to learning due to their working patterns and disposable incomes.”

Nick will also be trialling a brand new venture in the new cook school, with after-work and lunchtime classes at its Quick Cook Bar.  This is a new urban concept where participants can cook, learn and eat in two hours, picking up invaluable tuition from basic knife skills to creating culinary masterpieces.

Nick said:

“ It will be perfect for people who work during the day.  You can pop in after work or do it over a long lunch-break.  It’s also an affordable place for students to come along and learn to cook for themselves.”

The Aberdeen Cook School is employing 10 people, as well as two well-known chefs heading up Nick’s team.

Head chef Kenny Smart, who joins from the prestigious 1906 restaurant at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, will run the large teaching kitchen upstairs.  The Quick Cook Bar area downstairs will be overseen by Louise Chapman, previously restaurant co-ordinator for the hugely successful Taste Festivals.

Nick will also teach classes on dedicated days, as well as the cook school’s established chef John Webber.  John brings more than three decades of knowledge and experience, having trained with Anton Eddelman and Anton Mossiman before being awarded his own Michelin accolades in the country house hotels he previously worked in prior to joining forces with Nick twelve years ago.

While full-day classes for 24 people will be held upstairs at the Aberdeen Cook School, the ground floor level will also feature a cook shop, selling essential kitchen kit from a £5 heatproof spatula to a £3,000 Falcon range cooker – and gadgets that gather absolutely no dust.

The new Nick Nairn Aberdeen Cook School also makes an exceptional private hire venue with bespoke options – including Nick himself – being available.  Various gift cards are available for classes as unique, thoughtful presents.

Aberdeen classes start from Sunday 20th May and can be booked now via www.nicknairncookschool.com or by calling 01877 389 900.

May 032012

With thanks to Claire McBain. 

Entries for North East Open Studios (NEOS) 2012 may have been declared closed but VSA, the UK’s largest city social care charity supporting people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, has announced it still has space to accommodate further artists and creators at its annual NEOS event at Easter Anguston Farm, Peterculter.

NEOS is an award-winning, not-for-profit collective of artists, makers and galleries in the North East who open their doors to the public each September. VSA’s Easter Anguston Farm has been a venue for the last four years.

Belinda Rowlands, farm manager at VSA’s Easter Anguston Farm, said:

“We are so excited to be a NEOS venue again. It gets better and better every year. We’ve already attracted some great local talent for 2012 and, as usual, we’ll be celebrating the creativity of VSA service users, displaying artwork from Easter Anguston Farm trainees and Friends for Life clubs’ children with additional support needs.”

“However, there’s still space for many more to join us, whether old, young, a dab-hand or a newbie. It’s an ideal occasion for artists in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to present work to a captive audience and support the local community at the same time. Our space is most suited to sculptors, ceramicists, land artists and other outdoor exhibitors but there is very limited indoor space remaining too.”

“We’re also keen for students and other groups to consider working collectively on a NEOS project. For the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to be home to the Knit Wits, a group of knitters led by VSA Trustee Rosy Wood, who come together for NEOS each September. The knitters covered the farm in multi-coloured woollen sheep last year and have already organised their 2012 designs. They’ve gone for a topical animal theme but to find out more, you’ll have to visit in September!”

Well-known local artist Alex Kay has been heavily involved with NEOS at Easter Anguston Farm over the past four years. She said:

“Easter Anguston sets itself apart from other galleries by creating a unique link with art and the community. Local creatives can showcase their work while raising awareness of the UK’s largest social care charity. That’s what drives me to be there every year.”

The Peterculter-based attraction, comprised of a 70-acre working farm and 20-acres of woodland, nurtures adults with learning difficulties. It provides meaningful work and training, in social skills as well as horticulture, aiming to eventually ensure trainees are confident about entering the potentially intimidating mainstream job market.
The farm is open to the public and has a coffee shop, education centre, farm shop and garden centre where the trainees sell their homegrown fruit, vegetables and plants.

To find out more or get an application form for exhibiting at NEOS at Easter Anguston Farm, contact Claire McBain, fundraising officer, on 01224 358611 or e-mail Claire.mcbain@vsa.org.uk 

More information about VSA:

  • VSA is the UK’s largest city social care charity, providing the best of care to the most vulnerable people in the community. VSA, established more than 140 years ago, looks after around 5,000 people in Aberdeen City and Shire each year.
  • Its work falls into three main categories: education and lifelong learning, older people services and social care and wellbeing, incorporating carers’ services. These services help children and families to build better futures, older people to lead more independent, dignified and fulfilling lives, adults with disabilities and mental health problems to get the most from life, and both adult and child carers to juggle everyday life with caring responsibilities.
  • The fact that 96p in every £1 donated goes on direct charitable expenditure really sets VSA apart from other not-for-profit organisations. Money raised in the north-east stays in the north-east. VSA encourages supporters visiting its services to see exactly how their money might be, or hopefully has been, spent.
  • For further information about VSA and its work in the local community, visit www.vsa.org.uk