Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.
As the royal wedding approaches, former royal chef Carolyn Robb reveals culinary secrets from Kensington Palace and ponders the happy couple’s wedding menu Once upon a time a little girl stood outside Buckingham Palace and whispered to her father that one day she would like to be a chef for the Queen. And like all the best fairy stories, her wish was granted. Carolyn Robb grew up to become the youngest and first female personal chef to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, living at Kensington Palace and travelling the world with the royals for more than a decade. The South African-born chef has loved cooking since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. “I absolutely adored being at my mother’s side in the kitchen, it’s one of my earliest memories,” she smiles. “My mother was a fantastic cook and my father an incredible gardener so we grew up eating wonderful home-cooked family meals from gorgeous home-grown produce. “She taught me so much that I still carry with me every day, but particularly the importance of being neat, tidy and organised in the way that you work in the kitchen. “Also ‘waste not, want not’ – creating something delicious from simple ingredients is such a wonderful skill to have,” she continues. After studying languages at university, Carolyn travelled to Switzerland to spend a winter season working in a ski resort hotel. The experience of Swiss hospitality inspired her to seriously pursue a career in food and it was while she was studying for her Cordon Bleu diploma at the Tante Marie Culinary Academy (the UK’s oldest independent cookery school), that she was selected to go for a job interview at Kensington Palace. “I got the job as chef to TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the most wonderful family,” she says. “After two years I was offered a position with TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry.” As well as cooking everyday meals for the family, catering for entertaining and large events and feeding a large team of staff, Carolyn also travelled a lot, both within the UK – from Kensington Palace to Highgrove, Sandringham, Balmoral and Wales – and state visits abroad. “It was a big commitment doing the job, with long days and not always regular time off but you could not ask for more amazing employers and it was a really good team of people to work with,” she enthuses. “I am so incredibly fortunate to have had such a happy and privileged career as a chef and I loved every minute of it – even the long, unsociable hours never dented my enthusiasm and passion for cooking.” Today Carolyn is a highly-respected food writer, food consultant and a busy mum to two little girls. With clients on both sides of the Atlantic, she’s also working on several exciting book and product development projects. Her most recent book The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking from a Former Royal Chef is packed with her favourite recipes of her happiest memories from her culinary journey – one that has covered three continents. The book includes her royal chocolate biscuit cake which Prince William loved so much that he selected it as his groom’s cake for his wedding. “My mother used to make this when I was a child, and it was a great favourite of mine,” Carolyn explains. “When Prince William and Prince Harry were very young, I made it for them using the same recipe. It was a firm favourite in the royal nursery; so much so that, many years later, Prince William chose to have chocolate biscuit cake at his wedding. It was designed, made and gifted to Prince William by McVitie’s and is said to have been made from 1700 biscuits and 17kg of chocolate!” With all eyes on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 18, Carolyn hopes their wedding feast will be based around simple, seasonal food from locally grown produce: “A very British meal, perhaps with a touch of Californian influence for Meghan,” she speculates. Naturally, the couple’s wedding cake is being kept a secret until the big day but Carolyn reckons it will be very different to traditional royal wedding cakes through the ages. “I think it will probably be made with organic ingredients and will be simple, spring-like and incorporate fresh fruit, edible flowers and possibly even fresh herbs like mint, thyme or borage,” she muses. “I have heard rumours of a lemon and elderflower cake and I can see it incorporating elements from both sides of the Atlantic: Meyer lemons from California and elderflowers, which are definitely very British. “I’m so excited about the royal wedding and this one will be very special,” she says. “I won’t be going to Windsor as I will only be getting back from a business trip to the States late on Friday, but I’ll be glued to the television with my two girls. “I have endless admiration for Harry. I have wanted to see him with someone special at his side for a long time, to support him in all the incredible work that he does and to bring him all the happiness that he so richly deserves. I wish them a very long, happy, healthy and fun-filled future together – I have no doubt they will be incredibly hard-working and will achieve great things together.” When Carolyn tunes into the wedding on Saturday, she will doubtless recall umpteen happy memories from William’s and Harry’s childhood, including regular trips to Balmoral. “We stayed in several different houses on the estate, not in the castle, and any spare minutes that I had I pulled on my wellies and was out walking,” she recalls. “I have very fond memories of foraging for wild mushrooms on and around the estate, quite often with Prince Charles.” Cooking with the two young princes was always very special too. “Time spent with Princess Diana, William and Harry was always happy, filled with laughter and mischief,” she reminisces. “Some of the most special memories for me are just cooking for the family at home.” While the royals often had ideas of what they’d like to eat they left the finished recipes to Carolyn and frequently expressed their appreciation. A letter from Prince Charles, sent after he’d enjoyed pea and ham risotto, reads: “Carolyn – that was a memorable lunch today! I have rarely had such a delicious one and I cannot begin to congratulate you enough for producing such a wonderful example of the culinary arts!” Carolyn says: “Receiving a note like this always served to remind me that I really did have the best job in the world: I was doing what I loved most of all and had the most incredible ‘boss’ that anyone could ask for.” In another note, referring to caramelised pear and date puddings with butterscotch sauce, Charles wrote: “That pudding was sensational! Please can we have it again?” And Princess Diana always made sure Carolyn’s hard work was appreciated: “Again a huge thank you for all your hard work. It doesn’t ever go unnoticed,” she wrote. But it wasn’t all a fairy tale, particularly when the family was travelling, reveals Carolyn. “Some of the kitchens I cooked in were extremely basic – we certainly didn’t always stay in palaces and castles! But I loved the challenge that presented. “And there were so many highlights – it was incredible to be at the handover of Hong Kong, when Prince Charles represented the Queen and we were there on the Royal Yacht Britannia. We also did some spectacular fund-raising events at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.” Carolyn’s top tip for adding a royal touch to any meal is to keep it simple. “Choose ingredients carefully and take time over the preparation and presentation of the food,” she advises. “Present food on lovely white plates with a minimum of handling and my secret weapon is using fresh herbs in abundance in both sweet and savoury dishes – for flavour, colour and decoration. “It may seem contradictory, but nothing can beat a simple dish prepared to perfection – there is nowhere to hide!” You can find Carolyn’s recipe for chocolate biscuit cake on page 15 of this week’s Menu supplement. The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking from a Former Royal Chef is published by ACC Art Books, £25. www.theroyaltouch.com
Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. firstname.lastname@example.org
Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km
First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.
Glamourous and artistic, the 20-year-old Tina Strobos was part of a bohemian circle of friends in 1940s Amsterdam. She posed for paintings and sculptures while studying psychiatry at university in the hope of embarking upon a career in medicine. Within months, however, she was on her way to becoming a darling of the Dutch resistance and a Jewish heroine after the Nazi invasion changed her life for ever. From her family’s three-storey rowhouse she hid more than 100 of the city’s Jews from the Gestapo, with the aid of an informant who warned them of imminent raids with moments to spare on no less than eight separate occasions. One of the portraits painted of her during those troubled times now hangs on the wall of daughter Carolyn Strobos’ home in Newport. For years mystery has surrounded the picture, with the family unable to say for sure who was responsible for the unsigned work even after an appearance on the Antiques Roadshow when it visited Scone Palace in 2013. Carolyn’s mother, who became Dr Strobos, had always believed it was the work of the celebrated Jewish artist Martin Monnickendam and indeed told everyone so. In fact, further research by the Antiques Roadshow detectives has now discovered that it was one of the final works by another Amsterdam painter of Jewish origin, Buruch Lopes de Leao Laguna. It was a fingerprint in varnish left on the top of the unsigned painting by the artist that eventually enabled experts to say for certain that it was one of his works. Secluded in the shadows of a studio and anonymous even to his muse, he’d captured her likeness before apparently gifting the painting to her. Laguna was one of many Jews smuggled out of Amsterdam by a network of resistance cells such as the one Carolyn’s mother was part of. He eventually went into hiding on a farm in Laren, 20 miles away, only to be betrayed and captured by the Nazis. Laguna was then taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he was murdered on November 19 1943 aged 79. “They believe that the portrait may have been one of his very last, produced in 1943, not long before he died,” Carolyn said of her mother. “Though the artists were in hiding they wanted to keep painting and often asked people to sit for them. “My mother was quite glamorous and as a member of the Dutch resistance she was also safe, so she sat for paintings and sculptures a number of times.” The Laguna portrait will be on display at the Tatha Gallery in Newport until May 16. Carolyn will be at the gallery on Friday May 1 and Saturday May 9, between 1 and 3pm each day, to discuss the painting and her mother’s life.
Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.
A bizarre bazaar could put Dundee in the Guinness World Records. The event, branded “the world’s smallest street market”, saw numerous boutique stores set up in Johnston’s Lane, Dundee, on Sunday. The street, which measures only 64 feet by 12 feet wide, was once named the poorest slum in Britain and has been home to a slaughterhouse and a shop owned by the grandfather of James Bond novelist, Ian Fleming. Yesterday it played host to a street market organised by Richard Cook, founder of optical boutique Spex Pistols, also situated on Jonhston’s Lane. It featured eight sellers and craftspeople including Sooz Gordon Designs, Jane Gowans Jewellery, Cabar and Fiodh and a spectacle hospital from Spex Pistols. Organiser Mr Cook said: “We are hoping to organise the best and most quaint ever Dundonian street fair to raise money for charity and, excitingly, to hopefully earnthe little street a place in the record books too.” Other activities for market browsers to enjoy included a record stall from Groucho’s Records, book stall from Multi Story Books, alfresco haircuts in an antique barber’s chair from Benjamin Barker barbers and live music from Nicola Madill, Sean McGouldrick, Peter McGlone and Chris Marr. Food was also on offer from West End grocers Frasers Fruit and Veg, who offered berries and cream, while the Parlour offered coffee and cake and the Globe bar offered a burger and a beer for £5 to anyone visiting the street market on the day. Spex Pistols has already added some new history to the forgotten street of Johnston’s Lane since opening in 2011, with visits from legendary musicians such as Johnny Marr, guitarist with the Smiths in the 1980s, members of Snow Patrol, the View, Simple Minds and Deacon Blue.
A group of parliamentarians plans to lodge a legal appeal in an attempt to secure a European court ruling on Brexit.The politicians believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally stop the UK leaving the EU if the final Brexit deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons.They want a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 can be halted by the UK on its own, without prior consent of the other 27 EU member states.The group took its fight to the Court of Session in Edinburgh but on Tuesday Judge Lord Doherty turned down a bid to have a full hearing on whether to refer the question to the Luxembourg Court, ruling the issue is “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”.Now campaigners have announced plans to appeal against his ruling to the Inner House of the Court of Session.Two of the original group of seven have withdrawn – the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC and Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine – while director of the Good Law Project, Jo Maugham QC, which has backed the crowdfunded legal action, has been added.The remaining five members are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.In a statement, Mr Maugham said they believe the judge’s decision was “flawed”.He added: “Establishing that, alongside the political route to revocability there is a legal route, is vital in the national interest.“If Parliament chooses not to withdraw the Article 50 notice then no harm is done by asking now the question whether it has that right.“But if Parliament does come to want to withdraw the notice, knowing it has the right to do so serves the national interest.“It improves the bargaining position of the UK, it ensures we retain the opt-outs and rebates that we presently enjoy, and it places the decision entirely in the hands of the UK’s Parliament and – if it chooses – its people.”Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve.David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address.The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said.Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic.“In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.”