Editor’s Letter – August Issue

Dear Neighbours,

And so the school holidays have begun… and with it the depletion of the contents of my freezer and kitchen cupboards! I did my usual weekly food shop on a Monday and by Wednesday the crisps, chocolate bars and ice lollies had nearly all gone! Maths may not be my strong point but my boys were naïve to think I wouldn’t register that 6 packets of crisps, 4 ice lollies and 2 litres of tropical juice were consumed by 2 people in 1 day!
With my refusal to re-stock as a consequence of their over-indulgence, the poor things have had to survive on snacking on fruit (which was still in plentiful supply!). They’ve now resorted to going to friend’s houses… apologies to those parents now feeding my kids!

Keeping the kids entertained throughout the holidays, followed by back-to-school expenses, can cost a small fortune; our finance feature has a few ideas on managing the cost on page 24. We also have advice on using the internet when abroad, to ensure you are not faced with extortionate fees when you return, page 28.

There seems to be an app for everything these days, so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of apps to help you improve your fitness, health and wellbeing; we take a look at 10 apps that could help you discover a healthier, happier you, page 36.

If our fantastic weather continues (I hope I haven’t jinxed it!) or if you’re heading abroad, make sure you stay safe in the sun by reading our beauty feature on page 40.

Finally, we have two tickets to see The Lovely Bones, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 42.

Have a great summer.

Zoë

Collingtree Park Care Home: Open Day, Saturday 11th August

Trilogy Health & Fitness – FREE Month On Us This Summer!

Spinney Lodge Vets: Don’t Let Pets Get Ticked Off With Fleas

With the county and country basking in a prolonged heatwave, a leading Northampton vet has urged pet owners to be aware of possible tick and flea problems the hot weather may bring for animals.

Iain Fletcher, clinical director at Spinney Lodge Vets, in Kettering Road, has warned that hot and humid temperatures are ideal conditions for parasites such as ticks and fleas to flourish.

He is now urging animal-lovers to check their pets carefully over the summer and make sure all preventative
treatments are up-to-date to combat the risk of potentially serious health problems.

Iain, who has been with Spinney Lodge for 11 years, said: “Hot and sticky conditions are perfect for these parasites, so pet owners need to be vigilant to prevent or treat an infestation.

“Owners should frequently check their pet’s coat for any signs of ticks or fleas by running their fingers through the fur or, even better, by using a fine-toothed comb.

“They should also be on the look-out for any excessive scratching, itching and biting, which are classic signs of a problem, along with scabs, hair loss, allergic reactions and pale gums.

“People must take the problem seriously and it’s very important owners take their pets straight to a vet if they show any such symptoms because an infestation of ticks and fleas can lead to more serious problems like tick paralysis, anaemia and tape worms.

“Vets can give immediate care and provide a number of preventive treatments to counter the dangers from both ticks and fleas.”

Spinney Lodge has just launched its Pet Health Club initiative which aims to provide the best preventative healthcare for pets, while saving money and spreading the cost throughout the year.

To find out more about Spinney Lodge, it’s Pet Health Club and how to protect your pets from parasites, call 01604 648221 or search for ‘Spinney Lodge Veterinary Hospital’ on Facebook.

Royal & Derngate – The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones is a unique coming-of-age tale that captured the hearts of readers throughout the world.

Susie Salmon is just like any other young girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There’s one big difference though – Susie is dead.

Now she can only observe while her family manage their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack, is obsessed with identifying her killer. Her mother, Abigail, is desperate to create a different life for herself. And her sister, Lindsay, is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them…

Award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery collaborates with director Melly Still (Coram Boy, National Theatre) on this unforgettable story about life after loss.

The Lovely Bones takes to the Derngate stage from Saturday 1 to Saturday 22 September; tickets from £11.50 and can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

* A charge of £3 applies for all transactions over £15. Does not apply to Groups, Friends or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

EmotionalSkills: The Great Outdoors

Long before the perpetual bombardment of emails, social media, stressful jobs and consumer pressures we lived in the great outdoors. Residing amidst trees, water, the sky and the weather… innately embraced by nature.

It can be claimed that life was much easier back then. Sure, we lived shorter lives and infant mortality was pretty scary, but psychologically there was simplicity. Rules were virtually non-existent. We didn’t need to work and there were no choices or decisions regarding lifestyle because everyone had exactly the same – which was not much.

Contemporary life can be crammed full of worries; choices, injustices, confusions, congestion and anxieties, and many of us struggle to breath under that sort of heaviness. Those searching for an antidote may be pleasantly surprised to discover the rejuvenating qualities of getting amongst our historical alfresco habitat.

It kind of makes sense if you think about it. Humankind walked (getting our exercise fix and boosting our serotonin and endorphin levels) through grassland and trees gathering food for millions of years. Just 12,000 years ago the agricultural revolution gave us physically hard, dawn to dusk jobs, but at least we were under the sky. The industrial revolution took us out of the countryside and put us into factories. Most of us have stopped working in the fresh air.

So, does being in nature allow more free ‘head space’ for you to be closer to the true you, more peaceful? – more in the moment? – ?less worried or happier? Many medical professionals and psychologists indicate that human beings have an inborn desire to be part of nature calling this phenomenon ‘Biophilia’.

For some, modern life can sometimes seem like a bit of a struggle. Being amongst the flora and fauna renews the mind and soul.

The evidence is too compelling to ignore, take time to get out there and go for a walk or a run or just sit in the great outdoors.

Deanna Joyce is a degree qualified psychotherapist based in Northampton. If you’re struggling with emotional issues, call 07986 488690, email info@emotionalskills.uk. Visit www.emotionalskills.uk

Green’s Restaurant: New Menu

Editor’s Letter: July Issue

Dear Neighbours,

I’ve had a hectic few weeks, rushing from one thing to another and whilst I’m exhausted, it’s also fulfilling to have been so busy – although I’m not sure I have the stamina to sustain it! I normally like to be in control and pre-plan everything in advance, however I’ve recently had a number of impromptu jaunts…and I’ve now discovered, after 40(ish) years, that I quite enjoy being spontaneous! For one thing, it’s refreshing not to have time to over analyse every detail of a pre-planned event (another trait of mine!). So, this summer why not break from your norm and do something out of your comfort zone…you might surprise yourself!

This issue is all about embracing the great outdoors… from stylish summer picnics, page 14; tech tools for wherever you may roam, page 20; holiday reads, page 24; making the most of summer by ensuring your garden is a great place to relax and entertain, page 38; to the best convertibles for under £2000, page 56.

Do make sure, however, that you stay safe in the sun; our health feature highlights the dangers of UV exposure and the importance of protecting your skin, page 28; we also have advice on helping your dog deal with the heat of summer, page 50.

With school holidays approaching, we have suggestions on how to make your budget stretch that bit further in order to enjoy a summer full of fun activities, page 10. Finally, we have a couple of great recipes for you… a tasty starter of Filo Crab Parcels, page 34 and individual Berry and Chocolate Pavlovas for dessert, page 36. Enjoy!

Until next month…

Zoë

Northampton Town Festival: 7th-8th July

Great British Food Festival: Kelmarsh Hall, 7th-8th July