Editor’s Letter: April Issue

Dear Neighbours,

Snow, wind, rain, and the occasional glimpse of sunshine…we’ve had it all in recent weeks! You know it’s not worth venturing out when your dog pokes his head out of the door and then swiftly retreats back inside!

I’m longing to ditch my thermals and watch my sons football matches in some spring sunshine, but it’s likely their season will be over before the temperature sustains double figures. On a positive note, we’ll appreciate it all the more when the warmer weather does finally pay us a visit… just the promise of 15 degrees Celsius will have me mixing a Pimm’s and organising a BBQ – how easily pleased am I!

With our lawns taking a battering from recent weather extremities, it’s time to get to work now in order to get it ready for summer use. Gardening expert, Pippa Greenwood, has all the advice you need on page 34.

Our finance feature examines whether it’s worthwhile taking out private health insurance, page 16; and Alison Runham discusses causes, symptoms and ways to manage stress in our health article, page 22.
Motoring expert, James Baggott, had an exciting time test driving the BMW X3 in the Sahara Desert; read about his adventure on page 28.

Local veterinary practice, Spinney Lodge Vets, has advice on protecting pets’ teeth and are currently offering a free dental health check; page 10 for more information.

Dates for your diary – Collingtree Park Golf Club hosts a Quiz Night on 20th April and a Jazz Night on 5th May, page 21; Collingtree Park Care Home welcomes you to their Open Day on 21st April, page 17; Northampton High School also opens their doors on 21st April to an Early Years Fun Morning, page 20; and book your tickets for NorPIP’s Bike Ride & Family Fun Day on 7th May at Silverstone Circuit, page 50.

Finally, we have two tickets to see Education, Education, Education, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 48. Until next month…


Spinney Lodge Vets: Bitesize Guide To Protecting Pets’ Teeth

A leading Northamptonshire veterinary practice is giving pet owners advice on how to look after their animals’ dental health as part of a two-month awareness campaign.

Spinney Lodge Vets, which has an RCVS-approved hospital in Kettering Road, Northampton, along with practices in Wootton Fields and East Hunsbury, is urging pet owners to be vigilant when looking after their animal’s oral health.

As part of its campaign, Spinney Lodge is offering free nurse dental health checks at its Kettering Road and Wootton clinics from now until 14th May 2018, in which vet nurses will examine pets’ mouths and give advice, if needed, on what treatment may be appropriate.

Veterinary surgeon Lisa Bond said the aim of Spinney Lodge’s focus on dental health was to encourage pet owners to be aware of the risks faced by animals and prevent any dental disease going forward.
Lisa said: “Unfortunately, dental disease is extremely common in pets due to a combination of dietary and genetic factors. If we didn’t follow our dentist’s advice and look after our teeth by brushing twice a day, think what our mouths and teeth would be like – pets are no different.

“Without daily brushing, plaque can build up on animals’ teeth and this contains a complex film of bacteria which cannot always be seen by the naked eye but can be damaging to gums and roots.

“If plaque isn’t removed it can build up and become calcified. The brown substance which can be seen on the teeth of cats and dogs is tartar, which can allow more bacteria to grow and cause more damage if left untreated. This can eventually lead to toothache, gingivitis (gum infection) and tooth loss. All these conditions can be very painful and you may see your pet having difficulties eating.

“Regular proactive dental care can help prevent oral health issues. Daily brushing with pet-friendly toothpaste will help reduce the build-up of plaque and there are also a number of prescription dental diets which can be used to help prevent plaque build-up and keep teeth clean.

“For cats and dogs where tartar is already present, a scale and polish under a general anaesthetic is needed to remove the build-up.”

Lisa also warns dog owners of potential dangers to their pet of what seem to be harmless tennis balls.
She said: “Without sounding like a killjoy, tennis balls are not best friends to our dogs’ teeth. The tennis ball fibres collect sand, dirt and grit which can be very abrasive and, along with the tennis ball fibres themselves, they can wear teeth down so the root is left exposed.

“When choosing a ball for your dog to play with, it’s best to choose a soft or rubber ball. It’s also important not to let your dog or cat chew and play with hard or brittle items which could cause painful fractures to their teeth.”

To find out more information on Spinney Lodge Vets and its free dental health check offer, call 01604 648221. To watch a video giving you advice on how to clean your dog’s teeth, search for ‘Spinney Lodge Vets’ on Facebook.

Wootton Fields veterinary nurse Lisa Chawner with a patient all set for a dental check. Spinney Lodge, which has three branches across Northamptonshire, including an RCVS-approved animal hospital in the town, is offering free vet nurse dental health checks until 14th May 2018.

NorPip Bike Ride & Family Fun Day At Silverstone International Race Circuit

The 7th annual NorPIP charity bike ride and family fun day is taking place at Silverstone Circuit in Towcester, Northamptonshire – the home of Formula 1 and the heart of the UK – on 7th May 2018.

The event is being organised by third year BA Events Management students from the University of Northampton: Isabel Taylor, Amelia Davey, Hannah Crussell, Emma Jones, Ryan Bradshaw and Alicja Mierzejewska on behalf of the NorPIP charity. The aim of the event is to fundraise over £12,000 with all proceeds going directly to the charity and to raise awareness of NorPIP which does important work within its local area.

In the late afternoon, after a couple hours of family friendly fun in the Wing, cyclists will get the chance to follow in the footsteps of motorsport legends at the home of British motorsport racing by cycling round Silverstone’s 3.66 mile long Grand Prix circuit.

The event was a huge success last year and this year the team are on track to make it even bigger and better. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just fancy a ride round the track they hope to see you there!

Tickets start from £15 for adults and £5 for children and are available through Eventbrite. More information and tickets can also be accessed via the event website and social media:

Twitter & Instagram: @Norpipbikeride

All riders must be aged 7 or over and must be wearing safety helmets in order to access the track.

About NorPIP
NorPIP is Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership. One of Northamptonshire’s best loved family therapy charities supporting parents to be and parents with children under two to form stable relationships. We work with mums and dads who suffer from anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, perinatal psychosis and other issues like domestic violence to help parents establish great relationships with their children to get them off to the best start in life. More information on NorPIP can be obtained via their website at: www.norpip.org.uk

Green’s Restaurant: Quiz Night – 20th April; Jazz Night – 5th May

Collingtree Park Care Home: Open Day, Saturday 21st April

Northampton High School: Open Events

Royal & Derngate – Education, Education, Education

It’s May 1997. Blair has won the election and Katrina And The Waves have won Eurovision. Channel 5 is a month old. Britain is the coolest place in the world.

At the local secondary school it’s a different story. Miss Belltop-Doyle can’t control her Year 9s, Mr Pashley has been put in charge of a confiscated tamagotchi and for some reason Princess Anne is attending the Year 11 leavers assembly. Tobias, the German language assistant, watches on. Things can only get better…

Devised by The Wardrobe Ensemble, who use their trademark inventive theatricality and irreverent humour to explore the stories that have shaped our recent political history, Education, Education, Education is a love letter to halcyon ’90s schooldays, and a tribute to our teachers who were probably just as confused as we were.


* 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.

Editor’s Letter – March Issue

Dear Neighbours,

Delapré Abbey opens its doors on 17th March to reveal 900 years of history. To celebrate the Abbey’s extensive restoration, a fun-packed programme of themed activities and events has been scheduled for the opening weekend of 17th and 18th March; page 10 for further information. The grounds, shop and café are open now for you to enjoy and with Mother’s Day on 11th March so why not book a Mother’s Day Delapré Garden Tour, followed by afternoon tea in their newly restored Victorian Billiard Room.

If you need additional inspiration for a Mother’s Day gift, or just fancy treating yourself, we have gorgeous beauty buys on page 16. My perfect Mother’s Day starts with breakfast in bed, followed by a leisurely family dog walk (with maybe a detour to a country pub), and then home for a delicious roast dinner (which I haven’t had to cook!). In reality, my Mother’s Day will consist of watching my younger son play football in the morning, followed by watching my elder son play football in the afternoon… with an hour of thawing out in between! But that’s part of the job description and I wouldn’t change it… although a day at a spa wouldn’t go amiss!

March signifies the start of spring and whilst I look forward to the warmer weather (hopefully!), I don’t relish the associated domestic chores of ‘Spring Cleaning’ (spring clean with style, page 24) and tackling the garden, (get your soil into shape, page 54). Luckily we have a magazine full of local skilled professionals ready to take care of the tasks you don’t want to undertake, freeing you up to enjoy your precious leisure time!

And talking of leisure time – we have two tickets to see Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, starring Joe Pasquale, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 30.

Until next month…


Delapre Abbey opens its doors to reveal 900 years of history!

After an extensive programme of National Lottery funded restoration, Delapré Abbey in Northamptonshire is set to open to the public from March 17th 2018.

To celebrate the Abbey’s future as the county’s most exciting new visitor attraction, visitors to the opening weekend will enjoy a fun-packed programme of themed activities and events.

Inside the Abbey there are five interactive storytelling zones to discover, which reveal the fascinating history of the building from its life as a nunnery, witnessing the events of the Battle of Northampton unfold, through to its heyday as a scandal-ridden Victorian country home.

The Abbey’s restoration has been delivered thanks to a National Lottery grant of £3.65 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with the remainder made up by Northampton Borough Council and a range of other charitable trusts and foundations, as well as the incredible generosity of private individuals and donors.
Over 100 volunteers and supporters have worked alongside staff, conservators and craftspeople over the last three years to bring the Abbey back to life and ensure that it continues to be a vibrant community hub, offering learning facilities and a sustainable wedding and functions venue – all set within beautiful gardens and public parkland.

Launch celebrations kick-off at 10am on Saturday 17th of March and feature spectacular jousting, battle displays and re-enactments as well as tales from the more recent past with talks on the building’s restoration. Visitors can soak up the atmosphere across the site and meet a range of characters from the Abbey’s past.
Once open, history enthusiasts and families looking for a great day out can visit six days a week over the summer months, reducing to four days over the winter period. Delapré Abbey will also be running a changing annual programme of events, workshops and activities, including regular weekend craft and food and drink markets which celebrate the best of what Northamptonshire has to offer.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, detailed conservation work on the grade II* listed Abbey included a complete redecoration of the main fine rooms on the South front of the building. With the work now complete, the beautifully presented rooms are once again fitted out ready for visitors.

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “It’s brilliant to be able to start the countdown to the opening of Delapré Abbey, which is such an important asset for Northampton. We’re delighted that National Lottery players’ money has helped to conserve and enhance the building so that people can explore its fascinating history for the first time.”

Cllr Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Planning, said: “Delapré Abbey is a key cultural offering for Northampton and the public opening is a real milestone and something which everyone in Northampton can be rightly proud of. I’m certain there are many who are as excited as I am to take a first look at all the abbey has to offer.”

Director of Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust (DAPT), Rachael Boyd added: “It’s not every day that a big attraction like Delapré Abbey opens, especially right on the doorstep of Northampton Town Centre. This announcement is incredibly exciting and we’re counting down to the day when our first visitors arrive and start making their own memories with us.” 

Delapré Abbey is located in 600 acres of parkland in the centre of Northampton with easy access for visitors travelling by road or train. A visit will cost £7 for adults, but children up to and including the age of 18 are entitled to free entry making it a good value day out for all.
For more information about Delapre Abbey, visit www.delapreabbery.org you can also follow them on Twitter @DelapreAbbey.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

Reiki Therapy – The Route To Self Care

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.

Now is the time to ask ourselves – ‘What about me?’ Maybe it’s time to deal with the stresses of work, an illness we live with every day, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and more. Suffering from continuous stress can develop into many physical and emotional problems.

Many clients have benefited from this amazing therapy, easing a number of issues from stress related, to physical pain, to emotional grief and more. Reiki is used in hospitals, hospices and care homes; doctors are now using Reiki more than before, rather than supplying medications for stress. A Reiki session varies from person to person; the reiki energy encourages one to let go of the tension which can make pain worse, anxiety fear or other negative feelings, bringing about a state of peace and wellbeing. At the end of the treatment, one feels refreshed with a more positive, balanced outlook.

Q: What can be treated with Reiki?
A: Reiki has had a positive effect on all forms of illness and negative conditions. This includes minor things like head or stomach aches, bee stings, colds, flu, tension and anxiety as well as serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer, leukaemia, etc. The side effects of regular medical treatments have also been reduced or eliminated. This includes the negative effects of chemotherapy, post-operative pain and depression as well as improving the healing rate and reducing the time needed to stay in the hospital.

Q: Does one have to stop seeing a regular doctor or psychologist in order to receive a Reiki treatment?
A: No. Reiki works in conjunction with regular medical or psychological treatment. If you have a medical or psychological condition, it is recommended that you see a licensed health care professional in addition to receiving Reiki treatments. Reiki energy works in harmony with all other forms of healing, including drugs, surgery, psychological care or any other method of alternative care.

Reiki face and head massage using specific acupuncture points.
Massaging the face rejuvenates and helps to preserve a youthful appearance. It relaxes taunt facial muscles, reducing tiredness, stress, tension, and worry.
Using specific acupuncture points, it will relieve stress, cold and other congestions, reduce pain and muscle tension in the body.

Massaging the head, does not just affect the body, but also your energy and your consciousness. A good head massage is supremely relaxing and therefore, puts the body into an ideal state to activate its own natural healing mechanisms. It increases wellbeing, improves state of mind, and strengthens immune system functioning, relieving stress, headaches, and improving blood circulation.

So take charge of your health and wellbeing and contact me for a no obligation chat.

01604 432121 / 07927 537902