Editor’s Letter: May 2021

Dear Neighbours,

It’s been a long time coming but finally we’ve been able to get our hair cut and meet for a drink at the pub. I say ’we’ but unfortunately I’ve been a little slow off the starting blocks and found it wasn’t quite as easy to secure a pub garden table on the spur of the moment, or get a hair appointment at a suitable time… I therefore haven’t enjoyed the full benefits of ‘lockdown lifting’ just yet!

Although we may appreciate having TV, online shopping, social media and group calls, I think the restrictions during the pandemic has made us realise that nothing compares to physical interaction with other people. I’ve missed browsing the shops, popping to the pub or meeting a friend for a coffee and understand even more than ever how important using local businesses is. To this end, on page 10 you’ll find an article all about the benefits of using the retail outlets in our community.

Despite the last year being an extremely worrying and challenging period, I’ve also heard some really uplifting and inspiring stories from local residents. One couple in particular turned their misfortune of losing their jobs and then their home due to COVID, into turning an aspiration to write and illustrate a children’s book into a reality and have now secured a publishing deal. Read page 17 for their inspiring story.

During the pandemic we experienced more stress and anxiety than ever before. According to the mental health charity Mind, 60% of adults said their mental health became worse during lockdown. This isn’t going to miraculously disappear with the easing of lockdown and may in fact cause new anxieties. It’s important to recognise the signs and manage it accordingly; read our article on page 18 for some helpful tips.

Also this issue, we have advice for perfect planting, page 36; 12 ways to make your bathroom a relaxing oasis, page 42; the best gadgets for every kitchen, page 50; and our staycation feature this month looks at Pembrokeshire, page 56.

Stay safe and well.


Breathe new life into your home courtesy of award-winning company Dream Doors

East Hunsbury Couple Receive Publishing Deal For Their First Ever Children’s Book “HOP THE KANGAROO DOG”

East Hunsbury resident Cherise Cross, and her partner François Arnaud, originally from Tours in France, wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book aimed at 0-7 year olds, “Hop the Kangaroo Dog” during lockdown last year. After self-publishing on 1 January 2021 it has been picked up by an independent London based UK publishing house.

The couple decided to write Hop the Kangaroo Dog when they found themselves at home with a lot of time on their hands. Cherise said: “We’d been playing around with ideas for children’s books for four years. In April 2020 when we realised that lockdown wasn’t going to be short term, we decided at that point to go for it and try and make our dreams come true.”

Before COVID, Cherise worked in children’s theatre, and François worked in graphic design. During 2020 they were both made redundant from their jobs, had to move out of their own home and in with Cherise’s parents, their wedding was postponed twice, and their own business selling French wine had to be closed down. François said, “We needed something to fill the time and to keep us from going mad due to all the horrible things that kept happening to us because of COVID, and that’s when Hop came along.”

The couple’s book has so far received very positive reviews on Amazon. They said, “We’re inspired by the stories that our friends and family tell their kids; we’re always asking to see what books they are reading together at bedtime so we have a good idea of what is popular. We love fun, zany stories that have a moral, and are accompanied by bold, detailed illustrations. Julia Donaldson is a great inspiration for us. We are also huge fans of Benji Davies. Our passion seems to have come across as parents tell us that their kids love the book, and that’s all we ever wanted.”

One Amazon customer who reviewed them with 5* said: “This is such a brilliant picture book! There’s so much going on in the pictures, they’re beautifully drawn and coloured. And a lovely story, too. I’ll be giving this to all of the little children in my life!”

The plot of the book is Hop is a dog adopted by a family of kangaroos. Hop very much wants to fit in and be like all her friends, but when time comes for her to learn the kangaroo bounce, Hop’s spring has…sprung! When a friend suggests they have a race Hop has to use her other skills to keep up with the Joeys and be in with a chance of winning.

Hop the Kangaroo Dog is the first in a series of books which they plan to release. The next two titles will be Grump Pig, and Scared Bear.

Instagram @lazy_baba_picture_books
Facebook @lazybabapicturebooks
Website https://lazybabapicturebooks.com/
Currently available on Amazon UK

Northamptonshire Health Charity: Help Raise £130,000 For a New Outside Play Area for Children at Northampton General Hospital

Northamptonshire Health Charity has launched a fundraising appeal for a new outside play area to benefit children at Northampton General Hospital. Can you help them raise the £130,000 needed to make this dream a reality and significantly enhance the facilities for little ones when they stay on Disney and Paddington wards?

For a child, being able to play whilst being treated in hospital is really important for their recovery as it is reassuring and familiar, enabling children to express their feelings and anxieties.  The new improved space will be equipped to provide a range of outside activities as well as new options for physiotherapy. It will also have vastly improved accessibility for all children, which will enable parents and carers with physical disabilities to take their children out to play. Play is also vital in helping children to comprehend what is happening to them, which in turn helps them cope with receiving treatment. 

Donate via Just Giving at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/childrensoutdoorplayarea Contact the charity team on 01604 626927 or email greenheart@nhcf.co.uk for details on how you can get involved by fundraising. Join their abseil day on 3rd July or, why not create your very own exciting virtual challenge.

Northampton High School: Open Morning, Friday 7th May

Cloudy2Clear: A Local Family Service With A Smile

Home Counties Loft Ladders: Quality You Can Trust

Editor’s Letter: April 2021

Dear Neighbours,

It’s taken me a little time to adjust back to the routine of school runs after home-schooling for so long, and I’ll admit I did on one occasion (ok, two!) get a text message from my son at the end of the school day asking where I was, (I had completely forgotten he wasn’t studying in his room and was in fact waiting for me to pick him up!). That certainly lost me a few brownie points on Mother’s Day! I’ve finally just got back in the flow of things… but now it’s half term!

If, like me, you don’t know whether you’re coming or going at the moment, take a look at our best picks of apps to help you stay on top of all of the things you need to do; page 18.

Hopefully over the Easter break we may get some warmer weather so we can make the most of outside. If your lawn is in need of some spring maintenance, Pippa Greenwood has advice in our gardening feature on page 10. We also have some great gadgets for cleaning everything outdoors on page 16.

Our motoring feature this month looks at what premium fuels are and whether they are worth it, page 34; and we have financial advice for parents or grandparents wishing to financially help out younger family members, page 36.

Also this issue, we have books to uplift, inspire and help you to move forwards, page 48; and our health feature looks at the top five supplements people take in the UK and what they are taken for; page 52.

Finally, with lockdown restrictions gradually easing, why not consider a change of scenery this summer with a UK city break? If centuries of history, exquisite architecture, tranquil manicured gardens, and beers by the riverside all sound like your type of holiday, the university town of Cambridge could be the perfect base; page 58.

Stay safe and well.


West Hunsbury’s Inaugural Easter Scarecrow Festival

Guidance For Better Mental Health During The COVID-19 Pandemic.

Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a lot of information about the virus and its effects on mental health.

That’s because coronavirus and the social, financial and psychological implications it carries can seriously impact one’s mental wellbeing.

Government legislation, mass media coverage, and the increasing global death toll will cause a lot of stress, especially for the older population, children, and people with a history of mental health problems.

It’s of the utmost importance that we try to remain as composed as we can during this time.

The fear and anxiety that is gripping the nation are as contagious, if not more so than the illness itself.

While we are in no way diminishing the severity of the physical and epidemiological worry surrounding coronavirus, it is crucial that everyone has access to mental health resources, and is clued up on how they can look after themselves and their own mental health.

People with pre-existing mental problems should continue to manage and track their mental health. Self-care is vital, and it’s also important to try and reduce the stress for ourselves and others around us.

How Your Mental Health Might be Affected
The coronavirus might affect not only your physical wellbeing but also your mental health. As we might be instructed to stay home due to the pandemic, the mental health symptoms might worsen.

You might notice several mental health issues, such as:

Increased anxiety
Excessively checking for symptoms
Feelings of irritation
The normal aches will feel like you have the virus
Sleeping troubles
Feelings of helplessness

Check if you show these symptoms and try to control yourself as much as you can. For more information and guidance on how to take care of your mental well-being, please visit:


Boris MacKey
Community Outreach Manager