Editor’s Letter: December Issue

Dear Neighbours,

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”…my decorations have been retrieved from the loft, and I’ve eaten my first mince pie of the season (to be honest I’ve consumed the whole box and a tub of Heroes already!), so I am now officially counting down to the big day. I’ve still got the majority of gifts to purchase but I’m gradually working my way through my lists, so I’m making progress…I just have to refrain from adding more things than I’m ticking off!

In this festive edition we have our top picks of beauty advent calendars for the twelve days leading up to Christmas Day, page 10; the best apps for sending Christmas cheer, page 14; books to gift, page 18; and tips on styling a festive dinner table, page 22.

We also have two great recipes: gluten-free stollen muffins on page 26; and if you’re fed up with the usual turkey recipes, try our turkey burgers with cranberry sauce and brussels sprout coleslaw (I dislike cooked brussels sprouts, but love this recipe!), page 46.

Our tech feature this issue is on brand new retro; classic devices given a high-tech reboot, page 42.
Sales seem to be on all the time now, great for picking up a bargain but are they as good value as we’re made to believe? Our finance feature ‘Saving or Scam?’ has some things to look out for on page 44.

At this time of year I like nothing more than pulling on my PJs, making a mug of hot chocolate and getting cosy. For that extra-inviting touch in your home, just add a few irresistible items made from sumptuous fake fur, see page 38 for our top picks.

Alternatively, if you prefer to kick off the blankets in favour of some winter sun, check out our travel feature for some of the best islands to escape to this winter; page 54.

Wishing you a fabulous Christmas.

Zoë

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Northamptonshire Health Charity: Donate a gift for a patient in hospital this Christmas

Northamptonshire Health Charity are looking for Christmas gifts to give to people in hospital on Christmas day. The charity supports Northampton General and Kettering General Hospitals and the community and mental health hospitals across the county.

Brampton Ward; Jane Drew.

It works all year round to provide for all departments and wards, above and beyond what the NHS provides. Now that Christmas is approaching, the charity would like to ensure every patient in hospital receives a present on the day. Many patients, mostly elderly, have nobody – this means no visitors and no gift. Last year, every inpatient received a gift bag, which helped raise a smile, reminding them they are in people’s thoughts.

Suitable items are puzzle books, slippers and socks, toiletries, lip balms and dominoes for elderly patients and toys, games and activities for the children’s wards. For infection control, only new items can be accepted in the original packaging and not gift wrapped. You can drop your items into the charity office which is in the Springfield building next door to the Urgent Care Centre, a short walk from A&E at Northampton General Hospital.

If you’d prefer to shop online, purchase from the Amazon Wish List at the charity’s website, or you can make a donation and a gift will be purchased for you.

Trish Ribano, service manager at Welland Centre for Adult Mental Health said: “We are so grateful for your support at Christmas. It makes our day when all the gifts arrive for us to give out, as this can be a very lonely and difficult time for patients.”

For more information, contact: 01604 626927
Email: greenheart@nhcf.co.uk, or visit www.northamptonshirehealthcharity.co.uk

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Hunsbury Hill Gets Fruity This Autumn With A New Community Orchard!

Thirty heritage fruit trees will be planted as part of an urban community orchard at the Hunsbury Hill Centre on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021.

Students from the local primary school and Moulton College will be planting apples, pears, damsons, plums and quince in the grounds of Northamptonshire ACRE, at Harksome Hill. The fruit varieties have been chosen for their historic value, and were once grown in orchards across the East Midlands.

The orchard, funded by the Postcode Places Trust and Northampton Rotary, is part of a wider project to restore the beautiful Grade 2 listed farmhouse, outbuildings and landscape at the Hunsbury Hill Centre.

It’s hoped the planting will provide a beautiful community space for East and West Hunsbury residents and visitors to enjoy, and learn new skills. There are plans for orchard activities and events to take place in future years.

The project is a collaboration with West Hunsbury Parish Council, community group Save Our Street Trees and urban forester Russell Horsey from Woodland Dwelling – who will be leading the planting day. Northampton Rotary Club has sponsored five trees as part of its centenary celebrations, which will see it plant 100 trees across the town.

Northamptonshire Acre CEO Elaine O’Leary said: “Planting this orchard is the culmination of a long-held wish of the charity. We are delighted to be working with our partners to deliver a wonderful growing space for the benefit of the local community as well as doing our bit for the Queen’s Green Canopy.”

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