Editor’s Letter – September Issue

Dear Neighbours,

I’ve enjoyed a relaxing couple of weeks break over the summer with my family but all good things unfortunately come to an end, and so it’s back to school runs, work and generally chasing my tail!

I was pleased my 16 year old son obtained a summer job as soon as he finished his GCSE’s without me having to badger him (too much!), and even more surprised that he committed to daily 8am starts throughout this time without so much as a grumble! I think his first pay packet was a great motivator and hopefully this will encourage him to work hard at Sixth Form to achieve the results he needs to secure a good job in his chosen field. I can’t believe my ‘little boy’ is all grown-up!

It’s certainly not been cheap kitting him out in suits for college – not to mention upgrading his laptop; our technology feature has tips on getting the most for your money when it comes to new term tech, page 10.

With the start of a new term, Northamptonshire Police are encouraging parents and carers to help children stay safe on the school run; read their advice on page 14.

Our finance feature this month looks at planning for retirement, which starts with knowing how much you will need, followed by how you’re going to achieve it; page 38.

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September and with it being the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds, and men in particular being at higher risk, it’s more important than ever to be aware of mental health issues amongst family and friends. Read our health article on page 46 for more details.

Finally, we have two tickets to see Richard Alston Dance Company to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 44.

Until next month…


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

Royal & Derngate – Richard Alston Dance Company

Richard Alston has been making dance for 50 years. He will celebrate his half-century with a programme full of his trademark lyrical choreography performed by undoubtedly one of the world’s finest dance ensembles.

The programme features Grand Walkaround, a sparkling new dance performed to the effervescent piano pieces of Creole composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, as well as a new piece by associate choreographer Martin Lawrance.


Richard Alston Dance Company takes to the Derngate stage on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th October at 7.30pm; tickets priced between £16 and £26 and can be booked by calling the 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: Mood, Music & Mind-set

I like most genres of music; varying from easy listening, instrumental, classical, jazz, soft rock, some pop and opera – especially Puccini. Some of my favourite pieces are by the late Maria Callas singing ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’.
Apparently, Marilyn Manson elicits doom-laden thoughts and Mozart educes cognitive lucidity. I think the link between music and mood is subjective. So, does music effect mood? I’m certain it does… but how?

A group of academics (McCraty, Barrios-Choplin, Atkinson and Tomisino) from California carried out a study on ‘The Effects Of Music On Mood, Tension And Mental Clarity’.

They took four different genres of music: classical in the form of various Mozart compositions, grunge rock provided by Pearl Jam, new age from Enya and a dollop of so called ‘Designer’ music. This ‘designer’ music is specifically composed and calculated to have particular effects; it’s often represented by that well produced instrumental music of the wafty wash over variety.

The results of this research were split into adult and teenage subgroups.

Apparently, Mozart reduced fatigue, sadness and tension in adults, but had little influence on the youngsters. Conversely, other studies have suggested Mozart piano sonatas increase concentration in younger people.

Grunge made the teens more hostile and tense, but increased their mental clarity and vigour. Grunge also made the oldies more vigorous, but unfortunately simultaneously decreased their mental clarity.

Good old Enya made the adults really relaxed, but switched their brains off. She also delivered the youngsters an overall lethargy, indeed quite the case of: “Sail away… Sail away… Sail away.”

The designer music had an effect of reducing sadness and increasing a relaxed state in youngsters. The older cohort had a peak in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and decreases in sadness, fatigue and tension.

Thus, the so-called ‘designer music’ seems to suit both groups.

Notwithstanding valuable academic analyses, this is all pretty personal in my opinion. Music does different things to different people, and anyway, where do you filter out variables like private nostalgia, musical memories and learned listening habits.

Most people will be able tell how a particular piece of music affects them individually just by being in the moment and paying close attention. Then, if you so desire, you can make and use special playlists to help enliven yourself, enhance cognition, reduce tension, ease low mood or just chill out.

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

Start The New School Term With Safety In Mind

Parents and carers are being encouraged to help children stay safe on the school run as the new term begins.

In 2016, 69 children were killed and 15,907 injured on UK roads, with 36 per cent of casualties occurring during the pre- and post-school hours of 7-9am and 3-5pm.

Whether you drive or walk to school, Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service are sharing advice to help families teach children about staying safe.

Matt O’Connell, of the joint Safer Roads Alliance, says: “When your child first starts to walk with you, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand, especially when crossing roads, and teach them to stop at once if you tell them to.

“Talk about how paths and pavements are for people, and roads are for traffic. Practise the ‘stop, look, listen, think’ sequence whenever you cross a road so they learn about stopping before the kerb, looking right, left and right again for traffic, listening for vehicles, and thinking about whether there’s enough time to cross safely.”

Road safety charity Brake advises that children under eight should always be accompanied by and hold hands with an adult around roads, particularly when crossing.

When letting your child walk independently, remind them how to cross safely using the Green Cross Code and help them plan the safest route to where they are being allowed to go.

Having discussions with children around staying safe in the car is also important.

Matt says: “Whenever you drive them somewhere set a good example by putting your phone away, obeying speed limits and road signs, and always making sure everyone wears their seatbelt properly.

“It’s also important you also park safely and legally around schools to help keep everyone safe – better still, park a few streets away to reduce congestion and walk to school, practising road safety as you go.”

The Green Cross Code
1. Find a safe place to cross.
2. Stop just before you get to the kerb.
3. Look all around for traffic and listen for it too.
4. If traffic is coming, let it pass.
5. Look and listen again. When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run.
6. Keep looking and listening while you are crossing the road.

Green’s Restaurant: New Menu

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.


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

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.

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…