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.

Green’s Restaurant: Jazz Night, 10th March

Royal & Derngate – Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Classic TV sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em takes to the stage

Everyone’s favourite 1970s classic TV comedy, Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em is back, as the first ever stage adaptation of the series comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate from Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 May.

The show stars Joe Pasquale as the loveable accident-prone Frank Spencer, Sarah Earnshaw as his wife Betty and Susie Blake as his disapproving Mother-in-Law, Mrs Fisher.

The most successful sitcom of the decade gave us the hapless Frank and his long-suffering wife Betty with catch phrases galore and a never-ending list of disasters with roller-skating escapades and runaway chickens.

Joe Pasquale is a national comedy treasure who exploded onto our tellies in New Faces and went on to win I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and host The Price Is Right. He wowed Northampton audiences in 2014’s Peter Pan.

The stage adaptation of Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em has been written and directed by Guy Unsworth, based on the original TV series by Raymond Allen.

Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em takes to the Derngate stage from Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 May with performances at 7.30pm each night and matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets – priced from £23 to £37.50* – 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.

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

Editor’s Letter – February 2018

Dear Neighbours,

With the excesses of Christmas behind us, I’ve restocked the kitchen cupboards and fridge with healthy and nutritious food, much to my kids’ despair! With my clothes feeling a touch tighter, (must be a fault with my washing machine…again!), and my husband in training for the London marathon, it’s time for us to embrace a healthier lifestyle…at least until Easter!

If you’re looking at new ways to get fitter this year, with the added benefit of meeting new people, Northamptonshire Sport may have the activity for you…Nordic Walking. Their course is specifically aimed at the complete beginner and will teach you the Nordic Walking technique. Regardless of your age, ability or fitness level the course will provide you with a great foundation to this outdoor exercise experience and will give you huge health and fitness benefits along the way. Why not try a taster session this month to see whether the course is for you; details on page 46.

This month’s front cover may give an indication as to what’s coming up in the calendar soon! Our technology feature provides inspiration for gadget gifts your beloved will love, page 10; and Green’s Restaurant, Collingtree Park, are taking bookings for their romantic candlelit dinner for two evening, with live music, on Friday 16th February; page 11 for details.

With Shrove Tuesday on 13th February, we have the perfect pancake recipe on page 14. Our interiors article this issue looks at fabulous fireplaces, page 16; and in the garden it’s the ideal time of year to get pruning, Pippa Greenwood has advice on page 22.

We also have beauty goodies to see you through the cold spell, page 48 and advice on getting a good night’s sleep, page 54.

Finally, we have a fantastic prize to give away – a family ticket to see Shrek The Musical, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 40.

Until next month…


Northampton High School: Open Events

Northamptonshire Sport: Nordic Walking Taster Session & Course

Nordic Walking is an enhancement of walking. By using specially designed walking poles and a technique that ensures they are planted behind the body as a means of propulsion, Nordic Walking becomes a gentle but effective way to work the whole body.

The Northampton ‘Learn To Nordic Walk Course’ commences in March; it’s a 4 hour course, delivered over 4 weeks (see dates below). However, before committing to the course, you have the opportunity to try a taster session which will give you a brief snapshot of what Nordic Walking is all about.

Upton Country Park: Tuesday 27th February, 6pm-7pm; Cost £5
Abington Park: Wednesday 28th February, 5.30pm-6.30pm or Saturday 3rd March, 9am-10am; Cost £5

Upton Country Park: Tuesday 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th March, 6pm-7pm; Cost £30
Abington Park: Wednesday 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th March, 5.30pm-6.30pm; Cost £30
Abington Park: Saturday 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st March, 9am-10am; Cost £30

The course is specifically aimed at the complete beginner and will teach you the Nordic Walking technique. Regardless of your age, ability or fitness level this course with provide you with a great foundation to this wonderful outdoor exercise experience and will give you huge health and fitness benefits along the way.

The course cost is £30 which includes use of poles. Successful completion of the course is a prerequisite for joining one of the regular Nordic Walking groups. On completion of the course you will be issued with a Nordic Walking UK Freedom Passport. This is your passport to walks and events with participating instructors all over the UK.

Please ensure you can attend all 4 sessions before booking onto the course as refunds can not be given for missed sessions.

For more information, or to book your place on either the taster session or course, visit

Editor’s Letter – January 2018

Dear Neighbours,

I hope you’ve had a very enjoyable Christmas and are re-energised and enthused to welcome a new year. To be honest, I’m feeling a little exhausted by the festivities, as it’s been a busy few weeks of family gatherings – and the eating and drinking indulgences that it entails! So, as enjoyable as it’s been, I’m more than ready to get back to some resemblance of routine…getting back into my skinny jeans may be more of a problem!

The gyms will soon be bursting with new recruits, all with good intentions…but it’s sustaining those resolutions which is half the battle. In this New Year issue, we look at the gadgets which will help you keep your 2018 declarations; page 10.

We also have the best picks of nourishing beauty products to see you through the winter months on page 14, and our health feature explains why getting enough quality sleep is vital for good mental and physical health, page 18.

Had enough of turkey leftovers? Try our delicious chorizo and prawn paella recipe on page 24, and if you’ve got room for dessert, let us tempt you with our winter warming fruity pudding of baked pears with cinnamon oat topping, page 50.

This month our finance feature provides guidance on choosing the best mobile phone plans in 2018, page 38, and our parental advice focuses on growing up in a digital world, page 44.

Our book recommendations this issue are about awakenings and new beginnings, perfect to see you into 2018; page 46.

Finally, we have two tickets to see Agatha Christie, Love From A Stranger, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 30.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.


Bosworth Independent College: Open Evening, 25th January