Editor’s Letter: July 2021

Dear Neighbours,

My eldest son is returning from university for the summer… and whilst I have missed him, I’ll admit it has been easier only having the one teenager in the house! His absence quickly highlighted who had been responsible for making the most mess and eating the most food! Perhaps being self-sufficient at uni will now make him a model house guest… yeah right – who am I kidding! As soon as he steps through the door he’ll be unloading his dirty washing to me and asking what’s for dinner!!!

In the optimism of having a warm and dry summer, this issue focusses on the outdoors! We have a feature on planning an outdoor kitchen on page 14; together with products to turn the garden into a fully functional outside living space, pages 18 and 22.

The UK is brimming with beautiful National Forests – ideal for a weekend away or a complete ‘staycation’. Whether you’re looking for a secluded escape, or an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, you’ll be spoilt for choice. To get your imagination ticking, we have selected three of the UK’s most impressive forests – and what to do while you’re there, page 24. We also have the best apps for hiking and trails on page 28.

Gardening expert Pippa Greenwood has advice on lightening your garden workload, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the space you’ve created, page 42. We also have tips for child-friendly gardens on page 46.

And when you finally do get the chance to sit and unwind, we’ve selected our top summer-worthy audiobooks to enjoy, page 52.

Stay safe and well.


Wheelpower: The Tour de Vale Returns in 2021

Ready. Sept. Go! Buckinghamshire’s biggest charity cycling event returns to the Vale of Aylesbury on Sunday 19 September 2021 and entries for the 2021 MKFM Tour de Vale are now open.

Organised by WheelPower (the national charity for wheelchair sport) this annual cycling event has been taking place in the Vale of Aylesbury since 2003 and over these years has raised over £800,000 for disabled people across the United Kingdom. From first-timers to Paralympic medallists, WheelPower support and promote participation in sport and physical activity at all levels, no matter your age or ability. After the event was postponed in 2020 this year every single penny that can be raised will make an incredible difference to the lives of disabled people, and WheelPower needs your support!

The 2021 MKFM Tour de Vale starts and finishes at the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, Stoke Mandeville Stadium and there are three fantastic routes to choose from. The 25km route is ideal for families and all under 16’s go free. We also have more challenging rides of 70 and 115km and along all of the routes you will find regular water stops, marshals, first aid points and support vehicles for your safety. Join us on Sunday September 19, ride along beautiful countryside roads and turn pedal power into funds for the charity WheelPower.

To find out more about this year’s event and to sign up please visit www.tourdevale.com

Northamptonshire Health Charity: Run the Northampton Half Marathon for FREE by Raising £100 for your local NHS!

Jump into your running shoes this summer and take on a half marathon challenge to support your local NHS! Pledge to raise a minimum of £100 for Northamptonshire Health Charity and you’ll run for FREE.

If the 13.1-mile half marathon is too far for you, register for The Size 6 race instead. The minimum amount to raise for your free place in this 6.9-mile event is £75. You can break things up further by opting for the Northampton Half Marathon Relay, which is in three stages with a minimum sponsorship requirement of £160.

You can raise money for the ward, department or service that means the most to you and your family, at one of the hospitals the charity supports:

* Northampton General Hospital
* Kettering General Hospital
* Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust – any of the community and mental health hospitals

In 2019, runners raised over £14,000 for a wide-range of wards and departments. Register for your place at https://northamptonshirehealthcharity.co.uk/events/northampton-half-marathon-2021 and start your training today. The charity will support you with your fundraising every step of the way and will be there on race day to cheer you on!

Contact the charity, tel: 01604 626927
email: greenheart@nhcf.co.uk

Prestige Nursing & Care: Recruiting Care Assistants In Northampton

The Seasons Art Class: Your Friendly New Art Class

NGH News: New Entrance Opens At Northampton General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital is delighted to announce its new hospital entrance has opened today, 7th July, to provide staff, patients and visitors with a more welcoming and contemporary reception area.

The entrance will provide a modern new look as well as first-class facilities for staff, patients and visitors, with the arrival of familiar high-street brands providing healthy, and popular food options as well as a grab-and-go dining and a convenient shopping offer.

The new space, located at the South Entrance of the site, will be complemented by the introduction of a staffed reception desk and popular high-street brands including Costa Coffee, Subway®, Stock Shop and an M&S Food store. The retail outlets will have a phased opening with Costa Coffee and Subway opening on the 7th July and M&S Food and Stock Shop opening on the 13th July.

Stuart Finn, Director of Estates and Facilities at Northampton General Hospital said: “We are so excited to be opening our new entrance to our patients, visitors and staff today. This development has been in the works for a number of years and will provide a new welcoming space for people coming to NGH from 7th July.

“While we hope to welcome our local community to these new shops soon, we would ask that only those needing to attend the hospital use these facilities until our hospital COVID restrictions change.

This is the first of the new developments to open at Northampton General with a new Paediatric Emergency Department and new Critical Care Unit due to open later this year.

Jonathan Houlston, Chief Operation Officer at Noviniti said: “We are delighted that the New Main Entrance has now reached completion on schedule following a challenging construction period. The new main entrance will greatly enhance the image and facilities available at the hospital to the patients, staff and visitors.

Ben Foreman, Managing Director at Catfoss said: “Having delivered the offsite manufactured modular superstructure for this scheme as part of the delivery team, it’s great to see this impressive new front entrance and retail development open. Staff, patients and visitors will benefit immensely from this facility and the additional projects Catfoss are delivering for Northampton General Hospital.

Andy Jones, Managing Director of Healthcare Retail at Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Northampton General Hospital to deliver a great new space and retail offer for the Trust, it’s visitors, patients and staff. We are bringing high street retail, alongside food and beverage offers to provide a great service, quality and choice.

Cloudy2Clear: A Local Family Service With A Smile

Home Counties Loft Ladders: Quality You Can Trust

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

Editor’s Letter: June 2021

Dear Neighbours,

For the first time in a long time we can finally socialise indoors with friends and family – which is definitely a blessing due to the unpredictable weather we’ve recently been having!

I did, however, have the stark realisation that I would need to resume regular housework duties before welcoming guests over my threshold again. I admit I’ve become a bit lazy with household tasks during lockdown, safe in the knowledge no one would be turning up unexpected for a quick coffee. My boys have enjoyed this new ‘relaxed’ approach from their mum – but now normal ‘nagging’ has resumed in an attempt to keep the house tidy!

Spending so much time at home I’ve noticed the inevitable ‘wear and tear’ from daily family life. If, like mine, your home is in need of some attention, whether a quick spruce up, or a complete re-model, we have some helpful advice this month in our ‘House Works’ article on page 10; and interiors features on adding colour to your kitchen, and bold summer vibes, on pages 16 and 20 respectively. As well as, of course, all the local trades you will need to help make the necessary transformations.

It’s Father’s Day on 19th June so we have gift inspiration on page 38; if your budget stretches, we also have the best summer convertibles on page 30!

Islands are synonymous with holidays, but did you know that you could get your dream island escape without needing to leave the UK? See page 48 to discover some of our most beautiful islands.

Also this issue, we review books by celebrity authors on page 50; we have daily beauty pick-me-ups on page 54 and a rich and creamy peach and passion fruit yogurt ice cream recipe on page 58.

Stay safe and well.