Editor’s Letter – December Issue

Dear Neighbours,

I had good intentions to be super organised for Christmas this year…but with only weeks to go, I am far from being ready! With family scattered all over the country, the realisation of trying to see everyone this side of Christmas is proving to be a logistical nightmare. The visits which have been organised in the coming weeks, have put even more pressure on sourcing the right gift in time. I know that Christmas is the same date every year and I should have learnt my lesson by now… but weeks have once again slipped away and I find myself with lots to do, with very little time. I’m very much putting my faith in Father Christmas to deliver this year!

It’s certainly very easy to get carried away when shopping for Christmas; presents, food, alcohol…it very quickly adds up, but it is important not to start the New Year in financial difficulty because of it; Ann Haldon has financial advice on page 10.

Gifting gadgets this Christmas? Read our technology survival guide on page 14, so you’re not caught out on Christmas Day.

Kate Duggan has advice on achieving a calmer Christmas when dealing with the demands from excitable children, page 18.

If you’ve got guests staying over the festive period, read our interiors feature on creating a comfortable guest room, page 22 and we also have great guest beds on page 28.

Still looking for gift inspiration? We have book and beauty gift recommendations on pages 34 and 36 respectively.

We also have a couple of great recipes – potted smoked salmon, a perfect starter for Christmas Day lunch, page 40; and a twist on mince pies – Christmas Mincemeat Slice, page 52. However, if you’re trying to avoid starting the New Year a few pounds heavier, read our healthier festive food swaps on page 42.

Finally, we have two tickets to see The Full Monty to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 50.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas…


Royal & Derngate – Peter Pan

Editor’s Letter – November Issue

Dear Neighbours,

I’m very proud to be celebrating 10 years since the very first issue of The Hunsbury Handbook! Within that time the magazine has doubled in size, which is thanks to you, the readers, for supporting me and our local businesses. It’s always been important to me to achieve the right balance of content, in order to maintain your interest and provide maximum exposure to the local businesses advertising their services. I’m extremely grateful for all the positive feedback I receive from you, which makes it a pleasure to produce and distribute the magazine each month. So here’s to many more years to come!

With November 2018 marking the centenary of the end of the First World War, we take a look at the history of the humble, but striking poppy which signifies hope and remembrance; page 10.

Our interiors feature this month, focuses on hallways – an area which is often overlooked, but which is the first internal impression of your home. Read how to combine good-looks with functionality, on page 14.

Christmas will soon be upon us so it’s well worth getting organised now to ensure the lead up to the big day is as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. I normally make a start in the ‘Black Friday / Cyber Monday’ promotions, however, it’s worth doing your homework beforehand to ensure the deals are genuine; read page 38 for more advice.

We also have gift ideas for those looking to become healthier and happier in the New Year, page 42 and ways to make Christmas extra special for young children, page 46.
Finally, we have a family ticket to see The Worst Witch to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 30.

Until next month, when we’ll have even more festive advice and gift ideas.


Northampton High School: Open Day, Saturday 17th November

Spinney Lodge Vets: Advice To Keep Pets Calm During ‘Fireworks Season’

A leading Northampton vet is offering help and advice to ensure it’s not a time of year for pets to fear, with Halloween and Bonfire Night both on the horizon.

Spinney Lodge Vets, which is based in Kettering Road in the town, has issued a seasonal warning to all animal lovers to help ensure their pets are comfortable over the coming months.

Whether it’s trick or treaters knocking on doors, Bonfire Night revellers letting off fireworks or further seasonal celebrations up until Christmas and the New Year, autumn and winter can be an anxious time of year for pets.

However, Spinney Lodge head veterinary nurse Sarah Wagstaff says there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your pet calm and safe.

“The next few months can be really stressful for pets with Halloween and Bonfire Night so close together,” said Sarah.

“First, there’s the Halloween visitors knocking on doors, which can unsettle pets, then it’s the loud bangs and noises of fireworks from the start of November and beyond.

“There are a lot of things pet owners can do to help, such as distracting animals with active play, the television or calm, soothing music.

“I’d also recommend owners of young dogs who are experiencing their first Halloween and Bonfire Night begin a programme of counter-conditioning with the first firework.

“However, my top recommendation for owners is to remain calm. While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive. Both ‘mollycoddling’ and punishing a frightened pet could reinforce negative behaviour. If owners appear to be unaffected, pets will follow this example.”

Spinney Lodge, which also has practices in Wootton Fields and East Hunsbury, is offering a free nurse clinic for advice on keeping pets safe during fireworks season.

For more information, visit http://www.spinneylodgevets.com/, call 01604 648221 or search ‘Spinney Lodge Vets’ on Facebook.

Fire Shouldn’t Be The Fright On Halloween Night

Halloween festivities mean autumn can be a hectic, but fun-filled time for families.

These celebrations can also make it a busy time for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), particularly when important safety practices are neglected.
Everyone at NFRS hopes that people across the county have plenty of fun during Halloween parties and organised events, but also would like to remind them to please stay safe.

District Liaison Officer Tina Collett said: “It’s so lovely to watch children having fun at Halloween, but families will be able to relax and have more fun if they know everyone has taken the right safety precautions.

“Please be aware of the risk that fire poses to Halloween costumes and be careful how you dress to mark the spooky day. It is very important to keep these costumes, whether handmade or shop bought, well away from any flames as many materials can be flammable.”

To help people stay safe this Halloween, NFRS is providing some important safety messages to remember when enjoying the fun of the season.
Halloween safety tips:

1) Stay away from candles, such as in pumpkins. Avoid using real candles in pumpkins. Battery operated lights are the safer option.
2) Costumes can be flammable. When buying them, look for labels which say flame retardant.
3) Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. This is dangerous, especially when they are crossing roads. Consider using face paints instead.
4) Plan your trick or treat route beforehand. Only go to houses where you or your friends know the residents. Always go in groups.
5) Remember that eggs and flour are for baking. Don’t allow children to take these items out and don’t throw them.
6) Ask children not to eat any sweets or other treats they are given until they get home. Check their treats before they eat any. Sweets and foods still in their original wrappers are safest.
7) Remind everyone to respect posters displaying ‘no trick or treat’.
8) If clothes do catch fire, remember to ‘stop, drop and roll’. Don’t run around as you could make the flames worse. Lie down and roll around as this then makes it harder for the fire to spread. Smother the flames with a heavy material like a coat or blanket.

Editor’s Letter – October Issue

Dear Neighbours,

The transition between summer and autumn always seems so quick; one week I’m in sandals and the next I’m hunting out my woolly socks and boots. Summer hols already seem like a distant memory and the start of a new series of Strictly Come Dancing signifies the countdown to Christmas!!! Agghh…

Sometimes I just want to slow things down a bit and have time to appreciate life rather than be on autopilot, which seems to be my default setting currently.

With the demands of daily life, achieving the right work-life balance is sometimes easier said than done. National Work Life Week, between 1st and 5th October, is an annual initiative focussing on how employees and employers can improve well-being at work and work-life balance; read page 10 for more information.

Northampton based psychotherapist, Deanna Joyce, looks at the growing problem of psychological tension and shares some interesting facts on page 14.
Tens of thousands of children enter the care system in the UK every year so if you think you can help by becoming a foster carer, read our article on page 16.

If you’re looking forward to Halloween festivities, make sure it stays fun by following the safety advice from Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service on page 58.

Finally, we have two tickets to see Rain Man to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 54.

Until next month…


Hunsbury Park Primary School: Open Morning & Afternoon Sessions

Trilogy Health & Fitness – FREE Month On Us!

EmotionalSkills: How Good Is Your Mental Health?

Psychotherapist, Deanna Joyce, looks at the growing problem of psychological tension.

Today’s busy, ever changing, world is a breeding ground for psychological tension. Most people know someone who has been troubled in this way or they suffer themselves. Some interesting facts:

• Both men and women, between the ages of 55 and 64, have a noticeable increase in common mental health complications.

• Women aged between 16 and 24 are almost three times as likely (at 26%) to experience psychological tensions as their male contemporaries (9%).

• Young women have higher rates of self-harm, bipolar type complaints and post-traumatic stress issues (1).

• Young men are likely to commit suicide without talking to others… three times as many men take their own lives.

• It takes the average person with psychological issues ten years to seek help.

• 74% of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope (2).

• 60% of young people aged 18-24 have felt high levels of stress because of pressure to succeed (2).

• 32% of adults say they have experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress (2).

Around a third of all people with a mental health problem have sought no professional help at all. This could be because of the stigma attached to mental ill health. It may be that people don’t know where to look for help.

My advice is to be brave and talk to your GP, a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist. People can change and the sooner the change starts the better.

If you’re struggling with emotional issues, email info@emotionalskills.uk. Visit www.emotionalskills.uk

(1) – Jenny Edwards CBE Mental Health Foundation
(2) – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/stress-are-we-coping