Editor’s Letter – March Issue

Dear Neighbours,

As I sit and write this month’s editors letter, I can hear the birds singing in the tree outside my window and the sky is a beautiful bright blue, without a cloud in sight. It’s amazing how a little sunshine (regardless of how cold it is), can lift my spirits and put a spring in my step. It’s certainly an improvement, and definitely preferable, to the drenching I received just a few days earlier!

Whilst the hints of spring may be welcome for many, others may be dreading the associated symptoms of hay fever. Read our health article for advice on controlling symptoms and available treatments; page 24.

Despite recent bad publicity, diesel cars still fit the bill for some drivers; James Baggott explains why on page 28, so you can choose what is right for you.
As we come to the end of the financial year, Ann Haldon looks at whether opening a cash ISA is still worthwhile; page 34.

In this issue, our technology review features the top hair gadgets on page 42; and we also have our pick of the best natural beauty buys on the market; page 44.
We’ve got a couple of great recipes for you this month – a hearty vegetable gratin, which makes a great side dish to a roast dinner, and mini orange and chocolate cakes; pages 22 and 48 respectively. Alternatively, you could book a table at Greens Restaurant in Collingtree Park (page 43), who proudly boasts to have the best Sunday roast in Northampton… plus they’ll be no washing up!

Local business, Barking Mad Dog Care, are offering volunteer dog cuddling as an antidote to the problem of loneliness in modern society! For those who are retired or work from home and are spending large chunks of time alone, caring for a waggy-tailed companion on a temporary basis, and meeting other like-minded dog lovers, could really help to overcome feelings of isolation; page 52.

Finally, we have two tickets to see Ibsen’s Ghosts to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 40.
Until next month…

Zoë

Spinney Lodge Vets – Vet’s Bitesize Guide To Protecting Pets’ Teeth

A leading Northamptonshire veterinary practice is giving pet owners advice on how to look after their animals’ dental health as part of a three-month awareness campaign.

Spinney Vets is urging people to be vigilant when looking after their pet’s pearly whites, as dental disease among cats, dogs and rabbits is one of the most common problems dealt with at its three branches across the town.

As part of its awareness campaign, Spinney Vets is offering free dental health checks with a veterinary nurse at all of its practices from now until March 31, during which the nurse will examine pets’ mouths and give advice, if needed, on what treatment may be appropriate.

Iain Fletcher, clinical director at Spinney Vets, said the aim of the campaign was to encourage pet owners to be aware of the risks faced by animals and to prevent issues going forward.

Iain said: “Unfortunately, dental disease is extremely common in pets due to a combination of dietary and genetic factors. If we didn’t follow our dentist’s advice and look after our teeth by brushing twice a day, think what our mouths and teeth would be like – pets are no different.

“Without daily brushing, plaque can build up on animals’ teeth and this contains a complex film of bacteria which cannot always be seen by the naked eye but can be damaging to gums and roots.

“If plaque isn’t removed it can build up and become calcified. The brown substance which can be seen on the teeth of cats and dogs is tartar, which can allow more bacteria to grow and cause more damage if left untreated.

“This can eventually lead to toothache, gingivitis (gum infection) and tooth loss. All these conditions can be very painful and you may see your pet having difficulties eating.

“Regular proactive dental care can help prevent oral health issues. Daily brushing with pet-friendly toothpaste will help reduce the build-up of plaque and there are also a number of prescription dental diets which can be used to help prevent plaque build-up and keep teeth clean.

“For cats and dogs where tartar is already present, a scale and polish under a general anaesthetic is needed to remove the build-up.”

Iain also warned dog owners of potential dangers to their pet from chewing on what may seem an innocuous object, such as a tennis ball, his own dog’s teeth have been worn away due to a tennis ball obsession.

He said: “Tennis balls are not best friends to our dogs’ teeth. The tennis ball fibres collect sand, dirt and grit which can be very abrasive and, along with the tennis ball fibres themselves, they can wear teeth down so the root is left exposed.

“When choosing a ball for your dog to play with, it’s best to choose a soft or rubber ball. It’s also important not to let your dog or cat chew and play with hard or brittle items which could cause painful fractures to their teeth.”

To find out more the dental health campaign being run by Spinney Vets, which has branches in Spinney Hill, Wootton Fields and East Hunsbury, and for the chance to win a Fitbit with its Pet Health Club, visit www.northampton-vets.co.uk or search for Spinney Lodge Veterinary Hospital on Facebook.

Editor’s Letter – February 2019

Dear Neighbours,

My good intentions for a ‘dry January’, rapidly changed to ‘dry Monday-Thursday’, which was quickly replaced by ‘dry Monday and an occasional Wednesday’. I blame my friends for leading me astray… I was doing so well up until 5th January! I’m also yet to re-visit the gym post Christmas, my excuse being too much work to catch up on. The reality is I’m finding any reason to currently avoid it, much like dry… every other Monday!

February, however, will be different! I am determined…to find some new friends, (only joking!)…to eat and drink healthier and resume physical activities – so hopefully by the time spring arrives, I will be able to shed the winter layers with confidence. Here’s hoping!

If Christmas spending has taken its financial toll, now may be a good time to take control and give your finances a spring clean for a richer 2019; page 10.

If your wish list for this year included greater flexible working, going freelance may be worth considering, (it worked for me!). Kate Duggan has some helpful tips on page 14.

With the introduction of ‘Smart Motorways’ to our road networks, James Baggott explains the differences and what to be aware of; page 28.

Do you have a few hours to spare to help a worthwhile cause? Northamptonshire Carers are looking for volunteers to give carers a much deserved break; details on page 34.

Intending to treat a loved one this Valentine’s Day? If you’re looking for an alternative to flowers and chocolates, consider our techy gift suggestions on page 40.

Finally, we have two tickets to see An Evening Of Eric & Ern to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre. This brilliant homage by Olivier-nominated duo, Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel, is crammed with renditions of those famous comedy sketches. Competition details on page 46.

Until next month…

Zoë

Green’s Restaurant: Valentine’s Nights

Editor’s Letter – January 2019

Dear Neighbours,

Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and are now refreshed and full of vigour for the year ahead. Or, like me, you may be regretting over-indulging with food and drink over the previous weeks (seemed like a good idea at the time!) and as a result ‘Get Fit’ and ‘Healthy Eating’ are now at the top of the resolutions list!

I actually prefer to set goals for the forthcoming year rather than a list of resolutions, which tend to get forgotten about as the months go by. Specific goals involve planning, preparing and taking realistic action…and I always love the sense of achievement when accomplished. I’ve realised I can lack motivation to go the gym to ‘get fit’, however, if I have a goal (this year it’s walking the Yorkshire 3 peaks within 12 hours), it gives me a focus and I therefore exercise in order to achieve my end objective.

The benefits of exercise go well beyond fitness, it also has many physical and mental health benefits. So if you’re still looking for the motivation to get active, read our article on page 10. We also have tech to track your progress and keep you focussed, page 14.

Gardening expert, Pippa Greenfield, promotes the benefits of getting out in the garden – for you as well as to the garden itself, page 18.

James Baggott looks at how to get the best deal on your car insurance, page 28; and Ann Haldon has advice on spotting potential pension scammers, page 34.

If you’re starting the New Year with a list of jobs around the home that need doing, but have little time to undertake them…why not ‘Hire A Hubby’? Local resident, Tony Kellett, is the company owner of specialist property maintenance and DIY business, Hire A Hubby Hunsbury. Contact him today for your free home health check, details on page 47.

Finally, we have two tickets to see the hilarious and multi-award winning Avenue Q, to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 24. Until next month…

Zoë

Hire A Hubby Hunsbury – Free Home Health Check

Do you have a list of jobs around your home that just never seem to get done? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Today’s busy lifestyles often mean that it can be difficult to keep up with the maintenance on your home. Hire A Hubby Hunsbury is a specialist property maintenance and DIY franchise business that is here to help.

The business is owned and run by local resident Tony Kellett, who has more than 20 years of DIY experience which includes fitting kitchens and bathrooms installing fitted wardrobes, tiling, painting and decorating. Tony is currently offering home owners a FREE home health check: this covers basic things like checking for blocked gutters, as well as sorting basic maintenance issues like doors and windows that stick. It is also the perfect opportunity for home owners to mention all those jobs that they’ve been meaning to do but just never got round to.

Whatever your property maintenance or DIY needs Hire A Hubby Hunsbury is here to help. Tony is police/DBS checked and all his work is fully guaranteed and insured. To book your free quote please call 0800 111 4664 or visit www.hireahubby.com

Gather In Sound – Delivering A Music Service To People With Additional Needs

Husband and wife, Heather and Tom, talk about the work they do using music for health…

“We live in a musical, Hunsbury household! Having met at music college and explored different creative avenues, we now both work with people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and other complex needs, using music. As Music Practitioners, we don’t need our clients to have a technical ability to play instruments or sing, but instead, we use the experience of making music together, to encourage developments in health areas. Whether this relates to social skills, emotional understanding or a focus on motor ability (to name a few examples), goals are tailored to fit each individual client.

“Part of our work hinges on the philosophy that music is a way for people to express themselves and that all people, regardless of ability, can access it. So, if someone is non-verbal they can use this easy platform to ‘find their voice’, whether vocally, instrumentally or collaboratively with the Practitioner. Another example might be of someone whose physical ability has become impacted upon, which can cause limitations in lots of areas of life. In this case, making music can give them back a sense of independence, fulfilment and success.”

Recently, Tom has launched his own specialist and accessible music service, Gather in Sound, which operates across Northamptonshire. “I specialise in delivering a music service for children and adults with additional needs and with over 10 years of experience, the service caters for a whole host of different environments. For the most part it operates as an in-reach service, where the expertise and equipment is brought to clients. Additionally, several projects are developing across Northampton, based in community centers and other services.

“Different to a normal music service, everyone regardless of ability or need is given the opportunity to be creative and to express themselves in a ‘failure-free’ environment. There isn’t a typical syllabus or set ‘out of the box’ session, instead time is spent catering each activity to the exact needs of clients. Furthermore, individuality is advocated, and work is done collaboratively with clients to personalise their sessions. This enables everyone to have their own unique musical experience, whether writing and recording a song or using improvised music to express themselves, there is no limit to the client’s involvement. Gather in Sounds’ skilled expertise ranges across a whole host of instruments and styles and the traveling music studio is renowned for its high quality, that brings with it the opportunity to record and experiment with new and exciting equipment.”

To find out more please contact the Gather In Sound team at gatherinsounduk@gmail.com or visit www.gatherinsound.com to download a brochure.

dbX Career Coaching & CV Writing

dbX Career Coaching is delivered by trained coaches with experience in the business world and at executive-level. It consists of a comprehensive programme which includes an introductory meeting to gain a full understanding of the individual’s objectives and goals. Confidentiality is discussed and agreed. At this stage, we confirm that the most important element of coaching i.e. does the “chemistry work” to ensure a strong trusting relationship.

We define the individual coaching objectives:
• Long/short-term goals and aspirations.
• If appropriate, requested & approved by the individual, we can include a three-way meeting to include the
reporting line Principle on commencement of the programme and again on completion.
• Design and agree a timetable which is flexible but would normally be 6 sessions spread over 6-12 months to
suit the client’s requirements. Each session would be between 1 and 2 hours.

We believe in constant evaluation to ensure the benefits of coaching are being delivered and that the client’s objectives are being met and a ROI achieved.

The preference is always to meet face-to-face, alternatively, sessions can be conducted over the phone by skype or facetime.

Executive Coaching
Covering all aspects of Effective Leadership, Career Progression, First 100 Days Onboarding, Behaviours, Performance, Work/Life Balance, Succession planning and Exit strategy.

Organisations
Organisational and Behavioural Coaching, Individual/Team Performance Enhancement, Increased Productivity, Behaviours and Culture Transformation.

Graduate Coaching
Preparing for the job market, Interview skills, Job Applications, CV Guidance, Social Media review and awareness.

Post School/College Education
Preparing and coaching for University Interviews, Career Planning, Job Applications, CV Guidance, Social Media review and awareness

Fees are available upon request. Please email or call to discuss your requirements and arrange our first meeting.

Email: cate@dbxcareercoaching.com
Call: 07565 963358

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…

Zoë

Royal & Derngate – Peter Pan