Editor’s Letter – January 2020

Dear Neighbours,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and it didn’t whizz by in too much of a blur! As per usual I ate and drank far too much over the festive period, so I’m jumping on the ‘healthy New Year’ bandwagon, especially as I stupidly agreed (and was immediately signed up by my family) to a 10 mile obstacle ‘Tough Mudder’ event in June… I blame the prosecco! However, having a challenge will definitely motivate me to stay on track with my fitness goals, as I don’t want to embarrass myself on the day and give my sons mocking rights for the next 10 years!

If, like me, you’re kick-starting your fitness this January, we have gadgets that can help keep you on track; page 10. Maybe, you’re going to give Veganuary a go? If so, it’s important to understand how to get the vital nutrients your body will be used to; see our health feature on page 12 for more information on the healthy way to do Veganuary.

The start of a New Year is a good time to re-evaluate and put new processes in place to make life a little easier. Read our parenting article on page 18, and our finance feature on page 34, for some helpful advice for a more organised 2020.

Interiors expert, Katherine Sorrell, has tips on making your home more cosy and inviting on page 42; and we have a selection of home products in Dulux’s colour of the year, ‘Tranquil Dawn’, on page 48.

Local charities, Crusader Community Boating, and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire, are currently recruiting for volunteers; pages 40 and 41 respectively. If you feel you can help these very worthy services, please get in contact with them.

Finally, we have two tickets to give away to see a gripping production of Alone In Berlin, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 54.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2020…


Kumon, Maths & English Tuition: Free Trial 1-29 February

Crusader Community Boating: Volunteers Wanted

Royal & Derngate: Alone In Berlin

A gripping portrait of life in wartime Berlin and a vividly theatrical study of how paranoia can warp a society gripped by the fear of the night-time knock on the door.

Based on true events, Hans Fallada’s Alone In Berlin follows a quietly courageous couple, Otto and Anna Quangel who, in dealing with their own heartbreak, stand up to the brutal reality of the Nazi regime. With the smallest of acts, they defy Hitler’s rule with extraordinary bravery, facing the gravest of consequences.

Translated and Adapted by Alistair Beaton (Feelgood, The Trial Of Tony Blair) and directed by Artistic Director James Dacre (Our Lady Of Kibeho, The Pope) this timely story of the moral power of personal resistance sees the Gestapo launch a massive hunt for the perpetrators and Otto and Anna finding themselves players in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Alone In Berlin takes to the Royal stage between Saturday 8th and Saturday 29th February. Tickets priced from £11* and can be booked by calling the Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

* A charge of £3.50 applies for all transactions over £20. Does not apply to Groups, Friends, Disabled Patrons or Subscribers and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

Brushstrokes Art Group

Mondays 7pm – 9pm
Brushstrokes is a small group of local artists who meet on Mondays in the staff canteen at Mereway Police HQ in Northampton. Tuition, help, advice and guidance is provided by local artist Tony Pearson. Our members are of mixed ability and enjoy drawing and painting using their own individual choice of materials.

If you would like to join, or want to find out more, please contact Jane Denton – janefun@icloud.com

Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire: Drivers Needed

Editor’s Letter – December 2019

Dear Neighbours,

The time has come to retrieve the Christmas decorations from the loft, turn up the Xmas tunes and devour copious amounts of mince pies… the countdown to Christmas has officially begun!

I have a very long ‘To-Do’ list, which sends a small shiver of panic through me whenever I look at it. However, I am determined to remain calm and enjoy the lead-up to Christmas, as the day itself is always over far too quickly.

I do miss the excitement that having younger children bring to the occasion as now my boys are older the magic has dissipated slightly; no more excited squeals that Santa has been (unless you count my husband!). We now have to wake them up rather than being woken, and presents have reduced in size (but become more expensive!). However, the most important thing for me has always been spending quality time with the people I love… and that’s as special now as it’s always been.

In this festive edition, we look at the history of our Christmas traditions on page 10. We have top tips for festive decorating on page 16, as well as Christmas tree decorations on page 22.

If you’re planning a Christmas Eve box this year (when did that start being a thing?), we have ideas on what to fill it with on page 26. We also have the best beauty gift sets, page 30; your festive gadget survival guide, page 34 and our pick of the best books on page 38.

If you want to offer guests an alternative to a mince pie or slice of Christmas cake, we have a delicious cranberry, orange and nut loaf recipe on page 42.

The shorter, darker, colder, wetter days of winter can leave even the fittest and chirpiest of us feeling mentally and physically run-down. We have six tips to keep you feeling better through the winter; page 44.

Finally, we have two tickets to give away to see an acclaimed production of a classic Miss Marple mystery, A Murder Is Announced, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 48.

Until next month…


Spinney Vets: Make Sure It’s A Merry Christmas For You & Your Pets

Ted is preparing for Christmas

As the festive season approaches, a leading Northampton vets is warning pet owners to be aware of the many household hazards which could result in an emergency trip to surgery for their animals.

The Christmas period can present a number of potential issues for pets as homes are decorated and a range of food and drink is often accessible so Spinney Vets wants pet owners to stay alert.

Clinical director Lisa Bond said: “Among the items which present risks to pets at Christmas are ribbons on presents, tinsel, sharp tree needles, low-lying fairy lights, chestnuts and chocolates.

“Drink, too, can be dangerous and a traditional Christmas favourite, Baileys Irish Cream, can prove particularly dispiriting for animals.

“Christmas and the associated festivities can present a bit of a minefield for pet owners. For example, dogs will drink most forms of alcohol left in glasses at Christmas parties, so people need to be wary of leaving glasses where their animals can get them.”

The signs of ethanol intoxication are similar to those in humans – vomiting, depression, a lack of co-ordination, disorientation and drowsiness. Dogs in these conditions need warmth, rehydration and immediate nursing care.

Other festive items which could cause harm to animals include plants such as mistletoe, poinsettia, holly and ivy which can all cause upset stomachs, while lilies can be very harmful to cats.

Other food items which should be on pet owners’ radars include grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, which can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats, along with macadamia nuts, onions and mouldy foods such as walnuts, bread and cheese, which can all be harmful.

Lisa added: “In terms of household hazards, while tinsel and wrapping paper might be tempting for your pet to play with, you must make sure they don’t eat it.

“We want everyone to have a happy Christmas so we recommend keeping an eye on what your pet is up to during the festivities to keep them safe and well.”

For more information about Spinney Vets, visit www.northampton-vets.co.uk or search for Spinney Vets of Facebook.

Forum Cinema – What’s On

Christmas At Royal & Derngate