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…


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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.

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

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Royal & Derngate: The Full Monty

The Full Monty stage play has become a theatrical phenomenon, winning the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production.

This “chuffing brilliant” (The Independent) production about six out-of-work, impoverished steelworkers from Sheffield with nothing to lose took the world by storm and has become one of Britain’s most successful shows.

Based on his smash-hit film and adapted for the stage by Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy, this hilarious and heartfelt production receives standing ovations every night. It features Gary Lucy, who has made the part of Gaz his own, and an all-star cast of Andrew Dunn, Louis Emerick, Joe Gill, Kai Owen and James Redmond. With songs by Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate and Tom Jones, you really should drop absolutely everything and book today!

The Full Monty takes to the Derngate stage between 15th and 19th January. Tickets can be booked by calling the Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk

St Benedict’s Church Christmas Fete – 1st December

Green’s Restaurant: Christmas Lunches

Royal & Derngate – Peter Pan

Barking Mad – A Host’s Point Of View

7 years ago l saw Shirley’s advert for dog hosts, since then l have looked after over 80 different dogs, some coming back more than once. It’s great to hear their owners request that you look after them again, you do get attached and some become favourites.

The way Barking Mad works is simple. Owners’ who do not want to put their dogs into kennels or have relied upon friends or family in the past, contact Shirley Rands at Barking Mad. Shirley meets the dog and owners then matches the dog to a host family. So, a Springer Spaniel is placed with a host that can cope with a high-energy dog! This brings peace of mind to the owners, with the knowledge that their dog enjoys bespoke dedicated care and attention, being the only dog in the household, exercised and fed, as if it were at home.

Two Black Labradors have stayed many times throughout the year, at New Year they need help because they are frightened of fireworks. A German Pointer brings his cuddly toy, a Springer Spaniel loves his ball and is very good off the lead.

All dogs come with their instructions, when and how much to feed, walking routines and whether they can be let off the lead, etc. They bring their beds, food, toys and poo bags, our home soon becomes theirs. It’s surprising how quickly they settle.

The house feels empty when you are not hosting, but it won’t be long before the next guest. So if you love dogs, but cannot make the commitment to own one, contact Shirley to become a host family.

Carol Edwards

Shirley Rands: 01280 700110 www.barkingmad.uk.com

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.