Editor’s Letter: June Issue

Dear Neighbours,

Every now and then I look back over my back catalogue of editions and re-read my editors letter for a particular month and year; it’s a lovely snapshot in time and a reminder of what was happening in my life at that point – almost like writing a diary, which I regret not continuing with after my teens…life just becomes too busy to make the time, unfortunately. As I flicked through past June issues, where I talk about the yo-yoing weather in 2017 (no change there then!), the 2016 Olympics, and my sky-dive in 2015; it was my opening paragraph in 2014 which made me reflective… “It can’t possibly be four years since the last FIFA World Cup! Where has the time gone?”

And yet here we are again! Another World Cup, signifying four more years of my life have elapsed in a blink of an eye… four years older (and not necessarily wiser!)… two strapping teenagers, now as tall as me… highs and lows within that period of time… and regardless of the particular milestone, it acts as a reminder that time flies and to pause every so often to reflect, appreciate and enjoy each chapter.

That can, at times, be difficult if faced with a challenging period in your life; emotionalskills psychotherapist, Deanna Joyce, provides advice on well-being on page 26 and our health feature this month looks at when ‘Golden Years’ are tarnished by stress, page 54.

With summer on its way, we have tech for outdoor living, page 10; money saving tips for your summer holiday, page 12 and beauty travel buys on page 16.

Gardening expert, Pippa Greenwood, gets creative with containers, page 34 and our interiors feature this issue is on bathroom lighting, page 40.

Finally, we have a family ticket for Bugsy Malone to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 31.

Until next month…


Northampton Music Festival: Sunday 17th June

Cloudy2Clear: Has Your Double Glazing Steamed Up?

Editor’s Letter: May Issue

Dear Neighbours,

After a short family break in France it’s back to the grindstone, and even more so for my son who has his GCSE’s looming. All of a sudden he’s volunteering to do household chores and dog walking duties – anything to divert from his revision schedule! I’m trying not to be a nag as he has to take responsibility for his own future but his overly laid-back approach to his exams is beginning to worry me – I’ll no doubt be a nervous wreck, on his behalf, by the summer… but at least I’ll have a clean house and a well exercised dog!

Deaf Awareness Week runs from 14th to 20th May; and according to the charity Action on Hearing Loss (AOHL), in the UK 11 million of us (1 in 6) have hearing loss. That’s why Deaf Awareness Week, organised by the UK Council on Deafness and backed by many hearing loss organisations, is so vital; page 46.

The Payment Protection Insurance mis-selling scandal has resulted in billions of pounds being repaid to customers by the banks and other large financial institutions, but it’s not just PPI that can be reclaimed. We look at other potential reclaim opportunities in our finance feature on page 50.

Also this issue, we have interiors advice on making the most of a small bathroom, page 10; decorating with dark colours, page 16 and gadgets for your garden, page 30.

Motoring expert, James Baggott, reviews the lesser known Infiniti QX50, which hopes to rival the established BMW and Audi SUV’s when it is launched in the UK later this year. Find out how it compares on page 54.

Finally, five-time Tony award-winning show, Titanic The Musical, sails into Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre – and we have two tickets to give away, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 34.

Until next month…


Team PIP to cycle to raise money!

The Silverstone Circuit will once again play host to the annual Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership (NorPIP) charity bike ride, at the world-famous Silverstone Race Circuit on Monday 7th May.

The event takes place on Monday 7th May, it is a great opportunity for experienced riders, budding cyclists and families, to take on the 3.66-mile Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Alongside the bike ride a family fun day will be taking place with bouncy castles, entertainment, local stalls and other activities for cyclists, families and children to enjoy.

This year will see the return of Ruby Isaac a local budding young cyclist, after raising over £1600 last year she wanted to get more children involved. Ruby ran a competition via social media to get 10 other children of any ability aged between 7-14 to cycle with her. Their aim is to cycle at least 3 laps. Who is Team PIP? Ruby Isaac Age 9, Finnbar Stockley Age 12, Ellie May Stokes Age 9, Isla Faith Spencer Age 10, Billie-Jordon Butler Age 10, Ella Langston Age 11, Billy Turford Age 8, Ruby O’Dell Age 8, Monty Melville Age 8 and Olivia Orme Age 8.

Over 300 cyclists are expected to cycle around the circuit enjoying the iconic turns and straights of the track. Trek MK will be on hand as the official bike mechanics to help with any mechanical issues, ensuring cyclists can take full advantage of the track on the day.

Jess Barker Fundraising Coordinator for NorPIP says ‘’ Every year hundreds of families and professional cyclists get together for this fun bike ride around an incredible track. This year is set to be the biggest and best bike ride yet!!! It is a perfect way to spend a bank holiday Monday with friends and family. We have more stalls, fun and entertainment. We have one of the only rides in the country that we know of where new generations of cyclists can participate in as part of a great day out. The students from Northampton University have done a great job organising this year’s event and they’ve worked so hard its been a pleasure working with them!”

The family fun day is free and tickets for the cycle start from £20 for adults and £5 for children and are available to buy from the NorPIP website: http://norpipbikeride.wixsite.com/2017 or on the door (CASH ONLY ON THE DAY).

Editor’s Letter: April Issue

Dear Neighbours,

Snow, wind, rain, and the occasional glimpse of sunshine…we’ve had it all in recent weeks! You know it’s not worth venturing out when your dog pokes his head out of the door and then swiftly retreats back inside!

I’m longing to ditch my thermals and watch my sons football matches in some spring sunshine, but it’s likely their season will be over before the temperature sustains double figures. On a positive note, we’ll appreciate it all the more when the warmer weather does finally pay us a visit… just the promise of 15 degrees Celsius will have me mixing a Pimm’s and organising a BBQ – how easily pleased am I!

With our lawns taking a battering from recent weather extremities, it’s time to get to work now in order to get it ready for summer use. Gardening expert, Pippa Greenwood, has all the advice you need on page 34.

Our finance feature examines whether it’s worthwhile taking out private health insurance, page 16; and Alison Runham discusses causes, symptoms and ways to manage stress in our health article, page 22.
Motoring expert, James Baggott, had an exciting time test driving the BMW X3 in the Sahara Desert; read about his adventure on page 28.

Local veterinary practice, Spinney Lodge Vets, has advice on protecting pets’ teeth and are currently offering a free dental health check; page 10 for more information.

Dates for your diary – Collingtree Park Golf Club hosts a Quiz Night on 20th April and a Jazz Night on 5th May, page 21; Collingtree Park Care Home welcomes you to their Open Day on 21st April, page 17; Northampton High School also opens their doors on 21st April to an Early Years Fun Morning, page 20; and book your tickets for NorPIP’s Bike Ride & Family Fun Day on 7th May at Silverstone Circuit, page 50.

Finally, we have two tickets to see Education, Education, Education, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 48. Until next month…


Northampton High School: Open Events

Editor’s Letter – March Issue

Dear Neighbours,

Delapré Abbey opens its doors on 17th March to reveal 900 years of history. To celebrate the Abbey’s extensive restoration, a fun-packed programme of themed activities and events has been scheduled for the opening weekend of 17th and 18th March; page 10 for further information. The grounds, shop and café are open now for you to enjoy and with Mother’s Day on 11th March so why not book a Mother’s Day Delapré Garden Tour, followed by afternoon tea in their newly restored Victorian Billiard Room.

If you need additional inspiration for a Mother’s Day gift, or just fancy treating yourself, we have gorgeous beauty buys on page 16. My perfect Mother’s Day starts with breakfast in bed, followed by a leisurely family dog walk (with maybe a detour to a country pub), and then home for a delicious roast dinner (which I haven’t had to cook!). In reality, my Mother’s Day will consist of watching my younger son play football in the morning, followed by watching my elder son play football in the afternoon… with an hour of thawing out in between! But that’s part of the job description and I wouldn’t change it… although a day at a spa wouldn’t go amiss!

March signifies the start of spring and whilst I look forward to the warmer weather (hopefully!), I don’t relish the associated domestic chores of ‘Spring Cleaning’ (spring clean with style, page 24) and tackling the garden, (get your soil into shape, page 54). Luckily we have a magazine full of local skilled professionals ready to take care of the tasks you don’t want to undertake, freeing you up to enjoy your precious leisure time!

And talking of leisure time – we have two tickets to see Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, starring Joe Pasquale, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 30.

Until next month…


Delapre Abbey opens its doors to reveal 900 years of history!

After an extensive programme of National Lottery funded restoration, Delapré Abbey in Northamptonshire is set to open to the public from March 17th 2018.

To celebrate the Abbey’s future as the county’s most exciting new visitor attraction, visitors to the opening weekend will enjoy a fun-packed programme of themed activities and events.

Inside the Abbey there are five interactive storytelling zones to discover, which reveal the fascinating history of the building from its life as a nunnery, witnessing the events of the Battle of Northampton unfold, through to its heyday as a scandal-ridden Victorian country home.

The Abbey’s restoration has been delivered thanks to a National Lottery grant of £3.65 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with the remainder made up by Northampton Borough Council and a range of other charitable trusts and foundations, as well as the incredible generosity of private individuals and donors.
Over 100 volunteers and supporters have worked alongside staff, conservators and craftspeople over the last three years to bring the Abbey back to life and ensure that it continues to be a vibrant community hub, offering learning facilities and a sustainable wedding and functions venue – all set within beautiful gardens and public parkland.

Launch celebrations kick-off at 10am on Saturday 17th of March and feature spectacular jousting, battle displays and re-enactments as well as tales from the more recent past with talks on the building’s restoration. Visitors can soak up the atmosphere across the site and meet a range of characters from the Abbey’s past.
Once open, history enthusiasts and families looking for a great day out can visit six days a week over the summer months, reducing to four days over the winter period. Delapré Abbey will also be running a changing annual programme of events, workshops and activities, including regular weekend craft and food and drink markets which celebrate the best of what Northamptonshire has to offer.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, detailed conservation work on the grade II* listed Abbey included a complete redecoration of the main fine rooms on the South front of the building. With the work now complete, the beautifully presented rooms are once again fitted out ready for visitors.

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “It’s brilliant to be able to start the countdown to the opening of Delapré Abbey, which is such an important asset for Northampton. We’re delighted that National Lottery players’ money has helped to conserve and enhance the building so that people can explore its fascinating history for the first time.”

Cllr Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Planning, said: “Delapré Abbey is a key cultural offering for Northampton and the public opening is a real milestone and something which everyone in Northampton can be rightly proud of. I’m certain there are many who are as excited as I am to take a first look at all the abbey has to offer.”

Director of Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust (DAPT), Rachael Boyd added: “It’s not every day that a big attraction like Delapré Abbey opens, especially right on the doorstep of Northampton Town Centre. This announcement is incredibly exciting and we’re counting down to the day when our first visitors arrive and start making their own memories with us.” 

Delapré Abbey is located in 600 acres of parkland in the centre of Northampton with easy access for visitors travelling by road or train. A visit will cost £7 for adults, but children up to and including the age of 18 are entitled to free entry making it a good value day out for all.
For more information about Delapre Abbey, visit www.delapreabbery.org you can also follow them on Twitter @DelapreAbbey.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

Reiki Therapy – The Route To Self Care

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.

Now is the time to ask ourselves – ‘What about me?’ Maybe it’s time to deal with the stresses of work, an illness we live with every day, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and more. Suffering from continuous stress can develop into many physical and emotional problems.

Many clients have benefited from this amazing therapy, easing a number of issues from stress related, to physical pain, to emotional grief and more. Reiki is used in hospitals, hospices and care homes; doctors are now using Reiki more than before, rather than supplying medications for stress. A Reiki session varies from person to person; the reiki energy encourages one to let go of the tension which can make pain worse, anxiety fear or other negative feelings, bringing about a state of peace and wellbeing. At the end of the treatment, one feels refreshed with a more positive, balanced outlook.

Q: What can be treated with Reiki?
A: Reiki has had a positive effect on all forms of illness and negative conditions. This includes minor things like head or stomach aches, bee stings, colds, flu, tension and anxiety as well as serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer, leukaemia, etc. The side effects of regular medical treatments have also been reduced or eliminated. This includes the negative effects of chemotherapy, post-operative pain and depression as well as improving the healing rate and reducing the time needed to stay in the hospital.

Q: Does one have to stop seeing a regular doctor or psychologist in order to receive a Reiki treatment?
A: No. Reiki works in conjunction with regular medical or psychological treatment. If you have a medical or psychological condition, it is recommended that you see a licensed health care professional in addition to receiving Reiki treatments. Reiki energy works in harmony with all other forms of healing, including drugs, surgery, psychological care or any other method of alternative care.

Reiki face and head massage using specific acupuncture points.
Massaging the face rejuvenates and helps to preserve a youthful appearance. It relaxes taunt facial muscles, reducing tiredness, stress, tension, and worry.
Using specific acupuncture points, it will relieve stress, cold and other congestions, reduce pain and muscle tension in the body.

Massaging the head, does not just affect the body, but also your energy and your consciousness. A good head massage is supremely relaxing and therefore, puts the body into an ideal state to activate its own natural healing mechanisms. It increases wellbeing, improves state of mind, and strengthens immune system functioning, relieving stress, headaches, and improving blood circulation.

So take charge of your health and wellbeing and contact me for a no obligation chat.

01604 432121 / 07927 537902