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…


Royal & Derngate – Titanic The Musical

Award-winning musical tells story of the legendary Titanic

The five-time Tony Award-winning show Titanic The Musical sails into Northampton’s Royal & Derngate from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 June, on its first ever UK tour.

In the final hour of 14th April 1912, the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, collided with an iceberg and ‘the unsinkable ship’ slowly sank. It was one of the most tragic and infamous disasters of the 20th century. 1517 men, women and children lost their lives.

Based on real people aboard the most legendary ship in the world, this stunning musical focuses on the hopes and aspirations of her passengers. Unaware of the fate that awaits them, the Third Class immigrants dream of a better life in America, the newly-enfranchised Second Class dream of achieving the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the millionaire Barons of the First Class dream of their mastery lasting forever.

Having received its UK premiere in 2013 at Southwark Playhouse, the production returned to London in 2016 for an 11-week season at the Charing Cross Theatre, where it won overwhelming critical acclaim. Now Titanic The Musical comes to Northampton as part of a tour that visits 12 theatres nationwide.

Titanic The Musical has music and lyrics by Maury Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel, Phantom) and a book by Peter Stone (Woman of the Year and 1776). The pair have collectively won, including their previous works, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, an Olivier Award and three Tony Awards. The original Broadway production of Titanic The Musical won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

Titanic The Musical takes to the Derngate stage from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 June at 7.30pm, with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets – priced from £19 to £41* – can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

* A charge of £3 applies for all transactions £15 and over. Does not apply to Groups, Friends or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

Cloudy2Clear: Has Your Double Glazing Steamed Up?

Green’s Restaurant: New Menu

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).

Spinney Lodge Vets: 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 two-month awareness campaign.

Spinney Lodge Vets, which has an RCVS-approved hospital in Kettering Road, Northampton, along with practices in Wootton Fields and East Hunsbury, is urging pet owners to be vigilant when looking after their animal’s oral health.

As part of its campaign, Spinney Lodge is offering free nurse dental health checks at its Kettering Road and Wootton clinics from now until 14th May 2018, in which vet nurses will examine pets’ mouths and give advice, if needed, on what treatment may be appropriate.

Veterinary surgeon Lisa Bond said the aim of Spinney Lodge’s focus on dental health was to encourage pet owners to be aware of the risks faced by animals and prevent any dental disease going forward.
Lisa 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.”

Lisa also warns dog owners of potential dangers to their pet of what seem to be harmless tennis balls.
She said: “Without sounding like a killjoy, 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 information on Spinney Lodge Vets and its free dental health check offer, call 01604 648221. To watch a video giving you advice on how to clean your dog’s teeth, search for ‘Spinney Lodge Vets’ on Facebook.

Wootton Fields veterinary nurse Lisa Chawner with a patient all set for a dental check. Spinney Lodge, which has three branches across Northamptonshire, including an RCVS-approved animal hospital in the town, is offering free vet nurse dental health checks until 14th May 2018.

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…


Collingtree Park Care Home: Open Day, Saturday 21st April

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…