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…


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.

Royal & Derngate: Avenue Q

Fantasies come true – the hilarious and multi-award winning Avenue Q is back.

Following a smash-hit run in 2011 the fur-ariously laugh-out-loud musical is back by popular demand. Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Co-creator of Book of Mormon).

Catch-up with all your favourite (and unforgettable) characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues – like what do you do with a BA in English? How do you find your purpose? And is the internet really just for….nevermind.

Missed all the fuzz last time round? Don’t let your life suck.
Recommended for ages 14+

Avenue Q takes to the Derngate stage between 18th and 23rd February.

Tickets can be booked by calling the Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk

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.

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

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 – 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…


Spinney Lodge Vets – Paws For Thought & Protect Pets This Christmas

A Northampton vet practice is warning pet owners to be aware of household hazards which could affect their animals at Christmas in a bid to avoid an emergency trip to surgery.

Iain Fletcher, clinical director at Spinney Lodge Veterinary Hospital, in Kettering Road, says the festive period can present a minefield of potential issues for pets as homes are decorated and a range of food and drink is often accessible.

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.

Iain said: “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.

Iain said: “Christmas can often be a busy and quite chaotic time. You can help your pet cope with the chaos by keeping to their normal routine and if you are spending Christmas day with friends or family and your dog is going with you, take something which smells familiar to help them feel secure.

“We’d also recommend using a calming diffuser, as with fireworks celebrations.

“In terms of household hazards, while tinsel and wrapping paper might be tempting for your pet to play with, just make sure they don’t eat it!”

For more information about possible household hazards for pets this Christmas, go to www.spinneylodgevets.com or search for Spinney Lodge Vets on Facebook.

Green’s Restaurant: Christmas Lunches

Royal & Derngate – Peter Pan