Affinity Luxury Lifestyle Magazine December 2021

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PRICELESS

www.affinitymag.co.uk AFFINITY LUXURY LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

ISSUE 126

GIFTS GALORE

We help you find the perfect present WWW.AFFINITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Divine Decorations From Baubles to Wreaths

SPARKLE, SHIMMER & SHINE

Make Your Christmas Magical with all our Festive Tips

Travel Inspo for the Festive Season

ISSUE 126

MERRY

CHRISTMAS


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LETTER EDITOR’S

Christmas, my favourite time of year, I get so excited seeing all the beautiful, inspiring décor ideas,, from trees to garlands, stockings to wreaths it’s amazing how we can turn our homes into something so magical. You’ll find lots of ideas to inspire you in this issue including some of our favourite Christmas wreaths (page 42) and stockings (page 46).

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We’ve got some delicious, easy recipes that you can throw together in a matter of minutes, turn to page 31 to give Nigella a run for her money!

Our gift inspiration is a plenty, but don’t forget about yourself in all the madness of the season, we want you to feel glam and gorgeous this month which is why we’ve chosen some of our favourite party outfits (page 15) that’ll have you feeling a million dollars this Christmastime.

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Christmastime is all about giving, and we’re giving you the chance to WIN a family ticket to this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre, turn to page 50 to enter. Finally, I’d like to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Christmas, and embrace this special time with family and friends, See you in 2022 Love & Hugs

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Jane x

1. Sequin Blazer, £69, Marks & Spencer 2. DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Coffee Machine, £549, www.delonghi.com 3. Geeorg Jensen Bangle, £275, www.bakerbrothersdiamonds.com 4. Elemis Neroli Body Duo Set, £39, uk.elemis.com 5. The Harmony Ring, £1,700, www.aliciajdiamonds.com Don’t forget to join us on social media, we love getting to know you!

www.affinitymag.co.uk

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facebook.com/AffinityMag

Editor: Jane Fry jane@affinitymag.co.uk 07507 602401 Advertising: affinitymagstewart@gmail.com 07595 894557 Graphic Design and Photography: David Zita dave@affinitymag.co.uk

@affinitymagz

All adverts are printed in good faith. Affinity cannot take responsibility for the content of adverts. Advertisements are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are accurate. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.


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Contents 21 Affinity

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December 2021

8 11 14 17 19 21 34 37 41 44 48 52 56

SAD This Winter Hot Picks Beauty News Shimmer & Shine Sparkle in Sequins Christmas Gift Guide Turkey Stew Festive Fizz Deck The Halls Seasonal Scents Keeping it Real Fry’s Footie Corner Time to Ski

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On The Cover Night Store


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Take on

Seasonal Affective Disorder This Winter Dark, gloomy nights are here with early nights limiting the amount of sunlight we get; this could have a negative impact on our mood – potentially leading to a mental health problem such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that is most commonly known as the ‘Winter Blues’. Symptoms of SAD include symptoms of depression (i.e., persistent low mood, a lack of interest in daily activities and feelings of despair, guilt, and worthlessness), however, it is specifically caused by the cold season, where we experience reduced sunlight and engage in limited activities in order to get through the winter months. Dr Juliet Anton, Chartered Psychologist and founder of new self-help app, AskDoc, shares her insights on how to understand S.A.D and manage the symptoms.

Take in the sunlight Whilst sunny weather is a rare sight across the UK in winter, it is still important to head outdoors and take in the fresh air. Winter weather means that people are less inclined to do any activity let alone go out for a walk but, getting enough vitamin D is important in helping you lift your mood. If the weather is dark, rain is downpouring and you can’t bring yourself to head outdoors - – sit near a window whilst working, get it done and out the way earlier on in the day and get it out the way, or go with a friend or family member which might make the activity that bit more fun! Engage in regular exercise Encouraging hormones such as dopamine and endorphins are a fantastic way to lift your mood, especially in the winter. A workout at the gym or yoga class at your local leisure centre are things you can incorporate into your week to ensure that you get your body moving. If cardio isn’t your thing, try a relaxing yoga class or pick up some weights to ease yourself in. Travelling to and from your gym or leisure centre will expose you to the necessary sunlight – even if it’s a lunchtime stroll to your local starbucks for a coffee or meal. Getting your blood pumping is an incredibly effective way to ease a low mood and will leave you feeling more positive as you tackle the remaining day.

Eat the rainbow When sunshine is in short supply, infusing your diet with some healthy choices is a great way to give your mood a boost. Citrus fruits can help us to feel refreshed while green vegetables give us an influx of

iron and energy – perfect for when you feel lethargic. Whilst you may struggle to feel motivated to cook after a long day at work, cooking is a great distraction and a way to destress, so have fun creating new recipes and treat cooking dinner as a form of self-care. Don’t forget the Vitamin D that we would otherwise get from sunlight – be it foods or supplements, make sure to include Vitamin D in your diet during winter months.

Use cognitive behavioural therapy It’s not uncommon for people to keep calm and carry on, often ignoring our mental health problems and leaving them to stack up. That said, it is important to get help when you need it and when you feel most comfortable. Much like the rest of our body, when our brain is in pain, its helpful to get some help from a mental health professional such as a psychologist. The AskDoc app aims to normalise seeking help even when you haven’t considered it in the past and would like to talk to psychologist but don’t feel ready. The depression course on this app uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you on your journey. CBT encourages you to understand your difficulties in terms of thoughts, emotions and behaviours; and it gives you skills and techniques to help you manage your difficulties in your own way. Try a light box Bright light therapy is considered a very effective for battling S.A.D. Sitting in front of a light box for around 20 to 30 minutes a day can help encourage a chemical change in your brain that boosts your mood which in turn, addresses symptoms of SAD. Safe to use and widely available, a bit of light therapy may help you feel braver and brighter on your chilly winter commute to work.

And there you have it, five tips and techniques to help you tackle Seasonal Affective Disorder and improve your mood over the winter period. Remember it is never okay to suffer alone and getting help is crucial to help support your mental health and wellbeing. The AskDoc app is available to download for free through the Apple Store (for iPhone) and Google Play (for Android), with access to free specialist courses from an expert psychologist. Users can also benefit from an optional £5 subscription to the Depression Forum once the course has been completed. For more information, please visit www.askdoc.com


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Midlife Madness Christmas Conundrums I confess to being a Christmas fan.

I love everything about it - the tinsel, trees and fairy lights, the overeating of all the gorgeous traditional foods, the numerous gatherings and get togethers with family and friends, even if there are a few ‘fall outs’ that all seems part of Christmas AND I love the presents.

session. So over recent years I’ve often wrapped presents before I’ve hidden them but the problem there is that I often forget what I’ve bought. Then I end up jiggling it and squishing it – even though I bought it and wrapped the darned thing and, worst case scenario unwrapping and re wrapping it. This year I’m devising a cunning plan with post its.

I must confess last Christmas was monumentally disappointing as I hadn’t planned presents that I would have to post. I remember trying to wrap for posting a bird table!! Yes, a challenge to say the least and while the cost of catering was reduced as no-one could visit the cost of posting soared.

This year however I foresee another challenge in addition to the presents and the catering for a variety of dietary wishes including a nut allergy relative alongside committed veggies who usually enjoy a nut roast – and that is a small, black, kitten shaped, bundle of fun.

I love thinking of presents even for that awkward relative we all have who has everything. I love buying them and wrapping them and watching them open them.

It’s not that we particularly spend lots of money on presents I just find the whole thing fun. Though there are a few challenges I face every year.

The first is hiding them – we are mostly adults in the household but there is at least one (who shall remain unnamed) who will search for pressies!! So, hiding places have to be good. The only problem with that is they are hidden in such secretive places that I FORGET where I’ve hidden them so it is often when pressies are being opened that I remember there was another one and will dive away to try and find it – often to no avail. The source of much amusement in our family, and it means they get an extra gift at some time in the Spring! The other problem is wrapping. Now I love a good preChristmas wrapping session listening to Christmas music while having a glass or five of sherry/baileys/gin or whatever puts us in the Christmas mood. But there are times when I’ve found wrapping too outfacing to do in one

One of the other things I’ve often done which generally avoids these issues is buy experiences but frankly we still haven’t got through them all from Christmas 2019 as so many things couldn’t be done.

He is a very resourceful little kitten having managed to get mince pies out of their packet and try a few bites – I can only assume he didn’t like it but honestly, he even managed to get cat treats out of hubby’s rucksack and a cheddar out of the packet. He is like a toddler literally into everything that isn’t hermetically sealed or fastened down. Last night he got his head stuck in a bag of grated cheese – made me wonder if suffocation is common cause of death for wee kittens – so glad they have nine lives. So, think about a Christmas tree- no way he’ll leave it alone – he loves climbing trees in the garden, why would he see this as different. But I can’t NOT have a tree! Neither does it feel fair to ban him from the lounge. Much head scratching from us but he is a tenacious wee thing and we will need to move him from tree multiple times I’m sure – certainly the robin ornaments won’t make it onto the tree this year – that really would be courting disaster but I think we will just need to go with the flow and see what happens. Watch this space.


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Funnel Neck Jumper, £59, Very

Figgy Pudding Candles, £14, www.heatherevelyn.com

AFFINITY HOT PICKS

Who Wants to be a Millionaire Board Game, £29.99, Smyths Toys

Aquamarine & Diamond Earrings, £169.50, www.bakerbrothersdiamonds.com

Chocolate Fruit and Nut Chocolates, £40, Harrods

Ted Baker Faux Fur Padded Headband, £35, Ted Baker

This month’s must have gifts and accessories

Orangery Candle, £32, uk.elemis.com

Ted Baker Gown, £46, www.tedbaker.com

Gucci Link to Love Ring, £695, www.bakerbrothersdiamonds.com

Oil Diffuser, £45, Oliver Bonas

Leopard Pom Pom Hat, £20, Dune

Pleated Bow Heels, £284, Loeffler Randall

Taifun Braided Biker Jacket, £135, www.claytonsonline.co.uk

Sara Miller Robin Cushion, £45, John Lewis


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The Feel-Good Factor As an ex nurse I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I think prioritising our wellbeing is vital.

We all have different ways of doing that and we all have times when we know we ‘should’ do certain things but don’t for a whole heap of different reasons. We all probably know as well, that our mindset will have an influence on whether or not, and how well, we look after ourselves. But I also think that while some things always have a positive impact on our wellbeing, a good diet, exercise, enough sleep for example there are other aspects to wellbeing that may change a little over time and that’s where the feel-good factor comes in. If we exercise because we know it is good for us but we don’t really enjoy it then the chances are it will be hard to maintain. Even if we do manage to keep it up it won’t nurture us as much as other things if we really don’t enjoy it. Think back over the last few years, I guess for many of us while there may have always been some exercise the ‘what’ will have changed. Over the last 10 years I’ve had times of being almost fanatical about the gym, times of running, swimming, yoga, dancing or bike riding as my main exercise of choice. That’s because if we listen to how we feel about the exercise we can respond t by changing to make sure we get the benefit of those feel good vibes as well as the obvious benefit of exercise. Taking care of ourselves shouldn’t be a punishment!!

The same is true of almost every aspect of self-care. Habits are helpful, routines are important but we need also to listen to the whispers our body gives us. Whether that is in relation to what we eat, how we go through our day or how we sleep.

Our situation changes and if we try to hang on to a routine that used to work for us we may end up not sustaining all those good habits. As humans it is good we can adapt and our self-care routines need to do that as well. The weather changes and that has an impact as well, we might love being outdoors in the summer but it may not ‘feel’ half as good in the winter so why not change to something that we’d find more enjoyable and feel better about? So, when going about yourself care routine which

is great, as well as giving yourself a pat on the back for doing anything that nurtures your wellbeing notice which aspects of your self-care really make you feel good and do more of that.

The same is true for relationships. Notice how you feel when you are around different people. Sometimes folk who were close friends for a while may sort of drift off in a different direction – there aren’t any right and wrongs, loyalty is a great characteristic, but not if the relationship isn’t what it once was. Don’t be afraid to change how often you see particular people – there is no need to be cruel or offensive and obviously in some relationships there are elements of responsibility BUT your needs count as well. If contact with a particular person always makes you feel low or frustrated or angry or down then being caring to yourself may well mean you don’t make quite so much space for them within your life. The final thought is about being a good friend to you. That means speaking kindly to yourself, prioritising your own needs but also accepting that you are human and that means, for all of us that we are flawed. We will make mistakes, we will get things wrong we’ll make some choices that we’ll look back on and wonder why on earth we did that. But that is all part of our humanity

If during the course of our lives we have developed the view that we need to be perfect or that mistakes are failures then we need to remind ourselves of our human frailty. Check out the somewhat lengthy though accurate quote below which I saw on twitter but couldn’t source. Never apologise for being you – when we mess up sometimes we need to apologise for our actions or a misunderstanding but we never need to apologise for being ourselves and being human. We need to find ways to feel good about ourselves. Why not visit the Facebook group All About You for more help and support on ways you can achieve a happy, balanced and fulfilled life? www.facebook.com/groups/AAYGroup/about


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Beauty NEWS All the Stars

Christmas Care Soothe your muscles, uplift your mind and fall into a restful sleep with Trelonk Molecular Wellbeing’s Christmas Saviour Gift Set. These three high-impact plant oils are the perfect addition to a manic Christmas (£55, www.trelonkwellbeing.com). Topical oils allow you to relax into a long-awaited massage, to help you relax, destress and rejuvenate whilst the beneficial scent of Trelonk Molecular Wellbeing drifts up to your nose offering even more benefits through inhalation.

On the Go

Launched for the festive season is the NEW, highly coveted Fiils Gift Set (£22, www.fiils.co) featuring the Fiils Alu-minis - the perfect stocking filler for the eco-conscious ones in your life. The 100ml mini bottles also come in the signature Fiils colour selection of rose gold, silver and copper, for a suitably festive touch, and include a shampoo, conditioner, bodywash and body lotion.

With Christmas coming up, a knowingly stressful yet special time, Disciple have launched their ‘All The Stars’ gift set (£75, www.disciplelondon.com) containing full sized products of their most coveted skin elixirs packaged in an organic cotton wash bag to create the ultimate Christmas set for skin care lovers!

Tan for Every Tone

St. Moriz colour correcting tanning mousse is perfect for a winter tan without the sun. The colour correcting hues counteract opposite tones, peach brightens the skin, olive cancels redness, purple targets yellow tones and honey adds warmth to the skin, priced at £9.99 and available from Boots, there’s no excuse not to add a warm glow to your skin.

Join The Peep Club

The perfect gift for anyone whose eyes need some extra sparkle this festive season! Peep Club’s Limited Edition Kit, Wand & Coconut Eye Balm (£80, www.peepclub.co.uk). The kit comes with a Heated Eye Wand (called “genius” by Vogue) and the seasonal limited edition Coconut Eye Balm with green coffee extract. The Heated Eye Wand is a dual-purpose Dry Eye treatment and cosmetic tool by combining a warm compress, gentle massage and red LED light therapy. The balm and wand are the perfect pairing.


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FASHION

Lipsy


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SMOOTH AS SATIN Satin is exactly what you need to add that extra elegance to your wardrobe. Ideal for any event, whether it's a lavish dinner, brunch, or even a casual stroll around town.

Silk Skirt, £32, River Island

Green Tie Neck Dress, £45, Next

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Strappy Satin Dress, £39, Quiz

Lace and Satin Dress, £48, Next

Wrap Dress, £50, Mango LIPSY

G Yellow Satin Top, £36, River Island

Satin Wrap Dress, £160, Adrianna Papell

Satin Oversized Blazer, £65, River Island


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SHIMMER & SHINE Metallics aren’t just for Christmas – they can be worn for any occasion and are perfect for dressing up or down.

Metallic Gold Shirt, £18, TU

Gold Dress, £90, River Island

Metallic Twist Dress, £105, Adrianna Papell Gold Metallic Cami, £29, Sonder Studio

Belted Top, £115, Adrianna Papell

Metallic Gold Shirt, £38, River Island

Gold Trousers, £29.99, TK Maxx

Gold Heels, £18, Matalan

Metallic One Shoulder Dress, £169.99, TK Maxx

LIPSY


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BLACK BEAUTY Black, a wardrobe staple that always looks elegant and stylish and is just perfect for a cocktail party or two

Cross Front Dress, £65, Quiz One Shoulder Dress, £26, Next

Halter Neck Jumpsuit, £45, River Island

Lace Bodycon Dress, £42, River Island Feather Dress, £29.99, TK Maxx

LIPSY

Floral Wrap Playsuit, £75, Oliver Bonas

Hoop Earrings, £25, Orelia

Black Disc Bag, £60, Dune

Twist Front Dress, £75, Monsoon

Lace Pencil Dress, £75, Glamour


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SPARKLE IN SEQUINS

Sequins are one of the top fashion items for this festive season, whether it’s all over or just an accessory, you’ll certainly sparkle

Black Sequin Dress, £92, CHI CHI

Champagne Sequin Top, £34.99, M&Co

Sequin Trousers, £135, Hope

LIPSY Sequin Jumpsuit, £49.99, M&Co

Pink Sequin Skirt, £65, CHI CHI

Gold Sequin Skirt, £34.99, M&Co

Sequin Dress, £49.99, TK Maxx

Black Sequin Top, £110, Hope

Sequin Blouse, £80, Monsoon


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JINGLE ALL THE WAY

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas jumper or two, which one will you choose?

Sequin Santa Jumper, £29.99, M&Co

Reindeer Jumper, £24.99, TK Maxx Reindeer & Heart Jumper, £36, Lipsy

New Look Fairisle Reindeer Jumper, £25, Very

Reindeer & Misletoe Jumper, £12, Primark Sequin Bauble Jumper, £29.99, M&Co

Sequin Robin Jumper, £59.95, Joules

Christmas Kisses Jumper, £23.99, New Look

Sequin Fairisle Jumper, £45, Lipsy


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Christmas Gift Guide Gorgeous gifts, everyone will love.

Lights for Funnce


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Bobbi Brown Cream Shadow Stick in Chrome Skyward, £25, John Lewis

Jo Loves Star Bauble, £40, www.joloves.com

Wanderflower Time to Unwind Set, £26.95, www.claytonsonline.co.uk

Noble Isle Green Garland Set, £14, www.nobleisle.com

ICONIC Make an Entrance Set, £60, www.iconiclondoninc.com

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Gift Set, £71.99, www.perfumedirect.com

Tiffany & Co Eau De Parfum, £72.99, www.perfumedirect.com

Multi-Masking Gift Set, £20, www.feelunique.com


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GHD Helios Professional Hairdryer, £159, www.ghdhair.com

Bath & Body Gift Set, £35, www.feelunique.com

BEAUTY LOVER Beauty boost, self-care and pampering, who wouldn’t want to find a beauty gift under the tree this year.

ARRAN Sense of Scotland After the Rain Set, £30, www.arran.com

ICONIC Best Dressed Gift, £46, www.iconiclondoninc.com

ESPA A Treasured Nights Sleep, £60, www.espaskincare.com


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Rock Rose Gin Cracker, £5, www.dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk

Snow Globe Gin Liqueur, £29.95, www.gravitydrinks.co.uk

Chocolate Orange Gin Liqueur, £9.99, Tesco

Port Tasting Set, £16, John Lewis

Nyetimber Lay London Festive Dinner Set, £90, www.nyetimber.com

Rock Rose Sloe Gin, £25, www.dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk


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Mini Cocktails, £29, www.kocktail.co.uk

Drink

Pornstar Martini Cocktail Set, £37.50, www.liberationcocktails.com

CONNOISSEUR Make sure you add a little festive cheer under your tree this Christmastime

Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose, £79.99, Selfridges

Ramsbury Single Estate Gin, £33.50, www.ramsbury.com

Holy Grass Vodka Cracker, £5, £5, www.dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk Diplomatico Rum Old Fashioned Gift Set, £95, The Whisky Exchange

Ramsbury Single Estate Vodka, £33.50, www.ramsbury.com


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Barbour Cap, £24.96, www.claytonsonline.co.uk

W7 Hugs and Glosse Set, £5.95, www.w7makeup.co.uk

Too Faced Lip Plumper Set, £25, Selfridges

Sensory Retreats Divine Glow Face Mask, £15, www.sensoryretreats.com Mini Hoop Earrings, £7, Next

Faux Fur Hotwater Bottle, £19.95, www.claytonsonline.co.uk

Penhaligons Scent Library, £20, Selfridges

Pom Pom Hat, £10, Very


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Stocking Fillers We’ve found the perfect gifts to pop in those stockings, and all for under £25

Hot Chocolate Baubles, £14, Next

Bird Bottle Stopper, £12.50, Oliver Bonas

Bunny Print Scarf, £25, Powder Garden

UGG Pom Pom Socks, £24.99 Very

W7 Skin Refresh Skincare Set, £14.95, www.w7makeup.co.uk

Molton Brown Bodycare Cracker, £16, John Lewis


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Bundle of Joy Christmas Box, £40, www.44foods.com

Partridges Golden Anniversary Hamper, £225, www.partridges.co.uk

Christmas Savoury Treats Box, £30, www.44foods.com

Taste of Christmas, £20, John Lewis

Festive Friends Hamper, £125, John Lewis

Festive Deli Hamper, £300, Selfridges


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hungry for

hampers Whether you want to gift to someone you love or simply fancy treating yourself, we’ve got our favourite hampers right here.

Dukeshill Star of Wonder Christmas Hamper, £195, www.dukeshill.co.uk

Daylesford Collection Hamper, £235, www.daylesford.com The Ultimate Decadence Hamper, £149, Aldi

Connoisseur's Wine and Cheese Basket, £130, Not on the High Street

The Fortnum's Classic Christmas Hamper, £185, Fortnum & Mason


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food & drink

Gressingham


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FOODIE NEWS

All Things Spice

A favourite winter warmer, the key to a cosy winter's night in or the signature scent of Christmastime – whichever way you look at it, mulled wine is truly a classic of the festive season. This year, in a special edition release, Letterbox Wine who deliver full-sized bottles of wine through an average UK letterbox is collaborating with family-run artisanal spice company Spice Kitchen, to deliver letterbox-friendly DIY mulled wine kits. The kit is available from www.shop.garconwines.com priced at £24.99.

In the Bag

Carrying hot sauce in your bag has become the ultimate foodie trend. Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigan and former first lady and US secretary of state Hilary Clinton have all touted the benefits of adding depth of flavour and heat to food on the go with their favourite hot sauce. Even celebrity singer Beyonce talked of carrying “hot sauce in my bag” in the 2016 hit song Formation. In light of the latest food craze, Chilli No. 5, a gourmet luxury healthy hot sauce company (www.chilli-no5.com) has launched a and portable hot sauces line of small bottles to meet the needs of chilli enthusiasts no matter where they are dining.

Fresh Food to your Door

London butcher, Parson’s Nose, offer nationwide delivery with their range of the finest British farmed free-range meats and other treats available this Christmastime. The butchers source finest freerange meat that is fully traceable and have worked with some of the same farms for years. You can even order items as a gift with a personal message sent with the delivery www.parsonsnose.co.uk

Cheesecake Dreams

Say goodbye to mince pies and classic Christmas pud, and feast your eyes on English Cheesecake Company's exclusive Christmas range. The festivethemed range has everything you need to create an extra special Christmas, from a spectacular cheesecake centre piece to a mini cheesecake selection box. Downright delicious, they are sure to be the star of any Christmas table! Available from www.englishcheesecake.com where you'll also have the option to add luxury gift wrap, a personalised chocolate disc with a message of your choice as well as a Christmas gift card.


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Turkey Stew

“This easy, old-school dish uses leftover turkey or chicken in a brilliant way”

Ingredients

Dumplings 2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon 2 small leeks Olive oil 125 g self-raising flour 25 g maize flour , or polenta 30 g unsalted butter (cold) 125 ml buttermilk 1 large free-range egg

Stew 3 onions 3 sticks of celery 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 3 sprigs of fresh thyme 3 fresh bay leaves 2 teaspoons English mustard 2 tablespoons plain flour 1.5 litres organic veg stock 150 g leftover stuffing 500 g leftover cooked free-range turkey or chicken meat

Method

To start the dumplings, roughly chop the bacon and place in a large frying pan on a medium-low heat to crisp up while you wash, trim and finely slice the leeks. Stir them into the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, then cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Meanwhile, for the stew, peel the onions, trim the celery, then roughly chop both and place in a large, wide casserole pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil (or even better, use turkey dripping to intensify the flavours). Add the herb sprigs and bay, and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft but not coloured, stirring regularly. Stir in the mustard and flour for 2 minutes, then gradually stir in the stock to make a nice thick sauce. Crumble in the leftover stuffing and turn the heat off. Scoop out and discard the herb sprigs and bay leaves, then shred the turkey or chicken meat, stir it into your stew, taste, and season to perfection. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Place the flours in a large bowl. Dice and add the butter, then use your thumbs and forefingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle, pour in the buttermilk, then gradually mix into the crumbs, bringing them in from the outside. Stir in the cooled leeks and bacon until just combined, but don’t overwork it – we want the dough as light as possible. Gently roll it out on a clean flour-dusted surface until 2cm thick, then use a 5cm fluted cutter to stamp out as many round dumplings as you can, re-rolling and using up any offcuts – you should get at least 12 from this amount. Brush the dumplings with beaten egg, then sit them on top of the stew.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the dumplings are risen and golden and the stew is blipping and bubbling away nicely. Delicious with simple steamed greens. RECIPE: Jamie Oliver


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Duck, Kale & Roast Potato Hash, Poached Duck Egg

Method

Ingredients

6 eggs 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tbsp plain flour 200g leftover Gressingham duck meat, shredded Handful left over greens Roast potatoes, mashed

Mix the duck, mashed potatoes, greens, 2 eggs and flour in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a medium non-stick, oven proof frying pan with a little oil, add the mix to the pan, so that it fills the base and fry for 5 minutes until one side is golden & crispy. Whilst this is frying, fill and place a medium saucepan of water onto boil, and add the white wine vinegar. Place a plate on top of the pan and turn the pan over, once the hash has come off onto the plate add a little more oil to the pan and then slide the hash back into the pan and fry the other side for 5mins. Place into the oven for 15 mins at 200oC, Fan 180oC, Gas Mark 6 to ensure cooked all the way through. Whilst the hash is cooking, crack 4 eggs into the pan of boiling water, these will take about 2 mins to poach, remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of your cooked bubble & squid. Season each egg with salt & pepper and serve.


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Salted Caramel & Hazelnut Pavlova

“This showstopper of a dessert will look fantastic on your dinner table on Christmas Day or for a New Year’s Party”

Ingredients

For the Pavlova 150g egg whites (approx. 5 eggs) 250g caster sugar 90ml double cream 100g 70 % dark chocolate (chopped) 30ml of hazelnut liqueur For the Finishing Touch 25g roasted hazelnuts (chopped) 75 - 100g salted caramel Guylian Sea Shell chocolates (to decorate)

Method

Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas 1/2. Take a large baking tray and line with a sheet of baking paper. Draw a 15cm/6 inch circle on the paper and then turn it over so the circle can be seen through. Place the egg whites inside the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until they form a stiff meringue. Slowly add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and whisk until the meringue is glossy, holds stiff peaks and the sugar has dissolved. When the meringue is ready, spread it onto the baking paper, ensuring that you keep within the circle you’ve drawn. Use an offset spatula to smooth the sides of the Pavlova and then create a little dip in the top of the meringue. Place the Pavlova inside the oven and allow to cook slowly for 4

hours. When the four hours is up, leave the meringue in the oven and switch it off. Allow the meringue to stay in the oven until it cools. Just before you’re ready to serve the meringue make the cream. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie over a gentle heat. When the chocolate is melted, put it to one side and whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks - be careful not to overwhip it. Take the cream and fold it gently into the melted chocolate – ensuring that the chocolate isn’t too hot, or it will melt the cream and lose all of the air. When the cream and chocolate are fully mixed, gently fold in the hazelnut liqueur. RECIPE: Angela Field @PatisserieMakesPerfect


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FESTIVE FIZZ

Celebrate this Christmas with a selection of sparkling wines and champagnes all available from Tesco.

J Vineyards California Cuvée NV This sparkling wine offers something deliciously different for special occasions, opening with bright aromas of tart pineapple and orange blossom, followed by rich notes of pear and honeysuckle. £23.00

Prince Charmat English Sparkling NV With fragrant aromas of honeysuckle and peach, this sparkling wine is refreshing and crisp with hints of apple, stone fruit and citrus on the palate. £15.00

Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Made of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, this is the definitive cuvée of Champagne Taittinger, the wine has depth whilst allowing the component parts to become fully integrated, resulting in a light, dry and elegant Champagne with citrus and light toasty characters. £36.00

Tesco Finest Vintage Grand Cru Brut Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2015 With the grapes harvested from the Grand Cru villages of the Côtes des Blancs, and an extended time spent in the cellars, this dry Champagne boasts ripe citrus flavours and a perfect crispness. On the palate, it is dry with a delicate mousse. £26.00

Tesco Finest Prosecco Made from grapes sourced from a single area, which overlaps the finest vineyards in the Prosecco region. This fresh sparkling wine boasts a lingering finish that is brimming with citrus and pear aromas and flavours. £8.00


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Celebrate Christmas with Four British Gins Why not celebrate Christmas this year with four British gins crafted from around the UK, Mermaid Gin from the Isle of Wight, Cotswolds Distillery Christmas Gin from the Cotswolds and Pinkster Gin, the pioneer of pink gin from East Anglia. All presented in stunning bottles which would make for a great Christmas gift

as well as the perfect way to start Christmas festivities. And if you are looking for a twist on the usual G&T then look no further than these four delicious gin cocktail recipes:

Mermaid Coffee Negroni 25 ml Mermaid Gin 25 ml Campari 25 ml Marini Rosso 10 ml Coffee Liqueur

Mix the spirits with ice until the glass cools, then strain into a tumbler and garnish with a twist of orange peel

Mermaid Gin is produced at the Isle of Wight Distillery, the first and only distillery on the island. Mermaid Gin is a small batch, beach to bottle London Dry Gin with a hint of sea air. Mermaid Gin is available from John Lewis, Tescos, Harvey Nichols, M&S, Fenwick and Waitrose for a RRP £38.00.

Pinkster Winter G&T 50ml Pinkster Fever-Tree Aromatic tonic

Build in an ice-filled glass, garnish with a slice of orange and some cloves. Pinkster Gin is the pioneer of pink gin, using fresh fruit in the distillation process - ‘ real raspberries that grow on bushes’ from a farm local to the Pinkster HQ in Cambridgshire. Pinkster Gin is a deliciously dry gin with a hint of fruit and exceptionally smooth. Pinkster Gin is available from Majestic Wine, Selfridges, Ocado, Master of Malt and www.pinkstergin.com for a RRP £36.00.


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Cotswolds Cloudy Christmas Gin 50ml Cotswolds Christmas Cloudy G&T Tonic water

Fill a large copa glass with ice, pour over gin, top with Indian tonic water and watch the cloud appear! Garnish with a slice of orange and star anise.

Launched earlier this month, The Cotswolds Cloudy Christmas Gin is a festive twist on their classic Cotswolds Dry Gin. It is distilled in a traditional copper pot still and features nine carefully considered botanicals, including sweet zesty clementine and cardamom. The Cotswolds Cloudy Christmas Gin is available from www.cotswoldsdistillery.comfor a RRP £34.95.

Mermaid Spritz Rose 25 ml Mermaid Pink Gin 25 ml Rosé Wine | 5 ml Grapefruit Syrup Tonic Water

Build into a glass with ice. Top up with Tonic water. Garnish with a slice of Grapefruit.

Aromatic and refreshing, Mermaid Pink Gin infuses the flavour of fresh Island strawberries grown in the rich and fertile microclimate of the Arreton Valley with the smooth yet complex tasted of the award-winning Mermaid Gin, Mermaid Pink Gin RRP is available from John Lewis, Tescos, Harvey Nichols, M&S, Fenwick and Waitrose for a RRP £38.00.


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deck the halls

Dobbies


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Black Grevillia and Pussiwillow Wreath, £80, www.berriesandbaubles.co.uk

Citrus and Spice Wreath, £120, The Real Flower Company

Magnolia and Olive Wreath, £140, Luxdeco

Frosted Fir and Rosehip Christmas Wreath, £49.95, Annabel James

Fern & Red Berry Wreath, £35, Home Luxe Co

Foliage Wreath, £84.99, Lights4fun

Pheasant Feather Wreath, £150, www.berriesandbaubles.co.uk

Mystical Woodland Wreath, £29.99, Dobbies


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wreath wonders Whether real or faux, a beautiful wreath will always add that extra festive look to any door.

Snowy and Gold Wreath, £110, Woodland Wreath Company

Rustic Wreath, £69.99, Lights4fun

The White Company

Hydrangea and Peacock Wreath, £110, Woodland Wreath Company Frosted Wreath, £29.99, Dobbies


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Rigaud Paris Cypres Candle, £70, www.rigaud-paris.com

Jo Loves Christmas Trees Candle, www.joloves.com

Floral Street Fireplace Candle, £34, www.floralstreet.com

Neill Strain Cassis Noir Candle, £65, www.neillstrain.com

Jo Malone White Moss & Snowdrop Candle, £50, www.jomalone.co.uk

Molton Brown Orange and Bergamot Diffuser, £45, John Lewis

Miller Harris Mandarin Candle, £50, www.millerharris.com


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seasonal scents Candles and diffusers are a simple way to add some festive ambiance to your home as you take your space from visually comforting to smelling appealing, too.

Territory Scents from £25, www.territoryscents.com

ESPA Frankincense & Myrrh Diffuser, £46, www.espaskincare.com

The White Company

McQueens Ernesto Cire Trudon Candle, £35, www.mcqueensflowers.com

Noble Isle Dram of Whisky Candle, £75, www.nobleisle.com


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Tartan Stocking, £8, Wolko Santa Felt Stocking, £26, We Love Seasons Fringed Stocking, £32, LuxDeco

Velvet Star Stocking, £22.50, Oliver Bonas

Sophie Allport Festive Forest Stocking, £17.50, www.sophieallport.com

Velvet & Silk Pom Pom Stocking, £68, Rebecca Udal


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Stocking Filler Add to your Christmas traditions with a stocking, hang on your wall or mantelpiece and await Santa’s arrival.

Luxury Faux Fur Stocking, £55, Lime Lace

Sequin Stocking, £15, John Lewis

LuxDeco

Velvet and Fur Syocking, £18, John Lewis


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keeping it real Nothing beats a real tree at Christmas. The smell alone conjures up images of mince pies, Christmas stockings and Santa. It is the centrepiece of all your decorations, and no matter what your personal style or interior scheme you can’t beat a real tree, and with a real tree comes a little TLC – We caught up with Samuel Lyle, owner of Pines and Needles, who told us “despite Christmas trees being a long-standing tradition, millions of Britons are still unsure how to look after them.” With this in mind we asked him to share his top tips with us:

Prepare the trunk - Just before you install your tree, saw off the bottom 1” (3cm) of the trunk. This creates a fresh cut and opens up the pores in the bark, which otherwise can block up with sap within a few hours of being cut. The tree is then able to drink water through these pores via capillary action. We do this to all our trees so you don’t have to! Keep it away from any heat sources Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat dries out your tree faster, so the further from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain. They need routine - Do not expose your tree to sudden changes in temperature. Trees like most people are creatures of habit and prefer steady conditions.

Water your tree - Place your tree in plain water - not soil or sand which would block the pores in the bark. This is best achieved by using a specially designed Christmas Tree Stand. Many precious hours can be wasted trying to make a Christmas Tree stand up straight in an ordinary bucket using just bricks or stones! Then keep on watering it - Keep the Christmas tree stand topped up with water. Your Christmas tree may drink 2-3 pints (12 litres) of water per day, depending on its

size and your central heating settings. This is very important as once the water level drops below the tree’s trunk, sap will reseal the bark within a few hours, preventing the tree from drinking any further water even if you then re- fill the Christmas tree stand. Timing is everything - These trees are natural living things, and once they are cut they begin to die, sad as this is apart from artificial trees we are still without a solution to this simple fact of life. Time the arrival of your tree with this in mind to increase longevity and get the most out of it. What About Decorating? It may sound obvious, but two people are better than one if that's possible - even if it's just for the lights. Lights go on first and it's great if one person can feed them to the other as they wind it round and round, starting at the bottom. Embed the lights in the lush greenery and then move out as you go up.

The heavier the decorations the more you'll need to keep them away from the tips of the branches. Everyone has a different way of decorating but themes look good, whether that's a colour or a certain style such as Scandi (sparse; red and white) or Victorian (wooden decorations, dried fruit, pine cones). Tinsel has been dying out for a while but ribbon is en vogue but go horizontally rather than at an angle - it's a much cleaner look. Pines and Needles have a fabulous selection of real Christmas Trees, sustainably grown on their own Scottish Christmas Tree farms. You can take your pick from a range of Nordmann Fir, Non-Drop Christmas Trees or a more traditional and sweet-smelling Norway Spruce Tree, the choice is yours, there’s even artificial trees available for those who prefer not to have a real tree. For more information, or to view trees, visit wwwpinesandneedles.com


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A Family Affair Panto is back with a bang this year at Milton Keynes Theatre! With laughs, music, dance, special effects, magic beans and bundles of fun, Jack and the Beanstalk is set to be a GIANT adventure for all the family. We have a catch up with Ashley Banjo, Perri Kiely, Starr Kiely, Gina Murray, Jack Land Noble and Laura Evans ahead of the pantomime spectacular arriving in Milton Keynes from Saturday 11 December.

Leading the lineup this year are superstar dancers Diversity. Making waves as winners of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, the group have since taken the dance world by storm with their intricate routines and acrobatic style. But choreographing a pantomime is quite a different beast! “It has to be fun” says leader Ashley Banjo, playing Jack “you have to uplift people and you have to be able to laugh at yourself”. Diversity member and radio presenter Perri Kiely always looks forward to seeing what’s in store for their panto routines “Ashley is really good when he makes these dances. They weave into the story really well…It’s not just dropping a dance routine into a show”.

We all know pantomime is a family affair, but what could be more wholesome than three sets of siblings in the cast? They are Ashley and Jordan Banjo, Perri and Starr Kiely and Sam and Mitchell Craske. Can we expect any sibling rivalry? “No, we don’t really fight at all, we never have” says Ashley Banjo, “I feel like as siblings we were really good like that”. Starr Kiely might not have followed her brother’s routes without his somewhat casual encouragement. “I was always around the studio…for years and years I was there but I never danced and then Perri said ‘I think you’re cool enough now’ and I started doing street dance and, since then I haven’t looked back.”

Playing Jack’s fairy godmother, Mother Nature, is Gina Murray, who makes a welcome return after her run in 2018’s Robin Hood. “It’s my local, so I couldn’t really be closer to home” says Gina, who has been familiar with the showbiz world from a young age; “My father was a pop song writer in the ‘60s and ‘70s so it wasn’t unusual to go and see [The Beatles] in concert and then go backstage afterwards.”


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The Jack and the Beanstalk cast are all familiar with the wonderful world of pantomime. We wanted to hear from them, what makes panto so special? “Panto is just so much fun” says Welsh singersongwriter Laura Evans, playing Princess Jill “It’s got everything really; comedy, music, dancing and the special effects are always such a spectacle. It blows my mind how amazing these shows are”.

For Diversity member Starr Kiely, the phenomenon of panto came as quite a shock “I’ll be honest, until I’d done it, I didn’t realise that panto was such a big deal!” says Starr “it’s the fact that people wait a whole year…

so being a part of that is really exciting”. Seasoned panto performer Jack Land Noble, who plays Dame Trot, adds “it’s so wonderful that the tradition is being upheld”.

Ashley Banjo most looks forward to “the laughter”. He says “panto is just hilarious and it’s really great being around people who make you laugh all the time - and then hearing the audience laugh!” Jack and the Beanstalk is at Milton Keynes Theatre from Saturday 11th December 2021 to Saturday 8th January 2022. Tickets are available from www.atgtickets/MiltonKeynes

WIN! WIN! WIN! *Win! A family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) for this year’s fun filled pantomime on Thursday 6th January at 7pm. To be in with a chance of winning, tell us “Who plays Jack’s Fairy Godmother?” and send your answers to jane@affinitymag.co.uk Winners will be announced on Boxing Day (26th December) – GOOD LUCK! *Terms and Conditions apply


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Fry’s Footie Corner

The world continues to test us all with the ongoing pandemic affecting everyone, but we have to find positives and at the moment, football is mine, even if the results at Peterborough United are not as we would want them to be, the fact we are mixing it with the Nottingham Forests and Fulham’s of this world does bring a smile to my face.

They need to get this next appointment right. For Manchester United to not have won the Premier League trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired is quite hard to fathom, given how many managers have tried and how much money has been spent.

Away from the rigours of the Championship, the football world has been full of news with Gareth Southgate signing a new deal as England manager. I think everybody can see that we have a really good chance of winning the next World Cup in Qatar and there is obvious progress with a semi-final appearance followed by a final last summer, but we need to go one better now.

Away from the Premier League, one of the toughest divisions to get out of is the Vanarama National League. There are so many big teams at that level including Notts County, Chesterfield, Stockport County and Wrexham and all are spending big money to try and get back to the EFL. Wrexham have Hollywood owners, Stockport showed in the FA Cup they have some big players on good money and Notts County shouldn’t be at that level, simple as.

Of course, now we are in the Championship, we want to stay there and we know that we need to improve in the second half of the campaign, if that objective is going to be achieved. However, we are all working hard and hopefully the New Year will bring fresh optimism.

We have the players, there is a huge talent pool to choose from and it is up to Gareth and his management team to select the right XI to get us over the line. I remember the World Cup in 1966, but I would love to see the Three Lions lift that trophy again in my lifetime and we won’t get a better opportunity that this one. In the Premier League, Manchester United parted company with Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer after a prolonged period where they were just getting beat week after week. An interim manager is a weird one for a club the size of Manchester United, but maybe they are just holding out for the right boss in the summer.

One of the success stories so far in the Premier League has been West Ham United and I am personally delighted for David Sullivan, David Gold and of course David Moyes. The three David’s have enjoyed great success both domestically and in Europe and have some excellent young players coming through.

The problem for all of those teams is only one team gets promoted automatically with one other through a quite convoluted play-off system. I personally believe at least three teams should be promoted into the EFL – some of those Conference teams have bigger fan bases than League One clubs. It is certainly a division to watch. Enjoy your football and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Barry Fry


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Santa and Candy Cane Jumper, £24.99, M&Co Beer Jumper, £24.99, M&Co

Elf Jumper, £20, F&F

Christmas Bear Jumper, £19.50, Marks & Spencer

Santa Jumper, £35, Joe Browns

Christmas Tree Juper, £29, John Lewis

NEXT

Snoopy Christmas Jumper, £34, Next

Gingerbread Jumper, £24.99, M&Co


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TRAVEL

Fish&Pips


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TIME TO SKI Fish&Pips will be welcoming in the new ski season with a much larger offering this year. Their dedicated ski team are excited to announce the expansion of their handpicked portfolio of Ski Hotels and the addition of three stunning new Méribel chalets - all exclusive to Fish&Pips – whilst also continuing their pledge to reduce Fish&Pips’ environmental impact with the announcement of three new sustainability goals.

NEW CHALETS Chalet Apartment L'Ours Rouge Sleeps 10 | 4 bedrooms Exclusive to the Fish&Pips collection, L'Ours Rouge is a brand new modern fourbedroom apartment, located in the heart of Méribel Village. Designed with skiers in mind, this luxury ground floor apartment has a large ski room, hot tub and plenty of communal space for relaxing after a day on the slopes.This chalet is perfect for families with a double bunk room for children. Additionally, it is only a short walk from the Golf chairlift, which carries guests up to the vast 3 Valleys ski domain, and the amenities of Mèribel Village A week at L’Ours Rouge is available through Fish&Pips on a fully catered basis from £13,500 per week.


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Chalet Iamato Sleeps 14 | 6 bedrooms

Chalet Iamato is an impressive traditional Savoyarde chalet designed with style and comfort in mind. It is located in Méribel Village just three hundred metres from the Golf chair lift. With unrivalled mountain views through huge bay windows in the south-facing sitting room, warm and cosy interiors and balconies overlooking the stunning Les Allues Valley, Chalet Iamato is one of the best. Other highlights include the vast and sunny terrace featuring an outdoor bar, hot tub, sauna, gas BBQ, outdoor table and chairs, sun-loungers, an outdoor heater, table football, table tennis table, and darts board.

A week at Chalet Iamato is available through Fish&Pips on a fully catered basis from £17,000 per week

Chalet Iamato Sleeps 14 | 6 bedrooms

One of the most luxurious chalets in the whole of Méribel, Chalet Trois Ours is excellently located to be 100% ski in, ski out. Located on the exclusive Route des Chalets, chosen for its prestigious piste-side positioning, this catered chalet also includes an all day driver service for guests.

Set over four floors, sleeping up to twelve guests in five en-suite bedrooms, this spacious chalet boasts a traditional alpine design and exudes charm. This chalet also has a large balcony, an outside hot tub, steam room, gym, dedicated massage room and cinema room. The large open plan living area is the perfect place for relaxing in front of an open fire, after a day on the slopes. A week at Chalet Trois Ours is available through Fish&Pips on a fully catered basis from £25,000 per week.

SUSTAINABILITY

The First Chalet Company to Join One Tree at A Time: Committed to Reducing Their Environmental Impact Fish&Pips are the first chalet company to join One Tree at A Time. They are committed to changing the way they operate their chalets and are working towards a more sustainable future. It is their hope to lead the way, to set a tried and tested template for

other chalet companies to reduce their own carbon footprint. Fish&Pips are extremely passionate about their commitment and have three key goals in place for the upcoming season: to reduce waste, educate and plant trees. For booking and further information, visit www.fishandpips.co.uk / 01306 264005


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GALGORM A WORLD-CLASS DESTINATION SPA IN NORTHERN IRELAND They made us believe that luxury was the rare, the expensive and the exclusive. Now we realise that luxury is being together, that it’s slowing down to relax and reconnect with the mind and the body. Commanding an enviable position on the beautiful Causeway coastal route and within 163 acres of lush parkland, is the prestigious Northern Irish retreat property of Galgorm. Exclusively for everyone, guests enjoy the tranquility of this lush Ballymena countryside and riverside setting and experience pure relaxation within an extensive selection of riverside hot tubs, indoor and outdoor heated pools, steam rooms and saunas. Galgorm which sits on the banks of the River Maine, is Ireland’s first choice for both business and pleasure.

Luxurious accommodation comes as standard, with the resort offering 125 bedrooms including suites, deluxe and superior rooms. Warm tones and rich hues epitomise the space, comfort, and style of each room. Deluxe guest rooms with their marble bathrooms, are beautifully proportioned with inspiring views overlooking either the multi awardwinning Thermal Spa Village or views of the pretty woodlands and lush countryside beyond.

The showstopper is Galgorm’s Signature Suite. It makes for the perfect bridal accommodation, with a luxe, spacious, and separate living and dining area, its ideal for a rehearsal dinner. Following the celebrations or during an indulgent wellbeing escape, take in the panoramic views of the Thermal Village at twilight from the suite’s private hot tub located on the large expansive terrace.

Guests to Galgorm also have the flexible option of staying within a collection of 11 individual country cottages within the stunning parkland estate. Each is set within its own pretty garden location, boasting rural countryside views and all closely linked to the picturesque River Maine. This accommodation within the resort’s grounds, offers guests access to all the high-end amenities of the world class estate, but within a more secluded, private setting. Each cottage has been designed to be contemporary yet comfortable, boasting spacious open plan living areas, which include a fully equipped kitchen, lounge, and dining space, perfect for modern day R&R. The bathrooms are luxe and stocked with spa products, each with bath/shower combined. The bedrooms within The Cottage Collective are


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luxurious and benefit from full housekeeping attention, with room service also available. Set within a beguiling natural space, relax, and stay with friends and family and even your pet and explore pleasant riverside and woodland walks, straight from your own front door. Or if on business, catch up with work within a peaceful and secluded location. Select from Six, 1-bedroom cottages (with 1 double bed or 2 singles) suitable for two adults. Four, 2-bedroom cottages (with either 2 double beds or 4 single beds) maximum of four adults.

One, 3-bedroom cottage (with either 3 double beds or 6 single beds) maximum of six adults. These country cottages are in addition to the existing log cabins which line the riverside as well as the brand new shepherds huts.

During 2020’s lockdown, the world class resort invested £2m to further enhance its world class, destination spa which also now offers a suite of new attractions for spa guests, including: within the Alpine Garden, a 10-metre infinity pool on the banks of the River Maine. The Palm House is the perfect new relaxation area within the Serenity Garden which boasts six heated loungers, and a Salt Room for halotherapy experiences. Galgorm has also installed two group hot tubs and saunas, three additional exhilarating private hot tubs with waterfall views, which sit on the rock break of the river and six brand new riverside cabanas. For more information or to book, visit www.galgorm.com


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Give the Gift of a Staycation at YTL Hotels UK this Christmas A gifted getaway is the ultimate remedy for those winter blues and with Christmas just weeks away, YTL Hotels is thrilled to offer gift vouchers for the ultimate present. Friends, family and loved ones can create lifelong memories from just a few clicks away. From exploring the tranquil countryside of Bray, to soothing treatments and natural thermal waters in Bath, or even curling up in front of a fire with a glass of whisky in Edinburgh, YTL Hotels’ hand-picked portfolio of exclusive UK properties epitomises the quintessence of luxury breaks for travellers this winter and new year.

For Countryside Escapes, Monkey Island Estate, Bray

Situated on a private island in the bucolic village of Bray, Monkey Island Estate is a sumptuous escape from skyscrapers and crowded pavements this winter. Set across seven acres of lush gardens with postcard views of the River Thames, guests are offered a variety of outdoor adventures including sunset cruises down the Thames on the hotel’s boat, Dragonfly, hikes, bike rides and picnics in the surrounding countryside, cosy evenings by the islands Shepherd’s Hideaway and a unique touch in the form of a bespoke Floating Spa Barge.


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For Wellness RetreatsThe Gainsborough Bath Spa

Combining traditional Roman architecture with modern luxury, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is the only hotel in the UK to offer guests the opportunity to experience Bath’s natural thermal waters, right in the heart of the city. An oasis of calm and tranquillity, this hotel and its award-winning spa is a paragon of indulgence, and the ultimate winter gift for those in need of a little pampering.

For Whisky LoversThe Glasshouse Edinburgh

Located on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, the elegant Glasshouse Hotel offers the ultimate cosy retreat for those embracing the crisp Scottish winter. Bordering Edinburgh’s Old and New towns, guests will enjoy some of the most breath-taking views of Calton Hill from the stunning two-acre rooftop garden terrace. Not only does the hotel boast more outdoor space than any other hotel in the city, inside is equally as impressive. The award-winning Snug, built around an indoor gas fire pit, serves close to 150 Scotch whiskies.

Monetary gift vouchers may be used as full or part payment at hotel of your choosing, including the restaurant. To book, contact YTL Reservations Centre at reservations@ytlhotels.co.uk or call +44 (0) 207 657 8200 *Terms and Conditions: All gift vouchers are valid until the date stated online at the time of purchase and printed on the voucher. Gift vouchers must be presented upon arrival when redeeming the experience. Photocopies not accepted. Gift vouchers may only be redeemed once and cannot be refunded, extended, exchanged for cash or replaced if lost. All gift vouchers are subject to current availability.


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STARS Manish Kumar Arora (K.P. Astrologer, Numerologist, Tarot Card Reader & Vastu Consultant) reveals what’s in store for you this month

Sagittarius (22 November -21 December) This is an expansive phase where you can gain greatly through being out there, keeping a clear and positive attitude and being ready to take the chances that come. New ideas, new working associations and new social directions are keys to the future. Opportunity comes through those you meet and you may expand your activities into new areas through such influence. You will have luck yourself so make the most of it and strike while the iron is hot. Favourable Dates: December 2, 8, 11, 17, 20, 26 Favourable Colours: Yellow & Green


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Capricorn (22 December – 19 January) This month is all about finding a balance that suits you. A busy, social time whirls around you, but you know you need private time to develop all your scintillating ideas and plans and your dreams and goals morph into something fresh and challenging. You should keep an eye on your pocket book though, because expenses at home may be more than you expect. A loan or help from an outside source is a possibility. Favourable Dates: December 3, 8, 12, 17, 26, 30 Favourable Colours: White & Grey

Aquarius (20 January – 18 February) You can make a new beginning, leaving old patterns behind. There may be a powerful or dramatic process of adjustment needed but the Heavens will support the act of making it. Work should be very fulfilling though, and this is a good time to get some recognition there. Love and relationships are strong this month. A partner or love interest may take special notice again, and singles could meet someone new. Favourable Dates: December 1, 2, 10, 11, 19, 20 Favourable Colours: White & Purple Pisces (19 February – 20 March) You will find this to be an action-packed month and there will be celebrations and other adventures on your personal agenda during this fantastic month for sex and love. Later you will find yourself faced with lots of work and with family responsibilities as well. However, work matters would be moving forward in pleasing ways, and you will have the chance to showcase just how creative you can be. Favourable Dates: December 3, 9, 12, 18, 21, 27 Favourable Colours: Green & Yellow

Aries (21 March – 19 April) You have very focused interests and you naturally and willingly work hard on something you believe in. Midmonth is when your instincts are most likely to be spot on, as you’re able to ignore the chaos around you and steer a steady course. This is a revealing time when communications and understanding with others will advance. You will be able to talk things through with partners or close associates and see them in a different light. Favourable Dates: December 2, 6, 11, 15, 20, 24 Favourable Colours: Green & Blue Taurus (20 April – 20 May) You may be restless or frustrated with who you are or where you're going. If you sit down and conduct an inner review, you will discover the hidden thoughts or feelings at the bottom of all this. Standing up for your own ideals and dreams would be important and strengthens your selfesteem. If you’ve been silent, or hesitated to rock the boat, you might be amazed by how good you feel when you speak up. Favourable Dates: December 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21 Favourable Colours: Red & Yellow

Gemini (21 May – 20 June) This is a good time for lots of travel and also for putting time into either working at home or home projects. You crave financial security but would love to revel in edgy philosophies and experimental projects. You enjoy a secure

relationship but be careful as you often tend to devote more energy to friendships. Favourable Dates: December 1, 8, 10, 17, 19, 28 Favourable Colours: White & Yellow

Cancer (21 June – 22 July) You are on top of your game this month and positive connections with others can be made fairly easily. This is a period where both singles and those with partners can advance at speed or change with dramatic intensity. Money and relationships figure strongly. There may be beneficial news, important opportunity and romantic meetings all coming at you. Events cause you to focus more attention on your mate, or on looking for one. Favourable Dates: December 1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 30 Favourable Colours: White & Red

Leo (23 July – 22 August) This period signals a sea change in your world that will take time to register in your consciousness. The chameleon of karma will indeed come and go in your life as you begin to see the immutable laws of cause and effect working out. Familiar routines could be disrupted or subverted, but this should be a good thing since it opens up new vistas, interests, and courses of action. Favourable Dates: December 2, 9, 11, 18, 20, 27 Favourable Colours: Red & Blue

Virgo (23 August – 22 September) You’re thinking about your values and polishing up your philosophy of life. Your charisma is boosted around the 10th and 15th, bringing flirtatious possibilities or a shedload of compliments. Friends and colleagues are in a supportive mood this month, and team efforts or shared projects can boost your creative energies. Just avoid secret deals, they’re likely to unravel and undermine your progress. Favourable Dates: December 1, 9, 10, 18, 19, 27 Favourable Colours: White & Blue Libra (23 September – 22 October) You are due to gain recognition in your professional life, and sexual and romantic satisfaction will follow close behind. Your public image and professional affairs will demand extra time and responsibilities but the rewards that follow will be worth it. You're getting along well with your partner/mate, and in fact, they are a big help in the moment. Your psychic or spiritual perceptiveness will be an important part of your life during the last week. Favourable Dates: December 6, 8, 17, 18, 24, 26 Favourable Colours: Red & Brown

Scorpio (23 October – 21 November) This is wonderful time for your creativity, and you find yourself doing a lot of behind the scenes work. Money tends to fluctuate, so follow a budget. Overall though, the financial tendency should be towards increase. For those married or in a partnership, opportunity may add something to your lives or change the way you're headed. New goals and new interests can emerge through contact with new friends and interesting people. Favourable Dates: December 1, 7, 10, 16, 19, 25 Favourable Colours: Yellow & White

manishastroconsultant manish@manishastrologer.com


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Weekend Starts Here.... The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan It was supposed to be Christy Sullivan’s perfect Christmas getaway - a trip to Lapland with her family and best friend, Alix. But facing a make-or-break marriage crisis, Christy desperately needs time alone with her husband. Her solution? Alix can take Christy’s little daughter to Lapland, and they will reunite there for Christmas Day. It’s a big ask, but what else are friends for? There’s nothing Alix won’t do for Christy. But Christy’s request to save Christmas is giving Alix sleepless nights. She knows something is wrong, but for the first time ever, Christy isn’t talking. And even the Arctic temperatures in Lapland aren’t enough to dampen the seriously inconvenient sizzle Alix is developing for Zac, a fellow guest and nemesis from her past.

Boxing Day Boxing Day follows Melvin, a British author living in America, who returns home to London for Christmas to introduce his American fiancée, Lisa to his eccentric British-Caribbean family. Their relationship is put to the test as she discovers the world her fiancée has left behind. Release Date: 3rd December

No Time to Die Years after James Bond has decided to leave his work behind and retire, he is contacted by a friend of his working in the CIA, Felix Leiter, to help him search for a scientist that has turned up missing. James Bond quickly leaves retirement after meeting up with Felix as they both find out that the missing scientist may have fallen into the arms of dangerous criminals that are looking to use emerging technology for evil. Release Date: 21st December


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