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Rutland Covering Rutland, Market Harborough and the surrounding area

LIVING December 2017 £1.50

Be inspired by where you live

The Festive Edition








Contents December FASHION, HEALTH & BEAUTY


16 ‘Tis the Season: Festive Fashion 48 Health & Beauty News: Barnsdale Spa, EatFit by JFitness 50 Santa, Baby: Hair & Beauty Gifts 52 Health & Beauty News: Homefield Grange HydraFacial and Live Blood Analysis, Reflexology with Karen Joseph


22 Present and Correct: Rutland Christmas Shopping 26 Market Harborough Christmas Shopping 40 The Fabulous Fabric Room at Delcor, Stamford


FOOD & DRINK Cover photography this month: RL: Delia from Havershams in our ‘Tis the Season fashion shoot by Elli Dean ( MHL: Bigstock

Editor Clare Peel Advertisement Manager, Rutland Tracy Watkinson 01572 813187 Advertisement Manager, Market Harborough Kirstie Mitchell 07864 065778 Advertising Copy & Subscriptions Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 Head of Design Steven Handley Designers Sarah Patterson, Calum Handley Publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones 01780 765571 Printed by Warners of Bourne Subscriptions: annual rate £25 (UK only). Please write to the Publisher at Local Living Ltd, PO Box 208, Stamford PE9 9FY, with a cheque payable to Local Living, or go online to

30 Great Food Club’s Christmas Gift Guide 33 The Olive Branch Recipe: Christmas Pud minus the Stodge!


Winter Woodland Walks Little Living Out & About: What’s On Listings History – Local Christmas Past

PEOPLE & PLACES 10 12 38 44

Rutland Heroes: Rutland Lions Ed Stafford Spotlight on Great Bowden Simon Bullock: Fathers, Sons, Football and Ink


4 Editor’s Page 56 Oakham Swim School, Loomes & Co (Rutland watch), UPP Property, Oakham Town Centre Regeneration 58 Cavells Home, Fika, Rutland Water Fly Fishing, The Blue Ball at Braunston, Uppingham in Bloom 61 Market Harborough: Ashley Farm Shop, Vins Pop-Up Wine Bar, Harborough Innovation Centre, The Sunflowers Day Nursery





Welcome I

T’S not that many more sleeps now to Christmas, heralding a period of celebrating and gift-giving. This issue of the magazine covers this side of the season with a fabulous party fashion feature (pages 16–18), local present guides (pages 22–23 and 26–27), foodie gift ideas (pages 30–31) and our beauty Christmas wish list (pages 50–51). However, this month is also a time to be thankful for what we have – to remember the importance of caring for

each other and those in the community who need our help, and to show love and appreciation to friends and family. Our December Rutland Heroes article (page 10) is in the spirit of this, bringing you the Rutland Lions, whose generous volunteering work benefits the local community from the youngest to the oldest members. Trying to follow their kind, generous, positive approach seems spot on for this festive season – and indeed well

beyond. I’ll be aspiring to that while I go out and enjoy some of the many enticing things taking place in our beautiful region this month. A few of my favourites are covered below. Warm wishes everyone!


@rutlandliving @rutlandlivingmag

Editor’s Selection Some of my highlights this month are…

Wreath-making workshops

Late-Night Christmas shopping events

There are lots of wonderfully creative-sounding workshops over the coming weeks for anyone who wants to make up their own Christmas wreath to decorate their front door. I like the sound of one at Fika on Thursday 7 December (9.30am, £55, 01572 337337 to book), where you can expect to see designs infused with Scandi style. This workshop is with florist Amanda Steele, whose beautiful wreath on the door of Hambleton Hall hotel graced the front cover of our December 2016 issue.

The annual events in Market Harborough (Friday 1 December), Uppingham (Thursday 7 December) and Oakham (Monday 11 December) are now nearly upon us. I love these evenings, when our historic market towns come alive with festive cheer and community spirit. A glass of something to toast the season, carol singing and a spot of Christmas shopping. Perfect.

Winter walks Fancy a break from all that Christmas indulgence? Well pull on your wellies and head out to the gorgeous countryside across our region? For some great recommendations in the Harborough area, see Lily Canter’s article on pages 36–37. For me, a Boxing Day walk at Rutland Water is just the ticket to combat one chocolate nut too many!


The Nutcracker Watching this enduringly enchanting ballet, based on the story by ETA Hoffmann and with music by Tchaikovsky, is for me one of the most magical Christmas traditions. In our region, Peter Wright’s Royal Ballet production is being screened at the boutique Art Deco Regal Cinema in Melton (tel 01664 500642 to book) on Sunday 10 December at 2pm.


Christmas giveaway!!! I love heading to the theatre with family at Christmas. If you do too, read on, as Leicester’s Curve ( is offering one lucky reader the chance to win four tickets to the 7.30pm performance of Scrooge the Musical on Tuesday 2 January 2018 (non-exchangeable; see page 65 for more details of the show). To enter, tell us the one thing about the area that you love the most (a sight, view, place to eat or shop, etc). You must be happy for us to share this in a future issue of the magazine and on our social media sites. Email this information and your name and a contact telephone number to Your contact details are needed only so that the magazine and Curve can get in touch with you in the event of you winning; they will not be given to third parties. The closing date for receipt of email entries is 8pm on Sunday 17 December 2017. Entries will be drawn out of a (santa) hat! Good luck!


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Picture of the month For December, what better than a beautiful snowy shot of the local countryside and one that’s for a good cause too? This image, which shows hoarfrost-covered trees and a bridge over the river Welland near Tixover, close to Rutland’s border with Northamptonshire, was shot by local photographer Richard Adams for The Rutland Calendar, which raises funds for the Rutland Historic Churches Preservation Trust. Rutland has an outstanding legacy of historic churches, but they are hugely expensive to maintain, and this registered charity helps to reduce the cost of repair by offering grant aid. Funds come from sources including the biennial sponsored Ride and Stride and from sales of this calendar, which is available for £6.99 from Walkers bookshops in Oakham and Stamford and other shops and post offices throughout Rutland. For more information on the Rutland Historic Churches Preservation Trust, visit Photo by Richard Adams Visit for images from The Rutland Calendar 2018 set to music, plus more of Richard’s photos





OA K H A M R U G S est. 1993 The finest selection of hand knotted rugs in the area. Traditional and Contemporary. New and Old. OPEN TUESDAY TO SATURDAY 10.00AM TO 5.00PM 6 The Maltings, off Mill St, Oakham, Rutland. LE15 6EA 01572 724441 Oakham Oriental Rugs Ltd t/as Oakham Rugs


L i ve b e a u t i f u l l y this Christmas 27 Mill St, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6EA 01572 722 345


December is a very busy month for the Lions Club of Rutland. Amander Meade looks back at their work in the county this year with their President, Bob Fisher.

Rutland Lions T

HE Lions Club of Rutland was created in 1975 and forms part of the International Association of Lions Clubs, the largest service organisation in the world with 44,500 clubs in 205 countries, and with a total of 1.3 million members. Bob Fisher is Club President in Rutland and holds the title for the second time. “We use most of our resources to support Rutlanders and contribute many thousands of pounds each year to help local organisations and individuals,” he explains. “Fundraising aside, the club is predominantly about having fun and members enjoying themselves – that’s what the Lions Club is all about.” Membership Secretary Julie Rolland is keen to vouch for that. “The club is open to members of both genders and all ages. I first came along with my husband and was immediately won over by the friendly welcome I received, so I joined the board and can thoroughly recommend membership. We are a very sociable group and are always delighted to welcome new members with new ideas.” This year Lions have been very active in support of many community initiatives, including marshalling at the County Show, catering at numerous events and, of course, organising Oakham’s famous Firework Display. New this year was a virtual Easter Egg Hunt across the Oakham Heritage Trail – a big success with parents and children during the Easter school holidays. Typically the Lions raise between £15,000 and £20,000 per year, 90% of which is donated to good causes or deserving individuals in Rutland, with the remainder used nationally or internationally often via other Lions clubs worldwide. “Lions funding has been used to help Rutland Sailability and Uppingham Scouts, several junior sports clubs have benefitted from new kit and equipment, and we have arranged for specialist equipment in the homes of a number of disabled Rutlanders too,” says Bob, who is keen to point out that Lions also donate their time and skills to benefit the community. “We act as volunteer drivers with the Dementia Club and have helped install playground equipment too. I am really keen to extend what we offer outside of fundraising alone this year.” Anyone with younger children will be looking forward to this month’s Christmas campaign,


“We are a very sociable group and are always delighted to welcome new members with new ideas.”

which runs right up until Christmas Eve. Lions volunteers will be accompanying Santa aboard his sleigh, calling door to door across the county with their collecting tins, spreading festive cheer wherever they go. In December, you can also find the Lions at Tesco, collecting donations of food and treats, which they distribute in parcels to over 250 local people – primarily the elderly or those in care. “Christmas is a very special time for us,” adds Bob, “it’s wonderful to see the responses 10



of the children when they see Santa outside their home – pure magic. With similar sleigh tours declining around the country, we are determined that Santa will keep visiting Rutland children in the future, as he has in the past.” To find out more about the work of the Lions or to join the club, call the Secretary, Keith Primarolo, on 0845 8334319 or contact the club via Facebook or Twitter.

DEF607 Naomi Nails 0.5 RMHL Xmas Gift Voucher November horizontal Local Living mag 133mm x 190mm.pdf






Harborough’s Salon of the Year

01858 469222


Ed Stafford

Kirstie Mitchell caught up with explorer and adventurer Ed Stafford at his home near Market Harborough to learn more about his extraordinary journey from Scout to Guinness World Record-holder.


N August 2010 Ed Stafford became the Guinness World Record-holder for being the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon River. This covered some 4,000 miles over 860 days – he started on 2 April 2008 and finished on 9 August 2010. Ed filmed and blogged his treacherous journey for nearly two and a half years, and his footage was made into a Discovery Channel documentary, sold to over 100 countries. Since then he has gone on to self-film several other television projects for the Discovery Channel. His latest incredible series, “Left for Dead”, sees him battling extreme environments around the world. Ed splits his time between filming and being back at home in Hallaton, near Market Harborough, with his wife, adventurer and explorer, Laura Bingham, and their baby son, Ranulph. Was there a specific time in your life that had the biggest influence on you? I would say quite early on I realised I had an affinity with nature – I was more comfortable being outdoors. I literally spent most of my childhood outside with my friends, roaming the fields, making dens, cycling around the village – it was a happy time for me. I joined my local Scout group in Fleckney (Leicestershire), and that’s where I first learnt basic outdoor skills, such as using a compass. The Combined Cadet Force gave me general military training, and from there I joined the Army, which gave me the skills and confidence to lead an expedition. Why walk the Amazon? After several years of taking conservation expeditions to Guatemala, Borneo, Belize and other places I wanted to take my jungle experience and do a big expedition off my own bat. I read an

What were the best and worst moments of your Amazon adventure? The bits when things went wrong were the most memorable, and I am quite grateful for having those experiences. The best moments involved a self-deprecating sense of humour! Were there any points on the adventure when you thought you wouldn’t make it? There were a few! I was held up at gunpoint and arrowpoint on numerous occasions by drug traffickers. I was accused of murder and detained by a tribal chief and also arrested for suspected drug trafficking.

amazing book called “Running the Amazon” by American Journalist Joe Kane, who took part in a kayak expedition, but seeing as I’m rubbish at kayaking I then looked into walking the Amazon and realised no one had ever done that. I admit there was an element of ego and a romantic notion of living in the Amazon; I thought what an incredible, concentrated adventure it would be to live in the jungle. I also realised if I took a camera and videoed my experience and achieved a world first, then I would promote myself from being an ex-military consultant to someone who has gone and done something in their own right, and got in the Guinness World Records.

Being a Scout has been a big part of your life. How involved are you in the Scouts now? For five years I have been a Scout Ambassador, giving talks nationally and attending jamborees. I also like to visit local Scout groups. I work with the Youth Adventure Trust, and British Exploring Society, and I am a patron of Leicester Outdoors Pursuits Centre – a fantastic venue aimed at stimulating and educating young people in a challenging and safe environment. How has being a father changed you? I’m much more aware of the consequences of doing risky things! What’s in store for the future? I am currently filming a brand-new series for the Discovery Channel. Laura and I have some joint ideas for other broadcasters – it would be amazing to combine family and work. For more information on Ed, visit

The Scouts The 1st Welland Valley Scout Troop had an amazing surprise, when Ed Stafford, Laura Bingham and baby Ranulph were waiting to meet them at Ashley Village Hall to teach them some bushcraft skills. Ed had come armed with his bow drill set, part of which he had used on his TV series “Marooned with Ed Stafford”. The Scouts worked in small groups to make fire using modern and primitive methods. Ed patiently gave his time, so that all the Scouts had an opportunity to learn how to use his bow drill to make fire. If you are interested in Scouting as an adult volunteer or youth member, contact, or





The Authority in Luxury, Performance & Classic Cars 2017/67 LAMBORGHINI HURACAN PERFORMANTE

Grigio Nimbus with Performante Bicolour Alcantara in Nero Ade and Rosso Alala. Delivery Miles .. £289,950



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Nouvelle Blue Pearl with Ebony Semi-Aniline Leather and Alcantara.

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MCLAREN 570S COUPE Ventura Orange Elite Paintwork with Jet Black Leather and Slate Grey Alcantara with Capella Orange Accents.





890 miles



Auto £149,950

16/66 ASTON MARTIN DB11 LAUNCH EDITION V12 Paint by Q Storm Black Metallic with Obsidian Black Hide with Spicy Red Contrast Stitching. 2,800 miles ............................ £149,950 15/15 ASTON MARTIN DB9 VOLANTE ‘CARBON EDITION’ Carbon Black Metallic with Obsidian Black Hide and Electron Yellow Stitching. 13,800 miles .................................. £104,950 16/65 AUDI R8 V10 ‘PLUS’ QUATTRO S-TRONIC Ara Blue Metallic with Beige Fine Diamond Design Nappa Leather. 900 miles ............................................................................................... £117,950 16/16 AUDI R8 V10 QUATTRO S-TRONIC Suzuka Grey Metallic with Black Diamond Fine Nappa Leather. 5,000 miles ............................................................................................................. £98,950 15/15 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GTC W12 MULLINER Cumbrian Green Metallic with Linen Hide and Cumbrian Green Stitching. 8,400 miles ................................................................. £104,950 10/10 FERRARI 430 SCUDERIA Rosso Corsa with Grigio Corsa Racing Stripe and Nero Tessuto with 3D Fabric in Giallo. 6,800 miles ......................................................................... £225,950 13/13 FERRARI 458 ITALIA Nero Daytona with Nero Leather and Giallo Stitching. 7,000 miles ....................................................................................................................................................... £171,950 15/65 FERRARI CALIFORNIA T Nero Daytona with Nero Leather and Bianco Stitching. 4,300 miles ....................................................................................................................................................... £149,950 08/08 FERRARI 599 GTB FIORANO F1 Nero Daytona with Nero Leather Interior and Grigio Chiaro Stitching. 9,400 miles ........................................................................................................ £134,950 16/16 JAGUAR ‘PROJECT 7’ 1 OF 250 CARS British Racing Green with Jet Black Quilted Leather. Delivery Mileage ............................................................................................................... £189,950


2016(16) 3,400 miles Semi-Auto

PORSCHE MACAN GTS Volcano Grey Metallic with Black Leather and Alcantara with Carmine Red GTS Pack. Year Mileage Transmission


Semi-Auto £71,950

16/65 LAND ROVER ‘CLASSIC TWISTED’ DEFENDER 90 – BUILD NO.11/20 Corris Grey with Black Half Leather. Delivery Miles........................................................................................ £60,792+Vat 17/17 MCLAREN 675LT SPIDER 1 OF 500 Napier Green with Black Alcantara and Carbon Black Embossed Leather. Delivery Mileage............................................................................. £319,950 17/17 MCLAREN 570GT Volcano Orange Elite Paint with Carbon Black Nappa Sport Alcantara & McLaren Orange Stitching. 2,000 miles ........................................................... £139,950 16/66 MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG S CABRIOLET Designo Diamond White Bright with Two Tone Red Pepper and Black Nappa Leather. 6,800 miles ..................................................... £67,950 16/16 PORSCHE 991.2 TURBO S COUPE PDK Agate Grey Metallic with Espresso Natural Leather. 4,000 miles ........................................................................................................................ £149,950 15/15 PORSCHE 911 (991) 3.4 TARGA 4 PDK Agate Grey Metallic with Two Tone Black and Platinum Grey Leather, 9,600 miles.............................................................................................. £89,950 10/60 PORSCHE 997 GEN II CARRERA GTS 3.8 CABRIOLET MANUAL Dark Blue Metallic with Black Leather and Alcantara. 20,600miles....................................................................... £74,950 11/11 PORSCHE BOXSTER SPYDER 3.4 MANUAL Carrara White with Black Leather and Alcantara Interior. 13,400 miles ..................................................................................................... £48,950 11/11 PORSCHE BOXSTER SPYDER 3.4 MANUAL Carrara White with Black Leather Interior. 19,300 miles .......................................................................................................................................... £47,950

For our most up to date stock list please visit:

If you have a similar car to sell, please call us! | TOP555 Limited, Burley Road, Oakham, Rutland LE15 7AA

tel: 01572 774 830


2016(66) 11,900 miles


‘Tisthe season... Embrace the party season with our guide to your Christmas wardrobe! FASHION: NIKKI BEATTY PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLI DEAN Fransa silver skirt, £47.99, Fransa silver cami, £34.99, Fransa cardigan, £69.99, all from Duo; Paul Green shoes, £130, CoCo

Velvet top, £225, Velvet trousers, £195, Essential Antwerp necklace, £44.50, all Cavells 16


Smith & Canova clutch bag, £48.50, Vanilla

Marc Cain velvet platform shoes, £185, Velvet trousers, £195, both Cavells. Lanterns available at Havershams Barn.

Marella black dress, £260, Des Petits Hauts jacket, £275, Lolo Cruz velvet boots, £199, all Cavells

➧ 17

‘Tisthe season...

Marie Mero dress, £165, Smith & Canova clutch bag, £48.50, both Vanilla STOCKISTS Cavells, 16 Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 770372, CoCo, 29 High Street, Oakham, 01572 757646, Duo Boutique, 29a High Street, Oakham, 01572 722116, Vanilla, 23b Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 757577 OUR THANKS A big thank you to the gorgeous Delia from Havershams for modelling and for allowing us to use her beautiful interiors shop as our location – a truly inspiring place for gifts and homeware. For information on Delia’s pop-up shop, please contact her on Instagram @barn65 or on Facebook at @havershamsbarn. And thank you, too, to our lovely photographer Elli Dean, who can be contacted on 07932 055548.

For more fashion inspo go to fashion editor Nikki Beatty’s Instagram @styleinthestix




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Fords Of Oakham

Rutland’s premier department store


christmas from all at Fords of Oakham, your local Toymaster store. 8 Church Street, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6AA Tel: 01572 722654 Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @Fordsofoakham


Present and correct! Make this year’s shopping a treat by supporting some of Rutland’s best independent retailers. Here are some of their ideas for great gifts.

Radio Alpes T-shirt, £27 from a range at “Barrowden Church” original watercolour by Alan Oliver, £350 at

Grant Palmer “Love is in the air” sculpture, £495 at Trent Galleries

Above: Maileg Rabbits £39.95 each and lamb’s wool wrist warmers £22.50 a pair; right: Branche D’Olive room set £45; all at Sarah Harding Interiors



Solo Table Lamp, available in Matte Black, Antique Brass and Rose Gold with dimmable LED filament bulb and touch-sensitive dimmer, £99 from Lumison Lighting

Children’s “Make Your Own” Insect House, £11.99, Bee and Bug Biome, £24.99, and Hedgehog Home, £21.99, Hedgehog, £5.99 and Hedgehog Food, £6.99, all at Welland Vale Garden Inspirations garden centre

Leather handbag, £126, Beech Collection sparkly clutch bag, £33, and Pom Pom Hat, £29, all at Albar’s Den

Deli hampers made to order, from £15 each by Otters Smokehouse and Deli

“Man’s Best Friend” by Doug Hyde, £295 at Trent Galleries

Handembroidered Afghan kilim cushion, £60 at the Rug Studio

“Cornish Harbour”, signed by the artist, Joan Gillchrest, £3,950 at Samuel Robson Fine Art

A large selection of beautiful wool blankets and throws from £47.99 at woolroom, Stamford

Beautiful, original headpieces by Rebecca Couture Millinery – this one is £265 at

Kissing Hedgehog Pendant, £89 from Itch Gallery,

Replenishing Collection by ESPA, £62 at Barnsdale Spa (see p48) RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING DECEMBER 2017


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Dower & Hall twinkle rings

Spitfire silver & enamel cufflinks £105 9ct white gold topaz and diamond

fromgold £120 diamond triple cluster 18ct white £1550


Amber silver pendants from £50


Ruby ring £1350

18ct white gold topaz and diamond £3250

Edwardian 15ct gold sapphire and diamond £199



18ct gold diamond cluster ring £2200

Wedding rings in gold, platinum and palladium

Edwardian 9ct gold peridot and pearl £450

1920’s 18ct gold Columbian emerald and diamond £4950

rd Awa ing n Win tique l Bou ersona st P “Be ervice” S

4 Adam & Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT

Tel: 01858 465592


l l l l l l l

MH Music 7 St Mary’s Road, Market Harborough Tel: 01858 463144 -

l l

In cia -store l of fers !

Pianos & Keyboards Drum Kits Saxophones Flutes Violins Sheet Music Amps & PA Systems Instrument & Amp Repairs On-site teaching


Market Harborough Gift Guide With Christmas getting closer and closer, here’s the second instalment of our Harborough gift guide, with ideas from some of the many excellent independent shops in and around the region. Words by Clare Peel. Photographs by Elli Dean,

Candle lanterns, £25, fairies, £20, and velvet ribbon spool with scissors, £17, all from No.56,

Salvaged wood hare, £20, Keals,

Lamy fountain pens, £16.49 each, Colemans,

Noble Isle Rhubarb hand wash, 250ml, £18, Vibrant Senses,

Two Birds gins, vodkas and absinthe, £11.99 for the 200ml bottles except the absinthe, £18.99, The Langton Greenhouse and Garden Centre,; Two Birds spirits also available from

Mai Tai candle, £20, and diffuser, £20, Lily Loves Shopping,

Epicurean Kids 5-piece bamboo eco set (fox or owl), £12.99, The Kitchen Range Cookshop, 26

Hand trowel and fork gift set, £4.99, DK RHS garden birds/bugs sticker books, £3.99 each, The Langton Greenhouse and Garden Centre,


“Niro 10” multi-pendant light, £311, Harborough Lights,

Vouchers covering different experiences at Armourgeddon make fun alternative presents. A gift voucher for the Tank Drive Experience costs £99 (plus £2.50 p&p; also available as an Evoucher without p&p charges); for full details, see www.

Janod Hat Box Puzzle, £19.99, The Growing Tree,

Hamper showcasing a selection of local wine, jam, chutney and biscuits, £42.50, Ashley Farm Shop,

Pickering’s Gin Baubles, £35.99 a box, Duncan Murray Wines,

Fantasie “Leona” bra (sizes D–GG) and knickers, from £56 for the set, The Little Big Bra Shop, Silver moving sequin ruffle ring, £350, Ada Gallery, Treat someone to the Afternoon Tea (shown here, for two, by Jo) in the Farmer’s Kitchen at Farndon Fields; vouchers are £19.95 for two and £29.95 for three,

The Great British Bake Off “Show Stopper” jigsaw puzzle in a cake tin, £14.99, Colemans,

Globe, £245, ceramic phrenology bust, £20, Hanworth Interiors, hanworth.interiors

Beautifully illustrated “Found in the Fields” coffee-table book, by Northants artist Carry Akroyd, £29.95, available from local bookshops and



Quality garden birdseed at farm gate prices Visit our award winning conservation farm for unique Christmas gifts for all the family including bird tables & feeders, seasonal mixes, merry mealworms & festive suets for the birds to enjoy! Stock up on all your garden birds need for the winter period.

Great Value 20kg Mixed Seed ÂŁ10.00


Open Friday & Saturday 9am - 5pm, Sunday 9am – 12pm

You are welcome to collect at anytime but please phone to ensure we are here to serve you. Rectory Farm, right of Church, Great Easton. Tel: 01536 770771



Looking for a pressie for the foodie in your life? Here are a few ideas from Great Food Club.

Great Food Club ‘s Christmas gift guide


In 2013, Two Birds Spirits of Market Harborough became one of the first small-batch gin distillers in the UK to get a licence, making it an early bird in the gin revolution. An excellent way to understand more about gin and Two Birds in particular is to attend one of its Gin Masterclasses, which are expertly run in a beautiful workshop by a “Ginstructor”. The three-hour session covers the history and process of gin distilling. You’ll then make a 70cl bottle of gin to your own recipe using your own mini-still. You can choose from over 50 botanicals, from tea and thyme to bee pollen and hibiscus flowers, and the fun is in deciding the overall style and balance of the flavours. The session is accompanied by a lot of gin tasting, so you may need to act as a chauffeur to the recipient of this gift! Masterclass vouchers are priced at £110 per person or £125 per couple and are available from the Two Birds website. More information on 01858 463758 or at


Based on the shores of Rutland Water, Under Fine Wraps is a hamper and gift business offering far more than a clever name. Owner Clare Underwood carefully selects the food and drink before packing it in beautiful wicker hampers and presentation boxes. Every product has been tasted, compared and approved by several people, ranging from foodie friends to wine professionals. Everything is excellent – and usually award-winning. If a product is not up to scratch, it will not make it in. The result is hampers and gifts that are a joy to give and receive. From small producers such as Vivia Crump’s chutneys and Belflair chocolates, to more established brands such as Ayala Champagne, the contents are delightful. Better still, the Under Fine Wraps hampers are creatively collated to suit all tastes and wallets. “Bath and Body” and “Baby” ranges are available too. Order online at More information on 03332 000190 or at




A gift voucher that someone can use at The Olive Branch in Clipsham (Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year 2018) makes a perfect Christmas present. You can order one online, personalise it and then choose to deliver by post or by email. Examples of what you can buy for someone include: Full Afternoon Tea for Two, A Cookery Demo Plus Lunch, A Gourmet Dinner For Two, A Pasta Masterclass in 2018, or A One-Night Stay at Beech House. You can also simply choose a cash value. Order from The Olive Branch website. More information on 01780 410355 or at


The cookery courses at Rutland Cookery School at Oakham Enterprise Park are brilliant and varied. They range from Indian Street Food to Cooking with Game to French Classics, all held in a superbly kitted-out modern kitchen. A gift card to allow someone to choose the perfect course for them would make a superb pressie. Rutland Cookery School is run by acclaimed local chef Robin Stewart. Robin has worked in many top restaurants over the years, including the Carlton Tower Hotel in London and The Dorchester and then the Michelin-starred kitchens of The Connaught hotel. Rutland Cookery School has been established so he can share his love of cookery and pass on tips, techniques and insights he has learned during his career working in professional, five-star kitchens. Robin is an excellent teacher and has a knack for passing on his passion for great food. You can order the gift cards on the website. More information on 07391 679208 or at


Looking for a brilliant foodie stocking filler? The handbagor glovebox-sized Great Food Club Handbook 2018 is out now. Packed with over 500 recommendations on where to eat out and buy food and drink in Rutland, Leicestershire, Northants, Nottinghamshire and beyond – all spread out over 132 pages – it’s one of the most useful books a foodie can own! And it focuses on independents only, which makes it even better! The Handbook covers restaurants, pubs, farm shops, breweries, producers, delis and cafes. It is available to buy now for £5.95. Go to www., scroll to the bottom of the home page and click “Buy the Handbook”. More information on

GRAINSTORE BREWERY TOUR WITH FOOD & UNLIMITED BEER (conditions apply!) A great gift for the beer lover in your life is a tour of The Grainstore Brewery in Oakham with beer tasters, followed by a ploughman’s lunch or supper and unlimited real ale (within a two-hour window). Rutland’s Grainstore is a brewery tap and brewery housed in a converted railway grain warehouse next to Oakham train station. It is recognised as one of Britain’s best brew pubs and has won The Good Pub Guide’s “Own Brew Pub of the Year” award no fewer than four times (in 2003, 2011, 2014 and 2016). It also bagged the accolade of “Rutland’s Finest” at the National Pub & Bar Awards in 2016. You can order the gift of a tour on the Grainstore website. More information on 01572 770065 or at


For a truly special Christmas gift (possibly to yourself!), how about a subscription to Bat & Bottle’s Wine Club? This newish club was named national runner-up in the Wine Club of the Year competition 2017, narrowly losing out to the mighty Wine Society – an amazing achievement for a small importer such as Bat & Bottle. A subscription to the B&B Wine Club starts at £50 per month. Bat & Bottle, based on Oakham Enterprise Park, specialises in importing Italian wines made by small, independent growers. Don’t expect to see Bat & Bottle wines on the supermarket shelves! Ben and Emma Robson, the cofounders, have spent over 20 years seeking out artisan producers, small-scale wineries, oddities and surprises, to offer wine drinkers truly individual wines: “Our policy is to find customers for our wines rather than wines for our customers,” says Ben. “The result is a very personal wine selection, a genuine reflection of our tastes.” More information on 01572 759735 or at

Join Great Food Club With its new editing team, Great Food Club is on a mission to unearth brilliant food and drink gems in your area and beyond. We currently recommend around 320 pubs, restaurants, producers and food shops, and around 200 of them run exclusive offers for Great Food Club members. Offers include 10% off at Stamford Cheese Cellar, 10% off at The Tobie Norris, a complimentary cocktail when you dine from the à la carte menu at The Olive Branch, 10% off at The King’s Arms in Wing, and 25% off at The Fox & Hounds in Exton. It is completely free to join and get a membership card – no catches – and we never share your data – sign up at

About the writer Matt Wright founded and runs, a Leicestershire-based website that celebrates and promotes local food and drink. His Great Food Club Handbook 2018 is out now.





Private Hire & Local Taxi Service

Our friendly experienced drivers will ensure you a safe and comfortable journey all at a very fair price. • Airport transfers • Short & longer journeys • Corporate and private work • 5 star chauffeur service • Unmarked prestige cars • 24 hour availability

Christmas Goodies available from December

Tel: 07561 541211 or 01572 868 312 Email:  

Bespoke Catering... For advice and further information please contact M 07778 227 734 E



Neil & Louise Hitchen welcome you to

Our Christmas range will include a selection of delicious goodies, Christmas Puddings, Mince Pies, Fruit & Savoury Tarts, Christmas Crown, Pecan Bun Chocolate Brownies, Stilton & Celery Scones, Rutland Pippins, Christmas Focaccia, all made with the finest ingredients and full of flavour.

Shops: Exton Bakery, Market Harborough, Oakham, Oundle, Stamford & West Bridgford 32

Award Winning Country Pub

Find us in the latest editions of The Michelin Guide, Hardens Food Guide, Waitrose Good Food Guide and Alistair Sawdays Pubs & Inns.

59 Main Street, Wymondham, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 2AG 01572 787587

The Olive Branch head chef Sean Hope brings you tidings of great joy: a festive pud that won’t put you to sleep…

Christmas pud minus the stodge! F

EASTING at Christmas is fun… until it’s not. You know that feeling when it dawns on you you’ve overdone it? Maybe that final toffee penny sent you over the edge, or perhaps it was the third slice of pork pie? More often than not, however, it’s the large helping of traditional Christmas pudding – on top of all that turkey – that tips the scales. You were feeling great, but suddenly, before you know it, you’re staggering, dazed, into the lounge in search of the sofa, sunk by that hefty slab of steamed suet, fruit and almond smothered in brandy butter. This recipe – Christmas pudding soufflé with cranberry sorbet – could be the solution. It gives you the flavour and festive feel of Christmas pud but without the heaviness. Give it a try – I hope it makes Christmas even better for you!

Christmas pudding soufflé with cranberry sorbet Serves 8 NB. You will require eight large ramekins (around 8cm diameter x 6cm deep) • 200g Christmas pudding (available from The Olive Branch Pub Shop) • 4 egg yolks • 30g sugar • 360g egg whites • 80g caster sugar 1. In a processor, add the Christmas pudding, egg yolks and sugar, and blend them to a smooth paste. 2. Brush the soufflé ramekins with melted butter and chill for five minutes. 3. Brush the ramekins with melted butter again, and then line with caster sugar. 4. Whisk up the egg whites until they start to peak. 5. Gradually add the 80g caster sugar to stabilise the mix. 6. Add a third of the egg white to the Christmas pudding mix and beat in well. 7. Add the remainder of the egg white to the pudding mix and fold through gently, leaving it as light as possible. 8. Place the mixture into the soufflé ramekins to the top, then level off with a palette knife. 9. Run the tip of a small knife around the rim of each soufflé, then place the soufflés into a pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 6 (200ºC) and bake for 7–8 minutes. 10. The soufflés are ready when they are

New winter dishes The Olive Branch kitchen team have been working hard to create a new winter menu. Here are a few of the new options. All photos are by Clive Doyle. 28-day-aged sirloin with hasselback potato, farmhouse cabbage and peppercorn sauce.


at least one-third risen from the top of the ramekin (a perfect soufflé should still be soft in the middle). 11. Remove from the oven immediately, dust with icing sugar and serve with the cranberry sorbet. Cranberry sorbet • 1 litre cranberry juice • Zest and juice of 1 lime • 500g icing sugar 1. Mix all the ingredients together well. 2. Place into either an ice cream maker or bowl that has been pre-chilled in the freezer. Churn. 3. Freeze to a sorbet consistency and keep in the deep freeze until required.

Puddings and much more besides Our Pub Shop sells much more than just Christmas puddings! Pop in to see the exciting range of after-dinner tipples, perfect for festive desserts. We have everything from wonderfully sweet, pruney sherry, to classic Sauternes, to divine plum saké from Japan. Examples include: • Shiraume Ginjo Umeshu Plum Saké, Akashi-Tai, Hyogo, Japan: tastes of sweet and rich dry fruits and plum flavours, with a dry finish. • San Emilio Pedro Ximenez, Bodegas Lustau, Jerez, Spain: treacle, figs, raisins – very sweet. • Essensia Orange Muscat 2014, Andrew Quady, California: orange blossom and apricots – rich and sweet, with vibrant peachy and orangey fruit. • Oremus 2006, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos, Hungary: satsuma, grapefruit and mango, with balanced acidity and a long finish.

Above left: Sussex pond pudding with lemon verbena ice cream. Above right: roast haunch of venison with juniper potato, honey-glazed parsnips, soused blackberry and red wine sauce.

Roast beetroot soup, with horseradish and feta beignets.


If you are passionate about local food and drink then you might like to join Great Food Club. • Sign up at, free of charge.



Farndon Fields Farm Farndon Road Market Harborough LE16 9NP Tel: 01858 464838

Opening Hours Monday to Saturday 8am - 6pm Sunday & Bank Holidays 10am - 4pm 34

Now taking bookings for Christmas Country Inn and Restaurant A warm welcome is assured at our quintessential old English county pub, bringing you the best of British home cooked meals and a choice of well kept Real Ales.

Why not join us for Sunday Lunch? Choice of 3 roasts all served with the traditional trimmings £9.95 for one course up to £15.95 for three courses

Curry Night

1st Thursday of every month. Two course menu with selection of starters, followed by three homemade curries £10.95 a head

Friday Lunchtime Special

2 Portions of Cod, Chips and Mushy Peas for £10 Tue, Wed, Thur 12pm – 11pm (Food 12pm – 2.30pm/6.30pm – 9.30pm) Fri, Sat 12pm – 12am (Food 12pm – 2.30pm/6.30pm – 9.30pm) Sun 12pm – 6pm (Food 12.30pm – 3pm).Closed Mondays


14 Arnhill Road, Gretton | Northants, NN17 3DN

Tel: 01536 770268

FESTIVE PARTY NIGHTS WITH DINNER & DISCO IN THE BARN A selection of dates are available throughout December ~ 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 20th • Sun-Thurs £28.50 pp / Fri-Sat £30.00 pp • Private parties can be arranged, subject to availability • All festive & private parties require a pre-order

Menu Cream of cauliflower soup V Pressed ham hock terrine & Piccalilli salad Gravlax of salmon, pickled cucumber & new potato salad G

The George at Ashley

*** Roast Norfolk turkey served with all the trimmings Seared fillet of seabass, crushed new potatoes with a dill & lemon butter sauce G Wild mushroom & tarragon pithivier with tenderstem broccoli V *** Traditional Christmas pudding with brandy V Dark chocolate delice, gratin cherries & white chocolate ice cream V Colston Basset stilton & English farmhouse cheddar, served with; celery, grapes, chutney & Jacobs crackers V

Festive Fayre Menu available from 1st December to 23rd December - please see the website for details Christmas Eve Curry Night - starts from 6pm. Reservations essential Christmas Day open from 12-2pm for drinks Thursday 28th December - The BIG FAT FAMILY XMAS QUIZ starts at 5pm New Years Eve Party - starts at 7pm till late

We wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2018 21 Main Street, Ashley, Northamptonshire. LE16 8HF T 01858 565411 E

The Avenue, Rutland Water, Oakham, Rutland LE15 8AH tel: 01572 724678 35

Winter woodland walks If you go down to the woods today you’ll be in for a big surprise. Although the region is not known for its woodland landscape, there is in fact a good selection of woods within 30 minutes’ drive of Market Harborough that make the perfect welly-stomping ground. Lily Canter and family took to the trees to kick through piles of conifer leaves and find the best mud-squelching hotspots.

Fermyn Woods Country Park A great all-rounder, this East Northamptonshire wood between Corby and Kettering is home to a variety of mammals, birds and butterflies. Winter is the perfect time for spotting the rare hawfinch with its thick-set brownish body and prominent white wing-bars, or for catching a glimpse of a fox at dusk, as it emerges from the thick undergrowth on the hunt for rabbits. The wood is accessed through the country park via a gravelly path past a series of ponds. You can either take the meandering footpaths (suitable for sturdy pushchairs) through the trees or wade into the woods to gather leaves and sticks. Even if you wander away from the path, the moderate size of the parkland means it is easy to find your way back, and the trees and shrubs are never too dense to navigate. A “Leaves, fruit and seeds” spotter sheet is available from the park’s website, along with an “Animals of Fermyn Woods” spotter sheet, giving children plenty to do and see. Back near the car park there are three playgrounds: one for tots; a second, enclosed one for young children; and a third open adventure playground with large slides and climbing frames. The cafe serves light meals, including sandwiches and jacket potatoes. Facilities: toilets, picnic benches, cafe with toys and books, parking (£3) Best activity: building a den with fallen branches in a leafy clearing Fermyn Woods Country Park, Lyveden Road, Brigstock, Kettering NN14 3HS,



Launde Woods

Irchester Country Park This 200-acre woodland has a fascinating heritage as a former ironstone quarry, which operated until 1941. Iron dug in the Wembley Pit near the main car park was used to build Sydney Harbour Bridge. The large site is great for older children with mounds and ridges for mountain bike tricks and an impressive treetop Jungle Parc with routes for courageous kids as well as thrill-seeking adults. The Adventurer course is for age three plus and includes 50 activities about 2 metres above the forest floor (£14 per person for two hours). Meanwhile the daring Xplorer Course for age 10 upwards is suspended high in the tree canopy and is often filled with cool teenagers and their nervous parental counterparts (£20 per person). For younger children there is a fun, albeit brief, dinosaur trail and a large playground as well as paths suitable for cycling and muddy tracks just looking to swallow up small wellies. The Ironstone quiz trail challenge, which can be accessed via the website, takes visitors around the park answering 11 questions on their mobile phone. On Sundays the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum is open, allowing visitors to view a collection of steam and diesel locomotives as well as a life-size diorama of the quarry. Throughout the year the rangers run different family activities, such as orienteering. There are plenty of picnic benches around the park, but you can also buy hot and cold food from the central Quarryman’s Rest Café, which hosts live music on some Friday nights. Facilities: toilets, picnic benches, cafe with takeaway kiosk, parking (£3) Best activity: running down the hill from the Jurassic Wild Play Area to the Fiveways crossing Irchester Country Park, Gypsy Lane, Little Irchester, Wellingborough NN29 7DL, irchester-country-park

Perched on the hillside above the Christian Retreat at Launde Abbey these two small nature reserves offer the perfect place to test out your new wellies and waterproofs. They are located close to Launde and Loddington in east Leicestershire and are a bit tricky to find without an Ordnance Survey map. Sat nav will take you straight to a farmhouse, so follow the instructions on the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust website instead. You may have to park on the road and walk the public rights of way to get to the woods, or a friendly farmer may let you park right next to Launde Park Wood, as happened to me. There are no gravel paths through the woods, so you are reliant on picking out tracks, which are uneven under foot and very muddy in places. For a truly authentic woodland experience these two places are a great find, as they are relatively untouched and perfectly peaceful. On our visit we didn’t encounter another soul apart from a stoat running into the bushes with a rodent in its mouth. The kids loved clambering over tree roots, jumping over brooks and listening to all the different bird calls. There are a couple of things you need to be aware of before setting off however: the shooting dates in Launde Big Wood are on 2, 6, 8 and 20 December this year (and 3, 10, 17, 26, 31 January 2018) – see the website below for updates on this. Dogs are not allowed at Launde Big Wood due to the sensitive wildlife, but they are permitted at Launde Park Wood under strict control, which means being able to bring to heel at all times. Facilities: none Best activity: poking sticks into the stream bed from one of the makeshift bridges OS map ref: SK 785036 (Sheet 141),

Fineshade Wood Just 6 miles from the A1, in the heart of Rockingham Forest, lies Fineshade Wood. The Forestry Commission maintains the wood, which contains semi-natural native woodland as well as conifers that are being restored to site native broadleaf trees via the Ancient Woodland Project. Lucky visitors may see a red kite or deer on one of the many walks, cycle ways or horse trails that crisscross the site. In the centre of the wood is a treetop play area (good for older children) that is as much fun to find as it is to play on. Be warned that little ones may want to climb up to the tree house but then get stuck at the top where they are beyond reach! Back by the car park and cafe there is a playground for smaller children with lots of aesthetically pleasing, woodland-inspired play equipment. The popular Gruffalo Spotters trail finished at the end of November, but there are still plenty of activity sheets and mindfulness guides available from the visitor centre and website to enable visitors to make the most of their trip. One tip is to not get confused between Fineshade Wood and Top Lodge, Fineshade Wood. One is the wood itself, whereas the other is the Top Lodge Caravan Club site, which is situated next to the wood entrance – so be careful not to park there by mistake. Facilities: toilets, picnic benches, cafe with ice-cream kiosk, visitor centre, parking (£4) Best activity: identifying and collecting leaves from the forest floor Fineshade, Nr Corby, Northants NN17 3BB, englandnthamptonshirerockinghamforestfineshadewood RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING DECEMBER 2017


Spotlight on Great Bowden In this month’s article focussing on a local hotspot, Kirstie Mitchell shines the spotlight on the sought-after village of Great Bowden. PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLI DEAN


ATING back to Anglo-Saxon times, Great Bowden lies on the edge of the scenic Welland Valley. The village was included in the Domesday Book, under the name “Bugedone” and was worth 40 shillings per year to the King, who held it. It has a vibrant community with some exceptional amenities for its size. Its close proximity to the bustling town of Market Harborough, the latter’s train station (London St Pancras in an hour) and good road links to the A6/A14 enhance its already significant appeal. The village spills out from The Green, an attractive feature divided by roads into several subsidiary tree-lined greens, including Church Green, Pond Green, and Stocks Green, where Great Bowden’s stocks used to stand. Housing is a mix of both historic and modern. Fact fans may be interested to read that there were no street lights, until 50 oil lamps were provided in 1885.

Village focal points

At the heart of the village is the beautiful Grade I-listed church of St Peter & St Paul (, which dates to the 13th century. It has a lively congregation and offers a broad mix of worship styles that embraces traditional and contemporary music. On Gunnsbrooke Close is the Great Bowden Academy (www.greatbowden., a small yet “outstanding”’ (Ofsted 2014) primary school. The village also has an established, Ofsted-registered pre-school ( Other focal points include two quintessentially English village essentials. First up is the Bowden Cricket Club (, formed in 1997, when Little Bowden and Great 38

Bowden cricket clubs forged a partnership after nearly 115 years of operating separately. This highly regarded club (which is ECB Clubmark accredited) is based in the tranquil surroundings of the recreation ground and has a wide spectrum of members from juniors to veterans, with all abilities and both male and female cricketers welcome. Then there’s the Market Harborough Lawn Tennis Club (, which is also situated at the recreation ground. Home to over 200 adult and junior playing members this friendly, sociable club has four all-weather courts with various sessions available to suit beginners through to the more competitive tennis player.

Shopping and eating highlights

In terms of shopping and places to eat and drink, there are several great options, including three close together on The Green. These include one of the village’s biggest recent success stories, Bowden Stores ( bowdenstores), which celebrates its first birthday in December 2017. This stylish artisan coffee house and homewares store offers delicious coffee and fabulously fresh, wholesome food, with upmarket finds for the home and stylish gifts also on sale. Just opposite on The Green is Welton’s (www., a deli and much more besides. Selling fine foods, cheeses, meats and wines, it’s also home to a café, offering hot and cold drinks, breakfasts, snacks and lunches, and a shop selling fresh, local produce, newspapers and sweet treats. (Its festive bespoke hampers start from just £15.) It also houses a post office and cash machine. Next to Bowden Stores and opposite Welton’s is the Shoulder of Mutton ( shoulder.ofmutton.3), a pub with a well-deserved


reputation for excellence and friendliness, selling great beers, fine wines and fabulous food. Look out for specials nights, including Perfect Pie Night and Steak Night. “Gin, Prosecco and Tapas”, on Thursday evenings, is also popular, along with monthly live music nights.

Community spirit

Great Bowden has a number of thriving groups and clubs, including Singing Sally, the Flower Club, a Heritage & Archaeology Group and the Women’s Institute. A list of clubs and groups is available on the village website ( along with events running at the village hall. Additionally, the Great Bowden Events Team (www.facebook. com/GreatBowdenEvents) organises a number of fabulous events for everyone to enjoy throughout the year. From a Music Fest, a Tug of War and the Bowden Bin Dash to a Pancake Race and the crazy Bale Push (in which competitive teams of four push a bale around an obstacle course on the recreation ground), there’s a strong emphasis on getting the whole community involved in the fun. Another annual event is the 11am meet of the Fernie Hunt at The Green on Boxing Day, when huge crowds of spectators come to watch.

Canal walks

The picturesque Grand Union Canal winds through Great Bowden on its way from Leicester to Market Harborough and is ideal for a waterside ramble. Take the path past Waterways Cottage/Bowden Hall Bridge 10 onto the canal path – heading right takes you towards Foxton Locks (about 3 miles), while going in the other direction leads to Union Wharf in Market Harborough (around 2 miles).


Sometimes overlooked on a visit to the Delcor showroom at the end of Bath Row in Stamford is the firm’s glorious fabric room.

The fabulous fabric room at Delcor


NSIDE Delcor’s interiors wonderland on Stamford’s stylish Bath Row you can delve through a huge range of fabrics from many different houses that will enable you to finish off your chair or sofa to perfect effect. There is a free sample service, fabrics from all major houses can be sourced, and you are also free to use your own material. Particular favourites include Romo, Christian Lacroix and Linwood… but there are so many other ranges to look through too. WHAT MAKES THE DELCOR FABRIC SERVICE DIFFERENT? • The impressive range, from the more everyday to the unique • Fabrics are selected for their look and quality, not for ease of upholstering (everything is done by hand by skilled craftsmen) • The team is happy to fit hard-to-handle material, such as cotton velvet, which bruises very easily • Delcor is great at projecting forward to future trends – this year it was pink and teal, while next year forest greens will be big • There’s a highly professional service in store to advise on the best material for your lifestyle… after all, different fabrics have different qualities. At the end of the day they want to find the thing that best meets your vision. Come in and start browsing! Delcor, 30 Bath Row, Stamford PE9 2QX, 01780 762579,




CELEBRATING OUR 50 YEAR HERITAGE SOFAS | BEDS | MATTRESSES Visit our Stamford showroom on Bath Row opposite Adnam’s Wine Store 01780 762579



A liTtlE mAgiC A trip to meet Santa is a magical must for my children (aged 2 and 5), and they are always mesmerised by the amazing grotto at West Lodge Rural Centre near Desborough. Not only do they get to meet Father Christmas through a secret entrance but they can take part in a nativity play, walk through the elves’ village and make reindeer food. Make sure you book a slot through the website (www.westlodgeruralcentre., as they fill up fast. Another great way to get into the Christmas spirit is to take a steam train ride on the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough. It is worth the trip to experience Santa’s log cabin and receive a present from the main man himself on one of the heritage train carriages. Book your seats here: Santa Specials are also available at the Northampton and Lamport Railway on dates throughout December via And don’t forget that this winter Gates Garden Centre in Cold Overton has a new Santa’s Grotto, which costs £9.99 per child and runs until Christmas Eve. There’s no need to book but check out the opening times on the website,

A liTtlE sHopPinG Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy Christmas shopping with the kids for once rather than it being a stressful, moan-a-minute process? I find the best way of entertaining my littles ones is to embrace the late-night shopping events and tag team shopping with my husband, whilst the children pet reindeer, eat chestnuts and ride fairground cars. The Market Harborough event is on 1 December from 6pm to 9pm and includes an elves workshop with Mrs Christmas. Christmas in Uppingham runs on Thursday 7 December from 5.30pm to 9pm, while Oakham Late Night Shopping is on Monday 11 December with shops open until 9pm and free parking from 3pm.

LIttLe livIng Twinkling lights and Christmas carols fill the streets and lanes, as Lily Canter and her two boys discover the festive delights on offer this December.

A liTtlE sHow

A liTtlE bAkiNg

Taking the family to the theatre doesn’t have to break the bank if you opt for one of the winter shows rather than a traditional pantomime. Tickets for Christopher’s Christmas at Curve in Leicester are just £6 and can be booked from, whilst seats for The Wind in the Willows at The Core in Corby are £9 to £14.50 from For slightly older children, there’s Scrooge the Musical, which runs until 7 January 2018 (tickets from £10 each). And for something a bit cheeky, Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps is the impolite option at Stamford Corn Exchange, with family tickets at £34 via

Emma Steed at Nature’s Pantry in Market Harborough (3 Church Street) suggests baking these simple gingerbread cookies, which can also be shaped and decorated as festive items such as Christmas trees and snowmen. Your children will never realise how healthy these biscuits really are!

A liTtlE aCtiVitY Get the kids involved in an interactive storytelling class at Kibworth Grammar School Hall this month. Suitable for newborn babies to five-year-olds there is a range of multi-sensory classes that tell a festive story and explore the theme further through singing, sign language, mark-making and other activities. It’s £6 per class per family, meaning that there is no extra cost for siblings. Email freya@ to find out more and book. Few things say Christmas is coming like putting a wreath on your front door, and older children aged 10 and above can take part in a wreath-making workshop at Oakham Guide Hut on Wednesday 6 December. Mince pies, drinks and wreath supplies are covered in the £35 fee. And for children aged four to 10 there is the opportunity to take part in a festive bauble and gift bag workshop at Rutland County Museum in Oakham on Sunday 17 December. No need to book – just drop in between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.



Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients: Blanched almond flour – 2 cups Sea salt – 1/4 tsp Baking soda – 1/4 tsp Cinnamon – 1 tsp Ground ginger – 3 tsp Ground cloves – 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp Coconut oil – 4 tbsp Maple syrup (or honey) – 1/3 cup Method: • Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on a low heat and then pour it into the dry ingredients along with the maple syrup (or honey, if you’re using that instead). Bring the mixture together to form a dough. It will be sloppy, so freeze it for 15 minutes if you can’t yet form it into balls. • Line a baking tray with baking paper. • Roll the dough into equal-sized balls and squish with your palm. Roll the dough thin for crisp biscuits and thicker for a chewier texture. • Use a cookie cutter (a gingerbread person or festive shapes) or just roll the dough into balls and flatten into cookies. Place on the tray. • Bake for 6–8 minutes until golden. Be careful, as they burn quickly. • Leave to cool and harden for 10 minutes, then tuck in and enjoy!

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Kirstie Mitchell went to interview Ink Print & Design’s Simon Bullock, whose family’s sporting achievements and connections to the printing business tell a story of history repeating itself in more ways than one.

Fathers, sons, football and ink


HERE are few people who can boast Simon and Victoria Bullock that their grandfather played football Photo: Robert Leveritt for England, and fewer still whose Photography grandfather also managed Leicester City Football Club. Local businessman and third-generation printer Simon Bullock’s grandfather achieved both such accolades. Simon’s grandfather was Norman Bullock, who, during his younger years, played at Chesterfield Football Club, although he spent most of his club football at Bury. He made a total of 505 league and 32 FA cup appearances. Norman was also capped for England three times in the 1920s, scoring twice, and he later became the manager of Leicester City between 1949 and 1955. When Norman came to retire from football, one of the directors of the club suggested he buy a printing works, and he ran Palmer Printing in Wigston, Leicester, with his son Robin, Simon’s dad, until the 1980s. Having been born and raised in Leicester with his seven siblings, Simon never saw himself going down the printing route like his father and grandfather. In fact, after leaving hotel and catering college, Simon headed to Switzerland to try his hand at being a chef for a season. On his return to the UK, Simon landed a job at RCI in Kettering, where he met his wife, Victoria, when they worked opposite each other. They now have three sons: Henry, Sam and Barney. Henry is busy studying for his A levels, whilst Sam and Barney are keen sports enthusiasts. Sam plays rugby for both his school team and Harborough Rugby Club, and Barney has inherited his grandfather’s football skills and determination – he lives and dreams football. Having played football for Harborough Town FC, Barney was scouted for Nottingham Forest FC and, despite only being 12, plays for the under 13/14 team and is currently playing his third season. Simon never actually worked with his Simon’s big passion is his family and dad, but he was always interested in the supporting local. His business not only family business and grew up with the employs local people, but also offers smell of ink and paper around him. He work experience opportunities to local eventually found himself working as a school leavers who show an interest in print buyer and then setting up Ink Print learning more about printing and product & Design 16 years ago, first in London design. Simon explains, “I love Market where he worked with Barclaycard, Harborough and the creativity firms here Volkswagen and Which? magazine, and have in abundance. Working alongside then relocating Ink back to his home such vibrant brands is a pleasure and I county of Leicestershire. never tire of supporting local.” Ink is based in Market Harborough When not on the side-lines cheering his and employs six people. The firm is sons on and dreaming of them following responsible for the printing of Market in their great-grandad’s footsteps, Simon Norman Harborough brands Two Birds spirits can be seen out on his road bike training Bullock and BeeFayre, plus printing for local for a road sportive. “It’s funny that no businesses RS Academics, Fosters matter how far you travel or move away, Foods, Farndon Fields Farm Shop and TJ Thornton, to name but a few. Its what’s in your history and family always calls the loudest – here I am, a thirdyears of experience have also won the firm printing contracts with Market generation printer, back in my home county, and my son is following in his Harborough-based German shoe retailer Rieker Shoes and a large national great-grandad’s footsteps – and having the best time ever!” charity on behalf of MRM (Multi Resource Marketing), also located in Ink Print & Design, 1 Albany Court, Albany Road, Market Harborough Market Harborough. LE16 7QP, 01858 419048, 44


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Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


Advertisement Feature

OAKHAM VETERINARY HOSPITAL We all want some figgy pudding...


e all want some figgy pudding...but it’s generally not a good idea to share your yuletide feast with your pets, as many of the ingredients may be harmful to them. Examples include: • Dark chocolate and milk/filled chocolates • Grapes, raisins, sultanas and carrots • Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and spring onions • Coffee • Mouldy bread or cheese (often from raiding bins) Ingestion of tree decorations, cracker toys, cocktail sticks, wrapping paper, pot pourri and turkey bones are the culprits behind many an emergency vet visit over Christmas. Please ensure your pet does not have free access to your tree and other decorations/presents when you’re not in the house. During the colder months be especially careful with anti-freeze products - always keep them on a high shelf in the garage with the lid securely closed and clean any spillages up straight away. It has a sweet smell and taste which attracts both cats and dogs but is highly toxic and very often fatal after ingestion. Why not treat them to a lovely new Christmas toy or chew from the extensive range in our

shop to keep them distracted from the festive temptations all around them. Please help us give a very warm welcome to our new vet, Claire Isaacs. Claire graduated from Cambridge University in 2013 and has worked in small animal practice since then. She joined Oakham Veterinary Hospital last month and will be working with us on a full-time basis. Claire’s passion is surgery and she is currently studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in small animal surgery. In her spare time Claire likes to relax by running marathons(!), travelling and spending time with her family and friends. Baby it’s cold wrap up warm when you’re out dog walking and make sure your dog is coping with the drop in temperature. For the less hairy breeds it’s always a good idea to invest in a warm, waterproof jacket for them to wear. If your morning walk is near a river or body of water there will be frozen areas over the winter period so keep your dog on a lead if necessary to keep them away from it. Be aware that conditions like arthritis can flare up in cold weather; ensuring your pet has a warm, soft bed away from drafts can help prevent that

cold weather ‘seizing-up’ feeling. Exercising little and often and using a joint supplement may also help to reduce the seasonal stiffness. Please speak to your vet for more information and advice. Don’t forget your small furry pets also feel the cold. Make sure hutches are raised off the ground away from drafts or damp and cover them with an insulated and waterproof cover overnight. Better still bring them into the garage or shed during really frosty periods and make sure their bedding is really deep and clean. Water bottles also need checking regularly to make sure they don’t freeze up; consider wrapping them in pipe lagging to protect them from sub zero temperatures.



News & Notes

Salon Spotlight: Barnsdale Spa Catherine Varney pays a visit to Rutland Water to meet the new Salon Manager at Barnsdale Spa and re-discovers the beauty of the place. As I was driving towards Barnsdale Hall Hotel, home to Barnsdale Spa, on the shores of Rutland Water, the scenery alone instilled a sense of calm and well-being, and, on arrival, the spacious and beautifully decorated spa was a haven of tranquillity. I hadn’t been here for a while and it felt good to be back. I met up with new Spa Manager Mica Krotochwil, who told me why the venue is a very popular destination: “We cater for a lot of regular clients who live in the area plus we’re always busy with guests who are staying overnight or for a holiday. We have both the spa and the leisure facilities, making it the perfect getaway, and the free parking just outside is a huge added bonus.” The sheer volume of treatments on offer at Barnsdale Spa is certainly impressive, and Mica and her team of three additional therapists are in regular demand: “We’ve just come to the end of the summer season, where manicures, pedicures, gel nails and waxing were the order of the day! Now we’re certainly seeing more facials; the CACI is a very popular anti-ageing option and we’re also doing lots of massages, which are excellent for aches and pains.” The spa definitely seems to have had something of a facelift since I was last there, with new robes and towels, plus the treatment rooms have been decorated in calming shades of grey and white to complement the newly re-branded Espa range that is used for the face and body treatments. Mica told me, “We’re huge fans of Espa because the products are completely natural and eco-friendly too… plus they’re so effective for all skin concerns and smell fantastic.” There’s still time to book in for the festive season – maybe an all-over St Tropez tan will make you feel better in your LBD… or how about a professional make-up application prior to that special night out? Whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed a very friendly welcome and a wonderfully relaxing experience. Enjoy! Barnsdale Spa is at Barnsdale Hall Hotel, Oakham, Rutland, 01572 771313,

Two weeks to a healthier lifestyle Whether you’re still desperate to lose a few pounds in the run up to Christmas, or want to combat the post-festive podge in the New Year, I would thoroughly recommend the EatFit programme by local personal trainer Jeanette Wilkinson. It’s designed to re-educate you about nutrition and eliminate some addictions (such as sugar and caffeine) from your diet to boost energy levels. I embarked on this two-week programme prior to a winter holiday… and I’ve never felt better. The idea behind the programme is that you eat three healthy, filling meals a day; there’s no bad snacking and no processed rubbish (and no alcohol – eeek). It’s all about lots of salads, vegetables, lean protein, healthy snacks and good carbs to change the way you think about food. Before starting, I had been warned about the headaches that can occur as the sugar addictions leave your system and the initial energy slumps due to lack of caffeine… however, as I sailed through the first week,


I wondered what all the fuss was about! Week two is when I really felt quite irritable and tired, and, with a busy week at work, I started feeling slightly overwhelmed with the food preparation. However, I persevered and I’m so glad I did. The key to the programme’s success is the online support group that Jeanette sets up, where recipe ideas and words of encouragement are exchanged, plus she provides instructions for optional short workouts designed to get you fitter faster and speed up the fat-burning process. At the end of the two weeks, I had safely lost 9lb and 9.5 inches all over, including an impressive 2.5 inches off my waist alone; more importantly, I had changed my bad eating and drinking habits for good! For further details on the programme, contact Jeanette Wilkinson at JFitness on 07905 587973 or You can also find her on Facebook at Jfitness Personal Training and Sports Massage.


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HEALTH Santa, baby... & Having spent the last 12 months trying, testing and reviewing some of the region’s best hair and beauty products, here’s my ultimate wish list of those I’d LOVE to see under the tree on Christmas morning. By Catherine Varney.

Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner, Rutland Beauty Clinic If, like me, you dream of having full, fluttery lashes, then your prayers may have well been answered. Ruth Foster from Rutland Beauty Clinic in Oakham told me about Revitalash: “Just one application a day helps to stimulate growth for extra-long natural lashes. In fact, one of our clients told us that people were so astounded at how long her lashes were, they thought they were extensions. And it takes just four weeks to see really dramatic results.” For £104 you get a large 3.5ml Revitalash plus a free mascara, primer and eyeliner – just make sure you cross this one off your gift list now, as stocks are limited.

Divine Face Oil, Natures Dispensary I’m a big fan of all things natural and I have to say I was very impressed when I tried this beautiful oil by Antipodes, a New Zealand brand that promises 100% natural ingredients. Containing avocado and rosehip, this nutrientrich, luxurious oil has been scientifically shown to stimulate collagen production in skin cells by up to 51%: it has worked wonders on my dry, patchy skin, resulting in a brighter, fresher, more even-looking complexion.


Mythic Oil Gift Box, Glow I absolutely love L’Oreal Mythic oil – it’s perfect for combing through damp hair before blow drying to achieve super sleek, shiny locks. So when I heard the special-edition box set was back this year with even more products to add to my collection, I knew I had to have it! For £34, the box contains a shampoo and masque that replenish tired tresses with an enriched formula of argan, avocado, cottonseed and grapeseed oil blends… plus a bonus room diffuser, which smells simply divine.

Environ Christmas Gift Set, Naomi Nails & Beauty If you haven’t tried the Environ range of beauty products yet, then you’re missing out! I truly believe they offer noticeable results for all skin concerns, and the impressive limited-edition Christmas gift box at £157 is a great way to try the whole regime at the same time. Containing eight of Environ’s skincare staples, it includes the AVST cleanser, toner and moisturiser (in a choice of levels 1–5), C-Quence Eye Gel, Evenescence C-Boost, Intensive Revival Masque, Avance DFP 312 Serum and the Hydrating Oil capsules: everything you need for younger, fresher, brighter skin.

Keratin Hair Treatment, Thomas Hairdressing If budget’s no problem, then give the gift that keeps on giving and book your loved one in for a keratin treatment at Thomas Hairdressing salons. Thomas gave me the lowdown: “A keratinenriched blow dry is perfect for this time of the year, eliminating frizz and helping to repair any damage gathered over the past few months. It will last between 4–6 months, reduce drying time and make your hair feel incredible. Once you have tried it you will never go back – we have a 100% return rate in the salon for this service.”


& BEAUTY Jessica Nails Gift Set, Langham Body and Beauty Clinic

Wella System Professional Gift Box, Head Candy For a bespoke hair care gift, you can’t beat the Wella System Professional haircare sets at Head Candy. There are three to choose from, and they contain products such as the System P Luxe Oil shampoo, Reconstructive Elixir (a fusion of oils that transform hair from inside out) and Colour Save Conditioner to breathe new life back into colour- and heat-treated hair. And, better still, all sets contain a free treatment voucher, so you’ll be giving the gift of salon expertise as well.

The Decléor Body Trio Collection, Ellique I love spending time off over Christmas pampering myself. That’s why luxurious body treats are always high on my wish list, such as the beautiful 1, 2, 3 New Skin, Happy Me collection, which contains the Decléor Aroma Cleanse Body Exfoliator, hand cream and moisturising body milk for the purse-friendly price of £16 (worth £30). Ellique have other skincare collections to choose from ranging from £12 (a very cute lip balm bauble) to £80 (The Live Life in Gold Collection), and they are all exquisitely packaged too, making a very impressive gift choice for someone special.

Pureology Superfood Takeaway Hair Treatment, Creme Hair and Beauty We all know what super foods can do for your body – well now they can work their magic with your hair too. These clever pots of goodness from Pureology are perfect for protecting your colour at home and keeping hair in tiptop condition between appointments. Add a treatment on to your salon service for £5 at Creme Hair and Beauty or buy as a gift for £26.50 in a choice of Hydrate and Strength formulations.

Espa Gift Set, Barnsdale Spa If it’s value for money you’re after, then the Espa Gift Sets at Barnsdale Spa are a great buy. For £50, the Balancing Collection includes the 24-hour Balancing Moisturiser (which costs £43 on its own), the Balancing Foam Cleanser, the Herbal Spafresh toner and a mini face-treatment oil. These products contain natural plant extracts and work to clarify, hydrate and soothe oily and combination skin: perfect for eliminating shine before applying foundation. Oh, and the packaging is so elegant you could just add a bow – no need to wrap!

Champagne Peel, Rutland Aesthetics Now this sounds like my type of treatment! Perfect for the party season and beyond, the unique champagne peel combines a glycolic peel and mesotherapy treatment to improve the surface and texture of your skin, tightening, reducing pigmentation and stimulating collagen production to produce a glowing, polished complexion. Dr Dhesi told me: “The mesotherapy is performed predominantly around the eyes and any problem areas to produce significant results for the client after one treatment.” Current promotional price: £145.

It wouldn’t be party season without perfectly painted nails, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this year’s Jessica Christmas gift sets. Popular colours include the precious metals range in a choice of White Opal, Red Beryl (a deep, shimmery purple colour) and Red Rubies, which are perfect for adding a touch of shimmer to festive nails. Gift sets contain a base coat and top coat for a professionallooking, long-lasting home manicure with no need for a UV lamp.

Superman Gift Set, Naomi Nails & Beauty Now it can’t all be about me, me, me: my poor hubby deserves a treat too. And what better than the aptly named Superman package by Elemis, available from Naomi Nails & Beauty. Packaged in a very handsome blue presentation box, it contains a Deep Cleanse Facial Wash, Sharp Shower Body Wash and a Daily Moisture Boost, priced at £38 but worth £63 – exceptional value for money, which I’m sure he’ll also be pleased about! DIRECTORY: • Barnsdale Spa, Oakham, Rutland, 01572 771313, • Creme Hair and Beauty, The Old Church, 8 Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 723823, • Ellique, 55 South Street, Oakham, 01572 723950 • Glow, Barnsdale Lodge, The Avenue, Exton, Oakham, 01572 720611, • Head Candy, 26 Church Street, Market Harborough, 01858 464395, • Langham Body and Beauty Studio, 12 Cold Overton Road, Langham, 07917 672815, • Naomi Nails & Beauty, 14 Manor Walk, Market Harborough, 01858 657001, • Natures Dispensary, 7 Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 771231, • Rutland Aesthetics, 07775 839921, • Rutland Beauty Clinic, 1a Market Street, Oakham, 01572 756589, • Thomas Hairdressing, The Maltings, 15 Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 756561, and 7 Market Place, Uppingham, 01572 822555,




Top-to-toe treatments

Market Harborough’s Sosennah Every reviews two cutting-edge treatments at Homefield Grange and a reflexology session with Karen Joseph at The Manor in Tur Langton

Live Blood Analysis

HydraFacial at Homefield Grange The much-lauded, celebrity-endorsed, multi-step HydraFacial aims to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and feel, and reduce acne and brown spots. My treatment started with a detox of the skin using lymphatic drainage to eliminate puffiness and toxins – this felt like the skin was being puckered with a slight vacuum suction. Then came a deep-cleansing and exfoliation phase, followed by a massage with a gentle glycolic and salicylic solution to brighten the skin and leave it glowing. The next phase was all about hydrating the skin with super serums packed with antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid to replenish and firm. The final part of the treatment involved LED lights on the skin for 30 seconds to help stimulate collagen and reduce redness, then the application of an SPF 50 moisturiser. The result was a very deep clean of the face and a definite glow! I was pleased when people commented and I noticed that my skin was incredibly smooth and not puffy – a result that lasted for a number of weeks. HydraFacial is £120 for a single (50-minute) treatment at Homefield Grange, Manor Road, Rushden, Northants NN14 1RH. Tel 01536 712219, enquiries@homefield,

I was intrigued by this analysis, as it promised to give a very clear view of what was going on in my body. After a quick pin prick, Judy at Homefield Grange placed three dots of blood on to a slide, which she then put under a microscope linked to a computer, so that we could both see the blood cells. Judy kindly picked out all the healthy, round-shaped red blood cells first, before pointing to a number of odd-shaped ones! I had a number of “lemon-shaped” red cells, which showed there was increasing acidity in the blood – probably as a result of stress, dehydration and acid-forming foods such as meat, wheat and alcohol! I Photo: iStock also had “oval-shaped” cells, which correlated with my symptoms of fatigue and slight anaemia due to my lack of B12 vitamins. Some irregular “spikyshaped” cells indicated poor circulation and liver and spleen stress. Oh dear… my Saturday night was certainly catching up with me! There wasn’t any hiding, as the cells showed everything and gave me the short, sharp shock that I could do better in terms of having green vegetables and vitamins and cutting back on bad foods and drinks. Luckily, my white blood cells were plentiful! At the end of the assessment I was given a list of recommended Photo: iStock vitamins and simple ways to be healthier – a minimum of five vegetables per day, oily fish twice a week, body brushing to activate sluggish lymph glands and Epsom Salt baths twice a week to increase magnesium levels and reduce fatigue. I also had lots of fact sheets on healthy snacks and breakfasts to take away. I came home determined to put at least some of these changes in place straight away. Live Blood Analysis is £129 and takes one hour at Homefield Grange. Contact details for Homefield Grange are given under the HydraFacial review (left).

Foot reflexology with Karen Joseph Following an in-depth consultation about any aches, pains or illnesses I might have, Karen explained that she would focus my treatment on lymphatic drainage, which would either bring my current bad cold out in its entirety or flush it away completely. I’m hoping for the latter! The treatment itself was blissful. I lay on a massage bed wrapped in a cocoon of warmed blankets with a hot water bottle, whilst Karen first massaged my feet with beeswax and rose and then slowly and gently pressed on the pressure points in my foot. I completely relaxed and drifted off, but I was aware of slight movements and trickles of fluid moving around in my chest area. Karen explained that this was the lymph glands draining and flushing out, which was very positive. An immensely knowledgeable practitioner, Karen was able to pinpoint areas where I was tight or stressed and offered advice on reflexes that I can do on my hands to try to relieve tension. She also complemented



the advice I was given after the Live Blood Analysis at Homefield Grange (see above) by recommending vitamin B6 in its active form (P5P) and using magnesium Epsom Salt baths or foot baths at least 3–4 times a week to help relieve stress and tiredness. Karen specialises in reflexology for women’s health, from fertility, pregnancy and post-natal recovery through to helping clients through the menopause. She also works with men for a variety of conditions from high blood pressure to diabetes, and with children over 10 and teenagers who are suffering from exam stress and anxiety. She is about to start a piece of research on reflexology for migraine sufferers. Christmas gift vouchers of various amounts and for various treatments are available – see the website for details. Karen Joseph MAR Reflexologist, The Manor (Hair & Beauty), Main Street, Tur Langton, Leicestershire LE8 0PJ, 07967 645886,,


Relax Me

Detox Me

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Indulge yourself at Homefield with 2 hours of luxury treatments.

Two hours of pampering treatments targeted for detox:

The perfect kick start to a slimmer, healthier you. Included on the day are:

Enjoy our wonderful

Full body brush and back scrub, G5 Lymphatic Massage for cellulite reduction and toxin removal plus an indulgent

(it’s hard to loose weight when you are eating foods you’re intolerant to).

Decleor Vitamin Glow Facial and relax with our indulgent full body Decleor Aromatherapy Massage.

Decleor Detoxifying Body Wrap.

Food Intolerance Testing

G5 Lymphatic Massage

for cellulite and toxin removal plus a wonderful Therapeutic Massage

to lower stress levels.

Each program runs from 10am – 2pm, £195* inclusive Two course healthy lunch, herbal teas, relaxing lounge, fluffy dressing gowns & slippers, use of our gym and infrared sauna. *Vouchers available for Christmas gifts

Homefield Grange, Manor Road, Rushton, Nr Kettering, Northants, NN14 1RH 01536 712219 | | 9am-6pm, 7 days a week



Market Harborough


Inspirational hairdressing from traditional to contemporary cutting & styling. Specialists in couture colour. Experience the alchemy of care, colour & style. HEAD CANDY Wella Premium Salon

Book your appointment Call 01858 464395 26 Church Street, Market Harborough









Terms and conditions apply. Ask in practice for details.

Terms and conditions apply. Ask in practice for details.

Transitions, the swirl, and Transitions Adaptive Lenses are registered trademarks of Transitions Optical, Inc., used under license by Transitions Optical Ltd. Live the Good Light is a trademark of Transitions Optical Ltd. © 2017 Transitions Optical Ltd. Photochromic performance is influenced by temperature, UV exposure, and lens material.

We welcome other Opticians prescriptions

Opening Times Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday:

Closed 10.00am – 5.30pm Friday: 10.00am – 7.00pm Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm Sunday:

10.00am – 5.30pm 10.00am – 1.30pm Closed

For further information visit us at: 32 St Peters Street, Stamford, PE9 2PF (next door to the Bathroom Shop) T: 01780 767 403 E:



News & Notes Helping you make the most of Rutland living

Oakham Swim School

The Rutland watch by Loomes & Co


ASED in the grounds of Oakham School, Oakham Swim School has recently undergone extensive renovation to make it an even more superb venue for all children to enjoy swimming. The heated 25-metre pool is located very near to the centre of Oakham with free parking close by. Following the Swim England “Learn to Swim” pathway, the experienced teachers build confidence in the water using strong swim-stroke techniques. They offer a range of junior group and individual lessons (the latter are usually one to one or two to one) throughout term time, plus intensive courses and individual lessons during the school holidays. “Rookie Lifeguard” swim sessions are also held. Junior Swim School offers small group lessons on Wednesday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons for children aged 4–16 years old. Frank, who is 8 and attends classes on Wednesdays, told us, “I love my swimming lessons. When I was little, I fell into a pond and that was scary because I couldn’t swim. It’s really important to learn

L to swim. The teachers here make the lessons fun. My little brother comes to Oakham Swim School too and he really enjoys it as well. He loves jumping in and pretending to be a shark!” Intensive Swim Courses are a fantastic way of helping children to progress more quickly by having daily 30-minute swimming sessions for a week during the school holidays, helping to improve confidence and technique. Oakham Swim School has professionally qualified instructors who are brimming with enthusiasm and expert knowledge and who work to achieve the very best results for every child. New members are welcome and can join at any point during the term, if there’s space. To book a free swim assessment, please call 01572 758754 or email

Climbing up the property ladder This month, our local property advisor David Crooke, owner of UPP Property Agents looks into the cost difference on our aspirational climb “UPP” the property ladder.


OVING to a bigger home is something many people dream of. Bigger homes, especially three-bedroom ones are much in demand, but it can be a costly move. If you live in Oakham in a two-bedroom property and wish to move to a four-bedroom house in the town, you would need to spend an additional £239,098 (or £944.44 per month in mortgage payments (based on the UK Bank average standard variable rate). However, going straight to a four bed is quite rare. The following graph shows the average price for an Oakham property, by its number of bedrooms:

payments (using the current standard variable rate of UK Banks of 4.74% – so the mortgage cost could be higher or lower, depending on the mortgage taken). Oakham

Price difference to make the move

Cost per month to move up market (mortgage)

1 bed to 2 bed 2 bed to 3 bed 2 bed to 4 bed 3 bed to 4 bed 4 bed to 5 bed

£36,110 £57,441 £239,098 £181,657 £103,623

£142.63 £226.89 £944.44 £717.55 £409.31

Looking at the stock of properties in Oakham, this also makes interesting reading… Housing stock in Oakham by bedrooms 1 bed 2 bed 3 bed 4 bed 5.26% 23.68% 44.74% 23.68%

To analyse it further, I have calculated what it would cost to make the jump upmarket from one to two bedrooms, two to three bedrooms, etc, both in actual money and in mortgage


5 bed 2.63%

The most active purchasers are 20-somethings and 30-something homeowners with growing families. Many look to more modern developments for a good balance of access to decent schools, commutability and lifestyle. To those of you looking to buy your first home, all I suggest is you not only consider the mortgage payments and other costs of your first home, but also do your homework


OOMES & Co have launched a new gentleman’s wristwatch in time for Christmas, and we’re rather delighted that it’s called the “Rutland”. Building on the success of earlier watch designs, Loomes wanted to create a classic, manual wind, mechanical wristwatch. Deceptively simple in design, the watch, which is priced at £980, completely encapsulates Rutland’s motto “Multum in Parvo” – a lot in a small space. Over 150 components go into the making of each timepiece. Housed in the Loomes classic stainless-steel case, the dials, which are available in either duck egg blue or ivory silk, are produced in Stamford. Each watch carries a three-year guarantee. Visit Robert Loomes FBHI FRSA at 4 St Mary’s Hill, Stamford PE9 2DP, 01780 481319,

Plans for Oakham Town Centre


OU can view and comment on evolving designs for the proposed one-way system through Oakham town centre at Oakham Library until Friday 15 December. A public display with details of the proposed new highway layout and larger pedestrian areas and the surfacing material and street furniture is on show there. All the information on display is also available on Rutland County Council’s website, with the option to comment online. A final decision on the system will be made in early 2018.

regarding making your climb onto the next rung up the property ladder. To landlords, the changes in the way people live also means there are opportunities to be had. Many of you are starting to pick my brain on this, so, if you don’t want to miss out, drop me a line. To read a longer version of this article, visit David’s blog, www.rutlandpropertyblog. com. For professional advice on buying, selling, renting and managing your homes and property investments, please call UPP Property Sales & Lettings on 01572 725825. See also


News & Notes Cavells and Fika expand on Oakham’s Mill Street


ONGRATULATIONS are in order for two Oakham businesses that have undergone expansion in recent weeks: to über-stylish fashion store Cavells, who have expanded into interiors with a brand new “Home” department, and cool Scandinavian cafe Fika, who have moved from their old base in Northgate to a beautifully renovated venue adjacent to Cavells. Cavells Home, which is located in 1,000 square feet of former warehouse space that is now light, airy and contemporary, offers furniture, lighting, homeware and gifts that have been sourced and curated from across the UK and Europe by a dedicated team. There are items at an excellent range of prices, and there are personal touches on offer too, such as gift-wrapping. The expansion of Fika, meanwhile, takes place almost a year to the day after the cafe originally opened and offers a much larger space, plus a much bigger (very tempting) Scandi menu in addition to the usual coffee and cakes. You’ll find Fika through a blue door between 10a and 10b Mill Street – just head down a little passageway decorated with twinkly lights and olive trees. You can also access the cafe directly through Cavells – and vice versa – which is ideal if you want to have a coffee while you (or a shopping companion) are thinking about a purchase, or waiting for something to be wrapped. For more information, visit www.cavells. and

The Blue Ball, Braunston


E didn’t manage to include this one in our October review of where to eat out in the area at Christmas and New Year (the article’s still available on our website, if you’d like to read it), but we can now give details of the Christmas Party Menu at The Blue Ball at Braunston. A traditional Christmas party menu with a few tasty twists (including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options) is available from Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 23 December, 12–2pm and 6–9pm. Three courses cost £27 (children £20) and two courses £22 (children £15). A £10pp deposit and pre-orders are required. Visit for the menu, pre-order form and booking enquiries. You can also contact the pub on 01572 722135.

Rutland Water Fly Fishing


UR first Picture of the Month in the November issue of this magazine sparked lots of lovely feedback, not least from fully qualified, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing guide and coach Rob Waddington, who has been running Rutland Water Fly Fishing since 2003, operating from The Lodge at Barnsdale on the water’s North Shore. Our image featured a member of the Rutland Water Fly Fishing team. Rob’s name may be familiar to you from a recent episode of “Escape to the Country”, in which he taught the presenter, Margherita Taylor, how to fish. If you’d like to have a go yourself, fly fishing courses and fly fishing trips on Rutland Water for individuals, couples, friends, family and group/corporate team days are available. Christmas gift vouchers, which would make an inspired alternative gift, can be purchased online. For further details, visit

Uppingham in Bloom Huge congratulations to Uppingham, who were joint gold winners in the Britain in Bloom Small Town category. Absolutely wonderfully well done to all concerned!

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News & Notes M A R K E T


New Pop-Up Wine Bar for Market Harborough


Ashley Farm Shop celebrates a decade in business

REATED by Matthew Lowe, Vins Wine Bar is an easy-going pop-up bar in Blend Coffee Shop in Market Harborough. The idea is to offer a quality selection of wines all available by the glass, with a wine list that is constantly growing and changing. The wines are supplied by industry expert Chris Richardson, who runs a small, local distribution business. Handmade flatbreads and classic food boards to be shared complement the wines. Vins is popping up Thursday to Saturday, 5–10pm at Blend Coffee Shop, 20 Manor Walk, Market Harborough LE16 9UT, 07986 726034,


EN years ago, on 15 December, Sue and Gill combined their enthusiasm and desire for quality food and opened a farm shop in Ashley, and they’ve never looked back – they stand still occasionally and think “Oh my word, what have we done?”, but only occasionally, and deservedly with pride. Throughout the decade the business has blossomed into a thriving family industry of excellence. The farm shop produces its own lamb and beef, bakes cakes, cooks luscious meals “to go”, either from the chiller or freezer, and sells eggs and a multitude of homeproduced jams, pickles and chutneys. What started as a Herb Farm now holds prestigious awards for pies and sausages and retains a 5-star rating for cleanliness. Sue and Gill send their thanks and warmest wishes to all their loyal customers and staff, and say that they are looking forward to the next 10 years building on what’s already a very good recipe. Call in to Ashley Farm Shop in the week leading up to 15 December for a free raffle ticket and a chance to win a Christmas hamper worth more than £40. Ashley Farm Shop, Main Street, Ashley, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 8HG, 01858 565722,,

Harborough Innovation Centre welcomes new Director


ARBOROUGH Innovation Centre has welcomed a new member to its team to give advice and support to local businesses. Stuart Hartley has joined the team as Innovation Director. Stuart is very well known across the region, having built up over 15 years of valuable experience in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, including supporting over 1,500 businesses in his role as Head of Business Incubation and Enterprise at De Montfort University, and leading the team as Director at the Corby Enterprise Centre. Stuart said: “I’m delighted to be joining the team at Harborough Innovation Centre and can’t wait to meet everyone from all of the wonderful businesses that call the centre home. The centre does some fantastic work with small to medium-sized enterprises both based in this building and from the wider Harborough District. As well as providing office and meeting space, the team here offers support and advice to everyone about a range of different parts of their own business.” “I’ve been working with small businesses for over 15 years, and helping them to achieve their full potential is certainly something that has become a passion of mine. It’s a fantastic feeling to play a small part in helping businesses grow and flourish, and to see small enterprises becoming a real success is fantastic for the local area as well. I’m really looking forward to working with local businesses in Market Harborough, and hopefully we can continue the success that the centre has experienced already.” As well as businesses based at the centre, the team also offers support to a number of firms within the Harborough District. For more information about Harborough Innovation Centre, visit

Christmas Fayre at The Sunflowers Day Nursery There’ll be festive fun for all the family at Market Harborough’s Sunflowers Day Nursery on the evening of Thursday 14 December (6.30–8pm). Attractions will include a tombola, a Santa’s grotto with special guest Father Christmas, and delicious festive foodie treats including mince pies. Do go along to support the nursery and to see what they have on offer. If you’re interested in sending your child here, you can also arrange a visit on the contact details below. Bowden Business Village, Harborough Road, Market Harborough LE16 7SA, 01858 540227,



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Out & About

Amander Meade selects the best entertainment in the region this month. “Snow Geese” by Sandra Peck

From Saturday 18 November, throughout December to Sunday 7 January, evening and matinee performances FAMILY SHOW: Scrooge the Musical Join Ebenezer Scrooge on a spellbinding journey through Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. Will the miserable humbug cancel Christmas or can he learn the error of his ways in this heart-warming story with a fabulous score? Recommended for ages 8 years plus. Want to win tickets? See page 4! Curve, Leicester Tickets from £10, 0116 242 3595, Saturday 25 November to Sunday 24 December EVENT: Santa Special on the Nene Valley Railway Your Santa experience starts with a welcome from station staff before an exciting visit to Santa’s log cabin, where each child receives a special present Santa Special

from the old gentleman himself. Families then join a steam-hauled, decorated train for a 50-minute ride to Peterborough and back. During the journey the children receive a drink and chocolates. Adults are treated to refreshments too. Tickets cost between £15 and £25. For booking and further information visit Friday 1 December, 6pm to 9pm EVENT: Market Harborough Christmas Fair A traditional Christmas shopping event in Market Harborough town centre, with food and craft stalls, music and dancing and wonderful entertainment for all the family. Friday 1 December, 7.30pm EVENT: Lyddington Film Night This month’s film is “The Beguiled” (15). Captain John McBurney is an injured Union soldier who finds himself on the run as a deserter during the Civil War. He seeks refuge at an all-female Southern boarding school. Dangerous rivalries develop as the women tend to his wounded leg while offering him comfort and companionship. Lyddington Village Hall Admission is £5 on the door Saturday 2 December, 10.30am to 2.30pm EVENT: Jingle Bells Christmas Fayre There’ll be stalls, refreshments, games, bar and a raffle, and Father Christmas will be dropping in to see all the good little boys and girls with all proceeds to St Peter and St Paul’s Church. Market Overton Bowls Club Monday 4 December, 7pm for a 7.30pm start FUNDRAISING CONCERT: The Rutland NSPCC Christmas Carol Concert This concert is always immensely popular and a key

event in Rutland’s social calendar. This year sees the usual stellar line up of celebrity readers, including Lars Tharp, Rosemary Conley, Anne Davies and one or two celebrity surprises, plus our very own history writer, Caroline Aston, as compère. Launch the festive season in support of the work of the NSPCC – the concert has so far raised around £200,000 to help abused and neglected children. All Saint’s Church, Oakham Tickets are £15 each at Don Paddy’s in Uppingham and James Sellick’s in Oakham Tuesday 5 December and Thursday 14 December, 10.30am to 4pm EVENTS: Watercolour Workshops Perfect for beginners and those wanting to make their own special cards. Lucy Ellis will take you step by step through some simple watercolour techniques for showing snowy skies, misty trees and wintery landscapes. On 14 December Sandra Peck will show you how to try out some watercolour techniques for showing old stone, snow and light shining on ivy leaves. You can sit up close and watch her detailed demonstrations before having a go at your own pace. From the more experienced artist to the beginner, these are relaxed, informative days. Barnsdale Gardens Price £65, including tea/coffee, a cream tea and entry to the Gardens. Basic materials pack available for an extra £6. Booking and information 01572 813200, Thursday 7 December, 5.30pm to 9pm EVENT: Christmas in Uppingham The town’s late-night shopping event with lots of festive fun including a skating rink, street stalls, hot food, a Christmas show, activities, buskers, choirs and singing and much more. Uppingham Town Centre


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Out & About

Amander Meade selects the best entertainment in the region this month. Charity Santa Ride at Rutland Cycling

Thursday 7 to Saturday 30 December, morning, afternoon and evening performances FAMILY SHOW: The Wind in the Willows A classic tale for all the family. Follow Ratty, Toad and Mole in a heart-warming story of adventure and friendship. This brand-new production, made in Corby, is filled with humour, song, dance and good old-fashioned storytelling that puts the audience right at the heart of the action and gets you ready for Christmas. The Core at Corby Cube Tickets from £9, 01536 470470, Saturday 9 December, 7.30pm MUSIC: The Bootleg Beatles Formed from the original cast of London’s West End hit show “Beatlemania”, The Bootleg Beatles offer a note-perfect recreation of hits from each era of the world’s most famous songbook. Every tiny detail is meticulously covered from costumes to authentic period instruments – from the “Liverpudlian” banter to their “inflection perfect” vocal mimicry. One reviewer recently said, “It’s not John, Paul, George and Ringo... but you simply won’t believe it.” De Montfort Hall, Leicester Tickets and further booking information 0116 233 3111, The Bootleg Beatles


Saturday 9 December to Sunday 14 January, afternoon and evening performances FAMILY SHOW: George’s Marvellous Medicine Most grandmas are lovely, kind, helpful old ladies, but George’s one likes to gobble up slugs and bugs. When his parents leave him alone with the grizzly old grunion, George takes his chance and sets about creating a brand-new medicine to cure her of her cruelty. Expect bags of frothbuggling family fun from this adaption of Roald Dahl’s hugely popular book. Recommended for ages 5 and upwards. Curve, Leicester Tickets from £12, 0116 242 3595, Monday 11 December, 4pm onwards EVENT: Oakham Late Night Shopping Step into the Festive Spirit with the Oakham’s annual late-night shopping event. There’ll be plenty to see and do. The Victoria Hall and the High Street will be packed with stalls offering local produce and beautiful gift ideas for Christmas. There’ll be rides to keep the kids happy, and the EMICS team will present a live nativity in The Buttercross. Shops will remain open until 9pm, with free parking from 3pm. Wednesday December 13, 7pm for 7.30pm TALK: Mercian Leicestershire Peter Liddle is the guest of the Market Harborough Historical Society and will speak about Mercia, the powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom dominant in the 8th and 9th centuries and with Leicestershire at its heart. Using his lifelong experience as an archaeologist in the county, Peter will discuss how archaeology is revealing more about this important ancient kingdom. The Roman Way Community Centre, Market Harborough Admission is free to members and £3 to visitors


Saturday 16 December, 7.30pm CHRISTMAS CONCERT: So Many Stars Join Chater Community Choir as they perform some of their favourite seasonal classics and Christmas songs for their fifth Anniversary Christmas Concert. This popular event promises the audience a good helping of Christmas cheer and angelic voices, provided by the children of Brooke Hill Academy. Concert proceeds will be donated to Young Minds – the UK’s leading charity championing the well-being and mental health of young people. Oakham School Chapel Tickets £5 from Tracy Steward, 01780 729006 Sunday 17 December from 10am EVENT: Charity Santa Ride Rutland Cycling will be holding their annual charity Santa Ride, departing from their Whitwell store from 10am. This is a gentle pedal suitable for all the family, to Giant Store Normanton for refreshments and mince pies, then back to Whitwell. The cost is £5 per family with all proceeds going to the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough. Bike hire is available at a reduced rate of £5 when booked in advance. Fancy dress is optional for both participants and their bikes, with prizes for the best fancy dress and the best-dressed bike. To book or for more details visit Sunday 17 December, 6.30pm for 7pm EVENT: Music in Ashley Church A candlelit musical celebration of Christmas for all the family including Christmas songs and readings. There’ll be carols and songs from Ashley Choir with plenty of audience participation. Licensed bar, sausage rolls and mince pies. St Mary the Virgin Church, Ashley Admission is free, with a retiring collection for the Church’s Housing Trust.


Paintings from the studio of Irish Artists Des Murrie and the late Marie Carroll. From Saturday 2nd December.

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Tack up the tinsel, burnish the baubles and string up the lights! Christmas, a time of traditions, is upon us. Cards, carols, tinsel, trees and turkeys provide the time-honoured backdrop, as does the telly-fest that is our Yuletide entertainment. But how different from the home-spun festive fun our ancestors revelled in. By Caroline Aston.

Local Christmas past


URN back the clock to candlelit parlours decked with berry-studded holly, where each and every guest literally had to sing for their supper. In our technoworld it’s hard to imagine people being gripped by poetry recitations, public readings, riddles and word games, yet in Rutland and Market Harborough there was a rich variety of this kind of entertainment on offer throughout the year, and especially at Christmas. To many Oakham residents the Victoria Hall in the High Street is like an old, well-loved friend. Built in 1858 it spent its first 40 years as the “Agricultural Hall”, a meeting place for local farmers, as well as home to a library. The year 1899 saw its re-naming, perhaps to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 80th birthday, and it was officially declared a charity. For generations of Rutlanders the Hall was the focus of all manner of celebrations, and balls, dinners and dances there drew large numbers of revellers. Local legend has it that one snowy 19th-century Christmas the assemblage was honoured by the presence of the Countess of Gainsborough, who lost a precious necklace that was never found. However, it’s said that a servant girl standing outside to see all the Rutland society high-flyers picked up what she thought was a pretty string of glass beads out of the snow. Years later the “glass beads” were found to be real gems and the necklace worth a small fortune! Today’s visitors to the Hall can now see the original Victorian high-vaulted ceiling with its cast-iron supports, once masked by a 1950s’ false covering that was removed at the start of the


The Victorians gave us some of our best-loved carols, and generations of boys and girls earned some Christmas pennies singing them from door to door. 21st century. Gazing upwards it’s easy to imagine it decorated with homemade swags of holly and ivy and to hear the swish of dancers’ silken skirts as they circled the dance floor to the strains of a band made up of local talent. That roof was later decorated with a constellation of sequin stars. Incidentally, Oakham once boasted another “dance hall” above what was formerly “the Co-op” at the High Street end of Dean Street, now home to a florist’s shop. At Kibworth, near Market Harborough, there was a rich diet of entertainment. In the 1870s a large number turned out for a lecture on “Arab Life and Manners” given by Seyyid Mustafa benYusuf in full Arabian dress with a supporting cast of a dozen exotically dressed fellow countrymen and featuring a prayer mat, a copper coffee pot and a hookah pipe! The vicar of Harborough was decidedly sniffy about these goings on and made it very clear that he preferred “Penny Readings”, which were instructive and amusing but were most definitely NOT popular entertainment… and he specifically banned anyone from appearing in costume! Although his politically incorrect act would


not of course make it on stage nowadays, the long-forgotten Mr William Noble was a popular local performer in the Harborough district, wearing “blackface” makeup on stage. The Market Harborough Advertiser waxed lyrical about one of his 1873 performances, reporting that he had “a full house” and “sang several fresh songs, causing much laughter”. Times, certainly, have changed. In fact, the local papers in both Rutland and Market Harborough abound with accounts of concerts featuring such gems as a reading on “How to Cure a Cold”, a monologue on “The Goose Club” (forerunner of the later Christmas clubs and our pre-paid Christmas savings schemes of today), not to mention tear-jerking performances of “Silver Threads among the Gold” and “The Skylark’s Song”. As frost silvered the bare winter trees of our countryside, and snowflakes drifted down, the clear, still air was filled with the sound of numerous groups of “waits”, the old name for carol singers. The Victorians gave us some of our best-loved carols, and generations of boys and girls earned some Christmas pennies singing them from door to door. It was, in the truest sense, a very different world to ours and one where a stocking filled with some sweets, a homemade toy and an orange was received with utter rapture by so many children – hard to imagine today. But, as you raise a festive glass this year, remember the ghosts of Christmas past who maybe enjoyed their simple pleasures more than we enjoy our so-sophisticated ones – and who didn’t have a TV remote to fight over! Happy Christmas to all our readers.



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Rutland Living December 2017