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PERFECT PRESENTS Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

FOODIE HEAVEN We Visit The Gallery

LOCAL NEWS Keeping You Up To Date

WHAT’S ON Events, Clubs & Attractions


kids eat free on Sundays


   in South Woodford Sunday roast only


mid week lunch

3 course set menu


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Welcome to our February issue, we hope you enjoy reading it.

This month love in in the air as we bring you our Valentine’s Day gift guide in case you are stuck for ideas to impress that special someone. We have also teamed up with Belgique Patisserie for our competition so one lucky reader can win an afternoon tea for two people on Valentine’s weekend, turn to page 35 for entry details.

Tel: 01787 583152

Last month we got a lovely treat of our own as we visited The Gallery Restaurant in South Woodford. On page 16 you can read all about our visit. We are told they y are already fully booked for Valentine’s Day but why not give them a try one lunchtime, at £20 for three hree courses you cannot go wrong!


DESIGN Lauren Brown Designs

CONTRIBUTORS Victoria Robertson, Abbotts Travel,

See you next month!

American Tourister



School Open Days Ltd

ON THE COVER 8 13 16 33 32

Local News Valentine’s Day Gift Guide ide The Gallery Review What’s On Competition    






February Gardening Guide de e

TRAVEL 26 31

BLESS Madrid Travel Light


Puzzle Corner Dad’s Diary


Distributed monthly to the following towns: South Woodford, Woodford, Chigwell, Wanstead, Chingford, Buckhurst Hill, Loughton, Theydon Bois, Epping, North Weald, Ongar. Although every care has been taken to ensure accuracy, School Open Days Ltd take no responsibility for any errors or the advertisements within this magazine.

FUN & GAMES 37 38



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    EPPING FOREST MP DAME ELEANOR LAING SUPPORTS CERVICAL CANCER PREVENTION WEEK Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing supported Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week at the end of January. Dame Eleanor and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust helped raise awareness about how women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer. More than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK, yet it is one of the only cancers that can be prevented and one day become a disease of the past. Cervical screening (smear tests) are the best protection against the disease, followed by the HPV vaccine offered in schools. Yet cervical screening uptake is at a 21-year low in England. It is at just 71.4 per cent meaning that more than one in four women are not booking a potentially life-saving test. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has published new research which has found young women who delay or do not go for cervical screening feel scared (71 per cent), vulnerable (75 per cent) and embarrassed (81 per cent) at the thought of going. A worrying two thirds (67 per cent) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test. Dame Eleanor said: “I am delighted to be working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. "Cervical screening prevents up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers developing, so it is worrying to hear that so many women are not attending this test when invited, particularly due to embarrassment." The Trust's chief executive, Robert Music, said: “We are delighted to have Dame Eleanor’s support to help raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening. "Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy. "We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.�



Parish council meets with MP to discuss library's future... North Weald Bassett Parish Council councillors and staff as well as local residents have met with local MP Alex Burghart to discuss Essex County Council's proposals for the future of library services, and the possible closure of North Weald Library. Mr Burghart, whose Brentwood and Ongar constituency includes North Weald Village, visited the High Road library last month. He said: "I understand that Essex County Council is looking to save money but I am always very interested to hear how those decisions are impacting on local communities so I was very pleased to meet representatives of North Weald to hear how they are keen to keep library services open in the area." He added: "I've been shown how a number of different, important local groups use this site and it's clear that there is potential to use this site for other purposes as well (as a library) and I very much hope that the parish council and the county council will be able to have that conversation." North Weald Bassett Parish Council chairman councillor Alan Buckley thanked Mr Burghart for taking the time to visit North Weald and listen to the comments of parish councillors, parish council staff and members of the community. He said: "It was a very informative meeting and we appreciate his support and look forward to future discussions. I would also like to thank the local residents for their input."

Plan a meaningful funeral with your local Independent Funeral Celebrant The death of a loved one, whether sudden or expected, is always a heart breaking and difficult time for family and friends. When creating a meaningful funeral service in the days and weeks after a bereavement, it is important to remember that we are all individual and unique. No two lives have been lived in the same way and no two people will have created the memories and love that they have now left behind. A funeral service or end of life celebration, conducted by an Independent Funeral Celebrant, puts the emphasis on the true life your loved one lived; their achievements, passions, beliefs and values. It is an opportunity for family and friends to gather together to honour the memory and celebrate the life with tributes, readings, poetry and music. As your community based Funeral Celebrant, it would be my honour to support you and your family at this most difficult time in your life. I will work alongside your chosen Funeral Director and other professionals, to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled and the day runs as smoothly as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to have a no obligation discussion on the planning of a heartfelt service for your loved one. Alternatively, please look at my website to see how I can assist while you are coping with your own grief and loss. &&&/0=DGBF?9G?G6BFDC/?ED>ED


NEW RANGES We are a family business that has been designing and fitting kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms in Loughton for around 10 years, making us one of the longest serving kitchen showrooms in the area. We also offer whole house redesigns, starting at colour schemes, moving into space planning and going all the way to building your dream kitchen extension. Being an independent company we have lower overheads than the high street brands allowing us to offer the best prices to our clients. Our kitchens are British made which we are very proud of and we only sell brands we would use ourselves. We have some new kitchen door ranges being released soon, from liquid metal doors, to new wood finishes, to sand blasted doors. We aren’t restricted by anything and can follow and often create new design trends for the area. Along with the new doors, we are also proud to announce we are the local dealer for Kuppersbusch appliances. Allowing you to add colour accents such as copper, gold and red to your kitchen to compliment or stand out. Their unique products make a great addition to our designs. Come and see us today to discuss your dream kitchen, or call us on 0208 508 1941. We’re looking forward to working with you soon. &&&/FD>GB@ED @AD9?FAB/9E/=!H






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For a truly special gift head to Links of London. This endless love heart bracelet is sure to be cherished forever.



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Plan a romantic night in with this cheese & wine hamper by Virginia Hayward. We love the heart shape cheeses. GB@EDF?A@G>HF?GDCADG@H2E6?GBEDGHH(=;H3GCHH +#/##HGCCAD;GB@EDF?/9E/=!



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which were deliciously juicy. My partner went for the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sailors Crushâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, which was amaretto and pineapple rum, with chocolate liquor and pineapple juice, again this was superb, sweet but not sickly and incredibly moreish!

C @H6GGDHE5GDH0EBHFH0G& 8EDC<@HDE&HFD>H2<GHF??GB: ADH3E=C<HEE>0EB>HA@H=A9!?: @CFBCAD;HCEH?GF"GHC<G BG5=CFCAED@HE0H5BG"AE=@ BG@CF=BFDC@HFCHC<A@H"GD=GHAD AC@H&F!G7HF@HACH9FB"G@HE=CHF @CBED;H6F@GHE0HBG;=?FBH>ADGB@ &<EHFBGH9E8AD;H0EBHC<GH0EE> FD>H@CF:AD;H0EBHC<G G5GBAGD9G/ Our visit was the ďŹ rst time we had seen the new interior and loved the grand piano, quirky â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ring for cocktailsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; buttons at each table and the upstairs cocktail bar/DJ area. The venue has been greatly improved since the re-opening and we were excited to see if the food matched the impressive dĂŠcor. For starters we went for the salt and pepper squid, and the duck liver parfait, both of which were perfect. My squid was coated in a light, crispy batter and the chilli soy dip was delicious with every bite. The parfait was perfectly smooth and came with a lovely pumpkin and date chutney, plus two golden, toasted brioche slices.



We also chose a couple of cocktails from the extensive cocktail list and our mixologist did not disappoint. I went for the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Cherry Bakewellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which was an incredible mix of amaretto, cherry brandy, cranberry juice, lime and egg white, and had 3 cherries soaked in cognac

Up next were the mains, my eyes were immediately drawn to the vast 600g T-Bone steak. I also added some dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and shallots for good measure. Our waiter, Caine, had been superb throughout our meal and correctly recommended the dishâ&#x20AC;Ś I was not disappointed! The steak itself was juicy, full of ďŹ&#x201A;avour and cooked exactly to my liking (medium). The peppercorn sauce was freshly made and was a lovely classic accompaniment to the dish. The dauphinoise potatoes where rich and creamy, and went great with the steak, whilst the green beans were aldente and had some light shavings of parmesan on top to give some added ďŹ&#x201A;avour, it was a perfect dish. Being a seafood lover my dining companion had decided on the MonkďŹ sh and Prawns,

still full of amazing flavour.

which was served with new potatoes, a flat mushroom, and tomato. The monkfish was firm and had a lovely, delicate, chargrilled flavour from the Josper grill, along with the juicy prawns which added another great element to the dish. This is a great choice if you are looking for something on the healthy side but

Finally, we somehow found enough space for dessert and went for the sticky toffee pudding, and pineapple tarte tatin, both were sweet and sticky, and a lovely way to round off a superb meal. The rum in the pineapple tarte tatin went down a treat and the whole dish tasted like a tropical cocktail you could imagine sipping on a far-away beach and the ice cream that accompanied the sticky toffee pudding was superb.

music and cocktails, and the entire venue looks very glamorous throughout. We would definitely recommend The Gallery for a range of occasions from a special night out to a mid-week lunch (their three course set menu is only £20) you will not be disappointed. 2<GHF??GB:H)FBHHBA?? +#H1A;<H*EF>7H3E=C<HEE>0EB>7 4+H$% 2G? H'$'H'HH &&&/C<G;F??GB:6FBFD>;BA??/9E/=!H

The presentation and service throughout our meal was perfect, it’s clear to see Craig and the team are running a very smooth operation and that’s a great thing for the local residents who can now boast to have such a great restaurant in their town. There’s a large private dining room for over 20 people, the upstairs bar is great for a night out with live



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: After bouts of severe weather,

remove any ice from woody ornamentals and shrubs to prevent branch breakage.

: Cut back any ivy growing on walls or fences before birds start nesting.

: Place cloches over your strawberries to encourage early fruiting. Remember to ventilate on warm, sunny days to allow insects to pollinate the ďŹ&#x201A;owers.

: Clear and mulch round the base of fruit trees.

: Continue to keep planning ahead,

ordering your seeds and for looking out for the ďŹ rst signs of spring which is only just around the corner.

: Put up bird nest boxes. Unless there

are trees or buildings which shade the box during the day, face the bird nest box in a position that will avoid strong sunlight and the wettest cold winds. Make sure that the birds have a clear ďŹ&#x201A;ight path to the nest without any clutter directly in front of the entrance. Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and bounce clear. Blue Tits will be looking for the ideal nesting home during February or March

Some plants are in bloom this month like the Dawn viburnum, this lovely shrub has dark green, bronze foliage and a rugged texture. It simply lights up any garden especially this time of year. The ďŹ&#x201A;owers have a scent of warm vanilla and lilac. Despite having â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;roseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in their name, the Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) is not related to roses at all. Hellebores shine in the colder months. They are evergreen, ďŹ&#x201A;owering plants that are a great addition to any shade garden.

Are squirrels digging up your bulbs? One of the ways of best ways of protecting your bulbs from hungry squirrels is to use chicken wire. Simply cut a section of it the size of your planting area, and lay it over the top of the soil. You'll have to secure it, either with stakes or large rocks, to keep it where you install it. Simply cover it with a mulch of shredded leaves or shredded bark mulch if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to look at the wire. The stems will come up through the holes in the chicken wire protecting the bulbs from digging squirrels.

WILDLIFE WATCH The violet ground beetle is a large, shiny, black beetle which has violet edges to its smooth, oval elytra (wing cases) and thorax. It is a nocturnal hunter, resting during the day under logs or stones. Violet ground beetles do not ďŹ&#x201A;y, but are fast runners. The adults and larvae eat slugs, snails, worms and insects.







BLESS Collection Hotels, an exciting new brand from Palladium Hotel Group, has opened its ďŹ rst property in Madrid. BLESS Hotel Madrid is located on Calle de Velazquez in the heart of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fashionable Salamanca district, offering 111 rooms, rooftop pool, bowling alley, spa and gym, gourmet destination restaurant, three bars and conference spaces. The hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gastronomic offering from breakfast to dinner - is headed up by world-famous chef, Martin Berasategui. Holder of ten Michelin stars, Berasategui is acting as the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gastronomic guru overseeing all food and beverage. His signature restaurant, ETXEKO, is set to become a true destination culinary experience. The propertyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interiors have



been designed by renowned Spanish designer and architect Lazaro Rosa-Violan, whose vision was to create a quintessentially Madrilenian character with a contemporary slant. Key design features include â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sensory architectureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that deďŹ ne the hotel ambience, collaborative workspaces and social areas. Deluxe rooms are decorated with wood and design features in black and copper gold, the perfect combination, enveloping you in a place for calm and contemporary elegance. After a recent visit to personally inspect the new property, our trusted friend and associate, Joanne Peters from Palladium Hotel Group said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The design of the hotel is one thing that I instantly fell in love with. The

round cocktail bar, meeting spaces and the fabulous spiral staircase that winds its way up to the bedrooms. I felt like a princess in my Divinity Suite, which was big enough to hold a party in!â&#x20AC;? The hotel also presents a nonstop programme of entertainment drawing on the destinationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cultural agenda - from art and culture to fashion and gastronomy. These â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;happeningsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; include live music, fashion shows, performance and visual art and photography exhibitions. One of the special spaces some of these events will take place is Velazquez 62.5, an elegant boulevard area set to become an exclusive retail and entertainment destination. The space includes

charming cafes, artisanal shops and a variety of pop-up art exhibitions and music events. Guests will also be able to enjoy Feten, an elegant and vibrant ‘clandestine’ bar complete with retro-style bowling alley. Next summer BLESS will expand the collection with a second hotel in Ibiza, followed by further hotels that will be rolled out in cosmopolitan cities and international beachfront destinations. The BLESS Collection Hotel brand is built around the concept of Hedonist Luxury, a unique proposition designed for citizens of the world - modern travellers, sybarites and

pleasure-seekers. In its own words “BLESS Collection Hotels worships the pursuit of happiness and the good life”. Prices for BLESS Madrid start from £328 based on a deluxe room-only basis. For more information, or to make a booking, contact Abbotts Travel.

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It can be hard to pack light. In fact, it’s something we all worry about when packing for a holiday. That is why American Tourister introduces its new hero of lightweight suitcase: HeroliteTM collection, pack your suitcase without worrying about surpassing airline weight restrictions. Pack more, worry less: get ready for that epic holiday!

of only 1.45kg*for the Upright 55 cm. Combined with superior strength thanks to an innovative construction of fiberglass and polypropylene, this collection will never disappoint anyone. With a truly refreshing design, this is the perfect suitcase for young travellers that just want to enjoy and travel in style and comfort. The Herolite collection comes in two design executions and a wide colour palette, offering more choice than ever to pick the one that suits you best. The striking colour accents give the collection extra punch, while the tone on tone print makes it more sportive looking. When opening, you’ll find a very practical interior executed in bicolour tones. Next to the bright colour

American Tourister loves to challenge the status quo: the new Herolite collection starts at an incredible weight

palette, the collection also offers a lifestyle version coming in Navy, Pomegranate and Khaki. The front pocket is made out of a mélange fabric giving it a contemporary look. Choose a bright colour if you don’t want to spend ages at the carousel squinting at

endless identical black cases, or pick a lifestyle version if you want to be a trendsetter! Herolite cases are available in many different sizes, up to a Spinner 74 weighing only 2,2 kg*. The four spinning wheels come in real handy if you manoeuver your bag through the airport. All items have a TSA padlock, cross-ribbons in bottom compartment and a mesh pocket in top compartment. The two spacious front pockets allow easy access to travel documents. /herolite-1



Exceptional Indian Dining Temple Indian Fusion offers diners rs a unique r u iique un que culinary cculi ulliiin nar ary a ry experience. r eexp xpeerience. xp rience.

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Tel: 01992 560211 E-mail:

Traditional Family Run Pub

Warm atmosphere, friendly service and great food

fish fry-days

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Special Menu Nights We look forward to seeing you soon.






QUIZ NIGHT Cash prize to be won. Tel: 01992 572618. 4"GB:H2=G@>F:HFCH2<GH2<G:>ED F!HADAD;HH=67H.EE5GB@F?G 3CBGGC7H455AD;H.(+H

THEYDON & ABRIDGE JAZZ CLUB Listen to and/or dance to live traditional jazz bands (different each session). Non-members welcome. Membership available. Members' children under 12 free. Bar, tea and coffee. Good seating, friendly atmosphere, free parking, disabled facilities. 3G9ED>HFD>H0E=BC<HG>DG@>F:HE0 G"GB:H8EDC<HFCH%6BA>;GHA??F;G 1F??7HD;FBH*EF>7H%6BA>;G

LADIES RUNNING CLUB Come and join our social running group for ladies only. Set yourself targets and push yourself or just be comfortable running at your own pace plus Fairlop Waters is a perfect place to enjoy a run. ÂŁ3 per session, no booking required. 4"GB:H2<=B@>F:7H58HFCH,FAB?E5 FCGB@7H,EBG@CH*EF>7H)FB!AD;@A>G H1

TALK The English-Speaking Union Epping Forest branch monthly meeting with a talk from Megan Mitchell on the Churches Conservation Trust. Admission ÂŁ4 including tea/coffee. For more details ring 020 8505 9001 or 01992 812454. 2<=B@>F:HC<H,G6B=FB:7H+'/+F8 0EBH+'/ F8HFCH2<GH(=BBF:H1F??7 )EB>GB@H-FDG7H-E=;<CED

FUNDRAISING CONCERT National Jazz Archive fundraising concert '100 Years of Jazz Piano' with The James Pearson Trio and a tribute to the late Brian Browning, in thanks and recognition for the generous legacy he left to the National Jazz Archive in his will. There will be a display of some of the photos he took at the East Side Jazz Club, Leytonstone over the years. Tickets, priced ÂŁ15, are

available at ws-events, by emailing or ringing 020 8502 4701. 3FC=B>F:H#C<H,G6B=FB:7H$/'58HFC -E=;<CEDH(GC<E>A@CH.<=B9<7H$' 1A;<H*EF>7H-E=;<CED

LOUGHTON ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY LAS members and guests: Observing in a Dark Sky. Guests welcome. Website: 2<=B@>F:H$ C<H FD=FB:HFCH39E=C 1F??7H-E=;<CEDH-FDG7H2<G:>ED )EA@

ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR Our massively popular Made with Love Fair is back. A celebration of unique handmade crafts, from homeware and jewellery, to food and drink and gorgeous gifts for loved ones, just in time for Valentines Day. You'll also have the chance to visit the top ďŹ&#x201A;oor of the Mansion and meet our talented studio artists and see them working on their amazing creations. If you are interested in hiring a stall at the event, please email or call 0208 708 8100 3=D>F:H+'C<H,G6B=FB:7H+'F8 58 FCHF?GDCADG@H(FD@AED7H?0EB>

KIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HALF TERM DISCO Fancy dress party â&#x20AC;&#x201C; come as a super hero, a pirate, or a princess. Musical games & Sally Squiggle kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entertainer, craft table, face painting, kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tombola, kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pocket money toys, lucky dip etc. Disco 1: 2.00pm - 4.30pm Kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ÂŁ7, Adults ÂŁ6 Disco 2: 5.15pm - 7.45pm Kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ÂŁ6, Adults ÂŁ5 Primarily aimed at 4-11 year olds, younger children welcome but they will need a childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ticket. N.B. younger children may ďŹ nd the event a little boisterous. On Sale: Teas, coffee, cakes, sandwiches. Licenced bar & kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drinks. Only food and drink

purchased at the event may be consumed on site. To avoid disappointment, book your tickets in advance. For more info, to buy tickets, book stalls etc. contact: Irene Bull on 020 8559 4500 or email ,BA>F:H$$D>H,G6B=FB:HFCH.<AD;0EB> %@@G86?:H1F??7H3CFCAEDH*EF>7 EBC<H.<AD;0EB>7H-ED>EDH4 H4H

ST CLARE HOSPICE 5KM WINTER WALKIES Registration costs ÂŁ10 for adults (ÂŁ5 for children) which includes free soup, dog rosette and certiďŹ cates for children. Walkers can also sign up on the day. The route is not suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. For more information and to register, ring Emma Broadbent on 01279 773754, email emma.broadbent@stclarehospice.o or visit inter-walkies/ 3=D>F:H$ C<H,G6B=FB:HFCH3CH.?FBG 1E@5A9G7H1F@CAD;&EE>H*EF>7 1F@CAD;&EE>

BUCKHURST HILL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AGM followed by a talk from Mike Abel on 'Growing vegetables'. Free entry for members, ÂŁ1 nonmembers. Refreshments available. For more information, ring chairman Maureen Briggs on 020 8504 8436 or email (ED>F:H C<H(FB9<7H/'58HFCH3C

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LOUGHTON RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION FARMERS MARKET (9am-3pm). Produce stalls and local organisations. Loughton Residents' Association councillors on hand to respond to residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; questions and problems. 3=D>F:H+'C<H(FB9<7H#F8 58H FCH.GDCBA9HFBF>G7H1A;<H*EF>7 -E=;<CED





This month we have teamed up with Belgique Patisserie to offer one lucky couple the chance to win a sumptuous afternoon tea for two, including a glass of Prosecco each, plus a beautiful Valentines Duo Cake to take home if you wish. The Belgique Afternoon Tea is served all day and has a wide range of tempting treats including; a selection of chocolate biscuits, mini patisserie selection,

scones with clotted cream and jam, gourmet sandwiches and a cafetiere or tea, plus they are throwing in a glass of Prosecco to really help you celebrate this Valentine’s Day. If you aren’t lucky enough to win this fabulous competition then why not order a celebration cake as a Valentine’s gift, or vouchers for afternoon Tea are also available on the website or in store.

TO ENTER Email your details to

Closing Date One winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 12th February.

T&C’s Winner must book in advance, giving 2 days notice.



Bluebird Care - Care visits at home

Our Services We provide the highest quality of care to keep you safe and comfortable in your home or setting of your choice. We see you as unique, respecting your own individual lifestyle and needs. We offer everything from personal care to shopping, cleaning or social visits. The care we provide can be tailored to your requirements providing you with the care that you want when you need it most. Our Bluebird Care office is local within your community; this ensures the management team are close at hand to give you on-going support and a dedicated team.

Essex West Phone: 01277 230763 Email:

Maldon & Danbury Phone: 01621 851500 Email:

Mid Essex Phone: 01245 263 962 Email:

Liveâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;in Care Live-in care is a realistic and affordable alternative to residential care allowing you to remain independent, comfortable and secure within the setting of your own home. Live-in care can also be a short-term care solution following a stay in hospital, to assist you in taking a holiday or to give your friends and family or regular carer a break or support.

Call or email us today to find out more Š Bluebird Care Franchises Ltd 2016

Epping & Harlow Phone: 01992 577 776 Email:

Southend & Rochford Phone: 01702 474274 Email:


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  Fit these flowers into the grid: 5 Letters *E@G@ 2=?A5 FA@: E55: 6 Letters %F?GF For puzzle solutions please visit

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    WITHOUT A MAP... This month weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been getting some stroppy back chat from Jake who appears to have bypassed a decade and become a teenager. After bringing him home from nursery he goes straight to the fridge without even talking to us (a classic of all teenage boys, myself included). We mention that dinner will be served shortly and he should go and play with his toys, to which comes the reply, â&#x20AC;&#x153;No, you listenâ&#x20AC;? (ďŹ nger wagging and pointing) â&#x20AC;&#x153;I need food now Dad!â&#x20AC;? this results in tears as he is placed on the stairs as punishment, 5 minutes later he apologises and plays with his toys, but the very next day he goes through the same cycle. I think heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hoping at some stage I will break and just say â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ok, ďŹ ne, forget rules, eat what you want, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in charge now kiddo,â&#x20AC;? heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to have a long wait. His brother on the other hand is getting more energetic with every passing day, randomly doing exercises around the house and asking us to watch, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Look at my squats! Come here, look at the press ups!!â&#x20AC;? and wants to constantly climb trees like some type of small blonde chimp. We had a walk in the forest last week and within seconds Mowgli had leapt up a tree, across a branch and was now perched in front of me staring back, laughing. It was quite impressive, but Jake then wagged a ďŹ nger and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;No, you get down, I need some food!!â&#x20AC;? After sitting by the base of the tree for 5 minutes and then apologising, Jake was able to continue our expedition. All this energy from George really got a public viewing when we went to his friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s party on Saturday, the parents had arranged for a singing entertainer and she had all the kids



sat around and asked if any would like to come up and â&#x20AC;&#x153;singâ&#x20AC;Ś or dance.â&#x20AC;? Upon hearing the second option, Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hand shot up so fast I feared he may have dislocated his shoulder. What happened next was 3 of the most energetic minutes anyone in that room would ever witness. Imagine, if you can, a jellyďŹ shâ&#x20AC;Ś trying to ice skate, whilst being electrocuted. Then times the movements by approximately 6,000% and you may start to get close to visualising the incredible body patterns George unleashed on the public. Arms and legs were being ďŹ&#x201A;ung in all directions, the beat of the music was utterly pointless, all rhythm had been thrown out of the window, this kid was here to make body movements like no other human had ever made throughout history. It reminded me of those old inďŹ&#x201A;atable characters outside petrol stations, with air blowing up through the legs and arms so they rise and fall as if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re alive, it was a tad like that, but speeded up, close to the speed of light.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Arms and legs were being flung in all directionsâ&#x20AC;? When the music stopped the crowd went nuts, clapping, cheering, whooping, and many hoping their slow-motions cameras had worked so they could watch it later in real time speed. George was elated, and not even out of breath. If Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have tried something half as energetic, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have needed an ambulance. After George brought the house down, I thought our family performance was done for the night,

however, the dad (Simon) had other ideas and yelled at me to join him on stage with an inďŹ&#x201A;atable guitar/rock music mimeâ&#x20AC;Ś good god. As I looked out to see George and Jakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s excited faces amongst the kids and parents, I realised I had to do them proud (George had set the bar ridiculously high, unachievably high in fact, but so long as I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t embarrass myself for the next 30 seconds Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be ďŹ ne), the music started and out of nowhere I regressed 25 years and started doing some MC Hammer type leg dancing, the kids were loving it but I was rapidly running out of breath, I expected the music would now wind down, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d done our bit, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re getting on a bit and this is a kids party after all, so letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stop the music now eh? Eh?!? â&#x20AC;Ś nope, they kept that track going for what seemed like an eternity, I was clean shaven when I started! I stopped the dancing, and with no other ideas coming into my head, I decided it would be best to randomly start hitting the kids in the front row with my inďŹ&#x201A;atable guitar. Once id ďŹ nished with them, I moved on to the second row (which of course involved me having to tread on the kids in the ďŹ rst row), it was at this point the DJ decided it may be best to stop the music. To say I was thankful was an understatement, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d just spent the last 4 minutes playing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;whack-a-moleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; with some very surprised children. Shortly after this we grabbed our party bags, making our way past the innocent children asking their parents, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mummy, why was that man hitting us?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;Ś â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d run out of dance moves darling.â&#x20AC;? Note to self, learn some more dance moves.



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Essex Central Magazine - Feb 2019 - Issue 63  

Essex Central Magazine - Feb 2019 - Issue 63