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CHRISTMAS EVENTS Santa Is Coming To Essex

VINTAGE GLAMOUR Your Party Outfits Sorted


Perfect Presents For Everyone On Your List

LOCAL NEWS Keeping You Up To Date


...a Hair Makeover by Sizor Sista & One Month Gym Pass for Synergy Fitness

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Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) EC Combined: 62.8 (4.5) EC Extra Urban: 68.9 (4.1) EC Urban: 53.3 (5.3) CO2: 119

Volkswagen Golf Diesel Hatchback

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6+23, 10,000mpa, Contract Hire, Non Maintained

6+23, 10,000mpa, Contract Hire, Non Maintained

Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) EC Combined: 67.3 (4.2), EC Extra Urban: 76.3 (3.7), EC Urban: 55.4 (5.1), CO2: 109

Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) Combined: 42.2 (6.7), Extra Urban: 50.4 (5.6), Urban: 32.8 (8.6), CO2: 156

Volkswagen Caddy C20 Diesel

Seat Leon Sport Tourer

1.6 TDI 102PS Highline Van

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6+47, 10,000mpa, Contract Hire, Non Maintained Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) EC Combined: 49.6 (5.7), EC Extra Urban: 54.3 (5.2), EC Urban: 42.8 (6.6), CO2: 149

Seat Alhambra Diesel Estate

6+23, 10,000mpa, Contract Hire, Non Maintained Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) EC Combined: 57.6 (4.9), EC Extra Urban: 64.2 (4.4), EC Urban: 47.1 (6.0), CO2: 114

Renault Trafic Swb Diesel

2.0 TDI CR Ecomotive S [150] 5dr

SL27 ENERGY dCi 120 Business+ Van





6+47, 10,000mpa, Contract Hire, Non Maintained

6+47, 10,000mpa, Contract Hire, Non Maintained

Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) EC Combined: 56.5 (5.0) EC Extra Urban: 62.8 (4.5) EC Urban: 47.1 (6.0) CO2: 130

Official Fuel Consumption MPG (Litres per 100km) EC Combined: 47.9 (5.9), EC Extra Urban: 51.4 (5.5), EC Urban: 42.8 (6.6), CO2: 155

Plan is a registered trading style of Plan (GB) Ltd. Registered Office: 1st Floor, 78 High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4AE Company Reg: 4410376. VAT: 801 840 52. DPL No: Z8186498

Plan (GB) Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Finance Conduct Authority, licence number 683206

Vehicles shown are for illustration purposes only. Vehicle pricing is correct at time of publication.

We reserve the right to withdraw any product, service or price without notice.

A leading Vehicle Finance, Leasing and Fleet Management Company who provide both Business and Private individuals with cost effective vehicle solutions. All vehicles supplied are brand new and delivered direct to your door from a UK franchised dealer. To speak to one of our dedicated team please call 01992 248 248 or email

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ON THE COVER 9 Local News 16 Christmas Events 20 Gift Guide 25 Vintage Glamour 55 Competition Win a hair makeover & gym pass

16 44 HOME & GARDEN 32 Home for Christmas 37 Practical Comfort 39 December Gardening Guide TRAVEL 40 Truffle Hunting FOOD & DRINK 44 Restaurant Review 47 Baking with Amy-Beth Ellice HEALTH & FITNESS 27 Keep Cholesterol Conscious 29 Synergy Fitness Editor: Darren Perry Email: Tel: 01787 583152 Advertising: advertising@essexcentral Features Editor: Victoria Grace Journalist: Devon-Elizabeth Tabersham & Ben Sneath. Design: Sharon Butler-Felby @SketchDesign, Lauren Brown. Contributors: Victoria Robertson, Sharon Butler-Felby, Amy-Beth Ellice. Publishers: 3 Blue Worldwide Ltd Facebook: EssexCentralMag Twitter: @EssexCentralMag Distributed residentially each month to homes, as well as high street businesses, industrial estates and at underground stations throughout the following towns: South Woodford, Woodford, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Loughton, Debden, Abridge, Theydon Bois, Epping, North Weald, Ongar, Wanstead, Redbridge, Ilford, Gants Hill, Newbury Park, Barkingside, Fairlop, Hainault, Grange Hill. Although every care has been taken to ensure accuracy, 3 Blue Worldwide Ltd take no responsibility for any errors, or the advertisements within this magazine. ESSEX CENTRAL


COMMUNITY 48 What’s On 53 Havering Mind Charity feature FUN & GAMES 54 Puzzle Corner 58 Entering Fatherhood Without a Map



We are finally at December, the Christmas tree is going up, the last minute shopping madness has begun and we can’t wait to get started on the mulled wine! Our final issue of the year is jam packed with festive fun plus our usual mix of regular features. We have a gift guide to help you pick the perfect presents and some magical local events that little ones will enjoy and really get you in the Christmas spirit. Our fashion pages bring you glamorous party outfits with a vintage twist and our home feature has some great decorating tips to impress your guests. Also Amy-Beth Ellice is back again with some more baked delights. We would like to wish all our readers and advertisers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2017.

Darren Perry Editor/Owner

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A short roundup of what’s been going on

WOODFORD PANTOMIME SET TO WOW AUDIENCES WITH BEAUTY AND THE BEAST After the success of their last pantomime ‘Robin Hood’, the Woodford Pantomime team have come up with a new show to fill the Hawkey Hall stage with lush, professional costumes, sets and lighting, as well as talented performers, lively tunes and of course, plenty of fun and laughter. Their next spectacular will be ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The script, written by Ben Crocker, has all the usual panto jaunts and many of the characters you would expect to find in the story (and a few you wouldn’t, like a large talking French poodle!) but don’t expect it to be the Disney version. Beauty and the Beast was originally a fairy tale written by a French novelist and published in 1740. Over the years many countries and writers have written their versions of the story, including Walt


Children at Hereward Primary School, Loughton, participated in a special morning tied in with Remembrance Day to promote British Values as part of their ‘Magic Moments Morning’ programme. The younger children took part in a range of activities based around friendship, courage, tolerance and respect. The pupils in Years 3-6 looked at the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect. The school’s Personal Health & Social Education Co-ordinator, Scott Buckland, said, “It was a fantastic experience for the children as each child had the opportunity to take part in a unique and fun activity related to such an important issue as British Values.”

Disney, releasing the hugely popular film in 1991. This is Woodford’s version, who promise it will be every bit as enchanting as their previous shows. Last year ‘Robin Hood’ was awarded Highly Commended in Noda’s ‘Best Pantomime in London’ and the Dame, Pat Enright, received runner up in the category ‘Best Performance in a Pantomime’. Beauty and the Beast will run from 2nd to the 15th January 2017 at the Sir James Hawkey Hall in Woodford. The box office is already open, so, do not delay, book your tickets for a great show. For more information, check out the website www.




AAA Award Winners

The Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) lit up the national stage after winning two awards at the esteemed Association of Air Ambulances Awards of Excellence last month. Air Ambulance Paramedic of the year was awarded to EHAAT’s Erica Ley, who has been with the Charity since 2013. Critical care paramedic Erica’s role means she is often first on the scene at incidents across Essex and Hertfordshire. One of the Charity’s youngest fundraisers, Isobel Pilsworth, won the Outstanding Young Person Award for her amazing fundraising efforts. When her dad was airlifted to hospital after a cardiac arrest in 2015, 5-year-old Isobel took on the challenge to ride 40 miles with his cycling club (stabilisers included!) and donated all profits to EHAAT. Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT said: “It’s amazing to see our hardworking staff and fundraisers recognised at such an important awards ceremony. We couldn’t do our work without the constant support of fundraisers like Isobel, and Erica is a perfect example of the talented professionals we are privileged to work with at EHAAT.”


Westcountry Windings, based in Harlow, are delighted to announce they are the Essex and South East dealers for Kuberg. Kuberg electric motorcycles allow riders to enjoy motorcycle sports in locations it would not be possible for conventional bikes, due to noise and pollution restrictions. The company’s modern, silent, easy-tomaintain, affordably priced bikes can be ridden in heavily populated areas, open spaces or gardens without disturbing anyone. With easy riding bikes to suit riders from 3yrs to 12yrs they are an ideal ecologically acceptable introduction to the fun of off road motorcycling. Weighing only 46lb with a 15” seat height, the tiny “Start” bike can easily transported in the back of your car with no chance of spillages, so you can always take the fun with you. For added safety acceleration can be limited to 3 different power settings and the top speed limited to match your child’s skill level. The “Trial E” and “Cross” bike both weighing less than 80lbs, will suit 5 – 12 year olds. The Trial E having a lower seat height, for more control when climbing obstacles. The Cross with its chunky tyres and smooth accelerating 36volt motor takes the fun to the next level. Made in the Czech Republic using quality components and Kuberg’s own innovative motors and



control units, these robust machines require little maintenance and will run for hours on a single battery charge. There is no doubt that one of these bikes would put a smile on the face of any little dare-devils this Christmas. Westcountry Windings, Units 6 & 7 Kingstons Farm, Matching Green, Harlow, Essex CM17 0RB Tel: 01279 731172,


Under 18’s Essex Hockey Indoor Champions


Chigwell Ladies Under-18s hold both the Essex Hockey indoor and outdoor titles after their victory in the indoor competition, a feat never accomplished before. Alice Melvin, an England Under-17 player, was in fine form as

the girls went throughout the day undefeated. They now represent the county at the East of England regional stage at St Albans. Coach Miranda Baldwin said: “This is a fantastic achievement for


the girls and I am so proud of them. “To win both county tournaments this season is an outstanding accomplishment and a true credit to the whole squad’s hard work and commitment throughout the season.”

Keen runner Laura Morgan has completed her first halfmarathon to raise money for Accuro. Laura completed the River Thames Half Marathon (October 30) in 2hrs 9mins. She said: “I was quite pleased with my time for a first half marathon and thankfully the organisers weren’t lying when they said it was a flat route.” Her efforts are set to raise over £600 for Accuro. As well as raising funds, Laura has supported the charity by working on its projects and holiday activity scheme for seven years. Accuro works in west Essex to provide invaluable support services to enable people with disabilities of all ages to participate in everyday pursuits and leisure activities. The charity also provides respite relief for their families and carers. Turning her thoughts to possible future challenges, Laura said: “A marathon is remaining on the bucket list however realistically some more training will be needed. Perhaps 2018 will be my marathon year!” Accuro chief executive Derek Farr said: “We are extremely lucky to attract such tremendous support and are very grateful to Laura for all her hard work over the years. The funds she has raised will provide a real boost for the work we do in the area. I know her family and friends have helped Laura to successfully Lau ra Morgan complete her first half marathon and it is great to have them all in Team Accuro.” JustGiving To add your support to Laura’s fundraising efforts page Accuro on 01279 433117 or visit Laura’s morgan123




(left to right) Target Team members Owen Holder, Charlie Seslick, Ben Randall, Hannah Scrivener and Felicity Philpot


West Hatch High School’s ‘Target team’ hosted KS2 students from primary schools across Essex to a day of fun-filled activity. The ‘Target Team’ is a group of students who work together to develop a range of mobility and thinking skills. Teacher in charge Lucie Stubbings said: “The West Hatch students acted as mentors and guides for our

young visitors and I was very proud of them. Members of ‘The Team’ really benefited from the day.” Student Felicity Philpot said: “It was a really good day. It was great to interact with the younger children and to help them with boccia and curling.” Fellow team member David Attwood said: “We refereed a few of the boccia and curling games and helped explain the rules, and helped

them play the games.They all had great fun and it was great to be able to help them understand the games.” Student Ben Randall added: “Schools were able to take part in mini boccia competitions, I helped out by showing them how to throw the ball and explained the aim of the game. I also helped with curling so they could have a go at trying that game as well.”


Year 11 students Lisa Nakimuli, Rebecca Bright and Steven Skinner have received YES Partnership Investors in Young People Business Awards. Lisa Nakimuli, Rebecca Bright and Steven Skinner were recognised after being nominated for their contribution to school, work experience and voluntary placements within the local business community. The awards were presented at a ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey. Steven also received the Young Person of the Year award. Becky Linford, who has volunteered at events and in the school office at King Harold Academy, was presented with the Apprentice of the Year award after being nominated by her employer, Epping Forest District Council. The celebrations included recognising the support given to King Harold Academy by Dare Hair Academy, the Co-op store, Waltham Abbey, and Upshire Primary School. The school’s Head of Careers, Jaci Hammond, said: “It was a fantastic evening to celebrate our students’ achievements and thank our employers for their support. We are very proud to work with the



Essex County Counc il vice-chairman John Jowers, Steven Skinne r and Epping Forest district councillor Gagan Mohindra

organisers, the YES Partnership, and look forward to their continued success in 2017.” Head of School Kim Thackray said: “I am immensely proud of what our students have achieved. To be recognised in this way is a true testament to the impact and commitment they have shown in their work experience placements. A special mention should also be given to Steven for winning the Young Person of the Year award.”


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Get into the Christmas spirit with these wonderful events

Epping Ongar Railway Santa Specials

The Epping Ongar Railway is a great day out - with friendly volunteers, steam locomotives, buses and a wave from the signalman as the train leaves, the railway offers you the chance to experience life as it might have been 50 years ago. Their popular Santa Specials events are taking place on 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December. The experience will start at North Weald, where there will be some stalls, entertainers and a brass band to create a festive atmosphere whilst you wait to board Santa’s train. Once you have boarded your train, Santa will visit your children whilst the train takes you on a leisurely tour along the line. On board the entertainers will visit your party at your seat and the children will have time to write letters to Santa. On returning to North Weald there is time for a quick photo with Santa himself and you can stay to soak up more of the festive atmosphere or catch a bus home. For more information visit



Skating and Shopping at Van Hage

A fun time awaits everyone at Van Hage Garden Centre in Great Amwell. While adults and children alike will be amazed by the Christmas displays, huge selection of Artificial and real trees, glowing indoor and outdoor lights, dazzling decorations, seasonal scents, festive food treats and fabulous range of toys and gifts, it is the attractions that make this a special time of year in store. Children can let off steam on the undercover Ice Rink, a ride on the miniature railway or much loved carousel as well as visiting Ventura’s Zoological Wildlife Garden, all under one roof. And of course a visit would not be complete if you did not pop in to see Santa in his Grotto. The Ice Rink is the ultimate experience for all the family, no matter your age or ability. With the ice rink located in a fully heated marquee, this is an all-weather event, open 7 days a week until 9th January 2017. They have also incorporated a viewing platform for spectators, comfortable seating and the mouth-watering Ice Café. Sessions start from as little as £6, with the added benefit of Parent & Toddler bookings as well as special needs should you prefer. You can enjoy a magical encounter with Santa himself in his great grotto until Christmas Eve. To book any of the events please visit Van Hage Garden Centre, Great Amwell, Pepper Hill, Hertfordshire, SG12 9RP

Christmas Magic at Colchester Zoo

Be transported into a winter wonderland at Colchester Zoo this Christmas! Join them every weekend throughout December, plus every day between the 17th24th December to enjoy their ever popular Magic of Christmas events. You’ll get the chance to meet Santa’s reindeer and immerse yourself in the wonderful Christmas atmosphere. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the staff pantomime of Puss in Boots, indulge in tasty festive treats from the Elves’ Kitchen, make Christmas crafts at the Elves’ Workshop and journey through The Santa Experience! * On the 17th and 23rd December Colchester Zoo will remain open into the evening so you can enjoy the Christmas magic and festivities beneath the Christmas lights and see their fantastic night sky light display! As well as the Christmas festivities, Colchester Zoo is also a great place to find the perfect gifts for your friends and family. Take a look after your visit or pop into the shops free of charge to see what’s

on offer - you’ll be spoilt for choice! *Further terms & conditions do apply to visiting on Magic of Christmas event days. Please note that Tesco Days Out tokens can be used on Magic of Christmas event

days however an additional charge applies to those wishing to take part in the Santa Experience. For more event details and visit information check out






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Back by popular demand


The Return of

Ashleigh Graham

Marc Seymour

A tangled tale!

8th December 2016 - 14th January 2017 Box Office 020 8553 4466 Online KMTHEATRE.CO.UK

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We have scoured the internet to bring you our favourite Xmas gifting ideas that won’t break the bank. Everything is under £50 and available to buy online, so you don’t even need to brave the shops this year.


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This beautifully designed, eye-catching owl musical jewellery box is perfect for entertaining your little one. With a vibrant colour scheme and a tree full of brightly coloured little owls this jewellery box is sure to delight. Children’s Oval Musical Jewellery Box £13.98

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This globe would make a great gift for the budding traveller. On a small but elegant wood base, it’s petite enough for the smallest of displays, whilst allowing you to detach from reality and plan your destination bucket-list.


w.prezzybox .co


Pomegranate Spice Candle £15 www.40

Personalised Colour Your Own T Shirt Kit £22 Rouge Absolue Fragrance Gift Set £12 Next Arckit GO Colours is fun way for children (age 10+) and adults to learn design skills. Featuring large floor plates and easy ‘click and connect’ components this freeform model making system is the perfect tool for any budding architects. Arckit GO Colours Kit £50 www.sciencemuseum

Red Fox Heated Knitted Hand Warmers £9.99 Twiggy Bath Decanter £14 Marks & Spencer A man who loves his beard is surely in need of a mug that tells the world. Express your appreciation for someone’s beard by giving them this beautiful ceramic mug, it makes an ideal gift for any bearded 0 Beard Mug, £12.5 gentleman. m www.thebearded

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This playful design is guaranteed to delight people of all ages, and is a ca must-have for little dinosaur .red ww lovers. It would make an egg-cellent gift, so make sure you C poach this gift idea for anyone who loves eggs i for breakfast!


With three Bulldog products and a stylish wash bag that will prove a hit with frequent flyers and gym goers alike, this gift delivers an ideal skincare regime for men.




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with Ray Collins Saturday 10th December!

Come and celebrate on New Year’s Eve with our Disco Party Night! 

Traditional Family Run Pub

Warm atmosphere, friendly service and great food The Garnon Bushes is situated on the edge of the ancient and historic Epping Forest. A picturesque village pub to enjoy a drink, eat great quality food and share memorable times with family and friends.

All food served is home cooked and available 7 days a week Check out our Facebook page for more info


Make sure you try our famous north sea fish and chips, fresh from Grimsby


We look forward to seeing you soon.

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Nigella Dress in Burgundy


You shall go to the ball! This absolutely beautiful floor length dress is perfect for a NYE ball, with intricate beading and cape detail this dress is flattering as well as stunning.

Luscious lace is a must for any festive wardrobe. Choose burgundy hues over full on red this season for a more toned down and sophisticated look.

Hedy Maxi Dress £1 99


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Gloria Maxi Dress

Antonia Dress by

Wrap up without compromising on the wow factor with this ostrich feather stole in striking teal.

Sable Dress in Crepe & Lace £159

ge glamour Dress up in vinta on! Pretty as se ay lid this ho nsform tra ll wi Eccentric iling you into a begu lous bu fa th wi ss seductre and kle ar sp prints, beading, signer De e. lac of s ng lashi eates Michelle Scott cr with ns io ct feminine colle ol to co ish gl En of h a touc timeless encapsulate the eras. luxury of bygone .c ric nt ce ec ty www.pret


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Add a touch of luxury to your festive fashion ensembles.

Gatsby Flapper Dres s in Na vy £169

Liza Dre ss in Red £1 69





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Tips from Heart Research UK

holesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver and plays an important role in the body. It is one of the building blocks for cell membranes and, as it’s used in synthesising some hormones, is essential for your health. Too much cholesterol in the blood however, especially the wrong kind, can deposit in the artery walls and increase your risk of coronary heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer.


LDL or Low Density Lipoproteins carry cholesterol around the body to the cells. LDL is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, because when there is too much of it, it can stick to the artery walls, causing arteries to narrow and become blocked. HDL or High Density Lipoproteins are called ‘good’ cholesterol, because they mop-up excess cholesterol in the blood and take it back to the liver to be processed or disposed of.


b Choose HDL cholesterol boosting monounsaturated fats, found in olive and rapeseed oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. b Steer clear of industrially produced trans-

fats, sometimes also referred to as hydrogenated fats. These are often found in ready meals, pastries, cakes and hard margarines and are responsible for increasing LDL cholesterol and decreasing HDL cholesterol so should always be avoided. b Limit saturated fat intake such as those found in animal products like red meat, butter and cheese, as well as some vegetable fats like coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats is responsible for increasing ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and is often abundant in things like sauces, dressing, processed foods, biscuits, pastries and confectionary.


b Exercise which gets you slightly out of breath and raises your heart rate is not only great for controlling your weight and your waistline, it can also help to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels. b Build exercise into your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to the local shops instead of driving, getting off the bus a stop earlier and enjoying a brisk walk at lunchtime.


b A high fibre diet can help to promote healthier cholesterol levels. Good fibre sources include wholegrains, fruit and vegetables with their skins on, oats and nuts. Choose wholegrain varieties of breakfast cereals, wholemeal pasta, bread and rice to boost your fibre intake. Keep your heart healthy by being cholesterol conscious. Choose a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of heart disease by making the best choices for your heart. Keep your cholesterol levels in check to start living a longer, healthier, happier life. For more healthy heart tips visit www. heart research.



Merry Christmas to all our patients old and new







Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


very January, people join a gym as they want to lose weight, tone up or just get fitter. Finding the right gym is important - especially if you are new to using them. At Synergy we pride ourselves on being friendly and approachable with qualified gym instructors and male and female personal trainers to help you attain your goals.


We have a large range of free weights, static equipment and cardio machines, including rowers, cross trainers and bikes. At Synergy Café, you can enjoy a cup of coffee or protein shake or even a nutritious balanced meal freshly cooked to order by our dedicated chef. Personal Trainers can assist with diet and exercise programmes to help you lose weight and tone up or increase muscle mass. Exercise is not all about the looking good, it has been proven to have a number of benefits to your health, such as reducing stress and prevention of some illnesses. In addition to the fantastic facilities in Synergy Gym, we have a number of fitness classes suitable for all ages and abilities as well as martial arts and self-defence classes. F Arlans Siquiera’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is primarily a sport with selfdefence applications. Using a series of techniques you can overcome a bigger aggressor and gain control, rather than strength. This is particularly good for children as it does not use kicks and punches that can cause injury and inflame a situation. F Krav Maga is the ultimate selfdefence system that is very popular

with celebrities. The system was originally designed as unarmed combat for Israeli Special Services, using the best elements of Jiu Jitsu, Thai Boxing and other martial arts. Effective against the use of weapons in close proximity, our chief Krav Maga instructor is Ricky Manetta, founder of MMA Krav Maga. F If you want to get fit and tone up your body without the fighting, try a Kettlebell class with Jane Maddern. Used by followers of MMA and BJJ and complimentary to all other sports, the training helps improve core strength, cardio vascular fitness and endurance. The way in which you swing a kettlebell in a class will use every muscle in your body - including the most important one, the heart. It is also helps build bone mass and could help to protect against osteoporosis. Synergy is within walking distance to Fairlop Station making it convenient for commuters. Call in and ask one of our friendly staff to show you around and don’t forget to ask about our new year offers. We also have a crèche opening up January 2017! For more information call us on 020 8114 2222 or visit us at Synergy Fitness, Lake Forest House, Barkingside, IG6 3HJ




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Introduce the magic of Christmas into your home with our festive styling ideas COSY AND WARM

Fireside reds, rustic tartan prints and country hues characterise the latest range from The Great British Ottoman Company ( The Orchard Fruits Collection features beautifully warming fabrics that evoke a cosy, Hygge feel - perfect for Christmas evenings spent lounging by the hearth. With a cushion, footstool or ottoman to suit all tastes, from the traditional to the quirky, The Great British Ottoman Company have the perfect furnishings for any interior scheme this winter. Lovingly crafted and upholstered here in Britain, and finished using luxurious natural-fibre fabrics from sister company Art of the Loom, The Great British Ottoman Company prides itself on the exceptional quality of its materials and the keen expertise of its artisans. The Great British Ottoman Company’s carefully curated collection (from footstools to headboards, lampshades to throws... and, of course, ottomans) just goes to show that you can buy beautiful and British this Christmas without it costing a king’s ransom!

LUXE DINING IDEAS Great British Ottoman Company Orchard Fruits Collection

Well, the turkey might be dry, but your dining table sure as hell shouldn’t be. Metallic, glitzy, sultry and damn right sexy. Festive dining perfection awaits at Mia Fleur ( Grace your dining table with the lustre of gold for a really luxurious table setting. Perfect for when you want to create a lavish statement for a dinner party but just as delicious for dining alone. This wonderful gold cutlery set (24pc) is £95 and the gold leaf napkin rings are £29.95.



The pretty tropical plates (set of 4 £39.95) would make a fabulous addition to your dinner table all year round. A pretty and practical vintage style mirrored tray table is perfect for adding a touch of nostalgia to your décor. This gilt mirrored drinks stand (£195) will be sure to impress your guests, use the bottom shelf for bottles and glassware and then serve up the drinks with the tray top. For the rest of the year it will make a delightful side table for a lamp and a few decorative objects or books.


From beautiful handmade hanging Christmas tree decorations to pretty votives and Scandinavian style wooden Christmas trees add something special to your Christmas scheme this year when you shop at Cottage in the Hills (


Gilt Drinks Stand


Reindeer Wall Heads

The robins (£7 & £12) are hand stitched to fair trade guidelines, from felt made with 100% organic Lamb’s wool and will add a touch of Christmas cheer anywhere they land in your home. They would make a rather good place holder, just tie a luggage tag around his neck. They also help to create a fun Christmas table setting popping up in different places on your table. He will of course be at home perched on a branch in your tree, or on the mantelpiece with your Christmas cards.


Festive Star

The handmade owl or mouse tree decorations (£12.50 each) will add a touch of old fashioned nostalgia to your Christmas tree. Exclusive to Cottage in the hills, these cute critters have been handmade in Britain using Ochre & Ochre’s own organic cotton fabrics, in popular Malvern or Isabella fabrics. They have been made from organic cotton with a nice round Linen tummy! The hand stitched bead eyes give this little owl added character.

The Nordic Style has taken the world by storm over recent years, and has become one of the biggest interiors trends around the globe. This style is represented through a heavy influence on this season’s festive accessories, designs and shapes. Contemporary Scandinavian styling is hugely popular and works well in modern interiors, with lots of clean lines, neutral colour palettes and natural materials making an impact when layered together. Choosing cushions, place mats or a table cloth printed with winter landscapes, animals and details such as forest effects, wolves and house shapes is a great way to introduce the trend to your home. Reindeer are a key feature for this trend, these quirky reindeer wall heads (£34.95 will add a fun element to your Christmas décor. To complete the look add a touch of sparkle with this festive star in white (£9.90 Hang it in the window or lean it against the wall on your mantelpiece. It will look beautiful styled alongside a vase and a few branches of evergreens.



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Give your guests the gift of a luxurious night’s sleep this Christmas with Aerobed’s range of inflatable guest beds.


reat your guests this Christmas and give them the gift of a great night’s sleep with Aerobed’s range of luxury inflatable guest airbeds. Guaranteeing a stable, supportive and luxurious sleeping surface for your guests, a survey has shown that some visitors even admitted they had a better, more comfortable night’s sleep with Aerobed than they did in their own bed! Impress your festive guests with an Aerobed single, double or king sized inflatable airbed this year. The Collection combines the convenience of an airbed with the look and feel of a real divan bed. Offering super-fast inflation, the inflatable beds come equipped with a built-in pump with 3 settings, allowing your guest bed to be inflated in minutes. Aerobed transforms from bag to bed in under 3 minutes, and deflates in under one minute thanks to its patented Whoosh™ Valve. The beds have a velvety surface and feature the latest comfortenhancing technology, thanks to the built-in stable and supportive coil system which guarantees a great night’s sleep for your guests. Where

space is an issue, Aerobed shows you care about the quality of your guests’ comfort and solves the problem of having no spare room. From bag to bed in just three minutes, the Deluxe Inflatable Guest Bed is ideal for use in any area of your home, without compromising on your lifestyle. For peace of mind, the bed features an Antimicrobial protective barrier, which resists the formation of mould, mildew, fungus and odour. The 4-layer construction provides increased stability and comfort, offering your guests the perfect sleep. The Aerobed Luxury Inflatable Guest Bed (£199 www.bensons is available in single, double and king size, and for a bit of added luxury and convenience the beds even fit standard sized sheets perfectly for the ultimate home-from-home sleep. The bed also comes with its very own handy carry bag so it’s easy to store at home until your guests arrive. The Aerobed Ultra Divan (£225 is a comfortable and supportive all-in-one inflatable

mattress with divan that like looks and feels like a real bed. The Aerobed Ultra Divan has a velvety flocked finish and comes with a removable, machine washable cotton valance and mattress cover for hygiene and everything rolls up into its own carry bag for compact storage. Aerobed’s Ultra Divan has an innovative internal coil structure providing perfect support, allowing your guests to sleep well. The Ultra Divan can instantly change any spare room or space into a bedroom. The Ultra Divan also comes with an adjustable inflation so your guests can cater the firmness of the bed to their preference.



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The bare branches of winter will make it much easier to see the bird’s that are active in your garden. Robins are one of the first species to start singing this month. The males make these sounds to warn other birds away. They are fiercely territorial and can easily drive away any other birds from their chosen patch.

Golden mimosa


on Victoria Roberts



A seasonal guide to help you get the most out of your garden.

he long, darker hours of December means that foraging time for the wildlife that are not in hibernation is reduced as they struggle for survival this month. Berries will still provide a vital resource for birds. Whilst other wildlife will be attracted into gardens to take advantage of any food that people have laid out for them. This month you can still take plenty of hardwood cuttings from your buddleia, Salix or Forsythia. Acaciae baileyana - Golden mimosa is looking stunning this month and will continue to flower until April. Clear paths of lichen and moss because it can become very slippery when wet. Don’t allow leaves to accumulate around alpines because if they are left to get damp for too long they will die. Treat all your garden

glue it to the top of the compost bin. Then begin gluing the plastic balls all over the bin. STEP 2 DIY CHRISTMAS Attach the GIFT IDEA bucket or You will need an old flexi tub compost bin, a bucket for to the top the top or a flexi tub, plastic using the balls (Poundland usually glue gun. I has them), plunger, black had a few gloss paint, drill to create gaps at the tops so I glued a hole in the compost bin more of the plastic balls and a glue gun. around to fill them up. STEP 1 STEP 3 Plug in Paint the your glue whole gun to thing using begin black gloss heating it paint. A up. Make a fun garden hole using Dalek the drill big enough to slot feature from Dr Who. Send in the plunger. From the in your pictures if you inside glue around the plunger handle and do this decide to make one too. Wishing you all a Merry again at the front. Turn the Christmas! compost lid upside down By Victoria Robertson, amenity horticulturist & committee member of Copped Hall & Epping Horticultural Society & Chairman of Epping in Bloom. timber with a preservative and repair any broken fences.


Red spider mites can live on the under sides of house plant leaves and on plants inside the green house. They prefer warm conditions. Pick off any infested leaves when you find them. Take time this month to clean out your greenhouse properly if you have one as spider mites like to spend the winter hidden in dry crevices and in plant debris until the weather warms up again in spring.





It was Harry Hill, you may recall, who used to orchestrate battles of the absurd. This month we copy him by letting France face Italy to determine the best place to hunt a very special culinary fruit: the truffle. So we ask, Tuscany or Provence - which is best? Only one way to find out: flight! CHOOSE TUSCANY

Tuscany’s rolling landscape of lush green hills threaded with vineyards, olive groves and pine forests hosts many treasures. But the subterranean fungus sniffed out by pigs or dogs and known as



the truffle sees even the hardiest foodies swoon. The Romans adored truffles for their aphrodisiac qualities. Today cooks use them to add deep flavour and a touch of class to dishes. These gourmet delicacies are so precious some are even worth their weight in gold. In Tuscany they grow plentifully in the countryside (although a scarcity of rain has made them rarer this season) making October and November some of the best eating months. There are 6 varieties, and here you can hunt them all. The Tuscan white variety, found mainly in the Chianti region, is said to be just as flavoursome as its counterpart in the Piedmont region, but much better value for money. For this reason, more and more

truffle lovers head here in autumn for a truffle experience with more of an intimate and less commercialised atmosphere.


We can recommend a magnificent 12th century castle set in the heart of Tuscany as your base. The Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa



is a place we know and respect, and our growing friendship with the team means that anyone making a booking through Abbotts Travel will be well looked after. We loved the incredible landscapes, rustic farmhouses, olive groves and vineyards. Its stunning interiors are steeped in history with fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, original frescoes and Del Nero and Torrigiani family crests.The 50 bespoke rooms and suites combine opulence with enchantment and all the modern luxuries you desire. The team is passionate about providing a 5-star luxury experience with distinct Tuscan charm.


In the local forest, your licensed

truffle hunter will share his knowledge on the world of Tuscan truffles, after which a sumptuous 4-course lunch is enjoyed in the charming village of Badia A Paassingnano. For guests who’d like to learn how to prepare authentic Tuscan dishes, cooking classes are available at Castello del Nero with the highly regarded head chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro.


Provence produces four out of every five French truffles. The Vaucluse department hosts two of the most important truffle markets in the world: in Richerenches and Carpentras, the latter being the oldest truffle market in the world with a 1000-year history. During the Middle

H Three night stay in your chosen room or suite category. H Daily buffet breakfast served at La Torre Restaurant. H Dedicated in-room amenities. H Half-day truffle hunting: Hunt for rare truffles in the forest of Tuscany and then enjoy your treasures in a dedicated meal (transportation excluded). H Three entrances per person to the Spa Heat Experiences: Laconium, Caldarium, Experience Shower, heated Vitality Pool. H Daily newspaper. H TV on demand including movie selection. H Courtesy shuttle to/from Florence or Siena according to schedule. H Wi-Fi in room and in public areas. H Outdoor heated pool (available during the summer months). H Use of two tennis courts. H Use of Fitness Suite.




olive groves. There are 28 double bedrooms, 7 suites and a small village house, Sousto. They are located in eight old village houses connected by bridges, alleyways and hidden courtyards. Rooms come with Vi-spring beds, Bose Wave sound systems, high-speed Wi-Fi, air conditioning and more. The property has superb views of the Rhône Valley and nearby Mont Ventoux (one of the most challenging ascents in the Tour de France). Castello Del Nero sunset

Ages, truffles were considered as a product of the Devil (truffles “burn”trees around them in a perfect circle, which may have seemed demonic). They swiftly found favour with the elite and their power to enchant when paired with fish, pasta or a simple omelette. The truffle is a hypogenous mushroom, meaning it grows underground. So hunting them requires more than the naked eye. Trained dogs and pigs are famously used, but the helomyza fly can also detect pheromones that are produced by the truffle. During your Truffle and Wine

weekend, the Jaumard family works with dogs, because pigs eat the truffle when they find it!


Hotel Crillon le Brave is a relaxed and informal refuge where you can enjoy all the simple pleasures of Provence. It’s our recommended partner for an adventure this elegant, offering a level of service we find impressive. It’s only 15 minutes from Carpentras, perched on top of a tiny hill village surrounded by vineyards and La Taverna by the pool


Join the ‘trufficulteur extraordinaire’ on an extraordinary weekend led by the charming and knowledgeable family Jaumard. The three-day programme includes truffle hunting and a rustic lunch with Frank and Alexis, a wine visit and tasting at one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s finest estates and a truffle cooking demonstration with our chef. On Sunday morning take a leisurely drive to the antiques hotspot of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and its vibrant market. The price for two people for three nights sharing a classic room is €1,371 (or €1,638 in a deluxe room) including all events mentioned above. You will need your own transport to get to and from the truffle and wine events; the visit to the market on Sunday is unaccompanied. Departure dates for 2017 (Thursday to Sunday): H 2nd to 5th March H 9th to 12th March H 16th to 19th March H 23rd to 26th March For further information, and to take advantage of Abbotts Travel’s special relationship with both of the hotels mentioned here contact, book an appointment at www., call 0208 989 9445 or visit the shop at 134 George Lane, South Woodford, E18 1BA.



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REVIE W RESTAURANT by Sharon Butler-Felby


okes, Snacks: Grilled Artich gley Din , ds on Alm Lemon & d an lls Ro ge usa Sa Dell Venison Scotch Eggs Crab Starters: Colchester ss & cre ter Wa se, nai Mayon main, Ro Rye Bread and Crisp & es ovi Croutons, Anch Berkswell Cheese ised Mains: Game Pie & Bra ole Wh d an Red Cabbage (plaice) Roasted Market Fish Spiced & Sides: Mash, Chips ed ast Ro od Mayo and Wo ats Go s, ble eta Veg Autumn l rre So & rd Cu d Desserts: Fig & Almon arin nd Ma d an st Gypsy Toa ke eca ees Ch


he Green Man is one of the oldest pubs in Essex, built in 1314. The historic pub has been lovingly restored by the Michelin-starred brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin and marks a return home for the Essex-born chefs. The new modern interior of the restaurant was light and bright especially on the crisp Autumnal day we visited. The restaurant makes the most of the beautiful meadow views as a large central part of the building has a glass ceiling. We sat next to a cosy wood burning fire and felt that we could sit there all day chatting, it was very comfortable. Karen came and explained the menu, Galvin Green Man has a modern menu and there are different ways to enjoy it, there are fab little snacks and sharing flat breads to enjoy with a pint or while perusing the menu. They also have a ‘Host the Roast’ option for Sunday’s which

sounds like a fun way to do family Sunday get-togethers! Karen was very clear and attentive and made recommendations which really worked, like the Wood Roasted Autumn Vegetables, Goats Curd & Sorrel to have as a side. She also recommended the wine which paired perfectly with our dishes. We loved the little nibble snacks, the Scotch eggs were fun and delicious and the artichokes were fresh and zesty. The chips were perfectly cooked and the mayo dip was zingy and indulgent. I found the fish very fresh and perfectly cooked with lemon on the side for extra zing. The game pie had thin and crispy pastry and was seasonal and delicious; I loved the spiced red cabbage as a perfect accompaniment. The Chef, Jack Boast, said that the gypsy toast is a favourite family recipe which was made for him by his father when he was young. It’s

Snacks platter

brioche soaked in custard and toasted with fig and almond on top and was completely delicious. We were so full but couldn’t help but try it.


The atmosphere was buzzy, bright and airy, added to by the glass roof. There was a low level of casual laid back music which added to the whole relaxed feeling. There was a pheasant walking around outside in the garden. I would thoroughly recommend Galvin Green Man, we had great service, a warm welcome and fantastic classic pub food with a modern twist. Galvin Green Man, Main Road, Howe Street, Great Waltham, Essex, CM3 1BG Tel: 01245 408 820




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BAKI N G WITH AMY-BETH ELLICE Seasonal recipes from Britain’s youngest baker



These gingerbread snowflakes are great to hang on the tree or make great stocking fillers. INGREDIENTS (Makes 20) For the biscuits: H 110g (4oz) of butter H 75g (3oz) light soft brown sugar H 1 egg H 2½ tbsp. golden syrup H 350g (12oz) plain flour H 1 tsp. bicarbonate soda H 3 tsp. ground ginger For the royal icing: H 500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar H 3 egg whites H 2 tsp. lemon juice You will need: H Small piping bag H Snowflake cutter METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. 2. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.


INGREDIENTS (Makes 35) For the base: H 200g (7oz) smooth peanut butter H 200g (7oz) icing sugar H 50g (2oz) butter H Gold petit four cases For the salted caramel: H 100g (3½oz) light muscovado sugar H 4 tbsp. golden syrup H 100g (3½oz) butter H 4 tbsp. double cream H 1 tsp. salt

Amy-Beth Ellice

his month Amy shares two festive recipes for you to try at home. Both of these make lovely gifts.


For the topping: H 100g (3½oz) milk chocolate H 100g (3½oz) high quality 70% dark chocolate H Edible gold leaf

3. Sift the dry ingredients and add them gradually to the mixture. Add the syrup, mix well and then knead lightly. 4. Roll out the dough onto baking parchment to 5mm (¼ inch) thickness. Cut out dough using a snowflake-shaped cutter. Line some baking trays with baking parchment and lift the snowflakes using a palette knife and place onto the lined sheets. 5. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. 6. Prepare the royal icing. Whisk the egg white until frothy. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating in well after each addition. Beat in lemon juice until smooth. 7. Spoon the royal icing into a piping bag, snip the top and ice your biscuits so they resemble snowflakes.


These bite-sized treats are perfect to serve after dinner or to give as a gift at Christmas.

METHOD 1. First, make the salted caramel sauce. Melt the sugar, syrup, salt and butter in a small saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or so until thick. Stir in the cream, remove from the heat and set aside to cool and thicken. 2. To make the peanut butter base, place the icing sugar, butter and peanut butter in a mixing bowl and mix using an electric mixer. Beat until it forms a paste. Line a mini muffin tin with gold petit four cases. Spoon 1 tsp. of the peanut butter mixture into each gold case and press it down with your fingers. 3. When the salted caramel sauce has cooled and thickened, spoon a thin layer into each case on top of the peanut butter mixture. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes until the caramel has set a little. 4. While they are chilling, make the chocolate topping. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt together the milk and dark chocolate and leave to cool. Take the peanut butter cups out of the fridge when the caramel has set. Spoon 1 tsp. of the cooled melted chocolate into each case. 5. Chill for 30 minutes so they can set, then adorn with edible gold leaf for the finishing touch before serving. Amy’s Baking Year is available to buy online and in bookshops & supermarkets nationwide.





WHEN: Every Monday & Wednesday, 7.10pm - 10.30pm WHAT: Loughton Bridge Club - A good standard of duplicate bridge in a friendly environment. See our website for details WHERE: Monday - Oak View School, Whitehills Road, Loughton IG10 1TS, Wednesday - Grange Farm Centre, Grange Farm Lane, Chigwell, IG7 6DP

WHEN: Every Tuesday (term time only), 10.30am-12noon WHAT: Parents & Toddlers Group - Ray Lodge Church Parents and Toddlers Group is a small friendly group. Lots of fun things for your little ones to explore and enjoy. Toys, books, baby corner. Coffee & teas for parents/carers. Contact Janet 02084917054. WHERE: Ray Lodge Church Hall, Ray Lodge Road, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 7NX

WHEN: Every Tuesday WHAT: Quiz Night - Cash prize to be won. Tel: 01992 572618. WHERE: Theydon Oak Dining & Pub, Coopersale Street, Epping CM16 7QJ WHEN: Every Thursday, 12noon - 4pm WHAT: Open Thursday Coffee Shop - We have real coffee and interesting biscuits, (or you might fancy toast). All are welcome to stay for 10mins or all afternoon. 50p donation to cover expenses. WHERE: Gants Hill Methodist



Church, 18 Gants Hill Crescent IG2 6TU

WHEN: Every Thursday, 7pm WHAT: 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. £3 per session, no booking required. WHERE: Fairlop Waters, Forest Road, Barkingside IG6 3HN WHEN: Every Friday, 10am-1pm WHAT: Community Allotment - If you enjoy gardening and would like to help maintain an allotment site but do not want the responsibility of managing your own plot, then volunteer to help out at our Wanstead Community Allotment. We want to hear from you! For more details email sports. WHERE: Redbridge Lane West, Wanstead WHEN: Saturday 3rd December, 7.30pm WHAT: Felicitas Chamber Choir - ‘Make we Joy’ - A Christmas Celebration: O Magnum mysterium - settings by Byrd, Victoria, Gabrieli, Poulenc, Lauridsen and Maxwell Davies. Medieval carols, including Gaudete & Make we Joy. Other works by Bach, Lassus, Judith Bingham, Carl Rutti, John Streeting, William

Walton, John Rutter and Andrew Carter’s arrangement of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Tickets £12 (£10 if purchased in advance - free for children and full-time students under 25) available from or www. or by emailing WHERE: The Abbey Church, Waltham Abbey

WHEN: Sunday 4th December WHAT: St Clare Santa Dash Follow a 5km route (one-mile mini route for children). Entry includes a Santa suit for adults and an elf hat for children. Advanced entry costs £12 for adults and £2.50 for children (£15 and £5 on the day). Registration opens at 9.30am with the Dash starting at 11am. For more details, ring Jade Clarke on 01279 773756 or email jade. WHERE: The Water Gardens, Harlow

WHEN: Saturday 10th December, 10am-12noon WHAT: Winter Woodland Walk Come and join the ranger for a leisurely walk through Claybury

complimentary winter warmer (no need to book, just drop in!) WHERE: Valentines Mansion, Ilford Park. You’ll have a chance to learn about the management practices taking place and the wildlife benefitting from it. Meet at the entrance on Roding Lane North opposite Claybury Road, Woodford Green IG8 8JE. WHERE: Claybury Park WHEN: Saturday 10th December, 7.30pm WHAT: The Roding Players Orchestra Winter Concert - Ticket prices - £7, £6 concessions, free for under 11s. Tickets can be purchased on the door. Refreshments included. WHERE: St Mary’s Church, 201 High Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1BB WHEN: Saturday 10th December, 10am-12.30pm WHAT: Christmas Wreaths Workshop - Make a traditional Xmas wreath. Basic materials provided but participants can bring decorative materials, with some available to buy on the day. Cost £16 (plus £1 if not a BHCA member). For more details contact the BHCA Office on 020 8504 6668 or email office@ bedfordhouse. com or courses@ WHERE: Buckhurst Hill Community Association, Bedford House, Westbury Road, Buckhurst Hill WHEN: Sunday 11th December, 11am-3pm WHAT: Christmas at the Mansion - A festive open day at the Mansion with costumed guided tours and seasonal refreshments. Tour times 12noon, 1pm and 2pm. Limited spaces per tour, first come, first served. Free Entry to the Mansion. Guided tours £2.50 per person, includes a

WHEN: Tuesday 13th December, 8pm WHAT: NE London RSPB Group Meeting Social Evening. - Admission £3 for RSPB members (£3.50 for non-members). For more details ring David Littlejohns on 020 8989 4746 or email WHERE: St Mary’s Church, 207 High Road, South Woodford

WHEN: Thursday 15th December WHAT: Christmas Walk - Join us for our special Christmas walk and refreshments session and feel the festive spirit. Organised weekly walks with qualified walk leader, taking place in parks and open spaces across Redbridge. No booking required, just turn up and enjoy the company! Organised by the Vision Redbridge Sport & Health Team. Allow approx. 20-45 minutes to complete the walk. Meet at entrance of Pavilion. WHERE: Fairlop Waters, Forest Road, IG6 3HN WHEN: Saturday 17th December, 4pm-6pm WHAT: Light Up A Life Afternoon - Anyone planning on attending and who can complete a dedication for a loved one is asked to ring the hospice on 01279 773750. For more details, ring Jade Clarke on 01279 773756 or email WHERE: St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood Road, Hastingwood WHEN: Sunday 18th December WHAT: Christmas Service of Remembrance - All are welcome at our popular Christmas Service of Remembrance, to remember loved ones at this special and often painful time of year. Comfort may be gleaned from the music, readings and poems. Join in with the carol singing and enjoy a mince pie afterwards. Advance booking

is essential, services taking place 12noon, 1.30pm, 3pm. £5 per person (children under 2 are free). To book tickets, please pop into reception or call the park on 01992 523863. WHERE: GreenAcres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald, Epping CM16 6AD WHEN: Saturday 31st December WHAT: New Year’s Eve Gourmet Dinner - Celebrate the arrival of the New Year with a seven course set menu at The Bluebell featuring a live jazz singer. £95 per person. WHERE: The Bluebell, Chigwell IG7 6QQ

WHEN: Saturday 31st December WHAT: NYE Comedy Night Tickets are £49.50 and include show, buffet and DJ after show playing the best of 80’s and 90’s. To book tickets or for more information please call 0208 924 4000 or visit WHERE: The City Pavilion, Collier Row, Romford RM5 2BH WHEN: 1st & 3rd Tuesday of each month from 3rd Jan WHAT: The Theydon Jazz Club Featuring top quality live traditional jazz bands for listening and/or dancing. All welcome (disabled facilities), visitors and/or new members welcome, discounted membership -25% is available during January, phone Dave Dyer 01945 588325 for details. WHERE: Thornwood Village Hall Epping, Weald Hall Lane CM16 6NB



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A set of 6 LingoZingo language lessons, just ÂŁ150. Choose from French, Spanish, Italian and German. Bespoke one to one lessons, with a friendly, experienced qualified teacher, daytime or evenings at times to suit you. Other options available. Offer closes 31.12.16

Please call Jo Schwartz

T: 07726 949215


Maths and English Tuition also available ESSEX CENTRAL 




Dogs Trust Freedom Project is looking for volunteers who have some experience of caring for dogs. Foster placements last for up to 6 months and all the dog’s expenses are covered.

Find out more about this rewarding opportunity:

0800 298 9199

Registered Charity No. 227523 and SC037843

DOG10085 - Freedom Advert in Essex Central - Foster Friendship W152 x H110 half page landscape v1 REPRO.indd 1

26/09/2016 14:31:30

Take to the skies and skydive!

Visit Contact

Raise a minimum sponsorship for The Children’s Trust and you can jump 10,000ft in a tandem skydive for FREE* *minimum fundraising sponsorship target applies. Registered charity number: 288018






Supporting and educating the local community

ental health is the health and stability of our mind. Some people call it ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’. Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life. Life should be more than just ‘getting by’. But for thousands of people living with a mental health problem that is all they can do. It doesn’t have to be this way. We want everyone living with a mental problem to have a place they can call home, feel included in their community, and be supported to stay well and live a full life.


Havering Mind is a local mental health charity based in Hornchurch, Havering. It is an independent charity and part of national Mind’s network of local associations providing services across England & Wales. Although affiliated to them we don’t receive any funding from national Mind. At Havering Mind we are proactive in supporting and educating people about mental health in our local community. We do this through: Providing advice and information, helping individuals

learn how to manage their mental health, providing activities to create peer support and raising awareness and providing education to reduce the stigma around mental health.


We provide a range of services that support people in the community. These include: 4 A Child and Adolescent Mentoring Scheme 4 Support for carers 4 An over 50s service 4 Information and advice 4 The Live a Better Life project 4 A Befriending Scheme 4 Raising awareness of mental health and tackling stigma 4 Programmes for young adults 18-30 4 Support volunteering opportunities


We have a proven record of providing quality services to the people of Havering for over 50 years, individuals who access our services will have improved mental health and be less reliant on statutory mental health services such as the NHS. We provide cost effective services that reduce pressures on more expensive statutory services.

We give people the tools and skills to better manage their mental health and look after their own wellbeing by providing information, advice and support which prevents a crisis from occurring. We are a well-known and well respected organisation, people in the community know of us and trust us and therefore more likely to approach us for information and support. We are key in leading mental health awareness in the borough and beyond, promoting better understanding and helping to lower stigma and can provide early and effective advice and support reducing demand on already pressurised statutory mental health services. Havering Mind is part of the largest federation of mental health charities in England and Wales (Local Mind Network). Our staff team are experienced and dedicated, ensuring that the journey of the individual service user is at the heart of all we do, we strive to work in collaboration and partnership to ensure best outcomes for the individuals we serve. We are supported by a team of dedicated and well trained volunteers, extending our reach and impact. For more information visit









Match up the syllables from each half of the cracker to make 8 festive words












el olf

and V ble l V ta ney in WORD SEARCH



V Find these festive words: Rud VV V Family Feast Snowflake V V C V Elf Holly V Christmas Gar him Rob V Gifts Mistletoe Celebration Ang Carols Can V V V S V Bau an V V





Difficulty: Hard



? s









Can you spot 6 differences between these two pictures?


For puzzle solutions please visit




As it’s Christmas we have decided to offer you not one but two great competition prizes this month.





We have teamed up with Sizor Sista in Epping to offer one lucky reader a hair makeover for 2017, consisting of a cut and blow dry in the comfort of the luxury salon. Tucked away above the barbers on Epping High Street this little salon really is a hidden gem. As you climb the stairs into the lovely space with vaulted ceiling and original beams you are sure to get a warm welcome and professional, friendly service. They offer a full range of hair services from cuts to colour correction for both men and women and with 25 years experience they can offer a full range of hair styling from traditional cuts to the latest fashions. Call 01992 577 114 to book for your Christmas appointments and sit back and relax knowing your hair is in the right hands.

Closing Date: We will pick one winner for each competition on Wednesday 21st December.


Synergy Fitness in Barkingside is offering Essex Central readers the chance to win a gym pass for one month. The gym boasts the latest range of fitness machines from: TechnoGym, Concept 2, Nytram and Cybex. With a large selection of static equipment, a fully stocked free-weights area (spanning between 2kg to 55kg) and a large range of Cardio machines including Rowers, Stationary bikes, treadmills and cross-trainers you’re assured of being able to use the equipment you want, even when the gym is at its busiest. They also have a great range of classes, from world class martial arts training through to Zumba, kettlebells and specialist exercise classes, there really is something for everyone.






To Enter: Simply fill in the entry form and send to: Essex Central Magazine, Brickfield Business Centre, High Road, Thornwood, Epping, Essex CM16 6TH, enter online at www.essexcentral competitions or email your details to: competitions@essexcentral




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his month we tried finding the ‘super moon’ and also tried to decipher the names of George’s friends. I shall begin however, with details of a new game ‘Be a Monster!’ that George seems to request roughly every 30 seconds of the day. It began innocently enough, I was blowing raspberries on Jake’s belly when I was suddenly attacked from behind and strangled quite ferociously. I vaguely remember the sound of faint laughter as I gently started to slip into unconsciousness and it was only when I heard the screams of, “Again Daddy, again!” I pieced together what had happened and who my 3 year old attacker was. I politely declined, as I wished a little more time to elapse whilst also making sure all the blood was flowing freely around my head again. I gave him a roar to back away, and pretended to grab him, which he found hilarious, and wanted to re-enact every moment that had got us to this point. “Daddy, you blow raspberries on Jake, then I will save Jake (aka strangle me) then you BE A MONSTER!”, the last part is now pretty much the only thing he says to me. All he wants is for me to roar, pick him up and launch him across the room onto the sofa, arms flailing everywhere, laughing like a clown fired from a canon. On the plus side the ‘strangle session’ in the middle has subsided somewhat, just as well really, as its quite important to have 20-20 vision when throwing your child through the air. Last month saw the ‘Super Moon’ phenomenon when the moon was the closest it will be to us for the next 70 years or so, I’m very interested in astronomy and obviously want to pass this interest to the boys, so I wrapped them up warm and we all went into the garden. I’d been checking



my stargazer app for the precise location of the moon, holding my phone at arms-length and panning it back and forth across the sky until the screen told me I should be looking directly at the huge bright moon, I lowered my arm and saw nothing but darkness, boring, disappointing, cloudy darkness. “Where is it daddy?!” came the hopeful tone, “Erm, I think he’s hiding right now, George”. I got my torch and pointed it to where the moon should be, I need to state at this point that my torch is like something from the Star Ship Enterprise. A few million candle

“Nobody knows Steven’s name!”

power, it’s the kind of thing that scorches the wings off overhead planes and has aliens waving back, in short, it looks like day time when I turn the thing on. So anyway, I’ve shone this torch up to the sky and heard, “There it is! Me can see it Daddy!” I then moved the torch across the sky, “It’s moving Daddy, me think the moon is moving, look!!” After a long explanation on the differences between the super moon and my super torch George shared my own disappointment and his hopes came crashing back down to earth. However, just as the frostbite was kicking in, the clouds finally parted to reveal the site we had each been waiting for. “Dad, turn off your torch,” he initially said, but then gazed up in pure joy as he realised my torch was already on the floor, melting under its own diabolical heat output. Jake had been enjoying the whole thing and we all went inside for some warmth and

another game of ‘be a monster’. Finally, we’ve been asking George about the friends he is making at the new nursery, sadly though he doesn’t seem to know anyone’s name. It had been a few months and something didn’t seem quite right, we’d watch him there and he was clearly getting on well with the other kids and playing with everyone, so one afternoon we decided to ask the question a different way. Instead of saying “Who did you play with today?” we said “Who is your best friend?” Immediately he fired back, “My best friend is Steven.” Whoa! Steven?! Who on earth is Steven?? Oh my word! We have a name! “George, Steven’s name is Steven, when we asked you your friends name, you should say Steven.” We explained. “No Daddy, I don’t know Steven’s name!” (I kid you not, this conversation happened) he then got irritated with our on-going explanations. “Stop it! Nobody knows Steven’s name!!” It reminded me of the Dads Army sketch “Don’t tell ‘em your name Pike” (one for the older readers) and had the Mrs and myself in stitches, much to his confusion. The plot thickened the next day though when we retold this story to his nursery teachers who informed us there isn’t a Steven at the nursery. Excuse me, what? So now I guess the joke is squarely on us. We tried racking our brains to find out who Steven was then remembered a few weeks back a couple I know came over (Steven and his wife), I showed George a picture and said “Is this Steven?” “Yes” he replied… and pointed to Steve’s wife. We are all still a bit unsure, but at least we know the name of his imaginary friend. ...TO BE CONTINUED

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