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‘Extract taken from Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by Rylan Peters & Small, photography by Mowie Kay’






With the festive season in full swing (COVID style) we can plan ahead in full knowledge of the new Government restrictions. Celebrating with family and friends will be different to say the least. Having endured a difficult time since March there is now hope on the horizon with positive news of vaccinations to start soon. This edition of Harpendia Magazine brings together a wide range of seasonal stories from near and far. I hope you enjoy reading them and buying product where appropriate, especially those which have been created exclusively for Harpendia. There have been some generous contributions to the prize fund in the free to enter Christmas competition, so thanks all round. Our thanks go out to all the NHS staff, public service workers and other staff who have maintained their services for us here in Harpenden. Let’s be positive for the future and make 2021 a great year for us all. Ron Taylor info@harpendia.com

The Mayor’s Christmas card design competition winner was Kate, of 1st Harpenden Brownies. Congratulations!

Page 3. Message from the Mayor. Cllr Nicola Linacre. Page 4. New Leisure Centre opens early Jan. Page 5. Peter Pan in St. Albans. Pages 6 & 7. Loveweds Jewellers. Pages 8 & 9. Cooking at Christmas with Theo Michaels. Page 10. Five Dinners launch and special offer from Theo Michaels. Pages 11 - 13. Christmas wine selections and exclusive offer from J Davy. Pages 14 - 17. Christmas Shopping Local Guide from Mums Guide to Harpenden. Plus Local Glass Design artist Judi Menges. Pages 18 -19. Local artist’s creative journey through the pandemic from Ben Shalom. Page 19. Board Games at Christmas. Page 20. Financial Guide for Christmas presents from grandparents. Page 21. Scandinavian Christmas Trends in home designs. Page 22. Christmas presents for your home from Lister Interiors. Page 23. New Book Club Memberships from No Exit Press. Pages 24 - 25. Christmas Book recommendations from Ion Mills Publisher of No Exit Press. Page 25. Book Competition to win selected novels. Page 26. Neves Solicitors Page 27. Transforming your bathroom on a budget by Ripples. Page 28 & 29. Free to Enter competition, Rules and Prizes. Page 30. Menswear Boutique and Safe Shopping. Page 31. Looking forward to 2021.

‘Message from the Mayor’ Christmas 2020 is here and once again Harpenden is decked out with a beautiful display of lights. At this strange and uncertain time it’s reassuring and uplifting to see them. It is wonderful to see the community spirit within our Town with everyone coming together to help and support others, particularly our more vulnerable residents. So a huge thank you to everyone who has helped Harpenden Cares or one of the many other organisations in Harpenden that are taking on this role. It’s so important for many of us at this time to know that others care and are looking out for us. Once we are able to do so I would like to encourage everyone to shop local and support our small businesses when looking for their Christmas gifts, food and decorations this year. They need our help more than ever and Harpenden is very fortunate to have such a wide variety of excellent shops to choose from. The Council is helping by launching its Shop Local Scheme, running from 1 December to 21 December. Details of how to participate will be on the Council’s website www.harpenden.gov.uk so keep a look out! I wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and a bright New Year.

Best wishes Cllr Nicola Linacre

Harpenden’s amazing new Leisure Centre will be opening on 4th January* Significantly larger than the old centre it has been integrated with the existing swimming pool into one new magnificent building in Rothamsted Park. It features a larger learner pool, with a moveable floor and located alongside a refurbished main pool. The new sports hall has wet and dry changing facilities and a significantly larger gym with 80 stations. Also provided are three dance studios, a crèche, as well as a sauna and a steam room with a relaxation area for users of these two facilities. Managed by 1Life the team are really excited about welcoming new and existing members to experience all the new features.

General Manager Josh Taylor said “After what has been a challenging few months for everyone, we are delighted to be opening the doors to the new Harpenden Leisure Centre. This underlines the commitment of both 1LIFE and St Albans District Council to provide affordable, accessible sport and leisure facilities for the whole community. We are acutely aware of the excitement and anticipation from all the local residents and we can’t wait to welcome everyone through the doors” *Subject to Government Covid-19 regulations

The newly refurbished Small Pool with moveable floor”

Apply for membership via: https://www.1life.co.uk/join-now/

With lashings of magic, mischief, music and makebelieve – and just a little sprinkle of fairy dust – Peter Pan will be the most thrilling theatrical treat this Christmas! The Alban Arena announced in September that the scheduled production of Mother Goose would be postponed until 2021 due ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  But in order not to disappoint audiences Alban Arena and Maltings Theatre’s resident company OVO are joining forces to bring PETER PAN to Alban Arena this Christmas.      OVO has recently developed an excellent reputation for creating safe, socially distanced live performances at the open air Roman Theatre and The Maltings Theatre and will be applying similar guidelines to all 38 performances of PETER PAN at Alban Arena. The Alban Arena will be reconfigured to safely seat 40% of its normal capacity while ensuring that the experience for audiences will be as entertaining and magical as ever.  


Harpenden’s Master Jeweller has all the ingredients to make a joyous Christmas You choose the individual elements from the ‘Ingredients’ list. We select one of the many ‘Recipes’ from the Loveweds Jewellery Book to meet your desires. Then we discuss how our design team will bring it all together to create a beautiful piece of stylish jewellery that will bring joy to your heart.


Loveweds Jewellery Recipe Book

Large selection of:Diamonds


Contents Include:

Engagement Rings Wedding Rings Eternity Rings Bracelets Pendants Earings Unique designs created at our workshops using CAD By Mitchel Barres


Rubies Sapphires Ring mounts Pendant mounts Earring mounts 18ct white, yellow, rose gold Platinum

Last minute Christmas Gifts also available in store or to order. Take a look at these:

The Loveweds team will be working

Sterling silver with channel-set cz crystal hoop earrings £35

right up to Dec 23 to ensure we can still ‘deliver’ our great service and ensure no one will be disappointed. Book an appointment to discuss your requirements by Dec 15 and we’ll do our utmost to get your jewellery back in time for Christmas. You may not be in a rush and are looking at something for 2021, so why not start a conversation with us now or alternatively book a date in the New Year.

Sterling silver with cz crystals and part rose gold plate with chain £25

Sterling silver & cz crystal princess cut ear stud earrings £20

69c High St, Harpenden, AL5 2SL. 01582 761866 Open Tues - Sat 10am - 5pm enquiries@lovewedsjewellers.co.uk www.lovewedsjewellers.co.uk

Cooking at Christmas with Theo Michaels "Christmas is always a special Christmas is always about the time and means different things to food and we love nothing more different people.. for our family it is than a full on traditional Christmas a time to stop. Usually the run up dinner with all the trimmings, a little to Christmas for bucks fizz in the me is one of morning, maybe a our busiest few slithers of times of the homemade gravlax year; tons and cream cheese Christmas for a pre-Christmas parties, snack and winding thousands of our way into the guests and evening with food like you've enough Port and never seen (5ft cheese to sink a prosecco ship. fondue Which is why as fountain, 15kg we emerge from turkeys with the festivities I fireworks, 20ft start to crave grazing tables, lighter food but ‘Extract taken from Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by still comforting you name it..) Rylan Peters & Small, photography by Mowie Kay’ so when and for that I love Christmas this roasted comes it is a moment of calm. radicchio and blue cheese It's a time to take stock of the dressing. year we've had and to look forward as a family to our ambitions for the Enjoy..oh, and Merry Christmas! year ahead (some achieved some Theo x" not!). “GIVE THE GIFT OF MAKING MEAL PLANNING EASIER AND STRESS FREE WITH A PERSONALISED FIVEDINNERS.COM GIFT VOUCHER FOR 3 OR 12 MONTHS

Roasted Radicchio with Blue Cheese Dressing Radicchio has a striking red and white colour and natural bitterness that when roasted mellows and a warm smokiness is introduced. A simple blue cheese dressing with nuts and seeds and offset with a little pomegranate molasses Serves 4 - 6 Ingredients 100g pearl spelt 2 medium radicchio heads Splash olive oil 2 tbsp butter melted 1 tbsp honey 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses 2 walnuts, cracked 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds Blue Cheese and Walnut Dressing 50g blue cheese + extra for garnish 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt 2 tbsp olive oil Few drops lemon juice Pinch chopped parsley Pinch salt

‘Extract taken from Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by Rylan Peters & Small, photography by Mowie Kay’

Method Preheated oven 200c FAN Rinse the pearl spelt and simmer in salted water for about 20-30 minutes or until cooked through; it should be chewy but without any crunch. Drain, season and reserve. Trim any brown ends off the stalk of the radicchio then quarter lengthways, possibly into six if they are large, trim a little of the stalk and place onto a baking tray. Coat with a little olive oil, seasoning and a smidge of honey. Roast for about 20 minutes, (check after 15) turning them once during cooking, they’re done when the stalk is just knife tender. Pour the spelt into the roasting tray to coat in any of the juices then decant everything onto a flat serving dish. Make the dressing by mashing the all the ingredients together with the back of a fork, add a splash of water if it needs loosening. Drizzle the blue cheese dressing over the radicchio, garnish with crumbled walnuts, pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Serve on a large impressive platter dish.

Celebrity Chef Theo Michaels launches FiveDinners -a new and exciting meal planning service ‘What’s for dinner!?’ - Fed up choosing what to cook each day? Spending too much on food shopping? Finding mouldy vegetables in the back of the fridge? Your dinner time hero https://FiveDinners.com is here to help! Theo creates five delicious, easy-to-follow family recipes each week, along with a single shopping list, meaning users only buy what they need; saving money, reducing food waste and only need to shop once. All down loadable from members FiveDinners account. Cooking for one or ten? Members can change serving size on the recipes and the shopping list automatically updates. Equally if you get stuck in the kitchen or want to convert recipes for dietary needs you can use our text-a-chef service to get instant help Monday-to-Friday. FiveDinners members also enjoy: Relief of not having to choose what to cook each night. Reduce food shopping bills Cutting food waste Encourage eating as a family Encourage children to eat a wider variety of food Each week’s meal plan offers a balanced week with Meat-free Mondays, Fish Fridays and a mix recipes during the week. Theo says ‘Life with three children can be chaotic, so my wife and I started meal planning and couldn’t believe the results. We halved our weekly food bill and reduced our food waste. I realised lots of other families could benefit too and FiveDinners was born!’. .

FiveDinners makes life a bit easier No more scouring the internet for recipes and trying to create a list of ingredients, no more wandering aimlessly around the supermarket desperately thinking of what to cook, no more buying random items that you won’t use and or throwing out unused mouldy vegetables! Lynda, a FiveDinners.com member says; ‘Such a great idea! I love that I can plan for the week ahead making exciting new dishes that everyone likes. Thank you for making my life easier!’

www.FiveDinners.com – meal times made easy!


Adding Magic and Sparkle to your Wine choice this Christmas Christmas is well and truly knocking at the door. Whist this year certainly has been unlike any other, Christmas is definitely NOT cancelled. It is time for movie marathons, a few glasses of eggnog, and hanging baubles on the Christmas tree. If you are anything like me, Christmas is all about the food and wine. And whilst I cannot help you with the extra cooking or long lines in the supermarket, I can add some magic and sparkle to your wine choices over this festive period. Janina Doyle WSETdip Your Sparkling wine choices I don’t know about you, but Christmas fizz is a must and the indulgence of a glass of Champagne, with its toasted brioche notes, creamy texture and super fine bubbles certainly leaves you feeling lighthearted and joyful. However, there are many budget friendly options that will still leave you feeling bouncy and light. Prosecco from Italy has over the last decade risen to crazy fame for its fun, fruity and approachable flavours. It appears to have a little extra sweetness in comparison to Champagne, so if you are after a dry style, do look out for the words BRUT on a label. This is not made in the same way as Champagne, hence why it is much cheaper. It is created with the ‘Charmat method’ in a tank. Therefore, you will not get the bready, nutty flavours, nor will the bubbles be as fine, but it is a true crowd pleaser. Think of melon aromas, pear and honeysuckle. To be extra luxurious this Christmas, look out for a Prosecco Superiore DOCG. These wines come from a hilly area, the two villages of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene where the grapes are very high quality and provide the wine with much more finesse. For the crème de la crème, look out for Cartizze DOCG which is the one Grand Cru site within these two villages that will produce a refined, elegant Prosecco with the greatest intensity and purity of fruit. Now if you are after those rich, biscuity flavours of Champagne, look for a sparkling wine that states on the bottle words such as TRADITIONAL METHOD, METODO CLASSICO or METODO TRADICIONAL. Here are my favourite value options: Cava – This is Spain’s equivalent to Champagne and 95% is produced in the Penedès area in Catalonia. They use different grape varieties to those in France so sometimes you can have a slightly earthier style, but the richness and yeasty notes will all be there.

Crémant – This is made in 8 different places in France and one area of Luxembourg. If you want one that uses the exact same grape varieties as Champagne, you can choose Crémant de Bourgogne. MCC – This stands for Méthode Cap Classique which is South Africa’s Sparkling wines made in the same way as Champagne. I am always very impressed by the quality. Now English Sparkling wine deserves its own mention; however I sadly cannot put this into the budget category. If you didn’t already know, we certainly are a contender for the title of World’s Best Sparkling Wine Producer. Many of our vineyards are planted on the same chalky soils as Champagne, and as global warming has certainly put fear into many of the wine producing regions of France, it has quite clearly worked a certain magic for us. Global recognition dates back as far as the 1993 vintage of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, which won the title Best Sparkling Wine in the World in the International Wine and Spirit Competition against 43 other countries. The quality of wine has only got better since then, with our best British fizz regularly winning Platinum and Gold awards in international wine competitions, very often beating the French. Maybe that’s why Pommery and Taittinger both have planted vineyards here, and these are just the first of the Champagne Houses to cross the border. I implore you to go down this magical path of home-grown fizz. You will not be disappointed, and you will be joining the English Wine Movement, just as it teeters on the edge of wine world domination. Now whatever you are tucking into this Crimbo, as much as I think I could survive the whole time with sparkling wine, it certainly is a nice idea to have a selection of versatile wines, and ones that won’t break the bank. After all, we are here to eat, drink and be merry.

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS BOX OF WINE OFFER: £75* inc vat and delivery to UK mainland* for the six featured wines

Save £20.20 Usually £95.20 (£85.25 plus £9.95 delivery) So as to take out the complications for you, I have teamed up with Davys Wine Merchants to bring you a special Christmas box filled with six of my favourite value wines, to help you enjoy a plentiful and pleasurable Joyeux Noël. Cremant de Bourgogne Brut NV, Cave de Lugny, France £13.95 This is made from a cooperative winery who have international recognition for their quality. Made from the same Champagne grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with an addition of the juicy soft Gamay grape. It has also matured on its lees for 12 month, just as Champagne must. This is soft and pretty on the nose, filled with lemon, toasted brioche with an added complexity of almond flakes. The palate is full of frothy bubbles with flavours of apple and white blossom. It offers a soft creamy texture with cleansing fresh acidity. Plan for more than just one glass. TRY THIS WITH: Oysters, scallops, and even try it with some potato chips or popcorn. You could also pair it with another bottle? 2019 Somontes Colheita Branco Casa Da Passarella, Serra da Estrela, Dão, Portugal £11.95 Portugal is producing some of the best value wines you can find. Dão is a region known for producing elegant wines in a similar style as Burgundy, with a real focus on food friendly

flavours. Casa Da Passarella was voted one of the 2018 Top 100 Wineries in The World in Wine & Spirits Magazine. This is a white blend from indigenous grape varieties Encruzado, Malvasia and Verdelho. Take this out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want to drink this. It is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is fresh and fragrant with notes of mango, lime and cantelope melon with slight herbal notes of mint and cucumber. The wine is light bodied, with flavours of melon and gooseberry. The finish is zesty and clean. TRY THIS WITH: Fish, chips and mushy peas, salmon gravadlax, canapes, olives or as an aperitif. 2019 Davy’s White Burgundy, Macon- Village, Domaine Chêne, France £13.50 Davy’s has teamed up with experienced winery Domaine Chêne to be able to offer a Burgundy of incredible value. This is 100% Chardonnay and spends about 10 months of lees ageing but no oak, so its rich and round but without those intense buttery notes. Again, I would have this out of the fridge for around 30 minutes before sipping. The nose is rich and fruit driven with lots of apricots and a lick of cashew cream. The wine is full bodied, vibrant and super fresh with a creamy texture, and lots of passionfruit, peach and apple skins. TRY THIS WITH: Roast chicken, sushi, risottos, crabs, charcuterie, creamy medium cheeses and canapes.

2018 Langhe ‘Corte Enrichetta’ Pelassa, Piedmonte, Italy £14.95 This is 50% Nebbiolo, the grape variety behind Italy’s ‘King of wines’ Barolo, and 50% Barbera which add gorgeous juicy fruit to the more structured and earthy Nebbiolo. Pelassa are a small but award-winning family owned winery, where detail is everything. I would put this in a Decanter for 30 minutes before serving. The nose is pretty with lots of fruits and flowers dancing around. Full of red cherry, cranberry, cinnamon and white pepper. There are hints of dried mushrooms. It has a medium body, the red fruits are more restrained on the palate with some plums and dried strawberries intermingled with minerality, mushroom and a lovely coffee powder finish. The acidity is lively with chalky medium tannins. An approachable expression of Nebbiolo but with some very juicy fruit. TRY THIS WITH: Beef Wellington, Roast Goose, Pheasant, Grana Padano cheese (or other hard cheeses) 2018 Sidewood Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, Australia £15.95 Adelaide Hills is a great place for Shiraz if you want all that juicy black fruits and spices but with a slightly fresher style, due to being a cooler climate region than the more well-known Barossa Valley. Sidewood is an award-winning winery with winemakers who have worked at the very prestigious wineries, Penfolds and Shaw & Smith. The nose is opulent with aromatics of black cherry, dark chocolate shards, maraschino cherries, and lot of sweet spices like nutmeg, vanilla bean and clove. It has a full bodied but its not too heavy, with lots of plummy fruits with soft silky tannins and a real milk chocolate finish. TRY THIS WITH: Slow cooked Beef shin, Beef Brisket, sticky port gravy, smokey grilled meats. 2018 Domaine Bousquet Malbec Dulce, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina 50cl £14.95 Sweet wine is often very expensive, as the techniques used to produce high levels of sweetness require very low yields as the grape sugars are concentrated. That is why this dessert wine is an absolute steal. Domaine Bousquet are one of the top wineries in Mendoza and these grapes are late harvested from vineyards at 1200 metres, and then fermentation is stopped by fortifying the wine. This delicious sticky finishes at 19.5% ABV and best served just slightly chilled. Have you ever tried a sweet Malbec? The nose is like opening a box of chocolates. Think chocolate, wafer and hints of dried prune.

There is lots of black cherry, black plum and blackcurrant. The palate is full, sweet, smooth and luscious. The dried prunes come through on the palate with star anise and licorice spice. The acidity balances the sugar well with a nice little warmth of alcohol hitting the back of the throat. TRY THIS WITH: Dark Chocolate dessert, or on its own with your feet up. As Edna Ferber has said: “Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling.” I wish you all a very fruitful Christmas and New year with less stress and more sparkle.

ABOUT Janina Doyle WSETdip Janina is a Wine educator, Sommelier and Wine Brand Ambassador with the highest wine certification with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). She is the presenter of Eat Sleep Wine Repeat Podcast and has educational wine videos on Youtube of the same name. She runs wine events, private wine parties and virtual tastings. www.eatsleepwinerepeat.co.uk janina@eatsleepwinerepeat.co.uk INSTAGRAM: @eatsleep_winerepeat


Visit www.davywine.co.uk/ harpendia to place your order with Davy’s Wine Merchants. Please order early to guarantee pre-Christmas delivery.

Keeping Christmas Shopping Local Whilst we’re all mostly stuck at home, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to try and research and discover all the local shopping opportunities right on our doorsteps. We all want to support our local businesses but sometimes we just don’t know where to start.  In researching this article, I have been blown away by the entrepreneurs, the creativity and the talent of Harpenden and the surrounding villages.  I have been inspired to try and shop entirely local this Christmas and have seen gifts and ideas that I never even knew existed!    

I hope this article helps us all to keep it local, but please bear in mind that the headings are just for guidance and some of these small businesses have so many different products on offer I couldn’t mention everything. So please do click through and browse their sites to see their full ranges. And if you are a local business and you’re not yet on our site please do get in touch so that we can rectify that in time for Christmas shopping! Grab a cuppa and enjoy shopping from the comfort of your own home!

Arts, Prints, Cards and Books

And Sarah Ward is an artist with bright colourful pieces to add focal accents to any room. For quirky, funny, mildly offensive (and in her words) some downright rude cards look at Lucy likes it. Saturday’s Child curates custom and handmade products including cards, kids’ accessories, and other delights. And if you are overrun with your children’s artwork and/or photos The Little Square Gallery will curate them into works of art. Or if you have a favourite picture or memory Your Canvas Lab can turn it into art for you. Usborne Books are a world of books for birth through to teenagers. In Redbourn Niki Crafford Artwork produces unique one-line art drawings and oil paintings.

For original prints, gifts and Christmas cards have a look at HeatherTrefusis Art. Hillary Taylor Artist has drawings, limited edition fine art prints and cards and treasure hunt/colouring books. For bespoke family illustrations take a look at Jaks Whalen Illustration.  And for bespoke framed illustrations and keepsakes enjoy the online shop of Jolly Creative, who also offers crafty packs. Julie Maginn is a local artist who has affordable art and kimonos for sale.  The Harp and The Angel has original artworks for sale.

Vouchers If you are struggling for the perfect gift please remember that lots of our local businesses also offer gift vouchers, for example restaurants, cafes, meal planning

services, wine tasting, photographers, fitness classes, spa & beauty treatments, art & craft courses and more. You can find lots of these businesses listed in our "for grownups" section.  

Clothing and Jewellery If you’re looking for baby and toddler clothing the 5am Club sells hand printed baby and toddler cotton clothing. Organic baby clothes can be bought at From Babies with Love which also ensures all profits go around the world to orphaned and abandoned children. Lil’ Cubs is a childrenswear brand bringing fun colourful fashion to 0-7 year olds. For something unique and useful take a look at Dr Poppin’ Off which helps socks

Crafts Take a look at All Things Bright and Beautiful for bright and beautiful personalised hand sewn items including ballet & PE bags, Christmas bunting and Christmas stockings.  Bubbles of Hope have hand made crafts including personalised chopping boards, spoons & spatulas.  For cosy knitted socks and hats enjoy CozySocks Art.  Fused Glass by Anna Croxen sells fused glass decorations, art and gifts. If you want to give your kids or a loved one the gift of an activity at Christmas consider Glaze Time Takeaway Kits, or if you don’t feel very arty you can commission them to create something for you. For handmade bespoke items for the home like cushions, blankets, doorstops and draught excluders try Hannah Jacobs Designs. If you want to support a local charity whilst shopping Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary sell hedgehog craft and merchandise with 100% of the income generated going to the hedgehogs. For all things fabric and inspired by nature Kate Buchanan has artwork and cards.

stay together, gloves stay with jackets and even has hoodies with detachable masks. Or for unique purses and handbags we have Naas unique bags. Make bath time or swimming day more fun with Hooded Owls who sell hooded towels for children up to 13. For handmade gemstone jewellery for adults and children take a look at Bijoux & Belle. Wendy Warren Jewellery are specialists in finely finished, casual or formal, classic or contemporary jewellery.

If you are looking for something personalised, maybe baubles, candles or hand santisers, Peach & Co make it personal for you. Poppyseeds home design and make unique gifts including textiles and candles. For a range of different products including Autumn wreaths, memory bears, Christmas eve plates and cards check out Rosebuds & Dragonflies. If you’re looking for hand thrown stoneware Roundwood Pottery includes bowls, vases and candles. Illustrating love, family and friendship in thread Some Might Say Crafts brings embroidery to life. If you have a water sports mad friend or family member (or even if you don’t!) a unique gift can be found at Third Wave bespoke, hardy, waterproof bags from colourful and recycled windsurfing sails. In Wheathampstead Chantal’s Gifts includes handmade greeting cards, hand etched glass and slate as well as individually decorated mugs. Ducks Fly Together, also in Wheathampstead, has unique cufflinks, necklaces and coasters amongst many other things.

Home, Garden and Pets Our Premium advertiser, Co & Jo , are an online store of thoughtfully curated home décor, furniture, gifts and accessories including art, vases, bowls, lanterns and more.  For original styling, and sourcing original and affordable treasures for interiors, take a look at Style & Source. For more interiors, gifts and accessories  have a look at The Home & Garden Edit. ZziniHome in Wheathampstead is a local designer maker specialising in furniture and home accessories.

Skin,beauty and fragrance Handmade in Harpenden makes beautifully scented candles, diffusers, hand wash, lotions and gift sets.  For luxury home fragrance including reed diffusers, 100% soy wax candles and wax melts look at le bibo home fragrance. For botanical skincare with high performance ingredients you can

Food & Drink Our Highlighted advertiser, Twist Teas, has over 30 award winning blends of black, white, fruit/herbal and matcha teas in both loose leaf and biodegradable tea bag form. Not solely food related, but definitely one to look at for a mix of food and non-related food products is Hampers of Harpenden who provide seasonal quality gift-wrapped hampers locally. We may all think of cakes as being only for Birthdays and special occasions, but

If you’re looking for plants don’t forget our local nurseries - Bridge Valley Nursery, Townsend Nursery and Hertfordshire Garden Centre. Willow & Wild can help with outdoor fresh wreaths and indoor dried wreaths. A young lady in Wheathampstead has your pets covered - BossPigCo makes small pet accessories. And also in Wheathampstead, Katie Connolly produces pet portraits.  Finally, in this section, if you're looking for personalised and bespoke wooden door stops you need SGR Enterprise.

understand and trust take a look at Mallow + White. For candles and diffusers with a range of scented, natural soy candles and diffusers consider Miller & Keane Ltd. Tropic Skincare offer naturally derived skin, body, sun and hair products as well as make-up. In Redbourn Park Beauty has handmade artisan soaps.

cakes, cookies and sweet treats also make excellent gifts. There are plenty of local suppliers who can help you - Ameyesing Cakes (including bouquets of cupcakes), Anita’s Cake Bakery, Cracking Cakes, Elisabeth’s Cakes, Ellie’s Baking, Feeding Time (birthday, movie and special occasion boxes), Kate’s Cakes,  Jane’s Bakes (in Wheathampstead) and Sugar, Sprinkles & Joy (also in Wheathampstead) and Sugartists (in Redbourn). 

Local Shops So far we have been referring to many businesses which only have an online presence.  Please don’t forget our bricks and mortar shops which can help you out this Christmas and are offering click and collect services during lockdown!  Artscape (entertain the kids in lockdown by getting them to make Christmas cards and decorations with supplies from Artscape), B.J. Copestick Jewellers, Chelford Fabrics (also sells household accessories and unique gifts), Creature Comforts, Glyn Griffiths Jewellers, Good Sports, Harpenden Books, Harpenden Cycles, JoJo Maman Bebe, Loveweds Jewellers, Map Stores, Musicale Shop (buy

some Christmas music to brighten up the kids’ practise sessions), Party Box (also very useful if you have a Christmas time Birthday coming up), Perry Florists, Platform Wines Ltd, Rebecca Jade Beauty, Serena Hart (an eclectic, interesting and individual range of gifts, personal accessories and items for the home), Stephanie Randall The Flower Studio, The AL5 Aesthetics, Threads (local, independent, family-run gift and card shop stocking a wide range of quality gifts for all ages) and Total Looks. And in Wheathampstead don’t forget GJW Titmuss Ltd for your pets, and The Barn for a selection of gifts, paintings, jewellery, accessories and more.



A Harpenden artist’s creative journey through the pandemic Perhaps you have met Ben (or Benzi) before. He has been a well-known figure around the town over the past 20 years – as a Roundwood School parent, with his charity work, and as an artist.

love, friendship and the relationship between humans and surrounding nature. In those early months his work reflects the shock, isolation and yet sense of community during the initial lockdown. Also, a sense of contrast between those stuck in their homes and the freedom of movement, dance, music and social interaction that we normally enjoy.

He has exhibited locally and elsewhere in the country, and has also sold his paintings internationally. Benzi works in oil on canvas and covers a variety of topics – landscapes, still life, figures and abstract themes. His paintings are usually full of bright colours – often combining surprising combinations, that provoke thought and debate – reflecting Benzi’s individual and colourful character!

There is a notable change of mood as the summer months come and more opportunity to socialise with an aspiration towards social groupings and contact.

When Harpendia caught up with Benzi recently, we asked him how he had been coping during the pandemic. He admitted that it had been tough not to be able to continue his normal activities over the past nine months. But he confessed that one clear benefit was a prolific and creative period for his art. Over the pandemic period he has explored topics such as social interaction,

The most recent works go further and reflect on how we keep ourselves and the planet healthy - how one cannot survive without the other.

Looking for a painting to brighten your walls? Wanting to purchase an original Christmas present? Contact Benzi direct for a private appointment to view his work (subject to government restrictions). His studio is easily reached through the garden and all Covid safety measures are in place. Mobile: 07711 605878 Email: benzioncanvas@live.co.uk Instagram page: @benzioncanvas www.benzioncanvas.com

Board games make a fun and active alternative to watching TV all over Christmas. Old favourites like Monopoly, Cluedo, or Trivial Pursuits are always popular so why not bring them out of the cupboard and prepare to do battle. A recent contributor to The Herts Mercury and lover of Monopoly brought it up to date for Herts residents by giving properties new names and values from their towns. MAYFAIR in dark blue was the most valuable. So what takes its place? HARPENDEN. The crème de la crème. Its property prices are around double the national average. The majority of sales here during the last year were detached properties, selling for an average price of £1,011,095. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £725,733, with flats fetching £478,084.


What’s in Santa’s sleigh for grandchildren? Surprisingly practical presents from grandparents with a little help from Lyndhurst A contribution to a pension scheme setting up a long term financial future. Not as exciting as a new video game or a new phone app but certainly more rewarding. As pointed out by one of our team in an article in The Sunday Times, written by the wonderful freelance journalist Holly Black. She wrote about a Hertfordshire couple who had set up a pension for their grandchild at birth and then gave it to him as an 18th birthday present. The teenager was flabbergasted to be told that they had saved £118,000 in a pension and even more amazed that by the time he is 60 his retirement pot could reach a £1m without him contributing another penny! (Based on a growth rate of 5.1%). The grandparents had contributed the maximum permitted of £2880 per year, making it £51,840 over the 18 years, with the government topping it up by £12,960 through tax relief.

So, start saving early and see the benefits of compound interest, something we at Lyndhurst have been encouraging our clients to do for the last twenty six years. Make contact with us soon to see how you can set up a scheme in time for Christmas to make a really different Christmas present. Call Geoff Newman on 01582 715777

Lyndhurst House, High Street, Harpenden, AL5 2RT https://lyndhurstfm.co.uk Lyndhurst Financial Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The contents of this newsletter do not constitute advice and should not be taken as a recommendation to purchase or invest in any of the products mentioned. Before making any decisions, we suggest you seek advice from a professional financial adviser. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Do remember that the value of an investment and the income generated from them can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed, therefore, you may not get back the amount originally invested and potentially risk total loss of capital.

SCANDI CHRISTMAS STYLE When there's uncertainty in the world, we reach for the natural and organic to fill our homes with a feeling of balance and harmony. That's why the Scandinavian Christmas Trend is popular, because it's both nurturing and stylish. There are three fundamental design elements to a festive Scandinavian style:

WOODLAND SENSES Woodlands are representative of the Scandinavian region, so it’s no surprise that the natural elements of wood, Scots pine and Norway spruce feature heavily in this style. There’s a delicacy in the homeliness of a wooden dining table and a shapely feature chair. You can feel the energy and warmth of a hand carved piece as you sit in front of a roaring wood fire, listening to its crackle whilst smelling the freshness of the greenery. These sensory elements make you feel like cosying up, leaving all your troubles outside the front door. As well as wooden pieces of furniture, you could incorporate logs into your table decoration, blended with natural materials like a hessian table runner, cotton serviettes and lots of fresh pine. WINTER WHITE The Scandi style emphasises the colours of their festive season, with Snowy white and Woodland green balancing perfectly. White is a reflective colour that will make your home feel spacious, whilst also being so pure and opulent. It’s the perfect declutter colour that feels refreshing, which is what we all need after being confined to our homes - a bit of light relief. To prevent your home from looking

too stark and sterile with white, it’s often highlighted with fiery red for added warmth. We love the colour scheme of red, white and green because it reminds us of a traditional English Christmas, but it feels lighter and fresher with the Scandi style. Incorporate white into your crockery, a cosy blanket or the baubles on your tree. For Christmas decorations, consider different shapes and sizes of baubles to keep the style exciting. Once you strip out colour from a design, you need to add interest and texture to create an appealing room and stop the room from looking bland. BRIGHT LIGHT As the Scandinavian countries have fewer hours of daylight, there is a huge focus on artificial light, particularly candles, to brighten their homes. In ‘The Little Book of Hygge’, by Meik Wiking, it shows that almost a third of Danes light candles every day, and they usually have 5 or more candles glowing at any one time. It’s no coincidence that Ikea sells many candles, with a festive 5-candle bridge being popular during the festive season. During Christmas, particularly as the nights draw in, we love splashing on the sparkle, whether it’s lighting candles, adding fairy lights or popping on a table lamp. Light instantly give you an energising lift whilst also helping to soothe and calm your mood. It can be relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

This Scandinavian festive trend will create a calming, homely and attractive Christmas for you to enjoy your celebrations in style. Wishing you a wonderfully joyful and relaxing Christmas. Gwendoline Alderton BIID Interior Designer GA Interiors www.ga-interiors.co.uk

Christmas presents for your home?

Something for everyone. Mirrors, lights, cushions, rugs and occasional furniture are all essential elements for your home. Providing comfort, functionality and making bold or subtle statements. All available from Harpenden’s home of interiors. Call in and see in store or speak to us soon so we can make your home very happy this Christmas.

LISTER INTERIORS LTD 6 Leyton Rd, Harpenden 01582 764270 www.listerinteriorsltd.co.uk

Support local publisher No Exit Press and find the perfect Christmas gift for avid readers!

If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift for crime fiction lovers, or wondering what to put on your own list to Father Christmas, look no further than the No Exit Press Gift Membership… Based in Southdown, No Exit Press is a small independent publisher that packs a big punch. They have been publishing acclaimed books for over 30 years and last year won the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) Dagger Award for Best Crime and Mystery Publisher in the UK. No Exit Press membership includes six books from their forthcoming list (both hardbacks and paperbacks), which you or the giftee can either pre-select from the year ahead or if preferred, simply take the next six books they publish. Membership also gives 30% off all their backlist titles and many other exclusive special offers, which you can view here. Forthcoming books include No Exit Press’ biggest novel for 2021 – NICK - from critically acclaimed author Michael Farris Smith. A moving prequel to The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this exhilarating vision of his life, during and after WW1, leading up to his meeting with Jay Gatsby.

Other wonderful books coming up include a new Geraldine Steel thriller from million-copybestselling author Leigh Russell and a new Cold War spy thriller from Paul Vidich, whose last novel The Coldest Warrior received praise in the Financial Times, Sunday Times and Saga magazine to name but a few of the publications who lauded the book. No Exit Press also have the beautifully designed hardback Becoming Mr Nice coming out in May – a life story told in never-before-seen treasured objects from Howard Marks' personal and extensive archive. A subscription usually costs £69.95 but for a limited period it is discounted to just £49.95 (*including UK P&P) which you can purchase here and gives substantial savings on the cover price (Becoming Mr Nice will be a £19.99 hardback for instance).

And best of all, if you are buying Membership as a gift you even get a free book for yourself plus 30% off backlist titles. Giving isn’t about receiving of course but who doesn’t love a free book?! *Extra P&P charge on overseas orders

Visit noexit.co.uk/membership for more information

Books to enjoy reading over the festive season. Ion Mills, Founder and Publisher of No Exit Press, recommends his top 5 novels from this year’s list. Two lucky winners also have the chance to win all five of these books! FOR THE HISTORICAL FICTION LOVER WHEN WE FALL / Carolyn Kirby 'A poignant story of love, betrayal and impossible moral choices'- Sunday Times 'A terrific World War II novel, which deals with complicated matters of love and loyalty when lives are at stake and choices are bleak... Tense and tender, it captures the terrifying frailties of truth and trust in brutal time' – Daily Mail England, 1943. Lost in fog, pilot Vee Katchatourian is forced to make an emergency landing where she meets enigmatic RAF airman Stefan Bergel, and then can't get him out of her mind. In occupied Poland, Ewa Hartman hosts German officers in her father's guest house, while secretly gathering intelligence for the Polish resistance. Mourning her lover, Stefan, who was captured by the Soviets at the start of the war, Ewa is shocked to see him on the street one day. Haunted by a terrible choice he made in captivity, Stefan asks Vee and Ewa to help him expose one of the darkest secrets of the war. But it is not clear where everyone's loyalties lie until they are tested... THE INNOCENTS / Michael Crummey Michael Crummey writes like an avenging angel, never putting a word wrong' - Emma Donoghue In centuries past, a brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated outport cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only

the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family's boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to help them survive. Muddling through the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested. The Innocents is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister.

FOR FANS OF A PACY THRILLER PLAY THE RED QUEEN/ Juris Jurjevics ‘Jurjevics vividly conjures up the febrile atmosphere of a city in turmoil. Himself a Vietnam war veteran, he succeeds brilliantly in fusing the real events and people of the time with his invented story of an ever more desperate quest to track down a killer’ Sunday Times Vietnam, 1963. A female Viet Cong assassin is trawling the boulevards of Saigon, catching US Army officers off-guard with a single pistol shot, then riding off on the back of a scooter. Although the US military is not officially in combat, sixteen thousand American servicemen are stationed in Vietnam 'advising' the military and government. Among them are Ellsworth Miser and Clovis Robeson, two army investigators who have been tasked with tracking down the daring killer. Set in the besieged capital of a new nation on the eve of the coup that would bring down the Diem regime and launch the Americans into the Vietnam War, Play the Red Queen is a tour-de-force mystery-cum-social history, breathtakingly atmospheric and heartbreakingly alive with the laws and lawlessness of war.

FOR FANS OF A PACY THRILLER THE COLDEST WARRIOR /Paul Vidich 'The US's actual deep state during the cold war is evocatively portrayed … a finely written, taut novel' – Financial Times The new novel by acclaimed espionage author Paul Vidich explores the dark side of intelligence, when a CIA officer delves into a cold case from the 1950s—with fatal consequences. In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he 'jumped or fell' from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years. With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson's death, and suddenly the Wilson case becomes news again. Wilson's family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI, and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn't get out.

FOR FANS OF THE POLICE PROCEDURAL DEADLY REVENGE / Leigh Russell ‘Leigh Russell has become one of the most impressively dependable purveyors of the English police procedural’ - Times When a hysterical mother reports her baby's sudden disappearance, suspicion immediately falls on the absent husband. But Detective Geraldine Steel's gut instinct tells her this case is not as simple as her colleagues think... Complications in the mother's life begin to surface, including her relationship with her controlling father, a controversial political figure. As the police investigate, their attempt to find the missing infant grows ever more urgent Steel is forced to suspect everyone associated with the family - and when a body is discovered, matters take a deadly turn.


How to Transform Your Bathroom on a Budget Award Winning Interior Blogger, Emma, of HomeBirds gives her guide to achieving your dream bathroom with Ripples – whatever the budget… The most annoying thing about planning a brand new bathroom is the restrictions imposed by your budget but it’s a challenge we all face! When putting together ideas for your dream bathroom, establish your goals in order to create a luxury space. Here’s how I did it without busting the budget… 1. Prioritise Think about which element of the new space is going to be most important to you. For example, if you’re a bath person, make the bath your main priority in terms of where you splash the cash. Once you’ve factored your main priority into the budget, you can scale back from there. 2. Think carefully about colours The colour scheme you choose will have a huge impact on the overall feel of the room. You may have a small budget, but choosing a classic, timeless colour scheme won’t

cost you any extra and has the potential to make your space appear much more deluxe. Keep costs down by injecting colour through your accessories or a single feature such as a painted bath or sink unit. 3. Be prepared to compromise Yes it’s a horrible word and nobody wants to do it! But think carefully about what you would be willing to sacrifice, I promise you will achieve your goals inside your budget. I wanted brass fixtures and fittings but in the end opted for chrome. I’m actually glad I did as it fits beautifully with my colour scheme and offers the timeless look I was seeking. 4. Accessorise The finishing touches make all the difference and won’t break the bank. When pieces are picked cleverly, they can really transform a space. Consider incorporating some plants or stylish hooks, paying close attention to detail is always worth it – even down to the toothbrush holder you choose!

Visit Ripples Harpenden, 59 High Street, AL5 2SL or call 01582 256 008, www.ripplesbathrooms.com

FREE to enter CHRISTMAS COMPETITION A big thank you to all the businesses who donated these fabulous prizes

The Harpendia Christmas Competition is free to enter and open to all Harpenden residents via email. Answer these 3 questions and list them on an email with your contact details to info@harpendia.com All correctly answered emails will go into a draw for the prizes. NB. Names & emails will not be used for any other purpose. Competition details and rules are also on the HARPENDIA web site www.harpendia.com THE QUESTIONS 1.Which author wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’? 2.What did my Truelove bring to me on the seventh day of Christmas? 3.Which European country presents Britain with a gift of a Christmas tree each year?

RULES •All entrants must be over 18 years of age. •Only one entry per person. •Closing date for entries is December 19th 2020 •Winners will be drawn on December 20th and advised by email or phone. •The winners list (names only) will be published on the HARPENDIA web site on December 22nd.

•There are no cash alternatives to the prizes.


WORTH OVER £1,000 A bottle of Duménil Grande Reserve Brut nv Champagne from J Davy worth £34.95

A family ticket ( 2 adults & 2 children) to see Peter Pan at The Alban Arena


WORTH OVER £1,000 3 months In Centre Membership in Harpenden from 1Life. This 3 months membership from January - March 2021 offers you unlimited access to the gym. It includes access to pool and fitness classes (once they reopen). POOL ✓ GYM ✓ FITNESS CLASSES ✓ RACKETS ✓ Available to new members only

6 Prizes to win worth £100 each. A Golf Voucher for a round of golf for you and three friends at one of over 300 selected golf clubs. Donated by Neves Solicitors. A Christmas Food and Drink selection donated by The Harpenden Society worth £100 inc White & Red wine; Xmas pud & cake; Mince pies & Biscuits and more. Delivered to your home from Waitrose Harpenden

A one year subscription to FiveDinners.com; from Theo Michaels. Worth £59.88

An oil on canvas painting titled 'Vision' (20" x 16") from artist Ben Shalom. It would be priced at £185 A custom sterling silver name plate (choice of name up to 10 letters) pendant with chain... Donated by Loveweds Jewellers of Harpenden It will take around 3 weeks to make. Retails for £135.00 A candle gift set from Ripples new product range worth £25 Donated by Ripples in Harpenden

Please follow the Government guidance for safe shopping this Christmas.



Enjoy a warming welcome break in town at Emilios & Toastilicious


Opening* 20th Dec - 24th Dec 8 Leyton Road opposite Waitrose

Christmas Trees, and wreaths from Reads

Brands include French Connection, and Timberland

www.harpendenmenswear.com info@harpendenmenswear.com

*Subject to Government Guidelines

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021 BOOKING YOUR SUMMER HOLIDAY Sound advice from a Director of Just Sardinia, Just Sicily and Just Corsica. (Huw Nurse pictured) “We have just put in place our Covid-19 Promise which will enable you to amend, change, move or postpone your holiday if adversely affected by the Coronavirus restrictions. The well-being of our clients has always been - and will remain - our primary concern and we will never encourage our clients to risk their health by continuing to take a holiday arranged through us if this is contrary to the expert advice provided by the various authorities.”

‘CLASSICS ON THE COMMON’ IS NOW IN THE DIARY. WEDNESDAY JULY 28 Subject to Government guidance, Harpenden’s biggest summer attraction could be back with all the things you missed in Summer 2020. Organised by Harpenden Village Rotary Club

JOIN THE HARPENDEN SOCIETY Learn how we are engaging with Harpenden Senior schools in our writing competition. We work for everyone who appreciates the richness of life in Harpenden and wants to ensure that the town remains a green and pleasant place in which to live, work or visit. www.harpendensociety.org


Profile for Harpendia

Harpendia Christmas Magazine 2020