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ClydeLife.co.uk

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For Local Living

Find Christmas Events Recipes and Competitions inside Skelmorlie Wemyss Bay Inverkip Gourock Greenock Port Glasgow Langbank Kilmacolm Quarrier’s Bridge of Weir Brookfield Houston Bishopton Erskine ■

Nov/Dec 2014 issue 21


DONATE YOUR FURNITURE AND ELECTRICALS and we’ll pick up your items for FREE Your unwanted furniture and electricals can help us fight back against heart disease. We collect all sorts of items: • • • • •

Sofas, beds, tables, chairs TVs, Hi-Fi’s Washing machines, fridges Small electrical items Games consoles, docking stations

Call 01475 291 122 or book online at bhf.org.uk/collection Please don’t be disappointed if we are unable to accept items for reasons of safety or quality

©British Heart Foundation 2013, registered charity in England and Wales (225971) and in Scotland (SC039426).


5

13

19

10

28

Pantomimes 26

013

Staing 5 Finding the right book

er8 City’s

Revolutionary Salt Therapy

10 Style Files 13 All I want for

l James rrigan Christmas is my …..

36

38

17 Inverclyde Christmas Lights 19 A Christmas message 21 Christmas Recipe 22 Christmas Competition 26 Beacon Arts Centre

28 Get a handle on the

Festive Programme

Publisher: Life Magazines & Publications

Features Editor: Rob Reid

Still Game’s

Jane Mccarry Editor: Charles Briggs

Advertising: Nicky Murphy nicky@clydelife.co.uk

35 Avoid a New Year debt hangover 36 Live Events at the Waterfront Cinema

38 The Christmas Tree and Christmas What’s On Contact Info: Editorial: 07788-923054 Advertising: 01505-871962 Email: editor@clydelife.co.uk Web: www.clydelife.co.uk

Issue 21, 2014

...and...

housing market

Contributors: Robert MacDonald, Marilyn Thompson, Holly Thompson, Stuart Davidson, Curtis Chisholm, Ellen Arnison, Alan Sorensen

Graphic Design: Phil Cunningham www.creative-magazine-designer.co.uk phil@creative-magazine-designer.co.uk Advert Design: Simon Jones, Skep Design

Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor its editorial contributors can accept and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors, or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Life Magazines and Publications Limited does not officially endorse any advertising material included in this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher.

...bk now on...

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Finding the right book As author Paul Jennings said, “There is no such thing as a reluctant reader. A reluctant reader is a child for whom an adult has not found the right book.” At St Columba’s our ambition is to encourage every pupil to find the ‘right book’, because we recognise that reading and literacy are the foundations of education. We start early to imbed a love of reading by surrounding children by good stories and modelling good reading (Junior School teachers attend library sessions with classes and read their own book whilst the children browse through novel choices). In Prep they are introduced to phonics through sounds, singing, actions, dancing and play; it’s a truly active approach to literacy. In fact we encourage children to explore all curricular areas from a literary standpoint and we nurture imagination and independent thinking from the minute they enter our School. Stories are used to teach moral lessons, to challenge thinking and to explore other societies and cultures. In Senior School pupils are encouraged to extend their study of a subject beyond the class reading list. Mick McLaughlin, Depute Rector and Director of Curriculum said, “It is crucial that the development of literacy is not seen as the sole preserve of any particular department. Mindful of this, for a number of years now we have made literacy a priority right across the curriculum with all subjects in the Senior School taking

forward initiatives to improve pupils’ skills in reading, writing and talking.” In 2012 pupils from two primary schools worked with the project Writer in Residence, Kirstin Zhang, and with the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio to produce a book of short stories to celebrate the passing of the Olympic Flame through Kilmacolm. In 2014 they enjoyed a twopart workshop discovering portals to imaginary worlds and learning building skills with the help of Orkidstudio, a humanitarian architectural charity, established by a former pupil of the School.

They Have Their Sights Set on a Bright Future One of Scotland’s top schools on your doorstep From Nursery to Senior VI Financial assistance available from age 11

Visit us and join the St Columba's family www.st-columbas.org

St Columba’s School, Duchal Road, Kilmacolm PA13 4AU St Columba’s School Ltd is a registered charity SC012598 Reg No SC016856

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Pilates matwork, barre and reformer. Classes and personal training. 07971719414

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Childcare Funding Available 6 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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Show your kitchen some love Customers are hunting high and low for that perfect kitchen. Show your kitchen some love and we will show it our passion & creativity. Everything you could want in your kitchen we have. Top brands, craftsmanship, beauty, elegance & technology, we’ve got the lot and we promise it will certainly be worth your while especially when we get to the bottom line. So look no further, give us a visit. We can’t wait to meet you.

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Halotherapy – revolutionary ‘salt therapy’ that is changing lives… In recent years, concerns have been raised that people are consuming too much salt. High levels of sodium in the diet are believed to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes and may also cause high blood pressure. However, salt is also essential for the human body to function. It is required for blood, sweat, digestive juices and efficient nerve transmission. Beyond that though, salt is now being recognised as having natural healing properties. It is a powerful anti-bacterial agent and is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. For almost 200 years, people in Eastern Europe (Poland and Russia particularly) have been visiting salt mines and natural salt caves to take advantage of the healing properties of salt. Speleotherapy as it is known is still used today to treat a wide range of respiratory and skin conditions. If there are no natural caves or mines nearby, there is still a way to enjoy these health benefits. Halotherapy. A new halotherapy centre is due to open in Glasgow in early 2015. Salann Halotherapy will be only the second centre of its kind in Scotland and will have two full size treatment rooms, one for up to 12 adults and the other for up to 10 children accompanied by adults. There will also be a third smaller VIP treatment room that can hold two people.

The treatment rooms or “salt caves” will recreate the natural salt cave micro-climate using a special machine called a halogenerator. The machine will grind up sodium chloride crystals into ultra-fine particles and circulates the particles in the atmosphere. These particles, invisible to the naked eye, will penetrate deep into the respiratory system, reducing inflammation and helping to clean out mucus blocking the airways. Through direct contact, the particles will also act upon the skin, reducing redness and swelling and improving skin tone. The treatment is natural and 100% drug free and is safe for pregnant women and children over 6 months old. Treatable conditions include asthma, bronchitis, hayfever, sinusitis, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and more serious conditions including COPD and cystic fibrosis. Visit the website www.salann.co.uk for further details or to book a free, no obligation consultation, or call 07949250355 to talk to the team.

SPECIAL CLYDE LIFE READER OFFER: 3 TREATMENTS FOR THE PRICE OF 2 QUOTE CLDEC14 TO QUALIFY. Offer ends 31st December 2014

8 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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A dog or cat is for life... really Daily Record vet Neil McIntosh gives a few warnings about pets at this time of year Puppies and kittens don’t make the best Christmas presents… there is just far too much going on for you to be able to concentrate on the first two weeks they are with you. This period is really important. Instead of just mollycoddling, it is when you should concentrate on house training, basic training and socialisation. Remember puppies have an important socialisation period between the ages of three and 10 weeks. During this time, they are accepting of new people, sounds, smells and sights. Unfortunately, at this age, pups need to be confined to the house before they are vaccinated. It is crucial therefore that they are introduced to a wide variety of experiences and that they receive a positive response to them. So it’s great to let them hear the hustle and bustle at Christmas as long as they do not appear frightened but avoid shrieking kids.

The curse of fireworks recurs at Christmas and New Year. Never mind “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”, it now seems “fireworks are not just for Guy Fawkes”. If you have a new puppy in the house, it is really worth desensitising him to loud noises. You could start just by clanging a few dishes at feeding times, so that the noise is associated with having a good time. Don’t overdo it. Your vet may be able to help by providing desensitisation CDs, which contain a variety of sounds. Heh. It also helps to turn on the vacuum cleaner every now and then. (and the hairdryer, iPod, washing machine etc etc) Never make a fuss at loud sounds. If the kids are jumping around, screaming at fireworks, then the dog will too.

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AbbeyVetGroup www.clydelife.co.uk | 9


s e l i F E L Y T S The Coats, Coats, Glorious Coats Style expert Marilyn Thompson, who runs The Fashion Class, shares some tips for looking cool this Winter.

Marks & Spencer

Here are some of my favourites: From the beautifully dark fairytale inspired fur trimmed hooded capes (I’m still waiting!) to the more functional and practical day to day styles, capes and ponchos are extremely versatile and right on trend. Wear them with jeans and a cosy jumper or at the other end of the fashion scale - your Christmas party dress!

10 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

Marks & Spencer

Full blown winter, Christmas, snow and ice, it’s all nearly upon us, the cold creeping in and wrapping its icy fingers all around us. Keep the freeze at bay by enveloping yourself in a lovely snuggly, fabulous new coat. This winter showcases an absolutely glorious selection of coats and jackets - the best (in my opinion) for a really long time. This is the winter you will find that longed for but ever so elusive outer garment - the one that you have envisioned but has never quite materialised, with nothing quite hitting the mark, well quite honestly, your hardest decision this season will be choosing which style to purchase from the amazing selection available.

Burberry showed amazing ‘Blanket’ style coats which featured each of the models initials monogrammed onto them (I’m guessing the lucky models like Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn got to keep them) you could copy this look by learning some basic embroidery stitches and embroider your own initials, or you could (very nicely) ask someone more talented in that department to do it for you. These coats look great with cute little winter dresses or skinny jeans and knee high boots. Oversized ‘Duvet’ coats - exactly as the name suggests are especially perfect for the early morning traveller, so cosy and comforting, teamed with your

@clydelifemag


La Redoute

Juicy Couture

first coffee of the day, you could almost still be in bed, all be it having a little nightmare about taking those first steps into the dark, shivering limbo between night and day. Fur - real and faux still features heavily from full length fur coats and every length in between to fur trimmed collars and cuffs and some really lovely fur trimmed parkas. Shearling coats are also a big winter trend and are extremely warm (sadly, also extremely expensive)

For those of you who like a bit of colour to brighten up the dreary days of winter then colourful jewel shades of coats are everywhere with warm red tones heavily featured. In contrast, I really like crisp winter white coats, not perhaps the most practical and you do need to pick and choose the best days to wear them but oh so pretty. There are so many more styles available including the classic trench and military style coats, duffel coats, ‘Boyfriend’ styles featuring long lines and neutral colours and statement coats in bold patterns....... Go on - treat yourself, you know you’re worth it and coats and jackets are such great multitaskers - they look amazing and keep you warm, can cover a multitude of sins and can glamorously cover that dodgy old sweatshirt - Do you need another reason?

! Merry Christmas

We have tenants looking for rental properties in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, please get in touch. Clyde Life Magazine

www.clydelife.co.uk | 11


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12 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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All I Want for Christmas Is My It’s almost that time of year I find myself singing away to my patients the classic Christmas novelty song “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” It was written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Gardner while teaching music at public schools in Smithtown, New York. He asked his Primary 2 class what they wanted for Christmas, and noticed that almost all of the students had at least one front tooth missing as they answered in a lisp. Gardner wrote the song in 30 minutes and in a 1995 interview, Gardner said, “I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country.” My eldest son Ruaridh is reaching that stage where teeth are getting wobbly and big, more yellow looking grown up teeth are starting to erupt in to the mouth. Bigger teeth in smaller mouths also inevitably come in a bit squint. Even the wife needed some reassurance that this would probably sort its self out over time. It’s a tricky time for parents as their baby faced wee ones who diligently let them brush their teeth become more and more independent denying their parents the ability to give the teeth a good hard scrub. Adult teeth start to come in as early as 5 years old and can sometimes be a bit more tricky to reach and

Two

FronTteeth properly clean. Quite often what I do is let him brush his teeth first and then go in afterwards and give them a good second clean. Fun toothbrushes, brushing to pop songs, brushing apps, bubblegum flavoured toothpastes and dancing about the bathroom can all make the process a bit more fun allowing brushing to become an important 6 minutes of your child’s daily routine. The said wobbly tooth fell out last night (whilst brushing) and the generosity of the tooth fairy never ceases to amaze me! When asking Ruaridh what he was going to spend his new found wealth on the reply predictably came “Sweeties!!” That’s the other problem when your child gets bigger…They become smart enough to know how to wind you up! Stuart Davidson BDS MFDS Ivy Cottage Dental Practice, Main St, Inverkip. For an appointment phone 01475 521248.

Clyde Life Magazine

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MADE TO MEASURE SLIDING WARDROBES TO SUIT EVERY BUDGET

Visit our newly opened family run showroom at

2a Quarry Street, Johnstone, PA5 8DZ Open 6 days Monday to Friday (10am-5pm) Saturday (10am-3pm)

Tel: 01505 324486 www.alvicslidingwardrobes.co.uk We offer fully fitted with interiors, or doors only (DIY) and all trade welcome

Superior Systems at smart prices designed for you! 14 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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Christmas at the

Chartroom! 2014 CHRISTMAS

Y NIGHT 70’s PART er 1st Sunday 2

PARTY NIGHTS

Decemb

3 course Festive menu,

il s on tan cock ta Cosmopoli ial retro festive ec arrival, a sp rilliant night’s b a menu and ment from Feeva in a rt live ente Motown, hit s from and their y hit s. & 80’s part 60’s, 70’s

Bublé tribute during din ner,

Radio Clyde DJ Bill Smith to Only £25 per person!

2014 Y A N A M G HO ay 31st December Wednesd

arrival, canapés on live Cocktails & urse dinner, o c 4 s u o tu su m p ncing to allywhy, da m Ji m o fr er c musi ith and a pip m S l il B ’s e d anay Radio Cly e best Hogm h T s! ll e b e at th ! Tickets £55 in Inverclyde

1am

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The Mid-Winter Bal l

Saturday 27th Decemb er 7.30 A gla ss of fiz z on ar rival, ca nd lel it din ne r & liv e en te rta inm en t fro m Th e Je rs ey to ne s til l th e we e ho urs. Bla ck tie or fu ll len gt h & fab ulo us Ti cket s £3

0

BOXING DAY AT THE C

HARTROOM

Friday 26th December

Festive Lunch 2 courses £1 3.95 Child menu £4.95

Call 01475 520919 or go to our website www.thechartroom.co.uk for all our party dates, offers and booking details!

Clyde Life Magazine

The Chartroom, Kip Marina, Inverkip PA16 0AS

www.clydelife.co.uk | 15


Now open 8.15am to 12 noon Monday - Friday

Now that the we are approaching Christmas, Holly from The FASHION Class is back with all the latest news on fashion, beauty and all the must have gadgets. Look Tinsel time of the Shimmer and shine this Month Christmas season in a host of iridescent shades. For major impact, slip on a holographic dress or skirt or, for a more subdued effect, carry a dazzling clutch bag instead. However you wear it, be ready for this trend to blow up!

Topshop

Give your child the best start in life

The teenSTYLE Files

Duchal Nursery - providing excellent nursery & pre-school education to the children of Kilmacolm and surrounding areas for over 40 years.

Hair Visit the nursery and see for yourself how Duchal helps children grow and learn. Drop in or call to arrange a visit. Birkmyre Park, Kilmacolm PA13 4JA Registered Charity SCO36984

www.duchal.com T: 01505 874 358 E: info@duchal.com

The perfect partner for your shimmering outfit would be a glossy statement lip to match. Treat yourself to MAC Lustreglass lipgloss in Venetian red which is sure to give you a festive shade of fabulous that everyone loves.

Go wild and use glitter hairspray to put a r finishing touch to you party look. You can find the best selection of colours from Claires, a little spray is all you’ll need to catch everyone’s eye!

Gadget of the Month Holly ♥s This

CELEBRITIES –

Fujifilm instax printer www.fujifilm.com

Do’s & Dont’s – Sparkles

do

t don’

➤ Don’t go OTT ➤D  on’t wear it head to toe ➤D  o pick some feature items ➤ Do have fun ➤ Do keep it fluid

Your fashion questions answered ?????? Q – Hi Holly, during

this time I’m always so tempted to splash out on tonnes of seasonal fashion but I know I’ll only be able to wear it for a few weeks - help! Bethany :)

A – Hey Bethany, don’t be afraid

to buy one good Christmas jumper that you can pull out every year! Otherwise Topshop and Asos do fashionable Christmas inspired hair accessories that will add the festive spirit to any outfit for just a small price. Holly x

Get in touch – To learn more about The FASHION Class for teens & children, the courses, camps and Birthday parties, or to tell me what you think and ask any questions, contact: holly@thefashionclass.co.uk or www.thefashionclass.co.uk

16 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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Christmas Light Switch On’s Near You! Wishing you a bright and happy festive season! Join friends and family in your local community and watch the lights switch on for Christmas…

WEDNESDAY 3 DECEMBER

FRIDAY 5 DECEMBER

Port Glasgow: 6pm

Quarrier’s Village: 3pm

Port Glasgow Library, Fore Street, Port Glasgow, PA14 5EQ

Quarrier’s Village, Bridge of Weir, PA11 3SX

Gourock: 6pm

Inverkip: 6pm

Gourock Pierhead, Gourock, PA19 1QP

Inverkip Primary School, Station Road, Inverkip, PA16 0AY

THURSDAY 4 DECEMBER

Kilmacolm: 6pm

Clyde Square, Greenock, PA15 1NA

Kilmacolm Community Centre, Campbell Place, Lochwinnoch Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4HX

Greenock: 6pm

Weymss Bay: 7pm Weymss Bay Community Centre, Ardgowan Road, Wemyss Bay, PA18 6AT

Have a safe and happy Christmas, from all at Inverclyde Council

Clyde Life Magazine

www.clydelife.co.uk | 17


CHRISTMAS AT CARDWELL...

YULE LOVE IT! SANTA’S GROTTO INDOOR CHILDREN’S CARNIVAL HUGE SELECTION OF DECORATIONS, LIGHTS, TREES & MORE! Award winning craft and hobby centre Licensed 300 seater restaurant Kitchenware, foodhall, books, clothes & much more!

FULL FESTIVE DETAILS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE Call us on: 01475 521 536 18 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

www.cardwellgardencentre.co.uk @clydelifemag


A Christmas Message from Rev. Alan Sorensen: minister@lylekirk.org

I’ve got some bad news and some good news… you know Rudolph, Santa’s reindeer? Well, here’s the bad

news, I believe it’s only female reindeer that keep their antlers at this time of year. Rudolph is a girl! But surely that’s what Christmas should be about? Discovering something unexpected in a very familiar story. My hope and prayer is that in amongst the tinsel and the hair-tearing, the scrum of last minute shopping, the spending way too much, we will find something new and unexpected in the story of Christmas. It may be in singing a carol, hearing a bible reading, a line in a Christmas card or the visit of a friend, who knows? And here’s the good news , the message of Christmas is that God has come to us, in Jesus, in order for us to find Him. Take the opportunity to join with us here in Lyle Kirk as we celebrate that truth. That’s the point of Christmas. Not reindeer, not shopping; the good news that God is with us.

Come and join us at any of the Christmas services, and who knows, as we worship together maybe we will be moved to be the surprise, to be the good news, to others – especially the poor or the lonely - this Christmas.

coorie doon this Christmas...

80 Kempock Street Unit 4 Gourock 01475 636 597 (next to Flava Coffee Company)

Clyde Life Magazine

Gift Certificates Available!

www.clydelife.co.uk | 19


20 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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Christmas Turkey with a Shallot Stuffing

Turkey is the traditional centre of our Christmas dinner tables and so we’re featuring this Christmas classic. Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 90 minutes You’ll need: • 2.5kg Turkey • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil • Sea salt and black pepper For the stuffing: • 35g butter • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped • 125g dried figs, chopped into small cubes • 1 small eating apples • 125g fresh breadcrumbs • 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped • 350g sausage meat • 2 tbsp of parsley, chopped • 1 large egg beaten • Sea salt and black pepper What to do: • Preheat oven to 230°C/Gas Mark 8 • Remove turkey giblets and reserve. Rinse the turkey inside and out and dry well. • Place the turkey in a large roasting pan, brush the turkey generously with rapeseed oil and season with sea salt and black pepper and cover with foil. • Place the prepared turkey in the pre-heated oven and cook at this temperature for the first 30 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for approximately 30 minutes per kilo, basting every hour. • To prepare the stuffing, heat the butter and rapeseed oil until the butter has melted. Add the shallot and fry gently until well softened but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season well with sea salt and black

pepper. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl, leave to cool. • Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the core and cut into small cubes. Mix the figs, apples, breadcrumbs, sage, sausage meat and parsley with the shallots, season well with sea salt and black pepper using clean hands and then mix in the beaten egg. The mixture should be quite firm, with wet hands, mould the stuffing into balls the size of a golf ball. • Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Alternatively you can use the mixture to stuff an onion, per person, and place the rest of the mixture into an ovenproof dish to cook. • Take one small onion per person and peel, leaving the top of the onion intact and the base root in place. Peel and boil, whole, in salted boiling water for 8-10

minutes, until just soft, drain and cool in cold water. Drain and cut the top off the onion, about three quarters of the way up, so as to make a lid. Using a sharp knife, hollow out the onion and stuff with the stuffing mixture, replace the lid and brush all over with rape seed oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven alongside the turkey until cooked through and slightly caramelised. • When the turkey is approximately 35 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil, drain off any of the excess fat and cook for a further 35 minutes or until golden brown. • Transfer the turkey to a platter and cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes. • Serve the turkey carved with stuffing balls or stuffed onions and gravy. • Per serving (based on 10) 491 calories 25.6g fat 8.5g saturates

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Cherry Blossom

CHILDREN’S BOUTIQUE

Clothing and accessories for children 0 - 10 years.

Opening Hours Mon - Fri 10am -5pm Saturday 10 am - 4pm

15% OFF with this voucher

‘Light up a Life’ Ardgowan’s Christmas Appeal - Please help us to give something back to our Hospice and help local families through the hardest times of their lives. Thank you x Service at Westburn Church on 30th November 2014 - 6:00pm till 7:30pm

Carmichael Place | 8 Lochwinnoch Road Kilmacolm | PA13 4DT www.cherryblossomboutique.com

Pick up a leaflet or visit www.ardgowanhospice.org.uk ™

to place your dedication on our virtual tree.

( 01475 558851 Ardgowan Hospice is a charity registered in Scotland. Scottish Charity Number SC011541.

r i a fl e v i t a e r c Hair with Make Christmas come early at One Union Hairspa

Creative flair is what counts at Greenock’s One Union Hairspa. The team’s inspired sense of style is matched by the very latest beauty equipment and accessories – such as the acclaimed ghd series of straighteners, driers and curlers. Owner Marc McCabe is offering clients the chance of an exclusive peek at the ghd range at a Christmas evening event on November 26. On show will be specially-selected ghd and Schwarzkopf Christmas packs. Customers will also get the chance to check out top of the range accessories such as the ghd air hairdryer which reduces frizz and flyaways to give you that salon finish. You can also try out the ground-breaking ghd Eclipse Irons – ideal for that hard-to-tame hair. Or find out for yourself why the award-winning ghd IV series stylers are the perfect tools for creating curls, flicks or waves.

22 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

The ghd Gold series will also be on show and it’s reckoned to be the brand’s sleekest design yet – ideal for creating those classic salon styles. Discover the new range of tongs and wands from ghd curve – they’re high-tech marvels designed to give you curls that will last forever. Join Marc and the team for wine and nibbles on the 26th November and make Christmas come early!

WIN!

You have a chance to win a fantastic Aura hairdryer worth £145 The fabulous ghd ranges make the ideal Christmas presents – or why not simply pamper yourself? To enter, simply visit www.clydelife.co.uk, click on competitions and answer this simple question: The new range of tongs and wands from ghd are called a) wave b) curve or c) bend Closing date Friday 19th December! Good luck.

@clydelifemag


Clyde Life Magazine

www.clydelife.co.uk | 23


Best Dressed Little Ones…Beautiful winter red dresses and coats now in stock. Boys winter wear also in stock. From £34.99. Pennyfern, 126 Cathcart Street, Greenock, PA15 1BQ. Tel: 01475 729136 www.facebook.com/ pennyfern.babyshop

Keep it personal this Christmas… “Christmas Decorations with your Personal message engraved. Presentation box supplied” £6.99 including Box & Postage www.aquilagifts.co.uk

VV Amore – beautiful handbags 221 Tote Handbag - Our signature handbag that goes from 2 to 1 handbag in a flash! From £198 (£149.00 for base bag and £49.00 for 221 “swop on” clutch) 07788923050 email: sarah@vva.co.uk www.vva.co.uk instagram.com/vva.co.uk Studio at Rossall, Gryffe Road, Kilmacolm PA13 4AZ.

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Whisky barrel ends transformed into this beautiful range of glass holders/tasting trays, specifically designed to hold the Glencairn Crystal Whisky Nosing Glass or Water Jug. Prices from £30 Treasured Home and Gift 60 Cardwell Road, Gourock, Inverclyde, PA19 1UN Tel: 01475 648900 Mobile: 07787 511042 www.facebook.com/treasuredhome

Giclee Fine Art Prints available in various sizes and finishes, framed and unframed. Prices from £55.00 Available from George Young Photographers, 80 Kempock Street, Gourock 01475 633261. www.georgeyoungphotographers.co.uk  

Personalised Gingerbread Decorations By Honeywell Bakes £10.50 plus P&P www.notonthehighstreet.com

24 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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Imagine this little looker of a cooker in your kitchen… Jet-black glass creates an atmospheric background. Just one of the vast range of Miele appliances available as part of the stunning kitchen ranges from Affordable Luxuries www.affordableluxuries.co.uk

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Fabulous – and not just in Black… Luxury, satin-lined, feather wraps and boleros add the ‘Fabulous’ effect to outfits for any special occasion. In our experience, a bit of plumage enhances all women! Fabulous Black ostrich feather wrap, available in black, silver grey and ivory £80 www.fabulousblack.com.

this Christmas A Personalised Christmas Print, by Hanna Melin. This Christmas print features a bold heart and “love” painted with clearly visibly pencil marks, from £12. www.notonthehighstreet.com

Portraits by Michael, relaxed modern style, various sizes and frames, colour and black&white. Christmas Vouchers available. Prices from £60.00 Available from George Young Photographers, 80 Kempock Street, Gourock, 01475 633261. www.georgeyoungphotographers.co.uk Maritime Art Created from original maritime charts Made in Scotland by John Wilson. A Wonderful gift for lovers of the sea. From £50 T: 01896 849878, M: 07834354802, nautical3dcharts@hotmail.com, www.nautical3dcharts.co.uk

Clyde Life Magazine

Domalti is just one of the ranges available from Alvic Sliding Wardrobes. Contemporary, stylish wooden panels in six finishes. A Striking look to transform any space… www.alvicslidingwardrobes.co.uk www.clydelife.co.uk | 25


Friday 12th December – Saturday 3rd January

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26 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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The Beacon Arts Centre December events

For full event listings, visit www.beaconartscentre.co.uk Aladdin –

Greenock Players 28th Nov (except the 30th Nov) – 6th Jan Tickets - £10.00, Family of 4 - £35.00, Groups - Buy 10 get 1 free Family of 4 and Group offer can be booked at box office only

Cinderella

12 Dec – 3rd Jan £8 - £18 He’s back and looking for love…she’s looking to go to the ball. We present to you a magical cocktail of glamour and glitz as Inverclyde’s own special Cinders sings her way into everyone’s hearts whilst those Ugly Sisters hit the Talent Show dance floor with an eye on the prize....the Prince.

It’s panto time again – oh yes it is! This year our story is set in the Far East… Naw, not Fife! CHINA! There’s trouble brewing in Old Peking… Abanazar, the world’s slimiest sorcerer, has arrived on the scene, and he will do anything to get his horrible hands on the magic lamp. Only our hero, Aladdin, can stop his evil plans. Pantomime fun for all the family starring River City’s Paul James Corrigan, Still Game’s Jane McCarry, Samantha Shields and a host of Scotland’s top talent.

The Beacon Bistro offers casual dining, not just pre-theatre, but every day and evening, making it the ideal place to meet with friends or family for a drink or to enjoy a relaxing breakfast lunch or dinner. Choose from morning coffee, afternoon teas, handcrafted pastries, light lunches, all day dining and supper menus.

It’s a Wonderful Life Thursday 18th December – Sunday 21st December 7:30pm (with 2:30pm Matinee on Sunday 22nd) Standard Price: £7.00 Concession: £6:00 (available on Sunday Matinee Only) Studio theatre

The Nearly New Year Hogmany Show

Join us in traditional Hogmanay style to celebrate the coming of the New Year with The Beacon’s Nearly New Year Hogmanay Show starring Alan Beck (Caledon) and his wife, the fabulous Polly Kirwan Beck. Accompanied by one of the country’s top ceilidh bands, the sensational Flung Aboot, and featuring the haunting music

of the Bagpipes with some traditional Scottish Country Dancing thrown in to boot, the evening promises to be the ideal preparation for “The Bells”. – the perfect way to Step We Gaily into 2015 – a great traditional night suitable for all the family and an experience not to be missed! 8pm - Bring in the bells at the beacon – continue your New Year celebrations with us after the performance. Call 01475 723 723 for more info to book.

Follow us on Facebook: Beaconartscentre, Follow us on Twitter @thebeaconarts info@thebeaconartscentre.co.uk www.beaconartscentre.co.uk The Beacon Arts Centre Custom House Quay, Greenock, PA15 1HJ

BOX OFFICE HOTLINE 01475 723723

Enjoy the view

Open 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week. For the full range of menus including Afternoon Tea, Pre-Theatre and the Wine and Drinks list... beaconartscentre.co.uk/bistro-bar To book a table at The Beacon Bistro call 01475 723723

BOX OFFICE OPEN MONDAY TO SATURDAY 10am – 8pm

Clyde Life Magazine

www.clydelife.co.uk | 27


28 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

@clydelifemag


Getting a handle on the housing market

Property expert Curtis Chisholm outlines pitfalls for buyers and sellers

Some cynics claim that the one thing that’s certain about the housing market is its uncertainty. They may be right. Curtis Chisholm, a director of the Cochran Dickie Estate Agency, based at Bridge of Weir, reckons the days when bricks and mortar were a surefire investment, guaranteed to rise in value, are gone. He said: “We are still feeling the aftershock of the financial crisis that began in 2008 and this will continue to have an effect on lending patterns for a long time to come. We are also about to experience major changes to stamp duty arrangements that will have a significant effect on buyers at the upper end of the market.” But Curtis maintains that there is one abiding factor that remains vital as far as estate agents are concerned and that is familiarity with the value of property in their own patch. Curtis, whose firm operates across Inverclyde, West Renfrewshire and the West End of Glasgow, said: “You have to have a feel for valuations, largely based on previous comparable sales in the area and the state of the market at the time of buying. We rely on local knowledge and experience and that personal touch which means so much to clients.” “There are occasions when we advise a client not to put their home on the market at a given time and wait until demand for their type of property is set to pick up.” Curtis added: “There are additional financial pressures on buyers and sellers now. Lenders have tightened up their criteria and buyers are likely to have

Clyde Life Magazine

to find a much bigger deposit these days.” The Land and Building Transaction Tax is set to come into effect in April next year, bringing sweeping changes to stamp duty at the upper end of the market. There will be little effect on properties up to the value of around £325,000 – but above that, buyers will have to find thousands of pounds more than they would expect to pay at the moment. This is cash that can’t be borrowed by means of a mortgage and this is likely to affect the size of properties people are able to buy. The advent of the bigger, corporate estate agencies has also had an effect on the market, with some companies owning the surveyor firms that carry out valuations. Curtis and his colleagues prefer to keep that relationship at arm’s length. He said: “As professional estate agents, we value properties based on our own knowledge and understanding of the local market – and as an independent firm, rely on independent surveyors to come up with their own professional assessment for lenders. It is important to avoid over-valuing a home – because it could just sit on the market for ages, of no benefit to anyone. When the time comes to sell everyone wants to sell their house for the highest value possible, but obtaining a realistic valuation is more important than obtaining the highest valuation.

www.clydelife.co.uk | 29


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30 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014


Get Ready for Winter Motoring We’ve had a reasonable summer and autumn. If the oracles are to be believed however, we might be in for a pretty hairy winter. Whether this is true or not, one thing is certain, whatever the weather we have to face, we shall all face it far better if our cars are ready for the challenge. Getting your car ready for winter is vital. Take the car down to your local garage and get them to have a look at the underside. The exhaust should appear to be

DILLON’S GA R AG E Servicing & Repair

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in good condition. If the exhaust appears to be just about to go, have it replaced before it lets you down at the wrong time. Whilst you are there get your tyres looked at. Areas of uneven wear, cracked sidewalls, or nails stuck in the tread, should all be fixed. Ensure there is enough tread to meet more than the legal minimum, if not, get the tyre replaced. It is essential you have four good tyres to cope with winter road conditions - and don’t forget the spare! The secret of safe, and efficient motoring lies in good, regular servicing. Which means your car should cope with the winter ahead. Regular Winter Checks Battery - Cold starting in winter takes a fair amount of charge. Only a good battery can cope. Keep the terminals well-greased to stop corrosion and keep the charge flowing. Radiator - Check the fluid level on a regular basis. Top it up as required with an anti-freeze and water mix. Lights - Keep the lights at the front and back clean. You want see and be seen when it’s dark. Windscreens and wipers - Keep the washers topped-up with a good quality fluid. Water is not enough - it will freeze in cold conditions. Examine the wiper blades regularly, they must work efficiently to be effective. Tyres - Check the pressures every week. They are all that rest between you and the road. Unless they are right, your brakes won’t function correctly, your steering will be less efficient and your car’s road holding will be impaired.

Help is at Hand as your Life changes Woodside Care Home is a 19 bedroom Residential Home situated in the beautiful conservation village of Quarriers, just outside Bridge of Weir. Visitors are always made welcome. The Home is registered with The Care Inspectorate for the regulation of care. • • • •

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T: 01475 630044 • E: sales@inverclydewindows.co.uk 32 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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Make your home a hot property Inverclyde Windows: A Name You Can Trust

If you want to give your home a facelift, nothing freshens up the exterior of a property more than smart windows or doors. And as Mark Gorman of Inverclyde Windows points out, high quality windows and doors will not only save on energy bills, they can add value to your home. He said: “We operate at the higher end of the market and our products will also improve security as well as enhancing the look of a property.” Double or triple glazing improves sound and heat insulation and Mark reckons the Veka and Kommaring products he provides are second to none. The firm, which employs 16 staff, has been operating successfully for more than 20 years and its growing range of clients extends from Ayr, through to the far side of Glasgow and north to Oban and Fort William. The firm supplied windows, doors, conservatories, roofline products, fascias and soffits – produced at their factory in Greenock. Mark said: “Although we operate at the quality end of the market, we can keep our prices to a very reasonable level because we produce windows and doors ourselves. “The fact that we can offer a 10-year guarantee on our Veka products means our clients have additional peace of mind about the installations we provide.” Inverclyde Windows has the perfect range of products to complement your home whether it is small, large, traditional or contemporary. Mark said: “Our aim is to give customers a draught-free, quiet home with products that suit the style and ambience of their property.” The wide range of windows includes casement, tilt and turn and sliding sash and accessories include leaded lights, Georgian bars and coloured glass. Clyde Life Magazine

Choosing the ideal front door for your home is a must because it is the first item to confront visitors, viewers and guests. Visit Inverclyde Windows showroom to check out the terrific range available - or if you want a completely individual door to suit your wishes, staff will guide you on the wide range of panelling, detailing and inserts in line with your personal tastes. The firm’s range includes French, patio and composite doors, all made from durable and attractive UPVC. If you want to bring more space, heat and light into your home, a new conservatory might be what you are looking for. Inverclyde Windows has an excellent selection of modern glass extensions to suit all properties – and budgets. Mark said: “Our designs go for clear, simple lines that give the maximum floor area and the most open outlook possible. “We are always happy to advise on styles that blend in with the property in question – whether a high-tech style is required or something more traditional.” Mark added: “As an independent company, we pride ourselves on providing a personal service from initial discussions to after-sale. “A significant number of our customers come to us on recommendation – a testament to our efforts in giving clients what they want at the right price.” www.clydelife.co.uk | 33


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Money matters – so make the most of yours How to Avoid a New Year Debt Hangover In this Issue our resident columnist Robert Macdonald looks at simple, common-sense strategies on how to deal with Christmas spending as this can easily be a challenging time. Often medium to long-term New Year financial plans can be thwarted simply because of the fall out of excessive Christmas spending causing our focus to be diminished. Christmas has a strange ability to stretch us to our limits - our sanity, our time and especially our money. The best way to make sure you don’t start out the New Year with a mountain of holiday debt is to start planning. What should come as no surprise are your spending totals–meaning don’t get so caught up with shopping fever that you spend without thinking and end up wondering where all the money went. Just as you make a budget for your monthly expenses, you should also make a spending plan for your holiday expenses. The reason for a special budget is simple. It’s easy for your spending to get away from you when you have so many shops waving signs in front of your face that say “30% off” or “Christmas sale.” The temptation to make an impulse purchase can get to you. Your budget will keep you focused so you know when the spending needs to stop. If it doesn’t, you’ll pay for this Christmas until next Halloween. Plus, if you use credit cards and have no budget, your spend can quickly get out of control. Add in the interest when the bill doesn’t get

paid on time, and Christmas could end up very expensive indeed. No sale is worth busting your budget over, so before each shopping trip, determine who you are going out to buy for and take only cash to get the gifts. Once you’re done, return home. It will help to keep the joy in your holidays and the stress out.

Our Christmas Budget Tips Before You Start 1. Stay Calm: Don’t get too caught up in the buying frenzy or fall for marketing tactics retailers use to get you to spend more. Avoid advertisements and try not to compare your holiday spending habits with others’. Just stay focused on your own budget. 2. Start Early: You can save on giftgiving by starting now. This will give you plenty of time to wait for the right deal, make sure items will be shipped and received on time. Getting an early start will cut down on stress, too! 3. Avoid Paying on Credit: It might be a good strategy to charge holiday gifts to your credit card to earn points, but make sure you don’t spend more than you can pay off right away. Getting hit with credit card interest could make your holiday purchases 15-20% higher.

Smart Shopping 4. Shop With a List: Whether you’re shopping for food or gifts for the family, go with a list in hand to avoid buying unnecessary items and going over budget. 5. Bundle Online Orders: This will save on shipping, and ordering all at once could help you reach the larger spending limits that often come with larger savings (such as £10 off £100, for example). Gift Giving 6. Set Up a Secret Santa: For big groups, such as family or colleagues, a Secret Santa gift exchange can be a great way to make sure everyone gets a gift, without breaking the bank. 7. Send an E-card: Paying for Christmas cards, a family photo and the postage can really add up. Skip the snail mail and opt for an electronic greeting. The views in this article are personal and provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as recommendation by the publisher or investment advice by the contributor as laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority.

T: 01475 638100 | www.macdonaldandco.com

An advanced level of advice... on Financial Planning MacDonald & Co is a trading style of MacDonald & Co (Wealth Management) Ltd which is authortised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Clyde Life Magazine

www.clydelife.co.uk | 35


Live Events

at the Waterfront Cinema for 2014/15 Enjoy live performances from around the globe by some of the top theatre, ballet and opera companies in the world broadcast live to the Waterfront Cinema. In the coming months we have an exciting selection of theatre performances such as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ ‘Loves Labour Lost’ and ‘Loves Labour Won’ and the National Theatre Live’s production of ‘John’ by the renowned DV8 Physical Theatre Troupe. We are also showing a season by the Bolshoi Ballet broadcast live from the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. This season includes ‘Swan Lake’ ‘The Pharaohs Daughter’ ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘La Bayadere’.

We are also showing the 2014/15 season by The Metropolitan Opera live in HD from New York City, this run includes operas such as Wagner’s comedy ‘Die Meistersinger’, Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’ and ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ by Pietro Mascagni. In addition to all of this, you can enjoy a selection of competitively priced wines and beers at all of our live events.

Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’

Broadcast live from the Old Vic To the Waterfront Cinema Greenock Thursday 4th & Saturday 6th December at 7pm Tickets £10 & £12 Richard Armitage stars in Arthur Miller’s classic American drama brought vividly to life in this visceral new production by internationally acclaimed director Yaël Farber. In a small tight-knit community, personal grievances collide with lust and superstition, fuelling widespread hysteria. Miller’s timeless parable attacks the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations. Richard Armitage’s credits include the forthcoming film Into the Storm. Other film and TV credits include The Hobbit trilogy, Captain America: The First Avenger and Spooks. His theatre performances include The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth for the RSC. Yaël Farber is a multiple award-winning director and playwright. Her production of Mies Julie won a string of international awards at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival, was named one of the Top Ten Productions of 2012 by The New York Times, and Top five Productions of 2012 by The Guardian. Arthur Miller is one of America’s greatest playwrights. His plays include All My Sons, Death of a Salesman and A View from the Bridge.

Tickets available through box office (01475 732201) or online at www.waterfrontcinema.co.uk 36 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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The Nutcracker

Broadcast Live from The Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow To The Waterfront Cinema Greenock Sunday 21st December at 3pm Tickets £15 & £13 On Christmas Eve, Marie’s godfather, Drosselmeyer, gives her a strange toy: a wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man. At midnight, when the celebrations are over, all the toys magically come to life. The nutcracker grows to human size and takes charge of the tin soldiers, flying to the rescue of Marie, who is threatened by the Mouse King and his mouse army. Based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story, The Nutcracker is one of the greatest classics in the world. With iconic music by Tchaikovsky, and enchanting sets and costumes, this beautiful tale explores the universal themes of love, power and evil. This choreographic version, created for the Bolshoi by Yuri Grigorovich, is full of romanticism and philosophical reflections on ideal love. Masterfully interpreted by the Bolshoi dancers, it will enchant the whole family for the festive season, proving that one is never too young or too old to be swept away by The Nutcracker.

Berlin Philharmonic Broadcast live from Berlin

To The Waterfront Cinema Greenock Wednesday 31st December at 4.30pm Tickets £10 & £12 Pianist Menahem Pressler has made recording and interpretation history for more than half a century with the Beaux Arts Trio he founded in 1955. The grand seigneur of piano made his long-overdue debut at the Berliner Philharmonie in January 2014 with Mozart’s Piano Concerto in G major, K. 453, prompting a standing ovation from the audience. For his performance at this year’s New Year’s Eve Gala, Pressler returns to Mozart: the Piano Concerto in A major, K. 488, composed during Mozart’s prime in Vienna and one of his most beautiful contributions to the genre. The concert will open with Sir Simon Rattle conducting music by JeanPhilippe Rameau: a suite of instrumental pieces from the opéra-ballet Les Indes galantes show French baroque music at its finest. Following the intermission, the build-up to the New Year will continue at a lively Slavic pace, with an orchestral suite from Zoltán Kodály’s charming folk opera Háry János as well as a selection from the popular Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák.

Clyde Life Magazine

November

Vatican Museum in 3D Tuesday 18th November at 8pm The Barber of Seville (Met Opera) Saturday 22nd November at 5:55pm Pharaohs Daughter (Bolshoi Ballet) Sunday 23rd November at 7pm

December

The Crucible (The Old Vic) Thursday 4th & Saturday 6th December at 7pm La Bayadere (Bolshoi Ballet) Sunday 7th December at 7pm John (NTLive) Tuesday 9th December ay 7pm Die Meistersinger (Met Opera) Saturday 13th December at 5pm The Nutcracker (Bolshoi Ballet) Sunday 21st December at 3pm Berlin Philharmonic Wednesday 31st December at 4:30pm

January

The Merry Widow (Met Opera) Saturday 17th January Treasure Island (NTLive) Thursday 22nd January Swan Lake (Bolshoi Ballet) Sunday 25th January at 3pm Les Contes d’Hoffman (Met Opera) Saturday 31st January

February

Loves Labour Lost (RSC) Wednesday 11th February Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (Met Opera) Saturday 14th February

March

Romeo & Juliet (Bolshoi Ballet) Sunday 8th March La Donna Del Lago (Met Opera) Saturday 14th March

April

Ivan The Terrible (Bolshoi Ballet) Saturday 18th April Cavalleria Rusticana (Met Opera) Saturday 25th April

July

The Merchant of Venice (RSC) Wednesday 22nd July www.clydelife.co.uk | 37


Fairy or star –

the great Christmas tree debate starts again By Ellen Arnison

Pine needles on the floor or peace and goodwill to all, what does it mean to you? In this house Christmas starts the day we dig the box of decorations out from wherever it seemed like a good idea to put them the previous January. Until Tree Day I will try my very hardest to ignore the adverts, the nagging for toys and the various other pressures to start my ‘crucial’ preparations and buy another ‘essential’ little black dress. It all begins on Tree Day with a little tingle of excitement when we put on our wellies and head out to choose the tree.

There will have already been a debate about how we are going to fit it in the car, where the tree stand was stored (and by whom), the kind of tree, its height, where it will go and what goes on the top (a star - never a fairy). As the day goes on, the squabbles (who Hoovers up the needles) diminish and tensions (it’ll be far too big for the room/car/house) fade. We find a festive CD and start to unpack the box of decorations. Will Baby Jesus be there?

A couple of years ago the wooden Nativity Scene had vanished, JC, Mary, Joseph and the rest were nowhere to be found only to reappear as if by magic the following December. Will everyone’s favourites have survived another year? My particular favourite – el Caganer, the little squatting chap we brought home from a visit to Barcelona will hopefully still be there and the children, because they forget every year, will howl with delight when they spot what the fellow is doing. With the first chorus of Jingle Bells the children uncover the treasures – baubles given as gifts, ones they’d made, last year’s new additions. The lights work! The tree starts to glitter and sparkle, scattering trinkets when anyone brushes past. It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like Christmas… We didn’t deliberately create traditions around the putting up of our tree – it just seems to have happened. Tree Day starts things off, every year each child chooses a new decoration and by the time the thing is finished – our festive season has begun.

Festive Events and Fairs in Inverclyde

Ardgowan’s Light up a Life Christmas Service in Westburn Church

Cardwell Garden Centre Christmas Grotto and Carnival

Sunday 30th November at 6pm. Christmas is a very special time of year and we invite you to remember the lives of your loved ones by joining our Annual ‘Light up a Life’ celebration and by doing so, directly helping those people in Inverclyde who are depending on Ardgowan for help and support throughout Christmas and New Year.  It is our Annual Celebration which represents ‘light,’ allowing us to come together to ‘light up our light’ in memory of our loved ones.  This is not only for families who have benefited from Ardgowan Care; it is for everyone throughout our community and beyond to remember their friends, family and relatives in this special way during our 2014 Festive Season. We also invite you, your family and your friends to join us in celebration at Ardgowan’s Light up a Life Christmas Service in Westburn Church, Sunday 30th November at 6pm.  Following this service, we can all witness the actual turning on of our lights then enjoy some refreshments in the Church Hall. 

Weekends only (10am - 5pm) from Saturday 8th November to Sunday 23rd November. Weekday opening starts Monday 24th November from 1pm - 4:30pm. Christmas Eve 10am - 5pm The Christmas Grotto and Carnival features a selection of fun rides with something for all ages and costs £1.25 per ride or 5 rides for only £5.00. Santa will be here when the carnival is open and you can visit him and receive a quality gift for only £6. All attractions are indoors so no need to worry about the weather.

Clyde Murshiel Country Park Christmas Decoration Making - Castle Semple Centre Saturday, 20th December – 11am, 1pm and 2:30pm (Each session lasts an hour) Join the Rangers for this very popular event and make some decorations to welcome the yuletide season. Cost £2.50 - for more information call 1505 842 882

38 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

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It’s funny how traditions evolve. I have a friend whose family get together on Christmas Eve to give each other wishes to hang on the tree – a gift that represents something that person wants. I know some people who throw a party for their tree dressing and others who wait until Christmas Eve when they are all just about bursting with anticipation. Obviously, you could be inspired by one of the women’s magazines and follow the fashionable trends for this season – a twig sprayed silver, bauble in only purple or a minimal monochrome creation – but that rather misses the point doesn’t it? A Christmas tree isn’t supposed to be stylish or slick, it’s about a family’s festive fun – memories hung from the branches, hopeful packages piled underneath. It’s bound to look messy, that’s what families are, but when you turn the sparkly lights on, that’s when the magic starts. Of course, things can go wrong – one year my newly mobile youngest

son decided Christmas had come early in the form of a green climbing frame specially installed in his home, another seasonal mulled wine evening ended in embarrassment when a visiting dog was equally confused by the presence of a tree in a sitting room. The idea of a traditional Christmas is an interesting one. It suggests that there are things everyone does at this time of year and always have done. In the larger scheme of things, since the 16th century Germans decided it was a good idea to hang some stuff off a tree decorating a pine has been traditional. So in that respect it’s true. However, what you do with the Yule notion is up to you. New Year still seems like a very long way off, but Tree Day is looming. The tree doesn’t need to be pine – or even real – plastic is just as good and the ones with built in lights at least save you a job. In fact, the tree doesn’t need to be a tree – a branch or a pot plant will do.

Some folk put their presents under the tree – we don’t because it’s just too tempting for impatient fingers. Others insist the tree stays up right until the 12th night – in fact, some cultures keep their trees up until at least the end of January. Not here though. As traditional as the family Tree Day fun, is the fact that as the festive season jollies on I’ll get increasingly fed up with pine needles and glass balls scattering on the floor. Usually I can hold on until Hogmanay, but my January 1 treat to myself has traditionally become getting rid of the tree and its decorations, wrapping up the lights and generally clearing some space in the house again. Season’s greetings whatever you do with your Christmas tree.

Festive Events and Fairs in Inverclyde

Finlaystone Estate Xmas tree sales throughout December – Cut your own tree and make it a family adventure Monday 1st December Wreath Making Class 10-2pm Make your very own wreath in time for Christmas, made from holly, ivy & yew from the Estate. £9.50 for materials. Pre booking essential Santa’s Grotto 11am-4pm Saturday 6th December, Sunday 7th December Saturday 13th December, Sunday 14th December Saturday 20th December, Sunday 21st December Monday 22nd December Santa’s coming to Finlaystone; follow the magical Santa trail to find Santa’s Grotto, £9.50 per child (includes 1 accompanying adult free). Pre booking is essential

Christmas Wreaths Greenock Cut Centre Sunday, 21st December 11:30am and 1:30pm (Each session lasts an hour) Bring the whole family to make some beautiful wreath decorations, a great way to get everyone feeling festive! Cost  £2.50 - for more information call 1475 521458

Erskine Garden Centre Santa is coming to town! Santa and his little helpers have been busy getting everything ready in time for Christmas, so come and meet Santa in his magical Grotto! Santa will be arriving at our Christmas Open Day on the 1st December where he’ll be bringing along his reindeer! There will also be Birds of Prey, Face Painting and Childrens Competitions.Santa’s Grotto - Saturdays and Sundays throughout December, 10am – 4pm Admission £4.50 with a free gift from Santa Clyde Life Magazine

Christmas Craft Fairs Find unique and beautiful gifts from a fantastic range of crafters and lifestyle retailers at these Christmas fairs in Kilmacolm Community Centre. Thursday 4th December 10am – 5pm Saturday 6th December 10am – 4pm www.clydelife.co.uk | 39


A little home from home luxury – in glorious Ayrshire…

Oh, didn’t we have a lovely time…Ayrshire is definitely up there in my top 5 of places when it comes to spending time relaxing and exploring lovely countryside. And eating, a lot. Far too many nice places to enjoy decent scran. On this occasion, I spent the weekend with my parents and 2 year old daughter at Crofthead Holiday Park just outside Ayr. Crofthead is surprisingly central to absolutely everything that is worth seeing and doing in South Ayrshire. I say surprisingly, because when you look out from the veranda of our luxury lodge, all you see is rolling countryside. Peace and quiet is definitely the main reason for being here. This family-run, 4-star holiday park is just a couple of miles from Ayr Beach, Ayr Town Centre, Heads of Ayr Farm Park (closed now for the Winter, except over Christmas) and the amazing Burns Cottage and Burns Birthplace Museum – all great places to take the kids. As members of the NTS, we took in the Burns attractions – a perfect way to while away an Autumnal Saturday. So much we didn’t know about Scotland’s favourite Baird (did you know he had 13 children, 3 of which were called Elizabeth – total womaniser, but brilliant all the same!) Lunch was a real treat; The Brig o’ Doon Hotel, just a stone’s throw from the museum. Great food and service and we would thoroughly recommend. Crofthead isn’t your typical ‘holiday Family fun at nearby Heads of Ayr Farm Park park’ - there is no

40 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

giant chicken mascot or packed swimming pool or cheesy crooner in the evenings – this park is about chilling out, walking, exploring nature trails and enjoying the higher end of luxurious accommodation. Although the management team ensures family values and a traditional caravanning atmosphere, there are also mod-con luxuries like Wi-Fi, modern play equipment and a well-equipped shop. Tourer and motorhome holidaymakers are very welcome, and there are plenty of pitches for tents. If you want to just rock up and settle into ready-made space, then the Thistle Awarded vans are fantastic value. Our lodge was gorgeous – we had a family sized bathroom (with bath!), ensuite shower room, 3 very good sized bedrooms, a top of the range kitchen (with dishwasher and washing machine), feature fire, plasma TV and patio doors onto the very spacious decking area. Owning your own holiday home is an affordable luxury at Crofthead. The park holds a 12 month holiday license. More information can be found at www.croftheadholidaypark.co.uk Crofthead Hoilday Park McNairston, Ayr, Ayrshire Scotland KA6 6EN Tel: 01292 263516 holidays@croftheadholidaypark.co.uk

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I’m ready for winter this year It catches me out every time – the first frost of the year. I’m ready to leap into the car to get smallest son to nursery when I realise I can’t see a thing and I’ve no flipping idea where the de-icer is. Later that day the news reports the first few cases of thefts of cars warming up in the drive and I know I’m not alone. This year, though, I’ve decided to get ready for winter – with its cold snaps and nasty rounds of colds and flu.

Here’s what I plan to do: ■ Make sure my home is as cosy as possible with warm curtains and lagged pipes. ■ Pack an emergency kit for the car – just in case – that will include a torch, water and warm clothes, a blanket, a reflective warning sign and a shovel. ■ Make sure we have the following essentials and that I know where they are: a torch and spare batteries, a radio and spare batteries, essential medication and a first aid kit, a stash of bottled water and ready-to-eat food, copies of important documents, pencil, paper, penknife whistle and spare keys to house and car.

■ Make a note of emergency phone numbers, doctors, schools etc – and keep a list at home and on my mobile. ■ Restock the medicine cabinet with cold remedies and painkillers. ■ Make sure we’ve got enough of the medicines that we need on repeat prescription. ■ Take a note of when the GP surgery is closed. ■ Finding the snow shovel and getting some grit and salt. For more information visit readyscotland.org.

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Traditional Christmas Gift Guide for Kids By Mariessa Devlin, Enchanted Forest Nurseries. At this time of year, we wait in anticipation for so many things and the department store adverts signify that Christmas is just around the corner. This year the magic is captured so well with fairies, cute penguins and of course Santa cast as the stars in the adverts. The magic of Christmas is already coming alive as our two year old mentions Santa and Christmas regularly. An easy gift guide for Santa this year, as our daughter would like a ‘bouncy ball’, so that shouldn’t be too much work for the elves!! Choosing the right gifts for children under the age of five needn’t be a chore. In our gift guide, we have looked for gifts that will provide fun, but for the adults we will let you know what educational value the gift has too. So…in no particular order….and with many traditional favourites, go ahead, let your little ones unwrap the best Christmas ever: Toy Kitchen and Role Play Food Kitchens provide hours of endless fun for both boys and girls, whilst being a powerful way for children to develop social skills, their imagination and empathy Film Themed Toys Such toys are all the range, but can produce hours of imaginative play for children Play Tents They come in varying sizes, so fit any size of room or budget. Most are pop-up so fold down for easy storage. Tents provide fantastic hideaways and dens for children, their dolls and action toys where their imagination can turn the tents into caves, castles and adult-free zones! Dolls house/Dolls Providing a wealth of enjoyment for little ones who can learn about themselves from caring for a doll, as well as learning self-help skills and fine motor skills. Wooden Garages/Work Benches With a focus on imaginative play, these toys are excellent for developing fine motor skills and dexterity in young children, as well as let them discover new things Ride on toys/trikes Most can be used indoors and outdoors, with the outdoor option having the added bonus of getting children exposed to fresh air (and sometimes a little rain). Great for teaching little ones skills in balance and gross motor control. Search for 3-in-1 trikes, a great buy that grows with your child as they become more independent

44 | Clyde Life – November/December 2014

Books Let’s foster a love for learning….books are a fun way for children to learn. Coming in all shapes and sizes, large print, small print, photo books, board books. For under 3s board books are the best, much more durable and resilient to being chewed! By sharing different types of books with children, they can enjoy various types of reading experiences, for example rhyming books can help children build in confidence when they can start to join in. Happy reading! Building blocks Construction toys provide wonderful opportunities for children (of all ages) to be creative enabling them to experiment with different designs and shapes. Building blocks also offer links to numeracy where children can use counting and colour as part of their designs. Using their little fingers to construct zoos, buildings and many designs also develops their fine and gross motor skills Dressing-Up Clothes A firm favourite for even the youngest children – dressing up clothes opens up a whole new world of make believe for children…..knights, fairies, princesses, heroes…allowing them to develop their communication skills as they learn to converse in their new ‘roles’ Raincoat and Wellies Let’s prepare our children for the winter without minimising their time outside, after all the classic childhood activity of splashing in puddles develops balance, co-ordination and gross motor skills, not to mention that this is Peppa Pig’s favourite hobby! Useful Christmas Toy Links: Great Little Trading Company http://www.gltc.co.uk/ Hamleys www.hamleys.com The Early Learning Centre http://www.elc.co.uk/ Smyths Toys http://www.smythstoys.com/ Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/ Not on the High Street http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/ (a personal favourite) At this stage, you only hope that your little ones don’t change their mind about gifts they have already sent on their wish list to Santa. @clydelifemag


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Dangers for your pet at Christmas Time Don’t let your dog become a “foreign body” statistic at Christmas. Every year, vets have to operate on unfortunate pets that have succumbed to the temptation of the treasures beneath the tree and swallowed something they shouldn’t have. Take care with floral arrangements and plants especially if you have cats; all Lillies are toxic to cats and the pollen can easily get on their coats if they brush past an arrangement, they can then ingest the toxins when they groom themselves. Ponsiettas are also a common addition to the home at Christmas they are toxic to your pet if ingested.

Many households hang chocolate treats on the tree or wrap presents containing chocolate and place them underneath the tree. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats; it contains a substance called theobromine. Dark chocolate is the worst as it contains a greater concentration of theobromine. Dogs especially are attracted to the smell of chocolate treats. It is important not to leave any chocolate treats in reach of pets, remember to shut them out of the room where the tree is when you go to bed or go out. Cats love to play with string and tinsel is even more attractive as it sparkles. So again take care not to leave them unattended with the Christmas tree decorations. Tinsel can get stuck in the digestive tract if ingested causing serious problems for your pet and often requiring an operation to remove it. If you have a “real” Christmas tree then pick up any dropping needles as they can get stuck in your pet’s paws. Pine trees can also be a cause of skin irritation in pets with skin allergies. A lot of us like a “tipple” at Christmas, but remember not to leave your glass unattended, as often dogs will “finish off” your beverage, pets have a low tolerance for alcohol and it can damage the liver.

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Clyde Life Christmas 2014 issue 21  

A free full colour B5 lifestyle magazine delivered to home in Inverclyde and West Renfrewshire

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