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Christmas 2015

Issue 31

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The Christmas Turkey p40 Christmas Gift Ideas p24 Jordanhill ■ Hillhead ■ Broomhill ■ Hyndland ■ Kelvinside ■ Bearsden ■ Milngavie


THE KIRKHOUSE INN Glasgow Road, Strathblane, Glasgow, G63 9AA

Christmas at the Newly Refurbish Kirkhouse Inn, Strathblane

Christmas Lunch 2 Courses

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Christmas Dinner 2 Courses

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includes free coffee and mince pies

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Hogmanay Ceilidh Dinner Dance

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Glass of Prosecco & Canapes 7.30pm 4 Course Dinner with Coffee & Shortbread

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4 28 What is your BMI? 6 New Author Spotlight 8 Safe Winter Motoring 11 VAT Health Warning 12 Christmas by the Glass 16 Christmas Decorations 20 26 Christmas Message 20 What’s On 22 The Christmas Tree 24-25 Style Files 26-27 Gift Ideas for Him & Her 28-29 Avoid a UCAS Drama 30 Win SECC Panto Tickets 32 Christmas PLC 34-35 The Christmas Turkey 40-41 Pets at Christmas 44 Help your Houseplants 46 The Best Thing for...

16 8

Survive Christmas

Contributors this issue: Joanne Simms, Charles Briggs, Marie McConnell, Marilyn Thompson, Revd. Georg Mackay, Jodie Molyneux, Drew McKenzie, Ellen Arnison

Christmas Issue 31, 2015 Publisher: Life Magazines & Publications Ltd Editor Charles Briggs

Features Editor: Joanne Simms joanne@westendlife.biz Advertising Sales: Lisa Sanderson lisa@westendlife.biz

Contact Info: Editorial: 07788-923054 Advertising: 01505-871962 Email: editor@westendlife.biz Web: www.westendlife.biz Graphic Design: Simon Jones - Skep Design simon.jones@skepdesign.co.uk

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 Ltd 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.

West End Life Magazine

www.westendlife.biz | 3


The best thing FoR... pe n

halotherapy

StaYing healthY this winter...

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Janet and John, on the upper floor of De Courcy’s Arcade in Hillhead. Just the spot to find the kind of present that makes you say ‘that would be SOTreatments for dermatological and perfect for...’ respiratory conditions using the

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salann

finding a unique wee giFt...

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Here’s our round up of some of the things we think are the best in the West for celebrating this Christmas and Hogmanay and chasing the winter blues away.

The salt rooms at Salaan Hydrotherapy will help you build up your natural defences and relieve the symptoms of colds and flu.

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natural healing properties of salt

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Treatable conditions include ¡ asthma ¡ eczema ¡ hayfever ¡ psoriasis ¡ sinusitis ¡ COPD

NTRY INN

F inding the perfect Venue...

Whether you want to join in one of their Christmas or Hogmanay events, or M MONDAY - THURSDAY arrange a private party where could be more perfect than the FROM 5PM - 8.30PM House for an Art Lover, Charles Rennie- Macintosh’s masterpiece in Bellahouston Park? DAY 12NOON MIDNIGHT

OM 12NOON - 8.30PM

ARED USING LOCALLYthe winter Chasing ENTS WHERE POSSIBLE

blues awaY...

/ LOCAL RAEAL ALE roaring fire, music and

song and someone • Christmas Trombones & Mulledelse Wine

doing the want cookingfor for you! on 21/12/15 at 7.30pm Everything you • 29/12/15What Christmas night couldQuiz bring more hristmas and so much more... Party duet. • Hogmanay midwinter cheer than the

• Details available on FB by Email or Phone

Fintry Inn?

Smelling diVine and feeling Contact us today fine... to book

your first consultation Ashtins Aromatics for handmade 0141natural, 212 8700 bath & body products www.salann.co.uk and wonderfully scented candles. If the Christmas rush leaves you frazzled and the winter chills bring ills just run a bath and light a candle you’ll be relaxed in no time.

Where shopping and eating is just around the corner.

A hassle free trip to the shops.. Free parking, a quick dash to collect your dry cleaning, prescriptions, a take-away or a bargain. It’s no wonder Broomhill Shopping Centre has such a devoted band of customers.

1360 860224 • Email: fintryinn@btconnect.com

Being inspired... Fernie & Florence’s Broomhill Shopping Centre philosophy is that life Broomhill Drive, 2-26 Norby Road should be lived surrounded Glasgow G11 7BN by (andBroomhill, wearing) beautiful things. Their lifestyle www.broomhillshoppingcentre.com

boutique in Kilmacolm is full of wonderful things they’ve sourced from all round the world.

JoyF ulness...

Monkey Music sessions at Bearden, Lenzie and Gartcosh, bring music, singing and dancing to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. They bring joy to kids and parents alike.

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4 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

6 St James Terrace, Kilmacolm | 01505 872880 www.fernieandflorence.com

BROOMHILL LAUNDRETTE & DRY CLEANERS

@westendlife


Everything you want for Christmas and so much more...

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Wishing everyone a

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Merry Christmas from Ashtins

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West End Life Magazine

Olive Pearson Designs specialises in bespoke and limited edition knitted accessories for men and women - made by hand in fine lamb’s wool and Scottish cashmere.

www.olivepearson.com olive@olivepearson.com 07816 881147

www.westendlife.biz | 5


What’s your BMI? And does it matter? Many years ago my mum joined a well known slimming club, and after several months was within three pounds of achieving the target weight the club had set for her, but try as she might, she just could not shift those last few pounds. After several disheartening weeks she finally gave up trying and eventually regained all the weight she had worked so hard to lose. This wouldn’t happen nowadays. Modern slimming clubs rarely dictate end weights and are more likely to invite you to set your own targets, although they will encourage you to choose a weight that is within a healthy range. But who decides what a healthy weight is, and does one size fit all? Since the 1970’s, health professionals have calculated a person’s BMI – or body mass index – as a guide to determining their “fatness”. Body mass index is calculated by dividing a person’s

body weight by the square of their height, and universally the calculation is made by dividing kilograms by metres squared. So, if a person weighs 80 kilograms and is 1.8 metres tall, first square their height (1.8 x 1.8 = 3.24) and then divide this into their weight. Thus 80 divided by 3.24 gives a BMI of 24.7. Once armed with this information, what do you do with it? Health professionals suggest that a person’s BMI should fall between 20 and 25 to be classed as healthy. If it is below 20 you would be considered underweight and anything above 25 would be classed as overweight, with obesity setting in at a BMI of 30 and morbid obesity at 35 or more. Although a person’s BMI is a useful way of determining if they are at a healthy weight or not, it should be used with caution. Several factors can distort the results and render the BMI meaningless. For example,

By Michelle Bailey

it is not appropriate for the very young, nor the very old and the excessively tall. Similarly, athletes and others with high muscle mass may appear abnormally overweight. At 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall and based on a BMI of 20-25, a healthy weight for my mum is between 8st 3lbs (53 kg) and 10st 5lbs (68 kg). The elusive target weight she couldn’t quite manage was 9st 13lbs (65 kg) – well within her healthy BMI range. What a shame this information wasn’t around all those years ago!

love

Whiteinch Salvation Army 105 Medwyn Street, G14 9QJ Thursdays 7.30pm Tel Sarah-jane 07793 823529 *New group times 5.30pm & 7.30pm from 7th Jan 2016* Kessington Hall 58 Milngavie Road, G61 2DP Mondays 7.30pm Tel Hilary 07444 377945 *New group times 5.30pm & 7.30pm from 4th Jan 2016* Anniesland Parish Church 869 Crow Road, G13 1LE Mondays 7pm Tel Linda 07817 652164

Slimming World Join a warm and friendly group near you today…

Partick South Church 259 Dumbarton Road, G11 6AB Wednesdays 9.30am, 11.30am, 5.30pm & 7.30pm Tel Kirsty 07966 661065 *New Group times 8am, 10am, 12pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm & 7.30pm from 6th Jan 2016* Knightswood Congregational Church Dunterlie Avenue, G13 3BA Mondays 9.30am, 11.30am, 5.30pm & 7.30pm Tel Staci 07846 895974 *New Group times 8am, 10am, 12pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm & 7.30pm from 4th Jan 2016*

Visit the website to read Zoes story… slimmingworld.com

*Please check with each group prior to attendance during the festive period due to group times Changing*

Visit the website to read Zoes story… slimmingworld.com 0844 897 8000 0844 897 8000

6 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

@westendlife


AGA – home to great cooking advantage of the indefinable AGA warmth in the kitchen. With this model, the hotplates can be switched on and off as the owner pleases, while the ovens are ready for use at all times.

The AGA is an amazing cooker – easy to use, a joy to live with and a great addition to any home. Today there is a model to suit everyone. Our new models offer controllability which means your cooker can be on when you need it and off when you don’t. The electric AGA Total Control

100%AGA

Even small kitchens can now enjoy the AGA lifestyle with the introduction of a 60cm wide AGA – the AGA City60. And just like other iconic AGA cookers, it’s made from cast iron and employs radiant heat cooking technology, meaning food taste so much better. has been designed for those who want ultimate flexibility. Its ovens and hotplates can be switched on and off independently and there’s even an additional feature which allows some models to be controlled remotely via a mobile phone or laptop. The AGA Dual Control is designed for those who want to take

Visit AGA Glasgow for an informal one-to-one demonstration where you can see the AGA inaction and taste the delicious AGAcooked food.

Dual Control

Looking for something a bit smaller? Ask in-store about our AGA City60.

Call or visit AGA Glasgow 130–132 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G4 9AD | T: 0141 3328486 M: 07901 114932 | glasgow@aga-web.co.uk | agaliving.com

West End Life Magazine

www.westendlife.biz | 7


‘The Secret of Skara Vhore’ is PUBLISHED by Troubador Publishing Ltd Publishing date: 28th November 2015 Reading level from 13 years. Price: £9.99

This Christmas teenagers will learn ‘The Secret of Skara Vhore’. Written by acclaimed debut Scottish author Jennifer M Calder The Secret of Skara Vhore is the first in a gripping fantasy trilogy that details the battle between good and evil, as well as the loyalty among friends. Set in the highlands of Scotland, this book will appeal to teenagers interested in dark supernatural fiction. Katie is a lost and troubled teenager who is claimed by distant, unknown relatives and is dispatched to the remote Scottish island of Farinsay. Distrustful of the world, she slowly accepts the friendship of perceptive Morag, mischievous Robbie and the reticent Kirig, a strange boy who lives in the hills But sinister and ghostly events threaten them as past time spills into the present. Katie bravely struggles to uncover her forgotten history but then is asked to risk the lives of those she loves in order to battle against the forces of chaos and fulfil her destiny. Although Farinsay will not be found on any map, this island story sweeps us on a wonderful journey through the beauty to be found in the glorious Scottish Highlands. We learn about making true friends and life lessons that not everyone is as they seem. A superbly written page turner of a novel for any age.

“From the first line, the reader is engaged. Jennifer is a writer of real promise” Anne Zouroudi, author of the series ‘The Mysteries of the Greek Detective’

“I was totally gripped ... I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the end, nor was I disappointed when I got there” Fiona Courtenay-Thompson, former commissioning editor with MacDonald Young Books

8 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

The Author JENNIFER M CALDER studied English Language and Literature at Edinburgh University. From childhood she had a fascination with words and story-writing. During her time as a full-time mother she wrote for her own children. On returning to the classroom Jennifer taught in England, where her expertise lay in the field of children’s literacy. Later came a career-change into another area of ‘word work’ : copy-editing and proofreading for academic publishers. But when Jennifer returned to her home in the Scottish Highlands – coming back to the sea, heather and hills of the magnificent landscape that inspired The Secret of Skara Vhore –she made the decision that she would concentrate on her own writing. The Secret of Skara Vhore is her debut novel. The second novel in this trilogy will appear in 2017. Jennifer’s next book is for younger readers. Alasdair and the Green Ring is an exciting fantasy tale set in the magical Highlands. It will be available in Autumn 2016. @westendlife


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The images are from typical Mactaggart & Mickel showhomes, and some of the specifications may vary. Any furnishings, upgraded fixtures or fittings are not included. Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Land Buildings and Transaction Tax offer is not available in conjunction with any other offer. This offer is available on a selected plot and on new reservations from 5 November 2015. Terms and conditions apply. Participation in this offer is at the sole discretion of Mactaggart & Mickel Homes.

West End Life Magazine

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WINTER £32 4 POINT FIRE CHECKS 1 Flue check & Smoke test 2 Test Flue Gasses 3 Service Fire 4 Ventilation Test

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tel: 0141 954 6001 www.kaysgarage.co.uk

T: 0141 404 8371 • M: 07964 236 016 westendgasservices@gmail.com 10 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

@westendlife


Get Ready for Winter Motoring 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 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.

Windscreens and wipers - Keep the washers toppedup 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.

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 & water mix. Lights - Keep the lights at the front and back clean. You want to see and to be seen when it’s dark.

SPECIAL OFFER!

BUY ONE TYRE GET ONE FREE ON MANY OF THE UK’S MOST POPULAR SIZES ON SELECTED BARUM TYRES

79 Milngavie Road, BEARSDEN G61 2DL

0141 942 1850 www.national.co.uk Offers valid until 31/03/16, subject to availability (while stocks last). Prices apply to private motorists only and include VAT. Offers correct at time of going to print and we reserve the right to withdraw offers without prior notification. Discounts only available in centre and apply to standard forecourt prices. Tyre offers apply to selected sizes and we recommend that valves are fitted to tubeless tyres and that the wheels are balanced; a charge will be made for this service. Offers valid in National Tyres and Autocare’s Bearsden branch only.

West End Life Magazine

www.westendlife.biz | 11


VAT health warning; take advice before venturing abroad!

By Maria McConnell

where the supply will actually be used and consumed. This is a lot to take on board for many small business owners. However, the importance of VAT compliance should not be underestimated and businesses wishing to trade internationally should give due consideration to obtaining professional VAT advice before venturing into the global marketplace.

Once upon a time small businesses were run from spare rooms or small premises and their customers hailed from around the corner or a few miles up the road. Not so today; whilst businesses may still be operated from spare rooms, the digital revolution has extended the marketplace of these small business operators far beyond their local environment, often to encompass the rest of the world. Whilst the advent of the internet has afforded business owners with opportunities for growth and diversity previously reserved for larger corporate entities, it brings with it the complexities of international VAT compliance. A UK based business which sells only to UK based customers need only consider the UK VAT treatment of its supplies; and it makes no difference, generally, if the customer is in business or a private consumer. However, once supplies of goods or services are made to customers beyond the UK marketplace, consideration needs to be given to where the customer is, the business status of that customer, the nature of the supply and, in respect of some services,

FD Debt Solutions is the debt expert department of French Duncan Chartered Accountants. Our trusted advisors have been providing debt solutions across Scotland since 1989. Providing a quality service you can trust, we tailor every debt solution to the individual to ensure you can maintain and then exit the specific solution, debt and stress free.

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12 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

A business supplying goods or services must first consider the place of supply rules. These rules differ for goods and for services; for goods the place of supply is primarily determined by following the movement of the goods. If the goods will leave the UK then consideration should be given to whether the customer is in business (B2B supply) or is a private consumer (B2C supply). If goods are removed from the UK to a business customer, UK VAT will not be chargeable, subject to evidence of dispatch. Goods sold to private customers in other EU member states will remain subject to UK VAT until the value supplied to a particular EU country exceeds an annual threshold. Thereafter the supplier will have a liability to register and account for VAT in that member state. For services, the first consideration is the status of your customer; B2B or B2C supply; followed by where the customer belongs. The general rule for B2B supplies is that the place of supply is where the customer belongs. UK suppliers therefore need not account for VAT on supplies made to businesses outwith the UK. However, there are exceptions to this rule. B2C supplies of services to customers outwith the UK take place where the supplier belongs. However, the exceptions to this rule shift the place of supply to where the customer belongs. The most notable exception being the provision of electronically supplied services. B2C supplies of such services must now be accounted for via the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS); a compulsory facility enabling UK businesses to account for VAT on relevant supplies made throughout the EU from a central online portal. So, whilst the global marketplace may now be at everyone’s disposal, this freedom of choice comes with a VAT health warning; take advice before venturing abroad! Maria McConnell is VAT Senior Manager at French Duncan Chartered Accountants. @westendlife


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BEER GARDEN / LOCAL REAL ALE • Christmas Menu will be available from Friday 4th December • 05/12/15 - Monthly Ceilidh. • 11/12/15 - Russell McNeill acoustic duet. • 19/12/15 Christmas Ceilidh

• Christmas Trombones & Mulled Wine on 21/12/15 at 7.30pm • 29/12/15 Christmas Quiz night • Hogmanay Party • Details available on FB by Email or Phone

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West End Life Magazine

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www.westendlife.biz | 13


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Time to try a Winter Skin Rejuvenation...

By Mandy James

Hundreds of micro needles are rolled across the skin causing around 45,000 puncture marks. This stimulates the body’s own collagen growth, rejuvenating the skin and also lessening the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, scars and even burns. Winter is here and my skin is in need of a boost, so I head to Hyndland’s MediSpa, Clinetix to have my first dermaroller treatment. For me, a 30-year-old with some moderate acne scarring, I was excited for the results. After applying a numbing cream to my face, Dr Simon explains what the dermaroller will do.

o

Dr Simon gets to work rolling across the forehead, cheeks, chin and nose. The treatment is simple, quick and relatively painless. Despite the initial redness, my skin looks and feels more youthful – and those acne scars have faded like a bad dream. My make up looks great on too.

recover – so ensure you don’t have commitments the following day. Dr Simon recommends three treatments for optimum results with prices starting at £150. Afterwards, try DermaluxLED phototherapy which uses three wavelengths to rejuvenate skin and treats ageing skin, sun damage and wrinkles. Prices start from £60.

There is down time with this treatment as the skin needs to

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www.westendlife.biz | 15


Christmas by the Glass! Christmas Day in our house starts with a leisurely family brunch, complete with a cheeky little cocktail. Cocktails at breakfast might not suit everyone, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend them as part of your usual healthy diet, but at Christmas I feel I can indulge without guilt.

By Sarah Davey

I would suggest a Bloody Mary as a good accompaniment to a late breakfast. Method Bloody Mary Place the ice into a tall glass Ingredients and add the vodka. Add the • Ice cubes lemon juice, Worcestershire • Vodka, double shot sauce, Tabasco sauce and tomato juice. Stir well. Adjust • ½ lemon, juice only the seasoning to taste with • 6 dashes salt and pepper and serve Worcestershire sauce straightaway. • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce • 150ml/5fl oz tomato juice • Pinch salt & freshly ground black pepper Before lunch, it’s nice to serve champagne with a festive twist.

Champagne with Cranberries Ingredients • Champagne (or any good quality sparkling wine) • Dried cranberries Method Simply pop 5 dried cranberries into each glass and pour the champagne over. The cranberries ‘dance’ in the bubbles and look very Christmassy. And finally, no Christmas Day is complete without a tumbler or two of mulled wine.

Mulled Wine Ingredients • 400ml / 14fl oz red wine (Shiraz is fantastic) • 400ml / 14 fl oz water • 400ml / 14 fl oz good quality orange juice • 80ml / 2½ fl oz brandy • 4tbsp dark brown sugar • ½ tsp ground ginger • ½ tsp cinnamon • ½ tsp nutmeg • 3 cardamom pods • Clementine • 6 cloves (to pierce the Clementine)

16 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

Method Make up a spice bag using muslin or a piece of thin cotton, with the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Place the red wine, water, brandy, orange juice and sugar in a large pan; add the spice bag, and clove-studded Clementine. Heat slowly and simmer over a very low heat for at least 30 minutes. Serve with mince pies in front of the fire to round off a perfect Christmas day. @westendlife


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Caruth Jordanhill Ltd

V E H I C L E R E PA I R “Your local Garage in the heart of the West End” Colin and Annie Caruth formally of Caruth Auto’s took over Jordanhill Garage and Broomhill Exhausts in 2007. Colin has been in the trade for 37 years and over the years has gained knowledge of all types of vehicles. The biggest change over the years has been in diagnostics where Caruth are leaders in the field in the Central Belt of Scotland.

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Give a Christmas gift with a difference this year, when the time comes, who wouldn’t want a little help with garage bills! Whether it’s for a Service, MOT, New Tyres or an Exhaust, here at Caruth we have Gift Vouchers for anything your car might require. Plus all gift vouchers also includes a further 10% discount off the bill!

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Passionate about your wedding It’s difficult to imagine a more beautiful setting for a wedding than House for an Art Lover. Set in the grounds of Bellahouston Park, the Mackintosh inspired building, provides a wonderfully ‘Scottish’ setting for all aspects of your wedding day. Including space for a ceremony and meal of up to 110 guests and evening reception of up to 150 guests, with stunning interiors and grounds for photographs. At House for an Art Lover, we are passionate about weddings and its our aim to ensure your day is everything you dreamed of and more. Our dedicated wedding co-ordinator will work with you from your first enquiry right through to the day itself, ensuring each and every moment is tailored to perfection. The venue Head Chef has created a sumptuous range of menus to choose from, ensuring your guests will dine on only the finest quality ingredients freshly prepared for you.

Our bespoke packages can be custom made to match each couples exacting needs , which helps to make the overall wedding planning that little bit easier for you.

This festive season

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At Salann Salt Spa we know the festive season is a time to bring people together to relax and look forward to a healthy new year. That’s why until Hogmanay we have five sessions in our salt rooms for £55. Call today to book your sessions at our Woodlands Road spa. Wishing you a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year from everyone at Salann January offer – Call today to ask about our discounted January memberships only know £60 for the an adult, £40 concession we

At Salann Salt Spa festive season is a time to bring 0141 212 8700 salann.co.uk people together to relax and look forward to a healthy new year. That’s why until Hogmanay @westendlife 18 | West End Life – Christmas 2015 we have five sessions in our salt rooms for £55. Call today to book

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Wedding Packages - 2016/2017 Seasonal Discounts Available t: 0141 353 4770 e: weddings@houseforanartlover.co.uk West End Life Magazine w: www.houseforanartlover.co.uk

www.westendlife.biz | 19


‘Real’ Christmas Decorations This is a plea for the imperfect Christmas tree and the less than deluxe decoration.

Perfection will glint out of glossy pages between now and Hogmanay; look around this magazine you will see dazzling examples of the best on offer. But this is a heart-felt request that somewhere amongst all the glamour of a modern Christmas, remember there has to be a place for the squashed and the slightly skew-whiff. Any day now a very small child is going to hand you, with a shy look of pride on their face, something they have made at nursery or infant class. Please don’t take it with some gushing praise and pop it away out of sight to be binned as soon as possible.

Whether it’s from your own child or grandchild, a niece or nephew,

your best friend’s off-spring or the kid from next-door, get it on display, front and centre. Or better still, unleash that inner child who watched so many Blue Peter episodes and get the kids to join in with you and make some Christmas magic of their own just like you did.

(Remember that infamous early Blue Peter decoration made of two coat hangers, tinsel, baubles and real candles. Fire-fighters still wake up at night in cold sweat thinking about it.). Don’t worry if you have never attempted some DIY with the kids before, that’s why the internet was invented. Just key the words ‘Christmas decorations children can make’ into Google and be

By Joanne Simms

prepared to be amazed. You will find templates to print out, suitable for older kids and teenagers, who haven’t hit the ‘too-cool-for-Yule’ stage yet, to make and easy to follow videos. My particular favourite is a table top Christmas tree made from an upcycled glossy magazine on parents.com. Even the tiniest tot can fold the pages to make this; just make sure you are in charge of the glue gun. This brings us to the subject of glitter, glue and small children that formidable combination which is the true test of the battle-hardened primary school janitor. Any nuclear scientist will tell you that the isotope Uranium-238 has a half life as long as 4.5 billion years but glitter lasts longer, especially the shocking pink stuff. The first week of a brand-new car delivered in time to chauffer the in-laws during Christmas, a small child with a card full of glitter sat in the back and 125,000 miles later the vacuum cleaner nozzle is still finding flecks. Have fun!

A Christmas Message From the Revd George Mackay Broomhill linked with Hyndland Church of Scotland

Oh, I just love the Glasgow banter! I’m standing with a child at the baptismal font. “How do you name this child?” I asked in my Sunday voice. “Nathan,“ the father replied. “Oh, no,” I said, “ You have to call him something.“ I’m standing outside Hyndland Church on Hyndland Road. There’s a man waiting for a bus. Another approaches. He asks the waiting bus passenger, “Have you got a match ?” “Aye” came the reply, ”Your face and my posterior.” (That’s the clean West-end version!) Have you got a match? Have you got a light! Well yes, I do. At Christmas time, we celebrate as Christmas Eve

turns to Christmas Day, the Light of the World. In the Gospel of John he writes that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out. I think we need to hear this in the world we live in today. Christmas is hard, lonely and dismal for many people. The season highlights the coldness but the light shines on bringing hope to the heart of us all. It brings warmth when life seems bare. Have you got a match? To the darkness, yes, more than a match. Have you got a light? Yes, a child born in a manger that brightens our lives. Every blessing this Christmas Season.

The services: Church, Randolph Road 2015 - 11.15pm Watchnight Dec 24th • Hyndland Church, Hyndland Road - 11.15pm Watchnight Dec 24th @westendlife 20 | WestBroomhill End Life – Christmas Joint Christmas Day Service Broomhill Church 10.30am.


Upper Floor, De Courcy’s Arcade Cresswell Lane, Hillhead, Glasgow G12 8AA

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facebook.com/janetandjohn • twitter.com/JandJScotland www.westendlife.biz | 21


CLASSES | CLUBS | MEETINGS | EVENTS | TALKS West End Life publishes details of classes, group meetings, local clubs and any one off or regular events within the West End Life distribution area. To have your submission included in the magazine and on the website please send details to charles@westendlife.biz Our deadline dates for the coming year are available on our website.

Community Councils

Health & Wellbeing

Farmers Markets

Broomhill CC 22nd Wednesday of the month with the exception of January, July and August. The meetings are held in Broomhill Primary School Annexe, 67 Randolph Road, Glasgow G11 7EE from 7pm-9pm. www.broomhillcc.wordpress.com broomhillcommunitycouncil@gmail.com

Boiler Room Fitness Spinning Studio

Enjoy a delicious range of affordable, healthy and locally produced food. You’ll find a wide variety of seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit, quality meat, free range eggs, bread, cakes, cheese and fresh street food. Partick, Mansfield Park 2nd & 4th Saturday 10am - 2pm Milngavie, Douglas Street 1st Wednesday 10am - 2pm,

Hillhead CC Meet 2nd Thursday of each month at 7pm. www.hillheadcc.org.uk North Kelvin CC Meet 3rd Tuesday every month Venue: St Charles’ Church Hall, 1 Kelvinside Gardens, G20 6BG Jordanhill CC Meet 1st Monday of the month except July and August in Jordanhill Church Hall, Woodend Drive, at 7.15pm www.jordanhillcc.org Scotstoun Community Council Monthly meetings on last Thursday of each month (except July & December) 7.30pm. Heart of Scotstoun Community Centre, Balmoral St, Glasgow G14 0BL scotscoco@gmail.com Dowanhill, Hyndland and Kelvinside Community Council Meet 2nd Monday of each month at Hillhead Sports Club (normally upstairs in the clubhouse) at 7:30pm 32 Hughenden Road Glasgow G12 9XP

Dedicated Spinning/Indoor Cycling Studio located within Western Health & Racquets Club, Hyndland Road, Glasgow. We Spin Every Day To Get Fit So Should You! boilerroomfitness.co.uk 07825 681824 Yoga with Fiona Dewar at Partick Burgh Halls. Classes are friendly and non-competitive. Monday 8pm Wednesday 6:3-pm Saturday 9:30am 0141 357 2175 deepchandi108@gmail.com Zumba with Jo Storrar Monday, Tuesday & Thursday at 6-7pm in Maryhill Community Central Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, G20 7YE. Classes are £4 each and open to everyone. Zumba is Latin-based dance fitness suitable for all shapes, sizes, fitness levels & co-ordination levels - come join the party! jo@zumbaglasgow. com 07723012843

Talks Historical Association talk ‘Did Glasgow make the Empire? Or did the Empire make Glasgow?’ Hear Professor John Mackenzie. Hilhead Library Thursday 10th December 5.30pm For further information please contact the Secretary: gwsbhistoricalassociation@gmail.com

22 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

Outdoor Activities & Exercise Western Health & Racquets Club In the heart of Glasgow’s West End, the Western Health & Racquets Club is the ideal place for everyone to play sport, get fit and have a good time. If you would like to know more visit www.glasgowwestern.co.uk Hillhead Sports Club Hillhead Sports Club, a multi-sport, fitness and social club based at Hughenden in the West End of Glasgow - Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Fitness, Shinty, Frisbee and more. For more information visit www.hillheadsportsclub.com Park Run Pollok Country Park, Springburn Park, Tollcross Park & Victoria Park Every Saturday at 9.30am Sign up for this free weekly 5K park run. Register at www.parkrun.org.uk Junior Park Run Victoria Park Every Sunday at 9.20am Weekly timed runs for children aged 4 - 14 years.

@westendlife


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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 r e s t were

24 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

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. 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. @westendlife


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.

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.

New Year still seems like a very long way off, but Tree Day is looming.

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.

The tree doesn’t need to be pine – or even real – plastic is just as good

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Making care mean mo

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Contact home manager Ms Bobby Dougan to arrange a visit on 0141 942 4644. To find out more information: E-mail: info@meallmore.co.uk Web: www.meallmore.co.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/meallmore Antonine West House, 16 Magazine Roman Road, Bearsden, Glasgow, G61 2SL End Life www.westendlife.biz | 27


Choosing a Christmas Gift? yb

If you are struggling to find the right gift for your loved one, then Joanne Simms our new feature writer offers some sound advice to avoid disaster.

For Her Gentlemen, be warned, this is being written by a woman who was once given bags of gravel for Christmas. It was frosty that Christmas and more so for himself, inside the house, than out in the garden.

favourite drink. Better still, ‘double-gift’: here’s a salon voucher for you and I’m taking the kids off on an adventure so you can take your time, relax and pamper yourself. Better still arrange for someone else to take them and get her present together.

And if he is a foodie, then job done! Or, if he is flexing his culinary muscles, head down the gadget route. (We know that the same job can be done with a sharp knife in half the time and without as much washing up but he’ll be thrilled).

Learn from this, guys. It IS the thought that counts, but the thought should also extend to the gift. If you are unsure you have bought the right thing, giving it thoughtfully can mean all the difference. Meanwhile, back at the gravel: a little box from the jewellers with a silver garden trowel charm on a chain and a gift-card saying the gravel would be delivered would have made me swoon. The greatest strategists will tell you that time spent in recognisance is never wasted so do you know her favourite perfume? Does she have one of the modern charm bracelets? Is there a theme to the charms? If you are stumped as to what to buy, get a voucher for her favourite store, hairdressers or beauty salon, but attach it to a bottle of her

during the rest of the year because the chances are there is something he’ll want in the fishing rod, golf club, gym kit, model train or garage department. Why do you think all those sportsmen’s memoirs are published just before Christmas? So you can buy them, of course!

It’s not ‘Here’s some money go get those shoes you like.’ Instead: ‘I’m taking you to buy some shoes and we’ll have lunch along the way.’ You know that she knows that you hate shoeshopping but that’s what’s made the present special.

For Him Ladies, you are not alone, that noise you can hear in the background is countless other women banging their heads off the wall trying to think of what to buy him for Christmas.

The adventure day/experience gift voucher is a great hit and if you can link-up with another family member or his best pal then that is two women who have just solved their present buying problems! But don’t just hand over the voucher – attach it to a bottle of his favourite malt, or something appropriate, like a pair of driving gloves if it’s a day driving fast sports cars. If all else fails, go for the big kid inside him. I hold this truth to be self-evident: that no man, regardless of age, race, creed or sexual orientation does not want to own a Swiss Army penknife, a really neat torch or a stunt kite. Trust me.

If he has a hobby then don’t grumble that it takes up so much of his time

28 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

@westendlife


NICK NAIRN STILL LOOKS GOOD IN STOCKINGS. Why risk putting a boring present in your loved one’s Christmas stocking? Grow their love of food and cooking with a Nick Nairn Cook School gift card. Prices start at just £49 and can be easily purchased at nicknairn.com Go on, give the gift that really does keep on giving.

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Gift cards can be used against classes or in our cook shops. Redeem online, by telephone or in person at our Cook Schools. Valid for 12 months.

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www.westendlife.biz | 29


How to avoid to UCAS deadline drama this January Follow these simple tips for a stress-free university application and no, applying to Hogwarts is not an option! application process is simple in essence, but would apply to most important things in life; know your deadlines.

Each New Year is an exciting and fresh start for everyone, but this January is monumental for thousands of teens across the UK; applications for most university courses are due at 6pm on 15th January through the UCAS system. Competition is fierce for many university places, and therefore care must be taken to ensure applications, including the infamous ‘personal statement’, are representative of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed student on the other side of the computer. Having gone through this process myself and come out the other side in one piece, albeit with less hair and a more nervous disposition, it is most definitely doable and can lead to a place on the university course of your dreams, if done correctly.

As well as entering in all of your personal details, the written part of the application or the ‘personal statement’ will require a minimum of two drafts. Teachers have seen many personal statements and will of course review your work, no doubt returning it covered in demoralizing red scribble, but this process may take a while. A bit like a CV, the personal statement is your chance to sell yourself. Each one follows a similar template, for example: paragraph one would involve explaining to the university why you have chosen this particular course and why you believe you are suitable, whereas in paragraph two you can begin to list your skills and achievements. Leave yourself plenty of time to double and triple check your application and to

The simplest piece of advice on how to breeze through the

30 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

By Jodie Molyneux

allow for any last-minute technical difficulties... a perfect application will be no use if the cat knocks over the router at 5:55pm. It is also worth noting that though some courses have different deadlines and application requirements so be sure to check this on the UCAS website, where you can also find resources for the personal statement. When it comes to listing your choices of university, it is important to have done your research on all aspects of university life in each city and not simply choosing the same as your childhood best friend. There are sensible things to consider, such as rent prices in safe areas of your chosen city and job prospect statistics from graduates of your course, but there are also frivolities, such as the number of nightclubs nearby and the building of student accommodation with the best reputation. Finding a city that may well be your second home is a huge decision, but as much as I recommend thorough and detailed research, I can also reassure you of the power of going with the flow. I myself applied to courses with my youthful optimistic view of getting all A’s and when things went pearshaped, as they often do, went through the process of ‘clearing’ eventually ending up 300 miles away from my home town. I happened to have the time of my life.

@westendlife


Interior Design & Sofa Studio Now Open

January Sale starts Sunday 10th January 2016 at 12 noon.

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West End Life Magazine


Win Tickets to see Peter Pan at the SECC Clyde Auditorium this Christmas! Climb aboard as we journey to the magical Neverland for Scotland’s biggest pantomime, Peter Pan, coming to the SECC Clyde Auditorium this Christmas! Join international superstar David Hasselhoff, panto favourites The Krankies and Glasgow’s own Michelle McManus in the 2015 pantomime spectacular. With amazing 3D effects, music and laughter it is sure to be a ‘fandabidozi’ Christmas treat for all the family. West End Life magazine has teamed up with the SECC to give our readers the chance to win a family ticket for 4 to this fantastic festive Panto on Sunday 3rd January.

To enter, simply visit www.westendlife.biz click on competitions and follow the instructions from there. Closing date Wednesday 16th December 2015. Winner will be notified by email. Good luck!

Native Flowers has an excellent selection of real Christmas trees, both cut and living. We can cut your tree to enable it to last through to the New Year. When choosing your tree, pick up beautiful Christmas decorations. Bespoke wreaths • Mantelpiece Garlands Table Centres • Festive Bouquets.

To place an order call 0141 341 0101 email info@nativeflowers.co.uk or pop into our floral boutique and speak to our friendly staff. Native Flowers, 27 Clarence Drive, Hyndland, Glasgow G12 9QN 32 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

@westendlife


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Christmas PLC Now Recruiting Senior Personnel Isn’t it time you got round to the business of really enjoying yourself at Christmas?

Welcome to Christmas plc. Christmas plc is a subsidiary of The Family plc. Its mission statement is to deliver positive benefits of the festive season on-time and on-budget. The Family plc may or may not adhere to traditional Christian beliefs but guidelines laid down during the Nativity still apply: comfort and joy.

This subsidiary was formed after a shock report revealed that many people confess their dislike of the event and despair as Christmas comes round; that they hate it and can’t wait until it’s over, citing: ‘it’s so much stress, all that hard work for one day’. Christmas plc believes it is crazy to keep on doing something which makes you so unhappy: you need to rethink your whole approach. Separate the reasons for celebrating Christmas from the work of preparing for Christmas: it is a perfect example of work-life balance in one holiday.

Where people go wrong and head off into Bah! Hum-bug! territory is when they let their emotions wander over into the business of Christmas. Do the job

smoothly and efficiently just like you would any work project. Once done, step back and enjoy your family; they’re the reason why you work so hard in the first place.

Christmas plc is now recruiting! CEO and Head of Finance The CEO and finance directors’ roles will frequently overlap making it essential that a firm decision-making process is established but with a sympathetic mutual understanding. Purchasing should remain within budget and agreed credit limit unless a substantial case can be made to the finance director, who should keep an open-mind about unforeseen or emergency expenditure. The merging of these two key posts is best avoided; it can create a dictator, or even worse, a martyr.

Research and development Previous successes should be repeated or developed and any disasters noted and avoided.

34 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

West End Life

By Joanne Simms

This applies across-the-board for all Christmas plc’s core duties: gifts, food, drink, decorations and invitations given or received. The finance director insists that R&D submits a thoroughly vetted list of toys and gadgets to eliminate never-touched-againafter-Boxing-Day-syndrome while hoping that someone in the organisation can remember the name of that really gorgeous white wine served with Christmas pudding last year.

Research and development is reminded that new products should be thoroughly tested and sampled well in advance. Christmas morning is no time to be attempting a new recipe; last year’s Brussels sprout mousse with candy-glazed shallots was a surprise and a nasty one at that.

Communications and PR The Family plc must give clear and concise guidelines to Christmas plc before it begins its annual duties. This is essential to deploy the correct resources to all departments and helps avoid:

‘I can’t believe we bought all this food if we’re going round your mother’s.’ @westendlife


❆❆

‘But Dad! I told you I was going to stay with them.’ ‘You invited HOW many?’

‘Wasn’t that the kid who puked on our cat?’ ‘Noooooooo! We can’t go round to theirs. Remember last time.’ The Family plc must provide an updated Christmas card list to its subsidiary by no later than November 30 to eliminate waste, duplication and sending cards to the newly-divorced, or recently-deceased. Christmas plc will return a revised list after the event. The CEO and HR will arrange a short briefing for teenage, too-cool-for-Yule personnel on interfacing and accessing conversation with grandparents. Grandparents will be sent a memo on the need to avoid

West End Life Magazine

inflicting vile knitwear on grandchildren, regardless of age. Thank-you notes are mandatory though The Family plc now accepts that these may be sent via social media. Photographs or video clips of gift and smiling recipient have proved a vital asset for Christmas plc along with gift and card lists and menus for forward planning activities and should be included in the debriefing held at the January joint board meeting.

Merger of other subsidiaries and assets

Further indicators show a need might arise for the development of a Sod-it-all-we’re-off-to-theCaribbean strategy as a part of the delivery of positive benefits of the festive season and budget strategy. A significant number of older shareholders voted that research should be expanded to include a cruise while young stakeholders are pressing for the inclusion of Disney World Florida. These matters are open for discussion.

In recent years there has been increased asset-share and mission-creep with the work of Hogmanay plc and it may be more synergistic to merge these two subsidiaries.

www.westendlife.biz | 35


The Christmas Party Style Files by Marilyn Thompson

e

e

Are you ready to Party? Tis the season to be jolly....Winter fashion is all about being cozy and warm, looking great (Rudolph nose and all) whilst remaining traditional except at Christmas party time when our inner diva’s get the chance to shine. With so many invitations at Christmas from cocktail parties, dances, nights in town, intimate dinners and the office bash, this is your chance to embrace some seasonal sparkle but how do you make sure you get the right outfit? First of all decide whether you are going to

take the opportunity to vamp it up in the best va-va voom glamourpuss outfit you can find, go for understated elegance with beautiful fabrics in silks and cashmere or settle for somewhere in-between. Whatever you wear this Christmas - Wear it with style.

Here’s just some of the hottest looks for the festive party season:

e

e

Get noticed in red - the colour of Christmas. Dazzle in a show stopping glitzy sequinned number or

The classic black dress, never goes out of style, it’s perfect, easy to wear, slimming and can be brought out again and again. Looks beautiful with an on trend sparkly brooch or statement earrings. Team up with classic shoes and a clutch bag and you’re onto a winner! Wallis

36 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

Very.co.uk

one of the lovely red silk jumpsuits that are available. If going for full out glitz then you should probably keep your accessories to a minimum and let the dress do the talking.

@westendlife


e

e Shine bright like a diamond in some of the prettiest party wear

Taking inspiration from the flapper era of the 1920’s, have a Great Gatsby moment and shake and shimmy in one of the many fringed styles of dresses and skirts - just make sure you’ve perfected your ‘Charleston’ dance moves before hitting the dance floor.

around. Embellished

with sparkly gems and sequins and available in dresses and multi tasking separates this is a perfect Christmas look.

Very.co.uk

Dorothy Perkins

Feeling the festive spirit yet? - all that remains is to find the perfect outfit for the big day itself. However finding something where you look like the perfect hostess and can still eat, drink and be merry from dawn till dusk can be a hard task so all I’ll say is Good Luck and don’t forget the all important purchase of new cozy (maybe even glamorous) pyjamas for Christmas Eve! Last thing - Will you be on the Naughty or Nice list?

Glasgow Girls Helping to Feed the World

Well done to all the girls of 21st Glasgow Girls Brigade who have just raised £1,000 to help hungry kids across the globe.

the 21st Glasgow GB members were over the moon when the final tally rose to £500!

from the local area who came and supported the evening to make it such a success.’

That’s good going for just 10 girls - a real demonstration of girl power in action and if you’d like to join in this success, the girls meet on Mondays from 6-30pm8pm in Partick South Church on Dunbarton Road.

What makes this even more special is that Mary’s Meals has matchfunding from the UK Government for cash raised between 28 September and 28 December 2015, so their £500 turned into a grand £1,000.

The company held a Christmas coffee evening and sale in aid of Mary’s Meals, the Scottish charity that feeds more than one million children every school day in some of the poorest places on Earth. With a small company of around 10 girls

Captain Ashley Whitehead said everyone was thrilled: ‘It was such a lovely surprise to manage such a sum of money from such a small company, the girls really do deserve a pat on the back. We would also like to thank everyone

The Girls’ Brigade can trace its roots back to 1893 and has grown into an international and interdenominational Christian youth organisation. It caters for girls from Primary 1 right through secondary school with Explorers, Juniors and Brigaders.

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For anyone looking for their girls to be part of something positive and life-affirming please telephone Samantha on 07518 394001 or go along to the church hall on a Monday evening. www.westendlife.biz | 37


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Volunteers needed for new hearing aid trial Do you or does someone you know have a hearing loss? At Clements Hearing Services we believe that the best hearing solutions are those that offer real benefits to real people in real situations. That’s why we’re looking for volunteers to help us evaluate ReSound LiNX², the latest hearing aid technology from leading manufacturer GN ReSound.

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Clements Hearing Services is a leading independent hearing aid centre offering friendly and professional www.westendlife.biz | 39 hearing healthcare in Glasgow.


It’s not really Christmas without a turkey... Drew McKenzie of Robert Alexander Butchers takes a butcher’s look at the most important dinner of the year Let’s face it, when it comes to Christmas dinner, despite the occasional notion that we might have beef this year, or a leg of lamb perhaps, or even a goose, we always tend to go back to turkey. Prior to the Second World War, turkeys were not big business in Scotland. In fact Christmas itself was not big business in Scotland with the national tendency being to focus on the New Year. Those who did choose turkey for their festive celebration at that time would be eating a bird quite different from today’s offering. Turkeys still had a bit to go before they would benefit from a selective breeding programme that would contribute to plumping up that allimportant breast meat. The turkey boom really started in the fifties. They became big business at about the same time Christmas was welcoming commercialisation. I remember my late Grandfather, Bob Alexander, telling me that he and his boss at the time, Andrew Mackenzie, would drive round the

farms of Blairgowrie looking for stock in the cold of winter. They were garbed out with car coats, gloves, soft hats and with hessian rusk sacks around their ankles to keep warm – cars did not have heaters in those days. The turkeys gathered in those far off parts were eventually delivered to Greenock to be both slaughtered and dressed in the family’s shop. I’d love to see the Environmental Health Officer’s faces if we tried that nowadays. Then those turkeys would be hung from their ankles throughout the shop with all their heads folded up in the same direction and resting on a wing. The feathers would be left on the neck and on the wings. The featured display to the meat purist would be a thing of impressive beauty; it would create a special atmosphere in the shop…a sense of occasion. Many would suggest that the modern consumer would balk at such a display and they might be right. One thing is certain though

40 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

most modern butchers would balk at the idea of having to clean all those birds out. Yes, Christmas turkeys have become a much more sanitised affair than they once were. The early 70s brought the boom in frozen birds courtesy, in no small way, of Mr Bernard Mathews and his contemporaries. These birds were prepared throughout the year and their quality wasn’t great. They were pumped with all sorts of buttery chemicals that the marketing people told us was for self basting and then loads of extra water was frozen into them for additional manufacturer’s

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profit. You can still buy this type of bird all the year round from the supermarket. It is said that they glow in the dark. The next type of bird to hit the market was the fresh frozen or dry frozen bird. These were well received by the trade and tended not to leave the same mess when thawing them out. People’s attitudes to what they were eating were starting to change, however. Freshness was becoming all important and many were prepared to pay a premium to get what they wanted. Vacuum packing and gas flushing allowed a new market for “fresh oven ready” to develop and this is still the predominant type of bird offered for the Christmas trade. But you must beware. Just because a bird is described as “fresh” or even as “free range” it doesn’t, in any way, mean that this is the best you can buy. Free range only tells you that your particular wee bird lived half its life with the front door

open. It doesn’t tell you what the hoose was like, how many lived in it or what they had for their tea every night. Be careful with free range. Over the past ten years or so we have seen the strong emergence of the ultra premium turkey led by the likes of Kelly Turkeys and Copas and this is where the discerning consumer is now heading. It’s a bit about provenance, it’s a bit about welfare, and it’s a lot about confidence. Confidence that what is being put on the table is the best it can possibly be and

the difference between these birds and the mass produced variety is quite staggering. These new favourites are slow maturing, they live a long, happy life trooping about cherry orchards until the time comes to kick off their slippers and lay down their pipe. They live about three times longer than their intensive cousins and get by nicely on their cereal diet without having to scoff any of those nasty growth promoters. And when at last they depart this mortal coil they don’t just dive into a polythene bag right away. They hang around for a couple of weeks to mature like all good game birds should. Then, when the time is right, they climb gently into their sturdy wee box with their cooking instructions and their wee popup thermometer and their sprig of rosemary and they say hello to the cranberry sauce, the gravy, the stuffing and the chipolatas. A turkey Christmas the way it should be.

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A dog or cat is for life... really By Neil McIntosh

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

44 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

around, screaming at fireworks, then the dog will too. Don’t let your dog become a “foreign body” statistic at Christmas. Every year, many unfortunate pets are operated because they have succumbed to the temptation of the treasures beneath the tree and swallowed something they shouldn’t have. Setting aside the risk from chocolate poisoning, foreign bodies include tinsel in cats and soft toys in dogs. In fact, our animals will eat just about anything. Surgery is expensive and not without risk. Don’t let your pets have a shocking time at Christmas. Every year, electric cables are bitten. Use a circuit breaker in those Christmas lights and in rooms where pets are left unattended.

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Helping Your Christmas Houseplants Survive Christmas by Caroline Bow Surviving a modern day Christmas can be challenge enough for humans, but just imagine how difficult it is if you’re a plant. You’ve been reluctantly forced to flower, grown in a light controlled polytunnel and you’ve been force fed with growth stunting hormones to ensure you’re not too straggly when flowering on Mrs Cratchit’s table...and here’s me feeling sorry for the turkey! It seems such a shame that after all the effort, you go and kill the poor thing after just one week of taking custody. This year will be different though, because whether giving or receiving a houseplant this festive yuletide, help is at hand with our top tips for keeping them alive (until New Year at least!). House plants give such a wonderful display, and are sure to last longer than a bunch of flowers. Choose from large flowering Cyclamen, brightly coloured Azaleas, sweetly scented Jasmine and of course the traditional Poinsettia. Oh, and don’t forget about bulbs, ‘Paperwhite’ Narcissus are synonymous with Christmas, and forced Hyacinths too, but I can appreciate that for many their strong scent is best savoured in spring. Before we go on to the care of houseplants, let’s just clear one thing up, houseplants hate houses! Dry central heating, low light levels and draughts are all things houseplants really don’t like, as most of these plants come from very humid, tropical parts of the world.

The best way to ensure your flowers bloom for longer and your leaves don’t go brown at the tips, is to ensure the right conditions for survival. • Avoid placing plants in a draughty location such as windowsills, or near to a frequently opened door, (they won’t appreciate the large fluctuations in temperature) • Avoid hotspots, such as in front of or above a radiator or fire • Water plants by plunging them into a bowl of tepid (not cold) water, and then allowing the water to fully drain out from the pot before returning to its location • Azaleas like humid conditions, so stand these on a tray of gravel filled with water, (but ensure the plants are not sitting in water) • Create a ‘plant area’ where groups of plants can be stood together, this will create more humidity • Avoid direct sunshine (not that we get much at this time of year) • Ensure the compost never dries out or is too saturated, water little and often is the secret • Remove faded flowers to prevent disease and to promote flowering And finally, don’t get emotionally attached, think of flowering houseplants as a medium term bunch of flowers or a Christmas decoration, and after flowering if they look a little jaded, return them to the compost heap in the sky – there is no worse houseplant tragedy than a straggly Poinsettia in July with three stunted yellow leaves. Poinsettias are popular because they look wonderful, but here’s a little word of warning, be careful not to get the sap of a Poinsettia on your skin as it can cause irritation, and always keep them out of reach of pets and children.

46 | West End Life – Christmas 2015

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West End Life Magazine Christmas 2015  

An A5 full colour lifestyle magazine delivered to the West End of Glasgow

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