LIVING November | December 2017 £3.50
a £500 shopping spree OU R B I G G E ST
at Bullring Birmingham
Indulgent gifts for any personality
best NYE looks.
Let’s play dress up!
Delicious festive food
plus a beginner’s guide to cooking Christmas dinner
Christmas crackers! We tell you how to survive the festive season
Style your home like one of the classics
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C ON T E N T S
November | December 2017
12 Recipes: Taste the
festive season 47 Win £500 to spend at
Bullring Birmingham 48 Gifts for…all the family,
52 Dress me up! 54 LIVING’s 12 beauty
heroes of 2017 66 How to survive
78 Director’s cut: Style your home like a classic Christmas film
Taste 12 Recipes: Taste the festive season 18 Talking turkey: Is it time for an alternative? 20 Modern Mixology: Festive cocktails you’ll love 24 Taste test: All eyes on the pies 26 Gifts for…The Foodie
Christmas 28 A beginner’s guide to cooking Christmas dinner 32 The science of Christmas spirit 36 A guide to Christmas tree etiquette 38 Top Table: Festive tableware trends 42 Let me entertain you! Christmas fun for everyone 47 Win £500 to spend at Bullring Birmingham 48 Gifts for…all the family, under £50
Home 78 Director’s cut: Style your home like a classic Christmas film 86 Living lagom: The Goldilocks effect 91 The 12 scents of Christmas 96 The sofa edit 102 Gifts for…The Domestic Queen
Prestige Homes Travel
52 Dress me up! 54 LIVING’s 12 beauty heroes of 2017 56 Style: Take it to the dance floor 60 Festive slam: 3-steps to festive beauty 62 All wrapped up; winter knits 64 Gifts for…The Super-stylista
114 Sleigh me away: An alternative Christmas 118 Rediscover: The French Alps 121 Review: Me Time at The Maytime Inn 122 Festive shopping destinations 124 Gifts for…The Traveller
66 How to survive Christmas 68 Spotlight: Men’s health 71 Horoscopes 2018 72 The 7 joys of winter 76 Gifts for…The Goddess
Win! 47 £500 to spend at Bullring Birmingham 76 A festive cut and blow dry from Obsession Salon & Spa 130 A family ticket to see Aladdin at Lichfield Garrick
103 Find Your Dream Home In Staffordshire
Marks and Spencer
Entertainment 126 The Film Club 129 LIVING’s must-read Christmas crackers 130 Events Calendar 134 Interview: Jessica Clemmons 136 Gifts for…The Pleasure Seeker
Living 138 Golden Oldie: Caring for the elderly at Christmas 142 Christmas in Staffordshire towns 145 LIVING does…Gift wrapping 148 Tips for a perfect winter garden 151 Gifts for…The Hedonist
Regular Features 10 LIVING it 152 LIVING Loves… Beauty advent calendars 153 Coming Up
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November | December 2017
elcome to the November/ December issue of Staffordshire Living. Our final issue of 2017, and arguably our favourite, because it’s Christmas, of course! Are you ready? We may have been festive since July, but there’s not much you can do to curb our enthusiasm for this thrilling season, and I’m sure you will realise this as you browse through the pages of the magazine. We have enjoyed every minute of pulling together this issue.
co ve r
From gift guides, to festive food and drinks, from travelling away from it and tips on surviving it; we’ve explored every element of the season of goodwill to bring you nothing short of a Christmas bible; there’s even a beginner’s guide to cooking Christmas dinner. Not to mention our annual festive taste test - this year, it’s mince pies, and while we may be working those extra calories off until June, at least you’ll know which pies are worth the pence, so you’re welcome!
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There’s been more festive spirit in the office than ever before, there was even talk of setting the Christmas tree up a month early, but we haven’t done that… yet. And it’s not just us that have jumped on board the Christmas fun bus, towns in Staffordshire have got some exciting events lined up for you guys over the next few months, from Hanley’s Winter Wonderland to Santa’s stage show in Tamworth. And let’s not forget our passion for fashion! It reaches new levels at Christmas, and we’ve particularly loved compiling the STYLE section this time. From choosing 50 of our favourite New Year’s Eve dresses (we now have our outfit sorted), to nailing the perfect office to party look, and getting our festive glam on point, we feel ready to hit that party circuit hard.
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In addition to all that, we’ve teamed up with Bullring in Birmingham to give you the chance to win £500 to spend at the shopping centre, whether that’s on gifts for your loved ones, or gifts for yourself; it’s all on them! Happy days! Enjoy your Christmas; may it be merry, and filled with love, family, happiness and laughter. See you next year!
love Living x
While every care has been taken during the preparation of this magazine, Staffordshire Media cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein or any consequences arising from it. The contents of this magazine may not be reprinted or reproduced without prior written permission. All rights reserved. Competition terms and conditions: The prizes are as stated and no cash alternative can be given. The winner will be notified by phone, post or e-mail. The editor’s decision is final. The competition is not open to Staffordshire Media and their families. Entrants must be aged 18 and over. Staffordshire Media or the competition supplier may contact you with news and information. If you would prefer not to receive further communication please tick the opt out box on the competition entry form. Staffordshire Living is published by Staffordshire Media, the trading name of Staffs Media Company Ltd, registered in England. 08841939. All rights reserved. Staffordshire Media, B1 Trentham Business Quarter, Bellringer Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8GB. Tel: 01782 644456 Fax: 01782 657411
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Last issue we asked: â€˜What motivates you the most?â€™ but we came to the conclusion that it Itâ€™s our news & views section. Time to catch up on whatâ€™s all depends on what is been happening in Staffordshire and what you had to sayâ€Śin front of us. If weâ€™re Getting your opinions on lifeâ€™s thoughttrying to lose 10 pounds â€“ our motivational provoking questions... tactics might be different to when weâ€™re desperately seeking a new job. Motivation can come in many forms; we might stick a picture displaying our fitter self on the fridge to keep temptation at bay, and the idea of having a few extra pounds in the bank could be the mental persuasion we need to finally get Feeling lucky? Dining the Stars We with all need a little push Film festâ€™ the job weâ€™ve always can A new lottery has launched in Saucenow Supper is hosting a itâ€™s Aspiring UK filmmakers andClub again, whether wanted. Whatever submit entries to Burton Upon South Staffordshire which aims Michelin star spectacular at the to get out of bed on a frosty we want out of to support local causes. The South Grandwinter Pavilion in Alrewas Hayes, life, festival, letâ€™s make morning or jump on Trentâ€™s first ever film due to take place the in May Staffordshire Community Lottery near Lichfield, on 20th November start2018. of 2017 the treadmill, when all we The Beertown Film Festival is a is a weekly online lottery with this year. The main focus of our motivation, really want to do is dive collaboration between Marstonâ€™s tickets costing ÂŁ1 and prizes up to this event, with live music and itâ€™s a new under the covers! Brewery and Burton and South ÂŁ25,000. 60% of the prize draw a champagne reception, is its beginning Derbyshire College, and isand backed goes to good courses in the South stunning six-course menu, by Burtonâ€™s own homegrown film Staffordshire area. Jacqui Oatley designed and delivered by six whatever talent: Hollywood special effects MBE (pictured centre), the sports different Michelin star chefs and you want, broadcaster for ITV Sport and their teams, including 2 Michelin producer, Rich Yeomans and youfilm can maker and award-winninghave screen BBC Sport, launched the event starred Chef Tom Kerridge. it! writer, Deborah Haywood. The this September at Somerford Tickets, at ÂŁ150 per head, have closing date for entries is 31st Hall in Brewood. The first draw already started to sell and it is March 2018. Find out more at will take place on Saturday 25th expected to be a sell-out very www.beertownfilmfestival.co.uk. November 2017. Play online at soon. All details are on the Pictured: Pat McGinty, Jack Hale, southstaffslottery.co.uk or by saucesupperclub.co.uk website. John Fitch, Alice Parkerson & Jo telephoning 01902 213777 from Pictured: Tom Kerridge. â€œThe main thing that gets â€œBeing in the fresh air at Wyke from Marstonâ€™s Brewery. Tuesday 24th October 2017.
What motivates you the most?
me up in the morning is...
Q: What would you change about 2017?
The year is almost out, and soon the anticipation of a satisfying bowl of ...and knowing it makes a difference weâ€™ll be fastening up our dancing cereal, accompanied with a good brew.â€? to my health and environment by heels for an end of year party weâ€™ll - Rachel via Facebook PM #growingyourown never forget.motivates No mattermeâ€? who we are, - Sue Durrani Twitter the endvia of the year brings with it a certain amount of reflection: what â€œFor me, to 2017get has have we done, what has made us â€œWhat motivates me been all about proud (and not so proud) and what â€œDefinitely people up in the morning is... change. Looking do we want next year to bring? But forward to a much motivate mewhat thehappens most.â€? remember, in our thinking about how proud I will be on more grounded lives makes us stronger and my graduation day for all the extra work 2018 â€œI can sit doing absolutely nothing without all Claire via email mistakes we wouldnâ€™t understand I put in to my degree!â€? -please!â€? Lydia Eccleston night but if a friend comes to call then I the value of remorse. Last issue we via Email am motivated intowhat beingyou a good asked you wouldhostess, change making about tea or2017; pouring wine, hereâ€™s whatand yougetting said:
â€œMy kids!â€? â€œAll the motivation I need comes from a kiss and a cuddle off them.â€? - Samantha via Email
out the snacks. If I know they are coming then theâ€œMore wholeHolidays!!â€? place gets a makeoverâ€? - Linda via AmyFacebook via Facebook â€œI need to be more confident in the dating game! In 2018, I intend to find the man of my dreams!â€? Anonymous via email
S win! TA R win! R E Awin! DER S TA R smile L E T T E Rand Make us WINStaffordshire a 12-month â€œDear Living Home, subscription as a regular reader of your
magazine I was very interested in Each issue, weâ€™re givingfeature away your Christmas presents month. subscription It's a very welcome a this 12-month to the change to see actual genuine, magazine to some our star reader. To affordable and inspirational gift be in with a chance of winning, ideas, especially those simply send us a for letter by'what post, to buy for the person who has email or via our social media everything' family member. And channels, sharing your thoughts as I love flamingos I will definitely onbe the latest issue. If youropen letter leaving the magazine on is chosen thethem Star on, Letter, youâ€™ll the pageas with just to give be featured our LIVING a clue for myhere own on present! Keep up work.â€? it! page,the andexcellent will win a 12-month
subscription to the magazine; - Sue Hawkins, Meir Park, thatâ€™s six Stoke issuesonofTrent our fabulous glossy mag delivered straight to your door.
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Coming up next time... Coming next time... was the best piece of advice that your mother gave you? Motherâ€™s Day is Sunday 27th Nextup time weâ€™re askingâ€ŚWhat
March and as itâ€™s time to celebrate the one true love of our lives, please share your best piece of motherly advice for a chance What makes you smile? Our January/February is allin about starting afresh, butedition! JanuaryConnect via: to beissue featured the March/April 2017 Your wedding can feature in our especially can be a tough old month, so tell us what makes you smile, and letâ€™s get â€˜Living It Q&Aâ€™, Real Life Weddings section in the January/ through it together. B1ofTrentham Business Quarter, February 2018 issue Staffordshire Living. Email Staffordshire-Living-Magazine â€˜LivingStaffordshire-Living-Magazine It Q&Aâ€™, B1 Trentham Business Quarter, @StaffsLiving Bellringer Road, Trentham firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com for more information. @StaffsLiving Bellringer Road, Trentham Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent, Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent, firstname.lastname@example.org Staffordshire ST4 8GB Staffordshire ST4 8GB
DRINK AND BE MERRY”
TASTE Taste the festive season, Talking turkey, Modern mixology, All eyes on the pies and Gifts for the foodie
TASTE | PARTY
TA STE TH E
FESTIVE SEASON Be the ‘hostess with the mostest’ this Christmas.
TASTE | PARTY
Apple Mince Pies Makes 12 | Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 15-20 minutes Ingredients • 375g pack ready rolled sweet shortcrust pastry • 200g mincemeat • 1 Pink Lady Apple, cored and finely diced • 25g dried cranberries • 1 tbsp icing sugar to dust Method 1.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Unroll the pastry onto a clean board. Using a 7cm cutter, stamp out 12 circles and use to line a bun tin. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Reserve the pastry trimmings. 2. Meanwhile in a bowl mix together the mincemeat, diced apple and dried cranberries. Spoon a little of the apple mincemeat into each pastry case. 3. Using the pastry trimmings stamp out 12 small star or heart shapes. Put a star or heart on the top of each mincemeat tart. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until lightly golden and cooked. 4. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold.
Shallot and Potato Rosti with Gressingham Duck and Crispy Shallots Makes 25-30 canapés | Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Ingredients
Sausage, Cranberry & Chestnut Rolls (pictured opposite)
Makes 16 | Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
For the potato rosti: • 500g potato, shredded and squeezed • 4 shallots, peeled and grated • 2 tsp flour • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil For the crispy fried shallots:
Ingredients • 400g Waitrose Free Range Pork Sausages • 50g Waitrose Christmas Chestnuts, cooked per pack instructions, and chopped • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage • 320g all butter puff pastry sheet • 2 tbsp Colman’s Cranberry Sauce • 1 small Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg, beaten, for glazing Method
• Rapeseed oil, enough for a depth of 3 inches • 10-15 shallots, peeled and sliced very thinly • 1 tbsp flour • 1 tsp salt For the Gressingham duck: • 2 Gressingham duck breasts • Sea salt and ground black pepper • Redcurrant jelly to serve
Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Using a sharp knife, slice the sausage skins and squeeze out the sausage meat into a bowl. Stir in the chestnuts and sage. 2. Unroll the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and cut it in half lengthways. Spoon the cranberry sauce down the centre of each half. Divide the sausage meat mixture in half and roll each batch into a long sausage the same length as the pastry. Lay each half on top of the cranberry sauce. 3. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg. Fold the pastry over the sausage, then roll it over so that the join is underneath. Cut each piece into 8 sausage rolls. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment and transfer the sausage rolls onto them, keeping the pastry join at the bottom. Brush a little more egg over the top and bake for 20–25 minutes, until the sausage meat is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.
Mix the potato, shallots, flour, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Add the oil to a heated pan. 3. Using a teaspoon, spoon out heaped teaspoons of the mixture into the hot pan, turn to a low heat and flatten down, creating separate small discs of rosti. 4. Fry until both sides are crisp, remove from the pan and remove excess oil on paper towels. Place to one side.
For the crispy fried shallots:
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/ Gas Mark 6 For the potato rosti:
the oil, test if it is hot enough by dropping a piece of shallot in and checking it bubbles and crisps.
6. Separate the shallot slices into rings and place them in a medium bowl. Make certain the shallots are not moist, otherwise they may splatter when they go into the oil. Sprinkle flour over the shallots and toss them lightly to coat evenly. 7. Working with a small quantity, sprinkle the shallots into the oil and stir gently to keep them separated. 8. Fry until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, then put on paper towels to drain off the oil. Sprinkle with sea salt whilst still warm. 9. Continue frying the rest of the shallots, salting each batch whilst it is still warm.
For the Gressingham duck: 10. Trim any excess fat from around the duck breasts and score the fat in a diagonal motion several times. Season them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 11. Place skin side down into a hot pan. After about two minutes turn over, then place into the pre-heated oven for 8 minutes. 12. Put the potato rosti in with the duck breast for the last minute to warm. Remove the breast and rosti from the oven and let the duck breast rest for 5 minutes.
To serve: 13. Remove the skin from the duck (it can be left on if desired.) Slice the breast and place pieces on top of each rosti. 14. Place a spoonful of the crispy shallots on top of the duck. Top with a little bit of redcurrant.
www.ukshallot.com w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
TASTE | PARTY
Spiced Orange & Almond Cake
Preparation time: 40 minutes | Cooking time: 60 minutes Ingredients • 8 essential Waitrose Easy Peelers • Vegetable oil, for greasing • 5 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs, separated • 200g caster sugar • 250g ground almonds • 2 tsp Waitrose Signature Spice (ground) • 2 tbsp clear honey or maple syrup, to serve • A little icing sugar, for dusting Method 1. Put four of the easy peelers in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes, then drain and cool slightly. Whizz to a purée in a food processor. 2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Brush the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with a little oil and line the bottom with baking parchment. 3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and half the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the rest of the sugar. 4. Fold the puréed easy peelers, ground almonds and spice into the egg yolk mixture. Fold a quarter of the egg whites into the mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 55-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. 5. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Peel the rest of the easy peelers and cut them into slices. Arrange on top of the cake and drizzle over the honey or syrup. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Sharing Bread with Camembert
Makes 16 | Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus kneading and resting time) Cooking time: 40 minutes Ingredients • 400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading • 100g strong wholemeal flour • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast • Pinch of salt • 3 tbsp olive oil • 2 red onions, thinly sliced • 3 sprigs rosemary • 1 egg, lightly beaten • 1 whole Camembert • Cranberry sauce, to serve Method 1. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, yeast and salt. Make a well in the centre. Fill a jug with 350ml tepid warm water and pour into the flour, along with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Mix well using a wooden spoon into a soft and slightly sticky dough. 2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size. 3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan and cook the onions for
8-10 minutes, until softened. Remove the leaves from two rosemary sprigs, then roughly chop and add to the pan, cooking for another minute. Set aside. 4. Once the dough has risen, knock back lightly and tip back on to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead in the red onion mixture, then separate into 16 pieces, and roll these into balls. Place on a lined baking tray, cover with lightly oiled cling film and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. 5. Once the balls have risen slightly, place them in a circle, with each ball touching, on a lined baking tray. Use a plate the same size as your cheese, in the middle. This will be the spot for your camembert. Brush the bread all over with the beaten egg. 6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then carefully replace the plate with the Camembert. Roughly chop the remaining rosemary sprigs and sprinkle these over the bread. Bake for another 15 minutes until the bread is golden, and the cheese has melted in the middle. Serve with the cranberry sauce on the side. Sainsbury’s
Share the feast! “People who love to eat are always the best people!” - Julia Child
Cheesecake with BerryWorld Cranberry Glaze
TASTE | PARTY
Serves 10-12 | Cooking time: 1 hour + cooling | Preparation time: 30 minutes Ingredients For the base: • 250g crushed digestive biscuits • 110g melted butter For the filling:
• 500g full fat cream cheese • 500g mascarpone cheese • 50g caster sugar • 2 large eggs • 2tsp vanilla essence • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
For the glaze:
Serves 4 | Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes
• 3-4 tbsp water • 50g sugar • 100g fresh cranberries • 3 tbsp orange marmalade
Ingredients • 400g mixed shelled nuts • 50ml Crisp ‘n Dry cooking oil • 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped Method 1.
Heat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6. 2. Mix all the ingredients together and bake for 10 minutes. 3. The nuts are best served warm but can be made and stored in an air tight container for up to a week. Crisp ‘n Dry
Method 1. Preheat
the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Line the bottom of a 20cm springform or loose bottom cake tin with greaseproof paper. (Alternatively bake the cheesecake in a pie dish, without lining, so it is ready to serve straight from the dish). 2. To make the base: mix the melted butter into the crushed biscuits and press into the base and sides of the tin with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. 3. Mix both the cheeses, the sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and beat until well blended. Spoon into the prepared base and smooth over the top with a knife. Bake in the oven for one hour. 4. After an hour switch the oven off, leaving the cheesecake inside for a further two hours. 5. After two hours, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely. Run a knife around the sides, then remove the outer springform tin. Turn the cheesecake out onto a plate so that you can remove the bottom of the tin and the paper. Place the serving plate over the cheesecake base and invert so that it is ready to decorate. 6. Place the cranberries in a saucepan with the water and sugar and boil gently; heat for 5-10 mins until the berries start to burst. Add the marmalade. Bring back to the boil, stirring occasionally to mix well. Allow the topping to cool completely, then spoon over the cheesecake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. BerryWorld
Danish Christmas Pancakes Makes 30 Ingredients • 3 eggs, separated • 300ml buttermilk • 100ml double cream • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1 tbsp caster sugar • 1/2 tsp salt • 1 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda • 1 tsp ground cardamom • 250g plain flour • Grated zest of 1 medium lemon (or to taste) • 50g butter, melted for frying • Icing sugar, for dusting • Raspberry jam, for dipping (optional) • An Aebleskive pan, Japanese takoyaki pan or frying pan Method 1. Mix together the egg yolks, buttermilk, double cream and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients including the cardamom. 2. In another clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff using a handheld electric whisk on high speed. 3. Add the egg and cream mixture to the dry ingredients, then carefully fold
in the beaten egg whites and lemon zest. Leave to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before using. 4. Place the pan over high heat to warm through and add a little melted butter to the pan to stop the pancakes from sticking. If you are using an Aebleskive pan, carefully add enough batter to each hole so that it reaches about 0.25 cm from the top. If you are using a normal frying pan, add spoonfuls of batter as you would if making normal small pancakes. Leave to cook for a few minutes until the edges become firm then, using a fork or knitting needle (knitting needle is easier!), gently turn the pancakes over to cook on the other side. If you have filled the holes too much, this can be tricky – you’ll get the hang of it after a few. 5. Once browned on both sides (3–4 minutes per batch), keep the cooked Aebleskiver warm in the oven until you have finished frying. 6. Serve dusted with icing/ confectioners’ sugar and a little pot of raspberry jam for dipping. Scandikitchen: Fika & Hygge by Bronte Aurells w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
ROOMS – EVENTS – DINING Exclusive occasions! Festive season 2017 Seasonal Lunches & Dinners Party Nights with Disco Christmas Day & Boxing Day Lunches
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FESTIVE LUNCH, AFTERNOON TEA & DINNER AT EIGHT Bookings for Festive Christmas Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Evening Dinner throughout December are now being taken. All December menus can be viewed at www.pecksrest.co.uk Early booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.
Please advise us if you have any specific dietary requirements, including allergens when booking. PECKS RESTAURANT, NEWCASTLE ROAD, MORETON, Nr CONGLETON, CHESHIRE, CW12 4SB
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TASTE | TURKEY A different bird
There are many different birds to go for instead of a traditional turkey. A smaller guinea fowl can be a good option if there are just two of you at Christmas; duck is a richer and tastier alternative for a small family Christmas; and a perfectly plump roast goose is also a great way to impress a table full of hungry guests!
Is it time for an alternative?
“A perfectly plump roast goose is a great way to impress a table full of hungry guests!”
Ingredients • 1 oven-ready Gressingham goose • 300ml chicken stock For the stuffing • 25g butter • 1 large onion finely chopped • 10 juniper berries • 1kg rough sausagemeat • 200g cooked chestnuts roughly chopped • 2 large eggs • 1 small bunch of sage finely chopped • 100g white breadcrumbs • 0.25 tsp ground allspice Method 1. To make the stuffing, melt the butter
But if you are feeling a little bored of the bird, then there are plenty of other dishes that will match up to the expectations of your Christmas guests. And for those who are expecting a vegetarian or vegan guest this year, we have you covered too!
Roast goose with chestnut stuffing by Sainsbury’s Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 2.5 hours | Serves 6 – 8
If turkey at Christmas just isn’t your thing, fear not! Here’s some inspiration to switch up your menu this year.
For most of us, the thought of not having turkey at Christmas is preposterous. It’s a tradition that has spanned over centuries, not just in Britain, throughout the globe. The Americans are big fans, as are those living in Israel, and, according to the British Turkey website, we gobble up around 10 million each year in Britain at Christmas!
in a medium pan and add the chopped onion and juniper berries. Cook without colouring for 10 minutes until soft. Leave to cool. 2. Once the onion has cooled, remove the juniper berries and discard. Mix the onion with the remaining stuffing ingredients. Season well and set aside. 3. Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas mark 7. Using a sharp knife or tweezers, remove any feather stubs from the goose. With a knife, score very light crisscross lines on the breast and legs. 4. Lift up the neck flap of the goose and push in as much stuffing as will fit. Fold the flap over and either truss it down or secure with a metal skewer. Push the remaining stuffing into the body cavity. Season well, then place on a wire rack in a large roasting tin. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Drain off the fat (save it for roasting potatoes in later), then turn the oven down to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4 and roast for a further 1-2 hours. To test if the meat is done, pierce the thigh with a metal skewer. If the juices run clear, it's cooked. 5. Remove from the oven and cover with kitchen foil. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. Drain the fat from the roasting tin, then pour the chicken stock and 100ml of water into the tin. Scrape off all the caramelised juices from the bottom of the tin. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then strain through a sieve into a gravy boat. Serve with the carved goose.
TASTE | TURKEY
you Did ? know Method
Turkey originates from Mexico. No, not turkey.
• 2kg Waitrose Unsmoked English Gammon Joint • 1 litre carton Waitrose Apple Juice • 1 cinnamon stick • ½ x 215ml bottle Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Balsamic Glaze • 6 small English eating apples, such as Cox’s, cored and halved
Place the gammon joint in a large lidded pan. Pour over the apple juice and add the cinnamon stick. Bring slowly to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 70 minutes, turning once. 2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Drain the gammon, reserving the cooking liquor, then place the meat on a chopping board. Remove the string and cut away the skin with a small, sharp knife. Lightly score the fat in a diamond pattern. Place the balsamic glaze in a bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of the reserved liquor. 3. Place the gammon in a roasting tin with the apple halves around the meat. Spoon the glaze over the gammon and apples, and cook for 45-50 minutes, brushing the joint occasionally with the glaze and turning the apples once. 4. Remove the gammon from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Place the apples on a serving plate, cover with foil and keep warm until ready to serve. 5. Stir 150ml of the reserved liquor into the juices in the tin. Pour into a small saucepan and cook on the hob for 2-3 minutes until bubbling. Serve the gammon with the roast apples, new potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and garden peas, drizzled with a little of the sauce.
New Roast If a traditional roast is much more appealing, but you’d rather steer clear of poultry, then why not opt for gammon or beef as your main dish? They are just as filling as turkey, less faff and taste divine! Sweet Roast Gammon with Balsamic Glaze and Roasted Apples by Waitrose
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours | Serves 6 Ingredients
The worry of what to serve a vegan guest can leave you a little on the anxious side, especially if you are not used to cooking a meat-free dish! You want them to be as satisfied as your other guests, feel part of the main event, and respect their beliefs at the same time. But actually a delicious nut roast might even sway your other guests from their serving of a traditional turkey crown! Nut roast en croûte by Sainsbury’s Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1hr 20 minutes | Serves 6 Ingredients • 1 tbsp groundnut oil • 1 onion, finely chopped • 1 celery stick, finely chopped • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1 x 250g pack chestnut mushrooms, brushed clean and finely chopped • 150g mixed nuts • 100g dried red lentils, rinsed • 100g cooked chestnuts, crumbled • 1 x 375g pack Sainsbury’s Ready Rolled Light Puff Pastry • 3 tbsp almond milk
Turkeys have been on earth for around 10 million years.
Turkey was considered a luxury dish until the mid-50s when it became more accessible here in the UK.
It takes 28 days for a turkey egg to hatch.
A turkey has 3500 feathers when they are fully matured.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat and cook the onion, celery and carrots for about 6 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and cook for a further 6 minutes. 2. Toast the nuts in the oven for 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. Then whizz in the food processor until coarsely ground. 3. Meanwhile, cook the red lentils according to the packet instructions. Drain well, then whizz in a food processor. 4. Combine the nuts, lentils and crumbled cooked chestnuts with the sautéed vegetables. Season to taste and leave to cool. 5. Once the mixture has cooled, roll out the puff pastry and leave on its paper. Form the mixture into a loaf that is about 3cm shorter than the width of the pastry. Lay the filling on the left-hand side, leaving a boarder of 1.5cm on the top and bottom, then fold the other half of the pastry over the filling and press down to encase it completely. 6. Brush the pastry with the almond milk, then place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is nice and golden.
Whatever you choose for your main dish on the big day, you want to make sure it won’t add any pressure to you. Whatever you serve, your guests will love; so try and relax and enjoy your preparations! w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
TASTE | COCKTAILS
MODERN MIXOLOGY Every girl’s favourite festive tipple has had a 21st Century makeover – here are the cocktails you should be drinking this Christmas. Cocktails are one of the most popular UK drinks, there’s no doubt about that. They are synonymous with having a good time, with being out with loved ones and celebrations. We all enjoy ordering that ‘special’ drink, whether it’s to toast a birthday or just the end of the week. And even though they have been around for centuries - it’s thought since the early 1800s - they’ve never lost their appeal. We huddle in bars, browsing the cocktail menu, our eyes drawn to interesting names, and unusual mixes, and enjoy the care and attention that the bartender pays to our individual drink, not really knowing what it will taste like until that first sip.
“The best way to make a cocktail in a mixing glass is to stir it with a fork rather than with a spoon. By this method the ice is melted faster, cooling the liquor faster, and diluting it a little more.” The Cocktail Book (The British Library 2017) 20
But things have stepped up a level. Nowadays, a cocktail is a presentation of a particular bartender’s skills and expertise; it’s theatre, art and science all in one. Standard glasses have been replaced with test tubes, beakers and jam jars; the perfect mix has become so much more than a sweet taste and pretty colours, it’s about controversial ingredients, intricate recipes and showmanship. Just visit a 21st Century ‘cocktail bar’ and you’ll understand this concept. Cocktail connoisseurs, The Alchemist, which has a bar in Birmingham, Chester, and Manchester, as well as others dotted around the North West, are one such franchise, which has experienced massive growth in the last few years. Considering themselves ‘masters in the dark arts of molecular mixology...’ citing that their ‘mixologists create every cocktail with an obsessive eye for detail, presented in vessels orchestrated to add a devilish dash of theatre, they bedazzle, bewitch and set the scene…’. Ordering and watching your drink being made is part of the experience; smoke seeping from Chinese-style teapots, racks of test tubes and Bunsen burners are all commonplace on the bar here.
Then take My Belle’s cocktail bar in Stafford, which has combined two of our favourite things – ice cream and cocktails – to create its gelato cocktails. The menu is full of wonderful concoctions, like the Burlesco: a mix of Madagascan vanilla gelato, passionfruit and vodka; or the Basil Cooler: with orange sorbet, basil leaves and limoncello. Not a Sex on the Beach or Fire Engine of yesteryear in sight…
Cocktail revival It’s certainly worth a visit to one of these contemporary bars; the magic of the mixologists creating inspiring drinks is wonderful to see and it’s fun trying out new creations and flavours, even if you do have to wait a good 15 minutes for your drink! But despite this new wave of creativity, it seems that as a nation we still love the old classics too. More recently cocktails of old have had a resurgence, giving menus a nostalgic twist. So, which classics should you be drinking this festive season?
Whisky Twist Serves: 1 Ingredients
TASTE | COCKTAILS
Get into the mood for party season with these cocktail recipes to try at home
Winter Daiquiri Serves 2 Ingredients
• 3 ice cubes • 2 tbsp Johnnie Walker Red Label Whisky • 2 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau • Twist of orange peel, to serve
• 320ml frozen clementine juice • 100ml Taste the Difference Spiced Rum • 5ml maple syrup Cinnamon sugar Method
Method 1. Place the ice in a small tumbler and pour over the whisky and orange liqueur. 2. Muddle together, add a twist of orange peel and serve.
Irish Cream & Hazelnut Espresso Martini
1. Dip the rim of two martini glasses in water and then into the cinnamon sugar (If cinnamon sugar isn’t available, substitute with golden caster sugar). Set to one side. 2. In a blender, blitz the frozen clementine juice until it forms a slush and mix in the dark rum and maple syrup. 3. Pour into the martini glasses and serve.
Ingredients • 50ml espresso • 50ml vodka • 50ml Taste the Difference Irish Cream Liqueur • ½ tbsp hazelnut syrup • Coffee beans and cocoa powder to garnish Method 1.
Shake all ingredients over ice in cocktail shaker. 2. Serve in martini glass and garnish with sprinkle of cocoa powder and whole coffee beans. Sainsbury’s
Buy the right ingredients: You don’t have to spend a fortune but make sure you research the best types of spirits and mixers for the cocktails you intend to make.
Old-fashioned; a whisky cocktail consisting of sugar, hot water, crushed ice, bitters, whisky, and garnished with a small piece of lemon peel. Served with a small spoon in a glass.
Manhattan; a mix of whisky, bitters, gum syrup, Italian Vermouth (or French Vermouth for dry), ice and garnished with a small twist of lemon peel.
Bloody Mary; a brunch favourite, it’s a mix of vodka, tomato juice, tobacco, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce to taste, served with a celery stick, lemon wedge and ice. John Collins; a gin cocktail with sugar, lemon juice, gin, ice and topped with soda water. Mimosa; a refreshing mix of champagne and orange juice. Negroni; a mix of gin, vermouth rosso, Campari, ice and garnished with orange peel.
The art of a good cocktail Mixing a good cocktail is an art; mixologists spend hours creating and testing to find that special taste. Every element of a cocktail is important, from the alcohol, to the mixers, to the herbs, fruits garnish and decoration.
Consider your equipment: Buy a good measuring jigger to ensure consistency and that you can control how much of each liquor goes into the drink. This is important for taste and for being responsible! Make sure you have plenty of ice: Ice, whether whole or crushed, will feature in most cocktail recipes so stock up your freezer and be wellprepared for all types of requests.
Shake or stir: Most drinks that contain clear ingredients will need to be stirred, but if they contain a more opaque makeup, and especially with milk, cream or eggs, they will be shaken to fully combine the ingredients.
“A Frenchman coming to America said that the American cocktail was a contradiction. He said, “You put a little whisky in to make it strong; you put a little water in to make it weak; you put a little lemon in to make it sour; you put a little sugar in to make it sweet, and then you say, ‘Here’s to you,’ and you drink it yourself.” The Cocktail Book (The British Library 2017)
Finishing touches: Garnish is just as important – will it add to the flavour or is it just for decoration? Rosemary and basil are all great herbs for additional flavour in cocktails and citrus peel can add a subtle flavour and pretty decoration.
Making a cocktail is all about balance and precision and measurements. Here are a few tips to getting them right at home this Christmas: 21
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TASTE | TASTE TEST
Oh how we love a good taste test at Christmas, and this year we have been nibbling, savouring and deliberating over a festive favourite â€“ the mince pie. And here are the results! 24
TASTE | TASTE TEST
Co-op Irresistible All Butter Mince Pies
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter Mince Pies
Spar Luxury All Butter Mince Pies
Marks and Spencer The Collection Mince Pies
Co-op’s luxury mince pies have an unusual flavour, but the addition of walnuts and almonds, with the apple and cherries make for a tasty variation on the classic recipe.
Sainsbury’s boozy mince pies are a traditional recipe that might leave you feeling a little woozy, but they are definitely a crowd pleaser – a real taste of Christmas.
An unlikely contender, but we were very impressed with these deep-filled, light mince pies from Spar, especially the mini versions!
Marks and Spencer’s The Collection mince pies and mini mince pies are a messy but merry festive fancy for Christmas.
Made with an all butter pastry, and filled with vine fruits, apple, brandy, almonds, cherries and walnuts, the pie had a much sweeter bite, but with a nutty aftertaste that took the place of the usual brandy burn. We loved the firm, buttery texture to the pastry, which held well even after heating, and its attractive holly leaf design and sugar dusting. A good-sized pie, at approximately 66g per pie, that had an equal ratio of pastry to mincemeat, and the filling had a good mixture of crunchy and soft textures without being overbearing. There are six pies in the pack, which for £2 is a great deal. A definite contender!
As soon as you open the pack of these rich and buttery mince pies, the sweet smell of brandy-infused mincemeat hits you, handing out some much-needed festive warmth. Once you take a bite, it is distinctly alcoholic - the mincemeat is a classic blend of fruit, aromatic peel and warming spices, but it’s that ‘generous nip’ of brandy which really hits you. A decorative star tops the pie, and this was one of the deepest filled pies that we tasted. The pastry was delicate but firm, with more of a biscuit texture, although a little dry. A good-sized pie, approximately 61g per pie great if you like to have a ‘merry’ mince pie at Christmas!
An all butter shortcrust pastry is deep filled with plump vine fruits, cranberries, clementine, cherries and just a hint of brandy. Both the full and mini-size pies are incredibly crumbly to eat, losing their shape after the first bite. There is a pretty snowflake decoration on top, and plenty of sugar dusting. The mincemeat has a delicate taste, not overly crunchy, and not overpowering with any of the flavours, although there is a distinct citrus vibe. They were considerably smaller than the other pies, at just over 53g per pie, but actually a good-sized portion, leaving you feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
The full range includes: Co-op Irresistible Mince Pies £2/6-pack; Co-op Mini Mince Pies £2/9-pack; Co-op Deep Filled Mince Pies £1/6-pack; Co-op Iced Mince Pies £1.50/4-pack.
The full range includes: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter Mince Pies £2/6-pack; Sainsbury’s Deep Filled Mince Pies £1.10/6-pack; Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference All Butter Mini Mince Pies £2/9-pack; Sainsbury’s Christmas Iced Topped Mince Pies £1.30/6-pack.
Spar’s luxury mince pies are filled with a rich, classic fruit mincemeat, made from vine fruits, Bramley apple, brandy and almonds. A good balance of the sweet fruit with the sharp brandy gave the mincemeat a moreish bite. The pastry topping was firm, with a generous sugar coating, while the base was soft and chewy, and the delicate snowflake decoration was pretty and appetising. The shape didn’t hold too well, but the pastry tasted great, and wasn’t too heavy on the palate. We were also treated to Spar’s mini mince pies too, which were delicious – light, bite-size pieces of soft pastry with just a touch of filling. Yum! The full range includes: Spar Luxury All Butter Mince Pies £2/6-pack; Spar Mini Mince Pies £1.50/9-pack.
The full range includes: M&S The Collection Mince Pies £2.50/ 6-pack; M&S The Collection Mini Mince Pies £2.50/9-pack; M&S All Butter Mince Pies £1.80/6pack; M&S Lattice Topped Mince Pies £1.50/6-pack.
Chocco Pie Not everyone gets excited at the thought of mince pies at Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you must miss out. Hotel Chocolat has come to the rescue with its sweet little box of Alternative Mince Pies. Six cute, ‘no mincemeat’ (and no pastry either!) mince pies, filled with milk truffle and burnt caramel praline. Alternative Mince Pies £7.50 www.hotelchocolat.com w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
TASTE | GIFT GUIDE
Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer Â£549 House of Fraser
Ruffoni Cremeria - Fondue Set Â£400 Amara >
Bottega Rose Gold Prosecco 75cl Â£27.99 Very
l C ho c o lat Hote
erb r ea d Sp Ging
Gatherings Â£25 House of Fraser
Brandy Warmer Set Â£18 John Lewis
All youâ€™ll need to tempt their taste buds Chocolate Pounds Â£1.49 TKMaxx
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Bottle Opener Â£23.50 John Lewis
Krups Nespresso White Inissia Bundle Â£119.99 Argos
Mulling Syrup Â£5.95 White Stuff
Indulgent Hot Chocolate And Mug Gift Set Â£10 Next
Festive Large Christmas Hamper Â£80 Matalan
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CHRISTMAS A beginner’s guide to cooking Christmas dinner, The science of Christmas spirit, Christmas trees: the rules, Top Table, Let me entertain you! Win £500 to spend at Bullring and Gifts for all the family, under £50
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CHRISTMAS | FOOD
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO COOKING
DINNER Need to know the secret to cooking the perfect Christmas dinner? Planning. But don’t panic if you’re not sure where to start! We’ve done all the hard work for you so all you need to do is…well, do it.
sk people what they look forward to at Christmas, and many will say the giving and receiving of presents, sharing goodwill, or a good-old-knees-up, but most will be thinking about food. It’s the time of year when diets go out of the window, and the only counting we do is to see how many pigs in blankets we can fit on our plate. Britain’s love a good roast, the Sunday lunch is an unparalleled part of our cultural heritage, but no roast beats that of the Christmas dinner. It’s the focal point of the day; it’s what we wait longingly for from the moment we open our eyes on Christmas morning. And getting it right is a stressful job!
“A Christmas without a little over-indulgence is not really Christmas at all!” Ever wondered how your mother got Christmas dinner so perfect? There was always plenty of food, no side dish was ever forgotten, the gravy 28
was delicious and the turkey, well, it was always impressive. While the children (and, let’s face it, the men too) of the house take to the sofa to demolish the contents of a selection box at 8am in the morning, and work through the gifts under the tree, mum is working overtime in background; carefully pulling together a feast that you always feel too full for, but somehow find the room for two helpings of. What was her secret? It’s all in the planning. And if it’s your turn to take the festive reins in the kitchen this Christmas, then do not worry! From preparing dishes before the big-day, to keeping things simple but classic; here’s our guide to cracking Christmas dinner.
Perfection Early December | Choose your menu Getting your menu sorted early will make things much easier for you. If you know what you are cooking well in advance, you can think about how to schedule the preparations. You may even decide to hand over the responsibility of certain dishes to some of your guests. This is particularly helpful if you are expecting a big table. In any case, make sure you have thought about numbers, and a menu which caters to all tastes. You will need to suss out if any of your guests have specific dietary requirements, and factor this in to your menu too. Giving yourself enough time will allow you to be creative with all of your dishes, instead of dashing out for a frozen nut-roast on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget to order the turkey! It’s well worth spending a little extra and speaking to your local butcher, they will be able to advise on the size you’ll need to cater to your party, and it’s likely you can pick up all your additional meat dishes there too, but don’t worry if you need to do all your shopping at the supermarket, they have really tasty options too.
CHRISTMAS | FOOD
What goes in to a traditional Christmas dinner?
Christmas Eve Night | The final countdown
The main event: The meat: A traditional Christmas dinner will consist of roast turkey, but you may want to consider some other options too – see our turkey alternative feature starting on page 18. You can choose from a full turkey or just the crown; this is a great option if you know your family prefer the white meat of the breast, rather than the browner leg meat. Serving another meat, such as ham, is also traditional at Christmas, and can add a bit more variation to your dinner, but it also adds more time and preparations so be warned! The accompaniments: It’s customary to serve smaller dishes that complement your main meat, such as pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) and stuffing. You normally don’t need any more than two of these types of dishes, although you could add two types of stuffing, and Yorkshire puddings, if you felt you needed something a little extra. The vegetables: Your side dishes are just as important as the meat, you normally don’t need more than three dishes to satisfy your guests. Roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and roasted parsnips are the norm, but you can also serve carrots and broccoli too for more colour on your table. Add little cubes of cooked pancetta to your sprouts for a fuller flavour, honey-roast your parsnips to give them a sweeter bite, and roast potatoes in goose fat to make them fabulously crisp! The sauces: Traditional sauces to serve with your turkey are cranberry sauce, bread sauce and gravy, of course.
Do you need a starter? Many families will serve a light starter at Christmas to begin the dinner, and set the mood for the main meal. But it also gives you some time to finish the preparations, without leaving a table full of empty bellies waiting! Fish, like salmon, crab, or prawn cocktail, or soup are good choices, as they are light, and not too heavy on the palate. If you don’t have enough time to put together a full starter, you could serve a few sharing plates of light nibbles at the table.
And to finish... Christmas pudding is traditionally served as a dessert, complete with brandy sauce, but it can be quite a heavy way to end your meal. You could opt for a lighter trifle option or a chocolate roulade as an alternative - either way, your guests will be deliciously stuffed!
1 week to go | Start prepping Write your shopping list now, and buy any of the non-perishable items, this will help you get well on your way to being prepared, and not rushing to get everything one or two days before. But don’t overspend if you don’t need to. Have a look through your cupboards and dig out what you have already in, and set to one side. Clear a space in your cupboard to store all the bits you’ll need, and clear out a space in your fridge and freezer in preparation for the food. You’ll want to make sure that everything is within easy access for when you start cooking and you don’t want things to go missing before the big day! Draw up a cooking schedule and make sure you have a tray big enough to fit the turkey in, and that you have plenty of tin foil and cling film. Now is also a good time to check that you have everything you need for the dinner table too. If you need some inspiration, check out our Christmas tableware trends, starting on page 38. 23rd December | Start cooking Make time for shopping today – you’ll want to get all your vegetables from the shops. You can also start to prepare some of your dishes now. Remember that space you made in your freezer? Use it wisely! If you are having soup or pate as a starter, you can make and store this in the freezer - make what you can in advance as it will help massively when the day comes. If you are buying a frozen turkey, then this is the last day you can do it, you will need to let it defrost in the fridge over the next 48 hours, but check your weights against the defrosting time before you begin. Christmas Eve | Final preparations Today is the day when you can really get ahead on your meal. Pick up your fresh turkey and meat from the butchers; check that you have everything you need from the shops; and take another look at your cooking schedule and menu for tomorrow. Peel and chop the vegetables, pre-cook the potatoes and keep them well-covered and in the fridge ready for cooking tomorrow. It’s a good idea to store vegetables, like parsnips, in a bowl of water so they don’t lose their colour. If you are making an alternative pudding, it’s better to get it done today and keep it in the fridge so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning. And, you can get your cranberry sauce and bread sauce prepared today too, these will even taste better as the flavours will have had time to combine.
You don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen on Christmas Eve night but you can do a few last-minute jobs to help tomorrow run smoothly. Prepare your turkey now if you wish, but be sure to remove it from the fridge an hour before cooking time to make sure it comes back to room temperature. Prepare your meat stuffing and pigs in blankets and keep them well covered and in the fridge ready for chucking in the oven tomorrow. Finally make sure you know exactly when your turkey needs to come out of the fridge and when it needs to go in to the oven. And don’t forget you will need to allow for resting time to make sure you have a perfectly moist bird! Work back from your preferred eating time, and then set yourself an alarm or reminder so that you don’t forget! On the day Once the turkey is in the oven and the rest of your dishes are prepared and ready for cooking, you can relax a little. Generally, things start getting hairy an hour before you expect to eat! Make sure you have set your table well in advance, and that you have all the pans and cooking trays you need ready for your side dishes. 1 hour before The turkey will need to come out of the oven, and enjoy it’s resting time, so now you have the space you need to start cooking everything else. Have a look again at your cooking schedule and follow it! Once you have the dishes that take the longest in the oven - such as the roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and stuffing – it’s a good idea to serve your starters. This gives you a little window to eat yours, before you retreat into the kitchen to cook vegetables, like sprouts and Yorkshire puddings, which take minutes, carve your turkey, plate up the trimmings and serve your meal! If you have pre-made a starter to store in the freezer, don’t forget to remove it and allow enough time for it to defrost before you need to reheat or serve it. Finally, enjoy your efforts! Cooking Christmas dinner is not easy but it’s truly satisfying when everything does come together.
Head online for an ultimate roast turkey recipe... ... plus simple and delicious ideas for your leftovers. www.staffordshireliving.co.uk
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Have a memorable
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THIS CHRISTMAS THIS FESTIVE SEASON YOU’LL FIND A FANTASTIC RANGE OF NEW STORES TO TAKE A PEEK AT! With free parking and late GIFT IDEAS night opening, why not catch up ROMAN Black Sequined Evening Top OUTLET £35
THE FRAGRANCE SHOP Paco Rabanne Pure XS 100ml RRP £64.50 OUTLET £50 PAVERS Sequined Clutch RRP £37.99 OUTLET £24.99 THE FRAGRANCE SHOP Marc Jacobs Decadence 100ml RRP £98 OUTLET £81.50
with friends with a stop off at Costa Coffee, then shop highstreet favourites; M&S Outlet, Gap, Bonmarché, Suit Direct and The Body Shop Outlet. All brimming with bargains at discounted prices to update your wardrobe in the run up to the festive season. From wrapping up warm for wintery walks, to strutting your stuff at the Christmas party there’s plenty to choose from. Not forgetting all important present buying you’ll find something for everyone; from Joules jackets to scent-sational fragrances and choccies - find everything you need all under one roof.
CHRISTMAS | CULTURE
M ER RY CH R ISTM A S!
When we think about Christmas, most of us will experience a warm, tingling feeling; it’s our favourite time of year, after all. But not everyone experiences the joys of Christmas. For some it’s just an over-hyped excuse to spend too much money and feel nothing but guilt at eating too much.
Scientists now believe that they have located the part of the brain where Christmas spirit lives. And for those of us that can’t stomach the sight of tinsel and mistletoe, it could be down to the fact that there is a part of your brain that simply doesn’t react.
“Bah-Humbug”, I hear you cry. Yes, the favourable among us will often liken a ‘Christmas-hater’ to Dickens’ morose character, Scrooge, in his A Christmas Carol novel. How can anybody not enjoy Christmas? It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But, the truth is that Christmas means something different to a lot of people. To children, it’s all about presents, and staying up late, and dressing up as angels and reindeers at school – for children, it’s a magical and enchanting event that trumps everything else! For Christians, it’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ; for others it’s all about eating and drinking, and overindulgence. But, whichever belief you may have, the fundamental principles of Christmas stay the same: to get together with family and friends, to be selfless, kinder, more forgiving and generally try to be an all-round nicer human being – in other words, to have the Christmas spirit. Ask a number of people to describe what they believe to be Christmas spirit, and you’re likely to get a few differing answers. Everything from getting involved in the festivities, to being excited about festive traditions and gift giving, and just generally feeling happy and joyful at the thought of Christmas.
A Copenhagen-based research team took on the challenge of finding out if Christmas spirit actually lives inside our brains – to finally uncover where those warm and tingly feelings originate – so it took a group of 20 participants, split into Christmas and non-Christmas groups, and tested their reactions to a series of images – both with a Christmas theme and of an everyday theme.
THE SCIENCE OF CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Will you be equal to Mrs Claus, an elf, or are you more of the Grinch? www.staffordshireliving.co.uk
Most of us are jingling with excitement at Christmas, but is there a reason why some of us are more excited than others during the festive season?
Head online and take our fun quiz to find out just how much Christmas spirit you have!
etting into the ‘Christmas spirit’ is not difficult, most of us will usually start prepping and planning during the first cold day of September. But for those that find it increasingly difficult to feel festive, there might be a reason behind it.
“How can anybody not enjoy Christmas? It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
And they found it, but only in those who felt a significant affirmation with the season. Sure enough, Christmas spirit hibernates here for most of the year, but upon seeing a series of Christmas images and festive associations, it shows itself and can be recorded. Furthermore, the research team estimated that "millions of people are prone to displaying Christmas spirit deficiencies," and refer to this as the 'bah humbug' syndrome.
CHRISTMAS | CULTURE LIVING Christmas
Getting into the mood for Christmas Are you worried, you might be bordering on the ‘bah humbug’ side of Christmas? Don’t worry if you are finding it difficult to locate your Christmas spirit; here are ten sure-fire ways to get in on the action! 1.
You might be feeling slightly overwhelmed if you still don’t know how you will spend Christmas, especially as all your friends and colleagues have been filling your day with their plans since September. The easiest way to start feeling festive is to start planning! Get in touch with family and friends to get the ball rolling and make a to-do list; as soon as you start thinking about it, you will feel much better and the excitement will begin. 2.
Read a classic tale
A Christmas story is always going to get you in the mood for the festivities! Put on your warmest knitted jumper and socks, snuggle down by the fire and read one of the classics. Think A Nightmare Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, or The Snowman, and you’ll be humming carols and sipping mulled wine before you know it. 3.
Watch a festive flick
There isn’t a more entertaining way to get into the Christmas spirit! Just stick one of your all-time favourite Christmas themed films on and soon you will be wearing bauble earrings, while baking mince pies and wrapping your gifts. Think Home Alone, Elf, The Santa Claus and Love Actually and you are on to a winner, it’s a feel-good festive family movie marathon! 4.
Get the carols on
Whether you are having to work late or just catching up on the ironing, put on a few carols and feel your levels of Christmas spirit rise almost immediately! Better still, add some warming Christmas scents of cinnamon and evergreen!
We’ve been wrapped up in Christmas since July but it’s not stopping us feeling more festive than ever! So here we are spreading the Christmas cheer... 5.
Decorate your world
It’s time to spring clean and get those decorations up! Even if you start small with a few cards, it will help you to get in the mood. Make putting the tree up an event, with all the family getting involved. What’s more, don’t stop at your house. Create a bit of Christmas cheer around your workplace too, it’ll all help with getting you in the festive spirit. 6.
Send out Christmas cards
Christmas cards are a lovely way to show friends and family that you are thinking of them, but also a great way to finally feel like Christmas is coming! Write a list, buy them, and then put a date in the diary when you will allocate time to write them all, ready to send them out. 7.
Start your Christmas shopping
You are not alone if you put off your Christmas shopping, but dashing out on Christmas Eve to snap up last-minute gifts is no help to anyone! No one expects you to have everything wrapped and under the tree in November but making a start early can help you spread the cost of it all, as well as giving you enough time to do it well. So make a Christmas list and off you go! 8.
Say yes to party invites
You will get your fair share of party invites at Christmas, and while you may want to hide under the covers until 2nd January, that’s not very festive, is it? You don’t have to go to them all, but do pick a handful and attend, you never know what is waiting for you when you get there! 9.
It’s the 1st December and if you haven’t got an advent calendar to open then it really is a sad state of affairs. It doesn’t matter how old you are – advent calendars are no longer just for kids! (Check out our guide to the best beauty advent calendars on page 152) You can choose from beauty products, to expensive chocolates and truffles, and even gin! 10.
Donate and volunteer
It’s a time for giving, as well as receiving. Perhaps you are looking for something a bit more fulfilling this Christmas. If this is the case, why not volunteer to help the elderly or vulnerable in your local community. Or, you can donate some money. Either way, your support will be hugely appreciated at this time of year.
Nancy, features Favourite festive flick: Elf or Home Alone for a feel-good family film but I also love Bad Santa too! Christmas songs should start: I think no earlier than mid-November, too early and it’s over-kill! When should you decorate the tree: My mum would say Christmas Eve – she’s a stickler for tradition - but I’m a little more relaxed! We usually have it up by 1st December, although it has been known to go up earlier! Favourite thing about Christmas: I’d like to say mulled wine, but it has to be Christmas Eve night – it’s always such a fun and exciting time. Dave, sales Favourite festive flick: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and The Holiday. The Christmas cottage along with the love story, is a very romantic idea of Christmas. Christmas songs should start: Christmas songs should never start! I’m not sure what Christmas has to do with Slade and East 17… When should you decorate the tree: The first weekend in December! Decorating the tree in my house is a precise art and takes a good few weeks to perfect! Favourite thing about Christmas: The lead up to Christmas! I love stocking up the cupboards and fridge for the annual feast, and making sure presents are wrapped with extreme precision, like the Christmas tree! Amy, marketing Favourite festive flick: Miracle on 34th Street and Nightmare before Christmas. I remember going to watch Miracle on 34th Street at the cinema when I was younger with my grandparents. In the film, Santa (Chris Cringle) is arrested and put on trial, and at the end he is cleared, I stood up in the cinema, crying, and shouted “I knew he didn’t do it!”. I can’t walk in my grandparents’ house over Christmas without being reminded of it! Christmas songs should start: Mid-late November is about right, I think! When should you decorate the tree: 1st December usually, but it has gone up in late November before. Favourite thing about Christmas: Spending time with loved ones and of course all the indulgent food!
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Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre 25th & 26th November 2017
Join us for this year’s magical event Eat, drink and be merry with everything from hog roasts to hot chocolate as you shop ‘til you drop with 100+ stalls of gorgeous goodies. Plus laugh, sing and join in with a wealth of entertainment, from live music and carols to panto and jugglers!
Buy tickets online at ludlowmedievalchristmas.co.uk
Christmas at a
Victorian Potters’ Mill at the Etruria Industrial Museum - 2nd and 3rd December
Th e only r em aining op er ational steam p ow er ed p otter s’ m ill in th e w or ld w ill b e w or k ing as it w ould in Victor ian tim es on Satur d ay 2nd and Sund ay 3r d Decem b er f r om 12:30 to 16:30 star ting on th e h our . Op ened in 1857 and d r iven b y a 1820s b eam eng ine it p r ovid es a uniq ue exp er ience f or ad ults and ch ild r en. Located at th e attr active j unction of th e Tr ent & Mer sey and Cald on canals w ith a b lack sm ith ’ s f or g e, canal w ar eh ouse and lock s, visitor centr e, tea r oom , g if t sh op and toilets.
Santa will arrive at 12:30 on both days. Entrance to Grotto and a small gift under 3 years of age £1.00 over 3 £2.00.
Ad ults £ 4.00 or £ 6.00 f or a g uid ed tour of th e m ill. Ch ild r en und er 16 f r ee. Car Park and entrance Kilndown Close, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4RB Tel. 07900 267711 E- firstname.lastname@example.org www.etruriamuseum.org.uk
Middleton Hall, Tamworth, B78 2AE www.middleton-hall.co.uk 01827 283095
Entrance only £2 per adult 11am-4pm
Real Christmas Trees available from the 1st December! Treeway Fencing Ltd Unit 9 Cannock Wood Industrial Estate, Cannock Wood Street, Cannock, WS12 0PL Tel: 01543 425893 Christmas Trees on Sale from Friday 1st December until Thursday 21st December. Opening Times: Monday – Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm Saturday: 8:00am - 5:00pm Sunday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
William Wheat & Son Florist & Garden Centre 520 Chester Road, Little Aston, Aldridge, West Midlands, WS9 0PU Tel: 0121 353 7123 / 07525 172438 Christmas Trees on Sale from Friday 1st December until Wednesday 20th December. Opening Times: Monday – Saturday: 9.30am to 4.30pm Sunday: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Ample floodlit parking on all sites www.treeway.co.uk
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Christmas gifts CREATE YOUR BRACELET
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11 - 17th Dec 2017 th
Funding care for families living with incurable illnesses
Join our Christmas campaign
and donate just £1 to Compton between 11th and 17th December
Organise your own collection Donate in person at any of our Compton Hospice shops Donate online at: justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/comptonhospice/quidforcompton
Order your fundraising pack by emailing: email@example.com
www.compton-hospice.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0845 2255 497 | 4 Compton Road West, Wolverhampton, WV3 9DH
CHRISTMAS | GUIDE
CHRISTMAS TREES: THE RULES LIVING’s guide to Christmas tree etiquette Real or Fake Many of us will have our own ideas about whether to choose a real or artifical tree; from family traditions, to style and convenience. In days gone by, showcasing a real tree would be a sign of social status, and having an artificial tree at Christmas would be frowned upon, but these days, it’s simply down to personal preference. Scientists say that a real tree is a much more environmentally friendly option, but a well-kept artificial tree will last year after year, helping to reduce its carbon footprint. There is something about the smell of a good fir and fresh pine in the home at Christmas though, if you can manage to hoover up the needles every day. And it can be a great family tradition to go along to the tree farm with all the family to make your selection. However, if it’s a statement you want to make, there are some extremely impressive artificial options out there too, like this 7ft Folklore Sophia Spruce Tree £250 John Lewis. How many is too many This really depends on the size of your house. For most of us, one tree positioned well as a focal point in the home is enough. But if you really want to spread the Christmas spirit, you could opt for a few smaller trees in selected rooms – perhaps the kids den, or in the kitchen, for example, to add to your decorations. But three is probably the limit!
House of Fraser When it goes up Traditionally, and we mean centuries ago, the Christmas tree should not have been bought or decorated until after noon on Christmas Eve. Nowadays, it’s a little more relaxed. But putting a real tree up too early and it may look at little bare by Christmas Day! The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) says: “Provided care is taken in looking after the tree, the tree should survive over 4 weeks. It is suggested that trees should not be purchased earlier than 1st December.” If you have an artificial tree then it’s entirely up to you!
When do you put yours up? Share your Christmas tree pics with us via Twitter and Instagram Here’s ours from 2016!
The lights Many couples have come to blows over the Christmas tree lights. The key is to store them properly, so that’s when it’s time to unpack them it’s not a total mess. And finding that one bulb that isn’t working is time consuming and frustrating, especially if you have already put them on the tree, but if one’s out, so are the rest, so check your lights are all working before you start. Sometimes, it’s better to get a new set.
CHRISTMAS | GUIDE Animal magic A cute and colourful addition to your tree
£2 George Home at ASDA
D ECO R AT I N G
Order of events: Start with your garlands, beads, foil and ribbon. Then move onto your baubles and smaller hanging decorations. Don’t go overboard, but don’t leave gaping holes either. Take a step back every once in a while to see where you are a little scarce, and fill them in.
5. Top and bottom: It’s a good idea to have a tree skirt as it will hide unsightly stands and trunks. And don’t forget to top your tree too. A star or angel is traditional, but there are plenty of other gorgeous tree toppers from animals to snowflakes.
When it should come down Trees should come down on the 5th January, this one you cannot mess with, especially if you are superstitious! There are 12 days of Christmas, not 10, or 15!
en s e
£4 M&S >
3. Make a plan: Rather than just go at it all guns blazing, make a mini-plan in your head. Choose a lead decorator and go from there. Make sure your decorations match your lights, and find a colour scheme that complements the rest of your home.
Lights go on first: Once you have unravelled the wires, the lights go on first and start from the top. Spend some time positioning them just right, working your way down through the main branches of the tree, leaving plenty of room between the loops.
£8 House of Fraser
on at i
Prep: Find the perfect location for your tree, move furniture if you have to, and choose somewhere that is close to a power socket. Make sure you fluff out the branches, especially on an artificial tree. 1.
£8 House of Fraser
Dos and Don’ts
Set of 4 £50 Amara
Marks and Spencer
Head online to see our roundup of the world’s Christmas trees... ...from the best, to the rest… staffordshireliving.co.uk
A word about safety According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), thousands of people are estimated to visit A&E due to accidents involving Christmas trees, and hundreds after accidents in the home involving Christmas lights. Fairy lights, Christmas trees and candles are all fire risks, so it is important to exercise due care and attention to prevent any unnecessary incidents. Make sure that any decorations which may cause harm to children, such as choking hazards, are out of reach on your tree. Consider how long you have had your Christmas lights – old ones are more likely to pose a fire risk, so if you’ve had the same ‘trusty’ lights for a while, it might be worth getting a new box. Try and keep wires secure and out of the way to prevent any falls; we all want a merry Christmas! w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
CHRISTMAS | TOP TABLE
Set of 4 £55 miafleur.com
£3.50 Sainsbury’s Decanter £9.99 HomeSense
George Home at Asda
Pack of 6 Crackers £25 M&S
Napkins £3.49 Ginger Ray
£19.99 each House of Fraser
Placemat £12.50 M&S
Shine bright like the stars £8 M&S
Napkin Ring £4.99 HomeSense
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16 Piece Set £75 House of Fraser
en After Dinner Games £19.50 M&S
CHRISTMAS | TOP TABLE Ch
Napkins £3.49 gingerray.co.uk e es
£3 5 Jo h n Lewis
THE HOLLY AND THE IVY Bring in the beauty of nature
Set of 2 Serving Spoons £39 Amara
George Home at Asda
Napkins £44.95 annabeljames.co.uk
Trio Bowl £14 sophieallport.com
£35 Sainsbury’s George Home at Asda Set of 4 Placemats £10 M&Co
C h a r ger Pla t e£ 1 W il k
Bowl £10 Debenhams
Crackers £34.95 Annabel James
n £15 Sainsbury’s
w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
D MARKET SQU
GENERAL MARKET Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
9am – 4pm Market Charter Since 1153
Fruit & Vegetables, Plants, Fresh Fish, Leather Goods, CD’s, Ladies & Gents Clothing, Jewellery, Pet Food, Confectionery and much more….
Contact Lichfield City Council: 01543 309853 / 07970 861570 Website: www.lichfield.gov.uk Email: email@example.com Twitter: @lichfield_cc
CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL
I L L U M I N AT I O N S
of wonder, Star of
THROUGH WORSHIP, PRAYER & SPECIAL EVENTS. Like us on Facebook Follow us on twitter @LichfieldCath
Visit: www.lichfield-cathedral.org Or Call: 01543 306100
Christmas Fayre 2017
Christmas Journey C H R I S T M A S F AY R E
This year’s extremely popular Much Wenlock Christmas Fayre will take place on Saturday 2nd December from 10am until 5pm. It will be opened as usual by the World’s Tallest Town Crier, Martin Wood. Rich in seasonal atmosphere the Fayre provides a variety of stalls and entertainment for everyone. The event includes the Christmas lights switch-on that will take place at 3:30 in the Square. In the run-up to Christmas you will be able to shop and enjoy a variety of entertainment including music, street theatre, donkey rides, birds of prey, reptiles and snakes. Children will also be able to visit Santa in his Grotto at Holy Trinity Church. This fabulous day will come to a close with carols by candlelight in The Square. Disabled Parking and Park & Ride facilities are available. Further details for this exiting day can be found at: www.wenlockchristmasfayre.org.uk
George Critchl Critchley Cr tchley for PMA Productions oductions Presents Presen P nts nts
FOR ALL THE FAMILY
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY B
MUSIC MUSI MUSICAL CAL C AL SUPERVISION BY BY
22nd - 30th December Box Office: 01543 578 762 panto.princeofwales.live
CHRISTMAS | ENTERTAINMENT
LET ME YOU! Keeping the entertainment flowing over the festive period is no joke. Here’s LIVING’s guide to fun this Christmas.
You’d think with all the excitement, gifts galore and general enthusiasm for the festive season, that there wouldn’t need to be a thought for entertainment. But once the thrill of Christmas morning dies down, and the dinner has been served, you are left with a sea of couch potatoes, watching yet another Christmas special on the television, and eagerly awaiting the next round of turkey sandwiches. You may think this sounds like bliss, but we wait 365 days to get everyone together, so it seems sad to waste the opportunity of quality time!
We should always make time for a good Christmas film. Find our top ten of all time at www.staffordshireliving.co.uk
The trouble is we have so many different generations to think about, and trying to entertain everybody is going to be a tough challenge; especially as what is considered ‘fun’ for one generation could be a nightmare for the next. Taking the time to consider the needs of all your guests will win you some serious brownie points, and make you one of the best Christmas hosts in the family. Here’s some ideas to keep everyone happy.
The grandparents We tend to focus so much on children at Christmas that we can forget to think about the comfort and pleasure of our own parents and grandparents. The older generations want to feel just as involved in the festivities as anyone else, and, while there may be quite an age gap between the eldest and the youngest guest, everyone is just a big kid at Christmas. One of the biggest joys they will have at Christmas is having uninterrupted playtime with the grandchildren, so when you are planning your gifts, try and include something they can play with together. If you have older children, it could be a memory game on a tablet, or for younger children it could be crafts. Make time for the Queen’s speech. It’s not normally something that little ones will enjoy but older generations do, so give them the option for a cup of tea, a mince pie and the Queen, and they will be smiling with glee. There’s nothing worse than feeling useless, so giving your older guests a job in the kitchen or asking them to lay the table can give them a boost. It’ll take the pressure off you a little and keep them busy at the same time. Perhaps they could make some mince pies with the children once the dinner is all done and dusted. This will give you a welldeserved break, and a chance for a sit down and a cup of tea yourself! And finally, do they want to rest? A full tummy, one-too-many Sherries, and a cosy fire could send us all off to the land of nod, but we know how much Grandad likes a snooze! Plus an afternoon nap will have them fully-charged for the evening’s games.
The teenagers We were all a grumpy teenager once, and sometimes even Christmas can’t pull them out of their misery. But for you, having to tiptoe around hormones at Christmas
is no fun at all, especially when you have 15 people coming around for dinner, and nowhere near enough chairs! But a little careful planning and you’ll avoid that blazing row on the landing. Talk to your teenager before the big day and let them know what you expect of them. What time you would like them to be up and dressed, and the jobs you’d like them to help out with. They’ll be happy to have something to do, and to avoid another awkward conversation about their ‘love life’ with Granny.
“Having to tiptoe around hormones at Christmas is no fun at all…” Once the novelty of new gifts has blown over, why not suggest they start a game of Charades, but rather than go with the traditional rules, let them come up with a new game; whether that’s playing with only Christmas references or only being able to choose an answer from a particular genre. It makes it a little more contemporary for them and gives everyone
CHRISTMAS | ENTERTAINMENT
it! Buy G’s
a fun game to play together. In fact, why not make your teenager the entertainment chief for the day! Let them come up with a schedule of games, films, and music, and work with them to keep it flowing throughout the day. They’ll love the challenge and it’s an important job you need doing.
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The little ones While your older kids might be happiest lounging around and watching films, younger children are not. They crave attention and want to be entertained. There are never enough toys to play with, so you can expect them to be jumping up and down at your feet, demanding you play a game with them, instead of chopping vegetables, and preparing your stuffing.
But when you absolutely must dive out of the fun for fear of burning your broccoli, there are a few go-to tactics to keep them busy, at least for a few minutes anyway! Get a kidfriendly board game, a puzzle or new games on the tablet, and when even these exhaust their bursting minds, on goes their new Paw Patrol Christmas DVD or Netflix cartoons.
“All work and no play makes for a very dull Christmas”
You Entertaining yourself may sound a little silly but all work and no play makes for a very dull Christmas. While you are likely to be kept busy for most of the day, there still needs to be some light entertainment to keep you sane. And whether that’s as simple as your favourite CD on in the kitchen while you cook, or an after-dinner stroll around the block, keep your own enjoyment in mind too, you’ll need it!
Ted Baker Playing Cards Set £35 wildandwolf.com
Swap the tech! Go back to basics with these all-time classic entertainment choices! Board games: Nothing beats a family game of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Cluedo on Christmas Day night, so dust off those boxes and rack them up. Don’t forget the kids though, there are some fun board game alternatives to keep them busy too. Just be careful of that one sore loser who will ruin the board when the going gets tough.
£14.99 Talking Tables
And because they are just too cute not to partake, you will always give in. Pretend to be elves for the day, so they can help you to tidy up the discarded wrapping paper; build a den in the living room to house all their new toys in; and get crafty by starting to make thank you cards (at least this way you won’t forget who gave what).
£13 Wild & Wolf
Card games: Anyone for a game of Uno, Cheat or Rummy? There’s nothing more exciting than gathering your nearest and dearest and battling it out across the table. Death stares at the ready. If the little ones are still up, a game of snap never hurt anyone. Challenges: If you prefer a game that tests your mental and physical skills then why not pull out the Dominoes or the Jenga set. But better make sure you haven’t been on the Christmas punch for too long before you start or it will be game over straight away. Family games: Bring on the traditional family games! They never cease to amaze, and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the odd game of Charades, Pictionary or a good old quiz. You will know who your quiz master is and they will take it seriously, so let them reign on.
National Trust Monopoly £30 National Trust
The big puzzle: Set up a puzzle table at home and complete it as a family during your festive break. Go for a challenging one to make it much more interesting, and make sure everyone gets involved. Just think how satisfying it will be once you place the final piece. Drinking games: For a bit of harmless fun during the evening, why not set up a game of Prosecco Pong, or play Never Have I Ever. You are certain to reveal a few secrets about each other, but don’t worry, you probably won’t remember in the morning. Hasbro Speak Out £22.99 Very
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A family run business since 1897
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WHAT’S ON AT THE HALL Join us in stately surroundings for a host of events this autumn…
November 12th – Sunday lunch in our elegant pop-up restaurant* 19th – Launch & book signing of Countess of Harrowby’s novel* 25th & 26th – Sandon Christmas Fair
December 2nd & 3rd – Santa at Sandon* 13th – A very musical Christmas* 17th – Festive lunch* 19th & 20th – Carols by candlelight* 22nd – Charles Dickens’ Terror on the Tracks*
Full details & tickets at www.sandonhall.co.uk
*Ticket only events
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01889 508004 Sandon Hall, Sandon, Staffordshire ST18 0BZ
CHRISTMAS | COMPETITION
£500 TO SPEND AT BULLRING THIS CHRISTMAS It truly is the most wonderful time of the year with the chance to win a £500 gift card to spend at Bullring. At the region’s number one shopping destination, we’re celebrating Christmas in a big way. The decorations will be sparkling, the iconic Bull’s costume will be all ‘wrapped up’ and the shops will be full of all sorts of wonderful Christmas gems.
From Friday 24th November, you’ll be able to shop until 10pm on weekdays, and dine even later at our restaurants, including Jamie’s Italian, Browns Bar and Brasserie and Chaophraya Thai Restaurant. See our full list of opening hours at www.bullring.co.uk. This Christmas, we’ve got lots of new shops for you to explore, including Russell & Bromley and Coach on Upper East Mall, as well as Smashbox, New Look Men and T2. And be sure to visit Selfridges as the store has had a major make-over complete with exciting new brands and a new restaurant on Level 4. Fumo will serve a menu of delicious, regional Italian small plate dishes to share or eat alone in beautiful surroundings overlooking the East Mall of the centre complete with a feature bar. To celebrate the season, we’re offering one lucky Staffordshire Living reader the chance to win £500 to spend at the centre. You can choose exactly what you spend it on whether it be gifts for your loved ones, pampering treats for you or dinner and cocktails to toast the festive season.
For your chance to win this fabulous prize, simply answer the following question:
Q: What time is Bullring open until on weekdays during December? a) 8pm b) 9pm c) 10pm How to enter: Scan the barcode using a QR code reader on your mobile phone or tablet to go straight to the competition page at staffordshireliving.co.uk.Simply enter your answer (a, b or c) along with your name and address details on the form provided for your chance to win! Ts and Cs: Closing date for the competition is 9 am, 15th December 2017. The competition prize will consist of a £500 Gift Card to spend at Bullring in Birmingham. All entrants must be 18 or over. There is no cash alternative. No purchase necessary. No employees of Bullring or its agents are permitted to enter. Open to UK residents only. Only one entry per person per household. Cannot be redeemed for cash. One winner will be selected at random. Usual Bullring gift card terms and conditions apply. Winner must collect their gift card from Bullring’s Customer Service Desk. For a full set of Staffordshire Media competitions Terms and Conditions please see page 9.
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CHRISTMAS | GIFT GUIDE
Bowtie £15 White Stuff
Sweet Tub £9.50 Debenhams
Paddington Bear Book Suitcase £14 M&S
Ceramic Clutch Bag Pot £20 £18 JD Cath Williams Kidston
Baylis & Harding Bath Gift Set £5 George Home at Asda
Winter Animals Socks in a Box £17.50 White Stuff
ick for h pp
Fill your Santa’s sack with gifts for all the family under £50
Hipflask £25 House of Fraser
YSL Touche Eclat £22.50 John Lewis
Nutella £5 Debenhams
Pet Treats £12 Debenhams
Fossil Grant Chronograph Men's Watch £129 Debenhams
Bi r m i
CHRISTMAS | GIFT GUIDE
Jumper £40 River Island at The Bullring
Br id ge w
Personalised Mug From £14.95 Emma Bridgewater
Wooden Sign £12.99 GettingPersonal.co.uk
Charbonnel et Walker Sipsmith Gin Truffles £14 House of Fraser
ick for k i pp
Shave Kit £10 Debenhams
Ugg Infant Boots £45 Amara
Winter Puddings Sleekster £22.50 Hotel Chocolat
Splurge! Anne-Claire Petit Crochet Teddy £45 Amara
Jumper £30 Debenhams
PJ Bottoms £16 M&Co
Lexon Fine Radio £49 Amara
My Little Pony Canterlot Castle Playset £33.99 Argos
Kartell Childrens Discovolante Toy Car £502 Amara
Slippers £29 M&Co
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Lingerie £28 Debenhams
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CHRISTMAS | GIFT GUIDE
Toy Bus £39.95 Cuckooland.com
Hultquist Earrings £30 Young Ideas
Thermal Mug £16 Amara
Eye Mask £25 Amara
Peter Pan Disney Boys Jersey PJ Set £24 Cath Kidston
Black Cow Vodka £28 Harvey Nicholls
Smart Peanut Butter Maker £49.95 Cuckooland.com
Beauty and The Beast Mug £12 Debenhams
£12.50 George at ASDA
Men’s Duo Set in Alpine Adventure £8 FatFace
Bag £20 Accessorize
£25 House of Fraser
Winnie The Pooh Books x4 £7.99 TKMaxx
Socks £6 FatFace
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Shoe Polish Kit £15 Debenhams
Tom Ford Lips 7 Boys Vault £1,500 SELFRIDGES
“ THE SEASON TO SPARKLE”
Dress me up! LIVING’s 12 beauty heroes, Take it to the dance floor, Festive glam slam, All wrapped up and Gifts for the super-stylista w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
STYLE | TOP 50
Sexy mama: Combine a figure-flattering wrap dress with a velvet touch fabric and look effortlessly chic. £42 Dorothy Perkins
£60 Little Mistress
£65 Little Mistress
£70 Little Mistress
£65 Simply Be
£30 George at ASDA
£65 Little Mistress
DRESS ME UP! 50 styles that will rock this NYE
£109 House of Fraser
£140 Laura Ashley
£49 Simply Be
£65 Little Mistress
£42 Miss Selfridge
Show off a little flesh with this one-shoulder mini dress and ooze sophisticated festive glamour.
£120 River Island
STYLE | TOP 50
£68 Little Mistress
£75 Oliver Bonas
£16 George at ASDA
£65 Simply Be
£59 House of Fraser
£14 George at ASDA
£45 River Island
Seal the deal with this cleavage bearing mini-dress, all eyes will be on you at the party.
Gothic gal: Bring out your dark side and channel your inner ice queen with this sheer lace gothic number. £169 Hobbs
£35 Miss Selfridge
£39.99 New Look
£24.99 New Look
£34.99 New Look
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STYLE | BEAUTY
1. Moroccanoil Dry ^
This little bottle has so many uses, we simple can’t live without it. It’s a favourite on the catwalk, having been the product of choice to style the hair of Temperley London’s SS2018 models at London Fashion Week. Create the perfect long-lasting ‘undone’ style without clogging up your hair with product; great for popping in your bag to update your look ready for the office Christmas party. Use it as a finishing spray or prep the hair for the foundational grip you need when going for more complicated braids or updos. Spray a light mist across the hair, then use a blow dryer to smooth out any excess frizz yet still retain texture. It is your go-to party hair product, grab yours from allbeauty.com for £17.45.
3. Botanics Refreshing
2. VB Eye Metals Eyeshadow
There’s nothing a good spritz can’t fix and this Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz is 100% organic. A generous spritz to the face purifies and refreshes the skin after cleansing, as it delicately but effectively removes traces of makeup. With an invigorating floral scent, it leaves your skin feeling clean and revitalised. The Rosewater Toning Spritz is £6.99 and is exclusively available from Boots.
Victoria Beckham’s enviable partnership with Estée Lauder continues with the recent launch of her second capsule collection for AW17. VB reintroduces ten hero products, along with launching eighteen new products and two limited edition sets. We can’t get enough of the eye metals eyeshadows, available in two stunning shades, giving a strong and sexy look that is perfect for trendy festive glam. The ultra-creamy powder formula has amazing skin-adhesion, delivering dazzling sparkle with very little fall-out. We’re smitten with the new Blonde Gold shade, get yours for £36 from victoriabeckham.com.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME… Countdown the Twelvetide with LIVING’s 12 must-buy beauty heroes. These are what we couldn’t live without in 2017. Moisturising Body Yogurt
5. Aveeno Daily
E S H I R LI VIN
Your new BFF comes in the form of this long-lasting foundation. It not only gives you a flawless complexion for 24-hours, but it also helps to approve the appearance of skin texture over time too - just what we need. Oh, and we don’t have to worry if we forget to take it off at night as it is full of pure and natural ingredients that won’t damage our skin. Great for those late nights! It has a matte finish, but it’s creamy texture doesn’t dry out your skin, looking natural and feeling light on your skin all day and night. Apply with the new Luxe Performance Brush £24 for an even better coverage. Grab the foundation for £29 from bareminerals.co.uk.
4. bareMinerals Performance Wear Liquid Foundation
We’re going crazy for food ingredients in beauty at the moment, and if there are two superfoods your body can’t live without, it’s the oats and yoghurt found in Aveeno’s new daily moisturising product range, helping to create soft and supple skin. “Oats are well known for their ability to provide relief to those suffering from dry skin, says Shefali Rajpopat, Consultant Dermatologist at Aveeno; “yogurt contains a rich mix of powerful nutrients such as vitamin B12 and riboflavin, protein, calcium and vitamin D.” So, get yours, and have a feast without overdoing your calories! Our favourite is the Body Yogurt £6.50 from Boots.
Read more about our beauty heroes in the tried and tested features online www.staffordshireliving.co.uk
STYLE | BEAUTY ^
6. Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Gloss
Finding a gloss that has staying power is tricky but Estee Lauder has got it. We’re in love with the Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Gloss which sticks to your lips (without being sticky), shaping and sculpting your look, and magnifying the natural curve of your mouth. The long-lasting, bright colours are varied and exciting and the gloss moisturises your lips while enhancing your over-all look. The gloss is available in 11 shades at esteelauder.co.uk from £21. ^
7. Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector
LIVING is obsessed with this handy little pocket blotter. Control oily patches on the skin to eliminate shine and mattify the skin. It’s great for use after the gym, or on a night out, and its cute cushion compact shape makes it an ideal handbag essential. The Antimicrobial applicator works to lower the skin temperature and reduce redness. The internal configuration of the sponge allows ‘air’ to flow through during application and gives off a cooling effect, while the water-based product evaporates on skin to further intensify the sensation. The Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector is £32 and available from selected stores, find your local stockist on murad.co.uk.
8. Tangle Teezer’s ^
Overnight Sculpt Treatment
At LIVING, we love a beauty cheat, and if we can tone up while we sleep, we’re all over it. The new Overnight Sculpt Treatment from Dr.Ceuticals helps to rid us of the dreaded orange peel, while hydrating and nourishing the skin. It comes as an easily absorbed gel, containing a slimming red-algae derived ingredient, which helps to redefine your body shape by tackling fat all-over; even in the most stubborn areas such as thighs, buttocks and waist. It’s even boosted with cooling Menthol to target cellulite while you sleep. Grab a bottle from Boots for £19.99.
11. Elemis Night Recovery Cream-Oil
Busy girls don’t have the time or the money for lengthy treatments at the salon, but when the festive party season kicks off, we still need tresses that look a million dollars! Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle is a daily deep treatment using a Smart Pro-V formula, that allows its conditioning ingredients to be utilised more effectively, making our locks look less damaged – with less frizz and noticeable reduced split ends! The LIVING girls love shortcuts to beauty and at £2.99 a bottle, this one has us hooked.
We are all guilty of losing out on beauty sleep, especially during party season. But Elemis have got us covered with the arrival of its Night Recovery Cream-Oil. This is a beauty sleep solution in a bottle, supporting the skin’s natural night-time circadian rhythm of renewal and repair. It contains natural oils with very high levels of anti-oxidants and vitamins to help protect and replenish, and it helps limit trans-epidermal water loss for maximum hydration. Wake up to revitalised, nourished and healthier looking skin. We love that it feels so light and fresh on the skin, thin in texture like a serum, which is great as other night creams can sit heavy on the skin. Grab yours for £49 from selected John Lewis, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser stores.
12. MAGIC Beauty Blender
9. Pantene 3 Minute Miracle
There are days when we all want to channel our inner Amy Winehouse and this brush allows us to do just that. Create instant everyday volume on any hair type and length with Tangle Teezer’s new Back-Combing Hairbrush. The arrangement of the two-tiered teeth means there is a greater density of hair near the base of the brush. This configuration creates a greater ability to compact the hair towards the root to achieve texture and body. The Tangle Teezer BackCombing Hairbrush is £10 from Boots, ASOS and TangleTeezer.com.
Blend and blot your way to perfection; that’s what we need to do to get our glam on point. For most of us, the beauty blender is a makeup bag staple. The MAGIC Bodyfashion Crystal Puff is made out of silicone for a smoother and cleaner application, helping to achieve that flawless finish and airbrushed look. The teardrop shape is easy to handle and the pink colour is supercute. Plus, a new heart shaped blender is available from November, perfect as a stocking filler for your favourite girl. Get yours from River Island for just £5. w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
It’s party season and there’s no time to change... add some glitz to your everyday and p arty the night away!
T I TO E K T
You’ve been on your feet all day, so why not swap your party heels for a pair of sexy flats – time to be a dancing queen!
CE FL N A D O
STYLE | GET THE LOOK
£10 River Island
There’s nothing like adding a bit of colour to get you in the party mood. From full-on outfits to little splashes here and there; colour can give you the lift you need. Brooch £15 Oasis Miss Selfridge
£30 Next £19.99 New Look
£80 Dune £45 Miss Selfridge
£95 Dune £40 Very 56
£60 River Island Marks and Spencer
STYLE | GET THE LOOK
Jacket game Take your style up a notch with this season’s hottest buy; from embroidery to sequins, your jacket needs serious game.
£69 Miss Selfridge
£145 Suncoo at House of Fraser £55 Debenhams
Add some texture to your outfit for instant glamour – from leather and silk fabrics to panels of lace and metallic embellishment, you’ll be all right on the night.
£49.50 M&S Primark
£45 House of Fraser
£39 Miss Selfridge
£39.99 TK Maxx
Bag £49 Debenhams w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
Armani Jeans | Marella Isabel de Pedro | Joseph Ribkoff Bitte Kai Rand | Masai Ilse Jacobson | Sandwich Selected Femme Part Two | In Wear Paul Smith accessories Helen Moore faux fur
86 King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6ED T: 01565 754785
227 Ashley Road, Hale, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 9SZ T: 0161 929 8980
20 The Ironmarket, N-u-L, Staffordshire (inside Pockets Menswear) ST5 1RF T: 01782 660713
E: email@example.com | W: www.willowboutiques.co.uk
Our footwear comes all the way from colourful Mexico, including our stunning party wear now available! From show-stopping sandals to irresistible flats, shop one of Mexicoâ€™s most prestigious brands exclusively at Heart & Sole. 01785 818 566 7D Whitebridge Estate, Whitebridge Way, ST15 8LQ For showroom opening hours visit our website or Facebook page;
www.heart-and-sole.co.uk | www.facebook.com/heartandsoleltd
We stock various styles of Sandals, Heels and Ballet Pumps. Boots and Accessories coming soon!
Visit Eland Lodge for the complete rural retail experience Country Wear ● Accessories and Gifts ● Equestrian Clothing ● Dog Accessories ● Equestrian Equipment
Shop in our stunning barn conversion surrounded by 125 acres of beautiful parkland. Whether you’re here for the retail therapy or you’re getting ahead with your Christmas Shopping, we’re sure to have something you’ll love! Take a break for refreshments in our coffee shop.
Shop in store and online 01283 575856 | www.elandlodge.com | Newborough Rd, Draycott-in-the-Clay, DE6 5HD
STYLE | MAKE UP
glam slam Nail that perfect festive look in 3 simple steps.
Get instant lift by framing your face with wellgroomed brows
December is beckoning and that means a diary full of exciting parties and events. The problem with a series of late nights is our skin can become dehydrated quickly, lacking that bright and dewy glow we all love. If we’re out, we want to look awake, fresh and ready-to-go, without drowning ourselves in makeup trying to cover up dark circles and a postparty break out!
The key to rocking a good look is to moisturise and replenish you skin, day and night, and stay hydrated! Top this off with a signature look that’s simple but stunning, and will go with any outfit, and you are good-to-go! LIVING’s 3-step guide to festive glam. Before you start, prep your skin with a light moisturiser, and create you base, using primer and foundation.
If you nail any beauty trend this season, it has to be the feline flick. Create this seductive look using just your usual liquid liner and a little precision! Place a dot at the outer edge of your eye, and another a half-inch up, and then gently line your eye from the inside corner out, carefully joining the dots to create your flick! Fill in your liner, creating a band about 2-3mm thick. Finish your look with a neutral shade of eyeshadow, or jazz it up with statement colour and some glitter, with lashings of mascara. Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder Eye Ink Mascara £36 selfridges.com
Next it’s time to contour your look. First use a highlighter to illuminate areas of your face, along the top of your cheekbone, above and below your brows, along the bridge of your nose, and the middle of your chin. Then using a darker shade, contour down the sides of your nose, along your hairline, jawbone and in the hollows of your cheekbones. Finally, blend together using a blending sponge to create your flawless finish.
No party look is complete without a show-stopping pout! Go bold with red shades or keep it simple with a natural shade. Use a lip liner to shape and outline the lips first, and then fill in with a slightly lighter shade, blending with a lip brush to avoid a blocky appearance. If you want to add some shimmer to your look, use a clear glitter gloss to finish!
Makeup Kit FESTIVE
3D Platinum Glitter £16.50 MAC
The Illuminator £28 Estee Lauder
“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” - Coco Chanel
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Night Crimson £24 House of Fraser
Too Faced Highlighter £25 Debenhams
Marc Jacobs Daisy 100ml £78 Debenhams
£7.99 TK Maxx
£16 Charlotte Tilbury
Feline Flick Liner £22 Charlotte Tilbury
Botanics Super Balm £7.99 Boots w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
STYLE | TREND
ALL WRAPPED UP Comfy and cosy; what’s not to love about this season’s must-have knitwear.
Marks and Spencer
STYLE | TREND
£59 La Redoute
Winter has its drawbacks, that’s for sure. Freezing temperatures, icy roads, and month-long colds; you can be forgiven for wanting to curl up and hibernate. But, when it comes to fashion, there are also a few perks that we just can’t get enough of. Leather boots, cute hats, and statement coats; if you have to face the weather, you should do it with style. But this season, it’s knitwear that has dominated the catwalks - the chunkier, the better; and bright is most definitely beautiful. So wear it well and keep yourself all wrapped up until spring. T R E N D WATC H
Layers of Style Keep your look chic and trendy this winter with layer upon layer of knitwear from head to toe.
£36 River Island
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Paul Smith Stripe Sweater £155 Young Ideas £16 M&Co
£10 M&Co £39 La Redoute £14 M&Co
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STYLE | GIFT GUIDE
Chloe Bag Blue £1,325 Selfridges Exclusive
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shop l loca
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Ava nt i Je
Heidi Klum Bra £38, Briefs £25 House of Fraser
18ct White Gold 2.01ct Sapphire and Diamond Necklace £2,250 Avanti >
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick £28 John Lewis
Michael Kors Sexy Ruby 50ml £66 House of Fraser
Shower her with luxe
18ct White Gold 1.43ct Sapphire and Diamond Earrings £1,350 Avanti >
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Jenny Packham Portofino Collection 18 Carat White Gold 0.90 Carat Diamond Ring With Rose Gold Milgrain £3,000 Goldsmiths >
Cheek Creme in Blonde Mink £46 Victoria Beckham X Estée Lauder
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DVF Keychain £45 Young Ideas
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Cosmetic Pouch £250 Mulberry
Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette £39 Debenhams
I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” LIVING
Don’t go Christmas crackers! Spotlight: Men’s health, Your Horoscopes for 2018, The 7 joys of winter and Gifts for the goddess
YOU | FAMILY
DON’T GO CHRISTM AS
CR ACK ER S! So here we are again. Christmas is looming but you are just not feeling it; there’s too much to do, too many to see and you’ve got more #familyproblems than ever before. Chin up! Here’s how to survive Christmas… For those who do get the fear – it usually starts building around June, once the trauma of last year subsides – over whether you should choose one parent over the other, spend Christmas day driving the length and breadth of the country, or maybe it’s the first one you will spend as a singleton; we’ve got some suggestions to make it a smoother and more enjoyable experience. After all, it’s the season of goodwill and everyone deserves to smile at Christmas. Here’s how to survive Christmas… …when you have two families
ost of us eagerly await the festive season; what’s not to like about giving and receiving presents, countless belly busting dinners, glitzy parties and enough cocktails to sink a small ship. But for some, it’s not all fun and fizz. In fact, many will dread December and the thought of Christmas Day is nothing short of traumatic. Circumstances as they are, a lot of us must juggle a great many things at Christmas - and we don’t just mean the turkey giblets and lumpy gravy - from elderly in-laws to multi-families and children living abroad; the modern family Christmas looks a lot different to fifty years ago. In the most recent figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), lone parent families have increased by 15% over the last 10 years, and households containing two or more families (multi-family households) were the fastest growing household type over the last decade, increasing by 66%. A family is no longer defined by marriage, nor is it defined by children. We are a multitude of configurations.
If your parents have divorced and remarried, Christmas tends to emphasise the fact that you technically have two families – even if you don’t really think about it that way any other time of the year. True, when you were growing up, you probably loved getting double presents but now that you are a grown-up yourself, and often with a partner, the sheer magnitude of relatives can send you a little loopy. You are likely to have a mum, a dad, a step-mum, a step-dad, brothers, sisters, step-siblings, grandparents, stepgrandparents and the list goes on! The trouble is you don’t only have to decide if, this year, you divide your time equally over the festive period or suck it up and enjoy several helpings of turkey crown and cranberry sauce (well, it’s not that bad, is it?), you’ll also have to spend a truck load of money on presents.
How to handle it? Firstly, be realistic with your time. You might want to fit everyone in during the three big festive days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day), but it’s much more achievable if you spread it out over Christmas week (or even the whole of December). That way you won’t get burnt out; your family want to see you at your best, not clock watching and stressed about the 40-mile journey you’ve set yourself before dusk. Tell your family as early as you can once you have decided on how to tackle it so they know when to expect you; no one really enjoys a surprise guest at Christmas, no matter how many times they tell you so! Secondly, be honest about how you would like to spend Christmas. Is it always necessary to see both parents on the day? And even if you plan on spending Christmas day with dad and Boxing day with mum, do you really need to chow down on two turkey feasts? Why not suggest cooking something different on one of the days – it’ll be just as special and what really counts is that you are together. Finally, affording Christmas is a challenge for us all, especially if you haven’t been saving since January. The average Britain will spend £350 on Christmas gifts (ING report 2014, thisismoney.co.uk) but if your gift list reaches high into double figures, you’re going to have to think wisely. Set yourself a budget (and split it down per person) so that you don’t push your overdraft to the limit. Christmas is a time for giving but you don’t want to spend 2018 scrimping and saving to make up for it. Set spending limits with like-minded cousins and siblings or suggest you have a night out or dinner together rather than buying gifts. Don’t worry about offending anyone too much, it’s likely they have thought the same as you too!
A lot of us must juggle a great many things at Christmas - and we don’t just mean the turkey giblets and lumpy gravy.
YOU | FAMILY …after a divorce or split
… by yourself
If you have recently split from your partner, the thought of slapping on a smile and banging the festive drum might turn your stomach. Christmas is a time for family but you probably just want to grab your loved ones and teleport to happier times; either that or jet off to a paradise island somewhere on the south pacific. But in some cases, that’s just not realistic (fabulous news if you can, though – read our alternative Christmas destinations feature starting on page 114); there are often children and elderly relatives to look after and you’re likely to still be close with your ex’s family. Furthermore, if you’re divorced or separated, and there are children involved, then there is going to be an awkward conversation at some point to arrange parenting duties over the Christmas break – and that’s no fun for anyone involved, especially if it’s still quite raw for both of you.
It’s unusual to have to spend Christmas by yourself but sometimes that is simply the case. You may find yourself stuck somewhere and unable to reach home, or you could live away from home and not be able to get back, or you have just made the decision to spend it by yourself. Whatever the reason, there are still ways you can celebrate. How to handle it?
…when your family do not get on It’s your turn to host Christmas, which wouldn’t normally concern you but your family has more issues than Brexit. It’s not unusual to have family problems, there are arguments in every family but when you invite everyone around to your house, it falls on you to keep the festive fun flying high. And when you have uncle Tom under your feet in the kitchen and cousin Pete ‘getting some air’ on the porch, there’s an atmosphere brewing that you just don’t need! In a perfect world, these issues would all be sorted before the big day but, as that is unlikely, there are a few things you can do to keep the peace – well, at least for a little while.
How to handle it? If you have older children, then you will probably find they will organise how they spend Christmas between you by themselves, but if your children are younger, it’s going to be down to mum and dad. If this is your first Christmas apart, it’s going to be tough for everyone; if it’s possible, sit down with your children together and discuss how it’s all going to work. But, have a chat and decide the best course of action between you beforehand so you can foresee any disagreements. If it isn’t possible to do this, you will need to work it out as best you can. It may kill you to be so accommodating but it’s Christmas and what really matters is your children are happy about the time they will spend with both parents. While it’s going to be a challenge to get through the festive season as a newlyseparated individual, remember you’ve got the strength to get through it! Surround yourself with family and friends to help you and why not make it the perfect opportunity to start new family traditions – whether that’s throwing out all the old decorations for a new look or throwing in the towel and having Christmas day dinner at the local pub.
Even though you’ll be on your own, you can still decorate where you are to make it appear more festive. Grab some tinsel and a tree, stick on a Christmas film and spruce up your home. It’ll make you feel better. If you happen to be stuck at a hotel, find out what the hotel has going on or what’s happening locally, they might be hosting a Christmas lunch or entertainment evening you can join in with. Buy yourself some gifts, you deserve it! And go for a totally unique Christmas day meal – you don’t have to have turkey! If you are hoping for a Christmas invite from a friend or relative but don’t like to ask, pluck up the courage and send them an email – it’s likely they will welcome you with open arms!
There is going to be an awkward conversation at some point to arrange parenting duties over the Christmas break – and that’s no fun for anyone.
“Get on a plane, head to where it’s hot and sunny and drink cold beer.”
How to handle it?
The key here is alcohol and entertainment. Not enough of one and too much of the other spells disaster; but then no one wants to spend Christmas day as sober as a judge, and any game will act as a spur for competitiveness, thus animosity - it’s a tricky predicament. Don’t serve too much alcohol before dinner, keep it to a welcome mimosa or two, and make sure there are plenty of light nibbles. Keep the Christmas movies rolling in one room and the carols playing in another to create plenty of areas for people to mingle. The only real solution here is to relax and ride the waves, if, and when, they happen. Luckily, it is Christmas and people tend to feel much more good-spirited at this time of year; willing to put differences aside for the occasion.
LIVING says… Our festive tips and tricks C R A I G, P U B L I S H E R
TA S H , D E S I G N
“The best way to survive Christmas is to prepare and write list after list! Do your food shopping online as you have more time.” DAV E , S A L E S
“Food, Booze, board games and new pyjamas, I am sorted for most nights like that!” A MY, M A R K E T I N G
“Stock up on food and booze and relax! Oh, and it’s a good idea to check that the turkey will fit in the oven before Christmas morning!” N A N C Y, F E AT U R E S
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YOU | MEN SPOTLIGHT
MEN’S HEALTH Taking care of your man is more important than ever.
s we move into November, men’s health takes centre stage, thanks to the huge success of campaigns like ‘Movember,’ and it’s all for good reason. The Men’s Health Forum reports that just over three out of four suicides (76%) are by men and, shockingly, suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under 35. It also states that 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, and that a staggering one in ten of the male workforce are significantly stressed. And it’s not just mental health issues which result in these stark figures. Testicular cancer is now the most common form of cancer in men aged 20-35, with about 2,000 men a year being diagnosed. But worringly, men find it increasingly difficult or embarrassing to address it, even though it can be treated very effectively if caught early enough, with most men making a full recovery. Similarly, other medical issues which affect men, such as trouble urinating and erectile dysfunction, might be an uncomfortable subject to discuss, but can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, as well as contributing to stress levels. Prostate cancer, for example, is the most common cancer in men over 50 in the UK. More than 30,000 men are diagnosed with it every year, and one of the first signs of it can be urinary problems. Unfortunately, male pride has never been an easy nut to crack; so now it’s our turn to spot the signs and make sure our men are getting the help they need, when they need it. Mr Pradip Javle, a consultant urologist and specialist in men’s health at BMI South Cheshire Hospital says: “Couples in a relationship know each other very well and often pick up on things – clearly it’s nice if your partner notices that you’ve had a new haircut, but it’s equally good when they spot something that may keep you healthy. “Men can sometimes be reluctant to see their GP if they have a health issue and sometimes they can shrug it off as being an inevitable part of getting older. Sometimes they are also embarrassed to see their doctor. However, there is very little that a GP or a specialist, like me, has not seen before, and so if a man - or his partner – is worried about a symptom then please do make an appointment to see your GP.” 68
Do not ignore these symptoms... Lump in testicle: The best time to feel for lumps is in the shower when your partner is a bit warmer. You can help because you may be able to spot anything which feels different to usual. Most testicular lumps are not cancer, but it is essential to have any abnormalities checked. Trouble urinating: This may be the result of an enlarged prostate, which can be a sign of prostate disease, including cancer. Other symptoms include pain or burning when passing urine and frequently waking up in the night to pee. You know when your man is getting up too frequently to urinate at night, and you can commonly hear if the urinary flow is weak! Erectile dysfunction: Half of all men over 40 have had trouble getting an erection at least once. Generally, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and exercise, can correct the problem. Some men may need medication such as sildenafil (also known as Viagra, Cialis). If your man has erection problems that last for several weeks, encourage him to see his GP. Feeling depressed: Most people can feel ‘down’ for a while but if your man seems persistently sad for weeks or months then this is a sign of depression. Look out for signs: like him feeling guilt-ridden, irritable, anxious, hopeless, or changing weight, of having a low sex drive, or of avoiding contact with friends – and encourage him to see his GP. Heart Disease: In the UK, nearly 1.4 million men have heart disease in the UK and around 50,000 men in England alone have a heart attack each year. You can help by driving lifestyle changes to help prevent cardiovascular disease, including: stopping smoking, regular exercise, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, watch alcohol intake, getting blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked, and controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels if they have diabetes. Mr Pradip Javle is a Consultant Urological Surgeon practicing at BMI South Cheshire Private Hospital. Find out more: bmihealthcare.co.uk.
In addition, fitness is hugely important to men’s health, helping to improve overall appearance, confidence and state of mind, but visiting a gym isn’t easy; enter that male pride again. The thought of going to the gym and attempting to workout, especially if they are at the lower end of the fitness scale, is daunting, and can even add to a build-up of anxiety and tension in everyday life. Christina Thornton, a personal trainer at the Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Gym in Cannock, says: “Exercise has many benefits, such as improving and maintaining physical fitness, as well as helping to prevent diseases; however, it is also great for a person’s mood. Exercise helps to decrease cortisol levels: hormones that make people feel stressed; as well as increase the levels of endorphins: chemicals that make you feel good.
“In recent years, male grooming has become more profound, and with that, the pressure of ‘looking good’ has increased. However, I truly believe the benefit of exercising and the use of a gym is for your health and fitness, and everyone should be a member of a gym or participate in regular activity outside.” Nuffield Health offers a Health MOT at all its gyms which measures body mass index (BMI), resting heart rate, waist to hip ratio, cholesterol, aerobic fitness, blood pressure, and blood sugar level, and provides expert advice and a personalised health and fitness plan based on the results. Find out more: nuffieldhealth.com.
Specialists in you.
Love your skin. Skin is the largest organ that makes up the human body. The way you look, your self confidence and your overall health can be affected by the condition of your skin. If you are worried about a skin problem, such as eczema, psoriasis or acne, Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital can provide the specialist dermatological advice and treatment you need to give your skin the care it deserves. Call us today for more information or to make an appointment, or why not join us for our FREE Patient Event on Thurs 9 November ?
01902 793 269
Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital
Free patient events. Events take place at our hospital on Wood Road, Tettenhall, and start with snacks and refreshments. You will receive a presentation from our specialist consultants, and you will also have the opportunity to receive a mini one-to-one consultation where available. Call us to reserve your place. Parking is free.
LETâ€™S TALK LETâ€™S TALK SKIN COSMETIC PROBLEMS. SURGERY. Mr Al-Rawi & Dr Ramesh 6:30pm
Mr Guy Sterne 6:30pm 1-1 Available
At an exclusive collection of 54 two bedroom Lakeside and Marinaside apartments at Barton Marina, Staffordshire.
54 two-bedroom Lakeside and Marinaside apartments at Barton Marina, Staffordshire
W I T H O U R S ECO N D S H OW A PA RT M E N T N OW O P E N A N D O U R FINAL 10 PLOTS RELEASED NOW IS THE TIME TO DISCOVER L I F E AT L A K E S I D E A PA R T M E N T S . B O O K YO U R V I S I T O R S P E A K TO A SA L ES A DV I S O R TO DAY CA L L 0 1 2 8 3 8 8 0 2 2 4 , V I S I T L A K ES I D E-A PA RT M E N TS .CO. U K OR DOWNLOAD OUR FREE CAMERON HOMES APP
YOU | HOROSCOPES
HOROSCOPES FOR 2018
Tamara Trusseau unlocks the stars for next year. What does 2018 have in store for your love, life and career?
Aries - An extremely prominent year provoking desired change and transformation. Reflection together with careful observation may have a direct impact upon certain romantic situations, especially in July and September. October may yield a new sense of discovery with regards to emotional prowess, provoking empowerment, direction and positive movement. Taurus - Innate spiritual awareness may lead to an array of new or previously unavailable options, prompting renewed hope, strength and fortitude. Decisions pertaining to personal and emotional requirements seem highlighted around April. Unexpected communication in the early part of the year may instigate travel or beneficial links overseas. New interests and hobbies could be highlighted around June and November. Gemini - A distinct and enlightened year for romantic discovery and enhancement through proactive and optimistic communication and collaboration. In the early part of autumn, relevant probing and investigation may lead to unexpected results. A desire for new skills or additional educational possibilities can contribute positively towards long-term financial and career improvements. August may set the scene for new romantic encounters.
Virgo - Tenacity and meticulous attention to detail can contribute realistically towards the fulfillment of specific plans and ambitions. There may be a need for stringent methods and deliberate application, especially around June and November, allowing efficient productivity as well as a more disciplined every day sense of functionality. Family reunions and discussion may yield optimistic results. An exceptional year for romantic understanding and compatibility. Libra - Strategic financial assessment and preparation, as well as timely delivery, could eventually lead towards a much more convenient and effective domestic setting. A need for exploration and travel appears prominent, inducing excitement and anticipation. February appears to be particularly significant, with regards to certain business-related propositions. An alluring year, filled with optimism, romantic possibility and intriguing interactivity. Scorpio - Transparency, clear vision and realistic deduction are key to the attainment of goals and objectives. This may be particularly poignant during the winter months. Intuition together with protective self-awareness could prove reassuring and invaluable, especially when confronting sensitive or emotionally charged situations. An extremely powerful year for initiating new ventures, recalibration and renewed vitality.
movement with respect to love-related scenarios may create a new terrain for positive decisions and relativity. Past acquaintances and relationships may be resurfacing and particularly relevant around May. A better understanding of current hopes and expectations could open doors to effective transformation, allowing improvements that may potentially extend to every arena of life.
Sagittarius - Exemplary aptitude and timely perseverance can play a crucial part in initiating correct dialogue and fruitful communication. Any consideration given to new career options and proposals should be examined thoroughly - taking into account long-term connotations as well as potential drawbacks. January, March and September will be particularly interesting and uplifting with a focus on love and domestic issues.
Leo - Spring brings about an exciting sense of regeneration allowing clear focus and objectivity. Communication in various formats can play a pivotal role in attaining required objectives and sustaining emotional stability. An abundant display of confidence and hopeful emotional application, particularly over the summer months, may act as a catalyst, helping to establish successful liaisons and unprecedented interaction.
Capricorn - Work-related partnerships may appear highly pertinent and necessary for ongoing success and recognition creating possibilities for travel and new liaisons. Romantic-orientated requests and demands will instigate surprising and promising new ideas and recreational possibilities. A progressive year, with a distinct emphasis upon the summer months inspiring unprecedented movement and productivity.
Cancer - Incentivised and progressive
Aquarius - Social interaction formulates an integral and vital aspect of upcoming plans and activities this year. Restructuring existing work and career ideology may provide new and stimulating thoughts. A degree of decisiveness could be required in relation to existing romantic hopes and dreams. Assertiveness and correct research specifically around October may prove necessary to set into motion career-related plans. A great year for inducing opportunities, promotion and advancement. Pisces - A genuine blend of patience and commitment can contribute towards diffusing preexisting conflict and difficulty, in particular with regards to family matters. A highly successful year for addressing romantic wishes and requirements with complete fervour, enabling spontaneous response as well as increased scope and motivation. February and August may provide new possibilities for personal elevation.
Tamara is well-known as â€˜The Love Goddessâ€™ for the advice and readings she gives on love, relationships and female empowerment. Her skills include the tarot, aura and colour therapy, crystal healing and astrology. Visit tamaratrusseau.co.uk for more information.
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YOU | HEALTH
THE 7 JOYS OF WINTER As the temperature drops and the days become darker, it can be easy to eat more, do less and go into ‘hibernation’ mode. But being proactive about our health is key to feeling great as well as looking great too. We asked breakfast TV’s Dr Hilary Jones for the secrets to a healthy and happy winter.
Winterised workout: It can be hard to find
the motivation to make it to the gym when it’s cold outside, but it’s important to remember that keeping active during the winter is essential. Any activity that contributes to overall fitness can boost wellbeing and mood. If you really can’t find the incentive to brave the elements and have access to an indoor pool, then aqua aerobics and swimming are great gentle exercises for boosting our physical health as well as our mental health, with research showing that swimmers tend to live longer and have better moods than people who don’t exercise.
Everything starts with breakfast: When we wake up in the morning our muscles and brain need fuel to face the day ahead. I love eating bircher muesli with oats, nuts, apples and berries or a smoked salmon omelette packed with protein, vitamin D and omega 3 essential fatty acids! Researchers from Harvard University have also confirmed that eating a healthy breakfast regularly can help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol – factors which can give rise to heart disease.
Wrap up warm: Did you know that staying warm is a surprising secret to feeling merry? Being cold can make us feel sluggish because our bodily functions slow-down in an attempt to retain heat. So, bundle up to feel recharged! Hot drinks help to raise our core temperature but try to avoid adding your favourite tipple as this actually drops our body temperature; so skip the ‘hot toddy’ and opt for your favourite herbal tea instead.
Drink up! The cold weather and drying radiator heat can lead to dehydration and fatigue. Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day. This will help to boost your energy levels, improve blood circulation and flush out toxins from the body. Regular teas and coffee count towards your fluid intake, but caffeinated versions shouldn't make up your full quota so try a hot water with a squeeze of lemon or fresh apple and a cinnamon stick for a festive twist.
Avoid the festive food coma:
Gobbling down a large meal diverts blood from the rest of our body to our digestive system in order to break down food. This can leave us feeling sluggish, so try sticking to normal-sized plate portions and chewing slowly. Not only will this ensure that you digest your food properly, but also give your brain the chance to tell your belly that it’s full. Sensible snacking throughout the day can also help you to avoid over-eating at dinner times. Try a handful of unsalted nuts or a small bowl of plain yogurt with sliced banana as these provide a great source of protein to help slow stomach emptying.
Socialising and spending quality time with friends and family is a central part of the festive season, so having a hearing check is key to ensuring you or a family member doesn’t miss out this Christmas. People with mild to significant hearing loss are between two and five times more likely to develop dementia so there’s ever more reason to seek help sooner. Take advantage of a free hearing test at one of Hidden Hearing’s high street hearing centres. Visit www.HiddenHearing.co.uk for more information or to book a free hearing test.
YOU | HEALTH
Catch Some Z’s:
A good night’s sleep is vital for refreshing and repairing our mind and body. Next to washing our hands, getting enough sleep might be one of the most effective ways to avoid a cold or the flu. Getting a good eight hours of sleep each night keeps your immune system strong, so you’re less likely to catch whatever it is that’s making its way around your office or home!
Dr Hilary Jones
The Perfect Christmas Present
CHRISTMAS GIFT CARDS A DAY OR STAY AT HOAR CROSS HALL IS A PRESENT THAT WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED. Gift cards are available for all of our day or stay experiences or in £10, £25, £50 and £100 denominations.
Call 01283 575 671 or purchase online at hoarcross.co.uk
Gift cards purchased during a visit to the hotel will be sent by Royal Mail to the purchaser/recipient’s address and cannot be redeemed on the day of purchase. This gift card promotion is subject to change and availability, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be used to purchase House membership. For full terms and conditions, visit hoarcross.co.uk.
CC_932 HCH Staffordshire Living Ad 210x138mm Nov/Dec 08 17 v2.indd 1
J & R Hill Ltd
Whittle Road, Meir Park, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 7HF Telephone: 01782 312938 Fax: 01782 593480 Visit us at our showroom to view the new Sequin range of wood burning stoves plus stoves from Contura, Charnwood, Parkray, Cleanburn, Dunsley. Open Mon-Fri 9-5, Sat 9-4 www.jandrhill.co.uk
FANCY A FREE SPA DAY? Visit
ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHT An hour, a day or a festive stay Set in more than 100 acres of beautiful Lancashire countryside, our award-winning, adults only spa hotel is home to spectacular spa facilities and fabulous dining options. Pre-Christmas breaks from £99pp Christmas and New Year Sleepovers £110pp Festive Day Spa Packages from £34pp
Luxurious Hotel Rooms | Stunning Spa Facilities and Treatments Outdoor Hot Tub and Zen Garden | 2 AA Rosette Dining options
YOU | GIFT GUIDE >
A Flow Book £21.99 Workman Publishing
Ragdale Hall Active Spa SOS Muscle Balm £8.50 M&S
AND FOR YOU… WIN A CUT AND BLOW DRY AT
Fancy a new ‘do’ for the festive season? There’s never a better time to rock a brand-new look, so Staffordshire Living has teamed up with Obsession Salon & Spa to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a luxury cut and blow dry, including a gorgeous Kérastase ritual treatment.
Relax Wild Pomegranate Scented Candles £12.50 Paperchase
Fitbit Blaze £189.99 Very
During your fabulous experience, you’ll receive a full consultation with an expert stylist, a welcome massage, hair cleanse, Kérastase ritual tailored to meet your individual hair needs, and a salon blow dry. You’ll leave the salon feeling like a million dollars and with hair that feels stronger, healthier and shinier; just in time for party season! Bath Crystals £3 George Home at Asda
THE GODDESS Gifts to look and feel great
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Deep Clean Electric Toothbrush £270 Very
Obsession Salon & Spa, which has salons on Castledyke in Lichfield and within the Branston Golf & Country Club, is ending the year on a high, celebrating its 30th anniversary. The team credit their clients with helping them to achieve this huge milestone, and, as a thank you, you can now take part in a Golden Ticket promotion running in the salon until the end of November. Visit obsessionsalonspa.co.uk for more details.
For a chance to win this fantastic cut and blow dry experience, simply answer the question below and follow the instruction on how to enter.
Q. How old is Obsession Salon & Spa this year?
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Oil Set £29 Debenhams Cream Eye Mask & Ear Bud Set £8 M&S
Ragdale Hall Spa Time to... Sleep Scented Diffuser £15 M&S
Balancing Treat £19.50 Rituals
How to enter: Scan the barcode to the left using a QR code reader on your mobile phone or tablet to go straight to the competition page at staffordshireliving. co.uk. Simply enter your answer along with your name and address details on the form provided for your chance to win! Terms and Conditions: Closing date for the competition is 9am 8th December 2017. One winner only. Prize can be taken at either Lichfield or Branston branch of Obsession Salon & Spa. The competition prize will consist of a hair consultation, welcome massage, hair cleanse, Kérastase ritual, and blow dry. Pre-booking is necessary, dates are subject to availability at time of booking. The prize is non-transferrable and cannot be exchanged for cash. For a full set of Staffordshire Media competitions Terms and Conditions please see page 9.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME”
Director’s cut, The Goldilocks effect, The 12 scents of Christmas, The sofa edit and Gifts for the domestic queen w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
HOME | TRENDS £20 Amara
Tinsel 2M £1.50 B&Q
Mov ie Inspi rat ion.
Tree Decoration £30 Amara
£10 Accessorize bow Light £160 Ra i n De b en ha m s
£3.99 TK Maxx
apercha s 5P
£7 John Lewis
“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” Even Buddy would be impressed by your festive flair. Sprinkle your Christmas spirit far and wide.
£20 Amara Amara
£7 George Home at Asda
2. int Pa 5L £9 B&Q
Vase £28 Debenhams
£6 John Lewis
Cactus Light £135 Debenhams
£15 Amara £8 John Lewis
HOME | TRENDS
&S Rug £39.99 Very
Mov ie Inspi rat ion.
DIRECTOR’S CUT. te
. 50 Debenha
Tinsel £5 M&Co
Tom Dixon Air Candle £80 Nest £2 Dunelm
S M& 0 5 . 9 Brushed Cable Knit Bedset £3
THE SNOWMAN “We’re surfing in the air, we’re swimming in the frozen sky, we’re drifting over icy mountains floating by.” Let it snow all over your home this Christmas.
D 2 5 A ma r a
Faux Fur Cube £39.99 Very
la r Po
Set of 4 £35 M&S
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£8.50 White Stuff
HOME | TRENDS J
Mov ie Inspi rat ion.
£3 Matalan £20 Matalan Candle Holder £82 Artisanti
£3 Matalan Print £17.99 Very George Home at Asda
Lamp £27 George Home at Asda
£45 Laura Ashley
Marks & Spencer
£16 Laura Ashley
£5 M&S Star Light £22.50 White Stuff £3 Matalan £7.50 M&S £15 Debenhams
“This is Christmas! The season of perpetual hope!” If you’re going to be left home alone at Christmas, then you’ll want to do it in (traditional) style.
£25 Laura Ashley
HOME | TRENDS
Tinsel £5 M&Co
Mov ie Inspi rat ion.
£15 John Lewis
Placemats 2pk £15 M&S £3 Matalan House of Fraser
£ 3 M a t a la n
Pendant Light £120 Debenhams
“I’m wondering why a beautiful girl like you would go to a stranger’s house for their Christmas Vacation…” It’s Christmas but extra special.
£7 George Home at Asda
Table Light £80 Debenhams £29.50 M&S £449 M&S
£4 c re to
House of Fraser
Cha rge r at i ve £8 House of Fraser
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C entralFloors Flooring Specialists in
our ream oor
ith uick tep.
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isit us for samp es
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LT Garage Doors as heard on
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Unit 9 Norton Industrial Estate, Bellerton Lane, ST6 8ED Visit our Showroom that has over 35 working doors on display. • Electric Roller Doors • Sectional Doors • Up & Over Doors • Side Hinged Doors • Insulated Side Hinged Doors • Gates, Trellis Grills & Sun Awnings • Spare Parts & Repairs • Industrial Doors
Help to Buy
Award Winning Homes in Staﬀordshire from Lioncourt Homes Lioncourt Homes are building a superb range of delightfully designed and traditionally built new homes across Staﬀordshire. We have received the maximum 5 Star Quality rating in the annual Home Builders Federation (HBF) customer satisfaction survey for the third consecutive year. Visit our selection of sparkling showhomes and ﬁnd out why! We’ve just opened a new 3 bedroom showhome in Uttoxeter too.
St. Peter’s Walk King Street, Yoxall, DE13 8NA
Barley Fields, Bramshall Road, Uttoxeter, ST14 7PG
Two Showhomes open daily, 10am to 5.30pm Tel: 0845 873 2883†
Three Showhomes open daily, 10am to 5.30pm Tel: 0845 873 2884†
4 & 5 bedroom homes from £400,000 to £640,000
2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes from £175,000 to £470,000
www.lioncourthomes.com †Calls will be charged at seven pence per minute from a BT landline and may cost considerably more from mobile and other phones. Contact your service provider for more details. *All oﬀers are subject to terms and conditions, please ask our Sales Executive for full details. Photographs show a typical Lioncourt home. Help to Buy is a government-led scheme and availability is subject to qualiﬁcation. For full terms and conditions visit www.helptobuy.org.uk. Prices and oﬀers correct at time of print.
HOME | LIFE
Just right. Not too little, not too much.
House of Fraser
THE GOLDILOCKS EFFECT
How the Swedish art of living lagom is teaching us what Goldilocks knew all along. ou were probably totally hooked on ‘Hygge’ last year, as was most of the world; the sheer delight of being encouraged to sit by the fire in our dressing gowns with an extravagant hot chocolate warming our soul as often as we liked was just too tempting not to grab with open arms, but did we feel even the slightest bit of guilt at our over-indulgence? No, not one bit, in fact, we were even embracing the splurge – around 3.2 million times on Instagram (at least that’s how many posts currently use the #hygge).
But, before you pull on those chunky knits, ready to snuggle down for winter, there is now a new Scandinavian way of living that is feeding through into our culture and it’s not as cosy (or as forgiving) as hygge, yet it’s becoming quite the stylish phenomenon. It’s called lagom. Lagom comes from the Swedish phrase: “lagom är bäst,” which basically means “the right amount is best”, and it’s teaching us that actually we should aim for a much more balanced approach to living – not too much, not too little, just the right amount. As Kathleen Bryson, a PhD graduand in evolutionary anthropology at UCL, calls it in an interview with the BBC: Lagom is a state of having “not too much of one-or-the-other, but more a Goldilocks ‘just right’.” It’s certainly a nice way to imagine we could be, but, if you did follow the ‘free-world’ of hygge, you may be wondering if any kind of limits could possibly over-throw its ethos of doing exactly whatever makes you feel good, whenever you want.
L A G O M AT H O M E Swedish giant, IKEA believes lagom could go as far as saving us money and be the key to sustainable living. Following this idea of having just the right amount can help people reduce food waste, recycle better and save energy too. These are all a bonus. Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainability at IKEA UK and Ireland says: “The key to living ‘Lagom’ is not denying yourself what you love, whilst also not taking from the planet more than you need. You can still have a beautiful home, and live in comfort whilst thinking about the environment.” The company has even pledged to encourage more people to embrace lagom at home with its ‘Live Lagom’ campaign.
So how did Goldilocks have such foresight? And what exactly do we need to do to get on the same level? Since the beginning of 2017, lagom has been slowly picking up momentum in Britain; it’s not catching on quite as quick as its much more popular cousin, hygge, though. There are only 32.6k Instagram posts shouting the #lagom vibe, and most of these are very sedate. Why? Because the posters are living a very straight and balanced life – there are no over-the-top foodie shots – just a lot of white, pastels, blue skies, sunsets and flowers. Peaceful, you could say. So lagom is all about living life in moderation, in balance, and embracing togetherness. But while you may be thinking that this just sounds boring, it actually has some very important philosophies that we could all do with following, and perhaps if we can incorporate just some of its fundamental rules into our own lifestyle, we’d be on our way to being much more rounded individuals.
IKEA Joanna’s tips for living lagom at home: 1. Simple changes such as using LED bulbs saves energy. Why not add a warming and cosy hue and brighten up rooms that lack natural light. 2. It’s easy to overrun in the bathroom. Consider using a timer in the bathroom to keep track of the length of showers, helping to reduce energy and water consumption. 3. Use food containers to keep food fresher for longer, cutting food waste and unnecessary spending in supermarkets – we all know how much we throw away because we forgot to eat it! 4.
Declutter any messy areas around the home and invest in proper storage solutions to save waste, limit duplicated purchases and recycle any unwanted goods.
Invest in high-quality blankets and throws to help you stay warm and cosy whilst also reducing the need to rely on heating. M AKE ME L AGOM!
Save energy but keep a stylish twist on your home with this LED geometric globe pendant £295 chandeliersandmirrors.co.uk Make each shower count with this efficient little timer in the bathroom: KLOCKIS Clock/thermometer/ alarm/timer £4.50 IKEA Keep an eye on how many biscuits you are munching with this stylish, clear biscuit jar £29.99 kitchencraft.co.uk Keep your life in pretty order with this gorgeous abstract notebook £1.95 dotcomgiftshop.com
L A G O M AT W O R K Bringing equilibrium into the workplace is probably one of the most desirable elements of lagom. Think of a world where there are no targets, no 60-hour weeks, and the onus is on managers to plan work schedules effectively, to make sure we all get that work/life balance we deserve. In her book, Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life, Nikki Brantmark writes that everyone should take time to balance the day at work, including a proper lunchbreak and a ‘gadget-free Sabbath,’ to ensure we are living well. Think of other ways to relax on your down time at work, step away from the computer table, take a walk in the fresh air or just chat away from your desk. Do something which allows your mind to switch off; scrolling through social media is probably only going to cloud your mind with things that are not important to your day. Think about your workspace too. Is your desk piled high with papers and junk? Lagom also encourages IKEA you to declutter, which in turn helps you to think clearer. So, once a week, make sure to have a clear out around your work area – but don’t forget to recycle! And what if you are the boss? You can take some very important lessons from Swedish businesses to make your office more productive and your employees much happier.
BE A BET TER BOSS 1.
Try and incorporate a less hierarchical structure. The Swedes are very good at promoting a more amiable environment at work. Spend time with your employees, become an approachable co-worker, instead of a distant director; your team will feel much more at ease.
HOME | LIFE
YOU AND L AGOM
So will lagom catch on, or is it something that only fairytales are made of? It’s got huge potential to make the world a better place, that’s for sure. But is it just for those who believe in a more crisp and clear world – a black and white thought process – and is that even possible in the world we live in today? Or, is it a lifestyle we’re just not willing to try - unlike hygge, which we would all embrace quite easily come a cold November evening. Does lagom take too much effort to follow properly? Lagom is probably not for everyone, and while many have portrayed it as a boring relative of hygge, the reality is that its basic principles are fundamental to keeping us going, both individually and collectively. Dr Jessamy Hibberd is a clinical psychologist, and co-author of the This Book Will Make You… series, she told the Daily Telegraph: “We all need to recognise that contentment tends not to be from having things. It’s an internal state and it’s the simple things that make you feel it.”
2. Help your supervisors and managers to plan and prioritise workloads with staff so that everyone feels comfortable that the job will get done and by when. If you have this open nature and trust with your staff, they are more likely to dig deep when the business really needs it.
There is no denying that being more conscious of the environment, and of our own mental state is beneficial, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy everything we love – like chocolate, hot baths, and Twitter. Lagom is not asking us to do away with all those ‘luxuries,’ it’s encouraging us to do them less, or just the right amount.
3. This casual mentality may sound too good to be true, and you can be forgiven for feeling slightly anxious, but it’s really about helping your staff understand that they need to focus their time on doing just what is needed, when it is needed; but to do it well and on-time, rather than rushed and half-hearted jobs and spending time on unnecessary activities.
Lagom teaches us to explore nature, to be active and spend time together; to put down our phones and get down on the floor to play with our kids; to laugh and to love and to be kind – these are surely good principles to abide by?
I N A L AG O M WO R LD…
We would all be able to work outdoors whenever we feel like it
Recycle bins would live on every corner
Losing weight would be easy!
“The key to living ‘Lagom’ is not denying yourself what , whilst you also not taking from the planet more than .” you
- Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainability at IKEA UK and Ireland Bollolvon Block-Out Curtains £20 IKEA
Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life By Nikki Brantmark £9.99 Harper Thorsons IKEA
Is Lagom for you? Share your thoughts on our website poll at www.staffordshireliving.co.uk
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MUST HAVE HOME
IN STAFFORD St George’s Mansions 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments are continuing to be a hot purchase for home buyers in Stafford and beyond. It comes as no surprise that the first phase of homes sold out within the year. This magnificent building was only ever going to impress. Positioned in an idyllic parkland setting, this iconic landmark makes the perfect home to all purchasers.
DON’T MISS THE NEXT PHASE OF THESE STUNNING APARTMENTS
Visit St George’s Mansions: Stafford ST16 3AG Give us a call: 01785 243141 Find out more: shropshire-homes.com Help to Buy
Help to Buy: Subject to status, terms & conditions
The Bloor difference CAREFULLY CONSIDERED LOCATIONS
BECAUSE A HOUSE IS MORE THAN JUST BRICKS AND MORTAR Superior 3 & 4 bedroom homes at Brooklands It’s a place where you’re going to have great memories. So we create beautiful spaces for making those memories. The ceilings are a bit higher, the rooms are a bit lighter, the doors are a little wider and the features are more characterful. At Brooklands we have got a beautiful selection of 3 & 4 bedroom new homes waiting to be yours – and we’ve got a range of special offers to make it happen. We could pay your Stamp Duty ‡ and you can take advantage of our Key Turner package† too. Or if you have a home to sell, Home Exchange* means we can buy your current home and help complete your chain. So there could be no delays – and no estate agent’s fees either. We know the things that are important to you – and we know how to make them happen smoothly and with minimum fuss. That’s the Bloor difference.
SEE I T. F EEL I T. E X PER I E NC E I T.
STOKE ON TRENT James Brindley Way, Tunstall ST6 5GA 3 bedroom homes from £157,500 or £126,000 with Help to Buy* 4 bedroom homes from £262,995 or £210,396 with Help to Buy* Speak to our Sales Advisors:
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 5pm, and Monday 11am – 5pm
*Help to Buy price represents 80% of the full purchase price. Help to Buy and all Bloor Homes’ incentives and schemes are subject to terms and conditions and are available on selected developments and selected plots only. Help to Buy is only available on developments in England, up to the value of £600,000 subject to contract, status and eligibility. Help to Buy is not available with Home Exchange. †Key Turner package includes blinds, carpet and vinyl from the Silver range, plus a £250 voucher if you choose to use the recommended IFA, and another if you choose our recommended Solicitor. No cash alternative. ‡Stamp Duty paid on selected plots only, for reservations before 21.12.2017. Prices and availability correct at time of going to press. Images shown for illustrative purposes only.
Bespoke Sofa Manufacture & Re-Upholstery Specialist Our team of highly skilled professional craftsmen, create and manufacture sofas from design, for a living space that is truly unique. Coupled with our huge selection of fabrics we have the ability to create almost any type of bespoke design. Using traditional skills, we can also strip down your old suite or sofa and re-create the original design with our superior re-upholstery which is highly renowned for its finish and meticulous detail.
For a truly unique and individual lounge setting we welcome you to our factory showroom to see what we can create for you. Contact Simon Edwards or Chris Edwards on 01543 505539
Unit 19, Martindale, Hawks Green Business Park, Cannock WS11 7XN
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.ralvernupholstery.co.uk
HOME | SCENTS
S T N AS E C TM S 2 IS 1 R E H H C T me
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Andy Briggs, head creative and resident interior designer for Spaceslide, identifies the new 2017/2018 trends in colour, texture, space and furniture functionality for the year ahead, and reveals how these latest styles can be incorporated within the bedroom…
aving visited some of the most influential industry shows for 2017/2018, the popular trends focussed on how homeowners can make optimum use of their space. With houses and apartments becoming increasingly smaller due to the strain of urbanisation, there is a need for clever solutions to expand room space, or at least create that illusion.
“When it comes to portraying the illusion of space, adaptable furniture and bright colours are becoming more widespread. Living in a contemporary, fast-paced culture, but also feeling relaxed and comfortable in the home, was a challenge that was addressed at the design shows, of which I visited IMM Cologne, Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, and Salone Milan. “There are some simple tricks to make a room appear larger, and plain white is not the answer. I would advise using tints of light blue and gentle green in a room to evoke a soothing setting, making a room feel spacious and breathable. In particular, ocean blues and forest greenery are a significant style for this year. “Alternatively, consider other subtle tones such as powder pink or cashmere. These beautifully complement a room where soft grey shades are used as the base. “Try and include some of the wood effects that are prominent for this year, such as natural oak, washed-out oak, and walnut, to add depth to the room. “There is a desire for the home to be designed with more individuality. With this in mind, the bedroom should be the most personable space within the home.
Spaceslide Premium Mini Fineline Sliding Wardrobe Doors in Bronze Mirror and Cape Elm You can effortlessly achieve uniqueness by mixing and matching bedroom finishes – something we’ve already seen our customers doing with our popular three panel doors, with a variation of textures being chosen to create a bespoke look that incorporates the latest fashions. “My preference would combine the new wardrobe finishes from Spaceslide, such as the Nordic Teal Panel and Satin Cashmere Glass, and use with our Bronze Mirror, to achieve a refreshing and uplifting vibe. These natural colours work perfectly with the calm powder pink and cashmere hues. “However, if grey is more to your taste, opt for our new Denim Blue Panel with Cape Elm wood effect, that combined with the Grey Mirror sliding doors achieve a contemporary, charcoal decor.” Whatever your choice may be, you have the opportunity to make your bedroom completely unique. We understand the importance of viewing our range of wardrobes and sliding doors through your own eyes. Our spacious Midlands showroom in Lichfield showcases our varied collections, within a range of model bedrooms allowing you to get a better look and feel for the materials and finishes available. Spaceslide Premium Midi 4 Panel Sliding Wardrobe Doors in Grey Mirror and Denim
The experienced and knowledgeable Spaceslide staff will be able to discuss your requirements, offering you the best advice to help you achieve your dream wardrobe solution. Spaceslide’s new finishes include four wooden door panels; Mild Walnut, Nordic Teal, Denim, and Cape Elm, and four glass panels; Duck Egg, Satin Cashmere, Satin Stone Grey, and Blush.
Visit the Spaceslide showroom to envision your revitalized bedroom.
We are offering Staffordshire Living readers an exclusive promotion of 10% off our new finishes* when you place an order online or in your local Lichfield showroom. Terms and conditions apply** * Choose from: Mild Walnut; Satin Duck Egg Glass; Satin Cashmere Glass; Satin Stone Grey Glass; Satin Blush Glass; Nordic Teal; Denim Blue, Cape Elm Wood-Effect. ** Terms and conditions: to populate
Visit us in our Brand New, Outstanding Showroom and be Inspired!! Wharf Design, 133 Congleton Road North, Scholar Green, Stoke on Trent ST7 3HA | 01782 782108
very i l e D s a m X e r P r o ow f N r e d r O Buy the BEST of British Manufacturing
Cannock Showrooms Units 4, 5 & 6 Exchange Business Estate, A5 Watling Street, Bridgtown, Cannock WS11 0BW. (Access to rear car park via Cross Street). Telephone: 01543 505 696 Website: www.sofagallery.co.uk Open: Mon to Fri 9.30am - 5.30pm, Sat 10am - 5pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm.
HOME | TOP PICKS
Because everyone deserves a comfy seat at Christmas…
A good sofa at Christmas is almost as necessary as the tree. Without somewhere decent to throw ourselves onto after an extra lashing of Christmas pud, or to wake up on, after a rather excessive Christmas Eve at the local pub, we are lost. This season’s sofa trends are plush, bold and beautiful, as seductive textures, rich tones and embellished details take centre stage, but thankfully there is always room in interior trends for a more traditional, neutral and ‘old-skool’ vibe too. So where do you sit on the sofa scale, and what does your sofa say about you?
Sofas & Stuff
HOME | TOP PICKS A royal throne
If there’s anyone who could make a statement with their sofa, it’s you. You ooze sophisticated glamour; your sofa is special, as are you. It’s all about looking good. You opt for a classic sofa, where comfort and functionality take a back seat. Gold trimmed details, deep, rich colours and tasteful embellishments all make the grade when it comes to your royal throne. Take a seat, queen.
You’ve got the chat; charisma is no problem for you. And you need a sofa to match. A traditional man-pad necessity, a leather sofa is the only way to go. Sleek, stylish and comfortable, you know how to impress, and it’s made for two. You may be a bit of a player but you know how to work a sofa well, using accessories to bring your sofa to life.
You are eccentric, but stylish. Your house is a playful mix of colours and styles, putting a smile on anyone’s face when they enter. The sofa is the centrepiece of your home and it makes the biggest statement of all. You love patterns, florals and stripes in bold and beautiful colours, and are not afraid to go all out with one striking colour. Take a seat in the funhouse.
POA Oficina Inglesa
You are the type of person who expects the best; if it isn’t well-built and sturdy, it just won’t do. Design, comfort and elegance are all a major part of your interior flair, and rather than fleeting from one trend to the next, you prefer a style that stands the test of time – fitting well with your high standards of living. Only the best will do for you.
Keeping things easy-going is your main aim; you don’t like confrontation, just a pleasant and peaceful life, and your sofa definitely reflects that. Keep it neutral, traditional and ever so comfy. You want to be sure you can disappear into the cushions when you just can’t face stepping out into the cold and wet weather of winter. Brighten up your day with a splash of pink.
You live life by the book so you enjoy the clean lines of contemporary design. Your home is light, bright, and predominantly white, but your personality runs deeper. It’s an efficient way of living, in a world of zero clutter. Your sofa has to work with your entire home, as does every element of your interior design. Each piece must benefit the next. Welcome to clean living.
Plush textures seem to make their way into every aspect of your life – you love the silky-smooth feel of rich materials like velvet, cotton and silk. Your sofa is no different, and it gives you a cheeky and seductive edge to your interior design, just like you. You endeavour to create a French-inspired boudoir in every room of your house, the sofa is just the beginning. Time to seduce.
You like to get things done, and quickly. You don’t want to waste any space that you shouldn’t; the only sofa option for you is the corner one. Big and creative designs fit perfectly in your home, and give you plenty of room to invite all your family and friends over for a big night in – why go out when you can simply stay at home in good company.
You like things to match and take pride in simplicity. You are the quintessential home bird – you enjoy your home and wouldn’t prefer to be anywhere else. Your home is a total reflection of your soul. Decoration is important to you, but you like to keep things natural. Your sofa may be plain in design but it is superior in quality and texture. Home is where the heart is.
£899 Made.com £899 Very
£2821 Furniture Village FESTIVE FLOURISH
Accessories to add a little Christmas cheer
£19 M&Co £40 Pignut
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The perfect excuse to give your room an autumnal makeover!
Jaipur Gazni Indian Rug • Design IJG020 100% Argentine Wool, Handknotted India. Size shown 10’ x 8’ (3.05m x 2.44m). Other sizes and hallway runnners also available.
Refresh your room with a new look for autumn/winter with a Jaipur Gazni Indian rug. Made from 100% wool and handknotted in India, the warm shades in these Ziegler inspired designs will make any room feel cosy. 20% off the collection throughout October.
Jaipur Gazni Indian Rug • Design IJG030 100% Argentine Wool, Handknotted India. Size shown 10’ x 8’ (3.05m x 2.44m). Other sizes and hallway runnners also available.
Ridings Park, Eastern Way, Hawks Green, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 7FJ Stores also at: Bodelwyddan, North Wales LL18 5TY Lythgoes Lane, Warrington WA2 7XE Vanguard Way, Shrewsbury SY1 3TG Shield Retail Park, Bristol BS34 7BR
SAT NAV: A34 WS11 7FJ
A5190 A519 Litchfield
A460 A460 JT7
M6 TOLL A5
Tel: 01745 584 404 Open: Mon-Sat: 10.00-5.00, Sun & Bank Hols: 10.00 - 4.00 Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day & Easter Sun FrithRugs is a trademark of GH Frith (Bodelwyddan) Ltd. 17f01
100% Part Exchange Get full value for your existing home with Lioncourt Homes’ Part Exchange! Creswell Manor is a prestigious development located just 2 miles from Staﬀord Station and only minutes from the M6, oﬀering a range of delightfully designed multi-award winning homes. Move up to a selected new home there with Part Exchange*.
Help to Buy
l 100% of Market Value l No Estate Agency Fees l Carpets on selected plots l Quick & Simple Come and take a look around our beautiful showhomes, open seven days a week.
3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes from £265,000 to £500,000
Creswell Manor, Eccleshall Road, Staﬀord, ST16 1PF Showhomes open every day, 10am to 5.30pm. Telephone: 0845 873 2885† www.lioncourthomes.com *Part Exchange* available on selected properties only. All oﬀers are subject to terms and conditions, please ask our Sales Executive for full details. Photographs show a typical Lioncourt home. †Calls will be charged at seven pence per minute from a BT landline and may cost considerably more from mobile and other phones. Contact your service provider for more details. Prices and oﬀers correct at time of print.
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ain Street, lre as, Staffordshire, DE13 7ED
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COOK UP A FEAST WITH TOP BRAND...
COOKING APPLIANCES* YOUR LOCAL ELECTRICAL EXPERT IS HERE TO HELP Sa
50cm Twin Cavity Gas Cooker
60cm Double Oven Gas Cooker Model No: GGN61Z
Model No: ZCV554MW
• 78 Litres Conventional Main Oven, • 34 Litres Conventional Top Oven • 4 Burner Gas Hob, Cast Iron Pan Supports • Dimensions: H90xW60xD60cm
• 4 Zone Ceramic Hob • Hot Hob Indicator
• Thermaflow Fan Cooking System • Dimensions: H90xW55xD60cm
55cm Double Oven Electric Cooker
Model No: BCDG504W • 61 Litres Conventional Oven, Separate Grill Cavity • 4 Burner Gas Hob • Hardened Enamel Oven Lining • Dimensions: H90x W50xD60cm
50cm Single Oven Gas Cooker
Model No: ZCV668MX • 72 Litres Main Fan Oven • 41 Litres Top Oven & Grill • 4 Zone Ceramic Hob with Hot Hob Indicator • Dimensions: H90xW60xD60cm
60cm Electric Cooker Double Oven
Model No: NW50THLG • 4 Burner Gas Hob • 43 Litres Capacity Oven • High Level Variable Grill • Dimensions: H141xW50.2xD60.2cm
HYLANDS LTD Longton = Cooker showroom, Free parking nearby Also OPEN Sundays - ST3 2JH Tel: 01782 342 609 Website: HylandsElectrical.co.uk
*Terms and Conditions apply. Sold as an agent of Euronics Limited. All rights reserved. All offers are subject to availability while stocks last. Delivery & Installation charges may apply Exclusions and Radius Apply. Prices correct at time of print but can be subject to change. See in store for full details. Images for illustration purposes only. Copyright Euronics 2017. E&OE October 2017. Saving compared to a higher price charged for 28 days in the last six months unless otherwise stated.
FOR SOME, SLEEP IS SOMETHING T H AT J U S T H A P P E N S . AT S O M N U S F OI T R SHOAMPEP, ES N L ESE PB Y IS D SO EM S IEGT H NI.N G T H AT J U S T H A P P E N S . AT S O M N U S IT HAPPENS BY DESIGN. M A D E I N YO R K S H I R E S I N C E 1 840 H A N D M A D E I N YO R K S H I R E S I N C E 1 840
YO U R L O C A L YO U R L O C A L S OS M NNUUSS SSLLEE E P SSTTUUDDI OI O OM EP : : Bedz Bedzz and Bedrooms
Bedz Bedzz and Bedrooms Brook Street Brook Street Leek, Staffordshire Leek, ST13 Staffordshire 5JE ST13 5JE www.bedsinleek.co.uk www.bedsinleek.co.uk
U P TO 2 0 % O F F T H I S AU T U M N P L U S A F R E E L U X U R Y M AT T R E S S P R O T E C T O R *
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P R O U D T O B E PA R T O F T H E H A R R I S O N S P I N K S F A M I LY
*Mattress protector offer applies to divan sets only and ends 24th December 2017
U P TO 2 5 % O F F I N T H E W I N T E R SA L E Somnus Local Retail 1/2 LAN_210x133_Bedz(#3613)_v3.indd 1
HOME | GIFT GUIDE
Champagne Bucket £29.99 HomeSense Set of three Candle Holders £18 Debenhams
Gold Diamon Ceiling Lamp £39.99 HomeSense
Brass Table Candle Holder £25 Amara
u s h io n £ 2 5 M a r k s &
£2 4 Next
tC lve Ve
THE DOMESTIC QUEEN
Diffuser - 150ml £34 Amara
£19.50 Marks & Spencer
Bloom A4 Wall Art £50 Oliver Bonas
Everything your home bird will love
Oslo Vase £25 Marks & Spencer
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS”
PR ESTIGE HOMES Find Your Dream Home In Staffordshire A selection of the most prestigious homes currently for sale in Staffordshire and the surrounding areas. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
Sa le Fo r
Lower House Farm, Stanley Bank
• Four Bedrooms • Oak Beams • Inglenook Fireplace • Mullioned Windows • Village location • Views over Stanley Pool • Character Property A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO PURCHASE SUCH A SPECIAL PROPERTY This really is a property that oozes character of which some parts date back to the 17th Century. Built of a stone and brick construction, this home retains a wealth of architectural features including beamed ceilings and mullioned windows to name but a few. Situated within the conservation area of Stanley Village with views over Stanley Pool, the property is set in mature gardens featuring various patio areas, lawns and lower beds. This truly is a family home where memories are just waiting to be made. EPC Grade E
Sa le Fo r
The Granary, Marston Lane, Stafford
Asking Price £2,400,000.00
• Detached Four Bedroom Barn Conversion • Ensuite To All Bedrooms • Swimming Pool & Hot Tub • Cinema Room • Games Room • Exposed Beams and Brickwork • Set In 4.5 Acres Approx A well-proportioned four-bedroom detached property known as The Granary, set in the secluded Marston area.This stunning property oozes charm, luxury and privacy.With a fabulous celebrity/ footballing pedigree this beautifully presented property has luxurious features including a leisure complex with heated indoor pool, home cinema room, open plan family living space and even its own lake. External entertainment areas add to the luxury feel of this amazing property. Ideally located for commuting via local motorway links, the property is just a short drive away from Stone and Stafford. EPC Grade D
Offices in Endon and Festival Park 01782 626522
Guide Price: ÂŁ499,950 Call John German Uttoxeter to view 01889 567444
Leigh, Staffordshire Absolutely stunning extended character cottage, appointed to a superior standard providing excellent family accommodation. The property has off road parking and occupies a delightful plot of approximately 0.3 acre, enjoying beautiful far reaching views over the surrounding countryside. EPC Rating: D.
More amazing photos: www.JohnGerman.co.uk
Ashbourne 01335 340730 East Leake 01509 856006 Uttoxeter 01889 567444
Ashby de la Zouch 01530 412824 Lichfield 01543 419121 London 020 7839 0888
Barton Un. Needwood 01283 716806 Loughborough 01509 239121
Burton Upon Trent 01283 512244 Stafford 01785 236600
Guide Price: From £324,950 – £354,950 Call John German Lichfield to view 01543 419121
Hixon, Staffordshire Lancaster Close is an exciting new development of six detached bungalows comprising of three different styles. Each bungalow is attractively designed and practically planned and a high level of specification will be common in all. Each bungalow has parking for 3 to 4 cars. This private drive development is located close to the village centre and its many amenities.
More amazing photos: www.JohnGerman.co.uk Ashbourne 01335 340730 East Leake 01509 856006 Uttoxeter 01889 567444
Ashby de la Zouch 01530 412824 Lichfield 01543 419121 London 020 7839 0888
Barton Un. Needwood 01283 716806 Loughborough 01509 239121
Burton Upon Trent 01283 512244 Stafford 01785 236600
Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire
A splendid range of three separate barn conversions
A charming Grade II Listed family home
• The Barn – 4 bedrooms • Baylock Barn – 4 bedrooms • Barn Three – 4 bedrooms • Delightful gardens with patio
• 4 good sized bedrooms • Sitting room, study • Family/dining room • Cellar/utility
• Circa 2 acres including a paddock • EPC TBC
Guide price £1,300,000
• Kitchen breakfast room • Mature gardens • Log store and workshop
Guide price £600,000
A beautifully presented detached family home
Beautifully presented Grade ll listed former mill
• 3 reception rooms • Conservatory • Swimming pool & sauna • 4 bedrooms
• 5 delightful reception rooms • Spacious kitchen/breakfast room • 5 double bedrooms • 3 bathrooms
• 3 bathrooms • Paddock and stabling • EPC rating D
Guide price £1,125,000
16 offices selling across the UK Stafford 01785 220044
• Mature gardens and garaging • Village location
Guide price £1,400,000
A charming Grade ll Listed former church room
A charming former station house
• Entrance hall • Guest cloakroom • Spacious sitting/dining room • Kitchen & utility
• Delightful sitting room • Study • Kitchen/breakfast room • Well appointed family bathroom
• Ground floor bedroom & bathroom • Two first floor bedrooms • Pleasant gardens & parking area
Guide price £350,000
Sharpcliffe, Ipstones, Staffordshire
• 3 bedrooms • In all about 1.6 acres • EPC rating E
Guide price £445,000
• Paddock. In all about 1.5 acres • Gardens and garden store • EPC rating C
Guide price £635,000 Alasdair Dunne
Offers in excess of £500,000
A delightful 4 bedroom barn conversion • Spacious accommodation • Large sitting/games room • Open plan kitchen/living room • 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
• Former walled kitchen garden • Pasture, woodland & heathland • About 77.5 acres
Historic Hall & wonderful restoration project • Country house needing refurbishment • 5 reception rooms, 7 bedrooms • 2 bedroom cottage, outbuildings • Delightful gardens and grounds
Graham Watkins & Co. Chartered Surveyors, Estate Agents, Auctioneers &Valuers
69 Derby Street, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 6JL Tel: 01538 373308 Email: email@example.com
New House Farm, Bagnall Road, Bagnall, Staffordshire, ST9 9JY
UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY, EARLY VIEWING HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! New House Farm offers a superbly presented four bedroom property with quality fixtures and fittings throughout, creating a vast amount of space and grandeur. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a rural lifestyle property, with exceptional views and outside space; all set within twelve acres or thereabouts. Featuring a large separate outbuilding, housing a swimming pool and gymnasium, nestled in immaculately landscaped oriental themed gardens. Furthermore, the property offers a double garage, stables and MĂŠnage - which maybe of interest to those with equestrian pursuits. The latter provides scope to convert or redevelop (subject to planning consents), offering potential for alternative sources of income. New House Farm is located in the highly sought after village of Bagnall in the popular Staffordshire Moorlands and is well worthy of inspection.
Consall Mill, Wetley Rocks Guide Price: ÂŁ500,000
- A true character property, dating back to the 1700s. - Escape the 'hu-bub' of city life! - A fantastic home to entertain your nearest and dearest - Jam packed with interesting period features - Boasts the very best of open plan design - Be the envy of your family and friends with this one of a kind property!
hris Hi, Iâ€™m C wner O Branch Move of Ewe nley Ha Leek &
Situated deep within a secluded valley, cut in two by the River Churnet and Cauldon Canal, this four bed converted mill dates back to the 1700s and is seeped in history. It offers the absolute best of open plan living, coupled with the peaceful solitude of it's location. Consall Mill encompasses the majority of the old mill and is spread over four floors. Included within, but not limited to, is a breathtaking, open plan living area on the second floor, a simply staggering master suite with shower room and bath, a cosy cinema room, fantastic family bathroom and a further three double bedrooms.
To book a viewing call 01782 454515 or visit www.EweMove.com/Hanley
Celebrate in style this festive season with a real 6 f t Christmas tree f rom F REE w ith ever y conser vator y or d er ed b y 30th Novem b er 2017. w w w .tar g etw ind ow s.co.uk | sales@tar g etw ind ow s.co.uk | 01785 811558
IN A WINTER WONDERLANDâ€?
T R AV E L Sleigh me away! Rediscover: The French Alps, Me Time at The Maytime, Festive shopping destinations and Gifts for the traveller t is advised to al ays check ith the oreign ce or local touris oard efore travelling to any country ou can nd out ore a out travelling safely around the orld at gov uk foreign travel advice
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S L E I G H M E A W AY !
TRAVEL | ESCAPES
Who said Christmas had to be traditional?
CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS If you had the chance to spend Christmas in a paradise setting, with not a snowflake in sight, would you? Probably. And if there is one place on this earth that could give you such a scenery in December – it’s the Caribbean. Imagine it: bright blue skies, luscious palm trees and beautiful coral reef, topped off with crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and breathtaking landscapes, and it’s all just waiting for you – a mere plane ride away. It’s hard not to crave such blissful surroundings, especially when the thought of stuffing the turkey just isn’t doing it for you this time. From the culture of Jamaica to the romance of St Lucia; the excitement of the Bahamas and the adventure of Antigua; there is an island to suit - around 35 main travel destinations to be exact and each one is geared up to receive tourists for the Christmas break. You can expect to find hotels with beautifully decorated trees, turkey and all the trimmings on the menu and Christmas carols playing throughout resorts. You certainly won’t miss out on all the comforts of Christmas at home, but you’ll be able to celebrate in your bikini, around the pool, with a cocktail in hand, instead of a warming mulled wine by the fire. Sound like the Christmas of your dreams? 114
There really isn’t that much to think about, is there? Apart from whether you can pack all the presents from under the tree into your suitcase…
Where to stay: Cap Maison
LIVING loves… The beauty of St Lucia
Cap Maison, St Lucia is a family-operated boutique villa resort located on the northernmost tip of St. Lucia in the Cap Estate, one of the most exclusive areas on the island. Guests are treated to dramatic cliff scenery with the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea on one side and the brisk Atlantic Ocean to the other. Designed in an elegant Spanish Caribbean style, Cap Maison’s 49 beautifully-appointed suites are spread over three acres of tropical landscaped grounds.
At 27-miles long and 14-miles wide, St Lucia is compact but by no means confined. It’s nestled on the south-eastern side of the Caribbean Sea, neighbouring Barbados and St Vincent, and is well-known for being one of the most welcoming islands in the archipelago. Yes, it has the sensational coastal retreats, palmlined beaches and the hot breezy weather, but it’s the wildlife, nature, and culture that truly bring this little pocket of paradise to life. Behind the stunning beaches lies a backdrop of lush rainforest – described as an ‘emerald blanket’ – and a hidden adventure trail for the more venturesome. It’s certainly a favourite among romantics, having been named “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” eight times, but there are plenty more reasons to visit. And whether you enjoy action and adventure in the rainforest, dolphin and whale spotting on the sea, or absorbing culture and tasting foodie delights in the towns, you’ve got it made in St Lucia.
Aside from access to a pretty and secluded private beach to enjoy an early morning walk on Christmas Day, the resort offers a schedule of festive events, including discounts of spa treatments, rum tasting, live music from a selection of local bands (including calypso carols), champagne breakfasts, a sand-snowmen competition, and a traditional Christmas dinner. Garden View rooms at Cap Maison are priced at US$660 (approx. £430) per night on a bed and breakfast basis (two-sharing) inclusive of service and VAT at 20%. Cap Maison is also offering a ‘Have Christmas Day on Us’ (one-night free) special offer, when staying seven nights over the 19th-26th December. Find out more: capmaison.com; 020 8977 6099.
TRAVEL | ESCAPES
CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND Ever dreamt you could transport yourself to the top of a mountain during the festive period away from the ping-ping of your mobile phone and the monotony of Christmas TV? You’re not alone, in fact, most of us have thought about it at one point or another; usually when we are forced to stuff yet another homemade mince pie into our mouths on Boxing Day. Not many of us will act on this, but for those lucky people that do, Christmas becomes more magical than ever before. High up in the mountains is where you’ll look upon snowcapped peaks every morning - giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘white Christmas’ - it’s where you’ll only be connected to those around you, and where you’ll forget the days (hopefully). It doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Christmas traditionally though… just with a chilly twist. And the mountains are not just for the skiers and the snowboarders among us either, there are plenty of other experiences which make a snow-filled Christmas appealing. Take ramblers, for example. Walking holidays have risen in popularity over recent years, and what was once reserved as a ‘sport’ for the over 55s has evolved massively and it’s not just navigating the tracks and trails of the UK anymore either - you can set yourself a
challenge in any part of the world, from Europe to Asia, and most activities are graded so you can decide what suits your own ability. LIVING loves… The Swiss highlands The Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland is an area of outstanding natural beauty where you are sure to pinch yourself when you wake up to the stunning views each morning. Magnificent mountains, flawless lakes, crisp forest and fresh air – it’s an unbeatable combination. There are more than 800 lakes in the region, each as wonderful as the next, surrounded by nature at its finest. Green hills merge into snowy peaks, with glistening pools of water creating an exquisite and beautiful sight. The scenery will take your breath away and is certain to make Christmas just that little bit better. Widely recognised as the birthplace of skiing, the mountains here are a favourite among adrenaline junkies, with over 350-kilometers of ski tracks, and 200-kilometers of winter hiking and snowshoe trails – it’s a winter wonderland, for sure. Add to that, the welcoming hospitality of the Swiss people, you’ll feel right at home. Your only real problem will be whether or not it’s worth coming home!
Where to stay: Kandersteg Situated in a high mountain valley in the Bernese Oberland, surrounded by dramatic peaks, lies the traditional Swiss village of Kandersteg - an enclave of lovely old wooden chalets overlooking snow-covered meadows and glistening woodlands. One of Switzerland’s most peaceful and unspoilt alpine resorts, it offers the perfect winter-walking escape with over 35-miles of snow-kissed marked trails. Coupled with an excellent network of local transport, including chairlifts, cable cars and trains, you can explore some of the area’s most impressive routes through the Oeschi forest and isolated Loetschen Valley to the scenic high of Risetenegg lookout and Sunnbüel to walk the Gemmi pass to Daubensee. Winter Walks in Kandersteg (Grade 4 – Moderate) starts from £1,355 per person including return flights, half board en suite accommodation, three lunches, festive dinner over Christmas and all local transport costs. Find out more: ramblersholidays.co.uk; 01707 331133.
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Travel in style, relax in luxury Fly with British Airways in Club Europe and upgrade to a junior suite or suite this winter from as little as £1,049pp 5H LUxUry UpgradEs prices from £1,049 £1,130 £1,275 £1,689 £2,250
pine Cliffs Hotel - a Luxury Collection resort* algarve Columbia Beach resort* Cyprus princesa yaiza suite Hotel & resort** Lanzarote Iberostar Grand Hotel El Mirador* Tenerife Bahia del duque* Tenerife
Prices are per person, based on 7 nights bed & breakfast in a junior suite* or suite** including private resort transfers and British Airways Club Europe flights departing from London airports, subject to availability. Other UK departure airports available including Manchester Birmingham and East Midlands.
Call 0800 047 1064 I Go to www.classic-collection.co.uk I Visit your local travel agent
Staffordshire Living_282x210.indd 1
TRAVEL | ESCAPES
CRUISIN’ CHRISTMAS They say one of the best things about setting sail on a cruise is the opportunity to visit the unusual – to discover the world one dock at a time – and there couldn’t be a better time to see the world than during the magic of Christmas. Imagine waking up to the sound of waves instead of church bells on Christmas morning; it’s got to be one of the most enchanting festive experiences you could go for. Luxurious accommodation, service on demand and the wonder of the ocean, there is masses of appeal. With so many cruises available, the hardest decision is finding the right one for you, and especially at Christmas, when the scenery will be breathtaking. Bright lights will frame the shores of some of the most desirable locations across the globe, as you sit aboard a luxurious vessel at sea, with more amenities and activities than you could ever imagine. You’ll have everything you could need and more: a private cabin, any cuisine you could wish for and entertainment in abundance. But, it’s at each destination you visit that Christmas will truly come alive. Each place will give you something different, and all with a unique twist on the festivities, from foodie delights, to quirky markets, history and culture. It’s one indulgent trip after
another – and, why not? It’s Christmas, after all. LIVING loves… An Arctic adventure Hot springs, glistening water, the Northern Lights, glacier mountains and snow sports; there probably isn’t a more Christmassy spot in the world. I mean, Santa lives here, doesn’t he? The North Pole is right at the heart of the Arctic Circle; with Norway, Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland completing the circuit. With extraordinary views to wake up to, and experience at night - you’ll be best placed to see the miraculous vision that is the Northern Lights – you really won’t miss home at all. And, while it might be the coldest air you’ve ever felt, you will be safe, warm and cosy on board a luxury cruise ship! If you really want to ensure that Christmas 2017 is one to remember, then embarking on a special Arctic adventure will do it. Take home and cherish memories that only a small number of people will ever get to do. Just don’t forget to pack those snow suits, thermals and plenty of thick socks.
the beauty of the Arctic without the need for a compass. Take in the natural wonders of northern Norway with a sprinkling of festive spirit, what more could you ask for at Christmas! And you’ll be viewing it all safe in the knowledge that you can escape the snow, if you wish, and jump back on board your cruise liner at the end of the day. Explore snow-smothered Arctic landscapes; go in search of the magical Northern Lights; and enjoy a relaxing Christmas Day with all the trimmings on board the ship, Black Watch. Ports of call: Southampton, UK – Stavanger, Norway – Alta (overnight stay) – Tromsø (overnight stay) – Trondheim, Norway – Alesund – Bergen – Southampton, UK. The 15-night ‘Norwegian Christmas’ cruise departs from Southampton on 21st December 2017. Prices start from £2,149 per person for an Ocean View Room. Prices above are based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded room, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes. Find out more: fredolsencruises.com; 0800 0355 242.
Where to stay: Black Watch, Norway Unless you decide to visit the North Pole, Norway is your next best Christmas destination, it has all
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TRAVEL | REDISCOVER
R EDI S C OV ER:
THE FRENCH ALPS The French Alps are a popular choice for winter snow seekers. Bordering Italy and Switzerland, and packed with exciting ski-runs, lively après-ski, and reliable snow conditions, thousands flock to enjoy the slopes every year. But leave behind the bustling resorts of Chamonix, Les Arcs, Tignes and Val d’Isère and discover more of what this spectacular mountain range has to offer.
TRAVEL | REDISCOVER
AVO R I A Z Sitting at the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area, on the FrenchSwiss border, in the north-eastern territory of the French Alps, lies Avoriaz, a completely pedestrianised resort offering great runs for kids and adults. Avoriaz is a great base to explore Portes du Soleil’s 650km of slopes, with guaranteed snow cover from December to April, averaging 8-metres of snowfall each season, and is highly regarded as the capital of snowboarding. Getting around by foot, ski or horse-drawn sledge are the norm, as the streets are ski-runs and completely car-free, and there is slope access from most of the accommodation. Getting there: The nearest airport is Geneva, approximately 80km away. Find out more: www.avoriaz.com.
L E S T R O I S VA L L É E S
ISOL A 2000
The ski area of Les Trois Vallées, including the popular resort of Courchevel, but also Val Thorens and Les Menuires, is the world’s largest ski area accessible with a single pass. There are 600 km of slopes, with 183 ski lifts, accessing 335 downhill pistes. Val Thorens is the highest resort in the Trois Vallées area and the highest in Europe giving it a long season, usually from November to May. Its altitude and position create some of the best scenery in France, however, it can also cause some issues with accessibility when the weather is particularly heavy. Les Menuires offers vast landscapes and is a great budget option for families.
Definitely one of the lesser-known ski areas of France, the southern Alpine resort of Isola 2000 is the one to watch. At only 90-minutes from the French Riviera, its location is idyllic, sitting at the summit of the southern alps, bordering Italy, and making it a popular spot with natives from Nice. Isola 2000 has a reputation of being one of the sunniest ski resorts, but also one of the coldest, and with 120km of pistes, it’s an exciting area to visit for all levels and stages. The resort is complemented by a historic and serene village and has plenty of entertainment and cultural activities.
Getting there: The nearest airport is Chambery, approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes transfer. Find out more: www.les3vallees.com
ALPE D’HUE Z
L E S CA R R OZ Les Carroz is one of the five ‘Grand Massif’ linked resorts at the foot of Mont Blanc, it has a traditional village feel with a pleasant and quaint atmosphere. If you are used to the purpose-built, convenient resorts of the more popular French hot-spots, like Chamonix and Tignes, this might be a culture-shock, but its authentic feel gives it a little more charm than most. A lesserknown area, Les Carroz is nestled in one of France’s largest ski areas, situated near to Flaine’s main ski resort. Chamonix and Megève are also within the same area. Les Carroz is widely regarded as a popular choice for families with children. Getting there: The nearest airport is Geneva, approximately a 55-minute transfer. Find out more: winter.lescarroz.com.
One of the largest ski resorts in France, L’Alpe d’Huez is known as a sunshine resort thanks to its south-facing plateau, and sits 1860m above sea level. It has great slopes for beginners, but gives more experienced skiers plenty off-piste opportunities as well. Close to Grenoble, it has great accessibility, and is a fun and lively place to be when night falls. With great shopping and other activities, the resort is a firm favourite among families; and with stunning scenery, 300-days of sunshine a year and fantastic facilities, Alpe d’Huez is also great option for first-timers. Getting there: The nearest airports are Chambery and Grenoble, both approximately a 2-hour transfer. Find out more: www.alpedhueznet.com.
Getting there: The nearest airport is Nice, approximately 90km away. Find out more: winter.isola2000.com.
M EG È V E Megève was designed in the 1920s and is largely considered the original purposebuilt resort of the French Alps. It sits at the heart of the Mont-Blanc mountain range, and tends to attract the older, more traditional skiers, whereas France’s most popular resort, Courchevel, attracts a younger, trendier set of people. It benefits from great snow-fall, and an attractive, medieval village to explore. Slopes are easy to navigate, with easy access, and fantastic backdrops as you enjoy the run. The village has plenty to offer in terms of dining, shopping and other activities too. Getting there: The nearest airport is Geneva, approximately a 1-hour drive. Find out more: www.megeve.com.
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TRAVEL | PRESS TRIP
Me time at the
MAYTIME Forget all the hustle and bustle of life and sink into a world of timeless luxury at the heart of the Cotswolds. The Maytime Inn has got it just right.
modern edge we crave when we stay away from home. We like to relax in a country manor, but sleep in a luxurious abode.
The Cotswolds has always been a favourite destination to escape to, especially if you live in Staffordshire. Less than a two-hour drive sees you right in the heart of England’s magnificent countryside; fascinating medievalstyle villages, picturesque market towns, rolling hills and grand manor houses create a stunning backdrop for a relaxing break away from the normality of everyday life. While the atmosphere of the ‘wolds’ never seems to get tiresome, you still hope to uncover something special each time you go, and LIVING did just that. The Maytime Inn, run by 29-year-old entrepreneur, Dominic Wood, with his trusted dog, Alfie, by his side, is a 4 AA gold star Inn situated in the beautifully peaceful and historic village of Asthall in Burford. Just off the A40, less than half-a-mile to be exact, but hidden in its own country hamlet, The Maytime Inn is secluded, but you don’t feel trapped. Surrounded by meadows and the nearby River Windrush, and with its quintessentially English building - which dates to the 17th Century - you’d think you’d passed through a time machine. But its location is perfect to access the many attractions of the area; safe in the knowledge that you have a little peace and tranquillity to retreat to at the end of the day. Think of The Darling Buds of May and you will picture The Maytime; that easy-going, florally-decorated farmer lifestyle, but it’s as luxurious as it is rustic. It has somehow found a happy-compromise between the two. The pub, dining areas and exterior keep its old coaching inn heritage alive, while the contemporary designed bedrooms give it that
In 2012, a then 23-year-old Dominic acquired The Maytime Inn, and he set to work bringing the inn’s reputation, design and décor up-to-date. He manages to keep the atmosphere informal but the service exquisite. His attention to detail is evident throughout, from the attentive staff and spotless interior, to the homemade welcome biscuits and sugar cube towers executed with every cup of tea and coffee. And his hard work is paying off; The Maytime Inn has already earned several industry accolades. It has been awarded the AA Breakfast Award, the AA Dinner Award and, most notably, the Expedia Insiders Select Award in 2015. And, in March 2016, it was awarded the ‘Stellar Stays’ award by Hotels Combined, which is an official recognition of its quality and customer satisfaction, and places it in the top 3% of hotels reviewed worldwide. It’s an elegant boutique-stay, there are six ensuite bedrooms, all with their own individual style, but all with nods to its coaching inn history. We stayed in the ‘King En-suite Hunting Room’, which boasts a super-king bed, en-suite, 400-thread count Egyptian cotton bed linen, 26inch flat screen television and waterfall power showers. The bathroom is of a contemporary design – trendy without being overbearing and excellently maintained.
We loved that you could sit anywhere in the restaurant or bar and order what you wanted from either the pub classic or a la carte menus. It was refreshing to be able to go in the bar for a drink and eat fine food at the same time. It all adds to the relaxed atmosphere you feel throughout, but there is certainly a superior service running in the background. You get the best without feeling awkward or stiff; you are welcome with muddy boots and a wet dog to cosy up by the fire, and you can do that while you wait for your seared pigeon breast from the kitchen! But it doesn’t stop there, The Maytime Inn is cashing in on the gin revolution too. You can expect to find over 100 different gin mixes in their collection behind the bar. However, if spirits aren’t your thing, they also have a world beer and cider menu, in addition to a varied wine list, so you’re guaranteed to be able to try something new. If you’re lucky enough to be there when the sun is shining, then there’s a large terraced area and garden to enjoy the outdoors too. The Maytime Inn may be an expensive retreat for the area but it’s worth the luxury, and you get what you pay for! Rooms start from £130, with midweek two-night break for two in December priced from £320 with dinner, bed and breakfast. Find out more: www.themaytime.com
Dominic hit a high-note with the food as well with Head Chef, Roger Williams at the helm in the kitchen. Hearty pub classics and country favourites make up most of the menu, but the ingredients and presentation go well-beyond, reaching into a fine dining style. You can tell that no matter what food is on order – be it a plate of fish and chips or venison loin – the same amount of time and effort is taken to create the dish. And Roger takes great pride in his work, made evident by his morning trip to nearby Asthall Manor to handpick the vegetables for the day’s service. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
TRAVEL | BREAKS
Ca s t let on The small Derbyshire village of Castleton, nestled at the heart of the Peak District National Park, is a sight of wonder at Christmas. There are not many places so close to home that can really bring Christmas to life, but Castleton has been a favourite festive destination for many families, for generations, thanks to its pretty displays and quaint traditions. It offers a real escape from the stresses of Christmas, and for everyone (kids and adults alike) to indulge in a little magic. Christmas lights fill the streets, and each shop is decorated to perfection, with extended opening hours, and plenty of hospitality, events and activities bringing that festive atmosphere we crave right on our doorstep. A Christmas tree festival, carols by candlelight in Castleton’s caves, and entertainment on the streets make Castleton an enchanting place to go for your fill of festive cheer. Castleton may be close to home but staying over lets you experience it at its best. Book it: A two-night stay (December travel) for two people starts from around £130 per person. Find out more: booking.com.
S a l zbu r g
L ondon Fancy taking a trip to the capital this Christmas? You won’t miss out! Christmas in London is packed with festive concerts, markets, ice skating, Santa’s grottos and warming food and drink delicacies to indulge in. See some of London’s most famous landmarks lit up in spectacular fashion; hear all your favourite Christmas carols at venues like Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral; and take in the bustling atmosphere of shopping hubs like Oxford Street, Mayfair, Bond Street, the quirky, Camden Market, and Harrods, of course. Highlights also include: the beautiful outdoor ice skating rinks at Alexandra Palace, Hampton Court Palace and Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, and Christmas markets, including the South Bank Centre, Tate Modern and London Bridge. Book it: A two-night stay (December travel) for two people in the Westminster Borough of London starts from around £232 per person. Find out more: booking.com.
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR A JOLLY HOLIDAY Shopping, eating or just craving a little festive cheer? These destinations know how to ‘do Christmas’, just like Santa would. Here’s where to have your festive mini-break this year.
Salzburg’s main Christmas market, held in the city’s historic Cathedral Square, dates back to the 15th Century, and is both the largest and most captivating in the Salzburgerland region. Steeped in Austrian tradition, and with some of the most unique and beautifully crafted gifts and trinkets you could wish for, you’ll find inspiration for all your loved ones, from food and drink, to crafts, textiles, sweets, chocolates and toys. But it’s not only the markets to explore, the city is a cultural hotspot too. Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart, so there is always plenty of music filling the festive streets, and as a Christian city, the nativity exhibits in the Residenz courtyard are well worth a visit too. Book it: A Christmas markets break in Salzburg (valid 23rd November to 26th December) is priced from €175 (approx. £162) in November, and €229 (approx. £211) in December and includes two-nights 4-star citycentre B&B accommodation, a voucher for hot glühwein (mulled wine) at Cathedral Square, and a horse-drawn carriage ride through Salzburg. Find out more: salzburg.info. Flights direct to Salzburg are available with British Airways, from £80 return: www.ba.com.
TRAVEL | BREAKS Nu rem b er g Nuremberg is a fabulous medieval city in the heart of Bavarian Germany. The centre truly comes alive at Christmas, with one of Germany’s most famous markets kicking off on the 1st December, with a highly anticipated and televised festive opening ceremony. As well as the traditional Christmas market, there is also a magical Children’s Christmas Market to explore too. Fabulous nightlife, a vibrant café and alfresco dining culture, and 14 Michelin-recommended restaurants (two with Michelin Stars) – all immersed within the stunning medieval town walls – make Nuremberg a truly exciting city to visit. The history of Nuremberg’s medieval roots shape the town and its architecture, and its many historical sites, including the Kaiserburg castle and the Nuremberg Trials Memorium, are a must see. There are also excellent shopping opportunities in the pedestrianised town centre. Book it: The Park Plaza Nuremberg is a great base from which you can explore the city’s culture, heritage and festivities. The property is housed in the former American-Bavarian Hotel, which was the residence of the prosecutors and judges during the Nuremberg trials and later the US Army chose to station its officers there up until 1995. Rooms at Park Plaza Nuremberg start from €123 (£107), including breakfast and taxes for two people. Flights: bmi regional now fly direct to Nuremberg from Birmingham, from just £79 per person, one-way. Find out more: flybmi.com; parkplaza.com.
Pack your bags and enjoy the festive treats of Europe and the UK.
Sloven i a Slovenia has pockets of wonderful Christmas events just waiting to be discovered and it’s a great way to get your fill of festive culture in a place you wouldn’t normally visit. Colourful, artsy Christmas lights illuminate the citycentre of Ljubljana, and you can also explore the Christmas markets (1st-31st December) on foot, passing by quaint wooden stalls adorned with ornaments, lights and vendors selling local, authentic crafts and specialties. Take a day-trip to visit Slovenia’s iconic Lake Bled, with festive events taking place throughout December and January. The ‘Festive Promenade’ is a beautiful lakeside bazaar, featuring festive gifts, Slovenian delicacies and drinks from Slovenia’s thriving wine region of Gorenjska. During the winter months Lake Bled comes alive with Christmas lights and a permanent Nativity scene, making it the perfect place for a winter getaway. There are also Christmas markets in Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, and a Christmas crib and market at Postojna Cave, where you can experience famous biblical scenes bought to life within the beautiful Postojna underworld, by visiting the biggest live nativity scene set in an underground cave. Book it: A two-night stay (December travel) in Ljubljana is priced from £280 per person, based on two people sharing a room, with flights from Manchester. Find out more: expedia.co.uk; visitljubljana.com
r Pot te s fa n !
Cop en h a gen Christmas starts early in Copenhagen; from November, the cobbled streets are festooned with lights, the beer is in full flow, and the inviting scent of gløgg (mulled wine) and toasted almonds fills the air. Stay in a picturesque waterfront hotel in the colourful Nyhavn harbour, conveniently located for the Christmas market at Tivoli fairground, the shops along Størget, as well as the city’s palaces, museums and restaurants. There’s also a series of Christmas concerts held at churches across the city to enjoy, and several outdoor skating rinks too. Don’t miss the Kastellet, one of the best-preserved star fortresses in northern Europe, and the Amalienborg (the main residence of the Danish royal family) considered to be the greatest example of Danish Rococo architecture. Be sure to climb the aptly named Round Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the capital too. Book it: A trip to Copenhagen is priced from £620 per person - available 25th November to 17th December 2017 - based on two sharing, including three nights’ B&B accommodation in a four-star hotel, walking notes, 24-hour City Card and return flights from Heathrow to Copenhagen. Find out more: inntravel.co.uk; 01653 617000.
Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Christmas is a special time in the Harry Potter series, so this November, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida will give guests a special opportunity to see, feel and even taste what it’s like to celebrate the magic of Christmas in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. As night falls, a magical holiday transformation of Hogwarts castle will take place right before guests’ eyes. Festive décor like ornate garlands will line the streets of both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Each storefront will be decked out with uniquely-themed decorations, and guests will enjoy special holiday themed food, drink and entertainment.
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TRAVEL | GIFT GUIDE £32 Dune Travel Mug £12 Creative Tops
£35 Miss Selfridge Passport Cover and Luggage Tag £90 House of Fraser
Journal £23 The Great Gift Company
Earphone Cable Tidy £2.95 www.dotcomgiftshop.com
Ted Baker Suitcase £295 Amara
Gifts for those with wanderlust
aGroove Bluetooth Speaker £49 Amara
Manicure Kit £25 House of Fraser
Portable Charger £39 Amara
“ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE”
ENTERTA INMENT The Film Club, The Book Corner, Events calendar, This girl has power and Gifts for the pleasure seeker w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
ENTERTAINMENT | FILM
the film CLUB
to the Jungle: RELEASE DATE
Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan
Sony Pictures ^
Battle of the Sexes RELEASE DATE
Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton
Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s World #1 Billie Jean King (Stone) and ex-men’schamp and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most-watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today. 126
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox
In this brand new adventure, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the tables are turned as four teenagers in detention are sucked into the world of Jumanji. When they discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of, they are immediately thrust into the game’s jungle setting, into the bodies of their avatars, played by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan. What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji – Jumanji plays you. They’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, or they’ll be stuck in the game forever…
ENTERTAINMENT | FILM ^
Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Ruby Rose
Fuelled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes - Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash - it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
• L IV
Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher
T CH T H E WA T
MUS T S E E
Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.
Warner Bros. Pictures
This group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music and some questionable decisions, one last time...
E • SCAN
Pitch Perfect 3
Murder on the Orient Express
November 2017 Kenneth Branagh CAST
Tom Bateman, Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad
What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, “Murder on the Orient Express” tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
Call Me by Your Name
DIRECTED BY BY DIRECTED
Luca Guadagnino Niels Arden Oplev
Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhbarg
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox
Call me by your name is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. Set in the summer of 1983, in Northern Italy, an American student arrives to stay with the family of an American-Italian. The pair spend a summer wrapped up in music, food and romance that changes them forever.
ay vary and
John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox il
ere correct at the ti e of rint
“Ferdinand” tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover. From Blue Sky Studios and Carlos Saldanha, the director of “Rio” and inspired by the beloved book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, “Ferdinand” is a heartwarming animated comedy adventure. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
THE BOOK CLUB
ENTERTAINMENT | BOOKS
Homer’s Odyssey: An Embiggened Simpsons Guide
I An Distracted by Everything By Liza Tarbuck
By Mark Forsyth
By Nina Stibbe
By Four Finger Discount
R E L E A S E D : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7,
R E L E A S E D : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7,
H A R D B A C K , £ 1 6 .9 9
H A R D B A C K , £ 1 2 .9 9
RELE A SED: NOVEM BER 2 0 1 7, H A R D B A C K , £ 9.9 9
An annual for grown-ups, written and designed by one of the funniest women in Britain. Part annual, part musing on life, half comedy sketch and half hilarious anecdote, this is a book to pour over, ponder on and laugh uproariously with. Combining the spirit of a Bunty or Judy annual with the creativity of Wreck This Journal and the current trend for mindfulness, I An Distracted by Everything is overflowing with interesting stories, distinctive facts, gorgeous images and amusing asides.
A Short History of Drunkenness traces humankind’s love affair with booze from our primate ancestors through to Prohibition, answering every possible question along the way: What did people drink? How much? Who did the drinking? Of the many possible reasons, why? On the way, learn about the Neolithic Shamans, who drank to communicate with the spirit world (no pun intended), marvel at how Greeks got giddy and Romans got rat-arsed, and find out how bars in the Wild West were never quite like in the movies.
An ode to the joy and insanity of Christmas from the heir to Sue Townsend.
The Cocktail Book
By Alex Johnson
The Interior Design Review (vol 21)
R E L E A S E D : (2 7 T H ) O C T O B E R
By Andrew Martin
R E L E A S E D : O U T N O W , £ 8 .9 9
R E L E A S E D : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7, H A R D B A C K , £ 1 2 .9 9
Niche quotes and references have become the secret handshake of millions around the world. The book remembers the iconic characters – Hank Scorpio and Lionel Hutz, Rex Banner and Frank Grimes – and dissects seminal episodes such as Cape Feare, Marge Vs the Monorail and Who Shot Mr. Burns. From celebrity cameos to musical moments, from hidden jokes to insane trivia, this is the essential companion to the golden age of The Simpsons.
A Book of Book Lists 2 0 1 7, £ 7.9 9, P A P E R B A C K
This is a book of book lists. Not of the ‘1,001 Books You MUST Read Before You Die’ variety but lists that tell stories. Lists that make you smile, make you wonder, and make you see titles together in entirely new ways. From Bin Laden’s bookshelf to the books most frequently left in hotels, from prisoners’ favourite books to MPs’ most borrowed books, these lists are proof that a person’s bookcase tells you everything you need to know about them, and sometimes more besides. Available from The British Library Shop bl.uk/shop.
R E L E A S E D : O U T N O W, £ 4 5 , HARDBACK
Andrew Martin is celebrating 21 years of the very best of global interior design. The Interior Design Review, the ‘bible of interior design’, has become a cultural catalogue of design, illustrating social and political movements, as well as cultural lifestyles over the last 21 years. With over 1000 colour photographs, the annual publication marks out the world’s 100 greatest interior designers, showcasing their works on an international stage.
A Short History of Drunkenness
By The British Library
First published in 1900, The Cocktail Book is the earliest book devoted purely to the art of the cocktail. For thirty years, including the prohibition, it was a staple of well-stocked bars. Whether you choose to shake your cocktail in a mixer, or stir in a glass, this guide is every connoisseur’s curiosity and a practical guide to mixing classic drinks at home. A wonderful gift when visiting friends, or for a birthday or Christmas present, the only choice the recipient will need to make is whether to include a cherry or olive for a touch of originality.
An Almost Perfect Christmas
From dry turkeys to Christmas pudding fires, from the perfect present for teacher to the risks and rewards of re-gifting, Nina Stibbe offers her inimitable wisdom and humour on the most wonderful time of the year.
The Christmas Stocking and Other Stories By Katie Fforde R E L E A S E D : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7, H A R D B A C K , £ 9.9 9
A wonderfully festive Christmas collection from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of A Summer at Sea and A Secret Garden. This collection will contain six delightfully festive Katie Fforde short stories, including: Christmas in Disguise: When Jo’s friend Andi asks if she’ll stand in to cook Christmas lunch for her employer. Jo reluctantly agrees, wanting to help out her friend. If the girls get away with it, it will be the perfect Christmas w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vidisguise. n g.c o .u k 129
ENTERTAINMENT | WHAT’S ON
EVENTS CALENDAR Festive fun in and around Staffordshire!
9th December to 31st December
Sleeping Beauty at Buxton Opera House
18th November to 27th January
Treasure Island at the New Vic Theatre Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure will be given the trademark New Vic treatment this Christmas, as the theatre sets sail for Treasure Island, from Saturday 18th November to Saturday 27th January. Tickets are priced from £15 and can be purchased at newvictheatre. org.uk or by telephoning 01782 717962. A transaction fee of £1.00 per ticket applies when booking online. Treasure Island is supported by KMF.
This year’s festive panto at the Buxton Opera House is Sleeping Beauty, with ice cream, jelly and cupcakes all round for the Princess Aurora’s 18th birthday party. But vengeful fairy Maleficent has plans for Aurora. Maleficent’s arrival brings the usual action packed show, with magic and mayhem. James Holmes plays Dame Nanny Nora, returning to Buxton by popular demand alongside Jessica Revell as the lovely Princess Aurora. Tickets are priced from £19.50 to £23. Discounts are available. To buy tickets call, 01298 72190 or visit buxtonoperahouse.org.uk. 15th December to 7th January
Aladdin at The Regent Theatre Starring Jonathan Wilkes as Aladdin and Christian Patterson as Widow Twankey, Aladdin is a spectacular adventure featuring a beautiful love story, flying carpets, a wishgranting genie, an evil sorcerer, and a lamp packed full of fantastic family entertainment. Tickets are priced from £12 to £34.50 and can be purchased online from atgtickets.com or by telephoning the Box Office on 0844 8717627.
30th November to Saturday 6th January
Aladdin at Lichfield Garrick Don’t miss the Lichfield Garrick’s hilarious, fun-packed family pantomime, Aladdin, starring Cat Sandion (CBeebies), the side-splitting Sam Rabone and cheeky-chappie Ben Thornton, plus a full supporting West End-style cast. Tickets are already selling fast so book early to avoid disappointment. Aladdin runs at the Lichfield Garrick from Thursday 30th November 2017 until Saturday 6th January 2018, with a variety of evening, matinee and schools performances. Tickets start from £14 and are available from www.lichfieldgarrick.com or the box office on 01543 412121.
We’ve teamed up with Lichfield Garrick to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) to the 7pm performance of Aladdin on Tuesday 5th December. Scan the QR code and head straight to the competitions page of www.staffordshireliving. co.uk to enter! Closing date is Friday 24th November and winners must be available to attend the show on Tuesday 5th December.
22nd December to 30th December
Snow White at the Prince of Wales Theatre This year’s pantomime at the Prince of Wales theatre in Cannock is the timeless tale of Snow White. Come and follow Snow White as she attempts to escape the clutches of the Wicked Queen, played by Ann Nolan of the Nolan Sisters. We guarantee all the usual panto ingredients and fun for all the family. Tickets are priced from £15. Telephone the box office on 01543 578762.
For the Family 24th November to 26th November
Winter Weekend at Heart of the Country Shopping Village Get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy a ‘Winter Weekend’ at Heart of the Country Shopping Village in Swinfen, Lichfield. From 5pm on Friday 24th November, the village’s twenty shops and restaurants will open until 8pm, with Father Christmas and complementary refreshments. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be a Christmas Artisan Food & Craft Market. Discover delicious culinary treats and talk to local makers. For more information about the shopping village please visit heartofthecountryvillage.com.
ENTERTAINMENT | WHAT’S ON
25th November to 23rd December
Boat Rides at Dudley Canal Trust Join us for a truly memorable festive experience this Christmas. Travel into our underground caverns by boat, see our hilarious family show and meet Santa and Mrs Claus in their enchanted grotto. Santa Boats depart Saturday 25th November till Saturday 23rd December. Book online at dudleycanaltrust.org.uk or ring 0121 5576265.
18th December to 23rd December (excluding: 21st December)
A Cathedral Illuminated ‘Star of Wonder, Star of Light’ at Lichfield Cathedral The team behind 2016’s award-winning ‘A Cathedral Illuminated’ will be returning this Christmas. Lichfield Cathedral will again be transformed through light and sound. Advanced tickets are priced at £4 for adults and £3 for children and are on sale via the website and from the shop at No.9, The Close. For more information call 01543 306100 or visit our website www.lichfield-cathedral.org.
Food & Drink 4th, 11th & 18th November
Tasting Events at Canalside Farm 25th & 26th November
Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre at Ludlow Medieval Castle Join in this year’s magical Medieval Christmas Fayre at Ludlow Medieval Castle. Eat, drink and be merry with everything from hog roasts to hot chocolate as you shop ‘til you drop with 100+ stalls of gorgeous goodies. Plus, laugh, sing and join in with a wealth of entertainment, from live music and carols to panto and jugglers! Tickets are priced at £11 for adults and £6.50 for children, with Under 5s going free. Buy online at www.ludlowmedievalchristmas.co.uk.
Canalside Farm near Stafford will be hosting a wide range of ‘tasting’ events this November, to get your taste buds tingling and in the Christmas spirit. There will be lots of local produce to sample and the opportunity to meet producers, as well as the chance to order your Christmas Turkey. The events will take place every Saturday throughout November between 11am and 3pm, and with free admission and parking, what better way to spend your Saturday. Canalside Farm, Shop and Café is located in Great Haywood, just 6 miles outside Stafford. To find out more about the individual events, please visit www. canalsidefarm. co.uk or telephone 01889 881747.
New Year’s Eve in the Boat House at Aston Marina See in the New Year with a delicious five course feast before boogying the night away at Aston Marina, on Lichfield Road [A51] in Stone, starting from 7pm. Including an arrival drink and DJ. Tables are for 8 - 10 people. Tickets are priced at £65 per person. Call 01785 819702, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.astonarina.co.uk to book.
Arts & Culture 24th & 25th November
Christmas Craft Market at Middleton Hall Middleton Hall’s Christmas Craft Market will take place on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November between 11am and 4pm, adult entry £2 and under 18s free. Stalls full of gift ideas that you just won’t find on the high street. For more information visit middleton-hall.co.uk or call 01827 283095. 2nd & 3rd December
Christmas at a Victorian Potter’s Mill at the Etruria Industrial Museum Visit the Etruria Industrial Museum on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December, from 12.30pm to 4.30pm to see the mill ‘in steam’ and operate as in Victorian times. Entrance and car park: Etruria Vale Road, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4RB Find out more: www.etruriamuseum.org.uk. 9th & 16th December
Festive Gardening Workshops with Anita Wright 12th November 26th November
Christmas Lights Switch-on at Lichfield Markets The Lichfield Christmas Lights Switchon Event will take place on Sunday 26th November from 10am to 6pm. A fun packed day for all the family. There is a festive food and gifts market, as well as rides, music and entertainment on stage. The lights are switched on at 5pm, followed by the arrival of Santa. To find out more about the event, you can contact Lichfield City Council Markets Officers on 01543 309853, email markets@ lichfield.gov.uk or visit www.lichfield.gov.uk.
Pop-up Restaurant at Sandon Hall Enjoy Sunday luncheon in elegant surroundings, with a delicious 2 or 3 course menu from award-winning wedding and events caterer Vanilla in All Seasons, at Sandon Hall, from 12pm to 5pm at Sandon Hall. Enjoy two-courses for £19.95 or three-courses at £22.95. Booking is essential – call 01889 508 004, email email@example.com or book online at www.sandonhall.co.uk.
Gardening expert, Anita Wright is hosting two festive workshops during December in Stafford. The first will take place on Saturday 9th December from 10am to 3pm at Walton Village Hall in Milford, and another on Saturday 16th December at Brocton Village Hall in Brocton. Both workshops include a demonstration on how to make festive decorations, such as a hanging basket, using garden materials, and then a workshop to create designs of your own. Prices start from £35. For more information, and to book a place, please contact Anita on firstname.lastname@example.org.
w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
ENTERTAINMENT | INTERVIEW
THIS GIRL HAS POWER Singer, Jessica Clemmons wouldn’t let a serious hormone condition keep her down. No way. In fact, it’s made her what she is today – a success. She talks to LIVING about body image, marriage and making her mark in music. 134
ENTERTAINMENT | INTERVIEW
K - based country star Jessica C lemmons, along with one in five women in the UK including Victoria Beckham and Jools O liver - lives with P C O S – P olycystic O varian S yndrome; a condition that can lead to weight gain, exc essive body hair, acne and reproductive problems.
“Just keep aiming for health, not the perfect body.”
Jessica found out she had the devastating female hormone condition in S eptember 201, but her doctor thinks she could have had it since she was a teenager. S he struggled for years not knowing what was wrong; like many other women, she lived with the symptoms without ever realising what was causing them. But it didn’t stop her from pushing forward. E ven before her diagnosis, the lead singer in the band Jess and the Bandits became brand ambassador for fashion label E vans, fronting their ‘I Am M e’ campaign, which focussed on body acceptance, and had a music career garnering all the right attention, including plays on Terry Wogan, fivestar reviews, and j ournalists comparing her to Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson. And now with her music going from strength to strength - a sold- out tour, appearances at I sle of Wight F estival and C ornbury and a top- selling album, the news that she had P C O S – P olycystic Ovarian Syndrome – wasn’t what Jessica, a Texan by origin but living in the U K , was hoping for. But finding out has only made her stronger, and now she has her health under control, it’s full steam ahead for Jess and the Bandits. Because if there’s one woman you can’t keep down, it’s Jessica.
1. We are finally seeing more of Jess and the Bandits in the UK; what has your journey been like? I t has been a very long j ourney to be honest, full of ups and downs but all completely worth it to get to this place. When you’re independent ( not with a maj or label) the fight to succeed is even harder but nothing worth having ever comes easy.
2. You are a real inspiration for
women; what advice do you have for women struggling with their weight?
To try and love who you are in this moment of where your body is at. M y weight has gone up and down and if I let that number control me, it sure would make life stressful. I ’ve learned that our bodies will sometimes do what we want them to do, regardless of how hard we work. Just keep aiming for health, not the perfect body.
3. You are currently campaigning for more awareness about polycystic ovary syndrome; how has the condition changed your life? I now know that weight will always be a struggle. I know that I have a higher likelihood of infertility, I know that sometimes the symptoms that come with P C O S can be exh austing but I know it doesn’t have to change my life. Despite the health conditions, I keep pushing forward. K nowing what is wrong and educating myself on the condition only made me stronger in the fight against it.
4. Your voice is distinctly country, but your sound has real mainstream appeal too. Do you think that there is more demand for this type of music in the charts now? Absolutely, if given the chance to hear it, people will always enjoy hearing something different. I think our sound is a very inclusive sound. We want to make sure that the country audience loves it but your average top 40 l istener will as well.
5. Who are your main inspirations? O h, I have loads! E veryone from Aretha F ranklin to Dolly P arton. I love singers and songwriters who have big voices and tell stories through their music.
6. How would you describe your current album: Smoke and Mirrors? I would say this one is less
country rock than the first and dives more into a country gospel feel. I t is very eclectic from start to finish but ties together nicely. This way it allows the listener to feel like they are getting something slightly different in every song.
For more information on Jess and the band’s UK tour, visit
7. The world was shocked by the devastating hurricane in Houston. You grew up in Texas; have you ever experienced anything like that before? Growing up on the gulf coast in Texas, hurricanes are a normal thing for the most part. This has been one of those unusual seasons where we’ve had some bad ones. Harvey sat on top of Houston for 4 days and dumped 5 0 + inches of rain. I ’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It devastated my city. My family’s home flooded, so I couldn’t j ust sit in the U K while they had to rebuild their lives, so I ’m back home for the time being to help them put it all back together. We actually had to reschedule our U K tour that was booked for S eptember, but is now booked for F ebruary. I ’m glad I made that decision but cannot wait to get back to the U K in January for our tour in F ebruary!
8. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! How has the planning gone? Thank you! Now that I’m actually
home, I’m able to start planning it. No bridezilla moments yet. I am a pretty chilled- out bride, too chilled out sometimes I think! I mean... I have the dress and the groom, that’s j ust about all I need!
9. What’s next for you and the band?
The tour in February of course. We are going to have a busy 2018 w ith touring and festivals. I ’m sure we’ll start writing and recording too, but going to j ust enj oy getting the album out there to a wide audience!
OUT ! NOW
www.jessandthebandits.com. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
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CALM AND WRAP PRESENTS”
LIVING Golden Oldie, Season’s greetings, LIVING does…Gift wrapping, Tips for a perfect winter garden and Gifts for the Hedonist
LIVING | CARE
GOLDEN OLDIE Christmas can be a lonely time for the elderly and vulnerable in your community; what can you do to help make it a special time of year again?
hristmas is a time for families and fun, but while we can happily get wrapped up in the magic of it all, we must not forget our elderly relatives and neighbours, who might not be feeling quite so enchanted by the season. We are reminded every year that a staggering 500,000 old people will spend Christmas alone, but how many of us actually try to make a difference to these stark and sad figures? In 2014, Age UK in England reported that 51 per cent of all people over 75 live alone and 5million older people said that television is their main companion. Furthermore, myageingparent.com says that nearly one million older people in the UK are living isolated and lonely lives, with a million more feeling trapped in their own homes, seeing other people less than once a week. And these figures are also impacting on our hospitals too, as many A&E departments report a rise in the amount of elderly admissions over the festive period. Being alone is not only affecting self-esteem and mental health, it can affect physical health too. Studies show that sick people left alone over the festive period are more likely to go to casualty with worse problems. In today’s society, we far too easily turn to our mobile devices to catch up with people through social media, rather than knocking on our neighbour’s door to see how they are and to find out what they have been up to. But if more of us took the time to check on and help the vulnerable people on our own street, we
might actually contribute to a better society, and it would have a positive impact on the wellbeing of those people – both physically and mentally.
What can you do? Pay a visit There are many ways we can help but the simplest thing you can do is to knock on the door of your neighbours and pay them a visit. You can go round for a cup of tea and a chat, to catch up on the week’s news or to talk about things happening locally in your community. Why not drop off some of your favourite books that you think they will enjoy? This will give you another reason to go back and discuss what you both thought of the stories. Try to keep the visits consistent, and tell them when they can expect you - as well as if you won’t be able to make it one week – so that they can be safe in the knowledge of who is going to call and when. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy visit, just half-an-hour each week will contribute to their day and make them feel better about themselves.
Offer to help Sometimes not physically being able to carry out simple duties to get in the festive spirit, like shopping, or writing Christmas cards, can leave someone feeling depressed and anxious. By offering help to your elderly or vulnerable neighbour, you can help them to feel more connected and to get parts of their life back. You could offer to take them shopping for gifts, or just to the supermarket to stock their shelves; help them to get their Christmas cards done, by offering to do the envelopes, or write the
addresses on; or spend an evening wrapping presents for them. For those who suffer with dementia, or diseases like arthritis, where they find it difficult to use their hands, you will really be providing help where they need it most.
Keep them up-to-date The feeling of isolation can be as debilitating as any other serious disease. Not being able to leave the house easily, not having the internet to research local groups or support, and fearing the unknown can all lead to feeling disconnected from the community and life outside the home. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Make time to share local news, festive events and harmless neighbourhood gossip with the elderly people on your street, so they feel that they are up-to-date and involved. Make sure they are aware of any scams that are circulating in the area, so they can be alert to any unknown callers, and also check that they have all the medication they need to keep them going over the Christmas period. If they don’t, you can offer to take them along to the
LIVING | CARE pharmacy or even arrange to pick it up for them. Helping them to feel secure and comfortable in their homes, especially at Christmas will be a massive help to their self-esteem.
“If more of us took the time to check on and help the vulnerable people on our own street, we would be contributing to a better society” Make them comfortable One of the biggest concerns for elderly people is being able to afford the things we take for granted – like food, cleanliness and warmth. Make a point of checking on your neighbours to make sure that they have adequate heating, especially during a cold-spell. If you feel they do not, there are emergency initiatives in place through the local council which will support the vulnerable with additional heating supplies. Offer to help around the home, by hoovering up or cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom as they may find these tasks very difficult to carry out. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have enough food to keep them going. You can take across some freezer meals so they can always have a decent meal in, even if they don’t feel like cooking; put together a hamper full of goodies - it doesn’t have to be luxury items simple everyday items like tea, coffee, milk and biscuits, or even a box of mince pies, will all be very well-received, especially at Christmas; or better still, invite them for dinner, or offer to cook for them, this will be a great opportunity to learn more about them and to see how they are coping on their own. Remember, sometimes a simple phone call asking after your neighbour is enough. Just showing someone that you are thinking about them, and that you care enough to check will go a long way to making them smile this Christmas.
What if you are already a carer? According to Carers Hub, an online information portal for carers of all ages in Staffordshire, in 2011, there were approximately 27,000 people in Stoke-On-Trent, and just under 90,000 people
in Staffordshire, who identified themselves as providing unpaid care. There are a number of support services designed to help with caring responsibilities, not just of elderly relatives but of other vulnerable people too, and these are aimed at giving carers a better quality of life. The services help with things like money, employment, skills, housing, transport and wellbeing. Being a full-time or part-time carer can put a massive strain on a person’s life and they too can feel as lonely and isolated as the people they care for. So what other options are there? Volunteer help: The Carers Hub is a way to find volunteers who can help you to take care of your relatives, especially during the busy festive season. You can get help for a few hours a week from someone local in your community. Find out more: www.thecarershub.co.uk. Respite Care: Replacement care is designed to give the carer a break from their caring responsibilities to ensure you are looking after your own health and well-being too. Many local care homes and facilities provide a respite care service and there are also funding arrangements which can be made to help out with the cost of this. Visit your local council website or search through the NHS to find a local centre in your area. Care home: Sometimes it is better for both you and your relative if you consider a more longterm approach to care. There are many different care homes to consider and finding the right one to suit your loved one can be a daunting process. If you are seeking care home provision, there are ways to get help. Care Home Options is a Staffordshire based business which helps families find the best home for their loved ones dependent on their individual needs.
Head online now to read our interview with Care Home Options owner, Helen Martin, on launching the business and how she can help you. www.staffordshireliving.co.uk
Want to do more? If helping your neighbours is not enough, then there are many other ways you can help out. Plus, there are lots of initiatives and activities happening in Staffordshire that you can encourage vulnerable people to get involved in. Become a Silver Line Friend: You can help elderly people in Staffordshire and across the UK by volunteering to be a Silver Line Friend; commit to having a chat with a ‘Silver Liner’ once a week by telephone, face-to-face, or by writing a letter. Find out more: thesilverline.org.uk. Care and Help at Home & Companionship: Age UK has a number of initiatives in the community. The Care and Help at home team provide support services for older people living at home, seven-days a week, including home help, personal care, night-sitting and respite support. Services provided enable older people to remain independent in their own home but also give vital support for those that undertake a caring role. Find out more: call 01785 788489 or email shirley.smout@ ageuksouthstaffs.org.uk. Nordic Walking Session: Being active is hugely important to mental health, and walking is an easy way to get fit, while getting out of the house and enjoying some fresh air. Nordic Walking is a great way to get more out of your walking and turn it into a full body exercise that’s easy on the joints and great for your health and wellbeing. Park Lives runs a session each Wednesday at Central Forrest in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent Park from 10.15am – 12 noon for over 55s. Find out more: parklives.com. Royal Voluntary Service: The Royal Voluntary Service helps older people stay active, independent and able to continue to contribute to society. Roles range from befriending and home help to community transport and volunteering in hospital wards and cafes, and take place throughout the Staffordshire region. Find out more: royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
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SANCTUARY RE T IRE ME N T
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SUPERB FACILITIES • • • • • • •
taste restaurant Hairdressing salon and shop Assisted bathroom Games room Communal lounge Landscaped gardens Internal store for buggies and scooters
LIVING | CHRISTMAS
Follow the festive trail of Staffordshire! Here’s what local towns have to offer this Christmas; now head on down for some seriously festive fun.
Stoke-on-Trent Winter Wonderland Stoke-On-Trent will be back on Birch Terrace car park in Hanley for its second year running. You can enjoy a fullsized ice rink, a Bavarian style bar & swing grill, a large variety of festive eats and treats, wooden chalets, Christmas characters, real trees, hundreds of meters of wooden walkways, thousands of lights, and theme-park-style rides for all ages, including a roller coaster.
Rugeley Rugeley town centre is going all out for its annual Christmas lights switch-on event. Taking place on Friday 24th November, you can expect to find an open-air market, iceskating rink, walk about acts, snow machine and even a bucking reindeer! Join in the fun day from 2pm, with the lights switch-on taking place at 5pm. Santa and his special guest of honour, yet to be announced, will be riding down to Market Square in a carriage, to officially turn on the lights, before the event ends at 8pm with fireworks. You can also visit Santa’s Grotto on Brewery Street for free. Santa will be ready to greet children from 5.15pm on 24th November.
Blithbury In the heart of the Staffordshire countryside, Blithbury Reindeer Lodge transforms into a traditional winter wonderland for Christmas, complete with wooden lodges, festive sleigh rides, and a barn full of illuminations. Book tickets to their Christmas experience and get up close with over 100 reindeer, attend elf school and have a sleigh ride, among other exciting events.
The wonderland is set to open on Thursday 16th November at 4pm, and will run daily (except Christmas Day) until the 2nd January. There is also a free-to-enter New Year’s Eve event from 10am to 1am at the park, with family entertainment and fireworks at midnight. For full opening hours, event details and to pre-book ice skating tickets, please visit winterwonderlandstoke.com. If you are heading over to Freeport Talke this Christmas, there will be lots of festive fun and shopping for the whole family to enjoy. There are over 40-stores offering discounts of up 60% and late-night shopping is on throughout December. Plus, don't forget to pay Father Christmas a visit, he'll be appearing at the shopping centre in December alongside the centre's free family entertainment fun days.
Stafford Stafford will host its annual Christmas lights switch-on event on Saturday 18th November, but it also has a variety of other festive events taking place too, in and around the town. On 2nd December, the Ancient High House will host its own festive day, which will be free to enter between 10 am and 4pm. There will be costumed characters, and you can learn about the different Christmas traditions through the ages, from the Tudor period, to
Stuart, Georgian and Victoria times. You can even stir a traditional Christmas pudding, sing carols in the Victorian Room, and meet Father Christmas in his grotto. Find our more staffordbc.gov.uk/heritageevents.
Tamworth Tamworth Castle is running Victorian Christmas Santa trails for children, from 16th December to 19th December. You’ll experience a Victorian household getting ready for the arrival of Santa. Join in helping the cook to make Christmas pudding or decorate the castle. You can even help the stablehand find carrots for Santa’s reindeer, and visit Santa in his grotto. Pre-booking is essential for the tour. For more information or to purchase tickets please contact Tamworth Tourist Information Centre Tel: 01827 709581/618 or email: email@example.com.
Lichfield Lichfield will be hosting free family entertainment on the market square for its Christmas lights switch-on event taking place on Sunday 26th November from 10am. There will be a Christmas market in the surrounding streets from 12 noon, carol singing from 4.30pm, and the big switch on at 5pm followed by the arrival of Santa. It also has two Christmas festival weekends, running on Saturday 2nd to Sunday 3rd December and Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th December. Enjoy Christmas fayres, artisan
LIVING | CHRISTMAS
Santa’s upping his game this year; from steam powered sleighs to Land Rover adventures, seeing Santa is so much more than a grotto and a gift.
markets, as well as a traditional Georgian Family Christmas event at The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, Christmas Throughout the Ages Green Badge Guided tour, and Erasmus Darwin’s Big Birthday Bash. Burntwood Christmas Festival is taking place on Saturday 2nd December from 4pm to 7pm, with lots of free activities, including a festive land train, face painting, fairground rides, Santa and the Chase play bus.
Blithbury Reindeer Lodge: See Santa as part of their Christmas experience package. Blithbury Reindeer Lodge, Uttoxeter Road, Blithbury, Rugeley, WS15 3HY. blithburyreindeerlodge.co.uk. Fees apply.
You can also enjoy the annual Lichfield Cathedral Tree Festival from Saturday 2nd December, Lichfield Christmas Food Festival on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December from 9am to 4.30pm, and the City of Lichfield Concert Band Christmas Concerts on Saturday 16th December at 7.30pm and Sunday 17th December at 2.30pm. To see more events happening across the Lichfield district, go to visitlichfield.co.uk.
Hawkstone Park Follies: Experience a magical adventure by Land Rover to see Santa in his hillside grotto. Hawkstone Park Follies, Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 5JY. hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk. Fees apply. Planters Garden Centre:
Both your kids and your pet can meet Santa, as well as Mrs Claus and Rudolph. Planters Garden Centre, Woodlands Farm, Trinity Road, Tamworth, Staffordshire. B78 2EY. plantersgc.com. Fees apply.
A fun day of events and activities in Newcastle-under-Lyme is planned for the annual Christmas lights switch-on event on Saturday 18th November. The events begin at 10am and run up until 7pm, with the lights being switched on in the early evening. It takes place at Ironmarket in the town. In addition, the Newcastle Lantern Supporters’ Club, along with the Newcastle-under-Lyme BID and local creative group B Arts, are bringing back the local lantern parade. Local People are encouraged to come along and watch the parade, which will take place on Saturday 9th December from 4.30pm, starting from the Guild Hall and will have its own live musical accompaniment.
Burton Burton Town Hall is hosting a Winter Wonderland Christmas Party on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th December, from 7.30pm. You can expect an evening of fun and festivities, a delicious three-course meal and a DJ. Tickets are £45 per person, which includes a welcome drink and wine on your table. The National Memorial Arboretum, on Croxall Road, will host a Christmas food and gift fair, with children’s craft activities on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December, from 9am to 4pm. And it will also be running its annual Carols by Candlelight Christmas concert on Saturday 16th December, from 6pm. Admission is free, but donations appreciated. Head to the Brewhouse & Arts Centre for its Festive Family Day on Saturday 9th December, there will be handmade decorations throughout the venue, and its artists are on hand to create everything you need to make your own winter wonderland at home, from special gifts,
to decorations, wrapping paper, cards and Christmas trees. In nearby Swadlincote, there will also be a Christmas Fair on Thursday 23rd November, with a wide range of stalls, including jewellery, crafts, food and gifts. Bring the children to visit Santa’s Grotto too. All profits from the event go towards supporting Treetops Hospice Care. Entrance £3 per person Children under 12 free.
Cannock Cannock Shopping Centre is having a visit from the ice queen herself, Princess Elsa on Saturday 16th and Wednesday 20th December. Olaf will also be making an appearance in the centre on Saturday 16th December. The events will raise money for Age UK South Staffordshire, Cannock Shopping Centre’s official charity partner. The Museum of Cannock Chase will be hosting a series of Christmas-themed events in November and December. A winter wonderland event will take place on Sunday 19th November, with nature-themed activities and crafts for all the family; a Christmas Family Day is being held on Sunday 3rd December; and a Christmas wishes event is taking place on Saturday 16th December. Visit museumofcannockchase.org for more information.
Amerton Farm: Enjoy the Christmas adventure at Amerton farm; write a letter to Santa, visit Mrs Claus and see Santa in his grotto. Amerton Farm, Stowe By Chartley, Stafford, Staffordshire, ST18 0LA. amertonfarm.co.uk. Fees apply. Churnet Valley Railway: See Santa on his own steamed powered sleigh as you travel through the Staffordshire Moorlands. Churnet Valley Railway, Kingsley & Froghall Station, Froghall, ST10 2HA. churnet-valley-railway.co.uk. Fees apply. Snowdome: Santa will be right at home in the snow for the annual Winter Wonderland. Enjoy a Santa stage show and real reindeer too! Leisure Island, River Drive, Tamworth B79 7ND. snowdome.co.uk. Fees apply.
Staffordshire, we love you! It never ceases to amaze us just how much Christmas spirit there is in our glorious county.
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LIVING | GIFT WRAP
L IV I N G D O E S …
GIFT WRAPPING Want to impress your family and friends this Christmas? Time to get your gift wrapping skills upto-date! LIVING’s Nancy Emery embarked on a gift wrapping course to find out just what can be done with a bit of paper and tape… When I was younger, I was never that bothered about wrapping gifts, I saw it as an inconvenience, and wondered what the fuss was all about – the paper just ends up in the bin, right? But, as I’ve got older, and wiser, I’ve started to become much more aware of how drab and tatty my gifts look compared to some of my friends. So, when I was given the opportunity to learn the techniques of gift wrapping, I was over the moon! I found Midlands-based gift wrapping extraordinaire, Neelam Meetcha; she runs a gift wrapping service and craft academy (.giftwrappingcourses.co.uk), teaching both individuals and businesses her creative prowess. And when she is not busy in the workshop, she’s regularly showing off her talents on TV, and is even referred to as ‘The Royalty of Gift Wrapping’.
Learning the basics I am given access to Neelam’s online course which has a bank of easy-to-follow video tutorials. As a total beginner, I’m told to start from scratch and follow the series of videos so that I understand the basics before attempting the more advanced techniques, and once I begin watching the tutorials, I could see where I’ve been going wrong! The beginners course starts by learning how to wrap simple rectangular and square-shaped boxes. Straight away, I learn something: getting the right amount of paper for the box you are wrapping is key. “If you end up with too much paper on the sides, that’s what causes your gift wrapping to look quite bulky,”
says Neelam. My gift wrapping history starts to make sense! We place our standard rectangle-shaped box upside down onto the wrapping paper and measure each side to make sure that the paper is not higher than the box itself; it should be just level with the edge of the box. Then, we pull the paper over the top and make a crease at the edge of the box nearest to us, this marks out where we need to cut off the excess paper. Once we have cut it off, we make a little fold and apply two small pieces of double-sided tape, and then stick it down right at the edge, giving a lovely super-smooth appearance.
“Gift wrapping is a gift in itself; gift wrap any shape or size with elegance and style”. -Neelam Meetcha The leftovers Don’t bin your off cuts, use two pieces of differently designed wrapping paper to create a quirky wrap for your family and friends. Lay the pieces – design-side downnext to each other with a slight overlap and stick together with Sellotape. Then simply measure the paper as you would, and follow the same process. You can hide any join in the paper with ribbon at the end.
Next, it’s time to push the excess paper down the side of the box, which forms right angles, we run our fingers along each fold to create a firm crease and then gently fold each one in, creasing and smoothing out the sides as we go. We fix the sides with a small amount of double sided tape and we have our first basic box wrapped and ready. Neelam explains that for square ended boxes, we need to measure the paper to just half way `sides, we bring in from the left and then the
right instead of flattening the top down like a rectangle-shaped box. If we have measured correctly in the beginning, the two flaps should meet perfectly in the middle.
Adding some festive flair We all like our gifts to stand out, and there are ways to add a little more dimension to a boxed gift. Neelam has hundreds of different ways to make a gift pop, from simple touches to extravagant designs. Our favourites included: Two-tone gift wrap: This is a simple but classy looking design; using a good quality wrapping paper, you create the two-tone effect by using the underside of the wrap. Elegant Kimono wrap: This is certainly a more advanced technique and it involves using off-cuts of paper to create a finishing touch to your gift.
Finishing touches I was amazed at the level of detail and the number of intricate designs that can be done to finish off your gift wrapping, from simply adding a ribbon bow, to creating a Chrysanthemum or rose bow to even more flamboyant designs. Once you start delving into the creative world of gift wrapping, it is hard to stop. Boxes are just the beginning, Neelam has tutorials on how to create a flower bouquet, gift wrapping bottles, and other difficult shapes like circles and baskets. The possibilities are endless! I am looking forward to trying out all the different techniques for Christmas. Neelam has a number of online creative courses, a DVD and a book. The online Gift Wrapping Basic To Advanced course costs £97 for unlimited access. Use code: STAFFN2017 for 50% off exclusive to Staffordshire Living readers.*
Visit www.giftwrappingcourses.co.uk/ product/on-line-gift-wrapping-course/ ffer end 3rd Dece access to the course
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LIVING | GARDENING
THE WINTER GARDEN Oh the weather outside is frightful… but there’s still work to be done in the garden!
LIVING | GARDENING Winter can be a difficult time for the garden; the onset of bad weather means we tend to let our outdoor space slip a little. But winter is actually a great time to re-evaluate the garden, to take stock of its current state, and decide if there are any restructuring or remodelling works to be done before the spring.
”Now is an excellent time of year to really look deep in to your gardens.” Anita Wright Furthermore, there are opportunities to introduce new plants and to create the perfect environment for new shrubs and species to flourish. And it’s also a great time to utilise some of the flora and fauna found in the garden to create decorations for the festive season! We caught up with our resident gardening expert, Anita Wright, to find out more about maintaining the garden over winter.
Trees Trees are a wonderful and aesthetic way to add depth and excitement to your garden but during winter they can also cast shadow on your space, especially as the days become shorter. What’s more, during the summer, trees have had the chance to flourish thanks to nutrient rich soil, and plenty of light, sunshine and rain. Have a look at your trees and large shrubs; have they overgrown their space? Anita says: “It’s a good time to prune and restructure, take out those extra branches, no matter the size, that cross over, and restrict better growth and light in your garden. Coppicing trees, such as Hazel, make for better trees too. Giving hedges a heavy cut will bring good new growth to thicken boundaries keeping out unwanted predators.” Coppicing is a traditional method of keeping woodland trees under control, but can be transferred to the domestic garden too. Many trees make new, stronger growth from the stump or roots when they are cut down. This makes it a great way to create additional light for your space during the shorter days of winter without damaging any of your garden in the process.
Plants Most of us will leave our garden to it during winter, we’ll watch on as the bright blooms of summer fade away, eager to see them pop out again next year. But Anita suggests that now is the perfect time to harvest, plant new bulbs and have some fun with colour to lift your garden! Here’s three ways to get planting this winter: 1. You can lift clumps of your herbaceous perennials to replant in other areas of the garden and to pass over to friends to plant in their garden too. “Take the lovely new growth from the outer edges, and discard any tough centres,” adds Anita. TIP: Cutting down your herbaceous perennials is a top job for winter but make a call on whether to leave top growth. Some people believe leaving top growth on protects bottom growth from frosts, but top growth is susceptible to wind rock which can loosen plants and allow the frost or rain to get in. 2.
Create more depth in your garden by planting a sturdy bulb that will give you lots of variation when they flower. The tulip is a great example of this, but November is the latest time to plant them. “I adore Tulips,” says Anita, “they don't tend to fall like some other bulbs, and there is such variety in size - from tiny multi-headed stems to really tall elegant giants – and fantastic colours too - from purest white to deep velvet red/ black – you can let your imagination run free!”
3. Create colour patches between your shrubs. Anita says: “Have fun with complete contrasts, such as orange and red with green and white shrubs, even dark red foliage appreciates a lift.”
The changing seasons mean that we must adapt how we maintain our garden, and it’s important to keep it looking neat, whatever the weather. Leaves will fall onto the garden but rather than sweeping them straight into the bin, there are other uses for them. Anita says: “In late autumn, keep the leaves swept away, if they are left on the ground, slugs and snails find them ideal hiding places – not what any gardener wants! Put your leaves into compost or make ‘leaf mould’ which is valuable nutrition for your boarders. Remember, a tidy winter garden gives a fabulous start to spring.” Washing used plant pots and seed trays might sound like a boring job but it also stops disease from spreading, so is a good job to get done over winter. Greenhouse glass also benefits from a wash, and now is the time to replace cracked or broken panes and to make sure everything is in good working order. There is lots to be done, so wrap up warm and out you go!
Anita is hosting two festive workshops during December in Stafford. Learn how to create Christmas decorations using for the home using garden plant material. To find out more please see our Events Calendar or email: email@example.com.
How to make leaf mould: If you have a small garden, you can keep leaves in bin liners, or create a leaf bin for bigger spaces. 1. Take a bin liner and punch a few holes around the sides and bottom of the bag. 2.
Rake leaves regularly, once a week, and store in the bag.
3. When the bag gets full, sprinkle water over the top, shake it and then tie the bag. 4.
Store the bags in a shady area of the garden, until the following autumn – the leaves should have rotted into a rich, compost-like mixture which you can use at the base of your plants. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k
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LIVING | SPOTLIGHT
BEAUTY ADVENT CALENDARS A countdown with a little more pizzazz…
Head online for our edit of unique and quirky advent calendars for a fun festive countdown. 8
Naughty and Nice 12 Days Magic Box £150 Charlotte Tilbury 2. Beauty Advent Calendar £149 John Lewis 3. Cabinet of Scented Luxuries Advent Calendar £165 Molton Brown 4. Winter wonderland Glam Box £34.50 Benefit 5. Sleek MakeUp A Gift a Day £35 Boots 6. Jo Malone London Advent Calendar £300 Jo Malone (Available exclusively to Harrods from October 2017) Available nationwide from November 2017 7. SELFRIDGES EXCLUSIVE Kiehl’s 24-Day Advent Calendar £95 Selfridges 8. Amazon Beauty £50 Amazon 9. Mad Beauty Advent Calendar £19.99 fndmeagift.co.uk 152
COMING UP Here is a sneak peek at what’s to come in the January | February edition of Staffordshire Living
H I T T I NG S H E LV E S: 22nd December
Time for Sleep: expert tips and tricks for getting the sleep you deserve
A guide to rings: how to choose your perfect symbol of love and marriage
Hair Special: try out the latest 2018 trends
Plus, we’ll be talking about New Year fitness, Valentine’s Day and how to declutter the home. And, it’s the first wedding and education supplements of 2018.
ONLINE You can keep up with news, events and exclusive competitions at
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INTRODUCING THE NEW VOLVO XC60
The New Volvo XC60 changes the way you get to your destination. An active chassis gives you unparalleled control. Smooth and comfortable, with maximum road contact. Semi-autonomous technology paired with state of the art cabin comfort, makes driving relaxed – leaving you refreshed after a long journey. The New Volvo XC60. Human Made.
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Leek Road, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire ST1 6AT 01782 606 770 www.holdcroft.com
Finance provided by Honda Finance Europe RG12 1HL. You will not own the vehicle until all repayments are made. Official fuel consumption for the New XC60 MY18, in MPG (l/100km): Urban 30.7 (9.2) - 48.7 (5.8), Extra Urban 46.3 (6.1) – 60.1 (4.7), Combined 39.2 (7.2) – 134.5 (2.1). CO2 emissions 167 – 49 g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. Holdcroft Volvo Limited are credit brokers and not lenders. Finance subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. Available to 18s and over. Guarantee / indemnity may be required. *Based on 10,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charged at 17.25p per mile. Contract term 24 months.
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DRIVEN BY AMBITION. FUELLED BY INNOVATION. THE BMW 5 SERIES AVAILABLE AT KNIGHTS STOKE. BMW Select (PCP) Representative example: BMW 520d M Sport Saloon Automatic. Term of agreement
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To find out more or to book a test drive ¹ , please visit www.knightsnorthstaffsbmw.co.uk or call 03300 171633. KNIGHTS NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE
Radial Park, Bede Road, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire ST4 4GU 03300 171633 | www.knightsnorthstaffsbmw.co.uk Knights North Staffordshire is a credit broker and not a lender.
Finance example is for a BMW Select agreement for a BMW 520d M Sport Saloon Automatic, with a contract mileage of 32,000 miles and excess mileage charge of 9.85p. Applies to new vehicles ordered between 01 October 2017 and 31 December 2017 and registered by 31 December 2017, (subject to availability). Retail customers only. *On the road cash price is based on manufacturer’s recommended retail price and includes 3 years BMW Dealer Warranty, BMW Emergency Service, 12 months’ road fund licence, vehicle first registration fee, delivery, number plates and VAT. **Credit arrangement fee payable with first monthly payment and credit completion fee payable at the end of the agreement. ^Optional final payment and option to purchase fee not payable if you opt to return the vehicle at the end of the agreement (Vehicle condition, excess mileage and other charges may be payable). Finance available subject to credit acceptance to UK residents aged 18 or over Guarantees and indemnities may be required. Terms and conditions apply. Offer may be varied, withdrawn or extended at any time. ‘BMW Select’ is a form of hire-purchase agreement provided by BMW Financial Services (GB) Limited, Summit ONE, Summit Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 0FB. You will have a 14 day statutory right to withdraw from the agreement. Knights North West Limited trading as Knights North Staffordshire commonly introduce customers to a selected panel of lenders including BMW Financial Services. We may receive commission or other benefits for introducing you to such lenders. This introduction does not amount to independent financial advice.1 Test drive subject to status and availability.
Issue 80, Christmas