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ThamesValley Life November 2013


the regions well loved and trusted lifestyle magazine

Count Down to Christmas

With less than 7 weeks to go look inside for great christmas ideas, inspirations & outings Winter Warmers, gift guides & morefrom your region

For a Fantastic range of windows, doors, conservatories & more from Alpha Windows, see inside on page 30 covering Oxfordshire, Berkshire & Buckinghamshire


at Denham Garden Village Indoor Swimming Pool Fully equipped Gym Full studio class programme Spa, Sauna & Steam room Personal Training Nutritional advice Beauty Treatments Hair Salon Sports Massage Osteopath

The Therapy Room Hot Lava Shell Full Body Massage (60 Minutes) An indulgent and truly pampering relaxing full body massage treatment using the natural benefits of heated Tiger Clam shells. The shells are expertly glided over the body with varying pressures and techniques, tailored to meet your particular needs. This treatment will help you to revitalise and rebalance the body and mind. Hydrating oils are used during the treatment to moisturise the skin.

Offer price: £49.00 (Normally £58.00)

Looking ahead to December we are offering a C2M Collagen Rejuvenescence Facial £55.00 (normally £65) throughout December only.

This is a fantastic facial which will help to combat the signs of ageing, diminish lines and restore skin elasticity giving a firmer and more plump appearance, ready for those Christmas festivities!

Gift vouchers available for both the Therapy Room and Angela’s nails

Nails by Angela

Christmas is nearly here! Remember to book your appointment with Angela for Shellac/Gelish nails to last from Christmas to New Year!

**Christmas Minx designs Available**

Over 60’s Memberships available 12 - 4.30pm weekdays

Denham Green Lane, Denham, Bucks, UB9 5LB

Tel: 01895 831113 Monthly membership fees apply

Welcome to the November edition of Thames Valley Life magazine. Christmas......................................4


A Rocking Good Christmas............................. 5 Golden Goods with the iPad Air & iPad Mini... 6 Count Down to Christmas Day the Fun Way.. 8 Don’t miss a beat this Christmas with Dancing Party Animals.................................. 10 No Christmas stocking is complete without a pack of Top Trumps!...................................... 13 What Left-Handers Want for Christmas........ 15 Perfect winter breaks in cosy cottages......... 17 Stuff The Turkey This Christmas – Cook A Cockerel Instead!.......................................... 18 Top Ten Christmas Gadgets & Gifts.............. 20

Landscape of the Year 2013” by New Homes Gardens Awards............................................ 47 Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer celebrate three Gold Awards for new gardens............................... 49

House & Home.............................22 Wood Effect Floor Tiles are Winter’s Design Trend.............................................................. 23 Create New Christmas Traditions with Catesby's...................................................... 24 From Designer Catwalk to Designer Catalogue...................................................... 27 Discover Quality Curtains, Blinds & Accessories................................................... 29 Start Your New Christmas Tradition With An Ethical Timbatree........................................... 33 Dreams of a White Christmas becomes a reality with HomeExchange........................... 40

Local to You...............................50 What’s On...................................................... 51

Business & Recruitment...............54 UK’s Most Influential Man of 2013................ 54

Health & Beauty..........................56 Men prefer to reduce their Moobs than Growing Moustaches.................................... 56 Wrap Up Warm this Winter............................ 57

Wedding. .....................................58 Couples 'Crowd' Source their Delayed Wedding Day................................................. 58 Recession Brides Cut Costs, But Not the Guest List...................................................... 61 Fireworks, Lanterns & Lights......................... 62

Telephone: 01926 737832 | Website: Sales: | Email: Subscribe to Thames Valley Life for just £15 for 12 issues contact

Thames Valley Life



A Rocking Good Christmas A great range of organic nonalcoholic drinks for all the family, great recipes for parties and Christmas gift packs When it comes to Christmas, only the finest food and drink will do. Treat friends and family to the latest organic cordials and squashes from Rocks Drinks, which make great gift choices and perfect accompaniments to festive food or can simply be enjoyed during the celebrations. A little sophistication is a must at Christmas meal-times and organic fans will love Rocks Organic Cordials, which include Spiced Fruit Punch, Fiery Ginger, Spring Elderflower, Velvety Blackcurrant, Zesty Lime and Summer Fruits. This classy range of luxurious organic cordials including Fiery Ginger, which was awarded a prestigious Soil Association Organic Food Award, is perfect for those who want a non-alcoholic refreshing drink that has a sophisticated flavour.

thanks to family and friends you might be staying with during the festive holidays. Spiced Fruit Punch, Spring Elderflower and Fiery Ginger come in a presentable black box with integral handle and are available from Goodness Direct and independent health stores. And of course nothing gets children as excited as Christmas. This festive season stock up on Rocks Organic and Traditional Squashes, which are made using old-school simple methods, so there’s no hidden ‘nasties’, just water, sugar and lashings of fruit. Rocks has been making squash for 30 years and the range includes Orange, Lime, Red Five, Lemon and Blackcurrant to keep thirsty children hydrated and healthy during the busy period.

Simply mix any of these cordials with still or sparkling water to make naturally-tasting drinks to quench party peoples’ thirst and the handy 360ml bottles mean they’re ideal for taking along to family gatherings. Alternatively, if you’re in need of a little heat, try Rocks Cordials with hot water for a heady, invigorating drink to keep you warm on the chillier nights. If you’re fed up of pouring the same old cocktails why not add a drop of Rocks Cordial into the mix and serve up a new variety of flavours this Christmas. Try mixing Rocks Organic Spiced Fruit Punch with spices and water to create a new recipe for Virgin Mulled Wine*; add Fiery Ginger Cordial to Scotch whisky for a warming Whisky Mac* and mix Velvety Blackcurrant with lemon grass and rum for a cocktail* that’s sure to get the party season started. Three of Rocks Organic Cordials come in a gift pack to make a great Christmas present or a token of


Golden Goods with the iPad Air & iPad Mini

Thames Valley Life

Leading luxury customisation brand to the stars (Denzel Washington, Kate Moss and Usain Bolt) Goldgenie prides itself on delivering the best luxury products and this week they are set to release a double golden treat with the 24 CT Gold iPad Air and the 24 CT Gold iPad mini. Unlike Apple’s decision to stick with the single option of sky grey exterior, Goldgenie’s customised iPads come in choice of luxurious Gold, Rose Gold or Platinum (as well as the choice of black and white display screens). New features on the iPad Air include the new A7 chip, advanced wireless technology, the high-resolution Retina display, a 5-megapixel iSight camera and the latest 4G mobile data connection. Through a series of refinements, at just 1 pound and 7.5-mmthin, the iPad Air is also the thinnest and lightest of its generation making it the most practical iPad for those on the go. For those who like their iPads in smaller packaging, the Gold mini iPad comes complete with a beautiful 7.9 inch display, powerful A7 chip, Facetime HD, HD Camera, iSight camera with 1080p, video recording and ultrafast wireless.


The new 4G and wifi tablets are both sold SIM Free and are enabled for use

Christmas on any network in the world. Starting prices for the iPad Air range from £1386/$1871 for the 16GB and £1825/$2463 for the 128GB.Starting prices for the iPad mini Retina range from £1377/$1858 for the 16GB and £1777/$2498 for the 128GB. There is no need to enclose the luxurious work of art that is a Goldgenie customized iPad with a case as all products come with full body protection installation with a no questions asked lifetime replacement guarantee. Delivered in a beautiful customised piano finished box, the iPad Air also makes an unforgettable readyto-go gift – whether for a loved one or high-end corporate contact. Goldgenie CEO Laban Roomes said: "We are delighted to welcome the iPad Air and iPad mini Retina to our luxury stable.The iPad Air both from a design & performance maintains its position as the number on tablet.The Retina mini has been highly anticipated by many of our customers who loved the size of the original iPad mini but desired the higher quality Retina display.” Specialists in device customisation, Goldgenie can personalise any mobile or smartphone device in Gold,

Rose Gold or Platinum. You can either spoil yourself by making a purchase directly on line or you can even send your own iPad for them to embellish. For all your customisation requirements contact Goldgenie directly on or call them on +44 208 804 6200.


Thames Valley Life

Count Down to Christmas Day the Fun Way W

ith the festive season fast approaching, little ones everywhere are eagerly awaiting the onset of advent, not to mention Christmas Day where they’ll get to rip open gazillions of gifts. Leading personalised gifts site, GoneDigging, has made the countdown to Christmas easier and a whole lot more entertaining with their 24 Sleeps ‘til Christmas Personalised Book, packed with an assortment of amazing activities to keep kiddies occupied. In the run up to Christmas, it’s only natural kids get excited as they anticipate opening their sought-after presents and, of course, gobbling juicy turkey and watching too much Christmassy TV. Make this year’s Christmas build up extra special with GoneDigging’s personalised 24 Sleeps ‘til Christmas Activity Book. The launch of this particular activity book was so successful, it scooped the Highly Commended prize in the Kids Category at the Gift of the Year Awards, which was presented by the Giftware Association at the Spring Fair International, held at Birmingham NEC. Gift of the Year Awards are only given to the latest, most original and innovatively designed products that can be given as gifts, which can definitely be said of this terrific present. Best of all, the Christmas-inspired book was created in England, in house, by the clever designers at GoneDigging. It’s bursting with oodles of puzzles, from old-fashioned favourites to ‘spot the difference’ and truly traditional mazes and ‘dot to dot’ drawings. What’s more, there are fun-filled recipes together with endless illustrations (Christmas-themed, of course!) to colour in. Little’uns will even learn about numbers and shapes along the way.

Moreover, the book provides a personalisation aspect, where they’ll be able to see their name appear throughout the puzzle pages, making this gift so much more special. They’ll see it included in Christmassy illustrations of crackers, baubles, gingerbread men and more. Additionally, on every page, there’s a fun fact about Christmas, making this a one-in-a-million book, just waiting to be completed. Open it up, and your child will discover Christmas carols to sing, doodles to draw, cakes to bake, to name just a few. As well as making the wait for those final days a little more bearable, this fabulous book also helps ickle ones with letters, numbers, shapes and colours so they can learn as they explore. Whether read as a book or hung up on the wall via its hanger, creative kiddies will enjoy getting stuck into the fun – and you will, too!

CHRISTMAS AT WADDESDON GIFT FAIR Waddesdon Plant Fair Thursday 7 - Sunday 10 November 10.30 - 4.30 EAST WING OF MANOR OPEN & Winter Light at Waddesdon: BRUCE MUNRO 13 November - 1 January Wednesday - Sunday NEW: special late night openings Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday 29 November - 29 December For more information phone 01296 653226 or visit Just off the A41 between Aylesbury & Bicester



Bespoke Dress Making, Re-styling, Quality alterations & repairs Specialist in designer and vintage wear. Attention to detail with all work undertaken in-house.

the dry cleaning and laundry experts



Like our customers, we care about the environment. All of our packaging is made from 100% biodegradable materials, and is easily recyclable.


Thames Valley Life It’s time to Party with the Dancing Party Animals who are making their UK debut in the Argos’ Gift Guide that launches mid October 2013.

Don’t miss a beat this Christmas with Dancing Party Animals

Christmas beats will have a whole new jive this winter as the highly adorable, fun loving Party Animals come ‘alive’ and dance to your favourite festive music. A perfect gift for the child and the child in any adult just plug the Party Animal into your audio player (phone, mp3, ipad etc) and not only do they act as a speaker but they create their own dance in time to the beats.

All of the Dancing Party Animals are handmade, distinctly collectable and they all have their own personalities. And remember every dance that they perform for you and your friends is unique and unrepeatable whether it is at a party, at home or even in the office. The Party Animals dance fast or slow with the beat of your music, and stop when the music stops. Give them a chance to take a little break by pressing their paw and let you listen to the full rich, sound of their built-in speaker. And remember, the Dancing Party Animals aren’t just for Christmas.


Bringing Events to Life with Fantastic Food

Argos Gift Guide, available now, will feature the core posse – Spike, Tom, Sandy and Cleo. Sandy, Cleo, Tom and Spike will be introducing their new friends to you over coming months as they pop up with other r/etailers. They are also available via their own online shop (www. dancingpartyanimals. Watch out for Penny the Panda, who has serious attitude, and Pogo the Pug, the red carpet queen, who capture hearts whenever and wherever they make an appearance. Price: £29.99


L’Opera provides a superior catering service, catering for a large variety of events, ranging from intimate dinners for two at home, to celebrity banquets in a Palace, Castle or Château. With over 20 years of extensive experience in the catering, hospitality and the entertainment industries. • Complete catering service and excellent customer service • Catering for your event tailored to your needs; hog roasts, BBQs, wedding receptions • Planning the menu to your personal chef, ensuring that your event is a phenomenal success • Providing the highest quality dishes from around the globe and providing service in several languages • Tel: +44(0)118 9380811 • Mobile: +44(0)785 4135312



Ice Skating at Hilltop Garden Centre Affordable Family Fun! ICE RINK DATES:

Saturday 30th November 2013 Sunday 5th January 2014



Experience the thrill of open air skating, on real ice, whatever the weather, on our open sided, covered, outdoor Ice Rink!



Find us here:


k Visit www.hilltopgc.crmo.atuion fo to book tickets or for more in











M40 A418


Hilltop Garden Centre, Witney Rd, Ramsden, Oxon, OX7 3AS Tel: 01993 868403 Open 9 - 5.30 Monday - Saturday, 10.30 - 4.30 Sunday. Our café closes half an hour before the garden centre. * See online for details


Thames Valley Life

Meadow View Park Xmas Tribute Night 13thDecember

Back by Popular Demand, Rud Stewart appears live at Meadow View Park on Friday 13th December. Join us for a fantastic three course Xmas Meal complete with glass of Bubbles on arrival AND Disco to 1.00am Tickets are £29.95pp or you can book a table of 10 for just £275.00 To Reserve your places contact us on

01844 214401

Xmas Party Night 21st December

Party Nights include a Festive welcome drink of Fizz, Party decorations and crackers, Xmas finger buffet and after-dinner entertainment disco until 1.00am Tickets are just £19.95pp Pre Booked Drinks packages are also available for each evening

CALL 01844 214401 to BOOK Meadow View Park Thame, Oxon, OX9 3RN

SANTA SPECIALS 2013 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd December STEAM


Early Bird Discount if you travel on or before 8th Dec


10.15, 11.30, 1.00, 2.15 and 3.30

Santa will be giving out presents to all children during the journey*. Book on website, or phone 01844 354117 between 10.00am - 3.00pm Sat & Sun from 2nd Nov

*See website for full details

MINCE PIE SPECIALS Sun 29th, Mon 30th, Tues 31st Dec & Sun 5th Jan 2014

10.30, 12.00, 1.45 and 3.15 (No booking required)



Talking Timetable - 01844 353535 or


No Christmas stocking is complete without a pack of Top Trumps! Whether you’re buying for fans of Disney or the world’s biggest boy band, Top Trumps is the must-have for every stocking this Christmas! A firm playground favourite since it first hit shop shelves in the late 1970s, to date over 70 million packs have been sold worldwide. Top Trumps produces hundreds of different packs on a huge variety of subject matter: from Dinosaurs to Baby Animals; Manchester United to Moshi Monsters and Hello Kitty to Top Gear. New licenses for Top Trumps this year include One Direction, Monsters University, Disney Planes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Diary of a Wimpy Kid – so there really is a pack for every member of the family!

One Direction Top Trumps

Charting their rise from X Factor to global super stardom, this officially licensed Top Trumps pack is the ultimate stocking filler for fans of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Louis and Harry, keeping them Up All Night with facts, stats and photos of all the boys’ greatest moments.

Monsters University Top Trumps

Monsters University tells the story of how Sulley and Mike came to meet – this new Top Trumps pack features our two favourite monsters as well as other scary students! All the fraternities of Monsters U and Fear Tech are included – who’s the scariest, the funniest, and the most monstrous?

Disney Planes Top Trumps

It’s time for Disney’s newest heroes, the Planes, to take off! Perfect for fans of Disney’s latest blockbuster movie, this Top Trumps pack features Dusty Crophopper, Skipper, Chug and many more of the new characters from the skies. Who’s the most adventurous, or the biggest daredevil?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Top Trumps

Learn the sewer secrets of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo with this new Top Trumps pack: Which of the Turtles has the most ninja know how? Is anyone a better leader than Leonardo? And can the brothers save New York from the Foot Clan?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Top Trumps

These amazing children’s books come to life in this Top Trumps pack, as Greg – the Wimpy Kid himself – gives us his advice on important life skills, from fashion sense to talking yourself out of a tight spot. Each skill is rated on stats like Prank Potential, School Cool and Girl Appeal – everything you need to know, wimpy or otherwise!

Top Trumps Turbo: All Stars

Top Trumps goes Turbo! Hit the electronic TurboSpinner to start the game and race through the minigames to win pegs for your scorebar. Steal pegs from your opponents – will they take revenge? When your scorebar is full, start the Turbo Final! Who will be the Top Trumps Champion? Top Trumps Turbo: All Stars includes six exclusive packs: Movie Stars, Pop Stars, Sports Stars, Toys, TV and the Wow! pack.

Top Trumps Turbo: Doctor Who

Celebrate fifty years of adventures through time and space with Top Trumps Turbo: the Doctor Who Anniversary game. Six exclusive all-new packs are included, covering everything from Aliens to Robots, Companions to Monsters and the best stories of all time. Hit the electronic Turbo Spinner to choose your mini-game, and race to fill your scorebar.

One Direction Top Trumps Collectors Tin The One Thing on every true 1D superfan’s Santa letter this year is this exclusive collector’s tin emblazoned with images of the band! Directioners will squeal with delight when they find it contains two different packs of One Direction Top Trumps: ‘The Journey So Far’, showcasing key moments in the boys’ career to date, and ‘The Journey From Here’, which lifts the lid on the boys’ upcoming world tour with jaw-dropping facts and stats about all the countries they’ll visit. Top Trumps games and packs are available to buy now on the High Street from a wide range of retailers including WH Smith, Toys R Us, Waterstones, Tesco, Asda, and John Lewis or widely available on line. All products are available to buy at www.winningmoves. and


Thames Valley Life

CHRISTMAS FAIR AND REAL JAM FESTIVAL 7 and 8 December 2013 | Denman, Marcham Oxfordshire | 01865 391 991

All funds raised at this event go to Denman Charity Registration No. 803793


What Left-Handers Want for Christmas If you are looking for the perfect gift for a left-hander this Christmas, can offer you inspiration. They have compiled a list of the most popular gifts requested by lefties at Christmas. The items most left-handers want in their Christmas stocking are:

Non-smudge Pens

With their hand following behind the pen as they write and draw, it’s no wonder left-handers’ masterpieces often end up a smudged mess! With nibs that fow freely whe pushed with the left hand and fast drying ink, the range of left-handed cartridge pens and non-smudge rollerballs is a huge hit with left-handers of all ages.

Left-handed Scissors

With the blades reversed as well as the handles, truly left-handed scissors can be hard to find, but heaven to cut with as they follow the cutting line without tearing, and without having to squeeze the handles together so hard you bruise

Christmas your thumb knuckle. Manicure, kitchen and desk scissors are the most popular.

Stationery Sets

Popular with children who love the idea of a pencil case full of tools that actually work. Gift sets of stationery items that can include pens that don’t scratch or smudge, rulers they can read right to left, pencil sharpeners that rotate the correct way and scissors that cut properly make a perfect gift for little lefties.

Left handed Essentials Sets

A range of selections of the most popular left-handed products packed into a sturdy zip seal bag with full descriptions of all the items. A readymade present and at a discount to the individual product prices.

Left handed corkscrews

With an anti-clockwise action so lefthanders can open bottles without fuss. All of these items are available for delivery worldwide from www. or tel: 01737 88826. The site also features videos on a lot of the items showing what makes them left-handed.


Thames Valley Life



Perfect winter breaks in cosy cottages

Warm up your winter and put roses in your cheeks. Discover a true seasonal vibe down here with the New Forest ponies and magical landscapes.To escape the hectic countdown for a few days, book a pre Christmas break from the New Forest Living’s collection of stylish holiday homes, available in late November and December.

Seasonal Simplicity

Two picture perfect Thatched cottages to choose from. Book a long weekend at Hunters Moon at Godshill, a fabulous Green Oak frame open plan cottage with vaulted ceilings, complete with thatched roof, inglenook and ponies at the gate. Quick trot from the back gate across the green to the hamlet pub. Sleeping up to five, costs £775 for a either a three night weekend or a four night mid week break. Seven night price £925. Very doggie friendly. Stay at the picture perfect Bay Tree cottage in Pilley Village . Gather round the Aga in the large cosy kitchen, wake up to ponies and donkeys at the gate, a lunch time in the ancient village pub, followed by a bracing walk across the forest, a few miles to the coast at Lymington for some light Christmas shopping. Sleeping up to six + cot, costs £775 for a either a three night weekend or a four night mid week break. Seven night price £895.

Winchester Christmas market and ice rink

When you are staying down here this is a must do, set in the majestic Cathedral close. Twinkling lights, the scent of mulled wine and gingerbread, children tightly holding parents hands and twirling skaters, a truly dazzling spectacle. Thursday 21st Nov to Sunday 22nd Dec 2013; 10am-6pm from Sun-Wed and 10am-7.30pm from Thurs-Sat. Winchester is easily accessible from the New Forest, a 20 minute drive from Cadnam on the forest boundary.

Beaulieu Village Victorian Christmas Evening

For one night only, but oh but what a night, Saturday 30th November 2013, 5pm-8pm. Organised by local folk for the delight of all with Father Christmas, skating rink, the sweet little shops offering late night opening, street stalls, food and entertainment, live music from local bands and performers. Wrap up warm and have some fun under the stars. See you there !! And one for or the bah humbug crowd, The Riverside Retreatset in a truly unique location beside the Beaulieu River with a cosy wood fire, river views, absolutely no road noise, just the chug of the occasional boat. A haven of peace,The Retreat is reached by a ½ mile hard surface gravel track, no tinsel or carolling down here in woods, just the chug of the occasional boat and the call of the curlews and owls with a large first floor deck to map the stars at night. Sleeping up to four, costs £695 for either a three night weekend or four night midweek break. Seven night price £795.


Thames Valley Life

Stuff The Turkey This Christmas – Cook A Cockerel Instead!


f you really want to strut your stuff at the Christmas dinner table this year, then only a cockerel will cocka-doodle do! Online gourmet food hall Farmison & Co is offering the rare roosters as part of its ‘Butchers’ Specialties this Christmas, and its roast cockerel recipes have plenty to shake your tail feathers at. Farmison & Co’s ‘Cotswold White Cockerels’ are rarely available due to being reared in limited numbers but, being slightly larger than chickens, they offer more meat for your money as well as plenty of flavour thanks to a diet of apples and grain. “We all want to something a little bit special for our festive feast and these birds are a superior and unique choice – and eminently versatile,” says John Pallagi, co-founder of Farmison & Co, which specialises in chef-quality ingredients from small suppliers. “As male chickens, they can be cooked in the same way as standard chickens but because they have been reared in large open barns and hung after slaughter, their flesh is buttery in texture and immensely flavoursome.”

Mediterranean medley

Smear the breast of the bird (under the skin) with Boursin cheese mixed with crushed garlic, chopped


pistachios, chopped sage, and a squeeze of lemon. Arrange bacon strips over the top and place on a roasting tin, cover with foil, and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C (Gas mark 4) for 16 minutes per 450g bird, plus another 16 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove the foil for the last 45 minutes to brown, and after cooking rest the cockerel for 20 minutes.

One-pot wonder

Fry pancetta, garlic and leeks in a pan until softened and tuck these around your bird in a deep casserole dish, along with sprigs of thyme and bay leaves. Add 600ml chicken stock and cover with foil and cook (as above), basting occasionally with any juices.

Cockerel au Vin

Pop chopped leeks, carrots, onions and 1 bulb garlic in the bottom of a roasting tray and place your bird on top, rubbing the skin with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a good glug of dry white wine and some sprigs of thyme and sage and cover with a lid or foil and cook (as above). Uncover in the last 45 minutes to brown, and add chicken stock, chestnut mushrooms, baby sweetcorn and banana shallots and test to check the juices run clear before removing.


Christmas all wrapped up at the St George & Dragon Our Fantastic Festive Menu 3 Delicious Courses - ÂŁ24.95

As we rapidly approach the cheeriest season of all, we've got some distinctly delicious dishes on our Festive, Christmas, Boxing Day Menus we think you'll love.

Have a look on our website..... It's never too early to start planning!

St George & Dragon High Street, Wargrave, RG10 8HY 01189 404474 19

Thames Valley Life

Top Ten Christmas Gadgets & Gifts What’s hot and what’s not this Christmas? The team at knows all about the latest funky gadgets that will have the wow factor under the tree, all at prices that won’t break the bank. Our searchers and testers hand-pick the best of the bunch and bring them to you in one wide-ranging website along with demo videos and full product details, so you can be sure of raising a great big smile on Christmas morning or even at the office Secret Santa presentation.

Remote control robot

A brand new entry for this year, this retro designed robot can walk, talk, dance and shoot foam discs all at the touch of a button on the included remote control. Ideal for kids big and small (recommended for age 3+), it’ll amuse and entertain through Christmas and well beyond.

Micro turbo drone Quadrocopter

Adding a bit of sparkle to your present picks for adults and kids alike is a delight for giver and receiver. We’ve narrowed it down to the ten gifts that we predict will be the biggest hits for 2013

Lightspeed iHelicopter with camera

Last year’s model was voted top gadget by The Sunday Times and recommended on The Gadget Show. Now it’s even better, with an onboard video and still camera to capture your best flights and sights. Controlled by a phone app with motion control, you can snap and film away while soaring around the heads of friends and colleagues, for hours of fun in the office or at home. iHat music hat

What could be better at this chilly time of year than a funky beanie hat that keeps you cosy and tuned in when you’re out and about? Last year’s model is now even better – it has an inbuilt microphone so you can talk hands-free on your mobile as well as listen to music. Traditionalists will go for black while the more fashion-forward will love the on-trend geometric grey design.


Remote control helicopter fans will rave about this tiny Quadrocopter which at 11cm x 11cm in diameter takes performance and stunts to a whole new miniature level. Flyers can hone their technique with the adjustable responsiveness remote control and send the Quadrocopter soaring and flipping up to 100m away, marvelling at its stability and smooth movement. Other models with similar capability can retail for five times the price.

Remote control

colour changing

LED wax candles

Enjoy the warm glow and flicker of real wax candles as well as the convenience, long life and safety of an LED light. This brilliant three pack comes with a remote control to choose one of twelve glowing colours to suit your mood, or phase through them all in turn if you can’t decide. There’s also a timer feature to switch them off after four or eight hours. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, they’re great for child-safe peace of mind too.

Remote control quad bike

Complete with rechargeable battery pack, the R/C Quad Bike is ready to go after just a quick charge. With a driver who leans in the direction of travel, a powerful racing motor offering directional control at even fast speeds and functional suspension, the Quad Bike looks great and performs magnificently. Perfect for kids aged 6+, big and small!

Christmas is the fastest Truggy we’ve ever tested at this price point, and comes equipped with digital proportional steering via the included pistol grip controller. Ideal for whizzing around indoors and out, it features front and rear suspension, off-road tyres and overall high speed performance. It’s perfect for kids (8+) and big kids alike.

Touchscreen gloves / Smart gloves As featured on The Gadget Show, these gloves are essential accessories for anyone with a touchscreen phone who’s going to be out in the cold this winter. At this price they make a perfect stocking filler. There’s conductive thread in every fingertip so it doesn’t matter what your typing and swiping style is. One size fits all, plus you can choose a colour to suit your recipient, either black or hot pink.

Desktop cup / mug warmer

Great for office types, even on the most restricted Secret Santa budget. Banish lukewarm cups of coffee at your desk by plugging this handy gadget in to a spare USB port, then take your time to enjoy your drink while it’s hot down to the very last drop.

Photo frame clock

Remote control car truggy

A Truggy is the latest craze in the world of remote control – a cross between a Truck and a Buggy, so you get the best of both worlds and high speed remote control fun! Complete with rechargeable battery pack, the 1/18th scale model Truggy is box-ready for some daredevil on and off-road super-fast action… This

Perfect for personalisation, this wall clock features twelve different-sized frames, one for each numeral position. Give it as it is so the recipient can add their own photos, or fill it first with picture memories to treasure and bring a tear to mum or grandma’s eye on Christmas day. The simple, contemporary design means it’ll suit any space.


Thames Valley Life

WOULD YOU buy your television, dishwasher, refrigerator from someone working from a private house?

I don’t think so so why even think of buying your water softener from anywhere else but a specialist shop established over 30 years?

We carry a range of Domestic Softeners including Non electrical Block Salt Units. Call us. We do free site visits with no obligation. We also offer Filters, Tablets, Granular and Block Salt always in stock. We are a family business with friendly trained staff plus service and installation engineers. 75 Station Road, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire HP27 9DN Tel: (01844) 346566/347728 Fax: (01844)343916 Email: OPENING HOURS MON - FRI 9.00 am to 5.00 pm SAT 9.00 am to 12.00 pm


House & Home

Wood Effect Floor Tiles are Winter’s Design Trend With the winter season approaching, the online porcelain and ceramic tile retailers Direct Tile Warehouse has said that wood effect tiles are among the hottest trends on offer.

To reflect the new popularity and demand, the retailer has increased its ranges of wood effect tiles to over 17 this season, with the addition of the new Oregon deckeffect and the Bayer grey and white tiles. The popularity of wood effect flooring has soared in the last few years, and more and more households are now opting to use the especially versatile option of tiling to create new effects or more durable flooring.

easy to see why wood effect floor tiles had become a favourite design choice in 2013. Home owners are choosing between traditional plank effect, Geometric and angular ‘parquet’ designs are a favourite , while the zigzag effect of ‘herringbone’ laying is being used to produce an altogether different finish. For exterior tiling Mr Halsey noted the recent popularity of deck effect tiles, and indicated that their added durability made them an attractive choice for people looking to tile outdoors in time for next summer.

The Benefits of Using Tiles Where real wood plus laminate or lino wood effect flooring choices may become damaged by environmental factors, using highly durable porcelain or ceramic tiles can mean surfaces remain pristine for longer. Fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, porcelain is especially durable and much less porous, making it suitable for use in wet areas and even outdoors. With a large portion of the ranges on offer at Direct Tile Warehouse now in porcelain, Mr Halsey noted that it’s opening up whole new options for individuals looking to tile in bathrooms or exterior spaces. He also noted the benefits of the new outdoor wood effect tile ranges the retailer has made available: “As long as they are laid correctly, outdoor deck effect tiles will generally be more resistant to water damage than wood, and they look great too.” As more people look for longlasting and economic solutions to their DIY projects, Mr Halsey also noted that, with prices starting at around just £14.00 per square metre, and with correctly laid tiled floors tending to last longer than many other solutions, it was

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Create New Christmas Traditions with Catesby's

We all love the sense of timeless tradition that the festive season evokes. With its sophisticated, modern take on the classic Christmas home, Catesby’s 2013 Christmas Collection makes it easy to create a warm and welcoming ambience.

Christmas Tree Candles

Bring the outdoors in with a festive forest of lightbearing trees (from £7). With their knitted texture and subtle colours, these decorative Scandinavian candles look stunning grouped together.

this generous nickel-plated footed bowl (£79) looks wonderful piled high with winter fruits, filled with festive punch or simply as an elegant wine cooler. With its rope-twist trim and tactile reindeer head handles, its glamorous good looks will surely make it a yearround favourite. A matching champagne bucket (£99) is also available for when the time comes to welcome the New Year in style.

Pine Cone Candle

At last – a stylish way to serve eggnog! These delicately etched French tumblers (£30 for six) have a distinct air of the hunting lodge, and are ideal for fireside aperitifs.

If you can bear to light it, Catesby’s unique and striking sculpted pine cone candle burns beautifully. Carefully crafted in pale grey natural wax, it’s sure to enhance the atmosphere of any special occasion throughout the season. Available in a choice of two sizes; Medium (10cm – £12) or Large (15cm – £25).

Mercury Glass Pine Cone Decorations

Alpine Folding Table

Reindeer Head Handle Bowl

To order or to view Catesby’s entire collection, please visit

Stags Head Tumblers

Available in Antique Silver or White Gold, these traditionally-made Danish glass decorations are the perfect accessory for adding a touch of opulence. The small size (7.5cm – £5) is perfect for the Christmas tree, while the medium (15cm – £12) and large (20cm – £25) can be hung from windows and fireplaces, or arranged in a bowl. An eye-catching centrepiece for any Christmas table,


When the Christmas table is laden with food, this versatile Alpine Table (£59) really comes into its own. With its grey-washed wooden top and smart zinc frame, it's the perfect impromptu drinks table and offers a handy spot for festive flowers and cards. In the rare event that extra surface space isn't needed, it simply folds up for easy storage.

House & Home


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Premier Architectural Joinery Limited Ladymead Farm Quainton Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP22 4AN T 01296 655555 Opt 6 E

Bespoke Architectural Joinery for Period, Listed and Contemporary Buildings

Windows, Doors, Conservatories, Furniture, Roof Lanterns, Staircases, Bifold & French Doorsets, Gates, Wardrobes, Bookcases and Furniture.



From Designer Catwalk to Designer Catalogue

House & Home

Katherine Choynowski is thrilled to York. She used the proceeds from her announce the imminent opening of earlier career to fund Le Crib. She now commutes between London and New York. The Le Crib on-line catalogue will be the easy way to hear about and buy Katherine has spent the last six designer furniture from hot designers months on the road (or rather - on be they working in Hoxton or Hungary, intercontinental flights) to meet new Milan or Manhattan. designers from around the world ready for the site's launch. She currently has a This on-line Aladdin’s cave is where collection of products from around 150 designer furniture meets social media designers. Recent buying trips took and will transform the way the techher to Miami, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and savvy and eco-conscious 'Generation Paris. Y' source, talk about, and buy high-end designer furniture and gadgets. She has still found time to co-produce an independent movie, # Roadies, Not only will Le Crib allow consumers to starring Eve Hewson and Jack Quaid, comment on and discuss the products in edit now for a December premier. with the designers, but will afford designers with little prior exposure the Katherine sums up her intention: ‘I opportunity to showcase their designs want to bring local designers to a on a global stage. global market. And to bin the same old same old when you furnish your home Katherine Choynowski is a 21 year– avoiding forever the interior design old entrepreneur now living in London. equivalent of “same frock syndrome” She left school in Switzerland at 15 - when you walk into a party and before becoming a model in New someone is wearing the same outfit.’



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Discover quality curtains, blinds and accessories

Qualified in soft furnishings we can dress your window to achieve a vision that compliments each room

Personal service Free advice Creative range of designs Traditionally made to measure Stunning fabrics Blinds • Roman • Roller • Wooden Venetian Poles and tracks For a free consultation Professional fitting contact Carol Stamp

T 01235 521533 E W Carol’s Creations 111 Saxton Rd • Abingdon OXON • OX14 5JB




House & Home

Discover Quality Curtains, Blinds & Accessories Magnificent made-to-measure curtains

Even before a stitch is sewn I can help you choose the right style to fit your room's style. I'll also ensure the drop is measured correctly and - thanks to my specialist sources - can find fabric designs that are not available in the shops.

drapery hooks). Triple pleats are a very robust header that stays in place over time - no matter how often the curtains are drawn! Double pleat headers can be chosen as an alternative where a more 'relaxed' look is desired.

Measuring Curtains Measuring for curtains is not difficult, but it does need to be done accurately. I'll take measurements as part of your free consultation, but to get you started, have put together a guide to show you how it's done.

Curtain Eyelets I can help you choose curtain headers that complement your chosen fabric and the style of your home or venue. These include: • Heading tape/pencil pleat heading • Triple pleat heading/pinch pleat heading • Double pleat heading • Eyelet curtains My curtains come with hand-sewn hems, side seams and headings for pleats - finished on durable buckram for a high-quality finish. If you want lined curtains, I also provide interlined or blackout backing.

Eyelet curtains are extremely popular, will look great in your home or office and offer a touch of sophistication. The beauty of eyelets is that they can be opened and closed very easily without the resistance associated with other types of curtain.

Eyelet Colour Eyelets come in a range of colours to complement your chosen pole or curtain fabric. We can provide samples for you to compare these colours to your pole/curtain material.

Heading tape/pencil pleat heading Curtain heading tapes are available in a range of styles to help you achieve many different effects, including pencil pleats. The heading tape is fixed to the curtain backing and includes cords which are pulled to gather the fabric and achieve the desired look, from pleated to 'ruffled'. Heading tape gives a simple, classic look that is suited to both poles and tracks. This method was actually developed during World War II, when factory workers made bullet belts. The workers used to sneak pieces home and use as backing on curtains - the woven slots just fitted a curtain hook. Nowadays, the method hasn't changed, but the fabric is made on a roll instead of in belts!

Triple pleat heading/pinch pleat heading Triple pleat headings are a traditional method of curtain heading consisting of a space and three pleats made from stiff buckram backing. Triple pleats are suitable for use with medium-weight curtains to give an elegant finish, and fit poles or tracks (with the addition of

Eyelet Size Eyelets come in a range of sizes from 25mm up to 66mm. Using the correct size is an important consideration and will help the curtains glide effortlessly For a Free Consultation over the pole so Contact Carol Stamp ensuring you 01235 521533 don’t have to tug or apply undue pressure on the Carol’s Creations curtain material 111 Saxton Road, Abingdon, or pole. Oxfordshire, OX14 5JB


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House & Home


Thames Valley Life


Start Your New Christmas Tradition With An Ethical Timbatree

House & Home

Imagine a Christmas tree like no other. A hand-crafted centrepiece built to last a lifetime, made from quality and forest friendly timber. The new British designed and made timbatree is a fun, stylish and ethical alternative to the traditional pine tree. This wooden Christmas tree can be part of your Christmas tradition year after year, while also reducing your carbon footprint.

timbatree is the idea and design of 34-year-old Surrey carpenter Joost Taylor. It is environmentally friendly as each tree is made entirely from FSC accredited redwood, and unlike the traditional tree you can tidy it away until next year. It is also good news for people suffering sensitivity to pine trees who would love to have a natural Christmas tree, rather than the plastic alternative. “There are no nails, screws or needles, just pure timber, and our trees can be put up quicker than you can carve the turkey,” adds Joost. “Kids will have endless fun decorating their timbatree and it’s much less fiddly for little hands because baubles and presents can be easily hung or placed on the branches. We also encourage people to dress their tree with their own unique and inspirational decorations – such as knitted baubles, pine cones, baked goodies, and handcrafted or family heirloom ornaments.”

After the festivities, the timbatree can be taken down in minutes and stored away neatly in its compact, recycled box. No prickly pine needles embedded in your carpets to plague you until spring, nor in your car after the dreaded trip to the recycling centre. And next year your timbatree is ready to start off those wonderful Christmas merriments all over again, making it your new tradition, built to last.

Small Christmas Tree

The small tree is perfect for placing on a side table or dresser, or in your little one’s bedroom. 90 cm high X 70 cm diameter £129.00 + delivery

Medium Christmas Tree

The medium tree is ideal for the apartment as it will fit snugly in the corner of your room, or on a side table. 120 cm high X 90 cm diameter £159.00 + delivery

Large Christmas Tree

The big tree makes for a stunning centre piece in your living room, dining room, hall, or even the garden! 180 cm high X 110 cm diameter £229.00 + delivery

Gallery Wood Flooring & Carpets Installers of Fine Floors

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Is your Bathroom letting you down? Revive that tired Bathroom or Shower Bathrooms Revived transforms tired bathrooms and showers giving a new lease of life, to one of the most important rooms in your home, but at a fraction of the cost of a new bathroom, saving you ££ ‘thousands and adding value to your property.

Call us on:

01753 887 402

New life for tired bathrooms 34

House & Home

Inject new life into your tired bathroom / shower by: Renovating: Decorating - walls, ceilings, woodwork Deep cleaning - removing those difficult stains Grouting - removing & replacing discoloured grouting Hard water / limescale - thoroughly cleaning hard water stained fittings Sealant - removing old sealant and replacing with new antibacterial silicon Upgrading: Flooring - repairing or replacing Showers - replacing worn components & removing limescale Taps & plugs - replacing worn fittings with new ones Toilet seats - replacing old seats with brand new Lighting - modernising or replacing Tiling - updating or replacing existing tiles

All work is fully insured

Bathrooms Revived is a trading subsidiary of Turn-Key Marketing Services Ltd

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Injecting newfor life tired into tired bathrooms New life bathrooms 35

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See the latest additions to the Winter and Christmas collection at our Open Days

House & Home

27th - 29th November 2013 Noon - 9pm

Uplands House Burgess Wood Grove Beaconsfield HP9 1EH

Tutti Decor

home furnishings, accessories & gifts

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Local workshop in Wokingham, Berkshire.


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House & Home


Dreams of a White Christmas becomes a reality with HomeExchange

Thames Valley Life

For most families, the festive holiday period just means staying at home – a far cry from a ‘White Christmas’ in the mountains or a beach barbecue in the sunshine. Soaring holiday accommodation costs in desirable destinations can make a Christmas escape to the likes of the Caribbean, French Alps or Canadian Rockies unattainable for many families. However, thanks to, the largest and fastest growing online home exchange company in the world, dreams of an exciting Christmas can finally come true – without breaking the bank! Based on the simple concept of ‘you stay in my home while I stay in yours’, HomeExchange provides members with the opportunity to trade their homes and reap the benefits of a safe, affordable way to explore the world while living like a true local on holiday. Many movie-lovers will recognise from The Holiday, where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz’s on-screen characters exchange an English countryside cottage for a Los Angeles mansion. Just as the idea of swapping a home for a fairy tale Christmas is not entirely new for British holidaymakers, there are now many HomeExchange Members from all five continents hoping to take a break and take advantage of this festive season. Fancy a trip to California’s Lake Tahoe? Perhaps to a city abode in downtown Sydney? Or to a lake view condo in Switzerland? Members with homes from these destinations and more are looking for home swap


opportunities this Christmas. Cambridge-based Peter Allen and his family have travelled with three times over Christmas to pursue their passion for snow and ski. The last exchange was to Nederland, just outside Boulder, Colorado, a little known resort popular among the locals. Peter said: “We first decided to chose to HomeExchange in December because we always fancied having a white Christmas but the idea of spending a holiday cramped in one hotel room didn’t appeal. With a HomeExchange you can spread out a bit as there’s room for you all, you can cook the food that you like and just be more comfortable. “Our two children have learnt to ski thanks to HomeExchange holidays. Our family home in Cambridge appeals to all kinds of people wanting to swap so you needn’t worry about thinking you’ve not got the right place to exchange. People looking to swap are very interested in sampling life in an English home.” November is not too late for planning a Christmas gateway. Thanks to the “last minute” feature, many exciting opportunities are at reach in just a few clicks. A three to five day escape, not too far from home is also a great option to make dreams of a different Christmas a reality.

House & Home


Thames Valley Life



telephone (free): 0800 1488178 mobile: 07875 530355 web: email: Serving the SOUTH BUCKS area

■ Boiler service, repair and replacement

Top Tip

■ Gas appliance service, repair and installation

Your gas boiler is like all mechanical devices – it should be regularly serviced to check it’s running correctly. Usually this is annually. A little like an MOT for a car.

■ Landlord and homeowner gas safety checks ■ Powerflushing your central heating system to improve efficiency and lifespan ■ VISA debit/credit card payment ■ Early morning and late evening appointments available

Summer is a great time to do this before you really need your central heating in the autumn and winter.

SBHE_JUNE_20_B5.indd 1

20/06/2013 20:18

Making your home beautiful

01635 254200

We are open: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - by appointment only Tuesday and Thursday - Pop in and browse days 9.30am - 5pm

Christine Scott Interiors, The Coach House, Burlyns, East Woodhay, Newbury RG20 0NU



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H6 Lust for life. Love music.

BeoPlay H6 combines style, craftsmanship and first grade sound quality in an over-ear headphone that looks and sounds amazing. Available now – £329



Bang & Olufsen of Oxford 6 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7JL Tel. 01865 511241

House & Home


62 High Street, Sandhurst, Berkshire GU47 8DY. Tel: 01252 876876 Murrell Green, London Road, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire RG27 8HZ. Tel: 01256 764182 Email.

R.S. Hall UpHolSteRy

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All fabrics at competitive prices, upholstery sundries and all sizes of foam

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Landscape of the Year 2013” by New Homes Gardens Awards. cgd landscape design ltd won two awards at this year’s New Homes Gardens Awards held in London last week. Their entry, a domestic garden for a client in the Russian Federation, won not only the gold for Best Overseas Garden/Landscape but also the prestigious overall “Landscape of the Year” award. The garden, set around a new build timber house, encompasses the “essence” of an English country garden where formality close to the house blends into more informal naturalistic planting styles.

outskirts of Moscow and represents a totally different garden style in these extremes of climate. cgd worked where-ever possible with locally sourced plants and hard-landscaping materials but also imported materials and plants from the UK and Europe. The results have been very positive generating a great deal of interest from both potential private clients and developers.

Sally Court, cgd’s lead designer on this project, commented that she was delighted that their work has been recognized in this way. The garden, which has been several years in the making, has been a huge learning curve for the company and their Russian team getting to know each other’s different business procedures. The working relationship has been beneficial for both cgd and Honka, the Moscow-based landscape contractor, in the creation of an “English” garden on the


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Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer celebrate three Gold Awards for new gardens


Leading Surrey-based garden designers Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer are celebrating after being awarded three Gold medals in this year’s New Homes Gardens Awards. The awards were made for garden designs in Kingston-upon-Thames, St George’s Hill and Sussex and winning them the Best Rural Garden title. Founding Director Andrew Fisher Tomlin said “It is great for our staff to be recognised for showcase garden designs for local Surrey and Sussex gardens. The owners of these gardens know the value of a great garden when building their new homes and we are delighted that the gardens that we have created will give them many years of pleasure.” He added “The company is currently working on a wide range of projects including large country gardens in Wentworth and Norfolk as well as city gardens in Wimbledon and central London. These are real gardens not show gardens so customers can see that award winning garden design is available to everyone not just at the big shows.” Fisher Tomlin and Bowyer have won many other awards for new homes gardens as well as recognition from organisations both in the UK and from overseas. Fisher Tomlin added “ The future for gardens is very bright. Developers and private individuals are all recognizing the power of great garden design as part of the overall design of new homes in enhancing their lives and providing great value for money.”


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Bicester & District Ex-Services and Bicester Families Social Club

Home of Oxfordshire County Darts

InvItIng new MeMbers Function Room also available FREE to Members Entertainment EVERY Saturday Satellite Sports TV Now Open All day Every Day For further information ask at the bar or contact Tel:

01869 245367 BicesterExServicemans 67a Sheep Street, Bicester, Oxon OX26 6 JW 50

What’s On

Local to You

4 Nov


Camp Mohawk, Crazies Hill, Wargrave

An evening around the camp fire with a selection of hot food available to buy, followed by an exhilarating firework display for all the family. 6-9pm

5 Nov


16 Nov

Gates open at 6.15pm with Bonfire lit at 7.15pm and fireworks at 7.45pm.

Nuffield Fitness Centre

Chieveley Recreation ground


40 stalls of quality pre-loved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 8 yrs. Children and parents can get hands-on with Owen’s Animals, exotic creatures from the rainforest who will be attending.

21 Nov

Themed activities for toddlers including face or hand painting, play dough, storytelling and make and take activities. Admission also includes entrance to the hands-on science and nature exhibition.

16 Nov

Ashridge Nursery, Ashridge Rd

9 Nov

Enjoy an afternoon of family activities all about the wildlife that lives on and around the lake during the winter months. Find out how to identify birds, what to spot in the hedgerows

5-6 Nov


The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell


Pangbourne Primary School, Pangbourne

The Friends of Pangbourne Primary School will be hosting their popular Firework Fiesta with a huge bonfire, firework display, BBQ and bar, with plenty of fun for all the family.

9 Nov



Sulhamstead & Ufton Nervet Village

Gifts for the home and family, raffle, photographer, refreshments and free parking.


16 Nov

Stick Man lives in a tree, with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three.... But the world is a dangerous place for Stick Man. A dog wants to play with him. A swan builds a nest with him. He even ends up on a fire. Will he ever get back to the family tree?

central Reading

Corn Exchange, Newbury

9 Nov

FIREWORK & BONFIRE DISPLAY Fieldgate Centre, Kingsclere

Organised by Friends of Kingsclere School. Gates open at 5.30pm, with a firework display at 6.30pm (no pets or sparklers). BBQ and refreshments available.

CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR Broad Street Mall will have fun free activities for all the family from 10am. Santa will be in his grotto from 10am3pm and then on various dates until Xmas Eve. The Great Christmas Light Switch On will take place at 4pm by a celebrity guest. At The Oracle Riverside there will be a high-energy firework display starting at 7pm and hosted by Heart FM’s Toby Anstis.

16-17 Nov


South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell


This annual event is the perfect opportunity to do a spot of Christmas shopping in a relaxed atmosphere and this year will be offering a great selection of crafts and gifts not available on the high street.

23 Nov


The Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham Join ingenious recycler Jill Nicholas to turn old map books into beautiful windmills to take home.

23 Nov


Main Sports Hall, Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodley

38 stalls of quality pre-loved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 8 yrs.

23 Nov


Jubilee Gems, Ark House, Padworth

Enjoy a festive craft session for 2-5yrs in a warm and cosy environment.

23 Nov

DOCTOR WHO CRAFT SESSIONS Wokingham & Woodley Libraries

9 Nov

Enjoy and explore some of the UK’s best handmade crafts and buy directly from the artists and makers. Specialist workshops and demonstrations

Museum of English Rural Life

17 Nov


Bracknell Leisure Centre

Attractions include Father Christmas in his grotto, a Gingerbread Room, a silent auction and a grand raffle.

TRADITIONAL CRAFT FAIR Pick up beautiful gifts made by some of our most skilled local craftspeople, laid out in the unique setting of the MERL galleries.

BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET 35 stalls of quality pre-loved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 8 yrs

Visit and make a tardis and try some origami.

23 Nov

Kidmore End Primary School


Thames Valley Life 23-24 Nov

30 Nov

Bracknell town centre

Saint Sebastian’s Primary School



On Saturday the Snowglobe will be in Princess Square. Friends and family can climb inside this giant inflatable snow globe and have their photograph taken. On Sunday, the Christmas lights will be switched on in the town centre with secret celebrity guests

Special highlights include: Santa’s grotto, face painting, bouncy castle, tombola, hot food, over 20 stalls from local traders selling crafts, jewellery, books, gifts etc. and a performance from the St. Sebastian’s Wokingham Brass Band, plus much more.

24 Nov

30 Nov-1 Dec


Woodley shopping centre


Wokingham town centre

A fun-packed day with, this year, a swinging 60’s theme. Attractions include fun fair rides; over 100 food, craft and charity stalls; and non-stop free entertainment including a magic show

26 Nov

1 Dec CHRISTMAS SUNDAY MARKET Market Place, Wokingham


On Saturday Woodley hosts a Carol Concert & Christmas Lights Switch. On Sunday enjoy the 17th Woodley Christmas Extravaganza with entertainment throughout the day for all the family.

Local schools will present handmade decorations to the Wokingham Town Mayor around the large tree in the Market Place. Carols and mulled wine.

Try a wide range of local foods; visit a variety of stalls with arts & crafts and Christmas gifts to please all ages and interests. Enjoy live music and entertainment; and join the celebrations with Christmas carols

1 Dec


Shaw House, Church Rd, Newbury

Enjoy craft stalls, carol singing, tombola, children’s parties and mulled wine.

1-20 Dec


Hunt for the Christmas coins and tinsel hidden in the Museum, a small prize for all entries and a big prize for the lucky winner. Also Christmas themed craft throughout the museum to make and take home. 1-22 Dec


Basildon Park, Lower Basildon

You are invited to imagine that it’s Christmas Day at this magnificent mansion and the family of the house have all gone for a Christmas walk.

1-23 Dec


Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, Henley

Opening daily in December for the first time, Greys Court is the perfect place to step back in time and experience the nostalgia of a home-spun family Christmas in the 1940s and 50s.


01869 259681

Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Battalion Army Cadet Force 52

Male and Female Cadets 12(Year 8) to 18

Local to You 1-24 Dec LIVING ADVENT CALENDAR Henley town centre

Based on an original idea from Stockholm, each evening leading up to Christmas a window or door will open at a different venue and a short live performance will be given to the assembled audience to bring seasonal cheer to Henley.

1-24 Dec


Enjoy and celebrate this Christmas season with 24 performances over 24 days of advent. The living advent calendar brings together local businesses, individuals, performers and charitable organisations to present a 15 minute performance from local talent at 6.15pm each evening.

6 Dec


This annual festive event starts at 5pm and includes Father Christmas’ Grotto, a family treasure hunt with £1000 worth of prizes, an illuminated parade through Henley of local primary school children,

fair rides, lots of outside stalls and carol singing around the Christmas tree. The Christmas lights will be switched on at 7pm.

7-8 Dec

FATHER CHRISTMAS PARADE Newbury and at the Kennet Centre

Father Christmas will parade through the town at 10.30am, along with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother and the ugly sisters. He will travel through Northbrook Street, around the Market Place and back up Bartholomew Street, arriving at the Kennet Centre at about 11am.

8 Dec

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS TOUR The Museum of English Rural Life

MERL’s historic home was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1880 for Sir Alfred Palmer. This festive event will take you back in time to join the Palmer family and their staff in celebrating Christmas 1882. Learn about Victorian Christmas traditions, enjoy seasonal refreshments and make a Victorian Christmas card.

14 Dec


Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury

7-8 Dec

With complementary mulled wine and mince pies at 5pm followed by singing from 5.30-6.30pm.

The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell

15 Dec


There will be lots of fun with a free children’s entertainer, festive art and craft activities and face painting. Christmas trees, holly and mistletoe from the Windsor Estate will be on sale and Santa will be in The Look Out grotto from 10am-4pm.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHT central Newbury

Join the Festival of Light lantern procession, a river of beautifully lit lanterns winding its way up Northbrook Street and into the Market Place. Live music, a real community atmosphere and a glittering finale. The procession starts at 4pm at the Methodist church on Northbrook Street.

Get in Touch Tel:01844 217 918 Please Quote TVL09

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Opening Hours 8am-6pm Mon-Fri 8am-1pm Saturday

We offer: Servicing Tyres MOT Testings & Repairs Air Conditioning Re-Gassing Browns (Thame) Ltd, 5B Lupton Road, Thames, OX9 3SE


Thames Valley Life

UK’s Most Influential Man of 2013 A

ctor, author and activist Stephen Fry has been named the UK’s most influential man of 2013, topping a survey that polled over 40,000 males for the market-leading men’s lifestyle site,

on the court. In third place was Apple Inc.’s Senior Vice President of Design, Sir Jonathan Ive – who masterminded a bold new look for the operating system on more than 300m iPhones and iPads worldwide.

The British polymath was shown considerable support by AskMen readers, typically aged 18 to 40 years old, following his vocal human rights campaign for a boycott of the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi – because of Russia’s new anti-gay laws. Alongside his high profile film, theatre and TV work, Fry’s increasing social media influence sees him followed by an incredible 6.3m accounts on Twitter – almost four million more than Prime Minister, David Cameron – who fails to make this year’s Top 49 list.

For the first-time, the reclusive London-born brothers, Sam & Dan Houser made the list – due to the phenomenal success of their latest video game, Grand Theft Auto V which became the fastest-selling entertainment release of all time, selling almost 30m in its first 60 days on-sale this year.

Fry, the 56 year old from Norfolk, who first rose to fame in the 1980s beat Wimbledon champion Andy Murray into second place, who had another successful year

1 Stephen Fry 2 Andy Murray 3 Sir Jonathan Ive 4 Sam & Dan Houser 5 George R.R. Martin 6 Benedict Cumberbatch 7 Christopher Bailey 8 Bryan Cranston 9 Elon Musk 10 Robbie Rogers 11 Peter Dinklage 12 Russell Brand


13 Barack Obama 14 Jamal Edwards 15 Daft Punk 16 Idris Elba 17 Edward Snowden 19 Peter Capaldi 20 Ben Whishaw 21 Calvin Harris 22 Alex Turner 23 Usain Bolt 24 Peter Tatchell 25 Louis Tomlinson

The top 10 also included the author of Game of Thrones, George R.R Martin, and the star of The Fifth Estate and Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch. British males also voted in their thousands for Bryan Cranston, the respected star of the critically acclaimed TV show, Breaking Bad.

26 Boris Johnson 27 Armando Ianucci 28 Robert Galbraith 29 Pope Francis 30 David Beckham 31 Jamie Oliver 32 Gareth Bale 33 Harry Styles 34 Prince William 35 Rudimental 36 Alan Rusbridger 37 Gary Neville

38 Steve McQueen 39 Piers Morgan 40 Kwon Oh Hyun 41 Mo Farah 42 Jimmy Anderson 43 Mark Millar 44 Jose Mourinho Agi Mdumulla & Sam 45 Cotton 46 Ed Miliband 47 Ted Sarandos 48 Paul Dacre 49 Jay Z

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Elsewhere, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was the most influential UK politician in 26th place, while Ed Miliband made the list at 46. Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Nick Clegg did not make the list. Mike Goldstein, Publisher, AskMen, said: “Stephen Fry’s influence has been recognised by our readers – he’s used his position and massive social reach to raise awareness of Russia’s questionable laws. As this year’s list demonstrates – it’s been a massive year for Brits internationally, with men like Sir Jony Ive and the Houser Brothers influencing society here in the UK and beyond.”


Thames Valley Life While some men spend November growing a moustache, more are opting to banish their man-boobs instead, according to a top plastic surgeon.

Men prefer to reduce their Moobs than Growing Moustaches

The new trend, dubbed ‘Moobember’ is taking the UK by storm, with men of all ages seeking cosmetic treatment to rid themselves of their ‘moobs’ in time for the festive season.

November is the key month for men with moobs because it’s too late to get toned in the gym, says North Yorkshire-based expert Mr Coady. “We see more and more men opting to have cosmetic procedures in November every year,” says Mr Coady. " “Now the festive season starts in early December, many male patients realise they need a quicker-fix in the run-up to Christmas and New Year. They want to look their best, so the less invasive the procedure, the quicker the recovery.” he explains. With plenty of non-surgical treatments available, Coady says treating men with ‘moobies’ can be simple and pain-free- and possibly much quicker than growing a moustache.

“The problem of man boobs, properly known as gynaecomastia, can be divided into two basic types – 'true gynaecomastia', where the breast like appearance is caused by an excess of glandular tissue, often caused by over-exposure to certain hormones, and 'pseudogynaecomastia', which is due to fatty tissue,” he says. “If the problem is 'pseudogynaecomastia' it can be treated using combined radiofrequency and ultrasound technology like Exilis, which non-surgically removes fat and tightens the skin.” he says. These findings support the 2013 figures from BAAPS which reported male breast reduction surgery had dropped by 18% in the UK- likely due to men seeking non-surgical alternatives. BL_a4_2013_poster:Layout 1 08/10/2013 15:08 Page 1


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Wrap Up Warm this Winter Walking in the Winter can be beautiful, especially when there is a layer of snow on the ground and the air feels fresh and crisp, so for people who love walking in Winter have the low down to the essential coats and accessories this Winter.

With the D a i l y Express saying that we are going to see one of the worst Winter’s for decades and the Met Office News saying that there is no certainty of what could happen come 1st December, when the official Winter season sets in, no-one really knows what to expect. However, it is always important to be prepared.

FieldandTrek have a range of Winter warmers, including down jackets. Down jackets are perfect for staying protected against the outdoor elements as they provide plenty of insulation. The Karrimor Ice Down Jacket, for example, benefits from 750+ Power Fill Goose Down to make it perfect during icy cold weather and some jackets also feature DWR water repellent treatment as well as wind resistant fabric for increased protection. They also boast a range of GORETEX® coats and jackets which are ideal for expeditionists and the serious walker. Featuring supreme insulation with waterproof and breathable properties, they are both a comfortable and practical coat for any outdoor activity. Most of the GORE-TEX® jackets also come with a hoods, brushed chin guards and high neck fastenings for increased warmth. There are also a range of hats, scarves and gloves available which are perfect for the cold season. The Karrimor have a range of waterproof and fleece gloves to help keep the elements at bay, and Campri offer thinsulate gloves which benefits from 40g of thinsulate insulation, making them not only ideal for

walking but also for deicing your car! Beanie and bobble hats are also very ontrend currently and are available in a selection of stylish fair isle prints, Merrell, Extemities and ONeill all offer cable knitted with the likes of pom poms and bobbles for not only extra warmth but also a cute Winter finish.


Thames Valley Life

Couples 'Crowd' Source their Delayed Wedding Day

With the average cost of a British wedding coming in at just over £20,000 in already difficult economic conditions a UK Gift List company reports that couples are now inviting guests to help pay for the wedding day itself rather buying a traditional gift. With the 2014 wedding planning cycle under way there is evidence that many UK couples may be delaying their wedding perhaps indefinitely because they don’t believe they can afford it and they fear beginning their married life by taking on potentially crippling wedding debt.


Debt Advisory Centre figures show that 17% of married UK couples (5 million) borrowed money to pay for their wedding day, 10% of couples borrowed over £10,000, and one in three couples are still paying back wedding-day debt, rather than having the financial freedom to plan for their future UK gift list company reports that couples are opting to have guests contribute something towards making their special day a reality rather than buying traditional boxed gifts.

Says gift list manager Michelle Bernhardi-Toner explains: “Thousands of couples are being forced to delay their wedding plans through no fault of their own. Weddings and civil partnerships have become a luxury in an economy rife with redundancy, pay freezes, staff cuts and zero-hour employment contracts. Many couples have already set up home together and don’t need the traditional housewares their parents once registered for. Yet, ironically, they don’t have the funds for an actual wedding day. “Debt causes stress and unhappiness. No one wants to start married life in debt. This a simple and practical way to help couples tie the knot without incurring crippling debt in the process. The Wedding Day Gift List really started out as an easy payment solution for family wanting to help out with the costs of the Big Day. We quickly found however that more than just the parents of the bride and groom wanted to contribute. The wedding party, friends and extended family all wanted to help out with wedding

Weddings day plans & expenses in some way. What better gift could you give loved ones than actually helping to put their best foot forward in their future lives together and helping to make their dream of becoming happily married a reality?” Friends & family simply pop online to the couple’s wedding website & gift list to contribute as little or as much as they wish towards the big day. Everything from the bride’s bouquet to the evening entertainment can be ‘gifted’ by loved ones wanting to make a couple’s wedding day dreams come true. Gift list items range in price from a modest £2.00 for bird-friendly confetti to £450 for a spectacular wedding cake. It’s just like crowd sourcing your wedding day, except it’s your crowd; your friends and family. In addition to their hot new Wedding Day Gift List package, www.JusttheThing also helps couples to register for hundreds of other practical wedding gifts from honeymoons to home deposits, department store luxuries or even ‘new baby’ & ‘further study’ funds. For more information call Michelle Bernhardi-Toner on 0844 561 6639, email or visit the website

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Thames Valley Life



Recession Brides Cut Costs, But Not the Guest List Even at the height of the recession, it seems couples were more likely to cut costs than compromise on the guest list. According to a recent survey by, the average number of wedding guests remained the same throughout the recession, whilst the average cost of a wedding plummeted. Guest list numbers continued to average at over 100 between 2008 and 2013, whilst the average cost of a wedding fell. Budgets fell from up-to £10,000 to up-to £5,000 in 2009 and up-to £7,500 in 2010. Honeymoon-spend was one of the biggest sacrifices made by couples to cut costs. Average honeymoon budgets fell from £5,000 just before the recession hit, to as low as £2,500 during 2008/09. The good news for the travel industry is that honeymoon budgets seem to have returned to their pre-recession levels. It also appears that couples were prepared to sacrifice getting married on a weekend during the recession, with an increasing number getting married on a weekday.

English Wedding Blog, explains: "Saving money by squeezing your guest list isn't the only option. It's wonderful how couples are thinking creatively to save costs in other ways. Alternative and 'naked' wedding cakes, quirky homegrown flowers and DIY wedding favours and decor are some of my favourite ways to cut back on wedding spending.” “I love hearing from brides and grooms who've had really personal weddings without all the ‘luxuries’ we used to be told were necessities." Wedding survey 500 brides participated in the Paper Themes 2013 Wedding Survey of past and future brides. Stephen Prince from Paper Themes said: “As well as highlighting a fall in wedding budgets throughout the recession, the data collected also suggests that budgets have now returned to pre-2008 levels – great news for the wedding industry!”

Wedding venues tend to be cheaper to hire throughout the week, with many actually offering incentives to those open to a mid-week wedding. (The survey suggests that the midweek wedding is here to stay, with popularity continuing.) It’s not just on honeymoon and wedding date where couples can save money. Claire Gould, owner of

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Thames Valley Life

Fireworks, Lanterns & Lights

Remember, remember‌ a dazzling fireworks display is the ultimate wedding night finale. As darkness falls, invite your guests to step outside and gaze up at the stars to enjoy a spectacular light show in celebration of your marriage. With glowing lanterns to light the way, paint the sky together in sparklers and your photographer could capture some truly magical moments.

Wedding fireworks Fireworks displays are a great way to bring sparkle and glamour to your evening reception. It’s tempting to ask a trusted (and sober) best man and ushers to put on a small-scale fireworks display (checking first with your venue that this is possible) but we recommend hiring the fireworks display professionals to put on a stunning light show that will leave each guest with everlasting memories of your day. Add extra sparkle to your celebration and your wedding photos by giving guests, or at least the bridal party, their own sparklers and then watch the magic unfold.

Lanterns and light Lanterns and light will transform an evening wedding reception into a bright and colourful or warm and cosy


event. Your choice of wedding venue can enhance this further as glass or domed ceilings, picture windows and beautiful balconies can be used to great effect. Light the way down a path with ground level or wallmounted lanterns or drape tree branches with hanging lanterns for a romantic feel. Fireworks displays are undoubtedly exciting and spectacular, but do remember to ask your wedding venue and check local restrictions before planning a display. Enjoy the beauty and the spectacle of your fireworks display.

TVL November 2013