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Gazette

The Winter Issue December / January Issue 09 / 2011 / 12 £1.50 - where sold

& Diary Magazine by Abbey Rogers aged 11 Winner of the Christmas Cover Competition see page 47 for the runners up

■ Style & Fashion ■ Home & Garden ■ Entertainment ■ Competitions ■ Local Events ■ Travel ... and much more ...


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Gazette & Diary Magazine

Happy Christmas Welcome to the last Gazette of 2011. Can you believe its almost time for turkey & tinsel again! As this Christmas edition hits the street the grand switch on of the lights in Abergavenny will have happened. The streets will be ablaze with lights as we prepare ourselves for a hectic,festive but enjoyable season. This edition is full of places to visit whilst christmas shopping, hints on cooking your turkey to perfection, hangover cures and even advice on your New Years budget. You can even win handmade crackers courtesy of Elf Bazaar, Brecon. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and advertisers a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. Thanking you for all your support during our first year of the revamped Magazine. So.... from everyone here at the Gazette have a wonderful festive season and we will see you in 2012.

Inside...

In association with

The Abergavenny Chronicle

Page 4-6 The Abergavenny Food Festival Christmas Food & Drink Fair

Page 34 How to cook a turkey

DESIGNERS: Dave Simkiss dave.simkiss@nwn.co.uk John Gaulton john.gaulton@nwn.co.uk

Page 45-47 Fun Pages

Page 12 Christmas Gift Ideas

▲ Page 16 Abergavenny Market Spotlight

▲ Page 32 Christmas Facts!

ADVERTISING: Jenna Hopkins ext 26 Hazel Walding - Advertising Manager For information on how to advertise in our next issue, contact: advertising@tindlenews.co.uk or telephone 01873 852187 ext 34 GENERAL MANAGER - Mary Purcell

When you have finished reading the Gazette & Diary Magazine - please recycle it.

Page 37 The Charthouse supports Breast Cancer charity

Page 54 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

PUBLISHING: Printed and distributed by NWN Media. www.nwnmedia.co.uk Mold Business Park, Wrexham Road, Mold, CH7 1XY.

At NWN Media we are committed to addressing the key environmental impacts of printing and the production process, and preserving the environment for future generations. Our environmental policy is achieved through continuous monitoring, annual targets and action plans.

Hazel and Jenna would like to wish all our readers and advertisers a very merry christmas and a prosperous new year. Thank you for all the support we have recieved over the past year. We look forward to seeing you in 2012 xxx

The sourcing of newsprint is a major environmental concern for publishers and we at NWN Media source our newsprint from UPM Kymmene in Deeside, utilising their 100% recycled paper, which is produced as a natural, renewable and recyclable fibre from sustainable, responsibly managed forests. UPM is committed to forest management and forest harvesting practices based on the internationally accepted principles of sustainable forest management. UPM Kymmene is just a mile from the press site, which also keeps carbon footprint to a minimum in the obtaining of our paper. All newsprint waste is taken back to UPMʼs site and fully recycled.

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The Abergavenny Food Festival Christmas Food & Drink Fair The Abergavenny Food Festival’s Christmas Fair of Food and Drink has everything covered, whatever your tastes - traditional, rare, exotic, or innovative. Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin (award-winning independent private client investment management firm) this is a chance to stock up cupboards and liven up culinary plans for a truly magical and convivial seasonal celebration.

Sunday 11 December, 10.00am – 5.00pm

details online at www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com or pick up a leaflet from the Borough Theatre.) Free entry to all children under 16. Stroller Tickets (to the main market venues) cost £3.50. Buy your tickets now from the Borough Theatre – or on the day from the ticketing point. You will also be able to pick up a free site map with full exhibitor listings.

It’s an unrivalled foodie shopping experience with seventy of the best local and regional speciality food producers across three venues offering fresh and cured meats, poultry and game, cheeses and chocolates, cakes and desserts, wines and liqueurs, ales and ciders and more.

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Turn to page 6-7 for the list of demonstrations and entertainment

There’s also a rolling programme of free chef dems and entertainment, plus a further eight individually ticketed masterclasses and tutored tastings featuring some of the brightest lights of the culinary world (see full


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The Abergavenny Food Festival Christmas Food & Drink Fair

Sunday 11 December, 10.00am – 5.00pm

Chef Dems on the Robert Price Kitchen Stage in the Market Hall Free with your Stroller Ticket There’s a rolling programme of chef dems featuring the region’s finest, as well culinary stars from further afield. Here’s the full line-up: ■ 10.30 – 11.00am Wesley Harris – an Alternative Christmas Pudding Had enough of Christmas pudding? The Chef Proprietor of The Charthouse demonstrates a sophisticated seasonal dessert that will delight friends and family. ■ 11.15 – 11.45am Chris Wilkins – Three Bird Roast Master Butcher Chris Wilkins of HJ Edwards, Abergavenny demonstrates how to prepare turkey, chicken and duck to make the classic three-bird roast. ■ 12.00 – 12.30pm James Sommerin – Perfect Christmas Hints and tips from the Michelin-star chef on how to make the perfect Christmas dinner. James Sommerin has held a Michelin star for six years running at the Crown at Whitebrook and has represented Wales on Great British Menu. ■ 12.45 – 1.15pm Dominic Jacobs and the Chase Distilery – Seasonal Spirits The Harvey Nichols mixologist teams up with the makers of the world’s best potato vodka to demonstrate cocktails to capture the spirit of the season. ■ 1.30 – 2.00pm Justin Llewellyn – Snowflake Cookies The Head chef at The Newbridge-on-Usk, part of the Celtic Manor Collection, demonstrates how to make a delicious cookie with a beautiful stained glass effect. Hang it in a window; decorate a table; or give it as a gift. ■ 2.15 – 2.45pm Sam Thompson-Taylor – Festive Table Decorations Experienced crafter Sam Thompson-Taylortakes her inspiration from diverse sources, including the garden and local woods, to create settings for elaborate weddings, parties and private functions. ■ 3.00 – 3.30pm Andy Addis-Fuller – Expect the Unexpected What to do when those unexpected guests turn up? The Executive Chef at The Bell at Glangrwyney suggests some bright ideas for the meals that you haven’t planned.

The Miserable Cow Coffee Bar Cibi Walk Shopping Precinct

Special Christmas offer Hot Waffles Buy one Get one Free!

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Christmas Stockings The festival of Christmas has many traditions and customs associated with its celebration. Right from the exchange of gifts, decoration of Christmas tree, cooking, singing songs and carols and hanging stockings, all the traditions of the festival are keenly followed by people, since generations. In fact, the celebrations of the festive occasion is considered incomplete without performing all the customs. The tradition of hanging stocking to the mantelpiece is associated with the kids, who are one among the most enthusiastic people to receive gifts, during the holiday season. The history of hanging stockings on the festival can be traced back to the ancient times. Although a number of stories are connected with Christmas stockings, only a few are prevalent and still believed by people. One of the stories is the tale of father and his three unmarried daughters, who were helped by St. Nicholas, during their bad times. According to the legends, St. Nicholas was aware of the financial problems faced by the father, and decided to help him, secretly. To serve the purpose, St. Nicholas sneaked into the person's house, through the chimney, and filled stockings that were hung nearby the mantelpiece, with gold. The gold in the stockings helped the father to marry off his daughters. The tradition of hanging Christmas stockings is followed since then. Read all about Christmas stockings, in our related section.

Christmas Handmade Stocking The festival of Christmas is all about exchange of gifts, feasting and commemorating the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. All through the holidays, people would be busy in the preparation of the festival, which includes decoration of home, premises and the Christmas tree, cooking and scrub-cleaning the house. On Christmas Eve, attractively wrapped gifts are placed under the Christmas tree.

Personalized Christmas Stockings Stockings add a traditional touch to the celebrations of Christmas. Although a wide variety of Christmas stockings are available in the stores in a number of designs, styles and colors during the holiday season, when they are personalized, they become unique and even more attractive. Personalized Christmas stockings are nice gift items too and can be bestowed upon kids, friends, family members and close relatives.

Christmas Stocking Stuffers Christmas Stocking History Hanging a Christmas stocking is a tradition that has been followed since times immemorial. It is believed that St. Nicholas would fill the stockings with gifts, on the eve of Christmas. Small kids eagerly wait for his arrival and the gifts that he would bring along with him. They decorate their stockings beautifully and hang them nearby fireplace.

Putting up Christmas stockings on the mantle of the fireplace is an age-old tradition. The stockings are usually stuffed with small gifts that are packed very attractively. With the changing time, the choice for Christmas stocking stuffers has gone through a multitude of changes. There are many more options now, than there were before and people are willing to experiment with different ideas too.

Christmas shopping in... Crickhowell

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The story of Christmas Mistletoe Mistletoe is an interesting plant; botanically it is categorized to be partial parasite i.e. the one which grows on the branches or trunk of a tree by penetrating its roots to take up nutrients, however few categories of Mistletoe are also found doing photosynthesis (making food on their own). These are basically popular for being used as a Christmas decoration item. The Greeks thought this plant to have some mystical powers and so down through the years it gradually became a part of several folklore customs. The sprig of mistletoe plant is used as the decoration item in Christmas holiday since ages. The tradition of kissing a friend or a relative or even a stranger on Christmas day is considered to be auspicious. Christmas Mistletoe Legend As the tradition of Mistletoe is associated with the Christmas festival for long, there are also various legends associated with this plant. Generally the mystical power of mistletoe has long been at the center of the popular folklores. One of the most talked about of the Christmas Mistletoe Legend is associated with the Goddess Frigga. It is said that the Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. One night, Balder had a dream of death and this greatly alarmed his mother. If Balder died, all the life on earth would end. In order to make him safe from this misfortune,

Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise to cause no harm to her son. She finally assured that Balder could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. However, Balder's enemy Loki, god of evil knew of one plant that Frigga had ignored in her expedition. This was the plant of Mistletoe, which neither grew on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. So, he made an arrow of the mistletoe, gave it to, Hoder, the blind god of winter, who aimed it striking Balder dead. As soon as Balder died, world became dark and all things in earth and heaven started mourning for sun god. Every element on the earth and in the heaven tried fort three bring Balder back to life. Finally Frigga, the goddess of love and his mother was able to bring Balder back to life. Out of happiness, she shed tears which turned into pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant. Out of elation, she kissed everyone who passed underneath the tree. The story thus gives a moral message that one who stands under the Mistletoe, can't be harmed by anything and would certainly be blessed by a kiss, a token of love. Kissing Under Christmas Mistletoe There are several stories to explain how the tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe began. It is said that it began from the Greek festival of Saturnalia. It has also been seen that Mistletoe was used primitive marriage rites, as it was

believed that Mistletoe had the power to confer fertility. One another belief associated with the Mistletoe is that it is blessed with 'life-giving' powers. This belief has certainly been derived from the legend of Balder and Frigga. Scandinavian people regard Mistletoe to be a carrier of peace and thus, people coming under it, had to make up or declare ceasefire, at least temporarily. However it was in 18th century in England that the concept of 'kissing ball' was introduced.

Since then, it was made a ritual that if any young lady was caught under the ball of Mistletoe, she could not refuse to be kissed. This ritual is still prevalent in many European countries and even Canada. Kissing under the Mistletoe is an art in itself and thus, you need to be well prepared for the have to catch or you are caught by, someone under the mistletoe. It is about a healthy exchange of love and good wishes, so if you are apprehensive about it, you can simply refuse.

Abergavenny Farmers Market Bringing fresh produce to the public directly from the producers

‘Never mind the rest come & get the best’

1 5 t h & 2 2 n d D e c e m b e r - O u t s i d e M a r ke t C a ke s , g i f t s , f r u i t & v e g e t a b l e s plus lot’s more!

www.abergavennyfarmersmarket.co.uk

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Christmas shopping in... Crickhowell


Optometry comes to Crickhowell

■ Irena Kovaleva BA (Hons), BSc (Hons) MCOptom, Ken Debney FCOptom

A new name in Optometry has recently arrived in Crickhowell. Crickhowell Optometrists is one of the few independent family practices left in the area. With over 40 years experience between the two partners Irena Kovaleva and Ken Debney have refurbished the well known ‘James Isaac’ premises at 17 High St. Crickhowell into a modern fully equipped practice including the most advanced visual field screener and digital retinal camera.

of soft lenses. Both partners are qualified for WECE (Welsh eye care examination) which enables investigation of minor ocular problems such as gritty/red eyes, lid conditions and foreign body sensation.

Retinal photography is carried out free of charge as part of the regular comprehensive eye examination which enables a permanent image of the retina to be stored.

The practice offers a large selection of designer frames including Silhouette, Versace, Bvlgari, Prada, Fendi, Ray Ban, Polo Ralph Lauren, as well as a huge range of budget frames and free frames for patients with vouchers and children up to the age of 16 or under 19 in full time education.

Contact lenses are a speciality of the practice with particular interest in more unusual prescriptions such as gas permeable, bifocal, varifocal and astigmatic lenses as well as a full range

The ethos of Crickhowell Optometrists is to provide excellence in optometry in an unhurried and pleasant environment whilst maintaining a highly competitive pricing structure.

Christmas shopping in... Crickhowell

Appointments are available 6 days per week and early and late appointments can be arranged.

Please telephone 01873 811887 for information or appointments.

Please telephone 01873 811887 for information or appointments.

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The Christmas exhibition at Oriel Cric The oriel cric gallery, upstairs in the Crickhowell Resource & Information Centre, is the ideal place to escape the cold this winter and feast your eyes on the rich colours and textures of the Christmas exhibition. It will at the same time offer an opportunity to buy unique and contemporary art and craft at a wide range of prices. Visitors will be treated to a particularly charming selection of handmade jewellery this year. The hand painted pieces by Minerva Rodriguez and Maria Morris’ illustrative and fun jewellery are a welcome addition. Maria uses traditional silversmithing and jewellery techniques, combined with mixed media and non traditional materials in her delightfully unusual pieces.

is looking forward to exhibiting Tony Tribe’s original still lifes in oil, which are a tribute to his skill and craftsmanship. Llanelli based artist Denise Di Battista will add to the richness of colour with her paintings and prints. Printmaker Joseph J Field returns with a series of lithographs based on medieval images of angels playing instruments from the basement of Bayeux cathedral. Stephen Arnell’s bronze resin sculptures which draw on his life-long passion for the countryside, its pursuits and traditions, are sure to be very popular. Gallery favourites among whom ceramic artists Jan Beeney, Rosemary Cochrane and Rachel Padley and textile artist Penny Turnbull will all contribute to creating a truly festive and inspiring exhibition.

Christmas decorations, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, lithographs, linocuts, prints and original paintings will all add to the mix of functional and beautiful objects.

The gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. For further information, contact CRiC on 01873 811970 www.crickhowellinfo.org.uk

This exhibition, which runs from 1 December until the end of January 2012 is a wonderful opportunity to view some of the best in Welsh art and craft. The gallery

For further information contact the exhibitions co-coordinator Suzette Pratten on 01873 811970 or at facilities@crickhowellinfo.org.uk

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Christmas shopping in... Crickhowell


Christmas breakfasts The most important meal of the day is often overlooked on Christmas Day. Breakfast makes a comeback with these inspired ideas With all the fuss and bother that goes with the Christmas feast, the most important meal of the day is easily forgotten. A good breakfast will get your Christmas morning off to a flying start and give you that early boost to help you through a typically busy and sometimes stressful day. If you're lucky enough be invited out for the main Christmas meal, you can afford to indulge yourself and loved ones with a special treat breakfast knowing that someone else will be wrestling with the turkey and trimmings. If preparing the midday feast is down to you this year then keep the breakfast quick and simple. Try and get something sensible into the kids before they start gobbling down mouthfuls of the sugarfilled treats that are always around at this time of year. And just as important, it will give the grownups a bit of ballast for soaking up the festive bubbly that usually arrives with the first guest.

The calorie saver Pack as much nutrition as you can into your first meal on Christmas morning with a fruit smoothie. Just about any of the soft fruits will do, so choose your favourites. Bananas are the classic to start with (also, the quickest and easiest to prepare), then add a splash of fruit juice and a spoonful of natural yoghurt to give it its creamy texture. Mango, papaya, peaches and nectarines blend beautifully and can be mixed and matched. Throw in a few strawberries for extra colour and flavour.

Tip: You can freeze strawberries at the end of the summer and use them in smoothies later in the year.

The quick fix Omelettes are the ultimate quick and easy breakfast. Trouble is, they are best made individually and if you have more than two to feed it can turn into a long, involved process. Try this for a no-hassle alternative: To feed four people, break 6 eggs into a jug, add a splash of milk, salt and pepper then beat lightly. A few suggestions for fillings (omit the meat for vegetarians), mix and match as you like: Half a thinly-sliced onion, three to four strips of streaky bacon chopped up, sliced mushrooms, chopped red or yellow peppers, fresh herbs, strips of ham or chorizo sausage, spring onions, cooked and sliced new potatoes.

The kid-pleaser

The alternative option

Get some goodness into them before the chocolate and e numbers descend! Bull's eye: Take a slice of bread and press the rim of a glass or mug in the centre to cut a circle out of the bread about 5cm / 2 inches across.

Spice up Christmas morning with this taste of the East. Indian scramble: To feed four people, finely chop an onion, one small green chilli (optional), grate enough fresh root ginger to make one teaspoonful and chop a handful of fresh coriander leaves (enough to make 3 tablespoons).

Heat a little butter in a frying pan and when sizzling, lay both the slice and circle in the pan. Crack a small egg carefully into the 'hole' and fry until the egg is cooked and set on the bottom. Flip the 'bull's eye' and fry on the other side and do the same with the circle of bread. Serve immediately with brown sauce or ketchup.

The indulgent treat Indulgent but easy to make and a great way to use up smoked salmon trimmings or gravid lax. To serve four, chop 150g of smoked salmon, season with black pepper and toss with some chopped fresh dill.

Heat a little butter in a frying pan and gently fry your choice of ingredients until soft. Pour over the eggs, reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Leave to cook gently for 5-10 minutes, depending on how large and deep the pan is. The egg mixture should be just set but still wobbly.

Butter four ramekins and put a quarter of the salmon in the base of each. Break a large egg into each of the dishes. Carefully spoon a tablespoon of single cream on top and sprinkle with a little salt, black pepper and cayenne.

Preheat the grill. Lay some tomato slices on top and sprinkle with Cheddar or Gruyere cheese. Grill until the cheese is melted and serve immediately in wedges with granary toast.

Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 190C / gas mark 5 oven for 10-15 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks still soft. Garnish with a sprig of dill and serve with hot buttered toast triangles.

High Street

Heat about 50g of butter in a large frying pan and fry the onion and chilli until soft. Add the ginger and 2 teaspoons of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of ground coriander to the onion mixture and fry for another minute. Break 8 eggs into a jug, season with salt and pepper and beat lightly, then stir into the onion and spices. Cook over a low heat, stirring, until the egg is just set but not too dry, then stir in the coriander leaves. Serve with warmed naan bread and mango chutney.

Crickhowell

NP8 1BW

The Bear Hotel 01873 810408 Book now for your 2011 Christmas party ●

Menu 1

Menu 2

£20.95

£25.95

Chicken Liver and Cognac Parfait, Orange and Mulled Spiced Marmalade, Melba Toast Baked Stuffed Field Mushroom

Chicken Liver and Cognac Parfait, orange and mulled spiced marmalade, Toasted Brioche Goats cheese in Dukkah spices with beetroot puree and balsamic glaze Cream of Welsh leek and celeriac soup, with poached haddock and chive cream Honey glazed Confit of Duck sun dried tomato and feta cheese salad

dog friendly

THE HOTEL WITH AWARD WINNING FOOD Come and enjoy the atmosphere in the award winning Bear Hotel. Excellent bar food with a family bar, restaurant and accomodation. Log fires add to our charming surroundings.

Cream of Welsh Leek and Celeriac Soup, Parsley Gel

Crab and Sweet corn chowder with onion bread

Waldorf Salad

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Local Roast Turkey, Baked Apple with Chestnut Stuffing, and Seasonal Accompaniments

Traditional Roast Turkey, Chestnut Stuffing and Seasonal Accompaniments

Duo of Pork, Black Pudding and Colcannon with a Cider Cream Reduction Seared Fillet of Salmon, Crab and Lemon Risotto with Sauce Messine

Braised Beef with Shallots

Pea and Feta Risotto, Parmesan Crackling and Mint Foam

Luxury Salmon and White Fish Pie in a Creamy White Wine Sauce

Roast Pheasant Tournedos, Sautéed Chestnuts & Bacon, Black Pudding, Braised Red Cabbage & Madeira Jus

Cauliflower and Potato Cake with Tomato Coulis and Mornay Sauce

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Luxury Christmas Pudding, Mulled Wine Glaze and Rum Sauce

Traditional Christmas Pudding with Rum Sauce Apple and Whinberry Crumble with Custard

Spiced Vanilla Parfait with a Sloe Gin and Cranberry Compote Bread & Butter Pudding Made With Rum & Bananas, Served With Brown Bread Ice Cream Coconut Cream with Pineapple Salsa

Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

Lime Bavoir with Citrus Salad

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Coffee and Cocktail Mince Pie

Coffee and Cocktail Mince Pie

www.bearhotel.co.uk

Christmas shopping in... Crickhowell

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Christmas Gift Ideas SLIP ON BOOTS, £29.50, Marks & Spencer. For stockists visit www.marksandspencer.com

CHRISTMAS CRACKER WITH GRAPEFRUIT COLOGNE (9ml), LIME BASIL & MANDARIN BODY & HAND WASH (15ml) and POMEGRANATE NOIR BODY CREME (15ml), £28, Jo Malone. For stockists call 08700 342 411 or visit www.jomalone.com

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD WHITE CHRISTMAS PENDANT, £36, Selfridges. For stockists visit www.selfridges.co.uk TRUE GRACE VOTIVE SET, £50, John Lewis. For stockists call 08456 049 049 or visit www.johnlewis.co.uk

ASPINAL OF LONDON BIJOU MOCK SNAKE LEATHER ORGANISER, £96. Visit www.aspinaloflondon.com for stockists. ALIAS SILVER AND GREEN ENAMEL CARNIVAL DROP EARRINGS, £225, Theo Fennell. Visit www.theofennell.com

HARVEY NICHOLS CHAMPAGNE HAT BOX, (two rose, two brut), £45. Visit www.harveynichols.com for stockists.

MISSONI KNITTED GLOVE, £115, Harrods. For stockists visit www.harrods.com

BLACK STUDDED BAG, £99, Marks & Spencer. Visit www.marksandspencer.com for stockists.

BAYLIS & HARDING GOWN SET, £45. Visit www.baylisandharding.com for stockists. TAPESTRY STACK OF FOUR SOAPS, £16, Fortnum & Mason. Visit www.fortnumandmason.com

HOW TO ORGANISE A BRILLIANT BASH: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE BY POLLY BETTON, published by Kyle Books, £19.99.

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Christmas Shopping t's Christmas season - the time for shopping! It is the time to go out and buy things for yourself as well as for those who are dear to you. And that includes - Dad, Mom, Hubby, Wife, Son, Daughter, and so on.

GILWERN

Apart from this, you need items from the grocery for the feast, for ambience from the interior dÈcor shop and much more. Believe me, shopping for so many things - that too at the same time, is not at all easy. Sensing the difficulties you will have to face while shopping for Christmas holiday, we have made an effort to provide some tips that will help in easing your task. Here are few tips that would certainly help you in doing an economical and worth shopping this Christmas. Before going for shopping, make a list of all the items you need. Make sure you prepare a separate list of gifts, grocery products, dÈcor products, and whatever other category you have. You also need to focus on your budgets, so estimate your budget depending upon how much you want to spend and then divide them separately in every category likewise. In case you are in mood to be economical, make sure you cross check that whatever items you are buying are not already available in your home. Also, be sure about what and how much do you actually need so that nothing goes waste. Check out the ideas for Christmas shopping given below to save the time as well as effort required to buy gifts this season. Enjoy Christmas Shopping!

Christmas Shopping for Dad He is one person who makes impossible seem like nothing. He is one person on whom you can always fall back even in the gravest situation. Always providing a strong support, he never lets go of a problem without providing a suitable solution. Sounds like your dad? Then this Christmas, show him how thankful you are for everything he has done for you even though you never really bothered to thank him.

Christmas Shopping For Husband He is that man in your life who made you blush the first time for real, made you feel the luckiest woman alive in the world, adored you even without make-up on and showered unconditional love on you. Your husband is everything you wanted and in fact more than what you could ask for. You feel you know him inside out and know his likes and dislikes like the back of your hand.

Christmas Shopping For Kids Kids seem to have almost everything way before Christmas arrives! Be it the latest toy or clothes, they seem to posses a thing as soon as it hits the stores! This Christmas buy that one thing for your kid that he/she has been demanding in recent times.

GARAGE Last Minute Christmas Shopping If you are one of those who need to be shaken up to get gifts just hours before Christmas dawns, then this article is going to be a soul stirrer! Last minute Christmas shopping is something that half of the world believes in. Rushing in at the stores at the last minute and going blank when you come at the gifts aisle is a common experience for all late shoppers.

CRICKHOWELL ROAD, GILWERN, NP7 0DF

Your Local Family Store

Christmas Shopping For Men Men can be either too cool about shopping and like almost anything they see at the first sight; or they can be the fussiest shoppers you could have ever come across. The worst part about shopping for men on Christmas is that they seem to have just about every latest gadget that has hit the market.

Off License

Grocery

Hot Food & Fresh Baked Bread

Newspapers & Magazines

Fresh Foods

Snacks

Soft Drinks

Fresh & Frozen Foods

Pay Point

Christmas Shopping For Mom She was there when everyone backed out on you. She stayed up so that you could sleep. She cried when you were in pain and laughed out with you in happiness. She has been your strongest pillar of support and has been your best friend since you were a kid.

Christmas Shopping For Wife Shopping - One word that is sure to send men scurrying away to the remotest hideouts. Shopping for wife - something that gives any husband nightmares! Come Christmas and men are stuck with the idea of going to the store for shopping for their wives.

Christmas Shopping For Women Many people think that Christmas shopping for women is a Herculean task. It may seem so with the plethora of items that are available for a woman. But when one is sure what a woman wants for Christmas, then there is no problem searching for that item. Now everyone has a fair idea as to what girls and women want for Christmas.

Gas Bottles Coal Lottery

Fuel

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Mon - Fri 6.30am - 9.00pm Sat - Sun 7.00pm - 9.00pm gilwerngarage@aol.com Christmas shopping in... Gilwern

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Gazette Motors

We takes a look at the autonomous BMW 5-Series

On auto pilot

To the other drivers on the A9 motorway between Munich and Nuremberg, the silver BMW 5-Series is as good as invisible, sharing the road space with the usual throng of trucks, buses, motorbikes and other drivers in similar German products. But a closer look would reveal that the driver isn't holding the steering wheel at all, and if they could look into the footwell, they would see that his feet aren't touching the pedals either. This is an autonomous 5-Series, the product of BMW's Highly Automated Driving project and its manager, Dr Nico Kampchen, is behind the wheel - despite having virtually no input into the driving process. The test vehicle has already completed more than 3,000 miles of development driving, and once in the motorway environment where it is designed to operate, all that the driver needs to do is push a button. "This is an entirely new situation and experience for the driver - it is a strange feeling handing over complete control of the car to an autonomous system. "But after a few minutes of experiencing the smooth, sovereign and safe driving style, drivers and passengers begin to relax somewhat and trust the independent system," says Kampchen. "Nevertheless, the driver is still responsible for the situation at all times and must

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constantly keep an eye on traffic and the surroundings," he adds. Combining technology such as Emergency Stop Assistant and Adaptive Cruise Control, some of which is already available on production cars, the 5-Series is constantly monitoring its surroundings and can react and deal with any potential situation. The team explain that dealing with traffic merging onto the motorway was the biggest challenge, but the test car can slow to allow this to happen or even change lanes. Overtaking, emergency stops, changing road surface and weather conditions - all of this is dealt with automatically. And while this might seem like the stuff of fantasy, the biggest hurdle to overcome is essentially in the minds of the consumers. Handing over complete control to computer software is a big step - even though we climb aboard airliners that do just that on a regular basis - and it's easy to think that this will result in a general disengagement from the process of driving that isn't necessarily seen as progress. Yet the truth is that computers don't make errors, only humans do, and a world in which a computer can respond in split seconds to a situation you may not even see developing can only be a good thing for every road user.

Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny


Christmas Gift Ideas Abergavennys largest selection of fragrances for men & women Chanel • Christian Dior • Jean Paul Gaultier • YSL • Lancome • Calvin Klein • Armani • Elizabeth Arden • Narciso Rodriguez • Juicy Couture • Gucci • Prada... and much more

Tel: 01873 853219 H.Shackleton Ltd, 1-3 Nevill Street, Abergavenny www.hshackleton.co.uk email: info@hshackleton.co.uk Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny

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Suzan Hoak with her American themed stall

Abergavenny Market Spotlight ABERGAVENNY

MARKET

Situated in the middle of the town known as the Gateway to Wales, Abergavenny Tuesday Market is well known as one of the major markets in Wales.

MARKETS EVERY TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAYS

Farmers Market Thursday 15th December

Craft Fair Saturday 10th December

Arts & Crafts Thursday 8th December

For further details contact

Christmas Fairs

Geoff Harris 01873 735811

Monday 19th December Thursday 22nd December

Suzan Hoak has only been trading at Abergavenny market for just four months selling American candy but she has already seen her original £600 investment grown to produce a turnover of £8,000. Suzan, who hails from Miami, has lived in the UK for two-and-a-half years and earlier this year she realised that she needed a regular source of income. She came up with her American themed enterprise and after importing her stock she set up her stall at Abergavenny Market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as trading from Crickhowell market on a Thursday. Suzan regularly reinvests the money she earns into producing a bigger and better variety of goodies and added: “Being a market trader is definately a different way of life for me. I’d been in sales for 26 years selling all sorts of things and latterly I was involved with selling of cell phones, mobiles in your lingo. “When I first started trading here I noticed that the British, especially the children, are crazy about American candy - or sweets if you’d rather say it in British English. “If somebody wanted something that was special to them and I did't have it then I’ll try to source it.” One benefit of running her stall in Abergavenny are the knock on opportunities that present themselves.

“One thing that I didn’t plan on was making up kid’s party bags,” added Suzan. “I did one party bag and this led to another and so on and now I am regularly providing a variety of American candy for local birthday parties.” The American stall doesn't just boast candy as a wide range of other American goodies can be found sitting there tempting visitors and includes cake mixes, mountain dew soda, marshmallows, root beet and grape soda. Suzan added: “I used to stock over 100 different items but I’ve reduce the range to a more manageable 80 or so items. “The variety of stalls here is what makes Abergavenny market tick and be so popular. Along side all the traditional stalls you would expect to see at a market you can find a Jamaican and Filipino stall and now I am complimenting them with my American themed stall, which has world wide appeal. “My prices readily reflect those that are available on the internet, without the pain of the delivery charges and waiting for them to arrive. “I see the Americans who have found my stall, returning again and again and consequently I get to know them. It’s surprising how many of my fellow countrymen and women are living locally. “We all miss the small things from back home. There may well be British equivalents for most of them, but its not the same. With cake mixes the British shops don't stock the range of flavours that we Americans grew up with. My own favourite candy is peanut butter M & Ms and Nerds washed down with Vanilla Coke Cola.” The enterprising woman has found she has support from an unusual section of society and added: “While the kids rave over the range of powdered soft drink I stock, with its strong colours, I have built up an army of supporters who are using the same powder to dye their yarn. “I also understand that local chefs have been dropping by to acquire my genuine American marshmallows to cook with. That's an honour in itself.”

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Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny


Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny

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The Initiative Shop would like to wish all of its customers a very Happy Christmas As a relatively new store to Abergavenny we have been delighted in the response we have had from customers. We are here not just to provide you with those all important stationery items but we can also offer cost effective print, copying, laminating and binding services and for local businesses we have a Business Club offering a 10% discount card for use in store. Anyone over 55 can also benefit from our Over 55s Club receiving 10% discount on a Monday in store. To help everyone get through this expensive time of year we have a 3 for 2 offer on our packaging products and Christmas wrap with a buy one, get one half price on selected Christmas gifts. We also currently have over 40% off selected Brother printers which may make the perfect, practical Christmas gift. If its help you need with delivering those special gifts to loved ones then we can help here too with a parcel delivery service so please visit us at the initiative shop‚ and ask for details. We are situated in Frogmore Street, just along from Tesco's, so please pop in to see how we can help.

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Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny


Now Open - Cashbrokers As Christmas approaches we are faced with the scenario of what gifts to buy and in the current economic climate how to best budget for these extra items.

very competitive prices ranging from small earrings to solid gold chains and rings and expensive watches. You can also spread the cost by paying in easy instalments.

Cashbrokers in Abergavenny could have the answer for you this year in the run up to Christmas.

Other items such as electrical items, phones, iPods, laptops, TVs etc are available through Cashbrokers website on E-Bay www.cashbrokers.co.uk or ask in store.

Cashbrokers represents Pawnbroking in the 21st Century. The store is warm and welcoming offering discreet and professional service to all its customers. Since opening its doors in July it has already built up a reputation for offering top prices for precious metals and the best rates in town for loans and cheque cashing. The owners, Dean & Iolanda Jackson-Johns believe in offering A1 customer service and an open and understandable pricing structure for all their customers and they have already built up a sound customer base with much repeat business. The range of products on offer include the buying and selling of gold and jewellery, in fact this part of the business is thriving with an attractive range of pre-owned jewellery for sale in the window without the huge mark-up that you have to pay on new jewellery. Unusual items can be found at

Many of Cashbrokers customers are selling their unwanted jewellery and are amazed at its worth with gold and silver prices being at an all-time high. Now is a very good time to sell. You can raise funds against your items of value either on a short-term 28 day Buy-Back agreement or for those items of a higher value you can borrow on a Pawnbroking Agreement which runs for a period of 6months. This is an excellent way to raise funds against items that you already own and you can use those same items to borrow money as many times as you like. Cashbrokers offer Pay-Day Advances up to the value of £400. You can deposit your cheque with them and advance the cash straight away which you can then pay off when you next get paid. (*Loans are subject to status and ID is required).

Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny

Cashbrokers will cash almost any cheque. Their rates are the most competitive in town and they also offer preferential rates to their regular customers. All in all, Cashbrokers can help you through the festive period. You can be assured of a warm welcome when you visit their store in Market Street which is open 6 days a week. There is parking available opposite the store in the Brewery Yard Car Park in Market Street.

H.S. PICTURE FRAMING Any size picture framing made to order Unit 4, Hatherleigh Place, Union Rd., Abergavenny Also at Unit 5, Abergavenny Market on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday

For more information call us on: Tel: 01873 850006 e-mail: abergavenny@cashbrokers.co.uk. website, www.cashbrokers.co.uk

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Tel / Fax: 01873 858680 Mobile: 07977 733380 Email: hspictureframes@virgin.net

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Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny


The Park Hotel would like to invite all family and friends in memory of the late Peter John Smith ʻJonnyʼ to our Elvis Tribute Night on Wednesday 21st December 2011. Special rate applies, please contact Jane or Jemma on 01873 890271. Christmas shopping in... Abergavenny

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Andrew Lamputt Silversmith & Jeweller Often known as "The Silver Shop", where a dazzling array of pieces both antique and modern can be found especially for those seeking an unusual and often difficult to obtain present. When a specific need is unable to be fulfilled immediately, Andrew can source that often-elusive piece from his extensive contacts within the trade. Although silverware dominates the

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CASTAWAY & MULTIFUEL The complete service

Wallbrook Farm Allensmore, Hereford HR2 9BE 01981 570456

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showrooms interior and creates an amazing visual display, which is unique in the area; Andrew Lamputt specializes equally in fine quality antique and modern jewellery. During the last 20 years Andrew and his wife Linda have witnessed many changes in fashion and tastes from the jewellery buying public. Indeed, from the Mid 1960's Victorian jewellery was in great demand and Andrew remembers restoring many fine and ornate pieces from this era. Tastes changed in the late 1980’s to a plainer, (and some may argue a more refined and elegant style), when the demand for Edwardian jewellery grew and remains greatly sought after even today. This has resulted in many fine pieces being exported all over the world with the inevitable effect of increasing prices. Anyone lucky enough to own such pieces made a very wise investment, as the laws of supply and demand continue to ensure ever increasing values. Visit Andrew Lamputt Silversmith & Jeweller in Hereford, where a unique buying experience awaits together with a warm welcome. 28 St. Owen Street, Hereford. HR1 2PR Tel: 01432 274961. Fax: 01432 340163 e-mail al@andrewlamputt.co.uk webbsite: www.andrewlamputt.co.uk

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Christmas shopping in... Herefordshire


Christmas shopping in... Herefordshire

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Parkfields Gallery “Joy” - Christmas at Parkfields Gallery

Parkfields Gallery

Paintings & prints, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, Jewellery, framing and more! Christmas Exhibition now on! 4 High St, Ross-on-Wye HR9 5HL Tel: 01989 565266 Mon-Sat 10am-5pm Sundays in Dec 11am-4pm www.parkfieldsgallery.co.uk

Parkfields Gallery has lots to dazzle and delight with their Christmas Exhibition, now on!! Whether you’re looking for stocking fillers or unique items for special people, this eclectic show has plenty to feast your eyes on.... Beautifully detailed paintings of the Herefordshire countryside by local artist Andy Watts feature in the exhibition. Capturing the peace Andy feels within these landscapes, they also remind us of the lovely setting in which we live. The English countryside in all its forms is depicted in delightful stained glass panels by Cotswold artist Annie Rie. Landscape is a real inspiration to her, and capturing its image in light is a challenge she loves. Using the same methods as stained glass painters of the early 14th century, shades of black glass painter’s stain are applied to coloured glass, thereby controlling the amount of light coming through the glass, before being kiln fired. Scenes from the River Severn, the Forest of Dean and the Malvern Hills often feature in her work. Stunning kiln-formed glass plates by artist Kim Bramley feature in the exhibition. Kim, a new exhibitor to Parkfields, says “Colours, textures and the light of landscape breathe their way into my work as I coax each piece into a state of balance”. Richly coloured, her plates and wall panels are layered and textured landscapes, like a woven embroidered tapestry.

Ceramic artist Mary Rose Young believes life is about colour, and colour is about glamour, fun and joy....this is reflected in her vibrant, funny and exuberant ceramics featuring in the exhibition. These are just a few of the artists exhibiting work at Parkfields Gallery this Christmas. Complimented by a wide range of warm winter “woollies” and designer jewellery to appeal to all, there is plenty for all to view at Parkfields this Christmas! Parkfields Gallery is open Mon- Sat 10am5pm & Sundays Dec 4th, 11th & 18th from 11 am-4pm. For more details ph 01989 565-266. 4 High St, Ross-on-Wye 01989 565-266 www.parkfieldsgallery.co.uk

High fidelity sound for people on the move Use-anywhere iPod dock from a major British designer. Smaller than a football, powerful enough for a party. Available from:

ENGLISH audio 37 Whitcross Road, Hereford. Tel: 01432 355081 www.englishaudio.co.uk

ENGLISHaudio | Hi-Fi TV Home Cinema Multiroom

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Christmas shopping in... Herefordshire


Wedding Bands

Diamond Solitaires

Real Silver Beads & Chains

Necklaces

Hereford Gold 1977 - 2011 Her Gold... His Gold... Their Gold... Your Gold...

IT HAS TO BE ‘HEREFORD GOLD!!!’ Bracelets

Platinum Rings Make Christmas shopping easy in our JEWELLERY WONDERLAND. Bursting with every conceivable type of jewellery you can imagine, from Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium, along with a vast selection of Diamond and stone set pieces. For those extra little stocking fillers why not take a look in our ‘Curiosity Corner’ that is full of 100’s of gold charms- there’s something for everyone! At Hereford Gold your Christmas doesn’t have to cost the earth as we are at least half the price of other High Street Jewellers. Here you can be assured of a warm welcome and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in which you can browse, and take your time in choosing that special piece. You can be confident in knowing that every item in the shop is of superior quality. If you can’t decide from our massive selection, our friendly and dedicated team of staff are on hand to help and advise.

Ear Rings

Pendants

DO YOU NEED EXTRA CASH FOR CHRISTMAS? Read On Hereford Gold is the county’s largest buyer of gold, platinum and silver. Nothing is too big or too small. Broken or not. We will make you an offer.

THREE STEPS TO TAKE TO REALISE YOUR CASH 1. Bring your gold, platinum or silver into our shop and we will pay you instantly IN CASH 2. If you cannot do that don’t worry, just wrap up your items, put them in a jiffy bag, post to us, not forgetting to put your name and address (send registered post). We will send cash by return 3. There is no obligation to sell to us, if you are not happy we will return goods and refund the postage. What could be easier?

Gold Chains

Eternity Rings

Hereford Gold has been established over 35 years. We are the name you can trust. So get looking, don’t forget!!

42 Commercial Road, Hereford (Opposite the Bus Station) Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 8.30-5.30pm, Wednesday Late Night Shopping until 9pm, Thursday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 3pm. Telephone: 01432 359514

Silver chains

Christmas shopping in... Herefordshire

Watches

Body Jewellery

Anklets

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Hay-on-Wye Thursday Market General Information about the Town Hay-on-Wye is located on the Welsh / English border in the United Kingdom. Most of the town lies within Wales, but eastern parts do encroach into England! The town is, nonetheless, considered to be in Wales. The town lies on the east bank of the River Wye and is within the Brecon Beacons

Hay-on-Wye

Thursday Market A traditional market, held on Thursdays in the Memorial Square, the Butter Market and around the Town Clock, from 8am to mid afternoon.

Come and buy: Antiques and bric a brac

Household goods and clothes

Cheese and dairy products

Locally baked organic bread

Fresh fish and game

Traditional French Bakery

Garden plants and flowers Greeting cards

Homemade preserves and chutneys

Home made cakes and savouries

plus many other stalls

Fruit and vegetables

INFORMATION: John Evans 01497 820590 TO BOOK A STALL:

Les Davies 07989916734 www.hay-on-wye.co.uk/market

National Park, just north of the Black Mountains. The town is situated just within the Welsh side of the border with Herefordshire, England, which is defined by the Dulas Brook at this stretch. Where the brook joins the River Wye just to the north of the town, the border continues north along the river. Hay has approximately 1,900 inhabitants. The village of Cusop lies on the other side of the Dulas Brook and is in England. The nearest city is Hereford, county town of Herefordshire,

some 22 miles (35 km) to the east. The town was formerly served by Hay-onWye railway station, which closed in 1963 under the infamous Beeching Axe. Hay-on-Wye is twinned with La Redu (in Belgium), and also Timbuktu (in Africa). A traditional market, held on Thursdays in the Memorial Square, the Butter Market and around the Town Clock, from 8am to mid afternoon.

Come and buy: ● Antiques and bric-a-brac ● Cheeses and dairy products ● Fresh fish and game ● Garden Plants and Flowers ● Greetings Cards ● Home-made cakes and savouries ● Household goods and clothes ● Locally baked organic bread ● Traditional French Bakery ● Homemade preserves and chutneys ● Fruit and vegetables Plus many other stalls.

To book a stall contact: John Evans (01497) 820590

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Agricultural / Commercial ■ Solar Thermal ■ Biomass ■ Wind Turbines

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Christmas shopping in... Herefordshire


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Forever Young As millions of us tune in to The X Factor, Andy Welch catches up with Will Young, the original talent show winner who's sold eight million records and seems impossible to dislike It's hard to remember a time before Will Young was famous. That's not because he's an era-defining musical wonder - even he wouldn't argue

that were true - but down to the phenomenon that thrust him into the limelight. In February 2002, he was crowned Pop Idol, winning the TV competition that kicked off the Noughties' golden age of TV talent shows. The Berkshire boy was just 21 when he stepped in front of Nicki Chapman, Neil Fox, Pete Waterman and Simon Cowell to deliver a shy, almost apologetic version of Blame It On The Boogie.

"Slightly cheesy" was the panel's verdict but, nevertheless, he sailed through and just as calmly won over the voting public. Contrary to stories at the time, Young wasn't the underdog at any stage, leading the phonevoting figures from the off. Considering the attention now lavished upon Pop Idol's successor The X Factor, it's interesting the talent show genre's most creatively successful star appeared so early on.

20%

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on all ite ount m Between s over £10 the 4th Dec 3rd and ember

"It's all changed so much since my day," begins Young, smiling. "Saying that, I'd still do X Factor. It's

Celestrial Adornment Costume Jewellery, Scarves, Bags & Accessories

Established in May 2009 in the pretty market town of Coleford, Forest of Dean, Celestial Adornment has steadily grown and is proud to offer a professional yet still family feel to its service. Celestial Adornment opened its second shop in the busy town of Monmouth in June 2011. Adopting the successful format of Celestial Coleford, this store is located on Monnow Street. Celestial Adornment offers versatile ranges of ladies jewellery and accessories at truly competitive prices. With our scarves starting at just £3.00 through to our beautiful Statement Pieces.

01594 834352

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www.celestialadornment.co.uk


what you make of it, isn't it? It's a chance and a massive leg up, but you have to pick up the baton and run with it.

with programmed drums, and it was Richard that really pulled that together, made sure it didn't go too far in any direction and balanced it all out perfectly.

"Watch Pop Idol now and it looks like you're watching a show from the Eighties. It's very weird, innocent and genuine.

"I didn't want it to turn into, 'Will does club bangers' or anything, but I have a newfound love of electronic music from remixes that have been done, and the Groove Armada track I sang on.

"When something becomes a success, it goes into the mainstream marketplace and it's hard for it to seem genuine again. We had no agenda then - and the judges are the biggest stars now, not the talent."

Available from

La Lingerie

"I really enjoyed my voice on those tracks and noticed the lyrics more than I had done before. There's almost more space for them, so I knew this album had to be about simplicity."

To hear how far Young has come since his early auditions covering soul classics, you only need to listen to his new album Echoes. Sophisticated, measured and perfectly written, it's easily his best work.

Young says in his early 20s, all he knew is that he'd always wanted to be a pop star so he "was determined not to screw it up." "Now, I'm 32 and I've just made an album I love," he said." I've been working on an amazing TV special, I have a huge tour coming up, more acting work and hopefully some theatre work for the end of 2012.

"It's been a long time coming," he says. "Some of the songs I started about five or six years ago, others 18 months ago. "I wanted to work with Richard X, who's done amazing things and really made it sound like a body of work," he says, referring to the producer who specialises in the grown-up pop of Goldfrapp, Roisin Murphy and Sugababes.

"I've spent the last five years working out who I am, personally, and what I want from life. And now I've found it. I couldn't be happier."

"I know that's a cliche, but it is true. I wanted to do an electronic, upbeat album

Will Young's tour stops off at Llandudno Arena on Tuesday November 15

Recipe Corner

Unbelievably easy mince pies You can throw the dough around and the mince pies still come out crisp and biscuity in this kid-friendly Christmas recipe Method ■ To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball - don't add liquid - and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

■ Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before

and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal - you don't need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month). ■ Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg.

■ Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon the mincemeat into the pies.

La Lingerie Stockists of Quality Lingerie, Swimwear and Nightwear

At La Lingerie we aim to provide both high quality garments and excellent customer service. We currently stock Panache lingerie and swimwear, Playtex, Miraclesuit shape-wear and swimwear, Shock Absorber sports bras, Atlantis, Cleo, Wonderbra and HOTmilk maternity wear. Suppliers of Playtex, Panache, Hotmilk, Miraclesuit, Shock absorber, Wonderbra

Fitting service available Now stocking: Janet Reger watches and ladies leather handbags.

Stuck for Christmas ideas? We have Gift Vouchers available for all of our activities, including Rock Climbing, Horse Riding, Zip-Lining and Dingle Scrambling!

Facebook: La Lingerie Brecon add us as a friend

01874 610033 www.lalingeriebrecon.co.uk

Christmas shopping in... Brecon

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To be absolutely Frank? Frank Skinner on... Everyone likes a good rant. Sarah O'Meara discovers which hot topics make comedian, TV presenter and football fan, Frank Skinner, tick, as the book of his Times newspaper columns is published CONVERSING WITH KIDS "I spent a long period being quite frightened of other people's children. I didn't speak the language. But I made a really big effort with David Baddiel's kids because his girlfriend said to me, 'Frank, you should talk to the kids as well as us when you come round'. "I ended up at Dave's old country home in Kent, in their hot tub, with his six-year-old daughter. And for an hour I barely spoke while she told me about school and a holiday they'd been on. It was just her little head talking and talking and talking. It was absolutely blissful. And I got over the fear. "That said, I do think some people have children because they've run out of things to say. I was in a chip restaurant the other day and sitting on the table next to me was a child, with their parents and grandmother. They sat the child at one end, while they huddled at the other, like they were watching the television. Every bit of conversation went through the kid. "I think they were happier with that level of conversation."

THE DAY KATE MIDDLETON'S SMILE FOILED THE CYNICS "I'm a bit worried about myself. I watched Kate In Canada: The Documentary the other day and I've completely bought into the whole 'she's just an ordinary girl' thing. "During the wedding, there was a cynicism amnesty. Like when you go and hand your knives in. And Kate's smile seemed to be the iconic representation of a world without cynicism. "She was the picture of undiluted happiness. Normally, we think if you're really bright, you can't be that happy. It's associated with a level of stupidity. But just for one day, it was OK. "I think you can be too arch and knowing sometimes. I rebooted. But I also thought the Royal family missed an opportunity. They should have had her driving the car into the modern world. What a statement! "There wouldn't have been much manoeuvring as The Mall is a straight road. Direction-wise she could just have followed the tea towels..." ■ Dispatches From The Sofa: The Collected Wisdom Of Frank Skinner is published by Century, priced £12.99. Available September 15

The Winn e last mon r of t Bazaar co hs Elf m is Kirsti T petition imperley of Abergave nny.

Congratu lations!

Christmas & Gift Shop

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS Teach yourself welsh Christmas crackers ✁

Win Hand Made Christmas Crackers

We carry a wide and varied range of novelty and traditional items, boasting over 75 items which can be personalised, hundreds of tree decorations, cards, advents, tree toppers, magic snow and of course Elf on the Shelf. Plus everything else you might need or want to celebrate the Christmas season in style. Nestled on a side street just behind Brecon’s town square Elf Bazaar sells a multitude of wonderful and lovely things to make even the most grumpiest of people smile!!!

open 7 days a week

Donated by Elf Bazaar

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer this simple question: Q: Where in Brecon is Elf Bazaar? A: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Your Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Your Address: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tel No . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Closing date 24th November. Send answers to Animaland Competition 13 Nevill Street Abergavenny. Gwent NP7 5AA

✁ Phone: 01874 622033

Email: kizzy@elfbazaar.co.uk

elfbazaar.co.uk

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Visit p our sho

treet, 7 Lion S owys. P , Brecon LD3 7AY

Phone: 01874 622033 Email: kizzy@elfbazaar.co.uk

elfbazaar.co.uk Christmas shopping in... Brecon


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Christmas Statistics and Traditions Why decorate fir trees?

Why crackers and paper hats?

This can be traced back to Roman times but was thought to be first introduced into this country in 1841 by Prince Albert. The custom of hanging fruit and baubles is both pagan and Christian. The decorations were originally used to symbolise the fruits of the earth and the fiery sun. Today seen in the form of tinsel and baubles.

Why a "kiss under the mistletoe"? Mistletoe has a magical reputation of conferring fertility. The berries grow in pairs on the stem and their milky, translucent appearance suggests male sexuality! A kissing bough would be suspended from a hook at the beginning of the Christmas season and young men were permitted to kiss any girl they managed to draw under the bough. These unsuitable associations led to many churches banning it and this still exists today in numerous parishes.

Christmas around the world

The earliest crackers were introduced in the 1850's in order to copy the Parisian fashion of gift-wrapping bon bons. They contained novelties and mottos but did not crack - the chemically treated paper that cracks was a later addition. Paper hats were introduced at a similar time but the tradition of wearing a hat to look foolish dates back to the Christmas plays of the middle ages.

Henry VIII was the first English king to enjoy turkey, although Edward VII made eating turkey fashionable at Christmas. Indeed turkey was a luxury right up until the 1950's when refrigerators became commonplace. However, traditions for many countries around the globe vary enormously where the centrepiece can range from pork chops to curried goat! Norway: The big festive feast takes place on Christmas Eve. Most people around the coastal regions eat fish - concoctions of cod and haddock and a variety called lutefisk. Inland they go for pork chops, specially prepared sausages and occasionally lamb. Sweden: The Christmas feast consists of a smorgasbord of caviar, shellfish, cooked and raw fish and cheeses. Ukraine: The people here prepare huge broths brimming with meat for Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day. Czech Republic: Tradition dictates that the tree is not lit before Christmas Eve then they have a big dinner of fish soup, salads, eggs and carp. Scarily, the number of people at the table must be even or it is believed the person without a partner will die next year. Germany: The Germans tend to have a game feast on Christmas day, usually wild boar or venison. Jamaica: Christmas dinner usually consists of rice, gungo peas, chicken, ox tail and curried goat. Italy: Christmas dinner in Italy can last for more than 4 hours. Most families will have 7 or more courses including antipasti, a small

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portion of pasta, a roast meal, followed by 2 salads and 2 sweet puddings - then cheese fruit, brandy and chocolates. Austria: A typical Christmas dinner would consist of braised carp served with gingerbread and beer sauce. Poland: The traditional Christmas Eve supper consists of 12 non-meat dishes, representing the months of the year and featuring fish such as pike, herring and carp. Other typical Polish dishes are fish soup, sauerkraut with wild mushrooms or peas and Polish dumplings with various fillings.

Christmas Facts On average the UK at Christmas consumes approximately 10 million turkeys, 25 million Christmas puddings, 250 million pints of beer and 35 million bottles of wine. 7 million children leave mince pies and a drink for Santa on Christmas Eve. The UK spends £20bn on Christmas with £1.6bn going on food and drink. Mince pies date back to medieval times and possibly long before. They are descended from a huge pie baked on Christmas Eve containing chopped beef, suet, nuts, spices and fruit of which whole dried plums were an important constituent. The pie was originally baked open but as time wore on a crust was added, on top of which a pastry effigy of the infant Jesus was laid to represent him lying in his cradle.


WHO-WHAT-WHERE-WHEN 1 3 WHO... in the Old Testament was Ruth's mother-in-law?

WHO... was born Joe Yule before changing his name and having a long career in show business?

WHAT... is the chief city of Japan's Kinki region?

WHAT... is the capital of the Indian state Maharashtra?

WHERE... did Lucius Tarquinius Superbus rule as king from 534-510 BC?

WHERE... in Australia is Brisbane the state capital?

WHEN... did Wenceslas succeed Charles IV as Holy Roman Emperor?

4

WHO... lost his position as Greek prime minister due to the 'Koskotas Affair'?

WHAT... type of bird is a fantail?

WHAT... is the common name for the pest insect Bemisia tabaci?

WHERE... on a modern map would Mesopotamia be? WHEN... did Alfred the Great become king of Wessex?

Christmas Gifts For Grandparents Christmas is not only the festival of kids and youngsters; it is equally awaited by the elder people too. It is a day full of fun, joy and enthusiasm when people ignoring their age enjoy to the fullest. Party, feast, Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and wonderful Christmas Gifts are inevitable parts of the celebrations. It is an occasion to share love with near and dear ones and make them feel special. However, in these, vivacious and energetic celebrations we often tend to forget, 'Our Grandparents' who made our occasion extremely special for us when we could not afford luxuries on our own. Remember how lovingly year after year, your Grandpa bought expensive sport gear for you and how your Grandma made scrumptious delicious Christmas cake. This is now a phase to reciprocate the love and care they have shower upon you all their life. Christmas gifts is just an opportunity to make your grandparents feels that they are still loved and cared for and you still count them in as a member of the family. However, most aged people won't care much on tiny decorative pieces that they can't even see clearly. It will be wiser to find something that they can really use and enjoy. Here are some Christmas gift ideas for grandparents that you can safely use: ❆ Don't think that old people have no love for life. You will be surprised that a travel package can delight your grandparents as much as your kids. ❆ You never realize the real truth behind 'Health is Wealth' until you is old and your body is rounding off to retirement. So, this Christmas, gift a health check instrument to your grandma and grandpa such as instruments to check blood pressure and blood sugar at home. ❆ You can also buy a healthcare certificate for them with the local agencies that provide

monthly, bi-monthly and annual checkups regularly. If your grandparents live in other city, you can make their Christmas last all the year round by asking volunteers to visit them regularly to eliminate their loneliness and doing their errands. Such services cost a very nominal fee and in case of an emergency, they can just contact you and take care of your grandparents while you are on your way. Your grandma will love roses and fresh flowers as much as your girlfriend, so try them this Christmas. If one or both of your grandparents are fond of good food, gift them chocolates, cakes, pastries and other items that they can suck upon fondly or chew easily, even if they have no teeth. Grandparents with weak eyes or hearing ability will love eyeglasses or hearing aids for Christmas gift.

WHERE... in the body is the pineal gland? WHEN... did veteran singer Tony Bennett's Unplugged album win him a Grammy?

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WHO... in the world of pop was born Bernard Jewry?

WHAT... ape was US animator Willis H O'Brien's most famous character? WHERE... in the US would you find the baseball team known as the Dodgers? WHEN... did Anne of Cleves die?

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WHO... directed The Innocents and Room At The Top?

WHAT... branch of mathematics is named after the Latin for pebble? WHERE... is Britain's biggest container port? WHEN... did Chester A Arthur replace James A Garfield as US president?

ou F on r n ind Br ew us ec pr at on em Ro ise ad s

WHO... won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Misery?

1 - Answers: Naomi; Osaka; Rome; 1378. 2 - Answers: Kathy Bates; Pigeon; Iraq; 871. 3 - Answers: Mickey Rooney; Mumbai (Bombay); Queensland; 1542. 4 - Answers: Andreas Papandreou; Whitefly; Brain; 1995. 5 - Answers: Alvin Stardust; King Kong; Los Angeles; 1557. 6 - Answers: Jack Clayton; Calculus; Felixstowe; 1881.

2

WHEN... was Mary, Queen of Scots born?

Gwent Young Peopleʼs Theatre presents

SENSE by Anja Hilling A play about teenagers, love and the need to make radical choices.

Friday 9th & Saturday10th December 2011 7:30pm

Outshine Windows Ltd

£6 / £4 concessions Suitable for adults and children15+ ●

Tickets available from Borough Theatre, Abergavenny Box office: 01873 850805 And available on the night at

The Melville Theatre The Drama Centre, Pen-Y-Pound, Abergavenny, NP7 5UD For more information: Email: gwenttheatre@btconnect.com Tel: (Mon/Tues) 01873 853167

Windows ● Doors ● Conservatories ● Fascias ● Soffits ● Guttering Bi Folding Doors ● Composite Doors Range of Colours Available All Building Work Done Fensa & BBA Registered Uk Trades Federation

CALL ON 01873 851010 Mob: 07966401859 64 Brecon Road, Abergavenny. NP7 7RB ❆ The Winter Issue

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How to Cook a Turkey How to cook a turkey - It is one of our basic holiday foods, yet many people find cooking a moist and tasty turkey one of cookings' greatest challenges. We're here to take the challenge and mystery out of handling and cooking turkey, one of the leanest and healthiest protein foods.

Cleaning Turkey ● ● ●

Note: These are our turkey cooking tips and hints. If you are looking for a full roast turkey recipe you will find it here.

Thawing a Turkey

Knowing how to cook a turkey begins with thawing it properly. Never thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature. Leave it in the original plastic package and follow one of the following methods to thaw your turkey: Refrigerator Method: This method is ideal as it keeps the meat cold until it is completely defrosted. Place turkey on a tray in the refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per pound defrosting time. ● Cold water method: In a large container, cover turkey completely with cold water. Change water at least every hour, allowing 1 hour per pound defrosting time. ● Frozen pre-stuffed turkey. Do NOT thaw. Cook from the frozen state and check the product label for further instructions. ●

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PEST CONTROL

● ●

TELEPHONE 01873 830204 Fernybank, Quarry Road, Clydach, Nr Abergavenny

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Stock for Gravy: ● 4 1/2 cups chicken stock ● 1 1/2 cups white wine or water ● 1 onion chopped ● 1/2 cup sliced carrots ● 1/2 cup sliced celery While the turkey is in the oven, put the turkey parts (neck and giblets) into a large saucepan. Add the stock, wine, onion, carrot and celery. Bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and skim off any fat. Simmer for 3 hours. Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup, adding wine, if needed, to make 3 cups. Set aside.

To make the gravy, put the roasting pan on the stove element. Skim off the excess fat in the roasting pan. Cook the remaining juices for 1 minute. Whisk in stock, leaving out 1/2 cup, and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Mix the 1/2 cup of stock with the flour until there are no lumps in the mixture. Add the flour mixture into the pan and stir well to make sure you have no lumps. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Whisk in butter, salt and pepper to taste. Strain if desired.

To Make the Turkey Gravy: ● 3 cups stock, as above ● 1/4 cup flour ● 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper

When storing fresh turkey remove giblets and refrigerate in covered container for use within 2 days. ● Whole turkeys can be frozen for 1 year, parts for 6 months. Once the turkey is thawed, treat as fresh turkey and do not refreeze until it is cooked. ● Cooked turkey may be stored in a covered container, plastic bag or wrapped in aluminum foil for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer. ● After cooking, keep the turkey hot, above 140ºF or refrigerate below 40ºF. Do not leave turkey at room temperature for more than 2 hours. ●

How to Cook a Turkey

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Remove plastic wrap from thawed turkey. Remove neck and giblets from body cavity. Rinse turkey well inside and out with cold water. Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Always wash hands thoroughly in hot soapy water before and after preparing foods and handling raw meat. Do not let raw meat juices touch readyto-eat foods either in the refrigerator or during preparation. Do not put cooked foods on the same plate that held the raw product. Wash utensils, dishes and surfaces used for cutting turkey with hot soapy water. Then rinse using a sanitizing solution of one capful of chlorine bleach in 4 cups of warm water. Thoroughly rinse surfaces, dishes and utensils with hot water. Keep cutting board and utensils in good repair as they can harbour bacteria inside cracks and crevices.

Recipe Corner

Preheat your oven to 325ºF. If you want to stuff the turkey, stuff it lightly and just before it goes into the oven. Never stuff turkey the day or night before. Stuffing can be prepared separately in a covered baking dish. Place it in the oven during the last 30 minutes of the turkey's roasting time. Many people wonder how to cook a turkey in the pan - breast up or breast down. Turkey should be placed breast up on a rack in a shallow pan. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh just above but not touching the thigh bone. Roast uncovered or loosely covered with foil. If you choose to baste your turkey, limit the number of times you open and close your oven (once an hour is enough). Opening the oven will lengthen the cooking time. Roast turkey for about 20 minutes per pound, until the meat thermometer reads 170ºF for an unstuffed turkey or 180ºF for a stuffed turkey. Remove turkey when cooking is completed and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before you carve it to allow the juices to settle.

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General Turkey Hints Purchase one pound of turkey per person. This will allow for some leftovers. ● Factors such as incorrect oven temperature, the temperature of the turkey at the time it is placed in the oven, and the number of times you open the oven door will affect the length of cooking time. ● An oven temperature of 325ºF (max 350ºF) is best for roasting turkey. Higher temperatures may toughen the protein and cause shrinkage. Temperatures lower than 300ºF are not safe. ● Avoid interrupting the roasting time. ●

Cook turkey at 325ºF until thoroughly done. Do not partially cook at one time to complete at a later date. A few slices of lightly buttered bread, placed under the turkey, will prevent it from sticking to the pan. For more flavour, place strips of bacon across the breast and around the drumsticks. Secure with toothpicks. If drumsticks are browning faster than the breast, simply wrap drumsticks with aluminum foil to slow the browning process. When roasting an unstuffed turkey, season the cavity with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning (if desired) and add two quartered onions.


Taking care of Christmas mealtimes... “Relax this Christmas and let Wiltshire Farm Foods do all the hard work! The perfect yuletide treat.”

The winner of our Wiltshire Farm Foods Competion is Mrs Iris Jones of Abergavenny. You are the lucky winner of a Chistmas Selection Pack worth £29.95, congratulations

The festive season is approaching, so to celebrate we have created a range of classic Christmas meals and desserts to really excite your taste-buds! Our Hearty Roast Turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a Christmas Pudding & Custard, is the perfect choice for a winter meal. To make life even easier we have put together a delicious Christmas Selection Pack of tasty meals inlcuding Steak in Creamy Mushroom & Brandy Sauce and a tempting slice of Cranberry & Port Cheesecake to name but a few! Delivery is absolutely FREE and there is no minimum order. Our CRB checked driver will even pop the meals away in the freezer! Your local Wiltshire Farm Foods team is headed by Brian and Sara Stringer and together with our friendly, caring team we deliver nutritious frozen ready meals to your door. All main meals are suitable for Diabetics and we also cater for a variety of other special dietary requirements. To place your order or to request your copy of our FREE full colour brochure call us today on 01600 892855.

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Simple Pleasures DJ Sara Cox talks about how she's introducing her kids to the games she used to play as a child as part of a drive to get today's children to enjoy simple fun

found that the majority of parents (74%) believe technology plays too big a part in play, with 58% saying they're concerned about the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen.

Most parents remember happily playing as children, enjoying unsupervised, simple fun running around with their friends.

Most parents (84%) feel childhood is more complicated for kids today, so the campaign wants to uncomplicate it a little by getting parents to revive the memories and fun times from their own childhood.

Just a generation later, their own children rarely enjoy such simple pleasures, instead spending large amounts of time in front of a TV or computer. This is despite recent surveys finding that the vast majority of children would like more freedom to play outside. Now a new campaign is trying to redress the balance, by encouraging parents to help their children enjoy simple fun and games again. Research by the Dairylea Campaign for Simple Fun

The campaign is supported by DJ and mum-ofthree Sara Cox, who's been revisiting some of the games and pastimes of her youth to help promote the benefits of simple fun. She says: "I remember lots of games from my childhood - from calling on friends who lived in my neighbourhood and playing chase in the street, to playing British Bulldog and games like rounders. "I was always out and about having fun." She says one of her favourite childhood pastimes was to make dens, and stresses: "I think games like that really encourage children to use their imagination and spend time in their own little worlds, which is important as kids these days can sometimes have a lot on their plates with homework and computers and the lure of the TV." Cox says she's been re-learning the rules to old games she'd forgotten about, such as sardines, French cricket and marbles, and has been playing them with her children at home.

â?†

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She adds: "All busy mums know that it can be a real struggle at the end of a long day to find the energy to get out and play with the kids - especially when their favourite TV programmes are on.

"But what I've learned is that if I teach them a game or something fun and simple to play, if they enjoy it they're likely to try it again."


The Charthouse supports Breast Cancer charity Walk The Walk is a charity that provides vital sponsorship funding in the fight against Breast Cancer. With 10 marathons across six countries under their belts this year, two local women Julie Rogers and Julia Rennie aka ‘The Bra Girls’ have raised in excess of £20k for a very worthwhile cause. But their work doesn’t stop there. Fundraising is still a key area for the ‘bra girls’ and local chef and restaurant owner, Wesley Harris, is keen to support this local branch of the charity. Raffle tickets are already on sale at The Charthouse and the winners will be drawn on Sunday 18th December. Wesley is hosting the charity event that will start at 4pm with winning tickets drawn around 5.30pm. Wesley will be providing some delicious canapés and mince pies so why not come along and celebrate the festive season around a roaring log fire and show your support for this fantastic charity to help end the year on a high for Julie and Julia. Call Wesley at The Charthouse on 01873 840414 if you would like to come along.

Restaurant

Cross Ash, Abergavenny Tel: 0845 388 1861 Lunch - Tuesday to Sunday Dinner - Tuesday to Saturday

There are some excellent prizes on offer including: ■ A painting by local artist Jan Thompson ■ £50 of vouchers to spend at The Charthouse ■ A Christmas vegetable box provided by local businessman Philip Jones ■ Champagne and bottles of wine ■ Plus a host of other prizes, all donated by local businesses

Fantastic meals created with fresh local produce, on a daily changing seasonal menu Simon & Kate King (Skenfrith Road NP7 8PB)

To find out more contact Wesley on 01873 840414. To see the scale of the challenge that Julie and Julia faced this year visit their facebook page ‘The Bra Girls’ or the fundraising website www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/thebragirls

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Creative Christmas at Taurus Celebrate a creative Christmas by doing your seasonal shopping at Taurus Crafts, where you can choose from an inspirational selection of crafts and gifts - and even make your own. At the working pottery find beautiful handmade ceramics – you can even throw your own pot and paint your own pot. At the Gift Shop, browse the region’s best selection of designled gifts and crafts, plus fair trade products. Visit our onsite Craft Units which include

Handmade Soap, Handmade Chocolate, Picture Framing, Stained Glass, Jewellery, Original Artworks, Textiles, Knitting, Vintage Inspired Clothing, Stone Mason, Leatherworker, Felt-maker, and the new addition to the site -Garden Retreat health and beauty room offering therapies and treatments. For gifts for “foodies” visit La Bodega, supplying organic, local, and deli food and wine. Then take a break in the Whole-food Café, serving meals prepared on site, using many local and organic ingredients and including seasonal foods from the Taurus Organic Market Garden. For stylish Christmas trimmings, look no further than the Taurus Christmas Marquee and to complete the effect choose from a selection of locally grown high quality Christmas trees, of varying sizes and species.

Call for information on our Promotional Offers For more details contact: Chris Murphy Mob: 07719 662634 Tel: 01291 690 077 Website: www.raglanparc.co.uk Parc Lodge, Station Road, Raglan

Commission in Scotland. Not Taurus Craft’s Norway Spruces. Taurus Crafts will have Norway Spruces, grown by the Lydney Park Estate’s team of experienced professional foresters. Each year they provide high quality, well shaped trees in different heights. The carbon foot print could not be better as the trees are grown a mile away. They are felled as freshly as possible which greatly improves the needle retention. Prices are reasonable. Check the website www.tauruscrafts.co.uk for more information or telephone: 01594 844 841. This vibrant, family-friendly venue is easy to find - located at The Old Park, just outside Lydney on the A48. Open 10am to 5.30pm daily – Free parking

Christmas Markets over the weekends of 3rd&4th and 10th&11th December will provide even more seasonal ideas, featuring local hand-made items, gifts, crafts, toys, food, decorations and more.... There will be activities and carols on some market days, so phone ahead to find out what’s on. Many trees these days are imported from Europe or grown by the Forestry

The Belgrave Hotel The Esplanade, Tenby, Pembrokeshire SA70 7DU Tel: 01834 842377 Fax: 01834 842626

Come and enjoy the hotels superb seafront position overlooking Tenby’s beautiful south beach in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

Midweek B&B from £37.50 pppn

Arrive Friday or Saturday Enjoy 2 nights mix and match

£89.95 pp 3 Nights £127.45 pp Dinner, Bed & Breakfast on Saturday Bed & Breakfast Friday and Sunday Candlelit Dinner & Dance Thursday and Saturday Gala Menu, Breakfast in Bed Sunday Morning Ring now for Birthdays, Anniversaries and other special breaks.

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A Local Delight Farm Shop A Local Delight Farm Shop is the result of my upbringing in a farming environment and my passion for locally farmed, seasonal produce. My name is James Durose, I’m 22 years old and from quite an early age I have always been interested in the way our food is produced and farmed. When I was just about walking I would go to my grandparents on the weekends and always go to the local farm to see all the livestock and the cows being milked, and, as soon as I was old enough, my parents allowed me to have a few chickens, off of which we would sell eggs from our little smallholding in Llanellen, Abergavenny. As time went by we grew a small regular customer base who would religiously come every week (and still do) to buy their eggs. We started to stock other seasonal products such as cherries and apples off our own trees in the summer, and also turkeys at Christmas from our family run (and ever expanding) Poultry company, all of which proved very popular. During my late teens I started working at some local pubs and restaurants such as The Cripple Creek in Raglan and then for just over two years at Stephen Terry’s Hardwick restaurant on the outskirts of Abergavenny. This is where I could see first-hand how excellent local produce could be made into simple but yet absolutely delicious meals.

We are about to go through our first Christmas trading, and for it, we have put together some gift baskets/hampers. Each can be altered to your own specification/budget! We also have a limited number of our own home reared free range Christmas Turkeys & Ducks. If you are not looking Poultry for your Christmas dinner then maybe some locally reared Beef, Lamb or Pork may be of interest? All of which are ready to be ordered now! Our philosophy is to stock only the best and most local produce available. Feel free to come and have a browse at what fine produce is available in your area! A Local Delight is open Monday-Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 10-4. It is easy to find, one mile off the A4042 at the village of Llanellen, or from Waitrose take the left towards Llanfoist / Blaenavon, then keep an eye out for the left hand turn signposted Gypsy Lane, we are two miles down the road on the right (Postcode NP7 9HF). All enquiries contact myself, on 07540 658152/01873 857603.

This is where the Farm Shop idea came about. We are so lucky in Monmouthshire and surrounding areas to have such an array of local food producers and growers. The meat I stock is butchered locally by Neil Powell Master Butchers, whose own philosophy is to source from local farmers. There is also a selection of cured, smoked & air dried meat products from Native Breeds Curers & Charcutiers (their Forest Air Dried Ham is to die for!). The Fruit & Vegetables in the shop are from local Organic growers where possible, as are our locally made Jam’s & Chutneys and our locally produced Organic Apple Juice. We have a selection of freshly made breads from award winning Artisan Baker, Alex Gooch, and also award winning Cheeses from the Blaenafon Cheddar company and from Caws Cenarth of Carmarthenshire. We also have the simply delicious Wild Fig Ice Cream, which combining both traditional and seasonal flavours, is made on a small fruit farm in the Vale of Glamorgan. And of course, where it all began, our own, fresh Free Range eggs. Having all these award winning companies behind me, it makes my job quite simple, I am able to sell with confidence and in the knowledge that the customer is buying a fantastic product that is made with attention and also passion, and we are both, most importantly, supporting these local producers. I am always on the look out for more excellent local produce to stock. On the lead up to Christmas, we will taking orders for Christmas roasts, and also putting together Christmas hampers. A Local Delight Farm Shop has now been trading for 3 months now and is steadily growing every week. We stock an array of local produce, including fresh meat from Neil Powell Master Butchers and Crown Farm Meats in Raglan, a selection of cured, smoked & air dried meat products from Native Breeds Curers & Charcutiers, locally made Jam’s & Chutneys, a selection of freshly made Breads from award winning Artisan Baker, Alex Gooch, and also award winning Cheeses from the Blaenafon Cheddar company and from Caws Cenarth of Carmarthenshire.

* Fresh Local Meat Including Award Winning Sausages & Bacon *Native Breeds Charcuterie * Huge Selections of Jams / Chutneys / Curds / Mustards * Fresh Fruit / Vegetables * Fresh Bread from Artisan Baker, Alex Gooch * Welsh Cheeses

Hampers & Gift baskets made up to your specifications Christmas Turkeys & Ducks available now! Sunnyside, Llanellen, Abergavenny, NP7 9HF

07540 658152

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Day’s not over yet Doris Day has just released her first album of new material in 17 years. In a rare interview, the octogenarian tells Jeananne Craig why she has no intention of slowing down. Reading through the sunny track list for Doris Day's new album, My Heart you would be forgiven for thinking the star's life had been, to borrow one of her song titles, Just A Bowl Of Cherries. Behind the twinkling lyrics and breezy sentiments, however, lies a more complex tale. The Oscar-winning girl-next-door has had her fair share of heartache, with four marriages, a multi-million dollar legal battle and the death of her beloved only child. Ever the professional, Day has never been one to let her private problems affect her smiling public image. The wholesome Calamity Jane star - once cheekily dubbed America's oldest virgin - made 39 films and recorded more than 650 songs before quietly retreating from the spotlight to focus on her charity work.

Now, aged 87 and almost two decades since the release of her last album of fresh material, the reclusive star is back with her new record My Heart. So what made her return to the fray after so long? "I completely forgot about these recordings and honestly thought no one would be listening to my music anymore," Day says modestly. "It was brought to my attention that the recordings were in storage and Sony was interested in releasing them. So I listened to them and at first had some misgivings, but after they were re-mastered, I liked them and hoped my fans would too." Devotees won't be disappointed. The album is classic Day, with a few covers and four new songs added to the mix. The upbeat tempo and apple-pie mood is stripped away when Day - for the first time sounding like the octogenarian she is softly introduces the penultimate song Happy Endings.

She tells listeners: "Terry was not only my son, but he was my buddy for all of his life. He was a very talented musician, producer, composer and singer. "He wrote this song for me but when I heard it, I insisted he sing it. I'm so glad that he did."

St. Mary’s Bakery

Outside Catering: Delicious Finger Buffets for Birthdays, Christenings, Weddings, Funerals, Children’s Parties or business lunches. Whatever the Occasion we can put together a tasty selection of Sandwiches, Savouries, Fruits and confectionary to your specification. No matter how large or small the order, buffets start at just £3.75 per head. For more information pop into the bakery or call -

Abergavenny: 01873 268183 St. Mary’s Bakery, 15 Frogmore St, Abergavenny

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Day is the first to admit she hasn't had happy endings in many aspects of her life, even before the loss of her son. She was already divorced twice when her third husband, Terry's stepfather Marty Melcher, died in 1968. The grieving Day, one of the most bankable

names of her generation, was shocked to learn Melcher and his lawyer had taken her- in her words, "to the point of wipeout" - and signed her up for a TV series without her knowledge, which started shooting shortly after his death. It became The Doris Day Show which ran from 1968 to 1973. Following intense legal wrangling over finances (which concluded with Day being awarded more than 20 million dollars in damages), and after her TV work ran its course in the early 1970s, the singer quit Hollywood to dedicate herself to animal welfare campaigning.


Five minutes with... Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam Writers, actors and directors Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones discuss new online attraction The Ministry Of Silly Games Writers, actors and directors Terry Jones, 68, and Terry Gilliam, 70, have been responsible for some of the best loved films of the past few decades. Their work includes Monty Python And The Holy Grail and The Meaning Of Life - much of which has inspired upcoming online attraction The Ministry Of Silly Games. I LOVE FACEBOOK, VIDEO GAMES AND MONTY PYTHON SO I'M SOLD, BUT WHY SHOULD OTHERS PLAY THE MINISTRY OF SILLY GAMES? Terry Jones: Aha, a trick question. To make us rich. Also we hope that a lot of young people will not be able to stop playing the games. And I'm going to pay off my mortgage. DO YOU USE SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES? Terry Jones: We're innocent of Facebook, Twitter and all that. Terry Gilliam: It's controlling the universe now. Do you understand that? ABSOLUTELY. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE OF THE SILLY GAMES? Terry Jones: I think my favourite game is Twit Of The Year. Russian Roulette without the personal damage - it's brilliant: A great game.

weird because they can't close the door to the back platform. YOU'RE BOTH WORKING ON RESPECTIVE OPERAS EVIL MACHINES AND THE DAMNATION OF FAUST. ARE YOU EXCHANGING NOTES? Terry Jones: No, they're both very different operas. Terry Gilliam has 90 people on stage at any one time. My opera [Evil Machines] is only eight singers I'm afraid. That's all we could afford. Terry Gilliam: With my people I don't know who they are [laughs]. They just keep coming on stage and rehearsing: A real social network, not a virtual one. TERRY GILLIAM, WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH YOUR ON/OFF FILM THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE? Terry Gilliam: I was hoping you knew. Once again we're trying to get the fourth leg on the horse. It fell off the other day [laughs]. We're trying to raise the money once again. It fell apart a few months ago.

TERRY JONES, TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING ANIMATED MOVIE, ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING

Terry Jones: A Zimmer frame. Phoenix Pictures in the States are raising the finance. John Oliver, who does a regular spot on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, has said he'd love to voice the dog, and I've persuaded the other Pythons to voice the aliens, so yeah, we're hoping to get that together in the next few months.

TERRY JONES, LEGENDARY FOOD LOVER MR CREOSOTE FEATURES IN THE NEW GAMES. HOW ABOUT A TIE-IN WORKOUT VIDEO? Terry Jones: [Laughs] Ooh, that's a good idea!

For more information, visit www.ministryofsillygames.com

Brecon Road , Crickhowell Powys NP8 1SG

High Class, High Street Butcher / Green Grocer / Delicatessen

Telephone: 01873 810 775 www.cidermill.co.uk At the foot of the Black Mountains between Crickhowell and Brecon is the award winning Nantyffin Cider Mill Inn.

Terry Jones: I don't quite understand them [laughs]. It's a constant struggle life and very absorbing and very interesting. People should try it some time.

Terry Jones: He doesn't really milk cows.

Terry Gilliam: I just got one for my seventieth birthday. It's an inflatable one which I've not been able to blow up.

M. T. CASHELL & SONS LTD

Terry Gilliam: I like the game where you get to dress up and wander around, but what I didn't see was a choice of underwear. DO YOU PLAY GAMES ON XBOX OR OTHER PLATFORMS?

Terry Gilliam: I actually find life is the big game. The others are distractions from the real one. It's very virtual - you can touch things in real life. I can milk cows in real life.

FINALLY TERRYS, IF ONE THING WOULD IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

December Festive Set Menu Starters

Taking orders for: ★ Local Bronze Free Range Usk Vale Turkey ★ Local Usk Vale Fresh boneless Turkey breast ★ Local Welsh Free Range geese

~ ~ ~ ~

★ Organic Copas Bronze Free Range Turkeys ★ Local Llanbedr Black Mountain Welsh beef ★ 5lb best mince for £12.00 ★ 5lb Chuck steak for £13.50 ★ 5lb shin of beef for £12.00

Butternut squash & sage soup Smoked duck breast salad with pomegranate vinaigrette Beetroot cured gravadlax with brown bread and a lemon & dill creme fraiche Chicken liver & brandy parfait with an orange & thyme glaze and warm toast

Main Courses ~ ~ ~

Escalope of turkey filled with a cranberry & chestnut stuffing with roast potatoes and pan gravy Daube of Welsh beef with creamed potatoes Pan roasted fillet of salmon with celeriac puree and buttered new potatoes

~

Wild mushroom, chestnut & cranberry savoury pudding with a white wine sauce All dishes served with seasonal vegetables

Desserts ~ ~ ~ ~

Rum and raisin bread and butter pudding with caramelised bananas and cream Nantyffin affogato - crushed meringue, vanilla ice cream, espresso cream and a dusting of cocoa Dark chocolate & orange tart with whipped vanilla cream Eggnog pannacotta with spiced berries

2 courses - £20.00 3 courses - £25.00

TERRY GILLIAM, I KNOW YOU'RE A FAN OF THE OLD ROUTEMASTER BUSES. WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO A TRAVELOG ON ONE OR IS MICHAEL PALIN THE ONLY PYTHON ALLOWED TO DO THEM? Terry Gilliam: Yes, I love the fact you can leap on and leap off and you could harm yourself. It was your choice. It would be

53 HIGH ST Crickhowell NP8 1BH

01873 810405 ❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

41


Classic Stoves Classic Stoves offers a service that only comes with years of experience. Our head company has designed and installed heating systems in Monmouthshire for more than 30 years, so when it comes to solid fuel and stoves, we know what we’re talking about.

and give you more heat for your money. If you love the comfort and warmth of an open fire, you’ll love the efficiency and power of a stove.

We give expert advice, onsite surveys and complete quotations, while our qualified engineers ensure our stoves are expertly fitted. Our showroom displays a wide range of steel and cast iron stoves and our 24hour telephone service means that we are always available. We’re competitive on price, but we won’t skimp on the quality of our products or service. Choose from contemporary models from top European brands or traditional cottage stoves from UK manufactures – we have stoves for every pocket. We also supply solid-fuel hearths in stone, slate and marble, plus accessories and spare parts. A stove is a dependable and stylish heat source which will make any house feel like a home. Burning wood, which is a renewable energy, can cut your fuel bills

The Coach & Horses Inn Cwm Crawnon Road, Llangynidr, NP8 1LS Tracey & Ken extend a warm welcome to customers old & new

A great atmosphere and friendly staff await you STARTERS ROASTED PARSNIP AND SAGE SOUP HOME CURED SALMON WITH DILL CREME FRAICHE AND SALAD HOMEMADE VENISON TERRINE WITH BEETROOT CHUTNEY, TOAST WARM FIVE ONION TART WITH ROCKET SALAD

MAIN COURSES ROAST TURKEY WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS HONEY GLAZED HAM WITH SPICED RED CABBAGE AND CRANBERRIES, BREAD SAUCE FILLET OF HADDOCK ON A LEEK POTATO CAKE WITH A CHIVE CREAM SAUCE PUMPKIN AND GOATS CHEESE LASAGNE

DESSERTS

TEA OR COFFEE WITH A MINCE PIE TO FINISH

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❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

What’s on at the Coach and Horses? ● December Saturday 10th – 2 Can (Fab pop duo) ● December Saturday 17th – dai version ( Welsh covers band) ● January 29th - Sloe Gin Competition, 6pm, entertainment

provided, £1 entry ● February 27th - A night with a Medium - including food

2 courses £15.95 3 courses £19.95

Christmas menu now available, book now to avoid disappointment! Deposit of £5 required per person to secure booking

● December Friday 2nd – Beats Work (4 piece cover band)

CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH BRANDY SAUCE MULLED WINE POACHED PEAR WITH CHESTNUT ICE CREAM CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT CHEESECAKE WITH CARAMEL ORANGE SAUCE CHEESE AND BISCUITS

www.coachandhorses.org

Lunches served 12 noon ~ 2 pm Closed Mondays for food . Drink’s 5.30~11pm Sunday lunch 12 noon ~ 3 .00pm Dinner served 6pm ~ 9pm Bar open 11am ~ midnight A wide selection of real ales available

(6.30pm - 7.30pm) show starts at 8pm, £15

☎ 01874 730245

info@coachandhorses.org


Warm up to wood-burning stove Visit our showroom in CHEPSTOW to see our stylish range of traditional and contempory stoves in multi fuel, gas & electric. Stove expertise at competitive prices. Offering the complete package from supply to installation by Hetas qualified engineers and we will ensure you have the perfect stove.

Telephone for a survey: 01291 621545

Opening times: Tuesday - Sunday

Classic Stoves Chepstow Garden Centre, Pwllmeyric, Chepstow NP16 6LF 01291 628080 www.classicstoves.co.uk

❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

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S - SANDWHICH BAR

C - CHIMNEY SWEEP

Harry’s

Sandwich & Coffee Bar

07759 449077 3 St Johns Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

A - ARBORICULTURAL CONTRACTOR

CHIMNEY SWEEP ●

Stacks Repaired ● Stoves Fitted ● Cowls Fitted

Rob Leacock Telephone: 01291 690040 Mobile: 07740 429081 ‘Your local Chimney Sweep for over 20 years’

L - LOCKSMITH

CLIVE FRANCIS Tech Cert (Arbor.A.)

All aspects of Tree Work Undertaken Arboricultural Contractor Report Writing and Consultancy 8 Western Road, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7AA Tel: 01873 859273 Mobile: 07976 515 722 e-mail: clive4trees@aol.com

N - NURSING HOME

A - ANTIQUES

AVENUE ROAD NURSING HOME Becoming part of your family

Christmas Greetings Our core values of care: • Privacy • Dignity • Rights • Independence • Choice • Fulfilment• Security • Respect • Equality 28 Avenue Road, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 7DB Tel: 01873 857607 Fax: 01873 857607 Mob: 07830 385435 (Dr. A. Bansal)

T - TYRES

Gallop & Rivers

Gallop and Rivers is located on a rural site, bordering the historic market town of Crickhowell.

Architectural Antiques

For the past 17 years we have traded in all of the architectural items necessary for authentic restoration projects.

Antiques, Ironmongery, Paving, Interior Flooring, Garden Features, Fire Places, Building Material & Much More

Ty-r-ash, Brecon road, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1SF Tel :(+44)-01873-811084 Fax: (+44)-01873-811084 E-mail: enquiries@gallopandrivers.co.uk

U - UNISEX SALON

HairBase

ABERGAVENNY TYRES

Unisex Salon Alison Gillard

Westgate Yard, Llanfoist. NP7 9LH

Tyres

Brakes

Exhausts

Batteries

Open: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm Tel: 01873 859342 Emergencies: 07866 582577

A - ASSEMBLY MEMBER

Nick Ramsay AM Assembly Member for Monmouth Hospitals - Schools - Transport - Environment - Housing

❆❆ Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings ❆❆ Write to: Nick Ramsay AM, Constituency Office, 16 Maryport Street, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP15 1AB E-mail: nicholas.ramsay@wales.gov.uk

For further information call: 01291 674 898 or 029 2089 8735

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31 Frogmore Street, Abergavenny 01873 855 835

Christmas offer Spray tan £15 in December FREE Eyebrow wax with every colour Book now in December Merry Christmas from Hairbase

S - SUNDAY MARKET CHEPSTOW SUNDAY MEERKAT?

Traders from all over Great Britain attend this market ● Large Car Park & Coach Park ● Picnic Area and Kiddie’s Inflatables ● Coach Parties Welcome

E.D. MARKETS ☎ 077680 00854


. . . o u D r Dea

if you would like dear duo to help with your problems, please write to Dear Duo, The Gazette and Diary, 13 Nevill Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AA.

Useful Christmas Numbers ❆ Welsh Water (public sewers)

0800 085 3968 ❆ Welsh Water (water mains)

It's Christmas Time Again (by Bob Lazzar-Atwood)

0800 0520130

Dear Duo

Dear Duo

I've tried searching my problem on the internet but not all are the same as me. But im 19 years old and i have a problem with stuttering and sometimes im unable to say the words that i want to say. I dont stutter all the time just sometimes and its very embrassing as i just get laughed at and people just think im being un intelligent. I say the wrong thing all the time like with peoples names i mean to call them by their name but sometimes a simular name comes out or someones name that i've spoken to before. Also if im telling a story i will get it mixed up what people said so if i was telling someone what my friend had said sometimes i'd say i said it. I have always had it a little bit but recently its got ALOT worse. I can think in my head of what i want to say so i go to say it and ill either stutter and it wont come out or something else will! and nobody realises how hard it is or that i've even got anything wrong with me. I feel that i struggle to read out loud aswell and sometimes type the wrong thing but this isnt as big of a problem as my speech. What is this? Is it forever? What would doctor do and say? argghhhhh thanks for your time! Sam

I had an affair with a woman I used to work with, this was about 7 years ago. She became pregnant, she said she was on the pill, but wasn't. Shortly after maybe 4 weeks, she had left work moved away. I didn't hear from her untill I got a text messege saying I had a son. Nearly 7 years has past and I have got on with my life, I have two sons with my wife. Affair forgotten, but I aways wondered what has happened to my secret 6 year old son somewhere? Then out of the blue this September, I received a letter from the CSA requiring me to make payments to my long lost mistress for my son. My wife knows nothing of this child, or even my affair. I just don't know what to do? The payments are not a lot, only £42 a week and I can always pay it in secret. But the deceit is killing me, how long can I keep this a secret. And what do I do?

Hi Sam It seems to me you are lacking confidence. you probably get nervous and start stuttering. i always hated to talk to large groups of people, but i found that entering a "speech class" helped me get used to talking to people. maybe you can take some sort of class to overcome your nervousness. mixing up names is common, i have a hard time remembering names too, even mine at times, if you are conscious about stuttering, it could make it worse. Just relax and stop trying so hard. J Hi Sam, Well It seems like you have a bit of an issue with confidence as J picked up on, is this when your speaking to large groups of people or just one-on-one? If it's large groups of people, then you could be suffering from stage fright which affects a lot of people! Myself included! Is there any body that you are close with such as family members who also have the same problem because you may find that you've picked it up sub-consciously from them? If your worried about it, then it may be an idea to go and see somebody such as a speech therapist to help you - which may even boost your self-esteem and confidence levels! But relax, don't dwell on the problem and it may go away by itself. H

Hi This is tricky, some respects I am thinking dont hurt her with this and then I am thinking she needs to know, and so do your other children, its not fair to abandon this child as this will cause him problems as he grows older. I think you need to tell your wife, it was obviously a one off. And what will be will be, your wife may forgive or she may not, but the longer you try and hide this the worse it will get. You should have been honest in the first place but we can't live on if's and but's only the now. J Hi, Firstly - was there a reason for this affair? Or just a one of fling? because that's probably one of the questions your wife will doubt if you tell her. And also, will you do it again? Is this child definitely yours in the first place? I'd make sure by having DNA tests and If so, you need to take responsibility, if you were willing to commit to having the affair with this woman then you should be able to take the consequences of your actions. And also, take responsibility of the child that you conceived! If you love your wife then firstly you shouldn't have to do this in secret, sit down and calmly speak to you wife about it - think about how she feels and also the sake of your children - All 3! But don't keep this hidden away, the longer you wait to tell her - the worse the outcome! H

❆ Police non - emergency

number 101 ❆ The Samaritans

- English language helpline 01248 674 985 - Welsh language helpline 0300 123 3011 ❆ Childline 0800 1111 ❆ NSPCC

- English language helpline 0808 800 5000 - Welsh language helpline 0808 100 2524

Put your problems on probation Run your troubles off the track, Throw your worries out the window Get the monkeys off your back. Silence all your inner critics With your conscience make amends, And allow yourself some happiness It's Christmas time again! Call a truce with those who bother you Let all the fighting cease, Give your differences a breather And declare a time of peace, Don't let angry feelings taint The precious time you have to spend, And allow yourself some happiness It's Christmas time again! Like some cool refreshing water Or a gentle summer breeze, Like a fresh bouquet of flowers Or the smell of autumn leaves, It's a banquet for the spirit Filled with family, food and friends, So allow yourself some happiness It's Christmas time again!

Colour me in

Sorry to those who have not had their problems answered yet we have limited space but we will eventually get round to you!

❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

45


Sudoku Challenge

December 2011

Gazette Christmas

Giggles!

Bristol Saturday matinee musical South Pacific, coach / theatre £47, limited seats available, reservations, 01873 852567 Table Sale at Llanfoist OAP at 1.30pm, Book a Table on 01873 852507

LAST MONTHS RESULTS We asked you do you think that it is it is a good idea for Andy and Debbie to have a baby to save Sarah? 32% voted Yes. 68% voted No

What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It's Christmas, Eve!

NB change of day for December only. Abergavenny Alzheimers Memory Café, Trinity Church Hall, Drop in anytime between 10.30 and 12.30. Special Christmas event

(CANCELLED) ‘Christmas with Elvis’, Llangynidr Village Hall. Bar available. Festive cheer. Tel: 01874 730287, 01874 730228, 01874 730469

The Palestinian Ambassador, Prof M Hassassian will talk about “A Future for Palestine” at Llanfoist Village Hall at 7.00pm, Tel: 01873 812541

Abergavenny Farmers Market, Market Hall, Abergavenny. Fresh local produce

How many chimney does Father Christmas go down? Stacks! What did one Angel say to the other? Halo there!

YES

NO

32% 68%

Sudoku Solution

Voter Comments: “I feel this would be unfair on the donor baby as I think the child would feel that they were only born for that sole reason" says Kate from Pontypool “If this was my child and this was an option to save her then I would do anything in my power" says Mary-Anne from Abergavenny

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❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

Glangrwyney Baptist Chapel Carol Service on first Sunday in December at 6.30pm. All welcome

Cardiff evening annual Christmas Concert in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Morriston Orpheus choir, Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen Band, children’s choir, inclusive cost £28, reservations 01873 852567 Charity Christmas Bazaar, Clarence Hall, Crickhowell. 10-3pm in aid of Parkinson’s U.K S. Powys Branch Pandy and Monnowside Ploughing Society, Christmas Fun Bingo, 8pm, Pandy Hall, great prizes and children’s game, £1.00 a book. Tel: 01873 890591

Who delievers cat's Christmas presents? Santa Paws!

What do angry mice send to each other at Christmas? Cross mouse cards!

St David’s Hall, Cardiff. Handel’s Messiah, Sunday Matinee, 3pm, Cardiff Polyphonic Choir with soloists. Coach/Hall £40. Coach departs Abergavenny coach station 1.15pm. Reservations 01873 852567

NB change of day for December only. Abergavenny Alzheimers Carer’s meeting Angel Hotel 7.30 – 9pm. All Welcome

Llangynidr Village Hall Christmas Whist Drive. Usual array of prizes: meat, bottles, gifts etc. Tel: 01874 730228/01874 730287/01874 730469


Last month we ran a competition to design the front page of our Christmas edition of the Gazette and Diary magazine, here are our top 3

❆❆ Competition Winners ❆❆

PARADE HOUSE Ideally situated for the elderly, being within level walking distance of the town centre • For long term or respite care • Friendly,caring atmosphere

Newly completed Large en-suite rooms

1

• Lift to first floor • High standard of cuisine

1st Place Abbey Ro gers

01600 712821 aged 11

For a brochure telephone the proprietor, Maureen Rayner

Fax: 01600 772228 Email: enquiries@paradehouse.co.uk

The Parade, Monmouth, Monmouthshire NP25 3PA

Jo McCulloch MBACP, PGDip (Int) Therapeutic Counsellor

2 9 gers aged o R y e o J 2nd Place

Counselling Works Counselling helps to explore feelings and emotions. It allows you to take a greater control of your life and make your own decisions about what is right for you. For an appointment, contact me on: Tel: 07850 896473 email: jomcculloch123@aol.com

I offer a safe and confidential place to explore important and sensitive issues such as: ●

3

● ● ● ● ● ●

WELL DONE! Many thanks to all those who contributed.

3rd Place Elina Lew is aged 7

Depression Feeling alone Stress Lack of confidence Lack of self esteem

Relationships Bereavement Anxiety

● ● ● ●

● ●

Anger Abuse Bullying Sexuality Suicidal thoughts Loss Post-traumatic stress Mental health problems

❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

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Hairy Bikers - Meals On Wheels Celebrity cooks David Myers and Simon King reveal why they've jumped on the campaigning bandwagon for their latest series Hairy Bikers Meals On Wheels.

together to feed vulnerable elderly people, off their ration books. Eight years ago, 34 million meals were delivered every year. Now that's dropped down by a third, and of those just 15% are freshly cooked.

Best known for their motorbikes, bizarre cooking locations and heart-warming Geordie banter, David Myers and Simon King are focussing on a subject close to their hearts this autumn. Their new four-part TV series will raise awareness about the sad state of one of Britain's most important voluntary institutions: Meals On Wheels. Hairy Bikers Meals On Wheels started on BBC Two earlier this month airing at 9pm on Tuesdays

King: The number of people aged over 60 is expected to rise 50% in the next 25 years. We need it now more than ever.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO HELP MEALS ON WHEELS GET BACK ON ITS FEET? King: I lost me mam about two years ago - and she was a fantastic cook. Leading up to that point, we tried to get various local services involved, but mum wasn't interested. They didn't provide food she wanted to eat. Luckily my family lived relatively close, rallied round and cooked her meals. Myers: We went on the Meals On Wheel diet for a week and it was bloody awful. Where the service still exists it's been cut down, so you get a delivery once a fortnight of a chest of 14 frozen meals that you microwave. We had frozen omelette and chips. It was horrible. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MEALS ON WHEELS SERVICE? Myers: It started in Welwyn Garden City during World War Two during the Blitz. Ladies got

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE? King: The lifeblood of Meals On Wheels is the volunteers. We realised the service wasn't attracting new ones, so we went to the advertising firm Saatchi and asked them to build a message people could rally round: Deliver A Difference. On our website you'll be able to log on, find out how to start a Meals On Wheels service from scratch, supply fresh ingredients to an already existing service, or just find out recipes. Myers: We didn't want to take the project on if it disappeared afterwards. The BBC is committed to maintaining a website, so people can volunteer and find out what's happening in their area. WHAT DID YOU FIND FRUSTRATING WHILE FILMING? King: We were outside Hampton Court Station and handing out leaflets. We weren't being pushy, but we got blanked by people. Eventually we thought, 'Who's got money, leisure time, and who's fit?' So we drove a golf buggy onto a course, starting talking to people and got really good support.

Myers: The show made me laugh, made me cry and it certainly made me very angry. It doesn't take much to make those older years very pleasurable. And volunteers delivering food can play a big part in that. If you are isolated, your family are away and you can't get out, that knock on the door is massively important. WILL VIEWERS BE SURPRISED BY THIS PROGRAMME?

King: It's the most important thing we've done so far, a change of direction for us. It's something that really does matter. We can lark about and have fun, but this is life and death really. Myers: Our raison d'etre is about celebrating food. And when you're vulnerable, a freshly cooked meal, given to you with a smile and a bit of a natter, what more can you want?

Any spare weekends? Powys & Monmouthshire Short Break carers needed We need you to provide occasional overnight weekend stays for children and young people with learning and / or physical disabilities. Whilst experience and qualifications are not essential a passion for working with young people is. In return, we offer: ▲ ▲ ▲

financial allowances 24-hour support preparation and training

To find out more please contact:

Action for Children Telephone: 01633 270422 (main office) Email: taith.newydd@actionforchildren.org.uk

www.actionforchildren.org.uk Registered charity nos. 1097940/SC038092/company no. 4764232 Produced by Action for Children 04/2011. 10/11 0538

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Five minutes with... Matt Baker Matt Baker, 34, was born in County Durham, and rose to fame thanks to a seven-year stint on Blue Peter.

CAN ALEX WIN IT? Oh gosh, who knows? I went all the way to the final, but you never know who's going to get where. I'd like to say it's in the lap of the gods, but it's down to four judges really!

Since leaving the long-running children's series in 2006, he's presented a variety of programmes, including Countryfile with Julia Bradbury, and The One Show alongside Alex Jones. He was also runner-up in last year's Strictly Come Dancing.

YOUR OLD PARTNER ALIONA VILANI HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF WINNING, DOESN'T SHE? With Harry? Yes, she's doing well, really good. It's such a nice thing to have a connection with it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it's a great programme. It was a privilege to be part of it.

Baker starts The One Show Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children In Need on November 11, which will see him cycle from Edinburgh to London in just eight days. To donate, text 'MATT' to 70705. Visit www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey for terms and conditions.

DO HAVE ANY PLANS FOR A CELEBRATION ONCE YOU FINISH THE RICKSHAW RIDE? Yes, I'll be lying down! I'm not going to run around the country, waving my arms in the air, that's for sure! You know what, by the time I've finished, it won't be far off Christmas, and I'm looking forward to that. I just hope I get to London in time!

HOW ARE YOU TODAY? I'm feeling slightly buoyant, having had a training session on the rickshaw this morning! All is going to plan at the moment. ARE YOU DOING LOTS OF TRAINING? Yes, I am really. You don't want to exhaust yourself before you do something like this, so you've got to get your muscles prepared for it. So I'll train one day and then rest and let my body recover and try to build a bit of muscle, and then train again the day after. I've got a little programme I'm trying to follow, but it's proving difficult with my workload. I've got The One Show to do every night, and I don't want to turn up for that looking absolutely shattered. It's a different kettle of fish riding the rickshaw to just a normal bike. YOU LOOK AS IF YOU'RE NATURALLY FIT, BUT DOES RIDING THE RICKSHAW USE DIFFERENT KIND OF MUSCLES? It does. The weight of this thing is absolutely offensive. It just doesn't move naturally, it doesn't want to glide. I've done some training on a racing bike and the whole thing moves - you can push it with your finger it's so light. Whereas the rickshaw, you've got to put your back into it, squeeze your legs and you might just be able to move it. And then when you've got the weight of somebody in the back, it's really grim. YOU HAVE A LOT TO LIVE UP TO, WHAT WITH EDDIE IZZARD AND DAVID WALLIAMS' EXPLOITS Yes, but we're all doing it for a great cause. It's not about me trying to do this, it's about trying to raise money for Children In Need. When you are having those dark times and it's hideous, all you have to do is think about those projects. The slight pain you're going through is nothing compared to what some of the children who will benefit from the money are going through. That's my philosophy anyway.

WHY THE RICKSHAW? We had quite a few ideas floating around. We wanted something we could feature on The One Show, something that featured Britain, that went through the country as well, so we could represent the different regions as we go, and to get some public involvement. Also, with a rickshaw you can get people sat in the back, local celebrities, folk who've done something great... it works on so many different levels. ARE YOU HOPING THE PUBLIC WILL COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOU ALONG THE WAY? Yes, absolutely. It's going to be a massive ordeal. I think even on that first day, I'm going to be shocked by it. So hopefully if people can help me out by coming along and giving me a cheer, or making me flapjack or whatever - it's just feeling that support that's important. Even now, people have been giving me a pat on the back and handing me notes - and that's just for the training! It's just extraordinary, and that's the kind of thing that keeps you going. WE CAN'T LET YOU GO WITHOUT ASKING ABOUT STRICTLY COME DANCING. HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING IT THIS YEAR? Obviously with Alex (Jones) being in, I have, yes. It's actually quite a privilege to watch it from a distance, knowing exactly what's going on. It's so funny because I do feel exactly how I felt at this time last year, but this time because of the rickshaw challenge!

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❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

49


Don’t Catch Festive Fever! The stress leading up to Christmas Day (plus all those parties) can quickly cause headaches. Rather than popping painkillers to get you through the party season, think ahead and take precautions!

Avoid tummy troubles Festive food may be traditional, delicious and decidedly moreish - but it can be tough on the digestive system. ■ Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a range of

problems in the gastro-intestinal system. The most common symptom is pain in the upper abdomen after eating. This can be mild or severe, stabbing or general soreness. ■ Some people have reflux, where acidic

stomach contents come back up into the gullet, causing a burning sensation (heartburn). Other charming symptoms include bloating, wind and belching! ■ Indigestion can be caused by overindulging

on rich Christmas food, which leads to swelling of the stomach and inflammation of the gut lining. Smoking, stress and excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption all cause indigestion too. ■ To avoid pain, eat small portions and don't

rush meals. Keep fried, fatty and spicy food to a minimum. Gentle exercise can help things along too. Certain medicines, such as aspirin, can irritate the gut. ■ For immediate relief, try antacid medicines

to neutralise stomach acid and form a protective layer over the stomach lining. If indigestion persists, talk to your doctor, who can check for a stomach ulcer or other causes.

Drink lots of liquids (apple juice and prune juice are very good) and eat bananas or apple with the peel on to increase your fibre intake. If the bloating persists, have a check-up with your GP in the New Year.

Present pressure Finding must-have gifts on a tight budget can cause unwanted stress. Dealing with pressure at Christmas requires a three-step approach: Firstly, don't try and do it all on your own - ask for help. Secondly, take time out every hour to sit back and relax with a magazine, a cup of camomile tea, or some music, for example. Finally, have realistic expectations. Don't expect Christmas to be perfect, because it rarely is, but that doesn't mean you can't have a good time.

Sweetie fiends Chocolate and sweets come in abundance at Christmas and children will probably end up gorging on them. If you don't want poorly kids on your hands, do your best to limit and supervise what they eat. Place sweets and nibbles in a place where your child can't reach. That way you're in control and they won't be able to go behind your back and sneak a handful. And remember out of sight is also out of mind.

■ Eating a greasy breakfast may work -

but only if you can stomach it. Better to have some plain toast. This is less likely to further upset your stomach.

You could also try putting out plates of fruit for them to snack on too.

■ Artichoke is another natural remedy,

much like milk thistle, that is thought to help the liver to function properly again. So stock up on it for after a big night out.

Bunged up and bloated If the festive season leaves you feeling bloated, follow this advice to nurse your stomach back to good health: Bloating can be caused by constipation, but don't worry, this is quite common around Christmas time. Your system is bound to get a little sluggish as a result of increased alcohol intake, eating lots of rich food, and generally doing less exercise.

■ Eat crystallised ginger in biscuits or

drink ginger tea to relieve nausea. ■ Add a few drops of peppermint oil to

some olive oil and massage gently into your temples to relieve a headache.

Hangover cures Feeling like a bear with a sore head? Try these morning-after miracles...

Nick Ramsay AM Assembly Member for Monmouth Hospitals - Schools - Transport Environment - Housing Write to: Nick Ramsay AM, Constituency Office, 16 Maryport Street, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP15 1AB E-mail: nicholas.ramsay@wales.gov.uk For further information call: 01291 674 898 or 029 2089 8735

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❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

■ When you wake up in the morning with

that fuzzy feeling, grab a glass of water. Alcohol dehydrates the body so you need to replace that by drinking lots of H2O. Even better, have a glass in between every alcoholic drink the night before. ■ Sadly, a hair of the dog will not make

you feel much better. Opt for orange juice instead. The vitamin C will do you far more good. ■ You wouldn't go near the prickly bush

usually, but a couple of milk thistle capsules could get rid of that hangover, and anything's better than a thumping head. Milk thistle helps to support the liver as it tries to process the alcohol.


Protect your Christmas Finances There’s nothing like a fresh New Year to put life into perspective. We spend the last two weeks in December making declarations about the life changes we’re going to make and come January 1, we’re off and running with newfound determination. The big challenge is February. How do we translate January’s fiery determination into habits that have “stickiness” to last throughout the year, and longer? These Top Ten Money Resolutions Will Change Your Life 1. Make a Budget. We'll say it again: make a budget. You wouldn't drive a car without a gas gauge, would you? Your budget is the foundation for all of your financial decisions. All you need is pen and paper. Get started now. 2. Use Cash. Studies show that people using debit and credit cards spend more. Using cash turns money into a physical "thing" with physical limits. If you are feeling especially daring, leave the cards at home, altogether. 3. Set Financial Goals. List your financial goals. Here are some examples: Pay off credit card debt. Start a college fund. Save for a down payment. Pay off the car. Establish an emergency fund. Separate them into two categories: short term (1 year or less) and long term. Prioritize. Use your budget to set achievement dates. 4. Participate in Military Saves Week. Just as your January resolution gusto starts facing February resistance, Military Saves Week offers a much-needed refueling. Take the savings pledge and participate in savings-related activities at a base near you. 5. Reward yourself. Starvation budgets are like starvation diets: they typically culminate in a binge. As you meet your financial goals, big and small, reward yourself. You will be more likely to succeed in the long run if you treat yourself

(within reason, of course) along the way. 6. Just Say No. Peer pressure is a big part of "why we buy." From spending big at restaurants, to the phones, clothing and cars we buy, sometimes the hardest word to say is "no." Guess what? Your friends are all in debt too. There's no shame in telling people that you're on a budget or that you're saving up for a new car, one you are going to buy IN CASH. You can do it. Just say no! 7. Get Wired. There's never been a better time in history to get your financial life in gear. From online budget wizards like mint.com that turn your savings goals into thermometers, to trading sites like freecycle.org (free stuff), you'll find deep discounts on everything online. 8. Stay Inspired. Bookmark your favorite financial websites. Sign up for newsletters, tweets and podcasts that will help you stay on track. 9. Find a Community of Savers. Don't go it alone. Find a community of savers to help you meet your goals. These can be people at work (brown bag it together), church (many churches offer money management classes), or online (find a listserve or forum of like-minded people). 10. Make a Budget. Did we forget to mention this one? Making a budget is so important to your financial success that it merits two entries on our top ten list. If you don't know where to start, try keeping a running tally of everything you spend in January (carry a small notepad with you). At the end of the month, categorize and tally.

Recipe Corner

Turkey and ham pie Lots of leftovers? How about chicken or turkey and ham pie? A traditional turkey or chicken pie contains lots of vegetable and is the perfect 'use up' dish. You can add almost any veg you like to your pie Serves: 6 Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 40 mins Total time: 55 mins Ingredients ● 25g flour ● 1lt turkey or chicken stock ● 350g cooked turkey or chicken cut into chunks or strips ● 125g cooked ham cut into chunks ● 6 leeks, cleaned and chopped ● 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped ● 1 stalk celery, chopped ● 2tbsp chopped parsley ● 200g ready make shortcrust pastry ● 90g butter ● 75g flour ● 1 tbsp English mustard ● A pinch of salt and ground pepper

gva

Method Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes. ■ Add the flour off the heat. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time until the sauce is smooth. Season well and add the mustard. ■ Place the chicken pieces, ham and leeks in the bottom of an oval pie dish, sprinkle with the fresh parsley and pour over the sauce. ■ Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cover the pie dish with the pastry. ■ Brush the top of the pastry with a little beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins. After this time reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and bake for a further 15 mins. ■ ■

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Snowdon counts her blessings Model and radio presenter Lisa Snowdon talks about her hectic lifestyle, the on-air chemistry with Johnny Vaughan, and living the single life Lisa Snowdon looks the picture of health with sparkling green eyes and long, glossy hair framing her face, so it seems a little premature when she starts speculating about the wording for her tombstone. But as it turns out, the model and radio presenter isn't anticipating an early demise. Instead, she's humorously accepting that her long-past

romance with George Clooney is indelibly etched into the nation's memory. The pair became an item after meeting on the set of a Martini advert in 2000 and had a five-year on-off relationship. Yet six years on it's still rare not to see her referred to as 'former girlfriend' of the iconic heartthrob. "Well, to be honest, I do get a little bit fed up with that constant tagline," she says with a smile and a shrug as she chats in a cafe near the Capital Radio studios in London where she presents a breakfast show with Johnny Vaughan. "But I've accepted the fact I think I'm going to take that label to the grave with me. It might even be on my tombstone, who knows? I can't lose any sleep over it. "I think it's because people are very interested in George, and at the time were excited that a

British girl was dating a Hollywood dude. "It was a long time ago now and it's weird that people still ask me about it, but everybody does!" It must be frustrating because being movie star arm candy is definitely not what Snowdon's about. She's bubbly, smart, has a flourishing career currently modelling for Marks & Spencer, and such is the success of her partnership with Vaughan that the show has won a clutch of prestigious awards. Originally from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, Snowdon grew up wanting to be a dancer and attended stage school until a leading model agency spotted her dancing in a club at 19. "But my parents drummed it into me from an early age not to just get by on my looks. I'm far more flattered to be considered bright and funny than good looking," she says. That may partly explain an unusual youthful feistiness which enabled her to steadfastly refuse to conform, early in her career, to the dictators of the fashion industry. "I came into the business in the Nineties when the whole look was androgynous, a bit heroin chic and emaciated, and I certainly wasn't that," she says. "I had puppy fat in my cheeks and a bust, and mine was a more healthy, sporty look. They kept saying, 'You're not right, you need to lose weight'. "Well, I wasn't going to be pressured into changing the way I was and damaging my health so I just refused and stuck it out." Her tenacity paid off and Snowdon, who was a judge and host on Britain's Next Top Model for four years from 2006, went on to feature in magazines such as Vogue and Elle. She also garnered a legion of female fans who identified with her slender but still curvy appearance in Kellogg's Special K campaign. "I got such lovely messages from women after that campaign I think because it showed you could have a normal, attainable body shape and be successful," she says. "They wrote saying things like, 'Thank goodness, you look real, you look like me'. To me being healthy is the most important thing, and I have never turned to cosmetic surgery or anything like that.

â?†

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"I'm a great believer that having a good outlook on life, and being upbeat and happy, is one of the best beauty aids as it shows in your face." Her poise and self-assurance were apparent in her impressive performance on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, where she reached the finals in 2008. Nowadays, she revels in working in radio where personality rather than appearance rules. Snowdon took over from Denise Van Outen as Vaughan's co-presenter in 2008. "As it's a live show there's an adrenalin rush, and it's exciting and sometimes scary. I love the pressure of reacting to whatever comes along, from news to celebrity interviews. "There's a real chemistry with Johnny and we're great mates. He gets me, I get him and thankfully we both find each other funny! But it's the ticking of her biological clock which causes her some confusion. "With 40 on the horizon, people sort of assume you're getting desperate about starting a family, but I'm definitely not and I'm refusing to panic about it," she says. "Some days I get broody but it goes away quite quickly, and then other days I think, 'Oh my gosh, I definitely don't want kids'. "I have goddaughters, my sister Joanna's having a baby boy in October and I know I'm going to be crazy Aunty Lisa who spoils him rotten, so I have children in my life. It's just that they're not mine. "But life doesn't always have to be about boyfriends, husbands and kids and stuff like that. At the moment, I have different goals in my life which are exciting for me and lots of things that make me happy, like a wonderful family and friends, having a complete ball with my work, and travelling." "If I met someone and marriage and family happened for me, it would be a welcome addition to my life, undoubtedly. "But I've been so fortunate and sometimes I think, 'Don't push your luck, Lisa - appreciate what you've got and wait and see how it all turns out'. Really I feel very content and very blessed."


Age is just a number for Lynda Bellingham

Poignantly, over the last few years, she's had to learn about Alzheimer's. Five years ago her adoptive mother died after a battle with the disease, and a year later she discovered her birth mother, aged 88, also has the condition.

Actress, Loose Women panellist and former Oxo mum Lynda Bellingham talks about finally finding happiness in her third marriage and coping with Alzheimer's in the family. Lynda Bellingham is certainly a woman who can multitask - she's simultaneously making a cup of tea, taking several phone calls, unpacking shopping and managing in between to talk engagingly about life, love and the joys of ageing. If it appears a little frenetic that's because the actress, who at 63 is the oldest member on ITV1's Loose Women panel and who's also starring nude on stage in Calendar Girls, is so busy these days that she feels she can't waste a minute. "I'm a doer who loves being on the go all the time. I'm one of those people who can't wait to see what's round the next corner of life," she says as she chats away at her London home. In fact, she's emerging as a charismatic role model for older women who want to defy the outdated stereotype of them as greying, mumsy and "invisible". On Loose Women her compassionate, down-to-earth views have made her a ■

Only Lynda is still a Loose Woman, Colleen Nolan, Kate Thornton and Zoe Tiler have all left.

ince then she's worked to raise awareness of the illness and to highlight the plight of Britain's 600,000 dementia carers.

hit, and as well as taking her kit off on stage playing Calendar Girl Chris (Helen Mirren's part in the film), she's also strutting her stuff as a model for isme, a new range of clothes tailored specifically for 40-plus women. Bellingham, who made her name on shows such as All Creatures Great And Small, Faith In The Future, and most famously as the Oxo 'mum' in the 16year ad campaign, is passionate in her belief that women can shine whatever their age. She says: "The perception of ageing is completely different nowadays. I remember at 45 my own mother was considered old - nowadays that's definitely not so. "We're all working longer, some of us might be on our own through being widowed or divorced and looking for another partner, and we certainly don't want to look fuddy-duddy. She had a roller-coaster ride through two marriages, her first was unconsummated, and in her second, she reportedly suffered mental and physical abuse.

Despite the family history she's never had any tests for a genetic link which might predict her chances of suffering from it. "I'm not that kind of person - I just want to get on with life. I take HRT (hormone replacement therapy) to help with the menopause, don't smoke any more because it affected my vocal chords, and exercise. "I have to use my brain every day in my profession and I'm also planning to write a novel. So hopefully I'm keeping the wheels turning." But three years ago, on her sixtieth birthday, she married property developer Michael Pattemore, whom she met in Spain and is eight years her junior. "When happiness comes later in your life you don't take it for granted, you really appreciate it," says Bellingham, who has two sons from her second marriage, actor Michael, 28, who has a role in Calendar Girls, and Robbie, 23, who's in hotel management. "I was on my own for 10 years before I met Michael and I didn't want a relationship just for the sake of it. I think that can be more lonely than being on your own. "But we have so much in common we share a sense of humour and he's romantic.

She's campaigning for better care provision for sufferers, and says: "It's a horrible illness especially for the family of the sufferer. "It's heartbreaking for them because they are literally seeing their loved one diminishing before their eyes. I saw my dad go through that. "I've told my family if I did get Alzheimer's I'm happy to go into a home so they don't get burdened with my care." But Bellingham would rather not dwell on 'what ifs' - instead she focuses on enjoying the present. "It's brilliant meeting so many women like me of a certain age - through appearing in Calendar Girls, working for isme and working on Loose Women," she says.

For instance, he popped the question by hiding my engagement ring in a champagne flute while we were having dinner in my favourite restaurant.

"I just want to show them that there's no need to feel in your fifties or sixties that you've got to wind down, feel invisible or just sit and wait for death.

"And to tease me about our age difference on our wedding day he gave me a Zimmer frame with a personalised number plate! She credits him with helping her turn her life around, as together they both gave up drinking.

"Life's pretty good and if you embrace it, you can have a fantastic time. I certainly am, and I've learnt over the years that 'there is always a reason why something happens' and I try to remember that, take any lessons I can from it, and believe all experiences end up enriching your life."

"I was never an alcoholic but my drinking was a problem. It had a depressant effect and a negative impact on my life. There's a lot of people who can just have one glass of wine and that's it - but I can't do that. For me it's a bottle, so it's better not to drink at all."

❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

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Christmas Gifts for Gardeners If you're fed up with buying fork and trowel sets for your gardening friends and family every Christmas, there's a plethora of inspirational gadgets and gizmos, funky floral designs and sparkling stocking fillers to keep everyone happy this festive season.

Something for everyone Help your loved ones stand out from the crowd by treating them to a pair of stardust boots by Briers, which sparkle in the sunlight and outshine the old green wellies any day. (RRP £19.99, available at good garden centres, garden websites and Amazon). Wildlife enthusiasts will love one of Burgon & Ball's stylish wildlife havens. Designed by award-winning designer Sophie Conran, the havens offer shelter and protection to our natural pest controllers and pollinators. (Prices range from £13.95 - £14.95 each, available from all good garden centres, The Garden Centre Group or www.burgonandball.com) Thoughts may be turning to the Olympics next year, but those who prefer to be in the garden can enjoy a taste of it with an eyecatching ornament of stainless steel Olympian rings with a hanging crystal in the centre of each ring, reflecting the light and colours of the flowers and plants. (£24.99, www.home2garden.co.uk, 01923 492 947)

Special edition beech handle folding pocket secateurs from Apples to Pears may be just the ticket for people who don't like stuffing bulky tools in their gardening apron. These robust pruners have two extra tools hidden in the handle - a garden knife and saw blade and come with a handy pouch which slides on to your belt. (£14.99, for stockists, visit www.applestopears.com) If your loved one likes to grow rare varieties of veg, treat them to gift membership of leading charity Garden Organic's Heritage Seed Library, for £20 a year. With your support the charity's increasing collection of more than 800 old, endangered and heirloom vegetables will be saved for generations of gardeners to come. Members receive the annual Heritage Seed Library catalogue and a choice of up to six different packets of vegetable seeds as well as the members' magazine, The Organic Way. For details, go to www.gardenorganic.org.uk or call 024 763 08210.

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❆ December / January

If food or drink is close to your heart, splash out on a red wine and vine box from The Gluttonous Gardener, a gorgeous gift of a bottle of vintage claret (Chateau Belle Garde) accompanied with a healthy red grape vine, ready to plant, with full instructions. It's hand-packed in a large wooden crate lined with waxed paper, tied with large raffia bows and finished with a gift message of your choice. (£50, from www.glut.co.uk, 020 7627 0800)

V&A GARDENING GLOVES, £18 (www.vandashop.com / 020 7942 2696)

For some sartorial elegance, buy her a pair of V&A gardening gloves in beautiful patterns, priced £18, available from the V&A Shop, www.vandashop.com or by calling 020 7942 2696.

GARDMAN HAMPTON CANDLE LANTERNS, from £29.99. For stockists call: 01406 372 227

Thinking to next summer? Create atmospheric lighting inside and out with some contemporary Gardman Hampton candle lanterns made from striking metal and glass. They can be suspended from a hook, tree or placed on a patio or decking area for night-time lighting around the barbecue. (From £29.99, stockists 01406 372 227) Lavender is among the most popular of florals, so a gift awash with lavender from The Gluttonous Gardener will leave the recipient intoxicated by the perfume. Buy a gift set of a lavender plant in a large terracotta pot ready to be planted, a delicious jar of lavender jelly and a generous bagful of dried lavender flowers to scent the room, arriving in a decorative crate. (£42, www.glut.co.uk, 020 7627 0800)

BOTTLE CANDLE LANTERNS, £3.99 each, Gardman. Call: 01406 372 227 for stockists

MEMBERSHIP FOR GARDEN ORGANIC'S HERITAGE SEED LIBRARY, £20 a year (www.gardenorganic.org.uk / 024 763 08210)

LAVENDER PLANT IN A LARGE TERRACOTTA POT, JAR OF LAVENDER JELLY AND A BAGFUL OF DRIED LAVENDER FLOWERS ALL IN A DECORATIVE CRATE, £42 (www.glut.co.uk / 020 7627 0800)

STARDUST BOOTS BY BRIERS, RRP £19.99, Amazon

SPECIAL EDITION BEECH HANDLE FOLDING POCKET SECATEURS FROM APPLES TO PEARS, £14.99. For stockists visit: www.applestopears.com


Best of the bunch Pyracantha

Three ways to... maximise space in a small garden

'Tis the season of berries and few are as vivid or vibrant as those of the pyracantha, a spiny evergreen shrub which produces bright orange, yellow or red berries from autumn through to winter.

1. Incorporate storage alongside or beneath a built-in barbecue, or design overhead beams which are smothered in climbers, to frame a potting bench.

Good varieties include ● 'Golden Charmer', with its glossy bright green leaves and rich orange berries, ● 'Red Column' (red berries), ● 'Mohave' (orange/red berries) and ● 'Soleil d'Or' (bright yellow berries). Also known as firethorn, pyracantha are useful as hedging plants, particularly if you want to keep burglars out, as their thorns are pretty vicious, or can be trained up a wall or fence. They will grow in any fertile, well-drained soil, reaching around 10ft in height but can be pruned to your required size. Be careful not to prune out last year's growth as these produce most of the berries.

2. If you want a water feature, install a wallmounted one which takes up much less space than a pool.

Good enough to eat Parsnips

3. Think about having raised beds to maximise the planting area and create built-in seating from their retaining walls.

They are among the most versatile of winter veg, delicious doused in maple syrup or coated in Parmesan cheese and seasoned flour and then roasted. They will also make delicious soup or add sweetness and texture to hearty casseroles.

What to do this week ■ ■

They're easy to grow in deep soil devoid of stones in sun or light shade and you don't need to add compost to the soil in autumn or early winter, although you may have to add some lime and rake in a general purpose fertiliser when preparing the seed bed.

Parsnips are sown in March and April - sow three seeds in a batch, 15cm apart in drills 30cm apart, thinning seedlings to one plant per batch and then hoe regularly and avoid touching the crowns of the plant.

Crops should be ready for harvesting by autumn, although they taste much better when they've had a touch of frost on them. If you want to store them, pack them in boxes of sand and they should last through the winter. Good varieties include 'Avonresister' and 'The Student'.

OLYMPIAN RINGS. £24.99 (www.home2garden.co.uk / 01923 492 947)

Sow onion seed in pots or trays in the greenhouse. Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging. Cut back ornamental grasses and bamboos, but leave those that still look attractive as the bleached stems can add structure, movement and interest, and will be good shelter for wildlife. Lift and store dahlias, cannas and tuberous bedding begonias that have been hit by the first frosts. Apply a mulch to protect plants that are borderline hardy such as agapanthus, kniphofia and phygelius. Start winter pruning of established, opengrown, apple and pear trees (not cordons, espaliers, pyramids or fans).

■ ■

Take hardwood cuttings of blackcurrants, redcurrants, white currants, gooseberries and grape vines. Trap winter moths by placing grease bands around fruit trees. Tree stakes will also need grease-banding if they provide a route up into the branches. Lift and store root crops such as carrots, beetroot, turnips and swedes. Prepare new asparagus beds for planting up in the spring. Plenty of organic matter and grit will help to improve drainage to the level required by asparagus. Remove any yellowed leaves on Brussels sprouts and other brassicas to prevent the development of grey mould and brassica downy mildew.

MOJITO SET FROM SECRETS DU POTAGER, £12.50 (www.thepresentfinder.co.uk / 0844 557 0280)

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A European taste of Christmas Prague, Czech Republic

Cynics may scoff at the idea of a place being 'magical', but that's probably because they haven't paid a visit to Prague. With its Gothic cathedrals, cobblestone streets and colourful townhouses, this fairytale capital of the Czech Republic provides the postcard-perfect setting for a Christmas market. The heady smell of hot wine (svarak) and cinnamon-sweet pastries is unforgettable, while the artisan gifts for sale are a pleasing antidote to the usual plastic toys that fill department stores at this time of year. Bohemian crystal ornaments, handmade woolly scarves and sturdy, wooden toys are all worth buying. There are several markets in the city, notably in Wenceslas Square and Namesti Republiky, but the most famous - and beautiful - stalls can be found in the Old Town Square. This is definitely the place to go for an authentic festive fix. Once you've shopped, take time to soak up the city's atmosphere. At night, the square is illuminated by strands of twinkling fairly lights, with entertainment provided by choir singers and traditional Czech dancers. It's hard not to be swept away by the romance of it all, especially as crowds gather around the Square's impressive centrepiece: the towering Christmas tree. Decorated with hundreds of dazzling lights, it looks truly magnificent and would enchant even the most hardened Scrooge. Know-how ■ When: November 26, 2011 to January 8, 2012

✁ ✁

DECEMBER SPECIAL YOUR EYE TEST FOR £10 With this Voucher (usually £20)

Copenhagen, Denmark Those who fear the Christmas spirit may have been buried beneath a pile of tinsel and till receipts, might want to consider a trip to Copenhagen. While there are plenty of opportunities to go shopping, the city has much more to offer than consumer pursuits. Begin a festive journey at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park, which dates back to 1843. The quirky sights, including a Moorish palace and a late-19th century pantomime theatre, attract thousands of visitors each year. Since 1994, the park has been open for Christmas, and for many Danes, a festive visit to Tivoli has become a tradition. Alongside the kitsch, old-fashioned rides, seasonal attractions include ice sculptors, jovial elves, and a winter tableau with snow-covered pine trees. This year, the park will unveil a Russian city with a cathedral and 21m high tower. Satisfied you've experienced a sufficient amount of culture, it's time to turn your attention back to shopping. More than 70 decorated stalls can be found in Tivoli, selling a range of goodies including hand-blown glass balls, caramelised apples, steaming mulled wine and delicious Danish doughnuts. Know-how ■ When: November, 11, 2011 to December 29, 2011. Visit www.visitcopenhagen.com ■ Where to stay: Rooms at the Radisson Blu start at £160 per night (excluding breakfast). Visit www.radissonblu.com/royalhotelcopenhagen ■ Getting there: SAS fly from London and a range of regional departure points. Single fares start from £85 from Birmingham, £86 from Aberdeen and £63 from London Heathrow (including taxes). Call 0871 226 7760 or visit www.flysas.co.uk

Days may be short and dark during winter, but Sweden's second city still manages to celebrate the festive season with an impressive light display.

Black Forest, Germany

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Know-how ■ When: November 18-27, 2011, weekends only, then daily from November 30, 2011 to December 23, 2011. Entry costs 90 SEK (£8). Visit www.goteborg.com ■ Where to stay: Rooms at the familyfriendly Hotell Liseberg Heden, within the amusement park, start from £56 per person based on four sharing a room, including breakfast and free entry to the Liseberg Christmas market ■ Getting there: SAS fly from London Heathrow to Gothenburg, from £63 (including taxes). Call 0871 226 7760 or visit www.flysas.co.uk

❆ Gengenbach Christmas market

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From mid-November, a 3km Lane of Light will run through the city, stretching from the harbour to the Liseberg Amusement Park, home to Scandinavia's biggest Christmas market. Amid an epic display of 700 Christmas trees and five million dazzling lights, 80 rustic stalls will be selling traditional arts and crafts along with modern design-led pieces. Marinated herring, marzipan pigs and spiced 'glogg' wine will all be on the menu, as will roasted reindeer meat served by indigenous Sami people from Lapland. Drinks, meanwhile, will be served from a bar made of blue ice. Plan a visit on December 11 or 13 if you want to witness the city's famous Lucia 'Queen of Light' coronation. Choral concerts will be held in candlelit churches throughout the city.

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Tel: 01873 810338 Fax: 01873 810338 Email: info@thebridgeendinn.com www.thebridgeendinn.com

❆ December / January

German cities are famous for their Christmas markets, but for a more alternative setting, shoppers should explore the Black Forest. A traditional market will be held along the cobbled streets of Freiburg, with stalls selling Gluhwein, chestnuts, wooden cuckoo clocks and hand puppets, but more esoteric events are planned for towns and villages in the surrounding area. In the medieval town of Gengenbach, a 200year-old town hall will be transformed into a giant advent calendar, with a new window opened each day. An accompanying market will run from late November. East of Freiburg, in Ravennaschlucht gorge, a small cluster of stalls will trade beneath a stone railway viaduct. Should you miss the pre-Christmas period

altogether, there's still a chance to enjoy special events taking place from December 25 until the New Year. Each evening, 800,000 candles will be carried to the Triberg Waterfalls, some of the tallest in Germany. Know-how ■ When: The Freiburg Market takes place from November 21, 2011 to December 23, 2011. Visit www.freiburg.de ■ Where to stay: The Freiburg Tourist Board are offering a special Christmas market package for two nights in a 3-star hotel on half board basis with mulled wine voucher, from £115 per person based on double occupancy. Book online at www.freiburg.de ■ Getting there: Easyjet fly from Edinburgh and London to Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg from £36 return in December. Visit www.easyjet.com


❆ The Christmas market in Liseberg, Sweden

Edinburgh, Scotland If a trip abroad is out of the question, there are still a number of decent markets around the UK. Edinburgh's annual festive affair has been going from strength to strength, blending continental traditions with local foods and crafts. This year, the market will be divided into several themed areas: German, Highland, Ethical and Farmer. Stallholders from Frankfurt will be selling traditional sausages and warming mulled wine, while Scottish produce, such as speciality game and meats, chutneys and breads, can be found in the Farmers' Market and Highland Village. Those thinking of going green this year could make a one-stop visit to the Ethical Fair, open

from December 12 to 20. Gift ideas include eco-friendly gadgets and Fairtrade chocolates. A winter wonderland with ice rinks and a funfair will keep kids entertained, too. Know-how ■ When: November 26, 2011 to December 24, 2011. Visit www.visitscotland.com/surprise ■ Where to stay: The 5-star Scotsman Hotel has double rooms from £140 per night in December. Visit www.thescotsmanhotel.co.uk ■ Getting there: Trains to Edinburgh vary in price depending on where you're travelling from. Visit www.directrail.com for more information

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57


Deck the halls Kirstie Allsopp's rushing around thinking about robins, baubles, tinsel and all sorts of Christmas things.

"I absolutely love decorations and put a lot of time into making the whole house look really festive. I'm certainly not a puritan about the 'look' - honestly, you can't have too much colour and sparkle," she says.

While the rest of us probably end up in a last-minute rush untangling decorations and checking the fairy lights, the property and home expert has impressively already chosen her colour theme and even produced a hand-made Robin decoration.

Allsopp says there's no need to stress about seasonal decor. "It's a time of year when you can let your imagination go wild. If you're struggling on a colour theme, simply pick the colour which features on most of your baubles.

"It's really early I know, and not like me," she says with an apologetic smile. "Normally, it's well into December before I get myself organised, but I've been able to 'cheat' this year as I've done bits and pieces over the last few months as part of my work."

"There are no taste rules in my book. The only bad tree is an undecorated tree," she says.

Allsopp's been able to steal a march on the rest of us as some of her projects for her latest Channel Four TV series, Kirstie's Handmade Britain, have been Christmas-focused. "I've always had the children's home-made decorations and now I'm going to have my own - I'm hoping to make a few more robins if I have time. It gives the tree a lovely personal feel," she says. It will be a getaway Christmas for the presenter, who's leaving London and spending the festive season in her family holiday home in Devon, with her partner, Ben Andersen, their two sons, Bay, five, and Oscar, three, and Andersen's sons from his previous marriage, Orion 11, and Hal, eight. "We can have an enormous real tree there, which Ben staggers home with and then puts up with me shouting instructions. "The boys and I have a great time choosing what to go on it," she says with a beam.

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"I even indulged my love of decorations last year by buying some lovely new baubles and Christmas decorations for myself, and giving some away as gifts, which was really popular!" Create a sparkling festive setting by following decor tips from Kirstie and some top interior experts.

Kirstie's home-made Christmas "My favourite theme this year is red and white, which has a country-Scandinavian feel," says Allsopp, who demonstrates how to make decorations and garlands on a video for B&Q. "I like the tree and the table to have the same colours, and find that lots of greenery - holly and ivy - is a calming, natural contrast to the fussy detail of decorations. "Get a hand-made look with felt embroidered decorations or painted wooden ones, and add a traditional touch with tiny robins and reindeer.

❆ December / January

pp's ❆ Kirstie Allso g in ak m guide to Christmas d decorations an garlands are on for Youtube. Search ' pp lso Al 'Kirstie and 'B&Q'. "I also love tinsel for instant sparkle. You can wrap it along stair rails, or use it to tie a name label to each chair," she adds. She dresses her table with a garland of holly and ivy down the centre, entwined around large silver and glass candlesticks, and intersperses tubs of red poinsettias. White napkins embroidered with red Christmas trees are a finishing touch. Get the look: Red Robins, from - £12 each, by Indigo & Rose; Red paper bells and globes, from - £1.50 each, from RE; Red Tin tealight holders with a heart detail, - £2.99, from The Contemporary Home; 2m LED Tinsel Garland, - £7, from B&Q. Tesco & Sainsbury's have a glorious selection of red and white decorations, too.


White wonderland "White and silver, with green foliage, is my favourite theme this year," says Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company. "I like the home to look magical and use trails of greenery intertwined with baubles and fairy lights for the mantelpiece, the stair bannisters and on the hall table. "As well as decorating the tree, this year I'm using burnished silver and vintage style glass decorations. I thread two or three baubles on to a pretty ribbon and hang it in front of windows, mirrors and pictures, and from door and cupboard handles. "Wreaths are so versatile and I often hang one over the dining table, or lay one flat and fill it with three big white pillar candles." Her table decoration is classic and simple: A runner down the centre and a parade of tealights in glass holders, mixed with varying sizes of glass candlesticks, as well as glass vases filled with white roses and hyacinths. Get the look: Glass 2-Ball Pillar Candle Holder, £35; Frosted Leaf Wreath, - £65, and Battery Operated LED Pin Lights, - £15; box of four ceramic heart-shaped tealights, - £18, all from The White Company. Make a statement with Marks & Spencer's splendid silver Stag Tealight Holder, £125, available now in store and online late November; and Next's Snowy Paper Tree, - £50, will also look stunning in any contemporary home.

Very berry Christmas "This year's hippest Christmas look is all about going bold with vibrant berry shades," says Isobel McKenzie-Price, editorial director of Ideal Home magazine. "Pink-toned colours like raspberry, grape, blackcurrant and magenta have been the bestselling shades in decorating for the past couple of years, so it's no surprise that they've now become the hottest look for the festive season."

Zingy raspberry and rich, plummy purples will give decorations a contemporary edge, she says, especially if they're mixed with bronze or gold accessories to add depth. "For impact, choose a plum or grey tree, and go for a few super-sized statement decorations, rather than a mass of tiny baubles. Mix in gold baubles with berry shades for a really jewelled vintage look." For a professional stylist's effect, she advises using a selection of baubles in complementing hues, starting with paler pinks and shading up to deeper purples. "Also, work with threes for festive drama - hang a cluster of three large baubles on a door, and display three wreaths on a plain wall." Get the look: John Lewis's Graphite tree, - £80, and baubles from - £3 each; Tesco's Mixed Bauble Set contains 30 purple decorations, £3.50 in store; Next's 50-piece Mixed Bauble Set, - £10; Giant Classic 250mm baubles, from - £9.95 each, from DZD.

Decor destination ● B&Q: 0845 850 0175/www.diy.com ● DZD: www.dzd.co.uk ● The Contemporary Home: 0845 130 8229/www.tch.net ● Indigo & Rose: 01924 242 799/www.indigoandrose.co.uk ● John Lewis: 0845 6049 049/www.johnlewis.com ● Marks & Spencer: 0845 302 1234/www.marksandspencer.com ● Next: 0844 844 8000/www.next.co.uk ● RE: 01434 634 567/www.refoundobjects.com ● Sainsbury's: 0800 636 262/www.sainsburys.co.uk ● Tesco: www.tesco.com ● The White Company: 0870 900 9555 / www.thewhitecompany.co.uk

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❆ December / January

59


Kirstie Allsopp - Firth Goes Forth Juggler Supreme

Colin Firth's stunning portrayal of the stammering George VI in The King's Speech has put his name on everyone's lips. Susan Griffin talks to him for Prime about the awards buzz, choking on stage and reuniting with his Pride And Prejudice co-star

TV presenter and mother-of-two Kirstie Allsopp tells how she juggles family and work life. Kirstie, 39, was born in Hampshire, and now lives in London and Devon with partner Ben Andersen and their children, Bay Atlas and Oscar Hercules. HOW EASY OR HARD IS IT JUGGLING FAMILY LIFE WITH TV WORK? The key is to keep the school holidays clear, which is the big luxury I have that other working mums don't. I'm lucky. The job is immensely flexible. There are times when I have to be away overnight or three or four nights but I think I manage to be at home a lot more than a lot of working mums who have to work nine to five 48 weeks of the year. YOU'VE HAD A LOT ON YOUR PLATE THIS YEAR. WHAT'S NEXT? We've filmed 10 shows of Location, Location, Location since Easter and we're filming this new crafts show at the moment, The new series of Location, Location, Location came out in August. My new crafts shows start probably mid-October. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE CRAFTS SHOW? That involves going to county shows around the country, learning new crafts and entering those crafts for competitions to be judged in the same way as everyone else's stuff. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING ON AT THE COMPETITIONS? I'm not allowed to give too much away, but I did win a couple of the competitions. At the moment I'm on four wins and five losses. I think that ratio will change and it will get worse because some of the things I'm entering I'm not that confident about. I'm self-confident when I'm telling people which house to buy. That's where it stops. YOU'RE A BIG TWITTER FAN. WHY? Lots of good things come out of it. I debate better; I take things less personally; I think I have a wider perspective. Twitter will remind you very fast how lucky you are. Recently I was grumbling about having to have another pub lunch and I got

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❆ The Winter Issue

such a load of feedback, such as: 'The rest of us have to go to Boots and buy our own lunch. Don't complain!' I thought, 'Yes, OK'. It is good like that. IS A MULTIMEDIA PRESENCE CRUCIAL FOR CELEBRITIES? In the modern world, if you're in television you have to make yourself 'sticky'. You have to draw people away from their computers and back to their television screens, and that is a very important part of the job description of any modern television presenter. If you don't engage in modern media you are absolutely sunk. No newspaper would not think about not having a website these days, and it has to be the same with television presenters. You cannot just make a television programme and expect people to watch it unless you engage them in other media. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE PERSIL CAMPAIGN? Because they asked and because my agent said, 'Do you want to do it?', and assumed I was going to say 'No' because I had so far said no to every single similar thing I'd been asked to do, but I like it. I think it's a really good idea to celebrate mums. FINALLY, WHERE AND WHEN WERE YOU HAPPIEST? It's always got to be now because of the children. Yesterday a dinosaur and a dragon suit that I ordered from the internet arrived, and the 'dinosaur' then discovered he could climb up the outside of the fridge. There was an extraordinary sight of a small dinosaur with a purple spine scaling our very large fridge and then turning round and giving me a very broad grin.

❆ December / January

Oscar winning Colin Firth's stunning portrayal of the stammering George VI in The King's Speech has put his name on everyone's lips. Susan Griffin talks to him for Prime about the awards buzz, choking on stage and reuniting with his Pride And Prejudice co-star. Colin Firth might not enjoy public speaking but he has had to to get used to it as The King's Speech scooped prize after prize on the international scene. The reason: his powerful performance as the Queen's father Prince Albert, or 'Bertie' as he was known to family, in the film The King's Speech. Bertie was a shy man plagued by a nervous stammer, who detested making public speeches and took heart that, as the second son of George V, he was never expected to ascend to the throne. But when his father died and his older brother Edward abdicated, he was crowned George VI. This films follows the true story of his friendship with an unorthodox Australian speech therapist called Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, who helped him find a voice that would inspire a country facing war. "What we didn't want it to be is Crocodile Dundee meets 'snooty'," says Firth, 50, who's looking tanned and impeccably turned out in a black suit and shirt. "I think that would have been a very reductive and cheap way to go because there was a danger the joke was on that the broad Australian and the repressed, stiff Brit - and I think there's a lot more nuance than that." "It is two men who are, relatively speaking, obscure, even though one is a member of the royal family. But he's the second son and the one in the

shadows and not only because of a speech impediment but because of his shyness and his unwillingness to put himself forward." On meeting Firth, the director Tom Hooper was immediately convinced he'd found the man to play George VI: "Everything I read about him showed that the King had this indestructible core of niceness at the centre of his being - I feel the very same way about Colin," he says. "He has this extraordinary moral compass, humility and kindness that I strongly felt made him the perfect Bertie." For his part, Firth admits he didn't know much about the Queen's father before accepting the role. "Almost nothing at all," he says. "Obviously my parents were children during his reign and I remember my mother talking about his reluctance to take the throne and about what a crisis that would have been for him personally. And I remember her telling me about the stammer but those are just vestiges of my childhood memory and that would be about it." It was the third time Firth's played someone with a stammer. "What was interesting to me was you don't just pull out your stammer from your last performance," he says. "It's not going to be the same for everybody, it won't feel the same. And really what you're playing is not stammering. That is what you have got to arrive at because that's what the person is going through." Watching footage of the King making public speeches, Firth says he witnessed a "little narrative" unfold that helped him interpret what was going through his head.


DIY Let’s nail it! Bring out the beauty of your home's wood with our top tips for paint-on wax Preparing and waxing wood involves some effort, but it's well worth it. There are different sorts of wax available for wood, but probably the easiest option is wax you paint on because you can cover a lot of ground quickly with a paintbrush. Simply stir the wax, brush it on in the direction of the wood grain and leave it for 10-20 minutes before buffing it off with a soft cloth. Apply another coat in the same way, or more coats if you want a deeper colour. ■ Preparation is, of course, vital. The most important thing is to have a uniform, absorbent base for the wax, so if the wood has any kind of coating, sand this off first. An electric sander is the easiest way to do this, but you'll need to sand any fiddly bits by hand. ■ Get most of the sanding dust off with a duster or brush, then use a cloth dampened with white spirit to wipe the wood clean. Don't use water because this raises the wood grain.

"He hits a word and he knows it isn't going to come out," he explains. "You see the dismay. You see another attempt. You see him then think, 'I can't attack this head on' and when you watch that you find out about him [as a man]. "To me there is something quite heroic there, there is an entire epic going on in those few seconds. That actually revealed more to me about the character than anything else." Firth has recently revealed he has been struggling to control his speech since the cameras stopped rolling. "If I start thinking about it there's the danger the stammer will kick in again," he says. He also admits to "mortifying" moments in his life when he has felt that same blind terror the King would have experienced. "I got appalling stage fright last time I went on stage, on the opening night and locked myself in the toilet at around 15

minutes to curtain up," he says. "I wasn't planning to stay there, I just thought, 'Take a deep breath and think of your first line', and then I couldn't." Five minutes before curtain up, Firth couldn't get back in and was forced to go round to the front of house "through the audience one by one; with full body contact on the way", before being told he had to go straight on stage. "It was like a car crash but weirdly I remembered the lines and got to the end." Last year, the actor was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man. On the night, he missed out to Crazy Heart's Jeff Bridges but he must feel thankful he's finally ridding himself of the ghost of Mr Darcy a character that's haunted him ever since he strode out of a lake in a dripping wet shirt in the 1995 BBC series Pride And Prejudice. The King's Speech reunites him, albeit

briefly, with his former Pride and Prejudice co-star Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennett in the adaptation.

EXTRA TIME - COLIN FIRTH ■ He was born in Grayshott,

Hampshire on September 10, 1960.

■ If, when you're applying the wax, the colour isn't turning out as you'd expected, buff it off immediately. If it's really dark, buff it with something like an old textured tea towel dampened with white spirit or sugar-soap solution, which will fade the colour. The wax should dry lighter than it goes on, so be patient and keep experimenting with the colour until ou're happy with it.

■ He married Livia Giuggioli in 1997

and they have two children. ■ His first acting experience was in

infant's school when he played Jack Frost in a Christmas pantomime. ■ He's done his Mr Darcy turn on

three occasions - Pride and Prejudice (1995), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) and in its sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) ■ He's rumoured to be playing a

journalist in a film about the murder of Meredith Kercher.

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❆ December / January

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Costing the Earth Live a more natural lifestyle - without upsetting your bank balance. Lisa Haynes reveals how going organic doesn't have to pull on the purse strings

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THINK GREEN Going organic is more than a passing trend or fad, it could help our planet's future, says the Soil Association.

■ Join or create an organic buying group.

If a grow-your-own lifestyle appeals and you're lucky enough to have your own garden or allotment, try managing the plot as organically as you can.

■ Take a walk on the wild side. There's

THINK LOCAL You may not be the only one to benefit from switching to certified organic produce - they can generate extra pounds for your community too.

■ Write a shopping list. As a nation, we

THINK CHEAP The Soil Association believe you can live organically on a budget by getting creative and making the most of your resources. The organisation offer their top moneysaving tips...

Bulk-buy your store cupboard staples with a group of friends at wholesale prices to save on costs.

plenty of free wild food available, and identifying and picking it is a great way of having fun outdoors.

throw away over 6.7 million tonnes of food every year. ■ By planning meals in advance,

seasonal, organic fruit and veg delivered straight to your doorstep. ■ Eat less meat, and when you do, try

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◆ Visitors Welcome

Old Ross Rd, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. NP7 8NG. Tel: 01873 856223 Fax: 01873 852177 Email: info@wernddu-golf-club.co.uk Web: www.wernddu-golf-club.co.uk

Lawnmowers • Chainsaws • Garden Machinery

45 years experience serving our community We accept part exchange / new & reconditioned

Demonstrations available

01495 226657 www.blackwoodchainsaws.co.uk Mill Garage, Gelli Groes, Blackwood, Gwent. NP12 2HY

www.ajlewisbuilders.co.uk

RAGLAN FORD

Think Of Blinds - Think Of Us

Your Local Ford Dealer For All Your New And Used Cars

SERVICING MOT TESTING STATION AIR CONDITIONING SPECIALIST High Street, Raglan, Monmouthshire Tel: (01291) 690423 Email: raglanford@lineone.net www.raglanford.com

SEASONED LOGS Free local delivery Tel: 01873 810814

A1

BLINDS & CURTAINS

The Old Station, Caerleon

48 George Street, Pontypool

01633 430053

01291 672637

Wyndee Kennels Individual Care~Attention Guaranteed Open 9am-6pm

Servicing Your Area Since 1988 FREE Advice, FREE Measuring & Fitting

Newbury, Abergavenny, Blaenavon 01495 790571

We will beat ANY written quotations Free Quotations any day or evening

ABERGAVENNY 01873 852299

TOWN TO TOWN CRICKHOWELL All Airports, Seaports Long Distance Specialists Private Hire Tel: 01873 812399 www.towntotown.co.uk E-mail: g4ttt@hotmail.co.uk

Cash Paid for MOT Failures/ Scrap Cars and Commercial Vehicles Containers Supplied

01981 580412 or 07795 565702

❆ The Winter Issue

❆ December / January

63


Cyfar thfa Castle Museum & Ar t Galler y The ‘Ironmaster ’ William Cr awshay commissioned Cyfar thfa Castle in 1824 to over look his successful ironwor ks. Today, the museum houses extensive fine and decor ative ar t collections and atmospher ic social and industr ial histor y galler ies. Set in beautiful par kland with relaxing woodland walks, a state of the ar t splash pad and lakeside miniature r ailway.

Free Admission Par k & Museum Cyfar thfa Par k open from 7am until dusk. Cyfar thfa Castle Museum & Ar t Galler y Apr il-September. 10am-5.30pm (Last Admission 5pm) 7days a week. October-March. Tuesday-Fr iday. 10am-4pm. Weekends. Noon-4pm.Closed Mondays. www.cyfar thfa.com www.museums.mer thyr.gov.uk e-mail: museum@mer thyr.gov.uk

Tel: 01685 727371 Cyfar thfa Castle, Brecon Road, Mer thyr Tydfil. CF47 8RE


december edition of the gazette magazine