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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home

Vale Life

w art w music w people w places w homes w gardens w theatre w food w fashion w Beauty w health w travel w

Dec/Jan 2014-15

Cover picture: Aylesbury’s new Rogue Bowling Arcade is now open. See page 22. Picture by:

Inside: Fit for 2015?

Healthy options to get you back in shape

Bowling’s back

New alley is packing them in See our website at:

Let’s get technical

Practical courses at BUTC

Winter slumberland

Polly’s guide to the best in bedding

Free local listings for events and businesses

Plus Katy, Penny, Heather, Naomi, Polly, Amanda, Janice, Jacqui, Cathy, Charlotte, Tracy, Rob, Alan and much, much more...

w Gym membership w dinner for Two at The Old Thatched Inn w w A year of Krispy Kremes w Cruise show tickets w Breeds Book w

The Old The Old Thatched Inn Thatched Inn Gastro Pub

Gastro Pub TheMainOld Street, Adstock, Buckinghamshire, MK18 2JN hatched Inn

Gastro Pub Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN We offer a unique blend high quality dining, hosted in a relaxed Tel of 01296 712584 and comfortable environment, serving locally sourced food Open seven

Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN


Open seven days Lunch from 12 noon - 2.30pm Dinner from 6pm - 9.30pm Serving all day Sunday from 12 noon - 9pm Telephone: 01296 712584 2

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Ambassador Chem-Dry cleaning carpets, upholstery, curtains, leather and tile and grout proudly for over 15 years with 10,000 local customers. • Carpets dry in 2 hours • Unbeatable cleaning power • 100% safe for children and pets • No sticky residue

Mi l ton K eyne s

E s t 1998

From the entire team Jonathan, Richard, Alan, David and Francesca

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Church View

Established 1992

Funeral Directors

Feel free to contact us to see what we can do for your business, whether it be a complete project or a re-brand of your corporate identity.

The Independent Family Funeral Service

Whatever the size of your business we can help you.


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leaflets digital print adverts exhibition forms

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46 Buckingham Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2LL


Telephone: 01296 398553

t 01296 432612 e w 18 Edison Road x Rabans Lane x Aylesbury x Bucks x HP19 8TE

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15

Celebrate Christmas lunch in the elegance of The Oxfordshire Festive Christmas lunch at The Oxfordshire is an ideal way to celebrate the festive season whilst enjoying the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Festive Lunches FROM £19.95 per person - Three Course BOOKING available from the 22nd November

Let us spoil you this Christmas with a celebration to remember Our Shared Parties accommodate up to 200 guests, so if you and your friends are looking to celebrate with other like minded people, The Oxfordshire is the perfect party venue to celebrate the festive season.

Shared Party Nights Thursday 11th & 18th December £35.00 per person

Friday 12th & 19th December £46.00 per person

Friday 5th & Saturday 6th December £39.00 per person

Saturday 13th & 20th December £49.00 per person

Overnight Accommodation £99.00 B&B (single/double occupancy) New Year’s Eve £79.00 per person

See in the New Year at The Oxfordshire with something special and join us for our new year’s eve ball.

The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa Rycote Lane, Milton Common, Oxfordshire OX9 2PU t. 01844 278300 f. 01844 278003 e. w. Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15


Luxury Coach Holidays

Theatre trips, day trips and short breaks

DayTrips, Theatres & Shows Exclusive to Crusader Holidays!

Day Trips: January 2015

Sat 17th London Shopping: £20 Sat 17th Matinée Theatre Trips: Wicked: £60 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: £75 Lion King: £75 Sun 18th Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour - Birmingham 1.30pm .mottstrav £72 wwwperformance:

Lakeside Weekender Special, Hayling Island

Wed 4th Cats the Musical Matinée: £50 Made in Dagenham: £65 Fri 6th Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour - Wembley 7.30pm performance: £72 Tue 10th Colesbourne Park Snowdrops & Cheltenham: £29 Sat 14th Portobello Market, London: £20 Wed 18th Portsmouth Coastal day: £20 Thu 19th Cadbury World: £32 Sun 22nd Jersey Boys Matinée & Carvery Lunch: £69

Warner Lakeside Resort

entertainment and great prizes on offer. With included excursions to the New Forest and maritime Portsmouth, this is not one to be missed! Fri 27th Feb 2015 - 4 days half board: £205 (£195 for Travel Club members). £30 double for sole use supplement.

Lakeside cabaret restaurant

BIG BAND BREAK - back for 2015! The Orchid 4-star Hotel, Nottingham Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman all left their mark on the music world with some of the best Swing tunes of yesterday. Combine that with the orchestral and popular sounds of Bert Kaempfert and James Last - what a great night! Join us for this fabulous two day break with excellent accommodation, for one night with dinner and breakfast included. 2 Days: Sun 26th July £119pp (£109 for Travel Club members). Single supplement £15. No interchange.

New!!! Coronation Street - The Tour Due to the huge success of last year’s tours, the Coronation Street set is to remain open for one last year and we have managed to get our hands on some more tickets. Both coaches sold out last year, so be sure to book your place early! Central Manchester Hotel and Spa (just 5 minutes’ walk from the set). Includes: dinner on arrival night with breakfast each morning and a stop off at Anderton Boat lift on the return journey. Corrie, Shopping and Spa!! 3 Days Fri 31st July 2015 £199 (£189 for Travel Club members). Single Supplement £55. Interchange.

Motts Holidays 4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2LD BOOKING HOTLINE: 01296 336666 6

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15

Ri HOng LI now 01 DA fo 29 Y B r y 6 RO o 33 C ur 66 H 20 66 UR 15 E!

nline: Book o Day Trips: February 2015

Come and join us for our big gettogether at the Warner Lakeside Resort, on Hayling Island, where the chalet accommodation really adds to the friendly village feel, offering a unique atmosphere no other village can deliver. Reunite with friends, old and new and chat with drivers and office staff whilst enjoying the plethora of activities on offer as we take over the entire resort. Expect fun and games throughout with quizzes, sports events and live

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Great rates Amazing results To advertise in Vale Life Magazine Call Charlie on 07702 006218

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details


Style file


Gardens, robins & saving the world


Just say I do


What happens next?

Face of the Vale


Best of days

Why the long face


Let’s get technical

Fit & healthy in 2015?


History file

Getting fit can be fun


It’s a store thing

Yoga so good!


Know your rights

Just what the doctor ordered


Lose-win situation

Bowling’s back


Winter slumberland

Tracy’s new Latin love


Fresh start

Just a spa in the park


Land of nod

Chasing the sun


Shepherd’s delight

Going on a man hunt


Turn it up!

12 13 16 17 18 19 20 22 24 25 29

Katy says ‘Time to take stock’ Win tickets to The National Wedding Show Focus on TV favourite John Bly Sally’s clocks are a tall order Healthy options to get you in shape Loosen up with a spot of Pilates Helping heal the body and soul

Being sent to the gym could be a good thing New alley is packing them in High heels and salsa beats

Spa stay is suite perfection

Salon secrets for sporty types Is Penny looking to pair up?

Book House tips for a right good read Are you playing the waiting game? Village School has raised the bar Practical courses for technical teens What’s behind this seat of power Garages to rent

Jonathan’s tips for taking back Sign up for charity weight loss challenge Polly’s guide to stylish bedding Is it time to clear the decks? Dream deals from bedroom firm Head to K West for a rocking good time Goths on hunt for local gig

Surely some mistake?


o err is human; to forgive, divine said Alexander Pope in his ‘Essay on Criticism’. Well we all make mistakes don’t we and hopefully, if we can learn from them, we can move on and perhaps be better people than before as a result. I mention this for in our last edition (Nov/Dec 2014) on page 17, I became momentarily confused and not only listed The Lady Grey Tea Room at Wendover as The Lady Gray Tea Room but also managed to put their telephone number as that of The Dandy Kid shop next door (I wonder if they’ve


ongratulations to the following Nov/Dec edition competition winners! Hopefully your prizes will have arrived by now, please let us know if not. Commiserations to those who weren’t so lucky - read

been puzzled by requests for tea and cake?) when it is in fact: 07584 195327. Apologies for any confusion caused. here are the correct details. Lady Grey Tea Room, Little Barn Courtyard, 25 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 07584 195327. Email: Web: It’s a strange thing, which anyone who has ever printed or published anything will know, but somehow

on though for more competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: Dinner for two at The Old Thatched Inn, Adstock; 6 months Reflexions membership; a copy of Breeds book; a year’s supply of

Anyone can make a mistake

no matter how many times you check and re-check your copy, if an error - or typo as we like to call them in the trade - creeps in, it will always be the first thing you notice when you pick up the printed article! If there’s one thing that keeps cropping up and really bugs me at

Krispy Kreme doughnuts; tickets to the National Wedding Show; tickets to the Cruise Show. Last issue’s prizewinners were: Dinner for two at Hardings Restaurant: Deb Spinks, Whaddon

the moment though, it’s the misuse of apostrophes. There seems to be a general trend for people to want to use an apostrophe in words that are just plurals. So someone will write: there were lots of runner’s in the race, or he was born in the 60’s. Please don’t do this, it’s very upsetting! Anyway, happy reading, Merry Christmas and the very best from all of us here to all of you for a happy, healthy 2015. Thank you very much for your support.

A copy of Now to Wow: Emma Sterry, Aylesbury Ultimate Pamper Pack: Marie Chudley, Dinton Click Stick: Louise Cross, Chinnor Orchard View Xmas Hamper: Lavinia Martins, Kingston Blount


Charlie Trott, Editor Railway Station Book: Marjorie Clay, Marlow Adventure Travel Show tickets: Justine Allen, Aylesbury; Catherine Campbell, Princes Risborough; Wendy Nias, Lewknor

Vale Life Magazine is designed and published by House of Mouse, 23 Glenham Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3WD Telephone: 01844 261579 Mobile: 07702 006218 Website: Email: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of Vale Life. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or late changes. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the publishers. Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


with Katy Dyer

Personal stylist and fashion expert Katy scours our local boutiques and passes on tips and tricks for looking your best, plus the latest news on the high street trends

Time to take stock

Next Fringed Kimono £32 Top £45 Trousers £22 Structured Tote Bag £45


he festive season, when all is sparkle and light, is a time to indulge and reflect on the year. So why not take a moment and learn a little about your own signature style, to set you up for the year ahead. 1. Take a look into your wardrobe Which items do you really love and wear often? If they feel good and you feel like yourself when you are wearing them, then you are on the right track. Which items have you bought within the past year and never worn or only worn once? Do they really deserve the space they take up - and the guilt you may feel when you open your wardrobe? Which pieces do you no longer wear, but are sentimental? Find a beautiful keepsake box to remind you of precious memories. 2. Now you have a clearer wardrobe - where are the gaps? This will help you stay focused when you are shopping - and is essential to ensure that you don’t get tempted in the sales, by items you really don’t need in the sales that are

M&S Autograph Dress £49.50, Bag £35, Shoes £79 8

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Next Pink Flower Jewel Necklace (Next necklaces from £14)

an ABSOLUTE bargain (and may still have the tag on in December 2015…). The golden rule - it’s not the price tag that is important - it’s the cost per wear. For example, a half-price top at £10 worn once is more expensive per wear than a jacket that costs £300 that you put on almost daily throughout the Spring. 3. Hit the shops. Challenge yourself - don’t go to the same places you’ve relied on for years. Try somewhere new. And try things on (more often than not, garments look very different on your body than on the hanger, and whilst that may be the reason some of your items have spent longer in your wardrobe than out of it, try something on that you wouldn’t normally choose - you’ll surprise yourself, I promise). If you are thinking of starting a new regime in 2015 and want to wait before you invest in your wardrobe, think accessories. Jewellery, scarves and bags always fit, no matter what your dress size. Here’s a few tips for choosing accessories that will work perfectly with your current outfits: Jewellery Make sure to keep jewellery in balance with your scale - unless you

are making a statement - in which case, wear just one piece. Scarves Scarves are the perfect way to change an outfit, introduce colour and a simple and inexpensive way to update your wardrobe. Choose a range of colours, so that you will always have the perfect shade to compliment your outfit. Look up different ways of wearing your scarf for a bit of a twist - there are lots of how-to videos available online.

Accessorize Painted Print Stole £22

Bags Bags are a great way of making a style statement. Just like footwear,

Accessorize Giraffe Print Snood £17

a bag can make or break your look, so make sure your’s is current and up to date. Also ensure that your bag works with your coat or jacket. When you buy a bag do take time to look at yourself carrying it to ensure it works for you. Take time to choose the colour carefully, a neutral bag doesn’t have to be black - think about alternatives such as pewter, blue, teal and purple. So before you get out there and treat yourself to something stylish or bag a bargain, take a little time to discover what works, what doesn’t, what’s essential and what can wait. It’s well worth it! l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant. From her home studio in Thame, she can help you discover the confidence to change or develop your personal or professional style and image whether it’s finding the right outfit for a special occasion or to completely reinvent your look and make the most of you. For more details about the products and services available, including gift vouchers, visit: or email:

Next Black Coat £95

Next Necklace M&S Autograph Top £65 Necklace £19.50

Win tickets to P lan the day of your dreams at the UK’s biggest wedding show this spring. With inspirational feature areas and over 300 experts specialising in everything from designer dresses and dazzling venue décor to fabulous floristry and honeymoon hideaways, The National Wedding Show is the ultimate destination to try, buy, book and hire everything you need for your big day. See the hottest bridal trends come to life at the must-see Catwalk Show, where you can discover the latest collections from the very best in bridal, including: Suzanne Neville, Jenny Packham, Ivory & Co, Zaeem Jamal, Qiana Bridal, Eliza Jane Howell, Justin Alexander, Alfred Angelo, Enzoani, Ronald Joyce, Claire Pettibone, Debenhams, Berketex Bride and many more. With beautiful bridesmaid dresses, glamourous mother-of-the-bride attire and suave groomswear, the Catwalk Show is an unmissable experience for the entire bridal party. Don’t miss the Top 10 Tips at The Wedding Theatre, where the show’s glam squad will arm you with invaluable beauty, hair and style

London Olympia 20th-22nd February

advice. Covering everything from how to achieve complexion perfection with award-winning mineral makeup brand bareMinerals to choosing the best dress for your body shape, the Top 10 Tips will provide you with everything you need to know about big day beauty and style. Meet the experts from your favourite brands and high street names, who will be on hand to help make planning your perfect day easier than ever before. Whether you need to register for a gift list, book your honeymoon, or find unique favours for your guests, you can shop ‘til you drop with Debenhams, Sandals, Thomas

Cook, House of Fraser, Young’s Hire, John Lewis, Jon Richard, Alba Rose, Turquoise Holidays and many more. End an exciting day of shopping and wedding planning at the Afternoon Tea Room, where you can treat yourself and your bridal party to tea and cake, or head to The Champagne Bar to toast to future happiness with a glass of bubbly and enjoy a mouthwatering selection of seafood salads, sushi and bagels. Experience the show in star style with VIP tickets, which include fast track entrance to the show, reserved seating at the Catwalk Show, fast track catering areas, a complimentary

glass of bubbly, a goody bag full of beauty products to pamper yourself in the build up to your big day and a copy of Be A Beautiful Bride! If that’s not enough, you will also have the option to treat yourself to a mini makeover in the bareMinerals pop-up salon, or to receive a complimentary bareMinerals product. Vale Life has teamed up with The National Wedding Show to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to this amazing event. Simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where are the Top 10 Tips taking place? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by January 25th, 2014. Tickets are valid any day. l Book in advance and save £5 off door price. Visit www. or call the ticket hotline on 0844 874 0486. 9 Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15


DIAMOND MERCHANTS (certified stones always available)

VALUATIONS: INSURANCE AND PROBATE (carried out on the premises)





Servicing of Rolex, Tag, Omega, Raymond Weil, Gucci etc. Batteries fitted and waterproof testing carried out on the premises. Top prices paid in cash for antique and modern jewellery, watches (especially Rolex), coins, gold, silver, platinum and scrap precious metals. Part exchange available.

11a High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1SH Tel: 01296 423198 10 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Fashion, Jewellery, Gifts & Interiors

Industrial lamp on reclaimed sideboard with mirror over

Rustic handmade bench with drawers

Shabby hand painted sideboard Scarves, wraps and throws by Green Grove Weavers


s the glitter settles on the seasonal festivities and guests wend their way homewards, the New Year is often a time for taking stock and indulging in a little ‘out with the old, in with the new’. Luckily ideas for lifting your home interior with the addition of a stunning conversation piece or unusual but rather lovely recycled bench, stool, occasional table or sideboard are in abundance at The White Hart Studio at present! You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled though! Jane uses many of the furniture items to display her vast range of homeware, gifts and decorative delights, so when browsing around be sure to take note of what lies beneath! Want an asset for your hallway or study somewhere to throw those hats and gloves or park in style while pulling on your winter boots? You may spot a gorgeously chunky rustic, wooden bench, handmade from reclaimed wood, hidden beneath a pretty display of cushions and the ultimate in cosy throws from Scotland by Green Grove Weavers - we love their colourful scarves too, ideal for men and women and the lush mohair ever-so-fashionable blanket wraps. Or for something truly different and unusual this vintage style wine rack is both functional and quite beautiful in a ruggedly distressed manner, or perhaps a metal stool or industrial lamp to add a contemporary edge to your styling? Time for a trip to Haddenham methinks...

Shabby, rustic, distressed console table. Vintage leather printed stool handmade using upcycled furniture wax drum, uncorrected leather and printed hessian. Rustic reclaimed coathooks.

Shabby, rustic, vintage style reclaimed wood wine rack and lamp table

Industrial reclaimed coffee table on wheels Shabby vintage metal stool

l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm & Sun 11am-4pm Website: Twitter: @WhiteHartStudio

Rustic reclaimed coffee table

Braintree turquoise cardigan £89.95 Braintree purple knitted dress £89.95

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15


John Bly

Photograph by Pete Griffith, September 2014

Face of the Vale


ohn Bly FRSA is an antiques expert, author, after-dinner speaker and broadcaster who is best known for his appearances on the BBC’s popular Antiques Roadshow series. “I was asked to join for the second series,” says John. “They needed someone to do ‘miscellanea’. That was a long time ago - 32 years - I’m older than most of the objects I’m asked to look at now!” John was born and brought up in Tring and has lived there all his life. He will tell you his ancestors, ‘a motley assortment of horse traders, fellmongers, soldiers and pottery decorators,’ came to live in the area from France back in the 1480s, but it was his Grandfather, John Bly, who started his own furniture business in the centre of Tring in 1891, that really established the family within the community. He went on to become Mayor of Tring, as did his son, John’s father - Frank John Bly. John was born at the family home just off Tring High Street in 1939 and attended Berkhamsted School. “I was hopeless at school,” he says, “I enjoyed being in the cadets and marching about playing drums in the band, but I left with just one O Level in art!” Encouraged by his father, John took a job as a 12

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

A Vale Life Magazine series with photographer Peter Griffith of All People Photography, Waddesdon. Send your suggestion for a Face of the Vale portrait to:

porter in the silverware department at Sotheby’s Auction House in London, to learn the trade and then join the family firm: “It was excellent training,” says John. “The sale rooms were doing huge amounts of business and I’d be handling a thousand items a week at least. “I travelled up to London every day, the train fare was £4 a week and I earned £4 10s, but ten shillings was enough for me to live on!” John was also playing drums in a jazz band. “We used to play all over the area,” he says. “I did it from about 1957-1965. I remember performing at the Derby Arms in Aylesbury, up the lane at the top of Kingsbury Square, when a particularly attractive and fashionably dressed art student caught my eye. It was my wife Virginia, although we went out for about eight years before we actually married. The couple have two sons James and Julian. Both work in the antiques trade and are musicians on the side, like dad! After four years at Sotheby’s, John joined the family firm and the years of buying, selling, auctions, sales and valuations have flown by, all the while adding to his vast knowledge of antiques and the huge reservoir of amusing tales and interesting stories he has amassed. Business went well until the mid 80s when

supplies dried up and then more recently fashions changed and the business had to adapt. The local Tring shop was closed and John Bly Antiques now has showrooms at Woburn Abbey Antiques Centre and on The Kings Road in Chelsea. John works three days a week in Chelsea, two days in Woburn and lectures, does charity work and ‘other stuff ’ the rest of the time! “I’m still busy seven days a week,” he says. “But what else would I do - push a trolley round the supermarket?!” John has written and edited 14 books related to antiques (see for details). He has become an acclaimed and highly successful Charity Auctioneer, helping raise thousands of pounds for national and international charities with his warmth and quick wit. He is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was Chairman of the British Antique Dealers Association (BADA) in 1999 and 2000. He is also an Honorary Citizen of New Orleans and A Tennessee Squire! John raises funds for a variety of charities with tours of the V&A and donations for his after dinner speaking. He is always, of course, interested in valuing your antiques. Email: or see


Column: Sally Turner‘Fascinating finds’

Why the long case?


empus fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as ‘time flies’. lLne 284 of book 3 of Virgil’s Georgics, fvgit inreparabile tempvs: ‘it escapes, irretrievable time’. Longcase Clocks, now more commonly known as Grandfather Clocks, were first made in London in about 1660. However, from 1670 most grandfather clock movements were changed from the original verge escapements to anchor escapements, making the movements simpler and more accurate. The long wooden cases were designed to house the weights, pulleys and the longer pendulum developed from the earlier smaller lantern clocks that hung on wall brackets. Longcase clocks became very desireable in the late 17th century with most respectable London houses having one. Hence, the socalled ‘Golden Age’ of clockmakers was born including such famous names as Knibb, Tompion and Quare. From the early 1700s, a large

number of provincial and country clockmakers also set up business to meet the ever growing demand for longcase clocks. The earliest longcase clock cases were made from Oak, but Walnut was extensively used between 1670 and 1735 and after this Mahogany was used. Cases were also lacquered in several colours with elaborate gilt chinoiserie decoration. Furthermore, some high-end clocks had extensive marquetry designs with in-laid flowers and birds. As the one shown, right, by Thomas Joynson of London and then later of BridgeTrafford - this is a rare month-going clock. The Dials of most of the early London longcase clocks were made of brass with decorative corner spandrels and had silvered chapter rings containing roman numerals. Country clocks tended to have painted dials with landscapes, seascapes or moonphases. Most longcase movements run for eight days but some more complex ones are month-going as the Joynson or even year-going on a

Free Gift Wrapping

with every purchase

Marquetry clock by Thomas Joynson

Sally Turner

Fascinating finds

Moonphase clock face single wind. Don’t ‘waste time’ in the new year, why not buy a grandfather clock in our big varied Clock Sale at Sally Turner Antiques commencing on 15th January 2015. Prices start from £650 and all clocks are fully serviced.

l Sally Turner is an antiques expert with many years of experience. She buys and sells antiques and jewellery at her shop in Wendover. She is an expert in diamonds and precious stones and offers services including: cleaning and repairs of furniture, jewellery, antiques, clocks, oil paintings, enamel and porcelain, remodelling of jewellery and much more... l Sally Turner Antiques, Hogarth House, High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 624402 Open 10am-5pm Mon-Sat (closed Wed and Sun)


Make it a

Happy Christmas with Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers

Independent Family Jewellers since 1892 Goldsmiths House 10-14 Cambridge Street Aylesbury Bucks HP20 1RS

01296 482963

A QUALITY ANTIQUES CENTRE offering town and country antiques in a Tudor, brick and timber house, with wall paintings and inglenook fireplaces. Park in the Courtyard at the rear, where you will find Garden Antiques, a Tea Shop, the Barn Gallery Shops and an Artist’s Studio. We are open every day - from 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 5pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

‘Clown II’ by Barbara Neville Shaw (1930-2006) Oil on Board, £170. The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Website: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15


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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

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Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Christmas by candlelight

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Janice Issitt


hristmas time and darker nights bring feelings of wanting to hibernate more, snuggle by the fire and fill the room with scented candles for that final touch. Candles are so welcoming and such a flattering light, made all the more lovely if they are also fragranced. Hunting down the perfect perfumed candle has long since been a mission of mine, along with the perfect handbag, face powder, moisturiser and so on! Often too many choices lead us to waste money on disappointing products and inevitably it comes down to either making your own or spending that bit extra. I found a beautiful range of candles which are from the USA and available through Anthropologie in London, but I knew that there had to be another way to get a good quality product which actually smells beautiful

Making the most of it and not like something you’d clean the toilet with. The answer came when I remembered that Making the Best in Leighton Buzzard sold candle making kits and it was confirmed when they told me that their kits contain soy wax, the key ingredient to ensure the fragrance isn’t lost. As you can then choose your own oils and perfumes you are much more likely to get a pleasing

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

result. A kit is a great way to start or you can source the ingredients separately, but make sure you get a good instruction sheet or book as you are working with a flammable product. To make scented candles you will need: good quality soy wax, wax dye, scent oil, thermometer, wicks, sustainers, wick pins and suitable containers. Here comes the recycling bit, because the container can be anything you like, providing it can withstand heat, maybe a fancy tea cup, thick glass pot, kilner

jar or tin. To melt the wax you need to put one saucepan inside another of boiling water, a bit like the way you melt chocolate. So it’s handy to have some old pans and measuring jugs for this process. If you like a hobby which involves a bit of alchemy and the ability to make great gifts then this is one to consider, I can highly recommend it. l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in The Vale.

tillynilly creative interiors BLINDS AND SOFT-FURNISHINGS – free measuring and quotation: assistance with choosing appropriate products and installation available INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE - tailored to your needs: from plan to completed design or help with finishing off your look Made to measure services include: • Wood Blinds • Romans • Curtains • Venetians • Rollers • Verticals • Room Dividers • Bench and Scatter cushions

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Health & Fitness

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Fit and healthy in 2015?

Come 2015 many will have vowed that this year they’ll ‘get fit’. But what does ‘fit’ actually mean, and how can you make sure you get it and don’t revert to couch and comfort food by the end of January, says Ruth Gammon


it doesn’t mean looking like a model from the cover of a fitness magazine. Even they don’t look like that all the time - the runup to shoot day involves hardcore workouts and extreme dieting. Skilled image manipulators may have been at work too, so don’t set your sights on an impossible goal. Instead, think of when you’ve felt your best. A time when you were energetic all day, had glowing skin, could climb stairs or run after your children without getting out of breath, brushed stresses off without letting them ruin

Ruth Gammon

Take up tennis for a smashing 2015!

your day, fitted into your favourite clothes, and slept well at night. Picture your favourite-ever photo of yourself (and maybe imagine those image manipulators have had a sneaky go at it too). That’s a starting point to aim towards. If you feel like that now great. If not, wouldn’t you like to? For many the starting point is losing body fat. This doesn’t have to be torture, and a slow loss is better than a fast one. Make your diet a little healthier (swap half the grains or potatoes on your plate for green veg instead, and eat a little less dairy)... be a little more active (walk, join a gym class, hire a personal trainer)... Making changes enough just to lose half a pound in weight a week is not too hard, and over the course of 2015 would add up to 26 pounds. Think of Christmas Day 2013... Doesn’t seem long ago does it? Imagine you were now almost

two stone lighter, how would that feel? It doesn’t have to be torture, but it does need to be taken seriously. You need a lifestyle change, not a crash diet and exercise regime and in many ways the former is more challenging, at first, than the latter. Ruth Make yourself Gammon accountable to someone. Sign up to a course of exercise, so there is a feeling of obligation as you have paid for it, or book a personal trainer - you won’t want to let them down by not showing up. Join a food diary site/ app such as (my favourite app of 2014) and log what you eat - it will make you far more mindful of snacking, and the fact others can see what you’re eating will help you resist those things you

know you shouldn’t eat. Sign up for a race: if you’re a newbie, a 5k run; if you’re already fairly fit, an obstacle course race. Having a date down to work towards always helps. Make it for charity and you become even more accountable - to those who have sponsored you. Aim to keep going in your new regime through the whole of January. Changing habits takes time, but becomes much easier the longer you stick at it. Think how short a year is, yet what a transformation you could achieve before next Christmas. The next few pages are packed with health and fitness tips, news and deals, so get out there and explore what is on offer. l Fitness expert Ruth Gammon is head trainer at The Workshop in Stewkley. Tel: 07935 590250 Web:

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Health & Fitness l

Column: Fitness Focus with Joanne Hubbick

Health & Fitness

Getting fit can be fun


o Hubbick has always been interested in sport and fitness. She enjoys running and has competed in marathons, triathlons and adventure races, raising money for several charities and organising her own charity fitness events with the support of Thame Leisure Centre. Jo has two children, which prompted a career break and a change to working as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. “I’d worked in banking for 10 years and then was Customer Service Manager for three years at a Fitness Centre prior to having my children,” says Jo. “So it was quite a big change , but well worth it, providing me with the flexibility to spend quality time with my family.” Jo teaches a variety of classes at Thame Leisure Centre including: Studio Cycling, Zumba, Circuit Training, Pilates and her new Body Blast Circuit at 6.30am, if you like early mornings! “My aim has always been to make fitness fun and accessible to everyone,” she says, “and I aim to

Joanne Hubbick Pilates

One of Jo’s Pilates classes in action offer a variety of training with my classes, which I feel is important, from Strength and Conditioning Training to Cardio, High Intensity, Core Stability or a fun dance workout with our Zumba classes - as long as you can cope with my singing! “In particular I’ve long been a fan of Pilates and have attended lots of different classes over the years. I decided that it was something I would love to teach. So, four years ago I completed my Pilates Diploma and have not looked back since. “Pilates is a great form of exercise and is suitable for everyone. “It is designed to improve

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balance, co-ordination, mobility and strength and increase flexibility. Throughout my classes, I continue to see improvements in all age groups, from beginners to advanced levels. “Pilates focuses on using both the mind and the body to achieve optimum performance. The deep stabilising muscles of the body are conditioned and strengthened using sequences of movements and your own bodyweight, plus specially designed equipment, as forms of resistance. “The connection between mind and body is crucial to Pilates as it trains the mind to maintain a constant level of awareness of the way the body moves.

“Pilates works the body in a functional way, working muscles in synergy with each other, the way the body is designed to be used, preparing it for the physical challenges of everyday life. “It focuses on postural alignment in all positions and during movement and by using the body as a whole, makes us stronger and reduces the chances of injury caused by overuse of any one area.” l If you’d like to try Pilates or one of Jo’s other classes see the full Thame Leisure Centre class timetable at: (Thame) or contact Thame Leisure Centre on: 01844 251607. To ask Jo about her home/ outdoor Personal Training service, contact her on: 01717 205554 or Email

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Column: Fitness Focus with Carolyn Sanderson

Health & Fitness

Yoga, so good

hips and shoulders to regain their complete range of movement and the overall mobility of the body is improved. Muscles held tense are usually painful muscles Carolyn, right, teaching though improved, the process of Scaravelli inspired Yoga at and wasn’t as strong relaxing and releasing The Space in Thame or being utilised as through regular practice well as it could. works to permanently I met my Teacher, remove aches and pains. Kay in 2007. A The strength and student of Sandra stability aspect is Sabatini, she particularly good for introduced me to lower back problems a way of working and the benefit to with my body, posture and postural rather than pushing alignment is profound. and pulling my body Not only do we learn into shapes. The to relax, releasing transformation was tension from the body, profound and I have but the concentration worked this way required is totally ever since, although absorbing - all else, I still enjoy practising Ashtanga momentarily forgotten - great for Yoga when I get the chance. stress reduction and as an aid to Yoga is not all about putting your depression and nervous anxiety. feet behind your head! Scaravelli Scaravelli inspired Yoga can be inspired Yoga is an opportunity undertaken by anyone regardless of to restore the body and mind age, sex, ability or personal history. to its natural relaxed state. By An interest in yourself and a desire creating stability and strength and for a pain free, relaxed body and developing a knowledge of the mind is all that is needed. mechanics of your body and its It is particularly beneficial for movement patterns, tight muscles those who are post-injury, postare released, allowing joints such as surgery, post-natal or suffering


oga has enabled me to restore myself to a balanced, relaxed, ache and pain free state. Yoga practice is my ‘me’ time, a reward for the rigours of looking after kids, running a house, work, social and family commitments. Taking the time to practise Yoga helps me cope with the many challenges of a modern lifestyle. I attended my first Yoga class at the age of 15. Suffering from a congenital kidney condition I’d undergone a major surgical procedure at 13 which left the majority of the muscles in my right side affected. At 15 it was clear my central stabilising muscles were failing (I looked decidedly lop-sided) and my Mum, who had practised Yoga for years, took me along thinking it might help. At 20, I discovered Ashtanga Yoga, a strong flowing form where you jump in and out of the postures. I enjoyed this up until the birth of my Daughter in 2006, but still suffered from tight hamstrings and grouchy shoulders and my core,

Carolyn Sanderson

Scaravelli inspired Yoga from a range of ailments from the physical to mental health illnesses such as depression and nervous anxiety. I’ve worked with people to aid ongoing illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, back pain, recovery from spinal surgery, hip & knee replacements and as an aid to those who enjoy regular sport such as running, tennis, golf, dancing, football and rugby. l In 2008 Caz began studying for formal qualifications with the British Wheel of Yoga - The Foundation Course and subsequent Teaching Diploma - and graduated in 2012. She now teaches regular classes at The Space, Thame (11am Mondays and 1pm Fridays) and at her home in Longwick (10am Wednesday) as well as One to One by appointment. Tel: 07817 830390 Email: Web:

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

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Health & Fitness

Just what the Doctor ordered


any of us exercise regularly and appreciate the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. But what if you are not physically active and develop health issues which exercise would not only help but could prevent becoming more serious. Oxfordshire Exercise On Referral is a joint scheme between District Councils, local leisure providers, such as Thame Leisure Centre, and GPs, which aims to help patients with specific health issues to become more physically active by offering tailored exercise programmes delivered by trained professionals. The scheme offers a free fitness assessment and readiness for exercise screening, plus free gym induction and exercise programme and reduced price access to leisure facilities, for those taking part. It is for people aged 16 or over who are registered with a GP in Oxfordshire and are not currently active but would like to use physical activity to manage a health condition such as: Cardiovascular disease, Obesity, Mental health problems (such as depression or anxiety),

Debbie Cameron working with a patient at Thame Leisure Centre

Musculoskeletal complaints and Respiratory disease. Your GP, nurse or physiotherapist can check your eligibility and provide you with a referral form. Readers in the Thame area might well be referred to see Healthwise Co-ordinator Debbie Cameron, above, at Thame Leisure Centre. Debbie is a Registered Exercise Professional, trained Fitness Instructor and member of the British Association of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation.

WIN 6 months membership!


eflexions Health and Leisure is a vibrant club at Watermead, just off the Buckingham Road, on the outskirts of Aylesbury. It is well-equipped and known for its friendliness and relaxed atmosphere. “Whether you have been exercising for years, or have just been thinking about it for as long, if you want to lose weight, improve your fitness, change your shape or simply feel healthier - we can definitely help,” says club manager Lou Harrison. “The philosophy is simple at Reflexions. We provide our members with the widest range of amenities and the friendliest service we can at an affordable price. “We offer the very best in group exercise classes too, with over 40 running per week. There’s Insanity, BodyTone, Group Cycling, BodyCombat, BodyPump, Bokwa

and many more and we have a 10 week weight loss challenge starting in the New Year with a nutrition seminar, food plans, private classes, weekly weigh-ins, consultations and much more for just £100. “Reflexions also offers a great social atmosphere and the opportunity to make new friends, relax and of course achieve your fitness or weight loss goals. “We offer everyone, regardless of their size, shape or ability, the opportunity to workout in an easy-going environment. “We have a wide range of equipment and facilities waiting here for you, and we will demonstrate how to use the equipment and get the best out of it, before you start your programme. Our experienced and wellqualified fitness consultants will be on hand to assist you all the way. Whatever your preference, there

“It’s been very successful,” says Debbie. “There’s an initial 12 week programme and the majority of people who complete it carry on keeping themselves fit afterwards. “They have an assessment with me first - we go over their health condition and what their specific needs are and then I introduce them to the gym and work out a programme of exercise to help. “It depends to an extent on what the individual likes doing though. It may be gym, swimming, group

exercise... whatever appeals.” All patients receive a risk assessment and personalised programme, monitoring and assessment throughout and an exit interview on completion of programme “It’s a very rewarding job,” says Debbie, who has been involved with the exercise referral programme for seven years. “We’ve had some amazing results, it really makes a difference to people’s lives. “We have a stroke patient on referral with us at the moment who didn’t exercise. He’d been left with quite limited movement down one side. He started with me and moved on to working with the Fitness Instructors here and now he is doing really well and has got a lot of his mobility back. It’s really great to see.” l Debbie Cameron Health Wise Co-ordinator, Thame Leisure Centre, Oxford Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BB TLC: 01844 215607 Web: thame-leisure-centre GP Referral Team: 07825 670421 Email: healthwise.

Reflexions Health & Leisure

will be something to suit your taste, mood and fitness level. If you’d like the chance to win Six Months Full Membership to Reflexions, simply email your name, address and telephone number, with the answer to the following question to: Who is Reflexions manager?

Winner to be picked at random from correct entries and notified by email by January 20th, 2015. l Reflexions Health & Leisure Buckingham Road, Watermead, Aylesbury, HP19 0FY Tel: 01296 330311 Web: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Health & Fitness Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Ten pin bowling has returned to Aylesbury at the brand new Rogue Bowling centre on Gatehouse Way. It’s a fabulous leisure facility for the town and is already proving popular with all ages...


any local people were distraught at the loss of Aylesbury’s Jardine’s Bowling Alley, which was closed in 2012 to make way for the new H&M store at Friars Square Shopping Centre. Fortunately Aidan Kirwan, owner of local indoor karting centre, Rogue Racing, likes a challenge and has taken on the task of setting up and running an exciting new ten pin bowling complex, Rogue Bowling, just outside the town centre on Gatehouse Way Industrial Estate. It’s an ideal spot, with plenty of parking and room to install Aidan’s Rogue Racing karting operation there too - which he is planning to do in September 2015. this project to The new Rogue make sure we Bowling centre offers 14 get it right,” lanes of fun in spacious, says Aidan. “We comfortable, airtook over Aidan Kirwan, centre, with Andy (Buttons) and only conditioned surroundings the building on Holly (Cinderella) at The Rogue Bowling opening September 8th, with the added attraction of the Rogue Café and fully licenced bar, after we got planning permission, so it’s been offering a tasty range of freshly-prepared hot a pretty quick turnaround to be open for and cold meals, light snacks, alcoholic and early December! The council have been very soft drinks and a decent cup of coffee or tea. supportive but it’s still taken a while to get all There are also two bookable party rooms and the necessary permissions. free wifi for all customers. “We looked at teaming up with Jardine’s to The centre, which not only looks fantastic, open a new joint venue before they closed but but has created 20 new jobs, is being managed couldn’t find anywhere suitable at that time. by ex Jardine’s manager Kevin Pollard, a keen There was nothing this big in the middle of bowler himself, who won the British Open Aylesbury - we have 40,000ft2 here - so we’ve Championship in 1984. had to come out a little bit. It’s actually only a “A lot of time and effort has gone into short walk from the town centre though.

Rogue Bowling has 14 lanes “We’re really pleased to have Kevin Pollard on board as manager. He was manager at Jardine’s for 37 years, so knows the ropes and he’s really excited to be taking on this new challenge. He’s an experienced bowler as is his assistant, so if anyone needs any tips I’m sure they will be glad to help.” The project is no small investment, it has cost nearly £1m so far, which Aidan has raised with three partners. He is confident it will be a success though. “There’s a real buzz about the place around town,” says Aiden. “We’re already taking lots of bookings. I think people have been waiting for this, there aren’t many leisure options in Aylesbury. We’ve had amazing support and coverage from local media and even BBC Oxford has been down twice and filmed interviews for their local news broadcasts.

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Rogue Café dining area

2 20

Health & Fitness Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

“Buttons and Cinderella, from Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s pantomime cast, came to do the official opening and MP David Liddington has already paid us a visit. “I’m really pleased with the way it’s all come together though. It looks fantastic and there’s a great atmosphere. There’s new pins, new shoes, new balls, it’s all state of the art equipment. The bowling lanes had to be specially constructed and perfectly level. They are from Hungary and were fitted by a specialist company. A brand new lane costs around £25,000 so with 14, the investment soon mounts up! “We’ wanted to create a fun, family atmosphere, with decent food on offer. I know from taking my own children out that catering can be a bit basic at leisure venues and we would like to offer a bit more than twizzlers and chips! We have a couple of good chefs on board and you’ll be able to order food and drinks from your lane and eat whilst you play, or sit in our dining area before, or after your game.” Originally from Dublin, Aidan, 43, now lives in Welwyn Garden City with his wife and three children. He has a retail and customer service background having worked at Waitrose Head Office in Bracknell for some ten years and it was there, as a member of their Karting Club, that he got the urge to run his own business. He started up as Rogue Racing in Bletchley in 2004, moving to the current location on Aylesbury’s Stocklake Industrial Park in 2005.

“Rogue Racing will continue at Stocklake for the time being,” says Aidan. “There has been a Kart Track there, run by a variety of owners, for some 20 years now. It’s a great activity for groups, families, friends and businesses and we also work with organisations such as the National Autistic Society, the local Council and several children’s and youth groups in Aylesbury to cater for their members. Most are able to try karting but some disabilities can’t be catered for in the karts so it’ll be nice to have bowling as an alternative. You have to be at least eight years old to do karting, whereas you can go bowling much younger, so I think there will be a nice crossover between the two activities. “Our Rogue Bowling facility is wheelchair friendly with parking located immediately in front of the main door. Anyone is welcome to come down and take in the atmosphere, have a coffee or snack, whether they are bowling or not. Group leaders can pop in or give us a call and we’ll try to accommodate their needs.. “As regards leagues and competitions, we still have to get the lanes sanctioned and we want to ensure all is operating smoothly first, so we will probably introduce that in a couple of months time. “I’ve had to call in a lot of favours but everyone has been brilliant. I’ve had friends and family all chipping in and everyone has been really helpful and enthusiastic and done an amazing job. It was a rush at the end but we are open now and I am really pleased with the

Manager Kevin Pollard result.” Prices at Rogue Bowling start from £4 for an off-peak junior (16 and under / students under 19 ) £5 for an adult (16+). There are family and group deals available though (see website or phone booking line for details). They can also cater for special events or parties and tailor-make a package especially for you. To celebrate their opening Rogue Bowling is currently offering 10% off all bowling prices throughout December and January. Keep an eye on their website for other offers and special events: l Rogue Bowling, Unit 6 The Point, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8DB Tel. 01296 326888 Email. Web: Opening Hours Mon-Thur: 10am-11pm (off peak 10am-6pm) Friday: 10am-midnight (off peak 10am-5pm) Saturday: 10am-midnight Sunday: 10am-10pm Off-peak games must be finished by the end time to qualify for the discounted price. Off-peak times excluded during school and bank holidays.

Rogue Café bar area

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15


Column: ‘Kiss & tell’ with Tracy Kiss

Health & Fitness

Tracy’s new Latin love!


have no rhythm, fluidity or grace whatsoever when it comes to dancing, as I am more clumsy giraffe than black swan, oh, and did I mention I walk like a rugby player in heels? Even if I’ll only ever dance like a penguin at least I can say that I gave it my best shot, because winners never quit and quitters never win! With a new year on the horizon I am keen to make a dent in my bucket list. Trying Salsa has long been an ambition and I was kindly invited to a Salsa lesson by the sensational David and Julie of Aylesbury-based Salsa En Amor. Salsa en Amor originally started up in Thame but the dance club outgrew its venue some eight years ago and was relocated to larger premises in Aylesbury where weekly classes now take place at the Riviera, Watermead. The husband and wife team teach Salsa with a sense of humour and a taste for urban inspired Latin music that has a refreshingly gritty edge.

David soon has Tracy in Salsa mode Meeting David for my first dance lesson, I was unsure of what to expect and how long it would take for me to step on his toes or headbutt him by mistake, but David reassured me that everybody starts from the beginning and works their way up.

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From taking me through the basics of a simple step to building a fully choreographed routine, I was utterly amazed and elated by what we achieved in a very short space of time. The lesson flew by, and with each minute that passed my confidence grew. What David taught me in just ninety minutes has been more than I’ve managed by myself in twentyseven years and I had the most fantastic time. Dancing is such a positive and life affirming skill to have, not only does it build on social skills, eye-contact, communication, trust, agility and assertive body-language, but it’s also a great way to burn calories, keep in shape and meet new like-minded people. At Salsa En Amor people of varying abilities, ranging in age from 16 to 60-plus, come together to learn and have fun, and it’s literally impossible not to leave with a massive smile plastered all over your face. Classes run all year and range in

Tracy Kiss

Kiss & tell ability from absolute beginners to accomplished dancers, and if I can do it then anybody can! See the Salsa En Amor website at: for further details. If you’d like to challenge me in 2015 - invite me to try something new, or to come and learn about your local business, then please get in touch: l Read Tracy’s blog at: or follow her on: Twitter: @kisstracy4 Facebook: /TheTracyKiss

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

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Health & Fitness

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

CARE SUPPORT WORKERS NEEDED Carers Trust Thames is hiring Care Support Workers. If you are reliable, enthusiastic and want to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable and disabled people in your community then we would love to hear from you.

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At Buckingham Lodge we know it’s the little things that matter At Buckingham Lodge care home, you’ll find a highly skilled team that’s passionate about helping your loved one to live happily and independently, providing support and specialist dementia care, 24-hours every day. But at Anchor we know it’s the little things that can make all the difference like arranging favourite activities, making that perfect cup of tea or always finding the time for a friendly chat.

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


l Column

Amanda Trott

Center Parcs might conjure up visions of cycling, archery and badminton in the great outdoors, but Woburn’s Aqua Sana Spa can be visited by non-residents too and the most strenuous thing you have to do, is relax...


id you know that each Center Parc has an Aqua Sana Spa, the newest of which, Aqua Sana at Woburn, has just won a Good Spa Guide Award for Best Social Spa!? On a chilly December morning the idea of sailing and paintballing didn’t appeal, so on arriving at Center Parcs Woburn for our Luxury Spa Break, we headed straight for the Spa to make the most of our stay, which included a night in one of the resorts well equipped and stylish Spa Suites, very conveniently located right above the Spa, with beautiful views across the wooded park. On checking in we were greeted by a very friendly and helpful team who gave us a tour of the Spa and later showed us to our room, where glasses of chilled Prosecco and strawberries dipped in chocolate had been left for us to enjoy. The suite comprised of a modern, clean, crisp, open-plan kitchen and dining area, a comfy living room with sofas and high-tech entertainment system, a stylish bathroom with twin basins and a very luxurious shower, a spacious bedroom with the most comfortable bed and a huge round bath, located practically on the balcony, so if brave enough you could pull back the curtains and enjoy the view (or the other way round if you weren’t careful!) or open the balcony doors and pretend you were in a hot-tub. Aqua Sana Spa offers a vast range

Salt Steam Room


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

The infinity pool on the second floor is warm, beautifully lit and particularly atmospheric at night

of treatments from beauty houses such as Elemis and Decléor and two floors of spacious spa area with a variety of multi-sensory rooms sporting names like: Fire & Ice, Blossom, Herbal, Sensory, Mineral & Gemstone and Salt. Experiencing these rooms is designed to clear your mind and body of stress - take one of their suggested routes, or create your own, making the most of the saunas, steam rooms, tropical showers and ice room - it’s certainly a lot of fun! Alternatively you can unwind completely in one of the quiet areas wrapped in fluffy white towels, cosy robes and soft blankets, enjoy a soothing foot spa or take in beautiful forest views from the stunning outdoor infinity pool, where a variety of jets and fountains spray and pummel you. Needing a light bite we headed off to the Spa’s Vitale Café Bar where we could choose from a Mediterranean mix of salads and paninis, antipasti, lasagna, fresh pasta and tapas, generously filled flatbread and some extremely tempting but rather naughty desserts. To drink there was a good selection of teas, coffee, fruit juices, or alcoholic beverages, including a short list of cocktails! Our flatbreads were tasty and accompanied by a glass of Prosecco and a beer, plus the woodland views, made for a very pleasant lunch! As part of each luxury Spa Break,

both guests receive a 55-minute signature treatment, have use of the gym facilities and use of cycles to explore the forest, if they fancy. We didn’t get round to using the gym or venturing out on bikes but Mr T. said his Aqua Sana Signature face and body treatment, which comprised of a back exfoliation and rub, foot massage, anti-ageing facial and head massage, was extremely enjoyable and had ‘taken year’s off him’! I enjoyed a Decléor Aromatherapy Mind and Body ReEnergiser, a treatment that involved a soothing combination of back, neck and shoulder massage with a facial. Feeling the tension float away I soon drifted off to sleep, only waking when my therapist gently turned up the lights! The afternoon brought more relaxation in the form of swimming and snoozing until it was time to head back and make the most of our luxurious suite and then venture out for dinner. Up to this point we’d only had to take the stairs or lift from our Spa Suite directly down to the Spa. Dinner would involve a walk of a few hundred yards to one of Center Parcs’ restaurants. Spa Suite guests at Woburn can choose between:

Health & Fitness

The automatic foot spas look funky and feel lovely

Café Rouge, Dining In, Huck’s, Strada, Rajinda Pradesh, or The Shearing House which we tried. Here the service was very friendly and Mr T. said his Fish and Chips were excellent, while I enjoyed a rather nice steak. After a superb night’s sleep in the huge bed we awoke to the most enormous breakfast tray and fortified ourselves for a second day of spa activity! Keen to try threading I had booked an appointment for an eyebrow shape. My very knowledgeable Spa Suite therapist explained how the procedure worked and gave me an insight into its history. The end result was very good, my brows looked great and the whole process was relatively pain free too. The Aqua Sana Spa at Woburn is impressive to say the least and well worth a visit, whether for the day, an overnight session or the popular ‘twilight’ evening session - a great way to wind down after a stressful day or week at work. l Amanda is a talented and experienced, Vidal Sassoon trained hair stylist. If you would like to experience the Kebelo Smoothing System, or to have your hair cut, styled or coloured by Amanda she is available in Thame from Mondays to Thursdays at Eclipse Hair Design. Call 01844 260062 to book or arrange a free consultation.

Health & Fitness Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

New Year is a time for new beginnings - resolutions to live a healthier life and look after yourself better. Exercising in the cold dries out your skin though and the lack of sunshine can leave many of us feeling low...


A few minutes in the sun booth can work wonders at this time of year

hristmas is a magical time but once the festivities are over many of us suffer from the lack of sunshine at this time of year. It’s not so much the cold - although that takes its toll on our hands and faces, drying and ageing the skin - but the lack of UV rays which we need to produce Vitamin D to boost bone strength and stimulate feel-good brain chemicals such as Seratonin. Apparently football manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a ‘Vitamin D machine’ installed at Manchester United’s training ground to compensate his players for the city’s

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lack of natural sunlight. Body and Soul at Aylesbury has two vertical Ergoline sun booths which will do much the same. They are controlled at reception and can be adjusted to the minute, allowing the customer to create a natural looking tan safely and combat any skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and excema, strenghten bones and teeth and ward off the depressive effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). “We are members of The Sunbed Association,” says salon owner Laura Gilbey. “We abide by a strict code of practice. The things that cause problems are being in the sun too long, over exposing your skin to sunlight and burning your skin. “We can advise on how to safely tan and benefit from the increased Vitamin D production. If you are beginning from scratch you start with three minutes in the sun booth, two or three times a week and then gradually up your minutes, one at a time! We recommend a maximum of three sessions per week and no more than 60 per year (75p per minute, 60 mins for £35). “One or two sessions a week would stop you looking too white and give you a base if you were going abroad. It reduces the risk of burning and the need for laying in the sun too much when you do go away. You still need to use suncreams and be careful though. “If you are outside, running or doing sport in the winter weather, your skin may need sun and weather protection, moisturising regularly and even a relaxing facial every now and then to rejuvenate, revitalise and replenish moisture. An Elemis MiniFacial takes 30 minutes (£25) and is a great way to introduce yourself to the Elemis range. “There are lovely Elemis moisturisers to take home too, such

Protect your skin from the harsh Winter weather as the Hydra Boost Day Cream, or for men The Daily Moisture Boost. You need to keep hydrating your skin to put the moisture back in if you are sweating it out. “For your hands a Luxury Manicure with heated mitts (£28) is a real treat, will help remoisturise and leaves your fingers and nails feeling and looking great too.” For those aching muscles a Deep Tissue Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage from one of Body and Soul’s trained therapists is only £29, while a Deep Tissue Full Body Massage is £44. A pedicure is a good idea for runners or skiers as nails can bruise, crack and split from bashing against the ends of your shoes or ski boots (Express £22/Luxury £32). And to apply yourself at home, Elemis Aching Muscle Super Soak in your bath, soothes tired muscles, recharges the body and eases rheumatic aches, while Muscle Ease Active Body Oil for massaging in, is ideal for people who suffer from aching legs or shinsplints. “People are welcome to call up for advice or see our website for products,” says Laura, “and we have vouchers for tanning and other Body and Soul treatments and products, which make great gifts!” l Body & Soul, 59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 7HS Tel: 01296 434216 Email: Reception@ Web:

A facial will relax, cleanse and hydrate

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


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Providing the ultimate salon experience

Merry Christmas! and a Happy New Year from all of us at Eclipse Hair Design W ow, the festive season is upon us and as usual the salon is extremely busy, as clients old and new rush to have their hair styled for Christmas! There’s a real buzz in the salon at this time of year and now the shop front has been decorated, there’s a chill in the air and Thame’s Christmas lights are twinkling around the town centre, it’s feeling extremely festive - in fact you could almost cut the Christmas atmosphere with a pair of scissors! We have a fabulous Christmas Raffle on the go in aid of Helen and Douglas House and would like to say a massive thank you to all the local businesses who have donated lovely prizes. Raffle tickets are only £1 each, so just pop into the salon and ask at reception, and give yourself the chance to win some gorgeous items including: A free scarf and necklace of your choice from Baban Boutique; A Voucher worth £50 for Jack and Atticus; A Voucher worth £15 for Forever Green Florist; An MBNS Clinic gift voucher for a Clinical Medical Fire and Ice Facial worth £100; A Coffee and Chocolates for Two voucher at Rumsey’s; A 50% off treatment Voucher for Essential Pampering; A £20 Voucher for Wren’s Butchers; An iPad Cover from Auto Parts; An original print donated by From, Thame; A Kebello blow-dry worth £165 from Eclipse Hair Design; A Philip Kingsley Spa Treatment worth £40 from Eclipse Hair Design; A free

The Eclipse team anti-virus worth £50 from PCFix Haddenham; A free service and Malware check from PCFix Haddenham; 1 Month Full Membership at Racquets Fitness Centre; A 10% off voucher for The Hundred at Ashendon; A £20 voucher for Muse Hurry and pop in today to get your tickets - draw takes place on Christmas Eve! We have some lovely Christmas gift packs in the salon at the moment, which not only make great presents but are excellent value as they cost much

less than if you bought the products separately. Redken Christmas Packs 250ml Shampoo and Conditioner plus a free Mascara - £27.75 Redken Travel Handbag Packs : Mini shampoo and Conditioner - £8.49 Moroccan Oil Pack Shampoo & conditioner, mini hairspray and 25ml oil £33.85 Moroccan Oil Treatment Pack: 1 small oil & 1 Large Oil - £35.85 Philip Kingsley Pamper Pack: 250 ml Elastizer, Body building shampoo, Moisture

balance conditioner, Daily Defence and grooming brush. Only £55 (RRP £112!) American Crew Essentials 250ml Power Cleansing Style Remover, Daily Conditioner, 150ml Moisturising Shave Cream, Forming Cream - £24.50 GHD: Range of GHD Curl Tongs, Wave Wands & Straighteners. Salon News: Please note Eclipse Senior Designer Steph is increasing her days in the salon and will be available from Wed-Sat from February 2015.

Eclipse Hair Design, 56 North Street, Thame, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 260062 Web: Email: Follow us on Twitter: @eclipsethame and Facebook Eclipse Hair Design

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Column: Penny Harper ‘Thoughts of a small town girl’

We’re going on a Man Hunt…

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Penny Harper


ast year my New Year’s resolution was to get fit, and to climb Mount Kilimanjaro: Mission accomplished. I’m a bit worried that this year’s resolution is going to be more of an uphill struggle than that though: This year, I am going to find a man. I was thinking about this as I was watching a chick-flick whilst snuggled up under a shawl with my cat, and wondering what exactly it is that’s preventing me from getting a bloke. Puzzler. Dad and I were sitting in the kitchen and chatting over a glass of wine recently when he leaned over and hugged me and said, “Don’t give up hope”. It brought a little tear to my eye actually. Of course, he ruined it a split second later with, “But don’t get desperate either…Bridget”. Terrific. Am confirmed sad lonely spinster. Mum’s solution is to keep close tabs on Facebook. She stalks me via the family dog’s profile (don’t ask) and then says things like, “Have you heard from Neil lately?” knowing full well that we’ve been chatting about this and that. Mum’s brilliant idea is that I should start hitting on my existing friends. She says she only wants me to be happy, but I know she’s after more grandkids… she bought a bulk load of soft pink wool recently. In my dating life as a whole, I haven’t actually been single for any great length of time. My track record is definitely one of a serial monogamist: I go from one highly unsuitable long-term relationship to another. There’s only really been one guy I’ve fancied over the last year and I am pretty sure he’s a psychopath. I actually did a little online test on him and it turns out that he isn’t actually a psychopath, but he does have psychopathic tendencies. I tried Internet dating, for all of 24 hours. I went on one site that asks you a zillion questions and then tries to match you with like-minded nutters. Then I got sent a zillion more questions by some blokes who were supposedly perfect for me; this being based on whether or not I prefer forests to beaches and whether I’d smack my goldfish if it misbehaved. I got tired of the incessant stupid questions and took myself off it. 2014 looked promising at one point when there was an American love interest in the mix. This became known as ‘The Ned

Small Town


Situation’ amongst my so-called friends. I was being set up by friends of friends who assured me this wasn’t a case of trying to match-make with the two remaining single people on the planet. We emailed for months and I’d seen pictures and it was all wildly romantic and all ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and all that kind of stuff we girls lap up. But I really wasn’t prepared for when Woody Allen stepped off the plane. He’d flown over for nine interminable days and (thankfully!) was staying in a B&B just up the road. On Friday I took him on a trek and we saw a slow worm. Little did I know this was going to be the highlight of my week. At Stonehenge on Saturday I dropped the bombshell that we were only ever going to be friends. By Thursday I thought he’d be lucky to get out of this alive. The following Saturday (both still breathing despite relentless exclamations of ‘holy cow!’ and hi-fives in the middle of the street) we were in London. We had dinner in a wine bar where it appeared that a handsome bomb had been detonated moments before we arrived. Maybe it was the wine, or maybe I’d spent too long with Ned, but every guy in there looked like they had stepped off a movie set. They say ‘in vino, veritas’ and finally, it all came out. I apologised for being a gigantic cow and he responded by saying, “What the heck were we thinking?” For the first time in a week we were able to relax in each other’s company. We got married shortly afterwards. No

we didn’t. This isn’t a film. I haven’t heard from him since. The final blow for 2014 came a few weeks ago when, over drinks, a friend announced she had the

perfect guy for me. I had just finished telling her about the Ned Situation and my aversion to friends trying to match-make. But she clearly hadn’t heard a word of that. She told me the guy she knows is 38 years old, goodlooking, intelligent and extremely funny. I said, “What’s the catch?” “There’s no catch” shrugs my friend, “He IS a catch”. “What does he do for a living?” There’s a pause that lasts about a decade and then she says… “He’s a vicar”. At this point I’m actually hoping Dawn French shows up. Roll on 2015.

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l Column: Read all about it! Book reviews by The Book House, Thame

Gardens, Robins and Saving the World


he Garden Anthology from the Royal Horticultural Society There’s nothing new about the idea of an anthology of garden writing, especially at the time of year of seasonal giving, but this book is unlike other anthologies. Taken from the pages of the RHS The Garden magazine, it has its credentials firmly rooted in this respected journal. Edited by Ursula

Buchan, it is a treasury of writing by 80 of the world’s finest horticultural authors and commentators, covering more than 100 years. Its look is, however, stunningly contemporary. Gone are the photographs of borders and flowerpots, in come beautiful paintings by Jenny Bowers. Arranged thematically, this lovely, chunky little volume would delight any garden enthusiast.

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes Can you commit the perfect crime? Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement he wrote the definitive on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him… It will help NYPD to track him down. And it will take him to a run-down New York hotel room where the body of a woman is

Win Breeds book


n our last edition we wrote about Henley based artist Fenella Smith whose delightful ceramics, fabrics and stationery are on sale at Number One in Wendover and at FROM in Thame. She has recently added a brand new doggy range from which 25% of all purchases goes directly to Dogs Trust. “I have two wonderful rescue dogs, Bramble and Fox,” says Fenella, “and so I was hugely excited to have the opportunity to create a range for Dogs Trust, who are the largest dog welfare charity in the UK and a wonderful group of people. They provide happy homes for thousands of strays and abandoned pooches. Fenella has also teamed up with her brothers, Myles and Greg, to write a humorous book about dog breeds. Breeds is an ideal fun gift for dog lovers with charming illustrations and quirky descriptions of the different types of dog. “It was a joy to write!” says Fenella. Breeds lists 100 different breeds of dog (and one cat), from aloof Afghans to tearaway Terriers and will strike a chord with dog lovers everywhere. 30

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

found face-down in a bath of acid. It is a textbook murder - and Pilgrim wrote the book. What begins as an unusual investigation will become a terrifying race against time to save America from oblivion. “This debut novel has been hyped as ‘The only thriller you need to read this year’ and for once, this isn’t nonsense.” - The Guardian. “Smartest thriller of the year” - Andy McNab Little Robin’s Christmas by Jan Fearnley Little Robin has given ALL his nice warm vests to seven chilly friends in need. On Christmas Eve, with no vest left for himself, he huddles on an icy roof… until someone VERY special comes to the rescue. This charming tale is one

of our all-time favourite Christmas stories, encapsulating the Christmas spirit in a simple tale of the rewards of giving - and also explaining why all robins have a red breast! NOT to be missed, ages 3+ Happy reading! l The Book House, 93 High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3HJ Tel: 01844 213032 Open Mon-Sat: 9am-5.30pm

Children love books!

Come and choose from the best children’s bookshop in the county: If you would like the chance to win a copy of Breeds, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What are Fenella’s dogs called? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by January 25th, 2015. l For more information about Fenella or to buy her products online see: To place an order by phone call: 01491 638850


93 High Street, Thame, Oxon OX9 3HJ Tel: 01844 213032

Open Mondays-Saturdays 9am-5.30pm and Sundays in December up to Christmas 11am-3pm Website: Email: We also sell books for grown-ups… and advent calendars, cards, gift stationery, toys and book vouchers.

l Column: Catherine Stoker Learning process

What happens next? Independent education consultant Catherine Stoker advises parents on what happens after your UCAS application has been submitted...


ou can keep tabs on the progress of your University or College applications using the log in details for UCAS Track which are contained in the letter or email you received a few days after submitting your application. Here you will find details of offers made by the Universities or Colleges to which you applied, as and when they’re made. These offers are in no particular order and may take a bit of time to come through. Be patient, even if you are getting worried as your friends have heard and you haven’t. If you gave a valid email address on your application, you will receive an email letting you know when universities have made a decision on your application and you will then need to log in to Track for details.

Learning process Catherine Stoker Once you’ve received replies from all of your choices, you can make your decisions and reply through UCAS Track. If an offer is un-conditional, acceptance confirms your place on the course next Autumn, so you need to be certain this is what you want. If offers are conditional on exam results or other factors, you can accept two. One of your choices must be a firm acceptance, in other words first choice and you can also choose an insurance acceptance or back-up.

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Think carefully about these decisions. Your first choice really does need to be just that. Be ambitious but realistic and listen to the advice of your subject teachers when it comes to deciding whether you can attain the grade requirements of the offer. Your back-up, whilst being conditional upon lower grades in case of a hiccup on results day, must still be on a course which inspires you towards your future career ambitions, at a university that you would be happy to attend. Once you have decided on the offers you would like to accept, you need to then decline any others. If you do not receive any offers or decide to decline all the offers you receive, you may be able to use Extra to add more course choices later, usually if you have not already made applications to five. If this option is available to you, a button will appear when you log in to track your application. You also have the option to wait and see which courses become available during the Clearing process later on. Instead of an offer, you may be invited to attend an interview, in

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

which case make sure you prepare well. Know in detail the course you have applied to study and think about why you wish to attend that university in particular. Get busy with background reading relevant for the subject you wish to study. Get up to speed with current affairs, particularly when it comes to issues which influence and affect thinking and opinion within your chosen subject or career field, in case you are asked to discuss them. Getting the inside view-point from someone already working within that field by arranging a practice interview beforehand can be very useful in calming nerves on the day. l Catherine Stoker is Managing

Director of the Independent Education Consultants, offering advice for parents on all aspects of education - from choosing a school, transition, to career planning and applying to university. For more details, visit: www. Blog:

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15

Led by a headmaster passionate about improving state education, Ickford School is inspiring pupils to fulfil their potential, in a modern learning environment backed by traditional values...


ckford Combined School is a small, friendly and caring village school set in the picturesque village of Ickford. It’s a sleepy rural location but there’s nothing tired about the approach taken by headmaster John Ronane and his team, when it comes to giving their charges a rounded and enjoyable education. The school, which caters for 4 to 11 year olds, was not at its best when John took over nearly five years ago, but believing that good teaching is all important, he has built a new team of inspiring and dedicated individuals who have got pupils really engaged in what they are doing and how they can improve themselves. It is now plain to see that despite their tender years the Ickford School pupils are embracing all that is going on at the school and their enthusiasm is a joy to behold. “We’re attracting more and more pupils,” says John Ronane. “It’s still a small school but we’ve gone from 100 when I arrived to 129 now and we could still cater for a few more.” Surprisingly Ickford pupils come from quite a wide area. Although most live in villages nearby they also travel in from Aylesbury, Princes Risborough and Wheatley. “Our school is in Buckinghamshire,” says John, “but we tend to feed Oxfordshire secondary schools such as Wheatley Park and Lord Williams’s while some pupils go on to Aylesbury Grammar. “There were issues at the school when I arrived but we’ve made a few changes and the teachers here now do amazing work. They are dedicated and conscientious - it’s a real team effort with excellent planning and communication. They really are superb. Results have got better and the curriculum is

Meeting of the school council 32

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Headmaster John Ronane joins the lunchtime readers on the beanbags at Ickford School

much broader, with lots of opportunities for children in terms of music, languages, sports and activities. “We’ve improved standards of English and Maths without narrowing the curriculum, Science is exciting, the children get to do experiments it’s investigative and fun, while IT is well equipped and runs some fascinating projects. At the moment the children are learning to computer program robotic arm movements with Raspberry Pi technology, which is very impressive!” The school has a well stocked library and it’s a pleasure to see the pupils rush from their classrooms at lunchtime, grab a book and sit down for a read just because they enjoy it. “My belief is that there is lots of room for making learning exciting within the National Curriculum. You have to offer something that inspires your children. It seems to be working here and parents are supporting it, while the children are enjoying it.” says John. “The key thing is teaching though and the teachers here will go the extra mile - they work as a team and they take collective responsibility for everything we are doing. “We’ve raised standards and expectations.

We aim for every child to leave the school being able to read music and to play at least two musical instruments - they start with recorder and move on to violin. They are taught by Emma Shackleton, a parent who became a teaching assistant but is also a professional musician, so she has now taken on teaching music.” “The pupils all learn French too, from day one, and it’s amazing how well they have picked it up and how they enjoy using French words and showing off their conversational talents. We have a great languages teacher, Dawn ‘Madame’ Basnett, who has a lot to do with their enthusiasm. She teaches Year 6 and has taken on the role of Deputy Head as well. “We also have Mr Calcutt, a local solicitor and classics scholar, who comes in once a week to teach Latin and Classical Studies. We tried it last year and the children loved it, so we’ve carried on.” Ickford School has good facilities, with spacious classrooms, a school library, ICT suite and ample outdoor space. It also boasts a state of the art sports hall, built in 2006, with excellent PE facilities used by the children and the local community and an abundant range

Programming in the ICT suite

It’s a grey day in Ickford but some children like a spot of fresh air at breaktime whatever the weather! of extra-curricular activities such as: art, craft, football, netball, cricket, rugby, hockey, running, ballet and cheerleading, to mention a few. “The children have two PE classes a week plus we have lots of activities at lunchtimes and after school,” says John. “Ballet and Tae Kwon Do, tennis, a running club... I run a skipping club and tag rugby sessions.” John is a keen rugby fan and still plays regularly himself. He also opens the School Hall up each morning for Breakfast Club from 7.45am, so pupils can use the sports hall before school and have a cereal breakfast there too. “It started as somewhere for the teachers to bring their children before classes started,” says John, “but it’s developed and I find it a really enjoyable way to start the day.” In the grounds Ickford School has a hard play area and a field with a pond in which the PTA - which is very active and supportive is making a nature trail and planting a little orchard. The school also has its own chickens, which are very popular and cause great excitement at feeding time. Walking around the school, you are struck by how pleasant and well behaved the pupils are. They are neatly attired in the school uniform and there is a vibrant, happy atmosphere. “Behaviour is excellent here because it is expected,” says John. “Children are happier when they have clear boundaries and we find they don’t have to be constantly reminded of them, they seem to monitor themselves mostly. “Pupils are encouraged to consider and be responsible for their own actions, to be aware of the necessity for self-discipline, selfawareness and self-control. “We are a non-denominational school with a Christian ethos and a strong link with the village church. We have our own school prayer and sing grace before meals - it’s just part of daily life. We stage a nativity play and have a carol service at Christmas and in RE we teach about other religions and faiths. “We encourage pupils and we celebrate success but we don’t constantly reward everything they do. The children understand that sometimes they do things to learn, not

“I begged my way onto an Access to Teaching Course course at Hammersmith and West London College,” says John. “It was designed for single mothers and not only gave me the opportunity to be ribbed mercilessly by the women on the course but also to gain experience of inner city schools in West London.” Violin practice with Mrs Shakleton After completing a degree and subsequent Postgraduate because they are going to get a reward for it. Certificate in Education (PGCE) John began “The pupils are really engaged in what teaching Key Stage 2 in a Catholic Primary they are doing and how they can improve school in Kensington, eventually becoming themselves. It’s about developing a growth mindset - if they’ve done something good and Deputy Head. He completed an MA in English achieved something, where are they going next in Education through King’s College London and a National Professional Qualification and how can they get even better!” for Headship (NPQH). He spent five years as Deputy Head in a much larger, culturally School History diverse school in Harrow where, as well Ickford School was originally built in 1905/06 as teaching other year groups he gained and opened for 56 pupils in September 1906. It experience teaching in the Foundation Stage had just two classrooms and outside toilets, that and found the time to complete an MBA in were known as ‘sanitary offices’. School Leadership through the Institute of Prior to this, pupils were educated in a small Education. room adjacent to the Church of St Nicholas. A year as Director of the International In the late 1950s and early 1960s the school School of Monaco followed before John was expanded, a temporary classroom was returned to take up his current position as constructed and the playing field was purchased. headmaster at Ickford. He currently lives in A new teaching block of three classrooms was Chinnor and is ‘a passionate believer in the constructed in 1999 and a library extension was significance of early communication and added three years later, together with a new the need to inspire children with a love of playground. language and the freedom to be imaginative’. The purpose built Sports Hall, part-funded by the Visiting Ickford School is a thoroughly National Lottery, was opened in February 2006. uplifting experience. Of course there are not the inner city problems that some schools must John is originally from London. He came contend with in the wilds of Buckinghamshire to teaching late having grown up on a council but this kind of inspirational learning estate where such aspirations were unusual. environment does not simply happen. There “I think at the back of my mind I’d always had thoughts of being a teacher,” he says, “but is great vision, leadership, hard work and a lot if I’d suggested it to my peers while at school, of excellent teaching in play at Ickford and when these pupils look back they really will be I’d have been a laughing stock!” fondly remembering some of the best days of So John left school at 16 with a handful their lives. of O Levels and embarked on a career path that took him from labourer to landscape gardener, to horse stunt rider, to London Taxi l Ickford Combined School, Sheldon Road, driver, (yes he has ‘The Knowledge’) and then Ickford, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9HY. to University at the age of 30, harbouring an Tel: 01844 339261 unfulfilled desire to ‘make a difference’ and teach. Web: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15

Buckinghamshire University Technical College (Bucks UTC) is the impressive, new £10m state-of-the-art facility, located next to Aylesbury College, on Oxford Road, Aylesbury. It is an exciting new school for teens wishing to pursue specialist courses in construction or IT...


TCs are a new concept in education - a response to industry’s growing demand for well-educated, high calibre

technicians. Buckinghamshire UTC, at Aylesbury, offers 14-19 year olds the opportunity to take a highly regarded, full time, technicallyoriented course of study, specialising in either Construction or IT, for which the College combines hand and mind, to integrate national curriculum requirements with technical and practical elements. So alongside the usual GCSE/A levels, students study technical qualifications supporting their IT or Construction specialism. At the end of their course, they are armed with a strong set of both academic and technical exam results, giving them an advantage over their peers as they step into work, or further education. Bucks UTC brings together major local employers like Taylor Wimpey, Cisco, Esri UK and McAfee in equal partnership. They helped form the College’s curriculum and ensure Bucks UTC students gain valuable work-related learning, to improve their employability within the Construction and IT sectors. “Bucks UTC students not only learn technical skills, but from day one gain valuable exposure to industry and employers, through work experience, projects and placements,”

IT students working on a PC


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Bucks UTC students learn practical skills alongside academic work.

says Bucks UTC Principal Bev Flanagan, “so they are more used to and ready for the working world, than those from a regular school background. Our students will have an excellent understanding of their specialism and the career opportunities available and because they’ve had real experience of the workplace, know what is expected of them out in the working world. “Students should enjoy their time here, it’s a great environment, everybody works closely together. They’ll learn to work in a team, develop presentation skills and time management skills - all the things employers are looking for. “At the end of their time here our students will be ready for work, an apprenticeship, or university and their employability is much enhanced.” If you are aged between 14 and 19 and interested in Construction or IT, find out more about Bucks UTC and the chance to gain the right skills and motivational, workrelated learning experience to improve their employability, while studying for your GCSEs or A Levels. For more information about Bucks UTC or

Open Days: Drop-in Session every Tuesday Come along between 5pm and 6pm every Tuesday to have a look around the Bucks UTC and talk to a member of senior staff about what Bucks UTC can offer. We are NOT open on the following Tuesdays: February 17th, March 10th, March 31st, April 7th, May 26th, July 21st Taster Sessions for prospective students Wed, 18th February (during half term) Wed, 8th April (during Easter holidays) Sat 16th May and Sat 20th June Applications for Year 10 and Year 12 places are being accepted now for September 2015

to find out about upcoming events, Drop-in or Taster sessions see their website at: for details or call: 01296 388688 to make an appointment. l Buckinghamshire University Technical College (UTC), Oxford Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 8PB Telephone: 01296 388688 Email: Follow us on Twitter: @bucksutc Like us on Facebook: Bucks UTC

by Cathy Soughton

Chequers, Ellesborough


ost of us know that Chequers is the Prime Minister’s official country house residence but not so much is known about its interesting history. The Grade 1 listed house which sits near the bottom of Coombe Hill and is close to the village of Ellesborough was built in 1565 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 although it is believed to have replaced an earlier 12th century building. Although it’s obviously not open to the public, the ancient Ridgway path passes through the grounds providing a glimpse of the building. The name Chequers may have been named after the Chequers Trees (also known as Wild Service trees) which grow in the grounds but it is more likely that it took its name from the Scaccario family, members of whom were officials of the Court of Exchequer in the 12th and 13th centuries, Scaccario meaning Exchequer in Latin. A Scaccario heiress later married Sir William de Hauterive (a village in northern France) and the name Hauterive subsequently adapted to Hawtrey. Allegedly a Hawtrey ancestor had fought in the Battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror.

The Hawtreys lived at Chequers from the late 1200s where they were Lords of the Manor. In 1565 William Hawtrey commissioned the build of a new house although it is possible that it incorporated the remains of an earlier building. It was built in brick, a fashionable building material for wealthy Tudors, used notably to build Hampton Court Palace. William Hawtrey’s initials and the date 1565 appear on the north front of the house. One of the first ‘visitors’ to the new house was Lady Mary Grey, sister of the doomed Lady Jane Grey who reigned for 9 days in 1553 before being executed for treason on the orders of Queen Mary. Jane’s younger sisters later married without the consent of Queen Elizabeth and the Queen banished Mary to country house prisons, the first being Chequers in 1565 where she was confined for 2 years to a 12ft room and where her unanswered letters, begging Elizabeth for freedom, hang framed on the walls today. Chequers later passed to William Hawtrey’s daughter Bridget the wife of Sir Henry Croke. Their son Robert, a royalist and MP for Wendover had his estates confiscated during the Commonwealth under Oliver

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Cromwell, but Chequers was restored to him after Charles II became king. It subsequently passed by marriage to John Russell, a grandson of Oliver Cromwell and the house has a large collection of Cromwell memorabilia as a result. The Chequers estate remained in the hands of the Russell family for several generations. In the early 1800s it was remodelled in a Gothic style but in the late 19th and early 20th century it was restored to its Elizabethan style and the interior was revamped. In this period it was leased to a wealthy brewer Thomas Clutterbuck who adored the house so much that when he left in 1909 he had a similar house built in Bedfordshire. It was subsequently leased by an MP Arthur Hamilton Lee and his wife.

They purchased Chequers in 1912 after the last Russell descendant died. During World War 1 the house was used as a hospital and a convalescent home for officers. In 1917 the Lees gave the estate and the entire contents of the house in trust to the nation to be used as the official residence and retreat of British Prime Ministers, under the Chequers Estate Act 1917. The Lees left the property in 1921 and Lloyd George was the first Prime Minister to use Chequers as a residence. l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and house history research. Tel: 01296 624845 Email: Web:

A caring, personal and professional service when you need it the most Amersham • Aylesbury • Bletchley Buckingham • Wendover • Winslow Please call 01296 713 341 or visit for more details

Local family funeral directors

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

If you need a low cost storage solution, Vale of Aylesbury Housing might just have the answer. Read on to find out more about renting a garage and exciting goings on at Walton Court...


eed a low cost storage solution? Vale of Aylesbury Housing might just have the answer. Vale of Aylesbury Housing has garages available for rent to both residents and non-residents from just £9.59 to £20 per week (subject to certain criteria.) Karen Harley, Garage Manager says: “the majority of our garages are situated in Aylesbury, with many close to the town centre and railway station - so perfect if you work in London and need a place to store your car during the day. We also have a number of garages in the surrounding villages including, Haddenham, Winslow, Steeple Claydon and

your home. villages close to and including Buckingham.” “Using our garages as a low “Renting a Trust garage is cost storage solution provides ideal if you need a location you with a simple way to store that’s safe and secure to keep your items, have easy 24/7 access and store those items your car, conveniently park near your home, work or the securely - all for a small weekly cost.” train station; carry out your If you decide to rent a hobby - as long as it abides by our Garage Licence - or even garage with the Trust and you are not one of their existing store personal possessions, licensees, not only will your such as: Christmas Trust Garage Manager Karen Harley decorations, garden furniture, first month be completely free, but if you are one of their first or toys that your children do not want to part with but are cluttering up 50 new customers the Trust will supply and fit

Need a low cost storage solution? Rent a garage with Vale of Aylesbury Housing.

Vale of Aylesbury Housing (the Trust) has safe and secure garages available to rent in Aylesbury and the surrounding villages at very competitive prices.

A Trust garage is ideal for:

For as little as £9.59 per week one of our garages could be yours.

• a convenient parking space near your home, work or train station

You don’t need to be a Trust resident either.

• a place to carry out your hobby (certain criteria applies).

• additional storage space

2 36

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


One month’s FREE rental for all new customers.

• somewhere to keep your car

For more information visit our website or contact our Garage Team directly on or 01296 732600

Sign up today and get…

FREE Fitted Bulldog Surface Mounted Garage Lock for our first 50 customers. Existing garage customer? Recommend a friend, and we’ll give you one month’s free rental or a Bulldog Surface Mounted Garage Lock when they sign up.

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Santa’s reindeer spread Christmas cheer at Walton Court Centre

The Trust Garage Team, from left: Kim Moult, Steve Blahyj, Lucy Spangenberg, Sam Alder and Karen Harley a Bulldog Surface Mounted Garage Lock. If you are an existing garage tenant it is well worth ‘recommending a friend’, as when your friend signs up to rent one of the Vale of Aylesbury Housing garages, you will be given either one month’s rental free, or a Bulldog Surface Mounted Garage Lock. For more information or to rent a garage please visit the Trust’s website at: - or contact the garage team on: 01296 732600 or via email at: garages@ Who is the Trust garage team? “My role is a completely new one within the Trust and I am responsible for managing all of our garage stock throughout the Vale,” says Garage Manager Karen Harley, pictured left. “Since being in the post I have set up a

new team to support both myself and our residents, and non-residents, who rent garages from us, to ensure we are providing an excellent service. “My new team comprises of two advisors Lucy Spangenberg and Kim Moult; and two operatives Sam Alder and Steve Blahyj, all pictured above. “Over the past few months the team and I plus our Director of Housing and Community Services, Ian Silver, have visited all 2,000 of our garages to check their condition and refurbish those that are not up to Trust standard. “We’ve been working extremely hard to improve our garages so we can offer a new service at competitive prices; and also enhance the look and attractiveness of our sites and community.”

Vale of Aylesbury Housing CEO Matthew Applegate, left, with reindeer from Claydon Christmas Tree Farm in the reindeer pen at The Healthy Living Centre, Walton Court during this year’s Christmas event

Excited children pet the reindeer at the Walton Court Christmas event organised by Vale of Aylesbury Housing


hristmas came early to the Walton Court Centre (WCC), on 11th December, when two of Santa’s reindeer came to visit and spread Christmas cheer to all residents and visitors. Vale of Aylesbury Housing held its Christmas event at the newly renovated Healthy Living Centre (HLC) following its £600K refurbishment as part of the Walton Court Centre regeneration works. Guests were able to meet and feed two of Santa’s reindeer, which are currently residing at Claydon Christmas Tree Farm ahead of their seasonal duties. Guests also feasted on home-made festive treats provided by the HLC and were able to enter a free raffle to win some great prizes. Children had the opportunity to write and post their letters to Santa Claus and have a go at the Christmas lucky dip. Whilst there, guests took advantage of the new look HLC with its brand new facilities, its extensive menu of food made fresh on site in the HLC’s top of the range kitchen and the comfy seats, to soak up the Christmas magic.

l Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust, Fairfax House, 69 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2NJ Tel: 01296 732600 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15



Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Market Square stock sale


fter a break of more than 100 years, cattle and sheep returned to the centre of Winslow to be sold for auction in a special Christmas sale. The farming fraternity and the general public alike gathered in the market square to watch as more than 300 sheep and 20 halter led cattle were put on show in the town. It felt like a return to the good old days when livestock markets could be found in most market towns. Thame of course is still very fortunate to have its own livestock market, but the large Aylesbury market with two sale rings has long since gone and now the site is home to an open air car park and the Odeon cinema. More than 100 years ago the livestock market at Winslow moved from the market square to the nearby location of Wigley’s Yard which was still pretty central to the town, but that closed in 2007 and for several years the annual Christmas Prime Stock Show has been hosted by Thame Market

Livestock sale at Winslow

This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

at their Foscote site. But when Foscote ceased trading last spring, Winslow farmers decided to take control and host their own livestock show in the centre of town. Show secretary Pauline Claridge said: “Everyone kept saying it couldn’t be done, but we tried really hard to make it work. “We got all the relevant licences, no roads were closed and the shop keepers were very excited - they felt it livened up the town centre.” The show committee could not have hoped for a better day as the sun shone and the rain stayed well away, meaning the livestock pen area remained clean and tidy all day. The atmosphere amongst the crowd was genial and festive,


Sheep pens in Market Square



helped by copious amounts of mulled wine, mince pies and brownies being handed out free to all comers. Sheep farmer Richard Haynes, who lives just outside Winslow, is vice chairman of the show committee and said: “The night before the show 10 of us came into the market square at 5pm and spent three hours setting up the pens. We were back at 6.30am in the morning to start unloading the sheep and cattle.” The Supreme Champion was awarded to a 16-month-old Limousin x Blue steer owned by Mike Dickens and his family from Great Horwood. The beast was bought for £3,588 by The Bell


Hotel in Winslow and will feature on their January beef nights menu as sirloin and rump steaks. Mr Dickens’ wife Jean said: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant day, we wouldn’t have got a tenth of the people here if the show had been held in a market. And townspeople have been able to get close to the animals. A third of them have probably never been to a cattle or sheep auction before. It’s been brilliant, absolutely fantastic.” l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

and a farmer’s wife. You can follow her on Twitter @HJBjournalist. She and her husband sell their own award winning Terrick Beef and other local produce from their small farm shop in Terrick on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. See:






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l Column: Jonathan Vernon-Smith

Consumer Affairs For a One to One Service, with all your Taxation and Accounting needs provided for, contact us now for a Free Consultation. 01844 346099 Raymond Brett, FCA, FCCA, CTA Raymond Brett Associates Woodside, Westfields, Whiteleaf, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0LH

Award-winning BBC Three Counties presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith extends his Consumer Hour to report for Vale Life Magazine on consumer issues that could effect you...


t this time of year with the sherry flowing and the credit card making a frequent appearance, I always think it’s worth reminding ourselves of what we are and are not entitled to as consumers when it comes to Christmas presents. The first thing to consider is the returns policy of any company you purchase from. Many consumers wrongly believe they have the right to return nonfaulty goods to a retailer and that they are duty bound to give you a refund. Although many companies have their own ‘goodwill’ returns policies, consumer law does not provide for this. Therefore if you are purchasing a present for someone and are worried that they may want to change it, or in the case of clothing, that it may be the wrong size, always ask the retailer what they will allow after you’ve left with the goods. If you want clarification, ask to see their official returns policy. To save on embarrassment, NEVER buy clothes as a present from a company that does not accept nonfaulty returns. Please also bear in mind that even if the company DOES allow non-faulty returns, the present must be returned in re-saleable condition. Tearing of packaging, removal of tags etc can render a product nonreturnable so remember this when you’re excitedly tearing open those packages on Christmas day. Christmas presents purchased online have different rules that are worth bearing in mind. Consumers who purchase goods online are protected by ‘Distance Selling Regulations’. This entitles the buyer to return the goods within the first 14 days whether they are faulty or not. Check the postage rules in the terms and conditions for the company though as many companies will expect you to pay the cost of postage when returning non faulty goods. What about if the Christmas present you’ve been bought IS faulty? Well it’s worth remembering that

the sales of goods act remains the same, whether it’s Christmas or not. Therefore any product purchased must: a) Be fit for purpose b) Be of reasonable quality c) Last for a reasonable amount of time. The key to returning faulty products is not to delay. For the first 4 weeks after purchase buyers are entitled to return faulty goods and obtain a full refund. However, after this period of time, the retailer has greater rights. After 4 weeks, the retailer has to offer either: a) A repair of the product b) An exchange c) A refund Many people come to my radio show frustrated that they cannot get their money back on a 5 week old faulty item they’ve purchased. It’s with great reluctance I have to break the bad news to them that the retailer is entitled to a reasonable opportunity to repair goods when they are this old. It’s also worth remembering that there is no such thing as a 12 month cut off for a customer’s rights. Although a manufacturer’s guarantee may expire after 12 months, you are still well within your rights to return faulty goods for a ‘reasonable’ amount of time depending on how much you’ve spent on the goods in the first place. The final piece of advice I would offer is KEEP the receipt. Where non-faulty goods are concerned, without a receipt, companies are under no obligation to accept returns. With faulty goods, you will still have to prove the purchase which may be possible with a credit card bill or bank statement, but with a cash purchase will be impossible. Don’t risk it, just put the receipts for those presents in a safe place! l Listen to The JVS Show

weekday mornings from 9am on BBC Three Counties Radio: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Would you like to change your lifestyle for the better in 2015? Why not sign up to become healthier, happier and lighter, while pulling in the pounds to support local charity Rennie Grove Hospice Care...


limiting illnesses?” ennie Grove Hospice Care is offering 30 people The charity has partnered with the chance to make a true Everyone Active - Aqua Vale lifestyle change by joining Swimming & Fitness Centre in Aylesbury as well as gyms in High its 2015 Biggest Loser team. Wycombe and St Albans, for the The fundraising initiative, which is now in its third year, gives locals campaign. Participants will have free membership at their closest gym for the opportunity to ‘Get Healthy, Get Happy – For Life’ by being the full 18 weeks, including access sponsored to take part in an 18 week to all of its facilities, dedicated Biggest Loser exercise classes health and well-being programme. with personal trainers, and regular “If you’ve been trying to lead weigh-ins. They will also benefit a healthier lifestyle but have been from expert nutritional advice from struggling to motivate yourself, Kim Crundall of Balance Nutrition, this could be the programme you need,” says Ruth Proudfoot, Events helping to make a lasting change to their lifestyle. Fundraising Manager at Rennie Monthly BMI calculations will be Grove Hospice Care. “What recorded at Rennie Grove’s Tring better incentive than knowing that office supported by the charity’s your success will also make a huge Events11:39 team,Page and the difference to families facing the BL_ad_90x125_port:Layout 1 05/12/2014 1 individual who loses the highest percentage of body challenges of cancer and other life-

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

The Aylesbury team

fat in the 18 week period will be crowned the Biggest Loser 2015. “What’s fantastic about this campaign is that, although it’s a competition, there’s a real sense of camaraderie between the members of each gym”, says Ruth. “Everyone has the same goal, and the teams get behind each other and form friendships so that they actually look forward to the group gym sessions, which makes such a difference. “The Rennie Grove team are on hand to offer support and encouragement along the way too, and all of the Biggest Losers are invited to a celebration event at the end of the 18 weeks to thank them for their hard work. “We’ve also got some great prizes on offer as an added incentive, and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who has partnered with us to make this campaign possible.” The overall winner across all of the gyms will win an overnight stay for two at the luxury Sopwell House, St Albans, including breakfast and the use of spa facilities. The Biggest Loser from each of the three gyms will also win a year’s gym membership, as well as a complimentary professional makeover. Vale residents, for example, will have a facial kindly provided by Body & Soul, Aylesbury, a hair appointment at Red Carpet Hairdressing in Wendover, and a style consultation

from Melanie Wall at Styled by Mel. By taking part in the campaign, all participants pledge to raise at least £500 in sponsorship to help fund the services provided by Rennie Grove Hospice Care, and the highest overall fundraiser will win a spa day at Verulamium Spa, St Albans. “Everyone has different reasons for supporting Rennie Grove, and we recognise that the fundraising target may seem daunting, but we can provide you with all the help you need by giving you top tips along the way, creating a sponsorship form, setting you up a JustGiving page, and designing posters for any fundraising events you’d like to organise. “Fundraising doesn’t have to be boring - there are so many ways to support us and have fun at the same time. Last year’s participants raised more than £12,000 between them, through a variety of ways such as a quiz night, a bingo night, and even a sponsored wii-athon, so get creative!” If you’d like to be considered for a place on the Biggest Loser 2015 programme, you can find out more and download an application form from the website: The deadline for applications is Monday 12th January 2015. l Rennie Grove Hospice Care


Column: Anna Webb‘Barking blonde’

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Is your dog a sociable sort?


atching friends’ and family’s dogs during the festive period is quite an eye opener and could hint at the need for some doggy-based New Year’s resolutions. Many dogs spend Christmas shut away in the utility room or garage as they can’t cope well with visitors, the party spirit and food distractions. It’s easier to shut them away than working through their ‘issues’, training them to be able enjoy a party, and take situations in their stride. Molly copes well with the hustle and bustle of guests and new places – its ‘old hat’ for her. But for Dexter it isn’t. Although he’s nearly three years old, he hasn’t been socialized at all, unlike Molly. A well-socialized pooch will be used to meeting and greeting people calmly. They’ll have been taught how to settle on their bed or appropriate place. Relaxed in their ‘comfort zone’, they’ll stay calm, in control and there’s no chance of them stealing the turkey. I was at a New Year’s party when

Will your pet be happy to join the party this Christmas?

Anna Webb

Barking blonde

a friend’s dog sat in a corner, frozen with fear and panting aghast at the volume of humans in his house. He resisted the utility room, barking and thrusting himself at the door to get out. His usual out-going retriever like self became a stress head wreck. There’s no excuse to not socialise your dog. And might solve some doggy issues into 2015. It’s a great New Year’s resolution, and one I’ve made for Dexter, Molly’s Mini me. It took years to train Molly

to cope with trains, buses, entertaining, Radio studios and TV sets, with plenty of hiccups along the way, such as devouring a cheeseboard, eating her Christmas jumper, and de-facing a Christmas tree. At first ‘working through’ a new experience, like a visit to a dog friendly pub, is hard work. With patience, consistency and teamwork, the second and third time is easier as Fido understands the drill.

For Dexter my New Year’s resolution is to up the ante. He’s become a seasoned traveller on the Chiltern Line now and enjoys a bit of cake and the attention in The FlowerPot café at Long Crendon. But there’s still more training to be done - roll on 2015. l Combining a psychology degree with

‘Naturopathic Healthcare & Natural Nutrition’, Anna Webb offers doggy life-coaching, training, natural health and diet advice. Anna contributes expert advice on national radio and TV and co-writes a weekly blog for The Independent (Barking Blondes). Her book ‘Barking Blondes’ co-written with Joanne Good is out now (Hamlyn).

106xx out of the dog house a5 1pp 2 25/10/2013 10:40 Page 1

Out of the Doghouse Dog Listening

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Do you to give your puppy or rescue dog • jump upwant • pull on the lead• bark excessively the best possible start in your home? • display nervous, obsessive or aggressive behaviour Does your dog: bicycles or livestock • have issues with food • chase joggers, • jump up • destroy carpets or furniture when left alone? • pull on the lead

Dog Listening is a simple non-confrontational method, for all bark excessively dogs,• through which you can address undesirable behaviours • display nervous, obsessive or aggressive and build a rewarding relationship with your dog. behaviour • chase joggers, bicycles or livestock • destroy carpets or furniture when left alone • have issues with food? Dog Listening uses a simple non-confrontational method, suitable for all dogs, regardless of size, age or breed, through which you can address all undesirable behaviours and build a rewarding relationship with your dog.

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One of the country’s leading Behaviourists, Handlers and Instructors All elements of Dog Education covered and much, much more!

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

The Sleep Edition

We spend around a third of our life asleep, the quality of which is directly linked to our wellbeing, so it makes sense to invest time in creating the perfect space. Recover from the party season in sumptuous slumber with Polly’s easy guide to a restful retreat... Hotel Chic - The White Company

Polly Gibbs

Step inside

Polly Gibbs, Creative Director at Coco Design, shares her down to earth approach to interiors, from design secrets to trends and everything in between. which you should consider replacing every two to four years. Pop feather/down pillows in the tumble dryer for ten minutes every week to air and kill dust mites.


hether you are waking up or going to sleep, the bedroom should be a haven of calm. Somewhere you enjoy being, that’s free from clutter and disharmony. 1. Get Comfortable One of the quickest ways to improve your sleep is to choose the right pillow for your primary sleeping position. Old, saggy pillows or simply the wrong support can result in disturbed sleep or neck ache, making the filling of your new pillow key. Look at the ratio of feather to down - as a general rule the higher the feather content the firmer the support (and cheaper the pillow). If you sleep on your back or front try a single soft down filled pillow, whilst side sleepers should consider two pillows, perhaps a medium/ firm feather base, to keep the spine aligned, with a softer down pillow on top. For the best of both worlds take a look at The White


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

2. Floating On A Cloud I recently invested in a goose down duvet and can honestly say it is like sleeping under a fluffy cloud. The clusters give warmth without weighing down uncomfortably on your feet, in fact it is so light it felt a little alien and unsubstantial at first, that is until I drifted off into the best nights sleep. Duck/European down is lovely, but do consider goose down Company’s clever ‘surround pillow’, which has a firm core with a soft surround (From £65 - £250, For the ultimate luxury invest in goose down, or a mulberry silk filled pillow. If you wake feeling weezy it could be caused by an allergy to dust mites. Take a look at breathable microfibre featuring modal to regulate body temperature and wick away moisture. Hollowfibre and memoryfoam are also good options, as is the John Lewis ‘So Soft’ range, which has a latex filling with builtin airflow tunnels to keep your head and neck cool and comfortable (£60, www.johnlewis. com). Tips: Expect to pay from £20-£250 for a good quality pillow. Do avoid cheaper pillows that will go lumpy quickly. Square pillows (65x65cm) are becoming very popular, particularly for reading in bed. Use pillow protectors to prolong the life of your pillows,

Hotel Chic - The White Company

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Charles Huntington Flooring

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

and groundbreaking, this duvet is perfect for allergy sufferers who prefer the feel of natural down. It doesn’t contain any optical white, formaldehyde or perfumen that can affect airways and allergies. Filled with large, soft clusters of down from ducks that live in the Pyrenees, it is encased in a luxurious cotton case that is down-proofed to seal in the natural filling. Tip: Expect to pay from £50£1,000 for a good quality duvet.

•Expert Advice Loft design byFitting •Professional Coco Design •Very Competitive temperature should 0.5 degree and forbeResidential lower at night toCommercial sleep comfortably. work Many companies offer an ‘alltoWhite suit all seasons’ duvet,•Carpets including The Company whoseBudgets summer and autumn tog duvets can be buttoned •Free Quotes together for the coldest winter •No months, and they offerObligation a ten year guarantee with their duvets. •Free Parking

sourced from colder climes like Siberia, Hungary or Canada if you can, as these geese have larger, lighter, yet more insulating clusters. Look at the ‘Fill Power’ to determine how ‘fluffy’ or ‘lofty’ the down is. The higher the fill power the larger the down cluster, resulting in a softer, warmer and Hypoallergenic options include longer lasting duvet. Tog ratings silk, hollowfibre and microfibre or indicate the warmth of a duvet, usually from 3.5-13 tog, the higher my favourite; the Pyrenean duck CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS down range from John Lewis the number the warmer it will be. SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING (From £180-£300). InnovativeTAPES It’s worth noting that our body

Pop a flat sheet between you and the duvet and change this more often than the duvet cover - particularly useful in the guest bedroom. Add a quality topper in either wool or down to your mattress to sink into marshmallow-like cosiness - I promise you won’t regret it. 3. The Bedlinen Low Down There are three things to consider when choosing bedlinen (aside from pattern and colour): Continued on page 43

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Commercial work •Carpets tofamily suitteam. all Budgets •Carpets to suit all •Carpets to suit all the commitment of our Budgets •Carpets to suit all Budgets Budgets •Free Quotes • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS Budgets Oxfordshire • Buckinghamshire • •Free Quotes exceptionallyCARPETS •Free Quotes •Free Quotes •No Obligation Hertfordshire • Berkshire • and beyond •Free Quotes •No SAFETY FLOORING • •No WOOD • BINDING TAPES •No Obligation Obligation •FreeObligation Parking •No Obligation •Free Parking Contact us to book your free home •Free Parking •Free Parking •Free Parking survey or to visit our showroom to see


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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


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Continued from page 41 a) thread-count – this refers to the number of threads per square inch, but a common misconception is that the higher the thread-count the better the bedlinen. In fact, the quality of the yarn determines its quality, with finer yarns being softer on the skin. Egyptian cotton is widely regarded as one of the finest yarns. b) Materials – choose from 100% cotton (crisp & matt), natural linen (romantic and wonderfully worn looking) or sateen (softer and warmer with a slight sheen), which are perfect for sleeping in, c) The weave refers to the structure of the fabric, for example a Percale cotton has one thread over, one under, while a sateen has four over and under weave. Tips: If you overheat at night try a cotton percale or linen, both are breathable with a cooler feel. Sateen is warmer, with Flannel and Supima

Step inside by Polly Gibbs Hotel Blanco, Formentera

cotton offering a toasty cosiness for winter or those who feel the cold. Note that percale is harder to iron than sateen! Easy-care options are available, with a polycotton content that requires little or no ironing. 4. Style Tips Hotel Chic - a very popular look that’s easy to replicate. Team white Egyptian cotton percale sheets and duvet covers with sumptuous pillows and cushions, a statement throw, high headboard, chunky bedside lamps and you’re there. Chillout Chic - if laid back living is more your style, go for easy care bedlinen that needs little



or no ironing. Fitted sheets are also a winner because they’re quick to change and I really like H&M’s washed linen duvet sets, available in light or dark grey, white and beige (From £59.99, Have fun adding personality with layers of textured throws, faux fur, and scatterings of cushions for a cosy, cocooning feel. Zara Home have a lovely Raised Flower Design Decorative Quilt in grey (from £109), a Striped Flannel Bedspread and their Embroidered Denim Decorative Quilt is bang on trend (both from £79.99, www.zarahome. com/gb/en) Tip: I’m a big fan of pendent lights suspended over bedside tables, not only do they look cool they free up space for your favourite books and photos. There’s lots of choice at the moment and I particularly like the choice and value BHS offer. Take a look at the Teo 1 Pendant (£45) and Smoke Lily Round Pendant (£90,

l Polly Gibbs is an interior turned homeware designer based in Oxfordshire. Her designs, trend

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

HM Linen (H&M Home)

forecasts and expert advice have graced the pages of many a publication, whilst the simplicity of her homeware range delights designers and design lovers alike. Twitter: @coco_design






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by Charlotte Bolton

Fresh start Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Charlotte Bolton

The festive season can take its toll on our homes with kitchens on the frontline, battling heavy usage and a bombardment of clutter. Why not start the New Year with a kitchen clean up, de-clutter or even a redesign...


ntertaining over Christmas often means your Kitchen/Dining area ends up being one of the busiest parts of the house, with family clutter and mess building up everywhere - it’s already surrounding me while I write this and it’s only early December! If you’re dying to spruce up this area and reclaim your kitchen for yourself again (once your guests have gone of course!) get off on the right foot in 2015 with these useful kitchen resolutions for a calm, clutter-free and stylish space... DE-CLUTTER IT... Check out your local tip’s opening times and take all your Christmas plastic, paper and cardboard waste to be recycled as soon as you have can. Empty, wash and put back the contents of all your crockery/cutlery cupboards, recycling

Organisation is the key!

Clean and clutter free - how lovely! anything you don’t use or need anymore you’ll feel better already! Check out what’s under your kitchen sink - you’ll be amazed at the half-used (or even empty) bottles of cleaning products. Sort the half used ones into a group and use first before buying new ones. Spend five minutes matching up plastic containers (useful for packed lunches or snacks on-the-go) to their right lids, binning/ recycling any odds and sods you can’t match up or don’t use anymore. Sort through your dishcloths and tea towels putting discoloured ones away in a bag ready to deal with messy leaks and cleaning emergencies. ORGANISE IT... Do a spring clean using your dishwasher (just avoid really delicate things). Fill with vases, bowls, toothbrush holders, the detergent drawer from your washing machine, and even the dustpan (not the brush). Set at its lowest temperature, wash and relax! Re-organise your kitchen cupboards and drawers by inserting boxes/organisers with sections, helping keep bottles, utensils and other items in their place


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

On a health kick for 2015? Top up jars with guilt-free treats, such as herbal tea bags and sweet dried fruit and leave on display. You’re more likely to reach for these than naughty snacks if you can see them easily Sort out the pile of takeaway menus and other leaflets that you’ve let accumulate. Pop the ones you use in a nice new folder (and the takeaway menus you don’t want to see in a hard-to-get-to drawer!!) Make 2015 the year you STOP hoarding and using unnecessary carrier bags (creating even more clutter). Next time you’re going out food shopping don’t leave home without your growing collection of fabric shopping bags-for-life! Check out your plate and glass situation post Christmas. Is there any damage or pieces you need to replace? Head to the sales and bag a bargain or two STYLE IT... Have you too much on show? Open shelves are great for showing off well-loved treasures, but some things, such as food mixers, are best kept out of sight, so check what you’ve got on display to keep your area as ‘streamlined’ and ‘fresh’ as possible

Photographs by David Parmiter Photography (

of storage space, create a relaxed and functional look that is right on trend by attaching cup hooks under shelving in your kitchen. Use for hanging favourite mugs, jugs, wellloved pans and must-have utensils. Or why not buy a ceiling rack?

Add a touch of style and a splash of colour

l Charlotte Bolton is a locally-based interiors writer/stylist who writes for some of the UK’s best selling homes magazines such as Ideal Home, House Beautiful, Style at Home, Your Home and Beautiful Kitchens. She writes about projects real people have completed in their own home, whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom or whole house

Photograph by David Parmiter Photography (

Revamp your kitchen with funky coloured accessories such as tea towels, dish cloths and candles in shades to complement your scheme for an inexpensive style update Add instant style and colour to your kitchen/dining area with vases of fresh flowers in bold colours to highlight your scheme Use a jug in pretty accent colours to store utensils whether on a kitchen worktop or shelf for

a decorative touch. Shine stainless steel taps and appliances with an E-cloth for a brilliant sheen. The extra light will bounce around the room creating a feeling of space Hoarding clean jam jars? Then do something with them, like turning them into glam tea light holders by tying ribbon around their tops for individual style If you’re styling a smaller area which doesn’t have a huge amount

transformation. If you have a project you’d like to tell her about (and see it featured in the pages of a national magazine) Charlotte would love to hear from you! These don’t have to be grand designs - it’s about style and individual flair – so whether you are thinking of spending £50, or £50,000 on a fabulous transformation, get in touch! “I’m interested in real people, real families and how you live in your real home,” says Charlotte. “See: to see some homes I’ve written about. To get in touch, email me at:”.

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Don’t be dozy! Wake up to the fantastic savings on beds, mattresses, bedroom furniture and bedding available at Crendon Beds and Furniture. The local company has an outlet warehouse and several showrooms of stunning bedroom displays tucked away in Thame...


ypnos beds are known as the ultimate in bedtime luxury. They are manufactured in Princes Risborough and Crendon Beds and Furniture at Thame are the sole suppliers of Hypnos ex-showroom, photoshoot and exhibition models for the southern UK region, which they supply at clearance outlet prices. Their stock changes daily, so if you are looking for a great deal on one of these premium beds it’s well worth giving Crendon Beds & Furniture a call, or popping in to see their showrooms at Thame, where you can also peruse a wide range of new beds and mattresses by well-known companies such as: Staples, Dunlopillo, Myers, Slumberland, Wiemann and Sweet Dreams and also a huge range of fabulous bedroom furniture by companies such as: Forte, Birlea, Sweet Dreams, TCH, Wiemann and their own Crendon Furniture range. Crendon Beds and Furniture is owned and run by Sean Munro. He started in the bed business as a sideline with a friend back in February 2010 as K&S Furniture. At that time they were based on The Crendon Industrial Estate and so when Sean decided to go full time and set up his own company a year later trading in beds and bedroom furniture, the name Crendon Furniture seemed appropriate. In March 2014 the company moved to larger premises in Thame and have been making good use of the extra space setting up showrooms for some of their lines. They still have plenty of warehouse space though, so if you can’t find a mattress you like on display,

Above - Kensington Bedroom Set (flat pack): Contemporary style bedroom furniture in Magnolia gloss (Also available in rustic oak). Set Includes: 1x King Size Bed Frame (no mattress) with LED-Flex Lights; Angled feet in chrome; Headboard with trims; Footboard; 2x 3 Drawer Bedside Chests; 1x 4 Drawer Wide Chest (self closing mechanism and buffering); 1x 6 Door 6 Drawer Combination Wardrobe with bi-fold-panorama doors (2 adjustable shelves, 1 clothes rail); Passe-partout frame with Power LED lighting (6 lights). Total cost £2,499. .

just ask and they may be able to suggest an alternative from the stockroom. “We started with Hypnos and we’ve expanded the range but tried to keep the quality comparable,” says Sean, “so we aim to stock the best suppliers for any particular price range. “We outgrew our last place and we are filling this one up fast. We are still a small local company though and pride ourselves on offering really good, personal customer service. We also take a pride in stocking excellent quality items and in being very competitive on prices. Our prices are always low, you don’t have to wait for special sale offers. “We have a small team here, so when you call up you will deal with myself, my office manager Saskia or Sales and Marketing assistant Margaret, while Paul looks after the warehouse and deliveries. “We have ready-made bedroom furniture, which comes fully assembled and flat-pack options, which generally cost less and are easy

enough to assemble yourself,” says Sean. “We have some really good deals. You can buy a complete bedroom set from £500 good quality, sturdy units with LED lights, two bedside tables, chest of drawers and a wardrobe, made by Polish firm Forte. The set is available in a variety of finishes from natural wood to high gloss ranging from around £500-£600. “German firm Wiemann offer excellent quality at very good prices for a whole set of bedroom furniture, but items can all be bought individually too. The units are freestanding and come in so many different sizes, there’s a combination to fit most rooms. “We have tried to stock ranges for all budgets and tastes, from top quality ready assembled solid wood, to flat pack laminates and styles from traditional wood, to shabby chic, painted wood and contemporary high gloss. “Our basic beds are from around £250£300 for a base and mattress up to around £2,000 thousand for a premium Staples or

Left - Night Racer Bedroom Set: Car bed frame, petrol pump cabinet, 4 drawer chest, bedside cabinet, toybox, bed linen and Hypnos Single Mattress! Available in Red and Blue. Only £549.99 50

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Hypnos bed, which would generally retail for much more. “Divan bases are always in stock, with or without drawers, sprung or hard top and we also have wooden beds, storage beds, guest beds and a range of headboards. We supply the whole Staples range, which is a really good brand - top quality, they supply to the royal households as do Hypnos! “We have a good range of mattresses, and a selection of pillows, duvets, duvet covers, sheets, mattress toppers, mattress protectors and bolsters too. “We don’t do Memory Foam mattresses as many people find them too hot, but we have latex mattresses by Dunlopillo which are very similar in their support but cooler to sleep on. Many of our mattresses are high quality handmade mattresses with natural fillings and we also have a range of great value budget mattresses too. “Customers are welcome to come down for a look. It’s a good idea to phone first though, so we can make sure there is someone available to advise and at weekends viewing is by appointment only. Beds can generally be taken away immediately on purchase if you have a suitable vehicle, or we can deliver. “Beds and furniture can be ordered online but a lot of people prefer to come in and

actually try out a few beds and mattresses before making a decision. “Our Hypnos stock is constantly changing, so you won’t find it on our website - it’s best to come in, or sign up for our newsletter, which has the latest offers. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook or shop via our Ebay store.” What started as a sideline for Sean is now a successful business: “It’s all about finding out what the customer wants and understanding the products,” he says. “It’s not just about selling, we give the customer as much help and advice as they would like, as we want them to be happy with their purchase.” Crendon Beds and Furniture also provides a collection and recycling service for mattresses,

bed bases and upholstered and wood furniture, which makes for a low cost, green and responsible alternative to landfill. The mattresses are taken to a special plant in Nottingham where they are dismantled and the parts used as a source of recycled raw materials and fuel for other industries. There is a small charge for this service of around £30 for a mattress and base, call for a quote. l Crendon Beds & Furniture, 8 Jefferson Way, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3SZ Tel: 01844 358064 Fax: 01844 212836 Email: Web: Open: Mon-Thur, 9am-5pm, Fridays 9am-3pm Weekends by appointment, phone to book.

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014/15


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01865 361505 Featured stoves from JØtul 2 52

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

A little winter cheer T

Sarcacocca: picture courtesy of RHS

Telephone: 01844 208401 Mobile: 07732 329118 Email: Website:

his is the time of year when our homes are looking all festive and sparkly - but take a peek outside into the back garden and it appears doubly dull in comparison. So if you can find any plants that will bring a little winter cheer to your plot, I reckon you should make the most of them. A fragrant plant for the garden at this time of year is Sarcococca, an evergreen shrub, which is also known as ‘Sweet Box’ or ‘Christmas box’. It has delicate flowers that will continue to bloom over winter and into early spring, bringing a scent of vanilla wherever you plant it - my best bet would be near the front door or path, so that all your visitors over the holidays get to enjoy it too. Plant it alongside cyclamen and hellebores in borders or containers. It also rewards with red and black berries once it has finished flowering - it is truly the gift that keeps on giving! RHS AGM varieties include:

Sarcococca Confusa; Sarcococca Hookeriana Digyna Purple Stem; Sarcococca Hookeriana Hookeriana Ghorepani; and Sarcococca Ruscifolia Chinensis Dragon Gate Another plant that really says Christmas is the Poinsettia. Now things have moved on from the days when they were plants you gave to your old aunt for Christmas. With different varieties on offer, you don’t even have to stick to the traditional red - look for pink or cream plants to complement your own colour schemes. Or how about ‘Red Glitter’ - red bracts speckled with cream splashes? Take a look at these lovely Christmas designs for inspiration and do log on to: where you’ll find all kinds of contemporary design ideas for the much maligned Poinsettia. If you do give a home to a Poinsettia or two over the holidays, Continued on page 54


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01296 821861 or 07773 779235 | Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Continued from page 53 here’s how to keep them healthy for much longer: 1) Keep in a warm, bright spot at around 20 degrees C. They don’t mind being close to a radiator but keep away from direct sunlight and draughts. 2) They hate to be overwatered - don’t leave in a saucer of water. Give them lukewarm water when the soil feels almost dry. 3) Don’t fertilise during its flowering period. Then you can fertilise monthly. Keep in darkness for at least 12 hours a day for several weeks and your poinsettia

should reward you with a colourful show for years. Last-minute gift ideas We gardeners love a useful gift for Christmas, and the one thing I always lose/ruin are gardening gloves. In the summer when the soil is dry and the air is warm, I’m not too fussed about gloves, unless I’m battling stinging nettles or something prickly, but in the spring when we’re busy getting the garden ready for a new growing season they’re an essential. And I really like Briers gloves - especially these gauntlets, that protect your forearms from thorns and stings. They are part of a new range

Briers Hampton gardening gauntlets in use at Hampton Court that is supporting the Historic Royal Palaces charity and there are three designs: Royal Crown, Baroque and Tudor Rose - inspired by the architecture, gardens and collections and capturing the magnificence and historic importance of the five palaces including Hampton Court Palace. The designs appear on many of Briers’ most popular products including rubber boots, rubber clogs, kneelers, Profession‘elle’ gloves and Gauntlet gloves. New Briers products, such as the cotton bags, twin pack secateurs, umbrellas and a fork and trowel set, are also available with the Historic Royal Palaces designs. You’ll find

Cream Poinsettia arrangement

Poinsettia arrangement by florist Neill Strain

them in local garden centres, B&Q and Wilkinsons. And for anyone who doesn’t wear gardening gloves, a tin of O’Keeffe’s Working Hands hand cream would make an ideal stocking filler. The makers say that the cream pulls water in rather than repelling it so that chapped and cracked hands get the moisture and hydration they need to get better. Perfect for gardeners who constantly have dirty hands and could risk infection with chapped and cracked skin. £7.99 from garden centres and DIY stores. Finally - if you find it hard to buy for the cricket fan in your life - and you’re not on a budget - how about a classic Lord’s bench or Old Father Time clock tower, to bring a piece of the iconic cricket ground to your garden? Scotts of Thrapston sells the bench in two sizes - the three-seat version retails at £1,200 with the larger four-seat version available at £1,500, both including delivery within 150 miles of Thrapston in Northants. The Lord’s Clock Tower starts


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Lord’s Bench from £3,000. Ideal for existing outbuilding. More details at www. l Naomi Mackay is a freelance journalist. She also offers a blogging service for small businesses that

don’t have the time to run both their business and their social media and online presence as well. Readers of Vale life can also get a 10 per cent discount on the blogging service. Please email: naomimackay@gmail. com to find out more

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• Reclaimed bricks (over 100,000) • Handmade Imperial new bricks

Ample FREE customer parking

OPEN: Monday to Thursday 8.00am - 5.00pm Friday 8.00am - 6.00pm Saturday 8.00am - 5.00pm Closed SundayOther branches at: Buckingham, Chesham, Daventry, Great Dunmow and Leighton Buzzard

Serving customers since 1830

SAME DAY SKIP HIRE & GRAB SERVICE Providing skips in your area since 1997

• York Stone 300 sq yds • Railway sleepers • Roof tiles inc. Pegs, Tilehurst etc. • Roof slates 20/10, 18/10 etc. • 130 ton of setts ...& much more!



edits (bricks, sl tiles etc) may cove ate, r the cost of the demo litio Call for a quotatio n. n

Huge stock of stunning hand crafted bricks

Please call us with your requirements or arrange an appointment to view the current catalogue at our 32,000 sq ft undercover yard in Winslow. Addington Business Park, Verney Road, Nr Winslow, Bucks MK18 2JX

We recycle over 95% of waste Call: 01296 651678

Licensed by The Environment Agency EPR/BB3634RA Licensed Waste Carrier CB/YE5439CV

07768 155771 |

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

This isn’t Baker Street, a Waterloo Sunset, or even East End Boys and West End Girls. K West is a bit rock’n’roll though, and I like it...

K West Hotel & Spa in Shepherd’s Bush


West Hotel & Spa describes itself as an ‘edgy urban retreat, where rock’n’roll swagger meets city cool’ and they’re not wrong! K West is a funky, modern option if you need a handy location for an overnight stay or weekend in town. It’s just off Shepherd’s Bush Green, five minutes walk from Westfield, Europe’s largest shopping mall and only a few stops on the tube from Oxford Circus. The four star hotel is small enough to feel friendly and personal but large enough to offer the comforts and services you want from a modern hotel. There’s a sophisticated bar, a stylish restaurant, helpful, friendly and efficient staff, lovely rooms and a fabulous spa in the basement. They’ve even got a rather cool library in which to relax away from the hustle and bustle of reception, which boasts a smart bar area peopled by a cosmopolitan mix of tourists, locals and business types, meeting, moving and shaking as city types do - Porn Star Martini anyone? For a modern building this hotel has an interesting history - it used to be the BBC recording studios and consequently you are walking the same corridors as musical greats such as Bob Marley and The Kinks. K West prides itself on this musical heritage and if you want to wear your shades indoors, or borrow one of their complimentary airguitars you’re welcome - you probably won’t be alone. The bedrooms certainly give you the rock star treatment, they are large with huge beds and are very comfortable. There’s funky feature wallpaper, cool artwork and drapes and soft, cosy bedding (with feather pillows on demand). Thoughtful extras include a hot drinks station, ironing board and iron, trouser


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Executive double

Studio Bar & Kitchen

press and a powerful hairdryer in all rooms. There’s a large TV with a huge range of channels to choose from, plus internet access and wifi in every room, plus ice machines on every floor. Down in the basement the state of the art fitness and spa facilities offer everything from piloxing to hypnotherapy. While K Fit is decked out with cutting edge Startrac cardiovascular and resistance equipment and runs a range of exercise classes, we headed for K Spa, a subterranean paradise, where they say ‘a sensual journey awaits’. We decided against the purifying sensation of the Snow Paradise - extreme changes of temperature from sweltering heat to arctic ice, designed to get your circulation pumping and boost your immune system, but had a thoroughly enjoyable and gorgeously relaxing candlelight back massage and dry flotation for two. The therapist really was excellent and we literally floated back upstairs to our room afterwards! The Spa is available to


non-residents as well as hotel guests and well worth a visit. The restaurant or Studio Bar and Kitchen serves a modern, unpretentious mix of tasty steaks, burgers, salads, grills and sandwiches at reasonable prices. We only had breakfast there, which was nice, so I can’t comment on the rest of the menu but the place was relaxed and comfortable and did seem very popular. Rates at K West vary depending on room size and demand but there are currently deals on their website at around £150 for a double, which seems pretty good and some great value spa breaks and weekend packages too. Go on, put a little rock’n’roll back in your life, you know you want to. l K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX Tel: 020 8008 6600 Email: for reservation for spa for general enquiries

Come along to our Coffee Morning and meet an Insight Travel Expert. Discover how our unique Signature Events will bring your holiday to life. Choose from over 150 premium and luxury escorted journeys across Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, North America, India and Morocco. Date: 06 February 2015 Time: 9:30am - 12pm


Venue: 11 Market Square, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 1TJ RSVP your name(s) to: Telephone: 01296 873017

Win tickets to The London Cruise Show


he 7th annual London CRUISE Show takes place at Olympia from 14th-15th February 2015. As Europe’s leading cruise event, The London Cruise Show brings together the largest collection of major cruise lines and specialist operators all under one roof for one weekend in February. Whether you’re looking for a oncein-a-lifetime expedition cruise to a far-flung destination, a sumptuous ultra-luxury voyage, maybe a relaxing cultural river cruise or a tropical family holiday with lots to entertain all ages, you need to know you have gathered all of the information to make the best choice, and gain a brilliant offer when booking. The London CRUISE Show was created to help you do just that and will provide you with everything you need to make this dream a reality. At the event you can enjoy exclusive money-saving cruise offers and upgrades, be inspired by the informative free talks, gain essential expert advice that you won’t find in the brochure and hear directly from the cruise lines about what’s new for

Sydney, Australia

Orion, Vietnam

2015/2016. So, if you’re completely new to cruising and intrigued to discover what it’s all about, or you’re a seasoned cruiser wanting inspiration for your next adventure, then make sure you don’t miss The London CRUISE Show at Olympia on 14-15 February. For more show information, talk timetables and a full exhibitors list visit Vale Life has teamed up with the

London CRUISE Show organisers to give 3 lucky people the chance to win a pair of tickets to the show! Simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: At which London venue is The CRUISE Show taking place? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by January 25th, 2015.

Vale Life reader ticket offer: The London CRUISE Show is also kindly offering Vale Life readers a reduced price on advance tickets to the show! Buy your tickets for only £4 (that’s saving £6 off the door price!!) by quoting ‘VALELIFE’ when booking tickets online at www.cruisingshow. com or when calling 0871 620 4024. (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras). l Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Paul Adams Curvature crisis C

Paul Adams

Turn it up! Our music page columnist is Paul Adams. Paul is an experienced musician and performer who can regularly be seen in venues across our area. Paul is a presenter for Thame internet station, Radio Blackfrog, runs DreamChaser Entertainment and is involved in many local projects, including the highly anticipated movie – Aylesbury Dead (see article, right). Contact Paul with local gigs and music news at: Add gigs to our website what’s on diary at:

Live Music Christmas Eve: Tess and The D’Urbervilles, 8pm, Aristocrat, Aylesbury. Restless Wilf, The Buckingham Arms, Linslade. Gary Allen, 9pm, The Eagle, Amersham Saturday 27th December: Nick Stevenson, 8.30pm, The King’s Head, Haddenham. Wednesday, 31st December: Guess Work, The Broad Leys, Aylesbury. The Observers, Shoot Pool, Aylesbury. Paul Adams, The King’s Head, Aylesbury. Restless Wilf, The Rising Sun, Haddenham. The Scoundrels, The George & Dragon, Princes Risborough. Andrea Papa, The Eight Bells, Long Crendon. Thursday 8th January: Son Maxwell’s Shuffle Pack, Tring Park Cricket Club, Tring. Friday 9th January: Three Bar Fire, The Unicorn, Leighton Buzzard. Saturday 17th January: Doghouse, The Falcon, Thame. Saturday 24th January: The Dung Beatles, The King and Queen, Wendover.


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

urvature are a local femalefronted Goth metal band that have been in existence for the past four years and successfully performing the hell out of their chosen genre all across the Vale. Curvature are attached to the Ravenheart Records label in the Midlands. Joining original members, Matt, Michael and Dave are Alice on keys and Millie on lead vocals. They were due to showcase

their new line-up and material in a popular local music venue, however it sadly had to close so, the band are looking for an alternative place to perform – at the end of January 2015. If you can help, or you know someone that can please email – and don’t forget to mention this article. Matt promises me a drink for each email received - though knowing Matt, it’s likely to be water!

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Curvature vocalist Millie

Write a zombie movie track


ver the past year Teleport Films and DreamChaser Entertainment have been working hard on the long awaited Aylesbury Dead movie and we have just completed principal photography. Already some important people within the industry are taking notice. More on this another time. For those of you who are unaware of the project - where have you been? The story centres around a fictional zombie apocalypse, featuring local people and local places. Now it’s time to add the final ingredient - local music! If you have composed a song or if you know someone who has - that you feel would be a great inclusion for the movie, please email a link to the track, and some details about you to paul@ If your song is chosen, it will feature as part of the soundtrack. Please do not

be concerned with the quality of the recording, the quality of your

writing will shine through. Be a part of Aylesbury history!

Savour some new sounds for Christmas Skasouls UK, as most followers of the local music scene know, are a huge band and not just in number. Their pulling power is so big that they managed to pack out the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury last year and wowed one of the largest Hobble on The Cobbles crowds in the summer of this year! A popular covers band, these two-toners have decided to release original material, and just in time for Christmas, too, with the aptly titled ‘It’s Christmas Time Again’. Proceeds of the single are going to charity and you can hear all about that in our radio interview on

the Sunday Night Live show on catch-up. The single is now available to download from iTunes. Everyone has had a ‘blue’ Christmas and I am no exception. So what should you do? Well you can do what I did, write a song about it. Check out my festive misery – ‘Don’t Feel Like Christmas’ at iTunes, Amazon, Google Play or even stream it on Spotify. If you still aren’t miserable enough then download my latest album ‘20 Odd Years part one - 21st Century’ – that ought to do the trick!

Selling like hot cakes in the run-up to Christmas is the wonderful instrumental album ‘Midnight Snow’. This is a fresh take on traditional Christmas carols and songs, played, in perfect harmony, by two brilliant, local, acoustic guitarists - Danny Prendergast and Jerry Playle. Also featured is star sax player Butch Thomas, who has played with top names such as the late Jaco Pastorius, Lenny Kravitz, Sting and a host of others. ‘Midnight Snow’ is available as a CD at Aylesbury Music in Temple Street, Aylesbury, at a special price of £8.

New tutor for XYZ XYZ Music Academy has expanded its curriculum once again and now offers additional tuition in keyboards and violin with new tutor Ruari...


YZ Music Academy offers both individual and group tuition in guitar, keyboards, drums and now violin too. The spacious XYZ facilities at Westcott, near Waddesdon, include classrooms, studios and

rehearsal and live space with options for recording and videoing performances. The Academy is run by brothers Duncan and Michael Lee, who are experienced music professionals and teachers. In addition to classes, XYZ stages workshops and courses

Ruari offers tuition in keyboards and violin at XYZ Music Academy


that encourage playing in groups and writing original material plus options to improve technique, learn musical theory and take grade exams, catering for beginners to accomplished players. The brothers are now joined by Ruari who is an experienced classroom and 1-2-1 tutor. He is fully CRB checked and has been playing piano and violin for over 15 years and is Grade 8 standard. Ruari is currently teaching at XYZ on Thursdays but is looking to expand to Wednesdays and Tuesdays as his student base grows. If you would like a FREE, no obligation, taster lesson in keyboards or violin with Ruari, or

on guitar or drums with Michael or Duncan and the chance to meet the tutors and have a look around the XYZ facilities, contact XYZ Music Academy as below: l XYZ Music Academy, Building 14 Westcott Venture Park, Westcott, Bucks, HP18 0XB T: 01296 655929 / 07708 733288 E: W:

Christmas gifts from XYZ Buy the musician in your life an XYZ Voucher for a combination of XYZ Academy lessons and goodies - call, email, or see website for details: XYZ plectrums, T-Shirts, drumsticks, beanies, caps and more available...

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

There’s a cracking mix of musicals, bands, drama, dance, light entertainment and cutting edge theatre lined up for Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre in 2015. Read on for a taste and then check out the website or pop in for a brochure, so you can get your tickets early and enjoy a top quality night out...


f your New Year’s resolution is to see more live entertainment, then Vale Life has some great news for you! Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s Spring brochure is out and whether it’s awardwinning musicals that get your jazz hands clapping, breathtaking dance to make you swoon post Strictly, or stomping live music and fun-filled children’s theatre, there’s something for everyone in 2015. Cole Porter’s classic, multi-award-winning musical comedy Anything Goes sails into the Waterside in February (and happens to coincide with Valentine’s Day for all those cupids stuck for ‘date night’ ideas)! Starring Hugh Sachs (Benidorm) and Jane Wymark (Midsomer Murders), this uplifting masterpiece includes the magnificent songs I Get A Kick Out of You, It’s De-Lovely and Anything Goes. Other must-see musicals include Willy Russell’s captivating Blood Brothers, 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll January blues-beater Dreamboats and Miniskirts and the timeless Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Voted one of the Nation’s Top Five Plays, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard is one of the greatest plays of the last century and explores the delicate relationship between past and


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

present, blending history with actuality. National Theatre return with the highly acclaimed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the award-winning novel by Mark Haddon, a thrilling new stage play full of storytelling and spectacle. Young theatre fans are spoilt for choice with fun family shows in the theatre’s Second Space. The programme includes Curious, a journey into a playfully imaginative world where traditional theatre seating is swapped for comfy cushions (for ages 0-3), The Fantastical Story Factory where the young audience members help to make the story come to life through idea-sharing and improvisation (for ages 6+), and there’s Up In The Attic, a magical interactive tale using music and puppetry (for ages 3 to 6). Also the much-loved Dr Seuss character takes to the main stage in The Cat in The Hat. Don’t miss the red and white striped hat-wearing feline and his crazy tricks and mischievous manners! If you’re missing your fix of Strictly, fear not, as Brendan Cole is set to dazzle with his brand new show A Night to Remember. Loaded with ballroom magic and Latin excitement, this is a night of dance at its best, not to be missed! For contemporary dance enthusiasts Richard Alston Dance Company are set to perform three knock-out dance pieces as they celebrate their 20th Anniversary Year. Pick up a brochure for a full listing of

Main picture: Richard Alston Dance Company ‘Rejoice in the Lamb’.

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Blood brothers

shows, but for all you live music lovers out there, don’t miss From The Jam and Nine Below Zero in concert on Thursday 22nd January as they give the public what it wants with an exclusive, intimate show. Nine Below Zero perform high energy Rhythm’n’Blues while ex The Jam bassist Bruce Foxton plays all the old Jam classics with vocalist/guitarist Russell Hastings filling the Paul Weller role. Tickets for all shows are available now. Visit Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call: 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or book online at: (bkg fee). l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

From The Jam

Story Factory 2

Coming up at The Waterside Your at-a-glance guide to what’s on... Oxford Philomusica Vienesse New Year’s Concert

Tue 6th Jan

The ELO Experience

Thur 8th Jan

Simon and Garfunkel Story

Fri 9th jan

From The Jam / Nine Below Zero

Thur 22nd Jan

Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat

Thur 29th to Sat 31st Jan

Brendan Cole

Sun 1st Feb

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac

Mon 2nd Feb

Richard Alston Dance Company

Thur 5th Feb

The Magic of Motown

Fri 6th Feb

Anything Goes

Mon 9th to Sat 14th Feb

Blood Brothers

Mon 23rd to Sat 28th Feb


Mon 2nd to Sat 7th March

Dreamboats and Miniskirts

Mon 9th to Sat 14th March

The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time

Tue 17th to Sat 21st March

Dreamboats and Miniskirts Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Win a meal Inn The Old The Oldfor two at The Old Thatched The Old Inn T The Old Inn Thatched Thatched he Old Thatched Inn is a pretty, country gastro-pub, offering customers high quality dining in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Situated in the picturesque village of Adstock, Buckinghamshire, just off the A413, not far from Winslow, The Old Thatched Inn dates back to 1702 and sports an immaculately thatched roof and a lovely rustic exterior. The original bar area offers an intimate ‘local’ atmosphere, while at the back of the pub a smart modern conservatory provides the main dining facilities. It’s the excellent food which most people come to The Old Thatched Inn for, which fuses the freshest seasonal ingredients cooked to emphasise taste and presented with a modern flourish. Managed by owner and exchef Andrew Judge and his wife Lisa, the restaurant is extremely popular locally and recently won the Foodie Guides award for ‘Favourite Restaurant in Buckinghamshire’ and a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. Although Andrew and his team take the high quality of their food extremely seriously, the pub is very welcoming and not at all stuffy. They believe in fine casual dining and source the finest, freshest ingredients

Thatched Inn Gastro Pub

ld Gastro Pub d Inn

Thatched Inn Gastro Pub

Gastro Pub TheMainOld Street, Adstock, Buckinghamshire, M Thatched Inn

treet, Adstock, Buckinghamshire, MK18 2JN


Pickled Apples Toasted Walnuts, Maple Toasted Oats & Dressed Salad. Desserts include mouthwatering delights such as: Passion Fruit Panna Cotta served with Hazelnut Biscotti; Lemon & Almond Tart served with Crème Fraiche; Steamed Ginger Sponge Pudding served with Plum & Blackberry Compote & Vanilla Ice Cream; Poached Pineapple with Coconut Ice Cream; Dark Chocolate Mousse served with Cherry Brandy Syrup & Chocolate Crumb! Everything is prepared freshly on the premises, down the their own homemade icecream! If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a meal for two with bottle of house wine at The Old Thatched Inn, Adstock simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: Who owns The Old Thatched Inn? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by January 25th, 2015.

The Old Thatched Inn Andrew Judge

Gastro Pub from a multitude of small specialist food producers and suppliers, preferring local and organic produce whenever possible. Main courses might include: Roasted Breast of Chicken, Ham Hock & Mushroom Pie, served with Creamed Potatoes & Tender Stem Broccoli; Roasted Breast of Aylesbury Duck, served with Caramelized Onion & Tarragon Croquette, Carrot Purée, Sautéed English Greens & Orange Scented Jus; Pan Roasted Fillet of Sea Bass, served with Oriental

Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN

Noodles Sautéed Pak Choi and Deep Fried Crispy Squid; or a juicy Steak from the grill. Starters include: An Appetiser Plate of Chorizo & Potato Fritter, Caramelised Onion Hummus, Fennel & Carrot Slaw, Sun-Blushed Tomatoes, Marinated Feta Cheese & Ciabatta Croute; Chicken Liver Parfait with Walnut & Raisin Crostini & Orchard Fruit Chutney; Warm Shredded Duck Salad with Bean Sprouts, Lime, Coriander & Chilli; and Goats Cheese Mousseline with

Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN

l The Old Thatched Inn, Main Street, Adstock, Buckinghamshire, MK18 2JN Tel: 01296 712584

high quality dining, hosted nique blend high quality dining, hosted in a relaxed We offer a unique blend Tel of 01296 712584 Tel of 01296 712584 and comfortable environment, serving locally sou fortable environment, serving locally sourced food

et Open seven

shire N

Open seven days Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN

Stay Warm This Winter!

Welcome... Eat Well, Laugh Much, Drink Often...

Open seven days Christmas & Merry h from 12 noon - 2.30pm Dinner from 6pm -Year! 9.30pm Happy New Serving all day Sunday Andy fromand12Emma noonwelcome - 9pmyou to The Boot, modern country pub and Telephone: 01296 eating712584 house, in the heart of the

Open seven days

Dry Lunch Logs from 12 noon - 2.30pm Dinner from 6pm - 9

PromptServing Deliveryall day Sunday from 12 noon - 9pm Pick Up Only Telephone: 01296 712584

picturesque Chiltern Hills. Join us for a festive drink, a delicious

evening meal or a leisurely Sunday lunch, you will always be greeted with a friendly smile and attentive service. Our Christmas Menu is now being served lunch & dinner. Bookings also now being taken for Christmas Day Lunch and Boxing Day. Open: Tue-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12noon-7pm Food served: Tue-Sat: 12noon-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm (from 5pm Fridays) Coffee and pastries from 11am Sundays: 12noon-6pm. Closed Mondays

Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 | Email: Website: 62

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Pre-Packed Coal

For Open Fires & Multifuel Stoves

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Visit Us For:

- Large Selection Of Fruit & Vegetables - Extensive Freezer Selection- Home Produced Lamb & Beef - Top Brand Pet Foods & Animal Feeds - Chiltern Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil -

P E Mead & Sons Farm Shop Wilstone, Nr Tring, HP23 4NT 01442 828478

l Column: Katy Brown - mix96 Notley Farm, Chearsley Road, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire HP18 9ER T: 01844 201226 F: 01844 201226 E:

Mix96 Breakfast DJ Katy Brown shares a little of her life in local radio...


y the time this magazine is in your hands, over 2000* toys will have been purchased and will be making their way into the hands of lots of little boys and girls across Buckinghamshire. I’m not talking about gifts for your son or daughter, your grandchild, niece or nephew. Thousands of people across Bucks have bought an extra gift this Christmas for a child they won’t even know the name of and are likely to not even meet. The mix96 Toy Appeal is the final ‘big one’ of the year and it genuinely restores my faith in human kind. Which is good, because it does have the tendency to wobble from time to time. Each year we ask our listeners to purchase one extra present and donate it to our appeal. In turn, we ensure these gifts are distributed to a number of charities across Bucks who make sure some well deserving girls and boys feel that little bit special on Christmas Day. Some of these children and their families are in refuge centres, some might be homeless. Others spend much of their time as a young carer, looking after Mummy or Daddy all year round, sometimes they’re not feeling too great themselves… That present could be the one bit of ‘special’ they’ve had in quite some time. Piled up high at our Friars Square Studios we’ve seen everything from loom bands to scooters! I know how much my nephew would adore any one of these gifts, from the thousands we’ve been surrounded by, let alone a child who is much less fortunate than he. So knowing that on Christmas

Abi, far right, sold reindeer food to raise £80 to buy Toys for the appeal

morning, a child just like him will get to open a present that will bring a huge smile to their face, brings one to mine too. If you have supported the Toy Appeal this year, I’d like to give a whole hearted thank you and give you a big squeeze for bringing a little bit of happiness to a special boy and girl on Christmas morning in Buckinghamshire. You are lovely! If you’d like to find out more about the charities that have benefitted from the Mix96 Toy Appeal go to Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes from all at mix96 for a very happy and healthy 2015! *this figure is based purely on my faith in the general public and on last year’s statistic of 1,874 presents ;o). l Catch Katy on air weekdays from 6am-9am on 96.2fm

Wedding Fayre

Sunday, 25th January 11am-3pm

To stage a great event today, go back to the 12th century

Notley Tythe Barn is a beautiful, fully restored 12th-century barn set in picturesque gardens within 500 acres of pasture land at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. It is also an elegant and unique Notley Farm, Chearsley Road, Long Crendon, venue for weddings, receptions, parties, Buckinghamshire HP18 9ER functions, celebrations and other special events. T: 01844 201226 F: 01844 201226

E: Notley Farm,Chearsley Chearsley Road, Road, Long Crendon, Notley Farm, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, Buckinghamshire HP18 9ER HP18 9ER T: 01844 201226 F: 01844 201226 T: 01844 201226 F: 01844 201226 E: E:

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


Win a year’s supply of Krispy Kreme doughnuts


k so some of you may not consider 12 dozen boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts quite enough to last you all year, but we’ve got to draw the line somewhere and save you from yourselves! In celebration of the new Krispy Kreme store which opened in Oxford’s Clarendon Centre recently, the company is kindly offering the chance for one lucky Vale Life reader to win a special Krispy Kreme Red Card, which entitles the holder to claim a free 12 box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts each month for a year! Krispy Kreme UK opened its store in the city of dreaming spires on December 9th and now supplies the city with their melt-in-your-mouth signature Original Glazed doughnuts, plus some 15 other delicious varieties including: Lemon Meringue Pie and Cookie Crunch. Traditionally bought by the dozen to share with family, friends and colleagues, Krispy Kreme doughnuts are presented in the company’s iconic green dotty box - which inspires envy wherever it goes! The new store will also offer customers the best doughnut companion - Krispy Kreme coffee,


Krispy Kreme news, launch updates and sampling activity, like their Facebook page ‘Krispy Kreme UK’ or follow on Twitter @krispykremeUK. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts each month for a year, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: editor@

Who’d like to win a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, every month for a year!? made from 100% freshly ground Arabica beans, served however you like it by the store’s dedicated baristas. Doughnuts for the Oxford store will be made and delivered from the local Hotlight store in Slough, guaranteeing customers receive their sweet treats freshly made every day. From hand-dipping the doughnuts to sprinkling and piping the decorative finishes, Krispy Kreme’s skilled product teams work tirelessly

to ensure each doughnut is unique and tastes just right! Judith Denby, Chief Marketing Officer at Krispy Kreme, said: “We are very excited about our new store at Oxford’s Clarendon Centre and are hoping the people of Oxford are enjoying their first taste of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee!” To keep up to date with the latest

Where is the new Oxford Krispy Kreme store located? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by January 25th, 2015. l Krispy Kreme, Unit 10, The Clarendon Centre, 52 Cornmarket Street, Oxford, OX1 3JE Phone: 01865 240973 Facebook ‘Krispy Kreme UK’ Twitter @krispykremeUK

£49.95 Per PerSON




Let us be your home-from-home for this year’s Christmas day Lunch and we’ll take care of every last detail. Price includes Christmas Cocktail on arrival, 4 Course Meal, Christmas Novelties on the table £49.95 per person.

t Free from Children under 6 Ea menu a special Children’s

Our child-friendly Sunday Carvery Lunch with special guest Santa with a gift for every child under 12. Christmas Novelties on the table too.

Family Sunday Lunch with Santa £16.95 Per ADULT

£9.95 CHILDreN UNDer 12

Dates 30th November 7th, 14th, 21st December 12:30pm – 3:00pm

For more information or to book any of the above events, contact us on 01296 734000 and quote reference ‘VALe eVeNTS 1’ 64

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

l Column: Jacqui

Food for thought

Thorndyke ‘Foodie On Tour’


ith the festive season full of overindulgence, New Year is a natural time for those all too familiar health related resolutions - stop smoking, start dieting, drink less, hit the treadmill - you know, the ones that last all of a month or two! This year though, I’ve decided not to bother lying to myself that I’ll make use of that annual gym membership. Though generally not one for resolutions, this year it’s about time I set one or two I might actually stand a chance of keeping. So, what of my resolutions for 2015? Well, in order to look forward, we first have to look back. Having launched a street food collective, Bitten Street, 2014 involved an awful lot of - you guessed it - street food. I’ve tasted my way through everything from pulled pork,

Bitten Street Food Festival at Oxford Castle. Next one is Dec 20th, 12-8pm to gourmet burgers, pimped-up hot dogs, numerous varieties of dumpling, American and British barbecue, curries from Tibet, Japan, India and Thailand, churros and pizza. I can’t even say I’m bored with it yet, street food just keeps on getting better and better. But there are some foods in particular that left me wishing I could cook it at home. Vietnamese street food in particular has enthralled my taste buds, with its potent balance of herbs and spices, so this year I’m

challenging myself to learn some Vietnamese recipes. Resolution number one sorted! While resolution number one is all about food pleasure, resolution number two is more about food conscience. Having spent an awful lot of the last two years focussed on food, and given I write about it regularly, it dawned on me that there is still a lot more I need to learn about its ethics. Great local groups like Good Food Oxford (www.goodfoodoxford. org) and Cultivate Oxford (www. have been springing up around me, focussed on building local and sustainable food networks and knowledge, whilst finding better solutions for ongoing food issues. This has been making me question things a lot more. Where does my food come from? Is it sustainable? How does it affect our planet? Our community? So my next challenge is to learn about these topics. Think of it as an idiot’s guide to food ethics, starting right at the beginning. So with food for the belly, food

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2014

Jacqui Thorndyke

for the brain and food for the soul all covered, I think I’ll leave it at that. Whatever your own plans for New Year resolutions, I hope you had a wonderfully delicious Christmas and have a fabulous foodie year ahead. Happy New Year, love Foodie x l For local food and restaurant reviews and recommendations, visit, or follow Jacqui on Twitter @FoodieOnTour. To contact Jacqui directly, please email:

27 Church St - Brill - Bucks - HP18 9RT 01844 238339

To our Customers : We extend our Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and successful New Year

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


l Recipe:

Giuliana, Head Cook, Cici-Coco Kitchen

Brutti ma Buoni

Brutti ma Buoni

(Ugly but tasty)

Ingredients: 100g Toasted nuts (cobnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or a mixture of them) 80g Icing sugar 1 egg white 20g white sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla essence 1 pinch of salt What to do / Preparazione: Preheat the oven to 130C. Prepare a baking tray with ovenproof paper. Roughly chop the toasted nuts, add the icing sugar and mix.

Farmers’ Markets Aylesbury: Old Market Square, last Tuesday of month, 9am-2pm. Diane Fawcett: 01296 585880 / Haddenham: Vale Harvest, Haddenham Village Hall, Haddenham, HP17 8EE. 1st Sat of month, 9am-1pm. Web: Thame: Upper High Street. 8.30am1.30pm, 2nd Tuesday of month and every 5th Saturday, Tel: 01844 212833 Tiddington: Sandy Lane Farm. Every Thursday, 2pm-6pm, Charles Bennett, Email: enquiries@ Tel: 01844 279269. Tring: Alternate Saturdays at: The Marketplace, Brook Street, Tring, 9am-12.15pm, enquiries@ 66

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Add a pinch of salt to the egg white and whisk until stiff picks are formed. Gently fold in the sugar, the nuts and icing sugar mixture and finally the vanilla essence. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture on the baking tray and cook in the oven at 130C for 40 minutes until golden. Let it cool and serve.

Tel: 01442 842252 Wendover: Off High Street, 3rd Saturday of month 10am-1pm, Wendover Parish Council: 01296 623056 Winslow: Market Square, 1st Sunday in month, 10am-2pm, Winslow Town Council: 01296 712448

Farm Shops l Beechwood Fine Foods, 42 Frogmore Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 5AU Tel: 01442 828 812 Email: hello@beechwood Open Mon-Fri: 8am-5.30pm, Sat: 8.30am-5pm, Sun: 10.30am-3pm l Bucksum Farm Shop, Shabbington Field Farm, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9EU Tel: 07784 333977 Email: Website: Wed 12-5pm & Sat 9am-1pm l Dunsley Farm Shop & Tea Room, London Road, Tring,


mall things are often the tastiest; a small strong bitter espresso with a sweet little thing on the side is all you need to have the perfect Italian coffee experience. I am going to talk to you about these lovely biscuits called ‘Bruttibuoni’… that translates ‘ugly-good’. In my cookery classes I always make sure there are some good biscuits to start the day in the kitchen. A bit of sweetness keeps everyone going during the cooking experience. Nuts are my favourite and they are a perfect super food. There are a lot of Italian biscuits that are made with nuts and often, like in this recipe, there is no flour… so they are gluten free too! These ‘Bruttibuoni’ are little nutty Italian biscuits that look a bit wonky and a bit unattractive (‘brutti’) but with a cup of good Italian coffee are the perfect treat (‘buoni’)! They are traditionally from the north of Italy but they are well known all over the country and they are made with almonds or hazelnuts or a combination of the two.

Hertfordshire, HP23 6HA Tel. 01442 823357 Open: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm. l Howe Farm, Ashendon Road, Dorton, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0NY. Tel: 07852 417218 Email: Web: l King’s Farm Shop & Butcher, Loudwater Farm, Nash Lee End, Wendover, HP22 6BH. Tel. 01296 622014 Open: Mon & Sat 8am-4pm, Tue & Wed 8am-5pm. Fri 8am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-1pm. l Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Lane, Little Meadle, Buckinghamshire, HP17 9UG Tel: 01844 273387 / 07968 560724 Email: Web: Open: Tue-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm l Parrott Bros Butchers & Farm Shop, Beechmoor Farm, Cublington Road, Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire, HP22 4LG. Tel: 01296 641207 l P E Mead & Sons Farm Shop, Wilstone, Near Tring,

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Giuliana Cortese As I always like to recreate Italian recipes with the best of local produce, I make the with cobnuts to have the perfect English-Italian connection! ‘Bruttibuoni’ are made with a few simple ingredients and are easy and quick to prepare so … look for the best cobnuts and enjoy making these delicious ugly little things! Buon Appetito! CiCi-CoCo Cookery School is run by Giuliana Cortese. Her regional Italian cookery classes are in unique locations around the Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire borders. See website for details. l Cici-Coco Kitchen, Beam Cottage, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0AS Tel: 07939 032834 Email: Website: Twitter @cicicocokitchen

Hertfordshire, HP23 4NT Tel: 01442 828478 Web: Mon-Sat: 9am-5.30pm, Sun: 9am-4.30pm l Peterley Manor Farm, Peterley Lane, Prestwood, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 0HH Tel:01494 863566 Web: Open: Tue-Sat 8.30am-5pm, Sun 9am-1pm l Sandy Lane Farm, Sandy Lane, Tiddington, Oxfordshire, OX9 2LA Tel: 01844 279269 E: Web: l Seasons Farm Shop, Home Farm, North Dean, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4NQ Tel: 01494 562481 Web: Open Mon-Sat, 9am-5.30pm l Terrick Beef, Grove Farm, Risborough Road, Terrick, Buckinghamshire HP17 0UA Telephone: 07767 493653 Email: Web: Open first Fri (12-6pm) & Sat (10am-1pm) of each month

Ben & team welcome you to

The George & Dragon

New Autumn/Winter Menu: Friday and Saturday Steak Night 10oz Rump or 8oz Ribeye Steak, mushrooms, onion rings, tomatoes and chips and a bottle of House Red or White Wine for only £30 PER COUPLE! l Great Friday Night Live Entertainment, Live Music every week from 9.30pm (time to book dinner first) including Christmas Week and News Year’s Eve gigs l Christmas bookings now being taken Two courses: £19.95, Three courses: £22.95 l Great value Sunday lunches l Four Star Accommodation available: our guest rooms have been rated ‘4 Star’ by The AA Guide for the 2nd year running l l

The Restaurant is open: Tue-Fri: 12pm-2.30pm, Sat/Sun: 12pm-3.30pm Evenings, Tue-Sat: 6pm-8.30pm Sunday Roasts: 12pm-4pm (booking advised) No food on Mondays The George & Dragon, 74 High Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0AX Tel: 01844 343087 Email: Why not pop and say Hello to Ian & Elle at the company’s new venture: www.queensgastropubkingston

Image Style Colour Corporate

Wardrobe Review Personal Shopping Group Consultations Workshops

Gift vouchers also available Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Super dooparu Subaru BRZ 2.0 SE Lux


h, yes. This is the car Subaru petrolheads have waited for. A car that can replicate or exceed the performance and handling of their prime models yet with all the glamour and excitement of a sports car. Enter the Subaru BRZ - a two+2 sports coupe with flair, panache, style and occasional brilliance. And all at a price which is within the reach of many pockets. It didn’t take me long to settle into the BRZ 2.0-litre SE Lux. Here is a car to instantly fall in love with and look forward to the next time behind the wheel. The BRZ has instant appeal. You can feel at home in it straight away and find the perfect driving position; ergonomics of the controls hold no great mysteries; and from the first fire-up and explosion of power, it’s smiles all the way.

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES First and foremost, any selfrespecting sports car needs to have visual oomph and the BRZ ticks all the boxes. The ‘droop snoot’ dropped snout makes it instantly recognisable and a sharp, angular front spoiler and matching rear counterpart on the boot lid have that chunky 80s vibe. The rounded bonnet has slightly raised edges which not only look cool but also perform an important function - they act as a handy visual guide to the driver when it comes to pointing and aiming the vehicle.

Subaru BRZ A wickedly raked front screen, extended side sills, a pretty tail and quirky side repeaters on the front wheel arches completes the look of a highly desirable motor.

A sports car also needs to be quick and the BRZ again hits the mark. It starts up with a satisfying roar from the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder


A ll makes serviced & R epaired

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

l MOTs including Class VII (3.5 tonnes) l Servicing, repairs, tyres, exhausts and air

conditioning for cars and light commercials l Diagnostics: we have the most up to date work

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Fri & t s Fa Yo

Bucks leading Jaguar and Car Performance Spe Japanese car Specialists

Servicing & repairs l 4 wheel laser alignment Servicing andequipment repairs l Courtesy car available Engine diagnost Latest diagnostic l 24Hr recovery & vehicle movements 4 wheel laser alignment Diesel tuning an l Diesel tuning and ECU remaps MOTs arranged Tyre's, Brakes, C l Fast and friendly service l Full workshop facilities Free pack &Service inspection with every service Courtesy car av FastWinter & Friendly l l

Full workshop facilities

engine and the 62mph barrier is snapped in a rapid 7.6 seconds, the car going onto a theoretical top speed of more than twice the legal limit.

All this and a final tally of around 41mpg isn’t bad going, considering the fun factor.

24 Hour recover

AutoTorque, Unit 9, UBF Industrial Estate, Bicester Road, Westcott, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JX Tel: 01296 658257

Performance and Prestige car specialists

Continued on page 70

Tel: 01844 274652

Email: Chinnor Road, Bledlow, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PH Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 0QJ

Call today for a free and no obligation quote email:

For specialist advice and quotes call: 01296 770546





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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15 69 03/11/2012 09:32

touchscreen rolling menus are simple. And while it’s a 2+2 on paper, you’d be hard pushed to get anyone except kids rammed into the rear seats. The boot, too, is quite small. Dingy main dials and glaring orange illumination might also not be to everyone’s tastes. But I’m prepared to forgive a lot as the BRZ gives so much in return. Factfile: Subaru BRZ 2.0-litre petrol SE Lux, £26,495. Powered by 1,998cc 16v engine; 200PS @ 7,000rpm. 0-62mph in 7.6 secs; Top speed 143mph. CO2: 181g/km. Economy: 40.9mpg

Subaru BRZ Continued from page 69 And there’s plenty of that. The BRZ is the sort of car to take out for a spin around some twisty lanes on a Sunday morning just for the sheer hell of it. From a driver’s point of view, it gives you practically everything you could want at this price. The BRZ features Subaru’s traditional

unbeatable balance and poise at speed with light but very positive steering which always puts the driver in control of the action. Corners can be tackled with complete confidence with the knowledge that the car will stick fast and stay flat and an exhilarating tiny tail wag is an exciting signature movement. Ride quality, as you might

expect, is pretty hard but it’s a trade off I’d accept, given the power that’s booming out. Minus marks? Much as I admire the minimalist interior design, the CD-tuner has the tiniest lettering imaginable that’s almost impossible to read on the move, even though

Subaru BRZ Subaru BRZ

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

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t: 01296 640750 m: 07768 173131 Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


l Column: On

The Road

It’s in the mix!

1.4 TF

AUDI A3 e-tron


76mpg and just 37g/km of co2 emissions - you can’t really argue against figures like that. Audi’s A3 Sportback e-tron is a new plug in hybrid that successfully dispels the old range anxiety fears that might otherwise put you off. The range on pure electric power from the 75kW motor is just 31 miles but coupled with the thriftiness of the excellent 1.4TFSi petrol engine it can go for a claimed 580 miles. Hybrid technology is not something new to Audi - they’ve used it successfully to notch up a hat trick of wins in the Le Mans 24 hour race in recent years, but it’s a new departure in their road car stable. With the prediction we’ll see more changes in the next 10 years in the way we move ourselves around than we’ve seen in the last 30, it’s evident we’ll be seeing more cars like this. Charging it up is simplicity itself. You just slide the distinctive four logo badge on the grille to one side, plug in the lead and you’re ready to rumble in just two and a quarter hours. The battery should be good for an eight year lifespan, say Audi. And the undoubted beauty of the

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road system is that it is multi adaptable. You can run on full electric power in an emission free zone, or set the system to store the electric power as you use petrol propulsion - or even regenerate and put power back into the battery as you drive along. The two power units combined generate 204ps of system power and 350Nm of system torque, giving a potential top speed of 137mph. Run both units simultaneously by using kickdown on the S Tronic transmission and you get super strong acceleration but lift off and both temporarily deactivate, allowing the car to glide to conserve fuel and recuperate energy. All clever stuff. You can even monitor the charge status from your smartphone. With the popularity of electric plug in hybrids growing year on

year this might be the first such PHEV from Audi but it certainly won’t be the last. It’s premium quality, it’s fast (062 in 7.6 seconds ok for you?) and as I might have mentioned earlier there’s no ‘range anxiety’. I sampled the new car with a blast across the north Pennines the other week, where the lively A3 put on a very creditable show, before cruising into central

AUDI A3 e-tron 72

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15

Newcastle – and dropping to all electric mode – to amble round with the heavy lunchtime traffic. It didn’t get much better after lunch to be fair, but the Audi had no problem keeping up – electric power is on the button and instant so there’s never an issue there. A full five seater just like its Sportback stablemate, the e-tron doesn’t suffer any compromised boot space because of the technology. There’s just the one model and it’s generously equipped, with LED headlights, and has a top end HDD navigation system to guide you. The A3 Sportback doesn’t need much of an introduction because it’s already a hugely popular seller for the German marque - an everyday Audi. This just makes it a more attractive proposition if a) green credentials, and b) saving cash are high up your motoring ‘to do’ list. First UK customers will get their cars in January. List price is £29,950 after the £5,000 Government subsidy has been deducted. It offers zero local emissions driving without sacrificing range or everyday usability.

FASTFACTS: Audi A3 Sportback e-tron; £29,950 (including £5,000 plug-in car government grant); FSi, 150ps, 250Nm (combined with 75kw electric motor 204ps, 350Nm); 6 speed S-tronic; Top speed in hybrid mode 138mph (81mph in electric only mode); 0-62mph (hybrid) 7.6 secs; CO2 37g/km; Benefit in kind % - 5%; Fuel - 176.6mpg; Charging times - 2 hrs 15 mins public charging point, 4 hrs normal domestic socket.

Les Liney

Vehicle Hire Car and van hire All sizes available including Luton tail lifts AA Cover Also available: Fully Insured 24 hour accident and Unlimited Mileage breakdown service Customer Parking Old Farm Workshops Tel: 01844 292783 Haddenham Road Mobile: 07860 795236 Kingsey, HP17 8LS

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Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning l

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Carpet cleaning Large lounge from £40 Small lounge/dining room from £25 Hall, stairs & landing from £35 Bedroom single/double from £15/£20 Whole house (1 Bed) from £75 Whole house (2 Bed) from £90 Whole house (3 Bed) from £100

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Andrews of Thame Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2014-15


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Vale Life Dec-Jan 2014 web version  

Six weekly lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area

Vale Life Dec-Jan 2014 web version  

Six weekly lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area