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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home

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

Feb/Mar 2017


For richer for poorer

14 page wedding feature

Related to Royals

Who’s a true blue blood?

Heart of glass

Windows firm has room for expansion Plus Katy, Heather, Naomi, Polly, Amanda, Janice, Cathy, Paul, Charlotte, Tracy, Sandra, Shaun, Rob, Alan and much, much more...

See our website at:

Cover image: Catherine and Ian photographed by Rob Wheal

w A Meal for two at The Crown Inn, Sydenham w w Tickets for the national wedding show w

Free local listings for events and businesses

w w

English bespoke kitchens. If you’re looking for a high quality, good value kitchen with real quality craftsmanship, come and see our range of bespoke EnglishPDGH NLWFKHQV $W 5LGJHZD\ ZH R΍HU D FRPSOHWH VHUYLFH IURP PHDVXUHPHQWDQGGHVLJQWRȴWWLQJDQGȴQLVKLQJȂSOXVRXULQKRXVH team can do all the interior building work so you get consistency from beginning to end.

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017








The Old The Old Thatched Inn Thatched Inn Gastro Pub

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

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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

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

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Community Matters Every month we give our time and money to local communities. We donate ÂŁ1000 to be shared by three good causes that you choose.

Waitrose Thame Supporting the community Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


fo Ri I D r y ng 01 AY ou n 29 B r ow 6 RO 20 33 C 17 66 H 66 URE



BY CO ACH 20 17 exciting holidays across 15 coun tries


Discover 120

Brighten up the dull winter months - book a flower inspired day trip or holiday!

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Day trips

Chelsea Flower Show: Andre Rieu Live In France May 26th, £85

Summer 2016


Cotswolds Blossom Trail – Rail & Sail: 30th October 2016 HB, April 7th & 21st, fromSun £299

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Fri 31st March 2017 4 days

Towers at the £385GironaFawlty 4-Star Orchard Hotel Flower Festival:

The King of Waltz Returns! André Rieu is back in France with a brand Hampton Court new show! André Rieu will give you Flower what you’veShow: come to expect from his performances: maestro July 6th & the 7th, £50 conducting his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra and playing his world-famous Holidays Stradivarius violin to create a colourful concert full ofFlower surprises.Show: The repertoire Chelsea ranges from romantic, emotional 3 days HB, from £289 ballads to the most gorgeous and celebrated waltzes. Experience the magic of André Rieu at Harrogate Flower Show: a4festive andfrom memorable Days, £275evening and come see why André Rieu is one of the Spring tour: / Autumn most popular liveApril acts in21st the world!



4 Days

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room supp.£15 Based intake Roses HB, MaySingle 7th, 8 days Lets a tripfor back5innights time - we Insurance £23 all loved Fawlty Towers! Come from £539

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and join in the fun as John Cleese impersonator, Edmond Wells, Awesome for the onlyAlpine 6’ 7’’ BasilAustria Fawlty look Kirchberg Flower Parade: 5 nights HB + and sound alike, walks the walk and talks the talk! Typically the overnight hotels, 8 days Aug 13th, from £639 Fawlty Towers theme night will start with meeting and greeting the exciting guests at reception. Basiltrips – book early! More day will announce dinner as Manuel Ascot leads guests toRoyal dinner in time honoured fashion. Sybil is her usual self, Manuel will feature tour Sept 15th: as a waste of space, whilst Basil includes visit to Harlow Carr Gardens. will be giving the sort of service Ladies Day Ascot: one would expect from a top June 22nd Rhododendrons at Bowood House: class Torquay hotelier, all without mentioning the war! Room,Windsor 3 days HB, from £209 February 10,May 201726th, – 4 days dinner & breakfast plus live Enclosure £62, The Feast of Saint Valentine evolved into an occasion in which lovers used entertainment from ‘the staff’. Queen Anne toAutumn express their affectionat forBowood each other by presenting flowers, offering Colours House: This 2 day tour is from restricted joining points in confectionery and sending greeting cards. These days it is also the perfect Enclosure, £105 3 days HB, Oct 20th, from £209 Bucks, Beds, Oxon and some Hertfordshire points. opportunity to take your loved one away for a short romantic break. To ensure an unforgettable and enjoyable Valentine’s, we’ve come up with RHSthat Flower atplan Chatsworth House: ideas shouldShow help you your weekend. Your weekend includes aVimy Ridge Remembered (Fully Guided): special gift for the ladies so look for the Valentine. May 6th & Sept 16th, £55 3 days HB, June 9th, from £269

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Day Trips:

4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2LD Crusader Holiday Shop, 4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1BH Crusader Holidays, 13 Crusader Business Park, Stephenson Road West, Clacton, Essex, CO15 4HP Please see our current brochure for booking conditions and trading charter.

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

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

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details

8 10 14 16 18 21 25 26 27 28 29

What to wear?


Related to Royals

For richer or poorer


Wasting your energy

Such a perfect day


Winter blues

Choosing your rings


Loving your oven

The Honeymoon


Generation game

Natural beauty



Helen Grace Hats


Gentle candlelight

The look of love


Heart of glass

Walking back to healthiness


Finding your builder

Pump up the volume


Grow inflation beaters

Marathon proof your body


Pawfect for Valentine’s


You want more... ?!


Good vibrations

Planning ahead for that special event Stay on budget with our wedding guide The freshest flowers with a vintage twist Aylesbury jeweller is a real gem Top destinations for a unique trip Flowers and more from Fiona’s new store If the cap fits...

Amanda’s tips for your crowning glory Sandra says ‘keep moving’ Tracy’s a training addict!

Train smart to avoid injury

30 Best intentions 32

How to keep yourself on track

Listen in - Speak up!

Learn how to spot Ovarian Cancer

Danny’s not the only blue blood in town Cut your bills with an energy grant Polly’s happy with hues of blue New firm offers hot deal Flooring’s fun with family firm Landscape team like a challenge Setting the mood with scented candles Windows firm finds room for expansion Nigel’s tips for a successful project Don’t waste time planting ‘cheapies’ How to treat your pet this year? Oliver’s urchins make musical magic Artist has a way with colours

Ringing the changes for 2017


t feels like a lot has happened since our last edition. As usual it’s only been six weeks but we’ve celebrated Christmas, ushered in the New Year, watched the pound plummet and seen a new American president installed into the White House! Closer to home but equally momentous, Vale Life has started 2017 with a couple of changes in the editorial department We welcome local stand up comedian Fred Ferenczi or Peter Purvis, as he is known at home, with his very own, slightly quirky


ongratulations to the following Dec/Jan edition competition winners! Hopefully your prizes will have arrived by now, please let us know if

take on local life, the viewpoint of someone who grew up in the Aylesbury area and has never left. I’ve yet to catch his live show but his writing has already raised a few chuckles (you’ll find him on page 63) and we look forward to more if the homemade ‘stolen apple’ scrumpy doesn’t get him first. We also now have Chartered Surveyor Nigel Grace writing about home renovations and building projects (page 52) and our creative arts columnist Sandra Smith is doubling up as health correspondent to report on local

not. Commiserations to those who weren’t so lucky - read on though for more competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: A meal for two at The Crown Inn,

ways of keeping yourself hale and hearty (page 27). Chef Stephen Bulmer is now firmly ensconced at The Green Dragon Rare Breeds and EcoFarm near Quainton and is keeping us updated with seasonal food inspirations and reports of what he’s been up to in the kitchen (page 66) or out on the farm. Sadly we’ve lost a couple of writers along the way too though. Our Foodie On Tour, Jacqui Thorndyke has been getting increasingly busy with her Oxford street food festival ‘Bitten’ and

Sydenham, Thame; and Tickets to the National Wedding Show. Last issue’s prizewinners were: A Valentine’s meal at Radhuni: Jill Todd,

Weston Turville A scruff’s dog jacket: Emma Matthews, Aylesbury Tickets to the new Glee Comedy Club: Haylie Clark, Aylesbury

so has baled out of her VL column and the lovely Penny Harper, whose amusing escapades provided many a laugh out loud moment (LOL), just seems to have disappeared! Being of a sensitive nature she may have gone to ground although whether she is waiting for Brexit to blow over or Trump to be ejected fom office is anyone’s guess. Last I heard she was in darkest Peru. Come back Penny, we miss you! Happy reading y’all!


Editor, Vale Life Magazine A spa stay at Whittlebury Hall: Pamela Kilarski, Cuddington A meal for two at The Thatch: Dominique Northcott, Stone

Vale Life Magazine is designed and published by Vale Life Magazine, 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 : Feb/Mar 2017


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

But what am I going to wear!? M&S Black and white shift


ith Spring just a peek around the corner, it is quite possible that you have a wedding or party invite (or maybe even a “Save the date” card) for a special celebration this year. For some this is exciting. For others, the cry “but I’ve got nothing to wear” can be heard from afar. But do not fear, it just takes a little time, effort and perhaps less money than you might think, to create the perfect showstopper – or understated glamorous look to suit you and that special event down to the ground.

M&S Taupe Dress & Wedges

The early bird Yes, your event may well not be until July when it will be sunny every day and 25 degrees (ok, wishful thinking!) but for a special outfit planning ahead pays real dividends. By July, the shops will be full of summer sale bargains but you will probably only be able to find that perfect two piece in extremes of sizes or in a colour that’s perhaps not quite what you were after. So, wedding in July? Shop in March. Yes, probably full price but you will have the luxury of choice and time – not just buying that far-from-perfect outfit that will just “do”.


Accessorize Love Drop Earrings Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Try, try, again So you’ve made the effort to go shopping but you’ve put on that fussy coat or slightly too skinny pair of jeans that are difficult to get on and off. Again, I say plan ahead! When you’re stepping out on that shopping trip (remember it’s your time as well as your money you’re spending) wear an outfit that’s easy to change out of, not too hot (you’ll mostly be inside) and take a pair of shoes with you that are the

Monsoon Stripe Jumpsuit

Relaxed M&S

right style for the type of outfit you are shopping for. Then you have all of the elements you need to try it on. Purchasing an important outfit without trying it on is a bit like getting dressed in the dark – don’t do it! (Unless of Pantone course you like spending twice as long Greenery shopping and returning items than you need to...) When you’re looking for that crucial outfit plan your time – oh, and I always, always schedule coffee breaks whether I’m shopping for myself or with my clients! I for Inspiration Do you need a new outfit? If perhaps you lack the time or budget (or both) to splash out on an ensemble, shop your own wardrobe. What do you already own that you could combine differently or accessorise to create a whole new look? It has been said that you can consider your wardrobe as a dressing up box to create wonderful new combinations from old favourites – try it (and I’d love to hear how you get on!) Colour Magic Colour really can make such a difference to an outfit and makes a splash in the Spring and Summer so push out of your comfort zone and look at the new season colours that are around – one of the most vibrant is Pantone®’s Greenery, their colour for 2017 a fresh, bright shade representing growth and new beginnings.

Monsoon Floral Jumpsuit

Make a Statement Whether you prefer to stand out from the crown or blend in, it’s those statement pieces that make your look uniquely you. A one-of-akind necklace or hair accessory can really make a simple dress something stunning. With bolder, Continued on page 10

Sew Claire Dancewear & Accessories l Wide range of Ballet, Tap, Dance, Cheer & Gymnastic Clothing, Bags & Accessories l All types of Dance Shoes l Approved Pointe Shoe Specialist l We can also Personalise your Dancewear & Accessories for that perfect unique Christmas present

Sew Claire

Find us on Facebook or pop in to: 25 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, HP20 2SQ Tel: 01296 706418 Email: Web:

Helen Grace Beautifully hand crafted stylish hats

Image Style Colour Corporate

Wardrobe Review Personal Shopping Group Consultations & Workshops

01844 872 025

and fascinators for all occasions To buy or hire Come and try on our wonderful hats and fascinators in the privacy of our studio in Shabbington Simply call for an appointment on 01844 201017 Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Column: Katy Dyer‘Style File’

Continued from page 9 statement clothing adding contrasting accessories making a creative look. Or just let the garment do the talking by keeping accessories

M&S New Season Pink Dress

Marc Jacobs Parrot Corset Top Dress with a splash of ‘Greenery’

tonal, to work harmoniously together. Decoding the dress code Weddings, themes and locations can be widely varied, so do your homework and find out what the dresscode is for the day. In the UK? Be prepared for the weather – it can be freezing in June or balmy in October, so it’s worthwhile being prepared for all that the weather can throw at you. Further afield? It can be tricky to balance formal wear with comfort in warm weather and travel-friendly outfits. Think about layers and something perhaps more colourful and bright that you would usually choose. And my top tip for getting clothes back into shape after a journey? Hang them on the back of the door in the bathroom whilst you shower or bathe – the steam will help any creasing just drop out leaving your outfit ready to wear. So what will you wear? Plan ahead so that you can then forget about your outfit and just get on with 10

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

M&S Men’s Summer tailoring

Top Shop Magenta Tie Dress

having the perfect day. l Katy Dyer is a style coach and corporate image consultant and works with people of all ages, stages and backgrounds to help them present themselves at their very best. Because when you look good, you feel good. Find out more at: call: 01844 872 025 or email: katy@ Katy is running Spring Summer 17 Style Update Sessions in Thame on Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd March. For more information see her website or contact her as above.


Column: Nicky Gregory‘Curious World’

Time to pipe up!


e tend to think of tobacco pipes as rather ordinary items, but some were quite

intricate. Native North Americans were the first people to smoke tobacco in pipes - from around 500BC - mainly for ceremonies and rituals, hence the ‘peace pipe’. Tobacco was introduced to England from Virginia in the 16th Century. The habit spread quickly across the country and by the mid 17th Century the manufacture of clay pipes was a well established trade. By 1680-1700, when the industry reached a peak, almost every town and city in England had pipe makers. By the early 18th Century Meerschaum from Turkey and Africa was being used. Meerschaum - ‘the foam from the sea’ is from the skeletal remains of microscopic sea creatures and could be ornately carved and then warmed and hardened giving a very pleasant cool, dry smoke. Unfortunately it was only a little more robust than

Hand-carved 19th Century Briar Wood Pipe

Old and new clay pipes

Churchwarden Pipe

19th Century Calabash clay and as a result pipe smoking was in decline by the turn of the 19th Century, being replaced by the cigar and the cigarette. There was a growing need for a robust, serviceable and economical material, luckily in 1850 the ‘briar root’ was found. Briar is not the wild rose or briar but a low shrub, Erica Arborea, which grows in


many Mediterranean countries. It is said that a pipe maker from France, who glorified the Emperor, went to Corsica to visit Napoleon’s birth place and broke his own Meerschaum pipe, so commissioned a local farmer, skilled in carving, to make one from any suitable wood he could find. The pipe had so many fine qualities that its owner took back to France several specimens of the wood from which it was made – the burl of the heath tree, or bruyere, was eventually Anglicised to ‘briar’. Pipes have been fashioned from many materials: clay, meerschaum, ceramic, corncob, glass, metal, gourd, stone, wood etc., and the English classic Calabash pipe as smoked by Sherlock Holmes. One of the most unusual pipes is the long stemmed Churchwarden. It is well documented that these pipes smoke cooler than standard pipes, due to the extra distance the smoke has to travel, which gives more time for it to cool. Churchwardens are also known as Reading pipes as the bowl is kept away from the face allowing the smoker to read a book at the same time. Our Dec/Jan mystery object was

Nicky Gregory

Curious world

a builder’s window trowel! Can you guess what this one, below, is?

Mystery object The prize for the winner chosen from correct answers is a £10 Gift Voucher for Antiques at Wendover. Email your answers along with your name, address and contact telephone number to: Winner to be notified by email. l Nicky Gregory is the owner of Antiques@Wendover, The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Web:

Would you like

to boost business?

A Dateline ANTIQUES CENTRE Est. 1987 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 Courtyard 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.

French 19th Century, slate, 8 day Mantle Clock The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Website:

Looking for effective local advertising? Be seen in a magazine 35,000+ local people read and enjoy. For size of advert & circulation you will find our rates are the best! Call: 07702 006218 Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Wedding feature

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Some think saying ‘I do’ is the easy part - it’s planning your big day that can cause the heartache! Luckily in the Vale we have some fantastic local firms who specialise in the minutiae and enormity of weddings and can organise anything from a single sugar flower to a full blown reception - just read on...


our wedding should be a most special occasion. But to successfully arrange that perfect day and allow yourself to fully enjoy the experience can take an awful lot of organisation! There are venues to consider for the ceremony and for the reception, the catering to think of, flowers, stationery, transport, entertainment... and we haven’t even got to the dress yet! The wedding vows are what it is really all about though. When your big day arrives and all that meticulous planning pays off your commitment to each other will be what starts the biggest adventure of your life! For richer not poorer is the way to begin though, so the planning has to be done carefully and the first thing on the list is BUDGET. Decide a budget and stick to it! This could be your maximum amount but a good idea is to aim slightly lower and keep something back for those unexpected little add ons! Now the Wedding List can begin. This should note all the things that are necessary and that you both want, but also make a list of the things that you do not want or are

not necessary. This will help keep things on track. There is a lot of help out there so make the most of it. Dedicated bridal magazines, local magazines such as Vale Life, websites and wedding fairs are a great source of specialists. If finding enough time is a problem, a Wedding Planner could be the solution. They have experience and contacts and can take the pressure off you. Wedding suppliers are there to help and guide you. They are specialists in their field and will do everything possible to make your day perfect. Shop around to get comparisons and be open to ideas that you may not have considered. Remember that this is your day though, so do not be persuaded into anything that you are really not sure of. If you can start planning at least a year ahead it won’t be a moment too soon, as venues, entertainers and wedding services can get booked up well ahead and the sooner you let your wedding guests know about the date the clearer their diaries are likely to be. In years to come you and your partner will look at the photographs, remember your day

Personalised Invitations Order of Service Sheets Menus l Save the Date Cards l Table Plans l Colour Photocopying l Scanning l Poster Printing l Canvas Printing l Laminating l Booklet Printing l Large Format Colour or B&W Printing l

So Sassi by Sassi Holford ‘Lily’ dress Amelia George Bridal

and forget all the preparation. Your Wedding day is a celebration of your love for each other and no amount of planning can change that!

rate for having your wedding on a weekday, rather than st the weekend. Other suppliers such as photographers and florists may also offer weekday discounts too. 2: Buy your wedding dress at a sample sale: Many wedding boutiques hold seasonal sample sales, when they sell off last

Useful Tips: 1: A week day wedding: Many venues offer a discounted

Quintessential English floral bone china, embroidered table linen, vintage lace and handmade bunting for your perfect setting.

For all your Wedding Printing & Copying needs l

Ivory Dress by Annasul Y Amelia George Bridal



With over 2,000 trios of cups, saucers and tea plates and hundreds of other items, we have a wide selection of gorgeous colour-themed designs to choose from. We offer a friendly and flexible hire service and welcome you to view our collection with no obligation. We can deliver and collect hired items, offer free cutlery hire with orders over £50 and even do all of the washing up! Contact us today to make an appointment.

Tel: 01296 420409

    12 Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017  

Unit 2/3 Duck Farm Court, Station Way West, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ Email: Web:

Floral Vintage Crockery Leafield Lee Road, Saunderton Lee Princes Risbrough, Bucks, HP27 9NU e: t: 07875 552132 /floralvintagecrockery

s, weddings

for tea partie


and celebrat

Wedding feature season’s styles. Savings can be up to 70% off the original price. Take it home, organise a dry clean and some alterations and you have saved yourself a small fortune. “This year brides will see a move away from rails full of strapless dresses in traditional lace, and can look forward to cleaner lines, textured embellishments and more modest necklines,” says Katherine of new Tring wedding boutique, Amelia George Bridal, specialists in discounted designer ex-sample and pre-loved wedding dresses, and gorgeous accessories. “Tea-length has been replaced by the much more flattering and easy to wear ‘high-low’ silhouette, and the fishtail is being edged out by a return to fuller ballgown skirts. “Flexibility is also key, so that brides can change their look from day to night with 2-piece designs, and dresses featuring detachable trains, double layers, and removable shoulder coverings.” ( 3: Trim your invite list: If you haven’t seen third cousin Rosie

for 15 years, just invite her to the evening reception. By reducing your day time guest list the catering and drinks bill becomes that much easier on the pocket, you may even get away with a smaller, less expensive venue. 4: Save postage: The cost of 1st class stamps is at an all-time high, hand deliver as many of your invitations as possible and email your save-the-dates. 5: Replace Champagne for your toast with Cava or Prosecco: No one will notice at this stage of the celebrations! 6: Get crafty like Kirsty Allsop: Make your wedding favours homemade shortbread, wedding marmalade, fudge or chutney, with a personalised label on each jar makes a lovely keepsake. If you are very organised make up a Who’s Who Guest book as a wedding favour with a little biog written about each wedding guest explaining how you as a couple know them, or what relation they are, together with a few interesting and quirky facts. It’ll make a really lovely keepsake!

What’s new in Make Up and Hair


ee page 26 for Hair and Beauty columnist Amanda’s tips on trends in bridal hair but read on for make-up advice from Abbie of Abbie Martin Make Up and Beauty (www. “Beautiful radiant skin, soft contouring, rosy cheeks and a touch of illuminating cream or powders to create a gorgeous, fresh bridal look is the current trend,” says Abbie. “Keep brows natural and full, use a brow powder to fill in gaps and a brow gel to set in place. “For eyes, soft natural shades such as browns and creams are popular and pink tones are also in, especially for Spring/Summer brides. A feline flick will add glamour. For lips, a rosy red/pink lipstick or for a more on trend look try a red lip with an orange undertone.”

Maze Hair Thame has a team of experienced stylists who can create that perfect style for your special day. Appointments are available in the salon, or we can travel to your preferred location. Please call us on: 01844 218215 to arrange your free wedding consultation. Maze Hair, 11 Friday Court, North Street, Thame, OX9 3GA T: 01844 218215 E: W:

Hair and Make Up by Mandy and Abbie

Make up artist Abbie and hair stylist Mandy are experienced and creative professionals who enjoy working as a team but can be booked individually, depending on your needs. Over the past three years they have collaborated on numerous weddings, ensuring the bride looks her stunning best. Emily (above) is just one of the beautiful brides they helped to prepare for her big day last summer. Abbie and Mandy are friendly and flexible and offer a bespoke service, unique to each bride, taking the time and care to ensure all are left feeling happy and beautiful. Makeup and Beauty by Abbie E: T: 07799128542 W: Mandy Stacey T: 07729203415 E: Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Photo by Paul Martin of Pictures Inc

Wedding feature


t Fullers we love the heady romance of a wedding day, which is why creating beautiful, bespoke wedding flowers is our absolute passion. As a leading family-run florist covering Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, our team brings over 100 years’ experience to craft, design and arrange your perfect wedding flowers. Whether you want a classic hand-tied bouquet of the finest English roses, or a romantic wild flower bouquet, our expert florists will carefully hand make all your wedding flowers to your exact wishes.

Photo by Paul Martin of Pictures Inc

It’s such a perfect day!

Many will know that at Fullers Flowers we love a bit of vintage! We have acquired some beautiful accessories over the years, so we are able to offer a super selection of props for hire which complement our gorgeous flowers and will


complete your look for a perfect day. Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life, which is why we take care of all our wedding flowers in person - from pinning button holes on nervous

grooms to carefully arranging your reception decorations, we handle every aspect of your wedding flowers, personally and professionally. There is a high demand for our wedding flower service, so as soon as you confirm your date and wedding venue, please call us on 01844 345426 to arrange a personal consultation at our florists in Princes Risborough. l Fullers Flowers, White Lion House, Bell Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AD Tel: 01844 345426 Email: Web:

Mobile Disco Services

Personalised Wedding Stationery

At Lilly’s you will be offered a personalised service for all your wedding stationery needs from your very first enquiry right through to the finished product. Our invitations are tailor made to your requirements as are all our products in the stationery range. Visit the website or phone us for an informal talk, we supply free samples and quotes.

Home visits can be arranged

Handmade Quality Stationery

07905612605 Email: Find us on Facebook 14

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Paul Bailey is an exceptional wedding DJ who will ensure your reception is an unforgettable event. Paul has been providing quality disco services in Buckinghamshire’s finest venues since 2003 and will use his talent and professionalism to guarantee your party is everything you expect it to be and more. Visit the website for more information or call Paul on: 07828 109751 to discuss your requirements. T: 07828 109751 E:

WEDDING INSPIRATION Sunday 5 March 2017, 10am to 3pm

The Dairy and the Five Arrows Hotel, Waddesdon Free entry and welcome drink

@Kate Nielen Photography © Xander & Thea Photography

Wedding Inspiration is the must-attend wedding event for brides, grooms – and their bridal parties – seeking ideas and inspiration for their big day. Designed to be exciting, interactive, fun-filled and beautiful! • With over 60 of the finest wedding professionals committed to sharing their expert knowledge and advice

• Interactive workshops and demos including wine tasting, cocktail making and wedding hair

• Catwalk shows with Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique

• Live entertainment

• Dedicated Bride’s Room, Groom’s Room and Beauty Room

To pre-register visit:

• And much much more…

Find us on Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Choosing your rings

Wedding feature


hen it comes to Engagement and Wedding Rings, there’s few who could boast the wealth of experience and knowledge of Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers, on Cambridge Street, Aylesbury. Originally founded on London’s Regent Street, Hester Clarke are this year celebrating their 125th Anniversary! “Helping couples find the perfect Rings is a hugely enjoyable part of our business,” says Julia Clarke, Managing Director of Hester Clarke. “Buying an Engagement or Wedding Ring is a very personal and significant moment, it’s lovely to be a part of that moment and share it with our customers.” Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers is run by sisters Julia and Nicola, while their parents, Christopher and Ann Clarke are Chairman and Director respectively. Julia’s son Michael is now also involved in the business, which means Hester Clarke is into it’s fifth generation. The family

business is firmly established in Aylesbury, having come to the town almost fifty years ago. The Clarke Family credit knowledge and service for their continued longevity - “Personal service, knowledge and individuality is what we offer,” says Julia. “We adore meeting new couples and helping them find something special. There is such a wide choice now, both in precious metals and stones, we can ensure you are getting great

quality as well as a design you love.” So with 125 years in the business, what advice would Hester Clarke offer to prospective Ring buyers? “When choosing an Engagement Ring, it is important to at least think about the Wedding Ring you will want in the future,” says Julia. “Looking at Wedding Rings at the same time as Engagement Rings gives you the opportunity to see how they will sit next to each

other on your finger, and a chance to see what styles are available and how much you might be spending in the run-up to the big day. “Some people make the mistake of leaving the Wedding Rings until quite late in the wedding planning, but you could save yourself a headache by looking early.



Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers

Independent Family Jewellers since 1892 Goldsmiths House 10-14 Cambridge Street Aylesbury Bucks HP20 1RS 01296 482963


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Wedding feature “You may find that you need more time than expected, especially if you are having bespoke rings made for you, or even that you had forgotten to budget for them! “Remember, your Wedding Rings are the only things from your big day that are expected to last forever, so it’s worth looking for quality.” When it comes to this year’s new trends in Bridal Jewellery, it seems that people are becoming more bold in their choices of precious metals “While Platinum and White Gold are still the most popular choices by far, more and more people are opting for Yellow Gold, especially for gent’s Wedding Rings,” says Julia, “Customers are also a lot more conscious of where and how their jewellery is manufactured and we are seeing a real demand for British made, quality handmade rings.” It seems that the trends for Diamond Engagement Rings may be changing as well. Hester Clarke believe the new trend is quality over quantity. “Our customers are no longer willing to sacrifice as much on colour and clarity in order to get a

bigger diamond,” says Julia. “We have definitely seen a shift towards certificated diamonds of exceptional quality, in smaller sizes.” A certificated diamond means that the Diamond has been through an independent Gem testing Laboratory, and been issued with a certificate outlining the quality of the diamond. “Diamonds are assessed for ‘the 4 Cs - Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat: Cut: Cut is a grading of how well a diamond has been cut. A well cut diamond reflects light back into the eye of the viewer, giving that famous sparkling brilliance. Cut too deep or too shallow and your diamond will lose much of its potential sparkle.

Colour: Colour is graded on an internationally recognised alphabet scale, from D to Z. Colour absorbs light as it passes through the stone, reducing brilliance, so the less colour

the better. D is the complete absence of colour, a perfectly white Diamond. Clarity: Diamonds that form naturally take billions of years, so it’s no surprise that they can come with a few imperfections. These can affect the passage of light through the stone. Clarity is determined by the number, visibility and size of these inclusions.

Carat: Carat is the unit of weight for Diamonds. 5 carat is equal to 1 Gram. Larger diamonds are very rare, which affects the price of a diamond. A two carat diamond will not cost twice as much as a one carat diamond, it will likely be several times the price due to the scarcity of larger stones.

“If you are looking to buy a certificated stone, we always recommend a GIA Certificate. These come from the Gemological Institute of America, and are regarded across the entire

industry as the most trustworthy, accurate and unbiased certificates available,” advises Julia. “Education is important, there is a wealth of knowledge about diamonds available and when buying a stone it is always worth brushing up your knowledge before starting your search. Our team are all trained in diamond grading, and can explain the options to help you find that perfect stone.” At their Cambridge Street showroom, Hester Clarke’s friendly, helpful staff are always on hand to help you with your bridal jewellery needs. With two qualified gemmologists in the showroom, a range of wonderfully talented craftsmen and designers on hand and 125 years of experience you can be confident they can design, make or find your perfect rings.

Offering Anti Ageing and Beauty Treatments Including: l Anti-Wrinkle Injections l Dermal Fillers l Skin Peels l Skin Needling l Semi-Permanent Make-up Treatments are carried out by a fully trained and licensed Facial Aesthetician Contact us for your FREE consultation Tel: 01296 712264 Email: Skin Studio (within White House Dental Studio) 34a High Street, Winslow, Buckinghamshire, MK18 3HB T: 01296 712264 E: W: Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Wedding feature

The honeymoon

After the whirlwind of your big day and the adventure of starting your new life together your Honeymoon should be fabulously memorable and as individual and unique as the couple enjoying it. Adams Travel is an independent local travel agency based in Aylesbury town centre with a small, knowledgeable team working hard to ensure every honeymoon is special. Whether you are looking for a Castaway Island, exotic Far Eastern magic or a long weekend of European bliss, this is one holiday that should be an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime escape. “Adams Travel covers the globe,” says Travel Consultant Hannah Taylor, “so wherever your dream Honeymoon location, we can book it for you and will be able to offer advice, information and assistance in making the right decision. “We’ve helped many couples plan their dream breaks and know just where may suit depending on what kind of trip you are looking for. “Our top favourite honeymoon destinations include:

Italy - take in a cosmopolitan city or two and indulge yourselves in a break full of fabulous food and top notch hotels. Whether you are looking for a romantic rail holiday stretched over two weeks or a sophisticated short break, Italy could be your ideal destination. Caribbean - If you are looking for secluded serenity, a fly and flop holiday to one of the Caribbean’s beautiful islands could be a perfect Honeymoon paradise! South Africa and Mauritius – combine destinations to make the perfect African and Indian Ocean escape. Take in some wildlife on a South African safari before jetting off to paradise for a romantic end to your honeymoon. Enjoy sunshine, clear skies, turquoise waters and soft white beaches in your own slice of honeymoon heaven. Thailand - an enchanting country rich with cultural tradition, this land has ancient temples, tantalising


cuisine, pristine beaches and tropical rainforests. From elephant camps to world class resorts, Thailand has something for everyone. “The journey could be part of the fun - there’s planes, boats, trains and automobiles to choose from - you could cruise the Caribbean, explore

the Rockies by rail, soar off on a city break, discover the British Isles by road, or perhaps a hiking, boating, skiing or cycling holiday would be more your idea of Honeymoon bliss. “Whatever your hearts desire Adams Travel will ensure that this most romantic of holidays is everything you hoped it would be and more and ease the stress of what can be one of the toughest decisions of the wedding process. “Remember, back home is where your real story begins but how lovely to start it with a host of amazing honeymoon memories and some great new stories to tell.”

Make your honeymoon an unforgettable experience with our unique packages, which are tailor-made to fulfil your needs. With an array of stunning destinations. Find your perfect match and the honeymoon of your dreams with Adams Travel.



5* Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort

5* Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, Malaysia

Includes • Return flights

Includes • Return flights

• 7 nights at 5* Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, B&B

• 7 nights at 5* Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, Malaysia, B&B

• Return transfers

• Return private transfers

Valid for travel: 22 Apr - 13 Jul 17



11 Market Square, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1TJ 01296 873017 |


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Valid for travel: 21 Apr - 22 Jun 17



Wedding feature

Derek Pelling Photography

Natural and Relaxed Wedding Day Photography

Bespoke Wedding Stationery Invitations · RSVP cards · Table plans Menus · Order of service sheets HALF PRICE THANK YOU CARDS WITH ANY ORDER


01296 424699

Insured and Professional 07738 497106

The perfect place for your perfect day Reception space for 60 seated, with the option to gain additional space by adding marquee Exclusive use of venue, offering you the freedom to personalise your day Relaxed, farm­based rural location Stunning uninterrupted views Attractive sensory garden

“College Farm was the perfect venue, offering a flexible layout with high quality facilities and a stunning backdrop for our wedding” TRACY & DAVID

The College Farm Chearsley Road, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 9AP

Tel: (01844) 201562 07503 212468

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



NOTLEY ABBEY, NR. THAME Once the dream home of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, now your dream home for your dream day

0345 130 9966

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B I J O U W E D D I N G V E N U E S . C O. U K

Wedding feature

Natural beauty


iona Faber not only loves flowers but is more than a little obsessed with jugs, vases and containers too! Her new Floral Design shop at 13 High Street, Wendover has a whole showroom dedicated to pots, baskets, bottles and jars, French brocante and anything unusual, interesting and vintage that will hold a display or set off a bloom.

Fiona in her new Wendover store Fiona is trained in her art and has certificates in floristry from The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers and the Floristry Academy and is a member of the British Floral Association. Her style is naturally, free-form and quintessentially English, although she loves the challenge and variety of working with clients who have different tastes and ideas. Her bouquets and arrangements are all bespoke and tailor made to the client’s requirements using fresh, natural flowers and foliage to give a relaxed, country feel and ensure

excellent vase-life. When it comes to weddings Fiona is happy to offer professional advice, support and assistance. She can help with your theme, co-ordinate ideas and turn your dreams into reality. From arranging your flowers, dressing your tables, sourcing or making the perfect accessories to complement your theme, through to offering a complete design and/or planning package, she won’t take away the fun of planning your event, just the hard work and worry! As well as beautiful bouquets for the bridal party, table centrepieces, pedestal arrangements, buttonholes

and corsages, Fiona can design and make beautiful floral crowns and hair clips to complement your chosen hair style and she has a large stock of items to hire that may add the finishing touch to your event, such as: candlesticks, candleabras, lanterns, outdoor lights, jugs, bowls, bunting, outdoor games, flower boxes, sweet jars, pedestals and urns. Watch out too for her courses and a wedding fair coming up soon at her new Wendover store. l Fiona Faber Floral Design, 13 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 695837 Email: Web:


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Wedding feature

Win tickets to National Wedding Show


he National Wedding Show has a spectacular line up for spring 2017, bringing the nation’s most beautiful, stylish and inspiring wedding suppliers together under one roof and you can be there too at London Olympia from 17th–19th February or Birmingham NEC 3rd–5th March. All the bridal party will be entertained with live music, food tastings, shopping hotspots and DIY classes, not to mention The Champagne Bar! The Revlon Runway brings to life the latest trends for the bride, groom, mother-of-the-bride and the bridesmaids on the UK’s largest bridal catwalk. The biggest names in bridal design will showcase their latest collections including Jenny Packham, Vera Wang, David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Allure Bridals, Berketex Brides, Maggie Sottero, Maids to Measure, Debenhams, Coast, Phase Eight, Young’s Hire, Moss Bros, Nigel Rayment, Katya Katya Shehurina, Cad & The Dandy, Ghost London, Ben De Lisi, and many more offering timeless classics, one off creations and lust worthy designs. The National Wedding Show tours the country to bring brides-to-be their fashion-fix and the very latest in

stationery, honeymoons, beauty, plus so much more! It’s the perfect place to shop for your entire wedding or if you are on a ‘quest for the dress’ head to the Bridal Boutique and Designer Boutique, with endless opportunities to try on that dream dress, you’ll also get the chance to speak directly with some of the designers and ask their style advice. Plus there’s plenty for the alternative bride in The Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride Collection! They say knowledge is power, and The National Wedding Show has a line-up of industry insiders at The

Makeover Theatre, ready with all the latest hair, beauty and style advice. The show’s producers will also be on the hunt twice a day to offer a lucky bride-to-be and the motherof-the-bride or groom a head to toe makeover live on stage. Prepare to be amazed… Savile Row tailors from Cad & The Dandy and Yardsman lead the way for the boys in the Gentleman’s Lounge, where the iconic British menswear brand will showcase their latest bespoke and hire collections, including everything from the

traditional morning suit to Scottish highland dress plus contemporary takes on the classic lounge suit. Who knows, you might discover the groom’s (and his groomsmen’s) stylish side. If you are looking to book your honeymoon, get the low down on the latest hot-spots, relaxing havens or trekking adventures with the likes of Turquoise Holidays, Sandals, Thomas Cook, Beachcomber Tours and many more. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to The National Wedding Show at Birmingham NEC simply email your name, address and telephone number along with the answer to the following question, to: When is this year’s National Wedding Show at Birmingham NEC being held? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by Feb 28th, 2017. l For more information

or to book tickets, visit:

or call ticket hotline: 0844 874 0486 Twitter: @nationalwedding #TNWS Instagram: thenationalweddingshow

Weddings @ The Railway

Have your wedding inside our stunning glass-roofed venue, alongside beautifully restored steam engines, surrounded by pretty Buckinghamshire countryside.

Wedding ceremony licence Up to 150 for a sit down meal Use our Oxford Room for smaller gatherings Offer your guests a steam train ride! Large dance floor Now taking bookin for 201 gs 8! 22

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Well-lit, large car park on site W: E: T: 01296 655720

Wedding feature

Dorton House Dorton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

If you are looking for a spectacular venue for your wedding which offers unparalleled flexibility and affordability on an exclusive use basis, look no further than Dorton House. Our magnificent 15th century Jacobean mansion is located in the heart of beautiful, quintessential rolling Buckinghamshire countryside and is the idyllic setting for stunning photographs and memories. As part of our award-winning service we offer a dedicated wedding coordinator to guide and support you throughout the whole experience and to work with you to create a bespoke wedding day which is as individual as you are. T: 01296 339166 E:

Wedding & event catering | Mobile bar hire | Wedding & event planning | Event lighting We are a professional, dynamic catering and event management company based in Aylesbury. Hugely innovative, we are result driven and focused on making every event, whatever the size, a success. Our passionate team pay attention to the smallest detail, creating memorable events for every client. Through personal consultation we will build a picture of your needs, whether it’s catering for an exquisite wedding, supplying a pop-up bar for a party at home or providing lighting to transform your venue.

T. 01296 339166 M. 07850 891769 E. W: Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Wedding feature

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Thame Barns Centre, Church Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3AJ At the Holiday Inn Aylesbury we offer an ideal T: 01844 217308 E: W: setting for your special day.

Looking for the perfect wedding venue?

Looking for the perfect wedding venue?

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Call us on 01296 734030, email us at or visit our Contact our eventswebsite team today for more at orwedding visit our information on our exciting packages and facilities! SPECIALfor OFFER website at Looking the perfect wedding venue? Call us on 01296 734030, email voucher us at to enjoy during £300 beverage or party visit our your wedding website at At the Holiday Inn Aylesbury we offer an ideal setting for your special day.

for weddings booked until end of March At the Holiday Inn Aylesbury we offer an ideal setting for your special day. And we will ensure that SPECIAL OFFER with help from our experienced and talented events team, your day is one you will never want to forget! SPECIAL OFFER Holidayinformation Inn Aylesbury, New Turville, Aylesbury,packages HP22 5QT and facilities! Contact our events team today for more onRoad, ourWeston exciting wedding £300voucher beverage voucher to enjoy during during £300 beverage to enjoy Call us on 01296 734030, email us at: wedding party or visit our website at your weddingyour party With help from our experienced and talented events team we will ensure your day is one you will never want to forget! Contact our events team today for more information on our exciting wedding packages and facilities!

Looking for Looking for the the perfect perfect wedding weddingvenue? venue? Call us on 01296 734030, email us at or visit our website at


£300 beverage voucher to enjoy during your wedding party

for weddings booked until end of March for weddings booked until end of March

SPECIAL OFFER for weddings booked until end of March Holiday Inn Aylesbury, New Road, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, HP22 5QT

At the Holiday Inn Aylesbury we offer an ideal voucher to enjoy during your wedding party for your special day. we £300 Atsetting the Holiday Inn Aylesbury offer an beverage idealAylesbury, Holiday Inn New Road, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, HP22 5QT setting for your special day. for weddings booked until end of March With help from our experienced and talented events team weour willexperienced ensure your and day is one you With help from talented will never want to forget! events team we will ensure your day is one you will neverour want to forget! Contact events team today for more information on our exciting wedding packages Contact our events team today for more and facilities! information on our exciting wedding packages 2and 24 Valeon Life01296 : Feb/Mar734030, 2017 Callfacilities! us email us at or visit our

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Wedding feature

Helen Grace Hats


elen Nicholls used to help a milliner friend sell hats at race meetings and regattas. She learnt how to design and craft her own hats and fascinators and in 2015 set up Helen Grace Hats. She now sells and hires a beautiful selection of millinery for wearing to weddings and special events - both her own and other makes (including Whiteley and Maddox) - from her home studio in Shabbington, near Thame. Helen is happy to spend time helping her clients find the perfect hat to suit their face shape, hair style, skin colouring and outfit and if it’s not in stock, will go out of her way to find it or make it! “Ladies are welcome to come here with their outfit,” says Helen, “and we can try a variety of colours, sizes, shapes and styles until we find the right hat for her, the occasion and the season. “It’s very relaxed and private and allows the client to try on a variety of headwear to assess what

looks best in a comfortable home environment. Sometimes a bride will accompany her mother but often it’s the client on her own.” Helen can make a hat to order and can also dress existing hats to incorporate specific elements or colours to complement a wedding or event theme, or to match an outfit. Elegant hats, fascinators, hair pieces or hair bands can be designed by Helen with her client to create the perfect bespoke result. Her hats are made with a Sinamay base material to which she adds

Helen with a selection of her hats decorative features such as ribbons, feathers or flowers to create a unique and individual piece. Helen Grace Hats range from £75 up to around £200 to buy and are presented in a stylish, elegant Hat box. Hat hire is from £40 - a deposit is required too. Helen can also supply hats en masse for corporate events such

as race days and Top Hats can be supplied for gentlemen. For further information or to book an appointment, contact Helen as below. l Helen Grace Hats, Shabbington, Buckinghamshire Tel: 01844 201017 Email: Web:

Are you planning a wedding? Passion Fruit Catering is a premium catering company specialising in Bespoke Weddings, Private Parties and Corporate Events. We are the perfect catering partner for your special day and will ensure it is a unique, bespoke experience, tailored around you. Whether you desire a classic fine dining wedding breakfast or trendy themed food stations, we will work with you to create the perfect food experience and wedding package - one that is designed to reflect your individual style and personality. Canapés | Fine Dining | Posh Charcoal BBQ Themed Food stations | Buffets | Afternoon Tea We are based in Oxfordshire and cover Buckinghamshire the Home Counties & London.

T: 01491 282 520 E: Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Amanda Trott

l Column

Looking fabulous on your wedding day isn’t just about following the latest trends. Each bride is unique and wants a look that works for her from top to toe. That means a beauty regime building up to the big day plus extra special hair and make-up...


Amanda Trott

Beauty Spot

Left: Pretty bridal up-do hairstyle with side braid and floral crown Centre & right: Side swept fishtail braid Below: soft flowing waves and fresh flowers or a woman your wedding day is one of the most highly anticipated days of your life - and one you’ll want to look back on knowing you really looked your best. Every bride’s first thought is of course, her dress, but the right hair and make-up is just as important. It’s crucial to feel as much like yourself as possible on the big day and with this season’s trends very much focussing on natural hair and make-up, that should be easy to achieve. Braids and softly pinned updos are still very much de rigeur this Spring and Summer, as most brides are choosing very natural looking hair with nothing too structured. Whilst relaxed ‘up-dos’ are still popular and look very pretty, there is also a shift towards brides wearing their hair down. Centre partings with soft flowing waves and tumbling curls are also very ‘in’ for 2017 and braids continue to be popular. The look is relaxed, with styles such as ‘the waterfall’ and ‘fishtail’ proving favourites with many. While brides always have to consider the structure and neckline of their dress, the natural hair look works with the current trend for simpler dresses and two pieces and looks fabulous with more boho

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

styles. It’s a fresh, contemporary, unfussy look, which is a cool alternative to the much more structured and traditional chignon or French pleat. There is also a move towards adding statement hair pieces such as floral crowns adorned with jewels and pearls and corsages or crystal combs and pins. The focus on skin is about a

Full, defined brows are hugely on trend too and a good brow shape acts as an instant eye lift, and is essential for pulling your overall look together. Matte dark lips have dominated the past few years, however in 2017 there will be a shift from matte to more hydrated lips. High shine lipgloss is making a comeback at the moment along with creamy satiny berry tones for added dimension. Classic glamour such as winged eyeliner and semi matte orange red lips will always continue to be a timeless winner though.

Rose gold eyeshadow

Flawless, natural skin fresh, dewy, radiant face that looks as though it’s naturally flawless and youthful and not heavily made-up. A good highlighter is key and will add and reflect light to your face giving you a fresh, healthy looking complexion. It will also work at making your best features more pronounced.

Fresh breathable looking skin on your wedding day is beautiful teamed with either a bold eye or lip. One key trend this season for eyes is rose gold eyeshadow which is flattering on almost every eye colour - it’s a trend that will look great paired with any kind of dress style since it is a rather muted, nude tone for a metallic eyeshadow. Soft creamy matte browns, nudes and pinks are also featuring strongly this season and are a beautiful alternative to the heavier grey smokey eye; perfect for brides who don’t want to follow the metallic look.

Most importantly, whatever style you choose – soft and romantic, boho-chic or sultry and glamorous, make sure you feel like you – just the most beautiful version of you. l To contact Amanda with regard to

Beauty Spot features please email:


Column: ‘Good Health’ with Sandra Smith

Keep on walking A

s an exercise, walking ticks many boxes. This physical activity is simple, free and accessible with little need for specialist (expensive) equipment, apart from a comfortable pair of shoes. And according to the NHS regular walking may positively benefit our health by reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well as asthma, strokes and even some cancers. Another bonus, according to fitness expert, Mel Ames, is how easily walking can be built into your daily routine. “You should try to do 30 minutes exercise a day. This could include using stairs rather than lifts and escalators. Park further away from your place of work, or get off a train earlier and walk the rest of the way. Also, up your pace. Walking a dog is a brilliant way

Wendover Fitness Nordic Walking group of working out while taking in our lovely scenery. Even standing increases fitness so try working at a laptop on a kitchen surface rather than sitting at a desk.” For those currently favouring a less active lifestyle, Mel suggests starting slowly, once or twice a week. Meanwhile more strenuous workouts are available. She explains the ethos behind her weekly Nordic Walking sessions. “Using poles is effectively

like walking with four legs. The technique involves putting your pole down and propelling yourself forward. Shoulders are back and hands have to come a little higher than usual so you engage back and core muscles plus biceps and triceps. This full body, all round exercise takes a lot of pressure off the lower body so it’s good for those who can’t run or who have issues with hips and knees. We cater for all levels.” Regardless of age and ability, walking is an aerobic activity that is, literally, at your feet. And if you prefer company, Aylesbury Ramblers offer a range of walks, distances and paces to suit varying levels of fitness whilst Simply Walk meets by Wendover Clock Tower at 10am each Tuesday morning with walks in Wendover Woods on the first Thursday of each month. Whether you set off alone, with your pet or join others,

Good Health

Sandra Smith walking is an underrated exercise available regardless of age or exercise history. Even the season and temperature are no barriers. Though before you set out, Mel has one final piece of advice: “Layers are important. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” Simply Walk: 01494 475367 l Find out more about Sandra

Smith’s work as a freelance writer by following her on Twitter: @TheCurrentMrsS or visiting her website:

Wider Fit Shoe Shop now Open!

For all your beauty needs

Eyelash extensions, Elemis facials, Shellac and much more! 07771 330366 Unit 5, Layby Farm, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks. HP22 5XJ

A salon with over 10 years experience, specialising in re-styles, colour work, hair and makeup for weddings and parties. To book an appointment call or pop in

01296 338 344 

Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, HP20 2SQ

‘Excellence for all your foot care needs’ Did you know that the average person walks some 75,000 miles in their lifetime! It is not surprising then that many of us experience foot problems at some point. Come to Feet First where our team of highly qualified and experienced Podiatrists utilise a combination of innovative technology, professional expertise and care, to help keep your feet healthy and happy. Feet First, 13a Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER Tel: 01844 261023 Email: Web:

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Vale Life : Feb 2017

Column: ‘Kiss & tell’ with Tracy Kiss

Pump up the volume!


ith New Year well and truly out of the way I’m knee deep into my strict bodybuilding training in preparation for my first bikini contest at Pure Elite on April 1st and taking full advantage of the wonderful fitness facilities that Aylesbury has to offer. I train five to six days per week at two different gyms; Bodyflex and Anytime Fitness because each has something unique and very valuable to offer. Bodyflex is the home of champions with natural bodybuilding world champion and two-times British champion Tony Montalbano coaching me to build muscle and perfect my technique for the show. I’ve never known my body to feel so strong, tireless and on form and his expert guidance and inside knowledge of the industry is incredibly inspiring and motivational. Tony has walked the walk, knows all of the tips and

Tracy is training five or six days a week! tricks to cutting fat and getting lean, and together with his famous Rottweiler Rocky, somehow manages to keep me smiling through the testing burn of lifting

heavy and my results speak for themselves. After an intense weight session I like to stroll across to Anytime Fitness opposite the Waterside Theatre which is open 24/7 and is the perfect place to unwind my muscles with a sweaty session on the cross trainer. Being vegan my body recovers far quicker than a meat eater from muscle soreness and as such I feel constantly full of energy which really helped me to run my first marathon at the weekend when the rest of the town were most likely recovering from a night out. Being a single parent it can be hard to find the time and childcare to commit to a regular gym routine, especially one as full on as training for a bodybuilding show, but we’re fortunate to be surrounded by a wealth of experts on our doorstep and with various opening times and training slots there’s something to suit every lifestyle.

Tracy Kiss

Kiss & tell

I finished up this week with a divine Pilates and stretching session in the studio with new Anytime Fitness manager Paul Jennings, who commutes daily from London to provide health strategies and lifestyle interventions to gym members. We’re very fortunate to live in a town filled with hidden gems and unsung experts, and being a busy single working mother I’m proof that everybody is capable of getting the summer body of their dreams – you just have to leave your excuses at the door! l Read Tracy’s blog at: or follow her on: Twitter: @misstracykiss or Facebook: /TheTracyKiss

We can all benefit from exercise, whatever your age, whatever your ability


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08/12/2015 10:02


Column: Fitness Focus with Andy McCrea

Marathon proof your body


e have all noticed the seasonal increase in joggers complete with pained expressions and brightly coloured lycra! At Elite Physical Medicine we know the commitment that goes into preparing and fund raising for sporting challenges and understand that the last thing you need is a set back in training. Injuries are frustrating and stressful and much better prevented than cured, so here are six ways to marathonproof your body ahead of the big day:

combined with poor technique. Most amateur runners will “get away” with 5km and 10km distances, but 26 miles will find you out!! At Elite we use video technology to analyse your running technique and identify any abnormal biomechanics. A personalised strength and stability programme will then dramatically reduce injury risk.

1. Mix it! Let’s face it, running for 26.2 miles on tarmac is not great for our joints! Increase your aerobic training without the impact of running, try cross-training one or two days a week doing activities such as swimming or cycling for around 45 minutes at a moderate pace.

3. Roll with it! Make use of watching TV... complement your stretching with foam rolling. A roller should be your saviour in releasing tension in muscles which are loaded frequently while training. Running is a very repetitive movement and with a marathon programme you have little time to let these muscles recover. Your lateral thigh particularly shortens and tightens and a roller will help release this tissue and prevent overuse injuries.

2. Condition yourself! Most injuries occur as a result of overloading muscles/joints

4. Prep! Planning on buying a new pair of trainers or vest ahead of the race? Get them now and wear them

Andy McCrea Elite Physical Medicine

informed return to training.

Andy working with a client at Elite

in! Also if you have not trained with energy bars and gels do not start on race day!! It sounds obvious but introducing a new variable can upset you physically and mentally. Use your long training runs to trial different nutrition and wardrobe options. 5. Don’t be a hero. Don’t be a slave to your programme. If you’ve got a niggling injury – listen to your body and take some time out. At Elite we are unique in that we have a diagnostic ultrasound scanner, this allows us to get an immediate and accurate diagnosis which helps guide rehabilitation and provides an

6. Put your name on your vest No, really - the difference between “go on!” and “go on Andy” is huge at mile 17 when you’re wondering if the aching will ever stop. Charities often have hundreds of supporters, make sure they’re supporting you! Last of all, enjoy the day and good luck from all the team at Elite Physical Medicine. l Andy McCrea BA (Hons) BSc (Hons) MCSP HPC Reg. is a Chartered Physiotherapist at Elite Physical Medicine. Tel: 01296 437717 Mob: 07974209686

katie banfield BSc (Hons) Ost. Med. ND Registered Osteopath Winslow: 01296 714504 Stoke Mandeville: 01296 612361 Enquiries: 07770 917388

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Column: Fitness Focus with Emma Barker

Health & Fitness

The best intentions


o the New Year has well and truly started - in fact a twelfth of it has gone already! Back at the beginning of the year many of us made Resolutions - filled with the excesses of Christmas and probably feeling a little guilty, we once again decided this New Year was going to be one of great change and expectation. Popular Resolutions often include: going on a diet, joining a gym, starting a new exercise, giving up alcohol or stopping smoking... and if you’ve failed to stick to your New Year Resolutions already you are not alone! According to a ‘BUPA New Year’s Resolution Survey’ only 1 person in 8 successfully kept a resolution last year! So where are we going wrong and why do we set ourselves up for failure every year? We often set unrealistic resolutions as future justification for current over indulgence. But

then something new and positive ends up making us feel stressed and negative. It’s no wonder that we’ve even coined a phrase ‘January Blues’! Whether you failed to stick to your resolutions, didn’t set any but want to make a change, or would simply like to lift your spirits and gain positivity, here’s something you’ve got to try... SETTING INTENTIONS.

Intentions aren’t based on the two extremes of success or failure. They are a softer, more gentle way of focusing your mind on what you want and what you intend to do. By drawing attention to what it is you want, you gain clarity and by using the power of your mind to creatively visualise your intention, it can become your reality. As well as setting yearly intentions, you can also set monthly, weekly and daily ones. To set Intentions I suggest the following: light a candle, take slow, deep breaths to relax, then think about what intentions you’d like to set and finally visualise carrying out your intentions, including how you feel when your doing them! Inspirational New Year Intentions you could set: * I intend to eat healthy unprocessed food that will nourish my body * I intend to do something active every day

Emma Barker Spinning and wellness * I intend to try a new exercise class this year/month/week/today! * I intend to refrain from drinking weekdays * I intend to explore all credible methods of quitting smoking To help you practice your intentions put reminders on your phone, or leave notes in places you will see them. Go on, give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised - Happy Intention Setting! l For more information on this or other positive fitness and wellness changes you can make, please get in touch with Emma via:

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Taking the plunge The annual Thame Swimathon charity challenge returns to Thame Leisure Centre in February and organisers Thame Rotary Club are looking for teams of 4 to 6 to take part in this, the 5th edition of the Thame Swimathon, which takes place at Thame Leisure Centre on Sunday 26th February from 11am to 3pm. This is a fun, fundraising event, organised by the Rotary Club of Thame and made possible by generous local sponsors who kindly cover most of the costs: Thame Leisure Centre, Park Street Dental Clinic, Aston Hearing, Booker Tate, and Ignite Sport. Take on the challenge! It’s as easy as 1-2-3: 1.Get a team of 4-6, download a Team Entry Form from: www.thame.rotary1090. org, fill in your details

and email it on to: thame. 2. Raise funds for charity 3. Swim for 1 hour. All ages from 8 years upwards are invited to enter. The Team Entry Form, Info Pack and Sponsorship Form are all available from: Participants have the option of allocating 50% of the money they raise towards the charity of their choice or 100% towards Rotary’s charities. Last year’s event raised just over £5,300! For more details Rotary Club of Thame can be contacted as below. l

Walk, jog or run you’re doing the Race for Life


ancer Research UK’s Race for Life is no ordinary 5k. This 5k involves thousands of women uniting with one purpose - to come together to raise money and BEAT CANCER. Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of womenonly events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer and there’s one scheduled for the beautiful grounds of Waddesdon Manor this year on 14th May, starting at 10:30am 5k (or just over 3 miles) is an achievable distance for all ages and abilities. You can take part however you like and choose to run, jog or walk your way around the course. Those who jog or run Race for Life often complete the 5k course in about 30 to 45 minutes. Walkers take about

an hour, but there’s no pressure to finish in a certain time it’s about uniting in the fight against cancer. One of the best ways to have fun and raise money for Race for Life is to get together as a group. If you’d like to take part with a group of friends and family then all the information you need is on the Race for Life website at: https://raceforlife. The website is packed with information about how to take part and what to expect and even has 6-week training plans, to get you ready for your Race for Life event. They are designed for women of all ages and fitness levels, simply choose the pace you want to do. What a great reason to get out and get active this Spring! l https://raceforlife.

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Column: Fitness Focus with Ovarian Cancer Action

Listen in - speak up! M

arch is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and this year research charity Ovarian Cancer Action has chosen the theme Listen In! Ovarian cancer isn’t as well-known as some other female cancers, yet it is the fifth most common - with more than 7,000 diagnoses in the UK each year. The UK has one of the lowest survival rates in Western Europe, with a woman dying from ovarian cancer every two hours, resulting in 4,300 deaths annually. Ovarian Cancer Action says one of the reasons for the poor survival rate in the UK is that the disease is often spotted too late. The charity’s Chief Executive, Katherine Taylor, says: “Ovarian cancer is particularly difficult to diagnose yet early diagnosis is crucial. When women are diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer they have a 90% chance of surviving for more than five years but this reduces to 22% when diagnosed in the later stages.” One obstacle to making the all-

important early diagnosis is a lack of symptoms awareness. Ovarian cancer is often labelled a silent killer due to the misconception that it’s symptomless. This, however, is not true. The four main signs of ovarian

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be difficult since these symptoms are vague and easily confused with other ailments. Stomach pain and bloating, for example, can affect us all. However, the key is persistence if the symptoms are unusual for you, don’t go away, and have started in the last 12 months, speak to your doctor. Women should feel confident about trusting their bodies and take action if they feel something is wrong. So, if you are experiencing symptoms and are worried it could be ovarian cancer, listen to your body and speak up. Book an appointment with your GP and ask for a CA125 test, to rule it out. Ovarian Cancer Action recognises that speaking up about your health can be difficult. The charity has developed a symptoms diary to help women record their symptoms, which they can then take to their GP. Search for ‘Ovarian Cancer Action’ in your phone’s app store, or download a version to print out at: l

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by Cathy Soughton

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Related to Royals!

sometimes get asked by clients to investigate whether there is any truth in old stories passed down within the family that one of their ancestors was the illegitimate child of a nobleman or even royalty. Sometimes old photos are brought out to show that Great Aunt Matilda had an uncanny likeness to say, Queen Victoria... Nearly always the truth is more mundane and the illegitimate child in question was just the offspring of a local groom or farm labourer. So why do these stories arise? I like to compare them to the old game of Chinese Whispers where the first person in a line whispers a message to the next person and so on until the last person announces the message to the group. Occasionally the end message hasn’t changed much and there is some truth in the story but generally, what started off perhaps as a throwaway comment, becomes fact as it is passed down

the generations. Intriguingly though many of us will have royal ancestors going back further in time. Some of you may have seen EastEnders actor Danny Dyer in a recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are? where it was revealed that he was a direct descendant of Edward III who was King of England from 1327-1377, and in turn a descendant of William the Conqueror. Danny was amazed to find that he had royal ancestors but it seems that his case wasn’t unusual. Edward III had 14 legitimate children as well as several illegitimate ones. Whilst a few died young, many of his children subsequently had children of their own and it’s been estimated that by the late 1500s, out of a population in England of just under 4 million at the time, around 20,000 people were direct descendants of Edward III so roughly one in 200 people! If you then work backwards and consider how many ancestors we each have (two parents, four grandparents etc), the numbers quickly escalate, so if you go back 14 generations - approximately to the late 1500s,

grandfather on a couple of lines, but even allowing for such doubling up, the chances that you’d have at least one ancestor descended from Edward III is extremely high! You may say, well my ancestors were just poor labourers so I can’t have any royal blood but you’d be surprised how many families saw their fortunes change over several generations from rags to riches or vice versa. Younger sons in wealthy families often did not inherit much and certain factors such as the early death of a husband may have had you’d have over 16,000 ancestors in a devastating material effect on a just that one generation alone, which previously affluent family. represents 0.4% of the population, Danny was unusual though in (assuming you just had English being able to prove how he was ancestors). descended from Edward III; in Statistically it’s been estimated many cases lack of surviving records that out of this figure of 16,000, makes it difficult to trace ancestors the average person would have who lived before the 18th century 86 ancestors descended from so sadly, most of us will never know Edward III. Now this doesn’t allow for sure! for double counting - obviously l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural some of these ancestors would be duplicates, as in smaller communities historian providing family history and house history research in the local many families intermarried over area. W:, time, so you may have the same E:, great, great, great, great, great, great T: 01296 624845

Actor Danny Dyer discovered he is a descendant of King Edward III

Support the work of wonder dog Patience


he Vale Federation of special schools in Aylesbury, (Booker Park and Stocklake Park schools) and their associated charity Make A Special Kid Smile (MASKS) has an exciting and innovative project taking place at Stocklake Park Special school - one of only two such initiatives being trialled across the whole country. The Federation has joined forces with Banbury-based charity Dogs for Good to enhance the learning experiences of children with special educational needs. The service involves a highly skilled dog, Patience, and her handler being placed in the school to provide animalassisted therapy/animal-assisted education to the students who all have complex learning disabilities. In 18 months the project has seen such remarkable results 34

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Labrador/Retriever cross Patience at school with one of the students

that it has been extended for a further two years beyond the original 3 year pilot. Key areas impacted are: Students’ ability to focus, participate and learn in class; Development of specific skills, eg road safety, self-care; Improved therapy session outcomes eg physiotherapy; Students’ ability to interact with others in school and the local community; and

an Improved school working environment for both students and staff. Any donations to help fund this project and Patience’s ongoing work would be most appreciated. More information and donation details can be found on the websites below. l

Patience encourages exercise and fresh air up on Coombe Hill


Column: Bookworm with Ben Churchill

Non Fiction Book of the Month: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore Montefiore’s gripping chronicle of the most successful dynasty of our times reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets. Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, The Romanovs is at once an enthralling chronicle of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power, and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.

Thriller of the Month: : The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

London, 1666. A woman on the run. A killer seeking revenge. As the Great Fire tears down anything and everything in its path, a man’s body is found in the ruins of St. Paul’s, stabbed in the neck, with his thumbs tied behind his back. Need I say more? Where better to hide a murder, than within the Great Fire

Book reviews dies and his mother becomes all too distant. It’s only when he befriends Anton, a boy of his own age, that he realises that his life has irrevocably entwined with his new friend’s, and this fierce, profound friendship has begun to define who Gustav really is.

Ben’s Personal Favourite: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

of London?

Children’s Book of the Month: Who Let the Gods Out?

by Maz Evans Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo - a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world - and

As primarily a reader of Fiction, memoirs, are not my area of solving Elliot’s problems too? expertise, however, Paul Kalanithi Perfect for fans of the Percy Jackson - who sadly passed away during the series, this book will make you howl writing of this book - has written with laughter! one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, affecting memoirs I’ve Fiction Book of the Month: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain read. It’s his story of how, on the cusp of completing his training as a Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Neurosurgeon, he learns that he has Award, the Observer calls The inoperable lung cancer. Regardless Gustav Sonata “the perfect novel.” of what genre you normally read, This book poses the question: it’s a book that will stay with you What is the difference between for a very, very long time. Simply, friendship and love, neutrality remarkable.! and commitment? The Gustav of the title grows up in ‘neutral’ l Reviews by Ben Churchill, Senior Switzerland where the horrors of Bookseller at Waterstones, Aylesbury the Second World War seem to be Tel: 01296 423153 just a distant echo. Then his father Web:

Pardon my English! Could you be a Roman A local dialect ‘Call My Bluff’ by Jacot de Boinod Can you guess the right definitions of the following words? 1) Placket

(Hertfordshire dialect) A) the opening in a skirt or petticoat B) the swamp surface of a wet ploughed field C) a badly manufactured tiddlywink, flat on both sides

2) Hommock

(Hertfordshire dialect)

A) a tree bare of leaves or twigs B) a guest who eats all of the host’s food and drinks all of the host’s drinks C) to walk with a clumsy gait

3) Grib

(Berkshire dialect) A) a sharp bite with the teeth; an unexpected bite, as when a horse slinks his ears and gives one a pinch B) a spur attached to the heel of a fighting cock C) a tree bare of leaves or twigs

4) will-fill

(Buckinghamshire dialect) A) high-spirited, proud B) a hermaphrodite C) vigorously; with might and main

l Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for the

television series QI and is the author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books. Having researched our rural dialect, he is setting a fun ‘Call-My-Bluff Quiz for Vale Life readers - mind your language now...

soldier or disciple?


hinnor is putting on a Passion Play complete with Roman Soldiers. Two performances of the dramatic event will take place in the open air on White’s Field at 11am and 2pm on Saturday 1st April this year - and no it’s not an April Fool! Entrance is free. The Passion Play or Easter pageant depicts the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death and has long been a traditional part of Lent for many Christians. The Chinnor play is based on medieval plays but with a contemporary twist as the organisers wish to include people of different ages, backgrounds and social groups, so all have a chance to be part of this exciting event. Anyone with, or looking

to develop, skills and talents in the areas of acting, organisation, theatre, dance, music, costumes and theatre in general is welcome to get involved in this community project. In particular more male participants are needed. Males who could play either speaking or non-speaking disciples or Roman soldiers. “Don’t worry if you have never been on a ‘stage’ before,” says organiser Jean Sutcliffe, “you will be guided and supported all the way and new skills encouraged - the key thing is everyone enjoys themselves!” Contact Ralph on: 07790 498718 or Jean on: 07957 813104 if you think you can help and would like to be involved. Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


ANSWERS: 1: A) the opening in a skirt or petticoat. 2: C) to walk with a clumsy gait. 3: A) a sharp bite with the teeth. 4: B) a hermaphrodite.


Column: Down to business with Philippa Batting

Wasting your energy?


rant funding can ease the discontent of winter bills It’s the time of year when energy bills really start to bite, for businesses as well as households. Many businesses operate on such fine margins that it can only be of benefit that part of your business plan ensures your office, equipment and machinery are all working hard for you, cutting your energy bills and ensuring you aren’t wasting precious funds. You can often see, hear and feel those funds being wasted at any given point during the day. Perhaps there’s a draught coming through your window, or your boiler isn’t working as well as the sounds emanating from it suggest, or the only thing your ancient light fixtures are good for is to enable you to see your energy bill so clearly that your eyes water!

Whatever it is, there’s bound to be something that every business can improve upon in order to save some money. I bet you’re thinking it would be lovely to get some help to cut your energy bills. Well, businesses in Buckinghamshire can take simple measures like installing LED lighting, double glazing, energy efficient process machinery or a replacement boiler with the

help of a grant of up to £2,500 from the Low Carbon Workspaces programme. The programme has a great track record of helping businesses reduce their energy bills, including ABA Stronalva, who installed ceiling cavity insulation in their office and replaced single-glazed windows with double-glazed ones. “We’ve almost done away with the heating altogether,” ABA’s Kevin Dargue said of the grant’s impact. The life of a business owner seems to be like a never ending todo list, and though it can be difficult to separate the necessary from the indulgent at times, ensuring you are not haemorrhaging money through your energy bills is one of the more necessary items on the to-do list, perhaps with a big star next to it! With 2017 gathering pace, we are hearing at Buckinghamshire

Philippa Batting Down to business

Business First from business owners determined to make this year one to remember. Grants like those accessed through Low Carbon Workspaces help to ensure that 2017 is memorable for all the right reasons. For more information on Low Carbon Workspaces grants contact, call: 01494 568941 or visit: l Philippa Batting is MD of Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF). Based in Saunderton, BBF works to support and facilitate success within the business community and to create a dynamic environment in which local business can flourish. Membership is free - visit: for more details.

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Chandler Garvey market new commercial buy to let opportunity in Aylesbury PRESS RELEASE


lan Chandler, Director of Chandler Garvey has been instructed by Kingston Space Ltd to market the Space Business Centre, a development of 27 units located in one back to back terrace and 16 units in a separate terrace. The units are of modern construction, having been built in 2009. The sizes range from 367 sq. ft. up to 908 sq. ft. and are fitted with a mezzanine floor. The estate

accommodation totals 19,541 sq. ft. The site benefits from tax and stamp duty savings plus all units are business rate exempt (small business rate relief), and there is a dedicated unit with shared WC and kitchen facilities, and visitor parking around the site. Buying would be cheaper than renting and commercial investment yields will be higher than yields on residential buy to lets.

The freehold is owned by Aylesbury Vale District Council and Kingston Space Ltd are the long leaseholders, with over 130 years remaining. Units are available from £64,000 plus VAT. All units are let on monthly licences and are now producing a gross annual income in excess of £300,000. Further details from Alan Chandler: ac@chandlergarvey. com / 01296 398383.


Alan Chandler, Director of Chandler Garvey has been instructed by Kingston Space Ltd to market the Space business Centre, a development of 27 units located in one back to back terrace and 16 units in the other. The units are of modern construction, having been built in 2009. The sizes range from 367 sq. ft. up to 908 sq. ft. and are fitted with a mezzanine floor. The total accommodation on the estate is 19,541 sq. ft. The site benefits from tax and stamp duty savings, cheaper than renting, commercial investment yields will be higher than yields on residential buy to lets, all units are business rates exempt (small business rate relief), and there is a dedicated unit and visitor parking.


The freehold is owned by Aylesbury vale District Council and Kingston Space Ltd are the long leaseholders, with over 130 years remaining. units are available from £64,000 plus vAT. All units are let on monthly licences and are now producing a gross annual income in excess of £300,000. Further details from Alan Chandler – / 01296 398383.




367 sqft to 908 sqft




Units from 367 – 908 sq ft


Dedicated unit and visitor parking


Flexible mezzanine space


Amenity block


Units suitable for industrial, workshop, warehouse, storage and office uses


CCTV and security barrier


Loading access

No Stamp Duty (below SDLT threshold)


Call our Aylesbury Team - Alan Chandler and Terri Clarke on: 01296 398383 Lettings | Acquisitions | Investments | Valuations | Property Management Rent Reviews and Lease Renewals | Development / Planning Advice | Business Rates

A new perspective on property

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Winter Blues

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Shellac Col 124 nail polish over Anthology Wallpaper Collection

From cold to bold, discover how to banish the winter blues with this year’s hottest colourway - a new staple for your interiors wardrobe...


’ve been flirting with blue recently, including wearing this col 124 Shellac nail polish (pictured above on my friend Michelle’s hands - I had the camera) and ordering these insanely beautiful wallpaper samples from Anthology; Marble in midnight (col.110760) and the aptly

named Shellac in mineral (col.110779). I’m also waiting for a marble effect sample (just ordered) called Calico Night Indigo from Hartley & Hartley, which, if it’s anything like the web image, I’ll be buying to frame as a piece of abstract art - you must check it out, though I warn it is priced by the sq yard...

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.

Dulux Colour of The Year 2017 - Denim Drift 38

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

As it turns out blue is the colour of the moment with Farrow & Ball’s Hague, Stiffkey and Downpipe remaining popular and Dulux has just launched ‘Denim Drift’ (left) as their colour of the year for 2017. Chosen for its effortless, soothing and restful ambience it has a versatility to work in classic or contemporary schemes. With a

Step inside by Polly Gibbs familiarity just like your favourite these outdoor/indoor cushions pair of jeans, it’s easy, dependable from Dash & Albert (via amara. and goes with just about anything. com), right. The Plunge Collection Clever. Plus, as you’d expect, Dulux from Penelope Hope pays homage has pulled together a palette of to Guernsey’s coastal waters so it’s ten delicious blues; ‘five smoky peaceful and tranquil, whilst her muted and atmospheric shades metallic cushions add a little luxe and five clean and bright shades’ (From £95 for a 50x50cm feather which complement each other as filled silk cushion). perfectly as the sky does the sea. So you can create a breezy or moody “You ain’t been blue til’ you’ve atmosphere, or a combination of had that mood indigo” Ella the two. Fitzgerald. •Expert Advice I can see Denim Drift working Where paler blues have a dreamy •Professional really well in a coastal scheme, airy essence, indigo has definite Fitting though I shudder at ocean motifs darker presence•Very to it. ACompetitive pigment which should be avoided at all costs. hero for centuries, indigo was for Residential and Instead, I’d mash up washed produced originally from plants like Commercial work denim and navy linens, blue/black Indigofera Tinctoria, native to India wood floors, a giant boucle rug the earliest processors of indigo •Carpets to suit all in twig shades (try Cobblestone dye. Originally very expensive, Budgets hence by Raft), chunky throws, dip the association with regal, power, •Free Quotes dyed baskets, with ombre dipped wealth and success. A synthetic wallpaper (try Saraille at Designers indigo is now used for dyeing •No Obligation Guild), oversized edgy artwork like denim. Through merchant trading •Freepopular Parking ‘Lola’ or ‘Eloise’ from Rockett St the pigment became in the George, topped off with Moorish west, thus the Greek word for dye motif accessories in dark wood and is indikon - meaning Indian, which • SISAL • STAIR RODS brass vases. CARPETS • VINYLS translated to indigo by the time it You canSAFETY even spill outdoors with • WOODContinued on page 40 FLOORING • BINDING TAPES

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Cushions by Dash & Albert

Charles Huntington Flooring

Charles Huntington Flooring •Expert Advice •Professional Fitting •Very Competitive for Residential and Commercial work •Carpets to suit all Budgets •Free Quotes •No Obligation •Free Parking

Charles Huntington Flooring

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment


•Professional Fitting Tel: 01296 337181 Mob: 07767370067 •Very Competitive Web: Tel: 01296 Mob: 07767370067 for337181 Residential and 23 DUCK FARM COURT, STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ Web: Commercial work DUCK FARM COURT, STATIONvinyl, WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN ON QUALITY OR SERVICE l Independent, family run carpet l Carpet, sisal, coir, hardwood l Extensive range of23traditional Charles Huntington Flooring to suit all and flooring specialists l Exclusive suppliers of Roger Oates and contemporary flooring •Carpets Charles Huntington Flooring Charles Huntington Flooring WEcan WILL NOT BE BEATENyet ON hard-wearing QUALITY OR SERVICE •Expert Advice Charles Huntington Flooring beautiful runners l Expert fitting service at competitive prices - we Budgets and rugs in our local area l Domestic and commercial match or better your quote •Expert Advice Charles Flooring Providing adviceHuntington and installations •Expert Advice •Expert Advice•Free •Professional Fitting Advice to private customers, professionals and •Professional Fitting Quotes•Expert •Expert AdviceFitting •Professional •Professional Fitting contractors for over 25 years •Professional Fitting •Very Competitive •No Obligation •Professional Fitting for Residential and •Very Competitive •Very Competitive •Very Competitive •Very Competitive Extensive experience with Commercial work for Residential and Residential and for Residential•Free and •Very Competitive Parking for thatched, heritage and listed buildings. Commercial work for Residentialwork and Commercial Commercial work E


N S TA L • I L








• ST O



Charles Huntington Flooring

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment



G • GU


for Residential •Carpets to suit and all Commercial work •Carpets to suit all Budgets Opening Times: Monday to Friday •10am 5pm CARPETS VINYLSuntil • SISAL • STAIR RODS CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS CARPETS Saturday • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS CARPETS • VINYLS SISAL • Any STAIRother RODS SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES until•RODS 4pm. time•Free by appointment CARPETS • VINYLS • 10am SISAL & • STAIR SAFETY FLOORING • WOODQuotes • BINDING TAPES Stoves, Installations Servicing SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES SAFETY FLOORINGTel: • WOOD • BINDING TAPES Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm 01296 337181 Mob: 07767370067 Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm •No Obligation Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Opening Times: Monday to Friday until 5pm Opening Times: MondayBucks to Friday until 5pm North Mill Road Bledlow HP2710am 9QP 01844 342400 Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment Web: Saturday 4pm. Any by appointment Saturday until time 4pm. Any other time Tel: by appointment 07767370067 Saturday10am 10amuntil until 4pm.10am Any other other time by appointment Tel:01296 01296 337181 337181 Mob: Mob: 07767370067 Tel: 337181 Mob:337181 07767370067 Tel: 01296 Mob: 07767370067 Web: •FreeHP20 Parking Tel:01296 0129623 337181 DUCK Mob: FARM07767370067 COURT, STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, 2SQ Unrivalled customer service through the commitment of our family team.

Commercial work •Carpets Budgetsto suit all •Carpets to suit all •Carpets to suit all Budgets •Carpets to suit all Budgets Budgets •Free Quotes CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS Budgets Oxfordshire • Buckinghamshire • •Free Quotes •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 THE BEST IN home •Free Parking •Free Parking survey or to visit our showroom to see •Free Parking the stoves in action.

comforts Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Lexington 4-seater sofa in Pacific Dusky Velvet from Sofa Workshop

Otillie Sofa in Turmeric mohair from Love-Your-Home

Holly Sofa in Prussian Blue from Continued from page 39 reached British shores. Indigo has an inky depth, teetering towards purple yet just holding back, making it the perfect partner to teal, emerald green, saddle tan, burnt orange, turmeric and mustard, for a vibrant confident interior. Spicy shade sofas and chairs are a great way to inject just the right percentage of pop to liven up a blue room like the Holly corner (from £2890), Lexington 4-seater (£2199) or Otillie 4-seater (£1795) sofa’s pictured above. Incidentally, mohair is making

a big return to upholstery due to its durability and sustainability - made from Hope Oresome lampshade either 100% (in Lust pattern Indigo/gold angora goat with matt gold lining. £125) wool (see George Smith Penelope Hope silk lampshade would look amazing against sofas) or mixed with viscose, as with an indigo, denim, steel blue, burnt the Holly sofa. Velvet is also popular orange or oyster walls. You see how blue is so versatile. This Atmos as we seek tactile comforts. kitchen by Rational is perfection Rich and warm, indigo evokes for me. The slab of stone (Dekton confidence and flair making it Marmar Black) works as a focal simultaneously captivating and point like an abstract work of art dramatic, especially when teamed with copper, or gold. This Penelope above a fireplace, those lightning

Atmos Kitchen from Rational in Indigo & Gold

flashes of gold give movement whilst pulling the gold lacquer wall cabinets and matt indigo blue island together in perfect symmetry. This is design magic, when exciting material elements collide with simple yet effective design. If I had the space I’d buy this kitchen right now and shake the hand of its designer! (From £12k). Sources (01543 459459) l Polly Gibbs is an award-winning designer, Decorex100 Interiors Influencer and Amara Interiors Blog Award Finalist. Her website is currently undergoing a revamp. Email:


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Wanted: Office Manager - organised, experienced, professional person to run the admin and invoicing side of business, answer phone calls, make up orders, organise Mark’s busy diary etc. Based at our workshop in Ford. See full description on our website blog page: were-hiring-office-manager-wanted-for-mark-williamson-furniture/ or call / email for details as below.

High quality bespoke kitchens and furniture, handmade by skilled craftsmen in Buckinghamshire Complete Kitchens | Bedrooms | Wardrobes | Cupboards | Shelving | Storage Solutions | Furniture | Desks | Offices

‘Mark’s attention to details, such as the plate rack and bespoke drawer dividers, make everything a pleasure to look at and use.’ Unit 23, Kemps Farm, Chapel Road, Ford, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8XG Tel: 01296 658660 Mob: 07754 409203 Email: mark@ Website:

Your style, your kitchen, designed by us

Our Lifetime Guarantee* helps you buy with confidence (*t&cs apply)

Win a weekend away to Italy. Book your free design appointment today to enter see in store for details

The Italian sense of beauty is here… Stoneworld Kitchens 43A Upper High St Thame OX9 2DW

01844 261768 Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017




Floors l Doors l Worktops l Furniture

All Pest Service

Top quality timber products at great prices! A family business with over 20 years industry experience

Wasps ÂŁ40 inc 01296 770214

T: 01844 217075 E:

1a Drakes Drive, Crendon Ind Pk, Long Crendon, HP18 9EJ

bespoke doors & windows in timber, aluminium & composite rs

10 yealying

of supp rs and de self buil provers home im

We manufacture, supply and install:

folding sliding doors sliding doors french doors single doors


01487 740044


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

The Old Dairy, Lawn Farm Business Centre, Grendon Underwood, Bicester, Buckinghamshire HP18 0QX

windows shaped glazed screens entrance doors roof lights

VISITS ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY to book call our Head Office on 01487 740044 Open Tuesday to Friday 9am - 5pm, Saturday 9am - 2pm Closed Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Even with light use an oven soon develops a build up of baked on fat, grease and food that is very hard to shift. This is not only unsightly but could catch fire! Happily help is at hand in the form of Oven Loving, a new local service that will make your oven shiny, bright, clean and safe once again...


ven Loving is a local, familyrun business based in Stoke Mandeville. It was set up and launched last year by Ian Duggan, a graphic designer of 25 years, who was looking for a career change, a new challenge and a job that involved working within the local community. “I’d thought about becoming a carer,” he says, “but the idea of oven cleaning just struck a chord with me. I went on a training course, got equipped and insured and started up part-time. It’s quite a tough job physically but Ian Duggan at work I really enjoy it. I love meeting people and I’m if the client likes, rather than a bit of a perfectionist, rush in and out. It’s more about so getting the oven all ensuring customers are happy perfectly clean gives me than maximising returns. a lot of satisfaction. I “I’m really enjoying it too. All The end result - clean and shiny! the customers I have met so far am helping people too; I wanted to engage with the have been extremely friendly and local community and give something back, so I’ve had some lovely positive feedback.” I’ve been offering a free oven clean for people Originally from West London, Ian now who physically can’t clean their own oven lives in Stoke Mandeville with his wife Tina, because they are too elderly, frail or disabled. who is a lecturer in beauty therapy and their “When I’ve cleaned a really bad oven for two daughters, Katie and Hollie and fits his an elderly client who couldn’t physically do it business around the school runs. themself and they are thrilled with the result, The couple met whilst working on cruise I feel I’ve really achieved something, it’s very liners as the ship’s graphic designer and beauty rewarding. therapist. “We got to see some great places,” “I’ve already seen several ovens that have says Ian, “but then found we couldn’t get a such a build up inside, they are borderline posting together, so we left and travelled for dangerous and one that had actually ignited! a couple of years. We lived in New Zealand “I don’t try and fit too many appointments and Australia before returning to the UK in any one day as I like to ensure I have where I landed a job in Aylesbury. That was enough time not only to do a first class job about fifteen years ago and we are still here! but also to give a more personal approach and We really enjoy living in Aylesbury but I’ve have time to chat or clean the hob or extractor worked outside the town a lot and would like

Applying some ‘elbow grease’

to work locally now and be more involved in the community here. “The oven cleaning process involves knowing how to take the door off and to strip it down and strip out the oven, removing the shelves, racks and liners and of course how to reassemble it all again later. In between most of the pieces are taken out to my van where I have a heated dip tank in which they are immersed and heated up and the carbon deposits are broken down and removed. The chemicals I use are quite mild, they are all UK produced, biodegradable and environmentally friendly. There are no fumes and the products are not harmful to pets or people. It’s mostly the heat that breaks down the deposits and a lot of elbow grease! I think it’s important to respect my customers’ homes so I cover all the surrounding kitchen areas with protective coverings while the oven clean takes place. “Coming from a graphic design background I am quite conscious of what I am producing and of trying to make it perfect visually, I am setting standards high and aim to provide a top quality clean along with value for money.” Ian caters for gas, electric and ceramic hobs, single and double ovens, microwave ovens, extractor fans and filters, splash backs, range ovens and Mercury/Falcon/Lacanche ovens, he will even clean your barbecue! See his Oven Loving website for further information or contact him as below to find out more or to book a clean. Isn’t it time you gave your oven a little loving? l Oven Loving, 107 Wendover Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Tel: 01296 320 340 Email: Web:



Ian and his Oven Loving van

With a chance to WIN a FREE oven clean

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Last year Aylesbury Flooring welcomed a second generation to their Bedgrove based business. Ian and Jayne’s son Toby is now very much part of the team, both at the showroom and on the pitch...


stablished in 1990 by husband and wife Ian and Jayne Middleton, Aylesbury Flooring is now in its 27th year and the successful, family firm has recruited the couple’s son Toby, who is rapidly learning the different sides of the business. The company, which has built an excellent reputation for good service and specialist knowledge, caters for all types of domestic flooring and boasts an impressive range of over 5,000 carpet samples from leading manufacturers such as Victorias, Brintons, Westex and Penthouse to name a few. They additionally specialise in Design Flooring from leading manufactures Karndean, Amtico and Moduleo. “We’ve laid miles of flooring over the years,” says Ian, “mostly in the local area but we occasionally work with interior designers and take on jobs in London and further afield. We get a lot of return business and recommendations, which we value, as it shows we are doing the job right. “We’ve covered everything from houses and flats to boats and barges, shops, care homes, schools, hotels and even a stretch limousine! “I still really enjoy it, but we get very busy. I may have eight or ten appointments to measure up, plan, price and quote in a day, but having Toby on board is already proving a real plus. He’s grown up with us running the business and has helped out over the years, so he knows the ropes.” Toby is a trained barber and a keen footballer. He started Sunday league team ‘Aylesbury Flooring FC’ with a group of old Bedgrove School friends. They are sponsored by

Recent Aylesbury Flooring projects: left - Karndean ‘art select’ flooring, right - Axminster Devonia stair runner with webbing. 44

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

From left: Aylesbury Flooring sales manager Gary with Toby, Ian and Jayne Middleton Aylesbury Flooring of course and have had a fair bit of success over the last few seasons. “Toby is still learning, but he’s friendly and personable and has a creative eye for design, so he’s already proving popular with our customers,”says Jayne. “I’m really enjoying it, even more than I expected!” says Toby. “I wanted to change from barbering and to carry on the family business but I didn’t realise how varied and interesting it would be. I’ve actually been helping out part-time for about ten years but that was more on the fitting side. Now I’m meeting people and assisting them with their designs, ideas and orders and it’s really enjoyable.” “Today a large proportion of our business is luxury vinyl tiles, such as Karndean and Amtico,” says Jayne. “Carpet has become more adventurous too with stripes popular for stairs and developments such as the new manmade fibre carpet ‘Soft Touch’ which is supersoft underfoot. It’s a heavy domestic cut pile, twist carpet, suitable for upstairs as well as downstairs and is described as stain resistant,

fade resistant and long lasting. “We are recommended retailers for Karndean and amtico, so if you are looking for these particular brands we have all the samples and brochures and are very knowledgeable about the products and how to install them. “We have a good choice of floorings and many years experience, so we can advise on the best options for any particular situation. We offer free quotes, a measuring service and sample loans. Customer service is key to us though. No matter how big or small the job we give our best service and the personal attention of myself, Ian, Toby or our sales manager Gary, who has been with us for five years now.” The Aylesbury Flooring showroom is well stocked, light and airy and an ideal place for prospective customers to pop in for some advice and to have a look at samples. It’s nice to be able to actually feel the carpets and tiles and see them up close, while the firm’s website is a point of contact and gives an idea of the range of products on offer. l Aylesbury Flooring, 3 Jansel Square, Bedgrove, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7ES Tel: 01296 415038 Email: Website:

Finally there is a real alternative to timber windows.

A fully stocked showroom including Solidor


Omega Homestyle has over 25 years’ experience of designing and fitting premium doors, windows and conservatories We firmly believe that by keeping the entire process as stress free as possible, we are adding to your enjoyment of your new windows, doors and conservatories. For an individually tailored service and to find out exactly what we can do for you please contact us or come and visit our newly refurbished showroom. Omega Homestyle, Woodway Farm Industrial Estate, Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 9EP Tel: 01844

201888, email: or visit:

Lots to see! QuaLity products

Free parking

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


‘The Art of Wood Burning’

JØtul “fighting the cold since 1853”

The most comprehensive showroom in Oxfordshire Over 75 stoves and 15 under fire on display Kiln dried and Eco logs

Jøtul – logo

HETAS registered. Ample free parking. Boundary Business Park, Wheatley Road, Garsington, OX44 9EJ Showroom open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-1pm For technical advice it is advisable to make an appointment

01865 361505 Featured stoves from JØtul 46

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


At the Sky House Design Centre you’ll find some of the most exciting and innovative home and garden design brands. From flooring to fires, worktops to windows - a collection of top quality products, services and suppliers, ideas and inspiration...


ecorum London design, build and landscape the most beautiful gardens for elite and exclusive properties throughout the UK. Decorum gardens are designed to exceed the expectations of the company’s discerning clients and incorporate the highest quality materials, exquisite detailing and unique, bespoke, contemporary designs, whilst each and every project is concluded with discretion and professionalism. Assured project management, seamless delivery, attention to detail and the ability to engage and complement other professionals who might be working on site for the client, set Decorum apart from traditional landscapers. Decorum benefits from the combined creative and organisational talents of Karl Harrison - a professional engineer experienced in designing and delivering high end residential and commercial landscaping projects, utilising the latest materials and technology; Michael Stevens - a Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Environmentalist, who has successfully managed a number of large scale

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Karl Harrison

Above: apartment terrace Whitehall, London - simple and uncomplicated seating and entertaining areas were requested to complement the grand living spaces within. Natural stone and timber, provide the base for evergreen planting, trellis, fire bowls, relaxed seating and a Jacuzzi.

Right: a formal garden for a Bicester new build. Ceramic paving surrounds a central timber decking feature while bespoke planters wrap the existing wall to create warmth. An old teak bench is a pleasing contrast.

horticultural projects in London, with a hands on approach and a deep understanding of the horticultural elements of landscaping and; Lana Harrison who directs company business and has taken the team to professional recognition status within the UK and abroad gaining accreditation for constructing an RHS medal-winning garden at Royal Hampton Court. To find out what Decorum London could do for you please contact the team at the Sky House Design Centre in Amersham, as below.

l Decorum London, Sky House Design Centre, Raans Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 6JQ Tel: 01494 291030 Email: Web: Make an appointment now to visit the Sky House Design Centre: Tel: 01494 722880 Web: Mon-Fri, 9am to 5:30pm; Sat, 9am to 4pm Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Gentle Candlelight Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Real Living

by Charlotte Bolton

Candles around your home not only provide the option of atmospheric lighting but gorgeous scents too, which can freshen or relax your mood…


e use them for celebrations, spiritual purposes, to light up our dinner tables or just for relaxing - and in this month of romance, we’ll be buying even more. A quarter of British households now buy scented candles and their spend is rising rapidly with the UK scented candle market now worth an eye-popping £90 million! So, what is the timeless appeal of this simple home accessory? Ambience - light and fragrance are the easiest ways to improve your home’s mood and ambience. Candles create elegant, subtle lighting which studies show to be calming on the body. Candles in the bathroom make it warm and relaxing while bathing. Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine practice utilising fragrant/ aromatic essential oils derived from a wide variety of flowers, herbs, fruit and other plants, even trees. When inhaled or applied to the skin, these essential oils have been shown to help people overcome various health problems. When aromatherapy candles are burnt we smell and inhale the fragrances, which may contain antibiotic, antiviral, mood altering and other therapeutic properties. Lavender, for example, not only creates a

feeling of deep calm, but also soothes the nervous system and stimulates the immune system. Combining the soothing scents of aromatherapy candles with a hot, relaxing herbal tea bath is a great stress reliever. Relaxation: Lavender, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Geranium. Energy: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Basil, Rosemary and Bergamot. Congestion: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Camphor, Lavender and Marjoram. Slimming: Fennel, Patchouli, Melissa, Rosemary, Juniper and Geranium. Romance: Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Jasmine. Menstrual Pain and Tension: Chamomile, Cypress, Jasmine, Marjoram, Juniper and Melissa Candle Therapy - using candles as therapy has been around for thousands of years.


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Real Living

Charlotte Bolton

It has been practised by nearly every religion and can be used to unite the powers of the mind, body, and spirit. From celebrations and ceremonies to proclamations and processions, the candle’s flame has always been a metaphor for the soul. The candle can reflect the spiritual and ethical changes we would like to bring about in ourselves. It burns as a reminder and symbol of our desires. Building a new life? Burn a Yellow Candle. Need a new beginning? Consider burning a Green Candle for growth. Seeking life expansion and rewards? Use a Purple Candle. Shedding unwanted pounds? Light a Red Candle to set the mood. Want to prompt a peaceful mind, relaxation and success? Try fruit or floral scents. Celebrations - scented candles continue to be popular at Christmas. Pine, cinnamon, orange and gingerbread are just a few of the spicy scents which add a beautiful festive ambience to any home. A Christmas meal isn’t the same without a candlelit display either - a warm glow to create a lovely atmosphere. Home Decoration - nothing beats an array of pillar candles in various sizes as a centre

Real Living

by Charlotte Bolton

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

piece for a dining table or coffee table. Candles also bring colour, warmth and fragrance to sitting rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. In fact, for very little money, those little touches that finish a room can often be achieved with candles.

room. The auric field absorbs this energy and it is taken into the body. The word ‘aura’ is another name for ‘energy field’ or ‘radiation’. One of the most beneficial and powerful means of healing through meditation is to arrange candles in geometric layouts around yourself Meditation can be enhanced with or around an individual. Geometric candles. By lighting a candle that is energy is applied in arranging the infused with colour, botanicals or candles for specific types of healing. essential oil, fundamental energies are released into the atmosphere and Peacefulness - candlelight absorbed by the individuals in the induces quiet. Light several candles and listen as the volume goes down. Practicality - of course if there is a power cut, you will need plenty of candles to light your home! Romance - candles are the easiest way to create instant romance. The music can be perfect and the food divine, but if the bright lights are on, the feeling is less magical. The warm glow of candles caresses our senses and softens our silhouettes, creating a romantic atmosphere of love. It

takes little thought and time to place a few candles around a room for a beautiful ambience and the smell of patchouli or rosewood sensual candles is said to be an aphrodisiac.

When smaller decoration is needed, put one floating candle in a wine glass, filled with water. Relaxing with candlelight can also help reduce stress l To find out how your home could be featured in a UK homes magazine visit my website: Share your home interior ideas with others in a magazine! It’s fun, and free!

Your only difficulty will be in deciding just which stone to choose… Leading independent supplier of high quality Natural and Composite Stone with new showroom and workshop in Grendon Underwood. Stone experts with more than thirty years experience. Internal and external Stone Flooring including: limestone, marble, sandstone, slate, terracotta & travertine, porcelain & ceramic tiles and mosaics plus contemporary alternatives such as wood effect porcelain ‘boards’, patterned tiles and digitally printed & glazed porcelain tiles. Bespoke service, specialist knowledge, extensive contacts. Stone renovation service.

Visit our showroom & workshop, open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm at: Unit 2 & 3, Lawn Farm Business Centre, Grendon Underwood, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0QX T: 01296 770859 E: W: Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Energy efficiency and insulation cosy up with conservation in the aesthetically pleasing innovations of local window firm Herald Joinery. Their slender-paned solutions combine the benefits of doubleglazing with slim elegant sight lines, and can be viewed at their new workshop display area...


ast year Herald Joinery celebrated ten years in business. The company manufactures and supplies slim glass (Slenderpane) units and high quality sash and casement timber windows at its factory in Haddenham. Managing Director David Weston, a qualified Quantity Surveyor with experience in commercial joinery and property development, set up Herald Joinery in 2006. He couldn’t get the quality of window frames he wanted, so started manufacturing them himself. “The same thing happened when trying to buy glazing for the frames we were making,” says David. “So we set up Slenderpane in 2011 and now make our own specialist bespoke, hand-cut, slim doubleglazed units, which not only ensure the quality and reliability of our sash windows but can be supplied as a standalone glazing product. The company has gradually grown, from a two man operation into a sizeable company employing around 20 staff, and their Haddenham base has recently been expanded to provide increased workshop space and a new workshop display area, where clients and customers, both trade and retail, can see samples and discuss projects. “The workshop display area has already proved useful,” says David. “It’s ideal for meetings with architects and surveyors - we can discuss their projects, look at samples and even tour the factory, so they get a good feel for what we are doing here.” Slenderpane units look like single pane glazing, so are ideal for installing in properties where aesthetics, conservation and the preservation of heritage are important and restrictive planning regulations apply. They are actually hi tech, modern double-glazed units, offering excellent thermal insulation and sound reduction benefits and even protection from the effects of the sun’s UV rays. Leaded

David Weston units can also be supplied. The units incorporate the latest technology including Edgetech ‘warm edge’ structural foam superspacers. This means, when glazed into windows or doors, the units are visually almost impossible to distinguish from singleglazed units, but produce much lower heat loss values, so comply with current building regulations and have achieved the highest Window Energy Ratings from the British Fenestration Ratings Council (94% less heat loss than a standard aluminium spacer and up to 70% less condensation). A variety of glass types are available depending on your needs. These could be soft-coated glass for enhanced thermal insulation, laminated glass for security, acoustic glass for noise reduction and even solar control glass to reduce furniture fading from sunlight. The cavity within the Slenderpane unit is smaller than on a normal double glazed unit so heavy inert gases such as krypton and xenon are used to achieve the thermal values required to meet building regulations and assist with reduced noise transference. Herald Joinery window frames are high performance sliding sash windows that comply with all current thermal regulations whilst maintaining a totally traditional appearance. They also make flush casement windows and a side hinged sash which allows

Ashlar Court, Hammersmith - 1930s Grade II Listed Art Deco ex-nursing home - restored by Linden Homes with Slenderpane units in Herald sash windows. Around 450 windows were supplied. you to open the sash and its frame inwards like a door for cleaning. The company can supply just the joinery or a fully fitted out window including Slenderpane glazing, lead weights/spring balances and ironmongery. If you are looking to upgrade your existing sash windows, Herald Joinery can supply a replacement sash, together with draft stripped staff and parting beads. The timber windows are constructed using traditional methods from ethically sourced European Redwood with hardwood sills as standard. Hardwood and engineered timber are available as options. The company works in conjunction with clients large and small, from Linden Homes, to private clients and architects. For more information or to visit the new workshop display area contact Marketing and Business Development Manager Val Chaplin on: 01844 292779. l Slenderpane Ltd, Unit 1-5 Thame Road Industrial Estate, Thame Road, Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8BZ Telephone: 01844 292779 Email: Web: Herald Joinery Telephone: 01844 291111 Email: Web: Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Column: Safe as houses with Nigel Grace

Finding your builder H aving received the design for your new project and obtained planning permission (if needed) your next challenge, unless you are planning to do the work yourself, is to find a builder. The building industry has, in my opinion unfairly, got a reputation in parts for employing cowboys who are looking to take your money and run. Whilst there may be a few dodgy characters out there, the vast majority of builders want to do a good job and leave you with something that you are pleased with and they are proud of. At this current moment, a good builder is a busy builder. Many are booked up months in advance and I would recommend a degree of caution if a builder you are talking to says to you that they can start next week! So how do you go about finding a good builder; 1. Personal Recommendation from friends and family In many respects this is the best

option, because they come from people you trust and it is probably likely that you will have seen their work first hand, visited the build whilst it was even going on and even possibly met the builder. 2. Your architect / designer or quantity surveyor As a construction professional, they should be able to give you very clear recommendations as to builders you should consider and probably those that you should avoid – mainly through experience of working with them – normally on multiple occasions. 3. Trade websites – such as FMB


Find a Builder / Services such as this are a good way to find a builder but they still need to be checked. Pick a shortlist, contact them, ask to see some of their projects, visit them if you can and speak to the client. You need to feel happy with the prospect of them working in your home. 4. Who is working locally in your area? Another good way is to take a walk or a drive around your local area and see which builders are working nearby. Most builders like to advertise their work by erecting a small sign. Whilst walking or driving take a look, what does the quality of their work look like, is the site clean and tidy (often a sign of a good builder) It is probably very likely that you will have to use a combination of these sources. How many builders should you look to get a quote from? – I generally recommend no less than three and no more than six.

Nigel Grace

Safe as houses

It is important that you only include builders that you want to work with. Never include a builder on the list that you don’t want to work with just to make up the numbers. This can go badly wrong – as what will happen if their price is 20% lower than the rest? Whilst you know that you don’t want to use them – a saving of 20% is very attractive and at times irresistible! l Nigel Grace is a chartered quantity surveyor experienced in all forms of residential projects who has built and redeveloped many houses himself. If you are thinking about starting a building project or need help and advice, he can be contacted on:


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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

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Column: Nick Phillips ‘Good to give’

Adapting for survival A

common quote, or misquote, is Darwin’s ‘the survival of the fittest’. It always seemed to me to be bad for morale, not least because there will almost always be someone, or some organisation, fitter at any one time. The actual quote is in fact: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change’. Perhaps not a huge difference in words but a vast difference in meaning. I’ve been thinking about Darwin when considering the challenge of long-term resilience facing local charities, voluntary and community organisations. At Community Impact Bucks we work with these groups as they go through change and we regularly see how some are stronger at certain times and weaker at others. But it is their ability to adapt that seems of such value to longterm resilience. The ability to ride the rough seas of charity donations, grants and funds.

I was greatly impressed by a charity that I have worked with recently, the Chilterns MS Centre, partly because of their longterm thinking about adaptability to change. They are looking ahead, recognising that the more successful they are at helping people live well with multiple sclerosis (MS), the more people will want to use their services. The Chilterns MS Centre has a mission to provide a service to everyone affected by MS locally. They provide comprehensive and holistic care including physio, hydro, oxygen, complementary and occupational therapies to over 330 people every week! Yet they are looking forward and seeing, like many charities, that demand will outstrip their ability to supply support. But far from being complacent, and despite running a deficit budget this year, the Centre has recognised it needs to look five years ahead and develop their plans now to help hundreds more



MARCH 18TH & 19TH 2017 Climb, abseil, scramble, crawl, strike, canoe, run and wade to the finish. Enter your team of 4 people £200 per team For an entry form and more information call Action4Youth on 0300 003 2334 or email We ask that each person taking part raises at least £200 in sponsorship, all money raised will go towards supporting Action4Youth.

people in the future. Their first new initiative is the launch of a Friends scheme. Knowing you are helping a fantastic local charity plan for a sustainable future by becoming a Family Friend (£25 a month) or a Corporate Friend (£50 or £100 a month) is a great motivator. If you would like to find out more about the Friends scheme, or would like to support the Centre in another way, please get in touch with Hannah Asquith, Head of Fundraising and Communications on 01296 6961333 or see their website at:

Nick Phillips

Good to give With 20% of charities having almost no financial reserves many are considering ‘adaptability’ in order to continue supporting their beneficiaries. Some are looking to raise funds for their future needs, others are training more volunteers to develop a more resilient team and some are looking to share resources with other charities. It seems that when the going gets tough the tough… adapt! And our team are always happy to help groups and organisations through the changes they might need to make. l Nick Phillips is CEO of

Community Impact Bucks: Tel: 0300 1111 250

Bus it to Bernwode Following the recent closure of the Dial-a-Ride service, members of the Waddesdon Local Area Forum have come up with a solution to help locals, especially elderly and young people depending on public transport to get around, by purchasing a bus to serve the community within the Bernwode area. It is a fantastic initiative to help those in the community, who cannot otherwise get to the shops in Aylesbury or Bicester and to events in neighbouring villages. However, its success depends heavily on local residents giving a bit of their time to help make it work. If you have ever wondered what driving a bus might be like or would like to be part of a community project that will make a real difference to peoples’ lives, then climb aboard the Bernwode Bus group!

The Bernwode Bus project requires a number of local volunteers, from drivers to organisers, schedulers to marketeers, to make the service a success in providing regular transport for those residents who need it. A regular schedule will be developed for residents, while during non-scheduled hours, it is proposed that other community groups or organisations will be able to hire the bus out. A survey will be issued to residents in villages within the Bernwode area to help the Committee plan routes and schedules and ensure they are meeting the needs of the community. Check out the Bernwode Bus facebook page and website for more details and to register your interest. l Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Grow inflation beaters I

t may seem like a first-world problem, but for those who are mad on spiralizing their vegetables, the fact that courgettes are in short supply has become bit of an issue. The cold weather that struck Spain and Italy has been blamed for the problem, as they are the countries of origin for many of the vegetables we buy in the supermarkets. However, it’s not only courgettes that will be affected – peppers, spinach, aubergines and tomatoes could be in short supply and come with price hikes too. You know of course, what I’m going to say – this is a gardening column after all – yep, grow your own and the price hikes won’t affect you at all. I’ve always been more keen on growing pricier veg – there’s not a lot of point in planting vegetables that are plentiful and pretty cheap to buy – especially if your space is limited. Sure, if you have a large

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garden or allotment, devote as much space as you like to potatoes and onions, but when space – and time – is a factor, I like to focus on the more expensive things – spring onions for instance are more expensive than your common or garden variety, and I’d rather dig up new potatoes that will otherwise cost me £1.50, rather than grow rows of Maris Pipers. Likewise, the vegetables mentioned above – aubergine, tomato and peppers – can be more costly when you’re on a budget, so they’re worth investing your time in. Many varieties can be grown outside or on a windowsill or in a conservatory if you don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse. And courgettes are one of the easiest to grow. The big seeds are easy to handle when it comes to sowing – I start mine off in the greenhouse and then transplant into the veg plot later. They are so prolific that three plants is more than enough to feed

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Calendula the three of us, so I usually end up donating other plants to friends and family. Seed specialists Thompson and Morgan suggest companion planting Calendula with your courgettes to encourage pollinating insects – they’ll look pretty too! They also stock Aubergine ‘Patio Mixed’, which is perfect for growing in containers on the patio – a great space saver and the white, deep purple and purple Continued on page 54

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l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Continued from page 53 and white striped fruits look ornamental too. The colour purple Keep the colour theme going with some new introductions from Bransford Webbs – look out for them in your local garden centre. Buddleja ‘Blue Chip Junior’ is a pretty, dwarf version of the traditional butterfly bush whose dwarf habit makes it perfect for

Naomi MacKay

growing in containers on the patio – and which will attract pollinating bees and butterflies – ideal if you’re growing veg nearby! Also happy in a patio container is the new Hydrangea ‘Blackberry Pie’, which has pink flowers with a blue tinge. For mauve-blue flowers and an equally compact habitat, look for Hydrangea ‘Sweet Marshmallow’. Gardeners are looking for robust plants that can stand

Buddleja Blue Chip Junior up to extreme weather – and containergrowing remains a strong trend as plots shrink. Fleuroselect Hydrangea Sweet Marshmallow says 2017 will be the year of the zinnia and the bean, so look out for new seed ranges. Last year’s new plant launches were typified by the long-flowering Calendula ‘Powerdaisy’, from Kerley nursery, Cambridgeshire. Monty Don hates

Hydrangea Blackberry_Pie

“ugly” begonias, so expect them to make a comeback among those who value jauntiness. Ball Colegrave says its ‘Northern Lights Scarlet Burst’, is a new, weather-hardy variety. l Naomi MacKay is a locally-based

freelance writer and editor who specialises in gardens. She also helps small businesses get their message to potential clients using websites, blogs, social media and more traditional printed products. Email:


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Column: Lucy Ellis ‘Animal Magic’

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Pawfect for Valentine’s


ove is in the air and for many of us it may be our furry or feathered friend that will be getting a little bit of extra TLC come Valentine’s Day! If you like to cook a special meal for your loved one, why not treat your pet to a deluxe version of their normal food; perhaps venison, duck or rabbit flavour. If you are a raw feeder, then you could splash out on something like a whole rabbit or a premium complete mix. And if you really want to indulge your pet, you could buy yourself a dehydrator and make your own tempting air-dried treats for a truly special reward. You can now buy kits and a leaflet on ideas of what you can dehydrate to spoil your dog or cat. For small mammals, a handful of freshly chopped fruit and veg can be jazzed up with some nice herbs, or you could cheat with some of the popular dried fruit or veg slices. Birds love dried mealworms as a treat, or you could offer a platter of

How about a Valentine’s photoshoot with your pet?

fresh fruit. Humans take time getting dolled up for a romantic meal, so why not offer your pet some pampering too? Cats love nothing better than being groomed, so sitting down and giving kitty a good brush will be heavenly for her. In the winter dogs can get very muddy and matted, which means a good wash and brush is often needed – or maybe a trip to the

groomers for a range of treatments from a bath and de-shed to a full groom and pedicure. At Unique Pets in Aylesbury you can also rent out the salon on a Sunday for ao DIY session with your pet in a professional setting. Most pets simply love spending time with their owners, so any interaction, such as grooming or playing, will show them you care. Take the dog out for a lovely long romp in the woods at Ashridge or Wendover, or go for a stroll along the Grand Union Canal. Alternately, if the weather is poor, curl up on the sofa in front of a romantic movie with your pet – try Marley & Me or The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Many people give gifts to show their love and you could always spoil your animal with a new bed, toy, feeder or outfit. For the ultimate Valentine’s Day present though, why not have a photo with your favourite four-legged friend? A one hour photoshoot at Unique Pets with an 8x10 print costs £45. You can

Lucy Ellis

Animal Magic choose your background and discuss special effects with photographer Robin, commission the picture as a digital painting or have the image put on a mug, cushion, keyring... the possibilities are endless! If you are thinking of expanding your family unit to include a pet / add another pet, don’t forget to check out your local rescue centres to give an unloved animal its forever home. Remember though, a pet is for life, not just Valentine’s Day! l Lucy Ellis is a writer and blogger who

with Jenna Tomlins runs Unique Pets, a local, independent pet shop offering individual advice for pets, two grooming salons, dog training and a pet photography studio.

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Paul Adams

Absolute Boodlum

Our music columnist is Paul Adams - musician and performer, who can be seen in venues across our area both solo and with A Little Bit Country. Contact Paul with local gigs and music news at: Add your gigs to our website what’s on diary for free at:

Live Music February 9th Anna Nigtingale (solo/covers), Dukes Wine Bar, P. Risborough 10th Redhead The Bell, Tring The Ridouts, Limelight Theatre Aylesbury 11th Dogmatics The Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard 12th The Cherry Valentines Victoria Club, Aylesbury 16th Del Bromham’s Blues Devils Tring Park Cricket Club, Tring 17th IDOL White Swan, Aylesbury Bad Wolf Shoot Pool, Aylesbury Storm Warning, Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury 18th Jamie Felton (Pop/Rock), The Plough Inn, Marsh Gibbon 18th U2Baby Fat Lil’s, Witney Engine Room, Shoot Pool, Aylesbury 24th Megson (Folk), Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury 24th SinFiction (Rock), The White Swan, Aylesbury Kristen Sweet The Weavers, Aylesbury Maxwell, Hammer & Smith Victoria Club, Aylesbury 25th Rack Screams (Sound/ Art) at Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury The Estimators (Ska), British Legion, Wendover 26th Gig Night (Various), Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury March 2nd First Thursday Music Club (Various), James Figg, Thame 3rd nbs The Aristocrat, Aylesbury Free State Revolution, Shoot Pool, Aylesbury 4th RockBone (Classic Rock), The Black Horse, Tring 4th Man Alive Band (Blues Rock), The Clay Pipe, Leighton Buzzard 6th Six Go Mad Shoot Pool, Aylesbury 9th Leech Dukes Wine Bar, Princes Risborough


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


ack in November I was asked to find a pianist for a remembrance service at Aylesbury Rugby Club in Weston Turville. Obviously it was a serious and sensitive event and the musician would have reflect that. Cue renowned local musician Ian English - ‘house pianist’ at the prestigious Hartwell House Hotel and Spa when he’s not leading jazz trio The Notations or peforming with his Rock and Blues band - perfect! Imagine my surprise though when Ian told me about his next performance on 10th Feb at the Players Theatre in Thame, with his Boodlum Band. Now Ian did tell me that they were a comedy group but I didn’t realise just how funny they were. The lads remind me of Leighton Buzzard legends The Barron Knights (I think I may be showing my age a little here). With parody songs such as,

The Boodlum Band perform at Thame Players Theatre on February 10th

Stacey’s Grand-Mom and And Then He Hit Me, their YouTube clips reintroduced me to something I feel has been lacking on the circuit for a while, real comedy and variety! I was thoroughly entertained. What do you get when you cross The Beach Boys with Morecombe and Wise? The Boodlum Band! Yeah, I’ll leave the comedy to these

guys! The Boodlum Band are playing at Thame Players Theatre, Nelson Street, Thame on 10th February and tickets cost £9 (£8 concessions) and can be bought online at: or at Spears Travel in Thame. You can call them on: 01844 217228 for more information.

Andy goes ‘Into the night A

Gig night!


he monthly ‘Gig Night At The Limelight’ has returned to the 120 seat theatre to showcase original bands and musicians, both local and from further afield. Acts booked so far include 2016 winner of The White Swan’s Battle of the Musos: ‘ Suzy B, local favourite JP & Betty, Andy Robbins, Jamie Felton and A Little Bit Country, with more being added every week. ‘Gig Night At The Limelight’ is to be on the last Saturday of every month with the next showcase on 25th February. For more info, see:

ndy Robbins is a regular on the Oxon/Bucks music scene and has performed at renowned venues such as Oxford’s O2 Academy and the Jericho Tavern, as well as playing shows up and down the country including at The Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury. His career highlight to date was a support slot at Hop Farm Festival where he got to play on the same line-up as his all time musical hero, the legendary Bob Dylan! Andy is releasing a new EP in March and is understandably looking

forward to the event: “Into The Night, is slightly darker in its subject matter and tone than my previous release, Element Of Surprise,” he says, “however I believe it is my strongest material to date. “Into The Night is bigger and bolder than any of my previous music and I am very excited to share it.” The EP’s lead single will be released by BFS Records in Early February and the EP on 1st March. For more information visit Andy’s website:


Column: Showtime! with Shaun Nolan

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

The curious interview I’ve read that Curious Incident author Mark Haddon asked you to dramatise his novel. SS: He was on attachment for 8 weeks at the National Theatre Studio where I was on a year-long residency and we met. I’d read Curious Incident a couple of weeks before, while writing Motor Town, which also had a character who might be described as being, ‘on the spectrum’. I read Curious Incident and ended up falling in love with it and ironically (or fittingly because of how the story pans out) getting irritated because you don’t find out what the other characters are like. As a father of young kids at the time, I really wanted to know what his dad was going through. The brilliance of the book is that it resists any other perspective than

Simon Stephens Christopher’s which is compelling, but also, to me, really frustrating. One of the joys about writing the adaptation was being able to fully imagine the perspectives of the other characters in Christopher’s constellation. Mark rang me and asked if I’d make the adaptation a couple of years later and after the phone call, I turned to my wife and said “you know what, if we do this right, it could really change things”. And of course it did, going on to win Simon both the Olivier and the Tony for Best Play! SS: Well, just talking to another writer really frankly

and pragmatically was brilliant. Normally, my plays run for five weeks and this has run for five years. I remember saying to Mark: “I don’t wanna take it to a producer or to a director – I might screw it up mate and I might not be able to do it; I might fail.” I asked him to allow me the right to fail - to let me write it just for him and not tell anybody about it, so I could really have a go at the process of adaptation. He was happy with that and was tremendously supportive.

Was there anything unusual about adapting the novel? SS: Well, most people don’t know that Mark Haddon actually wrote about 80% of the dialogue - it’s just lifted from the book, so all I did was add some extra bits in and dramatise it. I took my son to see the play when he was about 12, and told him this and he said: “I bet you just added the swear words,” which is kind of true really! Do you have any personal

Shaun Nolan Showtime!

attachments to Aylesbury? SS: I used to get the train to Aylesbury when I was working at the prison in Grendon Underwood… oh, and I once hitchhiked all the way from Edinburgh to Aylesbury for a friend’s party! I essentially walked the entire length of Britain just to get to Aylesbury! To read my full interview with Simon Stephens, visit: l Shaun Nolan is a London theatre blogger who writes for a variety of publications including LondonTheatreDirect. Find him at @shaunycat on Twitter and if you want your show mentioned in this column, tweet him & let him know!



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he Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightTime returns to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in March (7th-11th), so I’ve spoken to playwright Simon Stephens about his work on the hit play.

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Banish the winter blues at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre with a combination of music and dance, lookalikes, tributes and a chance for young hopefuls to shine on the Waterside stage - Please sir...


he sun’s not the only thing set to shine this summer - the Vale’s local talent is too! Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is embarking on its first Stage Experience culminating in a production of Oliver! for young people, working with professional theatre company Vivo D’Arte. If you’re aged from 7 to 23 and would love the chance to perform on this most prestigious local stage – now’s your chance. Fancy being Nancy? Psyched to play Sikes? Always been an Artful Dodger…?! Get involved! Auditions are set to take place on Sun 12th and Sun 19th March 2017. For MORE information about Stage Experience, fees and auditions please email: or alternatively visit: Prepare to swing your petticoat and don your thick-rimmed black glasses as two mustsee musicals our coming to rescue us from the winter blues. Dreamboats and Petticoats (Mon


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

English Youth Ballet: Ballet Études cast Glen Joseph as Buddy Holly

20th to Sat 25th Feb) brings an evening of pure nostalgia to transport us back to the 1960s with a smash hit collection of groovy tunes including: Let’s Dance, Shaking All Over, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Let’s Twist and many more. Not to be outdone in the musical stakes, Buddy; The Story of Buddy Holly (Tue 7th to Sat 11th Mar) Raves On to the stage in a multiaward-winning show that features a cast of

phenomenally talented actors and musicians. Tracking Buddy’s rise to fame, prior to his legendary final performance at The Surf Ballroom in Iowa, this Peggy Sue-perb show is sure to have you up and dancing in the aisles. Support local young dancers with English Youth Ballet’s: Ballet Études and Nutcracker Suite (Fri 24th to Sat 25th Mar), with a professional Principal cast leading this glittering double bill and some 100 young performers. Classical masterpieces continue with Ellen Kent Opera’s Nabucco (Fri 3rd Mar). Verdi’s haunting and powerful tale is laced with revenge, destruction and jealousy and features magnificent sets and amazing lighting. Live music is on the cards for March with some of the best tribute acts on the circuit paying homage to Paul McCartney with Macca (Thu 2nd Mar), Adele with Someone Like You (Wed 1st Mar), One Night in Nashville (Thu 16 Mar) celebrating Country greats from Johnny Cash to Dolly Parton, The ELO Experience (Sat 18 Mar) and Halfway to Paradise: The Billy Fury Story (Wed 22nd Mar).

Dreamboats & Petticoats, West End performance - Pic: Keith Pattison

Book now by visiting Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call: 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee. Calls 7p per min plus your phone company’s access charge) or visit: (bkg fee). l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

Coming up at The Waterside Your at-a-glance guide to what’s on... Stand By Me

Sun 12th Feb

The Illegal Eagles

Sat 18th Feb

Dreamboats & Petticoats

Mon 20th to Sat 25th Feb

An Evening with Levison Wood Someone Like You

Tue 28th Feb

Macca; the Music of Paul McCartney Mr Bloom’s Nursery LIVE! Buddy; The Story of Buddy Holly

Thur 2nd Mar

William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play The 80s Invasion Tour

Mon 13th Mar

Wed 1st Mar

Sat 4th Mar Tue 7th to Sat 11th Mar

Wed 15th Mar

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Column: Sandra Smith ‘Our Creative Vale’

Good vibrations C

olour is very emotional for me. If I wake up one morning and think I want to paint in pink and red, then that’s my colour of the day.” Brenda Hurley’s spacious Tring home reflects this fundamental focus. Bright tones of large landscapes and still life resonate throughout, professionalism in a domestic setting suggesting I’m being treated to a private tour of an artist’s personal gallery. “When you’re painting you have to remember the whole thing,” this prolific artist continues, “not just the pretty bits. The background is as important as the foreground. Whatever colour you put down, the next colour will change it. Colours vibrate against each other so each mark must be considered.” Quietly spoken and thoughtful, Brenda’s images reflect what she calls forgotten footsteps, such as paths cattle have trodden or the

Brenda Hurley flow of water trickling down a mountainside. She determines patterns in many of her subjects and stresses a fondness for one artist with whom she shares a common thread. “Kandinsky said painting is like music; I see composition and rhythm in art.” Investing in good quality acrylics is as important as the surfaces on which she paints, namely, canvas or 300g cartridge paper. Using non

sticky tape enables the creation of clean edges as well as straight lines, the latter featuring in a vibrant angular piece inspired by the Russian painter. As well as being a member of the National Acrylic Painters Association, Brenda is involved with the Bucks Art Society. Demonstrations and workshops are part of her regular itinerary and she teaches each Thursday morning at Queens Park Centre. “I don’t mind what ability people who come to my acrylic classes have. Most of my learners are painters who want to improve. Through teaching I have learned more.” Brenda’s skills also extend to poetry; she is the author and illustrator of a couple of children’s books and used to be a dress designer. But these days it is her colourful paintings which entertain as much as inspire.

Creative Vale

Sandra Smith “I try to give people a visual experience. I want my work to put a smile on their faces.” Brenda will be exhibiting at a number of local venues throughout 2017 including the Chilterns MS Centre in March; Bucks Art Society in April; there’s a showcase of her work during May at Claydon House; Bucks Open Studios; and Wendover’s A Little Bird Told Me Gallery in October. l Find out more about Sandra

Smith’s work as a freelance writer by following her on Twitter: @TheCurrentMrsS or visiting her website:

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

For the love of art N o sooner is Christmas done and dusted than we have to wrack our brains for interesting and unusual Valentine ideas. But this year why not give the opportunity for someone you love to unlock their artistic potential?! In Thame you you will find the Artsmart School of Art and a timetable packed full of different painting styles with weekly daytime classes, weekend courses and holiday courses, covering the mediums of watercolour, oil, acrylics, drawing, multi media and botanical, for adults and juniors alike. To enroll call: 01494 670372 this is for the main office at Wycombe End in Beaconsfield, although they also have a studio on the Upper High Street, Thame. Painting can be a wonderfully meditative thing to do alone but in a class you will have the chance to talk about aspects of the subject

l Column: Peter

and the tutors will oversee your technical style and show you ways to work the paint that you may have never considered before. What feels the most natural to you? - moving acrylic paints around a canvas with a knife, or getting

detailed and precise with the more disciplined skill of botanical painting? There is a lot more information on their website at: Courses are being added for

Janice Issitt

Making the most of it future weekends, including some with focused subject matter like ‘Painting portraits with a palette knife’ and ‘Watercolour painting – wild seas, crashing waves’. The one that appeals to me is on the 11th February entitled ‘A Winter Scene in Acrylics’. There are some great sounding courses - how about ‘Drawing for the terrified’ and ‘Creating creative sketchbooks’? It seems Artsmart have got it covered, they even teach Chinese Brush Painting for beginners... New year, new skill, how perfect! l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in the Vale.

Purvis ‘Not that Peter Purvis’

Autumn cider’s a steal


ell, my regression to latency continues apace. Latency, that brief time after infancy ends and before puberty kicks in with its existential angst, teenage narcolepsy and zits. Yes, in my seventh decade I find myself re-entering latency… and stealing apples. Now before you send for the village bobby to give me a clip round the ear, I must emphasise that I am jesting. The apples that my two superannuated colleagues and I have sourced for our cidermaking have all been lawfully acquired via Aylesbury Freecycle. But before I say more about home-brewing I shall relate a little of my scrumping days first time around. I grew up in Stoke Mandeville in the 1960s when it was still a village rather than a suburb of Aylesbury Garden City. We had actual farms with cows and sheep and toothless crones; farms whose names are now lovingly preserved in the estates which obliterated them. We had a village memorial hall where village

hops, whist drives and newcomerbaitings were held. Old near-blind Mr Haywain ran the newsagents and sweet shop where ‘certain’ paperboys who went on to become senior police officers, nicked packets of Spangles and copies of ‘Reveille’. Ted Plasted had his ice cream parlour over the bridge on Station Road. He used to ride around the village on his Triumph Bonneville beeping his big rubber horn and selling his secret recipe ice-cream from the ice-box in the sidecar. On sports days he came to the village school and every pupil got a free ice-cream. In the 1960s, Stoke Mandeville still had a vicarage, a cricket team and strange hump-backed spinsters. I was born in one of the council houses in Hampden Road. Our neighbours worked on the farms and in the print industry in Aylesbury. Everyone knew everyone else. It’s all changed now of course. Any day now I expect Stoke Mandeville to get re-branded as ‘Stoke Mandeville Village’ and then we’ll truly know it’s done for.

Kids then had nits rather than the internet, and X-rays for TB rather than X-boxes. Very few of us had colour televisions. Indeed my parents had to sell my little sister’s second best crutches to rent a wireless from Radio Rentals... In those halcyon days we village kids lived a simple outdoor life: flying kites, catching sticklebacks, playing knock-and-bolt, pulling the wings off butterflies – that sort of thing. And in the autumn we stole apples from neighbour’s back gardens which entailed some jeopardy as if you got caught adults had carte blanche to box your ears. The 60s wasn’t all Free Love and Watneys Red Barrel though. In the big school, for example, they could still administer capital punishment (Ed – corporal, surely?) and none of us grew up any the worse for that (except perhaps Eric Pevrell who ended his days in Broadmoor). So, these days as I reach the mellow autumn of my life I find myself once again scrumping apples - this time mainly from Freecycle though - for our “Stolen Apples

Peter Purvis Cider”. Heaven forbid though that I should encourage any younger readers to indulge in petty larceny: It begins with scrumping and before you know it you’re doing eight ounces of Pear Drops a day - which as everyone knows is just a short step to necking shots of Apple Sourz at a late night pub lock-in. To any HMRC officials reading this please note that our cider is strictly for home consumption. (To other readers, you’ll find me at the back of Harry Ollifes’ allotment shed on the last Friday of the month. Bring your own bottles and jugs. Two bob a pint... l You can see Peter in his guise as stand-up comedian Fred Ferenczi on Saturday 4th February, 2017 at the Limelight Theatre Aylesbury. Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Column: Nick Coffer ‘In the kitchen’

Pork and Mussel Cataplana


have a massive soft spot for Portugal in general, and the Algarve in particular. Not only is it a wonderfully welcoming part of the world, the local food is massively underrated. You can get the freshest grilled sardines on toast for a few pounds and the local fresh fish in general is of the very highest quality. Many restaurants also serve what is called a Cataplana.

The Cataplana pan itself looks a bit like a UFO and the stews made in it are all about simple ingredients cooked gently. This recipe was created by one of the very fine ‘home cooks’ who join me regularly on the Weekend Kitchen, Christian Carden-Maund. The balance of the pork and mussels here is perfect and the dish is made all the sweeter because this whole lot will cost you under a tenner to

Pork and Mussel Cataplana

feed 4 people. Don’t worry if you don’t own a Cataplana - a normal skillet or saucepan with a lid will be perfect. Ingredients (to serve 4) 500g cubed pork shoulder 150g chopped chorizo 1 large onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 large tin of chopped tomatoes 1 bag of fresh English mussels, cleaned. Discard any which are already open before cooking. 25ml dry white wine or sherry Chopped fresh parsley to garnish Method: Brown the cubed pork in the pan on a medium heat with a little oil. Add in the onion and the chorizo and continue to cook out for 5 or 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a good glug of water and give it a stir. Simmer for 1 hour, covered, until the pork is very tender. If at this stage it is looking a

In the kitchen Nick Coffer

little bit liquid, turn up the heat to thicken the sauce. Conversely, add a little water if it is getting dry. Add in the wine or sherry, chuck in the mussels and continue to cook until they have all opened. Do not eat any which have failed to open at this stage as this is a sign of them not being fresh enough. Stir in the chopped parsley right at the end and serve with crusty fresh bread to mop up the lovely juices. l Hear wonderful recipes on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen every Sunday morning on BBC Three Counties radio at 11am. You can also join Nick weekday afternoons at midday for music plus local guests with great stories.

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Win a meal for two at The Crown


he Crown Inn is a cosy traditional 16th Century village pub complete with olde worlde charm, hand-carved beams and welcoming fireplaces, tucked away in the pretty hamlet of Sydenham, not far from Thame. Saved from redevelopment a few years ago by a syndicate of locals The Crown Inn is currently under the management of Will and Pippa who took over last October and have been quick to revive the food side of the business. The popular community pub, which featured as ‘The Stag’ in an episode of Midsomer Murders, has been limited to a drinking establishment for the last couple of years but Will is an accomplished, Savoy trained chef who is keen to revive the pub’s reputation as an in-demand destination for the region’s foodies as well. Following an extensive renovation last Summer, the kitchen is once again in full swing with lunch and dinner being served daily (Tuesday to Saturday, 12noon - 2.30pm and 6pm - 9.30pm) and a delicious roast

selection on Sundays (12noon - 4pm). Will promises a varied choice of dishes inspired by his worldly travels, mixed with good old fashioned British pub classics. The seasonal menu will change monthly while at the bar local draft and guest ales (such as Rebellion, XT and Loddon) are available plus extensive wine and

spirit choices, including numerous boutique gins, vodkas and liqueurs. As well as introducing special music and themed events throughout the year - Oktoberfest is coming - plus a monthly quiz and an Aunt Sally team, the pub hosts a discounted Seniors lunch every Thursday and a pudding selection to satisfy even the

sweetest tooth… Will’s desserts have already made the national news as just before Christmas, The Crown Inn received a visit from the BBC in celebration of hiss incredible and delicious Star Wars ‘Rogue One’ inspired dessert plate made in honour of the ASSERT foundation. ASSERT supports people with Angelman Syndrome, which effects both Star Wars Director, Gareth Edwards’ niece Ella, as well as Chef Will’s niece Holly. We’ve teamed up with The Crown Inn to offer Vale Life readers the chance to win a meal for two with a bottle of house wine at the pub. So if you’d like to be in with a chance, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: At which famous London hotel did Will train? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by March 4th. l The Crown Inn, Sydenham, Oxfordshire, OX39 4NB Tel: 01844 351634 Web:

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Coco Tamarind offers the finest modern and traditional Indian cuisine, in stylish, comfortable surroundings. The relaxed ambience and efficient service, plus our well stocked bar, will ensure your time with us is a most enjoyable experience, whatever the occasion. 10% discount on collected takeaways - 20% discount if ordered online via our website & collected (min order £20)! l Free home delivery within 5 mile radius (min order £15) l Be a Coco Tamarind Member for discounts and special offers l Please book ahead - we are busy all week! l

Order your takeaway or reserve a table online at or call: 01844 343111 / 01844 346100 Coco Tamarind, Aylesbury Road, Askett, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9LY Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017



Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Farm grows audience


he Internet has changed most people’s lives and for me one of the best things about it is the gateway it has opened for us all to learn from and communicate easily with people from other countries. My husband loves to spend time on YouTube in the evenings watching farming videos, seeing how farmers from around the world handle their cattle, the machinery they use and the techniques they employ. Several years ago, we decided to produce our own videos about life on our farm. We hoped it would present a pleasant insight into a traditional English family farm and the things we get up to, for those who might be interested. And so, there is no commentary, we set the films (which vary in length from four to 10 minutes) to music. And they have been very popular. We receive lovely emails from around the world from people who enjoy watching them.


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

This farming life Grove Farm at Terrick

Parents write to say that the videos and music soothe their children; people who grew up on farms say the videos remind them of their childhood; viewers from other countries say the videos give them a great insight into English farm life, or remind them of a visit here. The content of the videos varies from bringing in the sucker cows and calves, to sheep shearing, fencing, the farm shop and harvest. My favourite video is focused on the arable work and was made over the course of a year, to show a year in the life of one of our arable fields. I love the way the film shows the change in the seasons and then the harvest, with all hands on deck and multiple machines at work

Heather Jan Brunt

on different aspects of bringing in the wheat. Some of the footage captures three machines working at once in the same frame, and we also captured the end of the harvesting day when the moon was shining and the combine was still hard at work. Our most popular videos are the ones with the cows and calves in them. One of them, showing the little calves bouncing about the field during spring turnout, has over 800,000 hits. In editing the videos my son takes extreme care to match the movement on screen with the tone and change of rhythm in the music and this makes them quite exceptional. They are very much a family affair. My husband is the

star, which is probably why he likes watching them! I do all the camera work - most are filmed in a single day when something interesting is happening - and the editing process, which is very time consuming as it involves going through all the footage and choosing the right music, is done by our son. When the film is finally completed and online it is a great feeling to watch the viewing figures click up and the lovely emails coming in. If you would like to watch some of the videos go to YouTube and type: DownOnTheFarmEngland into the search bar,which should then bring them up. l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

and a farmer’s wife. You can follow her on Twitter @HJBjournalist


Column: ‘Field to fork’ with Steve Bulmer

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

It’s flamin’ February!


e Manoir and Brook Hall chef Stephen Bulmer has recently returned to Bucks, to cook and teach at The Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm & Eco Centre and has taken on the added responsibility of giving Vale Life readers a regular glimpse of life in the farm kitchens... The New Year has settled in and we’re all looking forward to warmer days and new season’s produce. Those stalwarts of January, Yorkshire rhubarb and Seville oranges are still available, for making compotes, jam and marmalade, while winter favourites like Jerusalem artichoke, sweet potato, curly kale and Savoy cabbage are just the thing for warming treats, whether in hearty soups or accompanying roasts and stews. For something a bit more unusual, add a bitter crunch to winter salads with red and white chicory – delicious when combined

Crêpes Suzette with a slice of orange - a flaming sauce of butter, orange, and Grand Marnier is poured over the crêpe!

with blue cheese and pears. More adventurous cooks also might enjoy making a chicory Tarte Tatin, to go with the last of the winter’s game. February’s culinary landmarks are Valentine’s Day and Shrove Tuesday. Ring the changes on Valentine’s Day by staying at home

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and cooking an Italian feast for the one you love. Or for a grownup alternative on Shrove Tuesday, make the classic Crêpes Suzette with sliced oranges and a splash of Grand Marnier. Traditional dishes with a twist are the focus of my cooking in February. A hearty cassoulet made with our own pork and lamb is the current favourite on our lunch menu, while cookery courses will feature Aylesbury duck with sweet potato fondant and braised leeks, and a classic custard tart with winter fruit compote. Jerusalem artichokes will make a delicious alternative to potato in gratin Dauphinoise, while the humble cauliflower, which has enjoyed a revival in recent years, will be made into a healthy cous cous to go with aromatic lamb koftes. Come and try them out at my Chef Table demonstration dining evenings. This is also a great time for

Steve Bulmer

Field to fork

British shellfish. Clams, cockles, mussels and oysters are all at their best, perfect for delicious seafood stews, soups and pastas. I’ll be making a cockle and mussel broth with apple cider, topped with deepfried, poached quails’ eggs on my Modern British course. l For more information about

Stephen’s Cookery School visit or call: 01296 670444. Café-restaurant open daily from 9.30am - 3pm for brunch/lunch.

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Enjoy fresh, locally produced food, local ales and fabulous wines. Our chefs, Andy and Graham, create exciting dishes suitable for all tastebuds, so families can dine in style. Valentine’s Night Dinner with special three course set menu prepared by chefs Andy and Graham: £30 per head. See website or facebook page for menu. Booking essential! Open: Tue-Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-8pm Food served: Coffee & pastries from 11am Tue-Sat: 12noon-2.30pm and 6pm-9.30pm. Sundays: 12noon-6pm. Closed Mondays. Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 | Email: Website:

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Future perfect Toyota C-HR Dynamic 1.2 CVT


id Toyota really deliver me a C-HR? Or was it beamed down from a passing spaceship? It’s hard to believe that Toyota has somehow managed to come up with a vehicle design seemingly from another age. From the streaming drama of its fluid front headlights to the swaggering statement of a rear spoiler that seems to be growing organically from the roof, this is motor art at its most extreme. There’s even puddle lights under the door mirrors that spell out the car’s name on the ground below – an endearing magic trick to impress friends. True, it takes a bit of getting used to, mainly because there’s so much to take in. Dare I say, this is the most astonishing design of any car I have tested in the past 37 years? As revelatory in its way as the mind boggling American cars of the 50s and 60s, yet perfect in its conception, with every single centimetre contributing to the whole. Incredibly, it works. Modestly, Toyota describes it as their take on the crossover market but of course this piece of auto art also introduces a full hybrid powertrain to the segment and can also produce sub 100 g/ kmCO2 emissions. The interior is equally

Wheel detail

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES stunning. A sizzling bluetrimmed dashboard sits alongside futuristic door surfaces resembling diamond patterned tooled aluminium while a giant oblong infotainment screen works with the intuition and simplicity of an iPad. There are also some brilliant touches – like the auto gear lever that looks and feels like a manual and the ‘hidden’ angled handles at the top of the rear doors that makes the vehicle look like a coupé in profile. Toyota’s Safety Sense package is also impressive. Best of all, of course, is the full hybrid system, where the electric motor is always in operation when the vehicle is being driven. The petrol engine (a 1.2 on the test car) will stop and start at any vehicle speed, depending on a variety of conditions. A combined 47.9mpg is a nice

Toyota C-HR Dynamic 1.2 CVT bonus. A CVT transmission is supersmooth, though it can drone under hard acceleration, and the C-HR is easy to adapt to quickly and feel at home in. A high, commanding driving position offers excellent all round views and the C-HR handles rather regally, never putting a foot wrong and impressing in its reassuring control through the bends and taut steering feel. Despite a compact footprint, Toyota manages to pack a lot in,

Door detail

though rear passengers are more restricted for space and only have a tiny side window to peer out of. A decent sized boot is another bonus, with the benefit of tiedown luggage hooks, although the rear tailgate is very heavy. The ideal hybrid is one where you forget it’s a hybrid at all and just enjoy everything about it. That’s the C-HR. Sit back and take a ride into a bright future. The C-HR leads the way for others to follow. Continued on page 70

Rear light detail

Badge detail


Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

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Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Continued from page 68

Overall height 1565

Factfile: Model tested: Toyota C-HR Dynamic 1.2 CVT Price: £26,695 (prices from £20,995) Power: Four-cylinder in-line 16V DOHC VVT-iW in tandem with electric motor Economy: Combined 47.9mpg CO2 emissions: Below 90g/km Performance: 0-62mph in 11.1 secs; Top speed 114mph Dimensions (mm): Overall length 4360 Overall width 1796

Alternative purchases: Nissan Qashqai, from £18,795 Acknowledged market leader; visually dynamic and surprisingly good drive. SEAT Ateca, from £17,990 Another good looker with arguably the best handling of the lot. Impressive new model. Mazda CX-3, from £17,995 Again, car-like to drive, features legendary Mazda reliability and hard to fault.

Door detail

Toyota C-HR Dynamic 1.2 CVT

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71 Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017 09:32 03/11/2012

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

l Column: On

The Road with Rob Auchterlonie

East meets West Kia Niro 1.6 GDi


t’s Kia’s first ever UK market hybrid car and they’ve found a simple way to make it appeal to the British motorist – a heated steering wheel. And purely by coincidence, the arrival of the Korean manufacturer’s latest offering saw the first really cold days of winter, giving us the chance to sample it at first hand (!). The compact five door five seat Niro is a hybrid with the styling of a crossover, and a very tidy one at that. It’s a collaboration between east and west, Kia’s design studios in Korea and California, and the sleek looking shape has a low drag factor of just 0.29, which coupled with its lack of weight (1500kgs) are assisting factors with its claimed fuel consumption (74.3mpg combined) and CO2 emissions (88g/km). Mention the word hybrid and the assumption is it’s put together to appease the open-sandal wearing, Guardian reading fringe, but Niro skimps on nothing. It has the style, practicality and appeal of a compact crossover, and one that is equally as well finished in terms of what is presented to you as the firm’s Optima and Sportage ranges - which are all well up there in the quality stakes. All also have high levels of standard equipment. In terms of size it sits between the cee’d and Sportage in the Kia firmament. The relevant bits under the bonnet are a 1.6 litre 104bhp petrol engine and a 43bhp electric motor coupled to a six speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. And that’s one of its real plus points. There are few frills when it comes to getting up and running. Press the starter button, select drive and off you go, the electric motor dropping in and out as it sees fit. The petrol engine side of the equation is no ball of fire, but it provides adequate performance in a car where the accent is as much on efficiency and economy as it is on comfort and all-round practicality. Hybrid sales in the UK and 72

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2017

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and are predicted to reach 700,000 a year by 2020, and this car is going to be right in there challenging for your money. Niro has an excellent driving position with plenty of legroom for tall drivers, and there is still decent space behind for rear seat passengers, who incidentally also get heated seats like the front seat passengers. It flows nicely on the road, soaks up bumps fairly well and has a fluid feel to it. Even on a long cross country run I was comfortable from start to finish and didn’t feel tired at the end. Which is a nice feeling to have as you lock up and walk away. The tomtom based sat nav is easy to use and presents you with loads of information, as does the main instrument group. Whether you’re driving normally/ economically/aggressively is logged on the display, and it’s one of those little quirks that subconsciously makes you want to get the best figure possible. The dial to the left in the main binnacle tells you if you’re using power, being economical with the

Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Kia Niro 1.6 GDi

right foot, or charging the battery, and there’s a split gauge showing fuel and battery levels. Lots of info, easy to digest. Little things that are attention to detail are things that always impress, like the recess in the outer edge of the rear seat lining that lets you properly ‘park’ the seat belt and help eliminate the annoying rattle of buckle on plastic. There are four trim levels available – 1,2, 3 and First Edition, with prices starting at £21,295.

FASTFACTS: Kia Niro 1.6 GDi HEV First Edition; £26,995; 1580cc 16v , 104bhp; 43bhp electric motor; 6 speed DCT transmission; Top speed 101mph, 0-60mph11.1secs; Fuel – urban 74.3, extra urban 72.4, combined 74.3; CO2 88g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4335/1805/1545 (l/w/h); Seven year Kia warranty.

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Vale Life Magazine Feb-Mar 2017 web edition  

Six weekly local interest lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Thame, Wendover, Tring, Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Watlington, Winslow, Waddes...

Vale Life Magazine Feb-Mar 2017 web edition  

Six weekly local interest lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Thame, Wendover, Tring, Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Watlington, Winslow, Waddes...