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Vale Life

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May/Jun 2014

Cover photograph: Thame Town Hall by Nick White See our Thame feature page 8

Free local listings for events and businesses


Tempted in Thame

20 page Thame feature

Now you see it...

Local firm solves space dilemma

Face of the Vale

Happy 100th Dolly!

Magic of Henley

Are you in with the In-Crowd? Beauty, style, music, motors and much, much more...

w Letters Of A Dissatisfied Woman w Lady AGA Apron w w Spa Day for Two at Whittlebury Hall w Book Shop Voucher w


11a, High St Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 1SH Tel:

01296 423198

Jewellery designed and produced to your specifications, or choose from our extensive range of new, secondhand and antique pieces. l Diamond merchants (certified stones always available) l Antique restorations l Hand engraving

l Valuations: insurance and (carried out on the premises) l Insurance claims advisors l Complete repair service


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

11a High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1SH

Tel: 01296 423198


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


The Hambledon Wing Open May 2013. To enquire please call 01296 747000 or visit

Exceptional Elderly Care in Buckinghamshire Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Launching a new business venture?

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

46 Buckingham Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2LL media

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24 Hour Service

A tradition of dignity, respect & choice

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6288 CRM_Vale Life Ad_May.indd 1

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For further information please contact: 11 Market Square, Aylesbury HP20 1TJ Tel: 01296 873 017 4

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014





Luxury Coach Holidays

Theatre trips, day trips and short breaks Day Trips: May Tue 20th Sat 24th Sun 25th Wed 28th

DayTrips, Theatres & Shows

Eastbourne Coastal Day: £20 The D-Day Anniversary Air Show Duxford: £42 Brugge via Eurotunnel: £39 Kennet & Avon Horse Drawn Canal Cruise & Tea: £36

Day Trips: June ottstrExpress: .m Sun 8th e Pullman Orient w w w : nlin London to Folkestone: £235 Book o Mon 9th Wed 18th Thu 19th Thu 26th

Lee Valley Olympic Tour & Cream Tea Cruise: £45 Arundal Cathedral Carpet of Flowers: £19 Ladies Day at Ascot Silver Ring £59, Grandstand £99 NT Stourhead Garden: £28

Day Trips: July Sun 6th Fri 11th Sun 20th

BIG BAND BREAK! The Orchid 4-star Hotel, Nottingham,

Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman all left their mark on the music world with some of the best Swing tunes of yesterday. Combine that with the orchestral and popular sounds of Bert Kaempfert and James Last - what a great night! Join us for this fabulous two day break with excellent accommodation, for one night with dinner and breakfast included.

Coronation Street The Tour Castlefield Hotel, Manchester (Just a short walk from the studios)

Isle of Wight The 1940s Experience: £45 ‘Call the midwife’ Location Tour: £49 Vimy Ridge & Notre Dame de Lorette via Eurotunnel (Guided): £55

Ever fancied taking a stroll down the nation’s favourite street? Well now you can, as Corrie throws open the doors to the cobbles and invites you behind the scenes of the world famous Quay Street set. Hear stories from those in the know and get fascinating facts from over 50 years of filming at the site, as the studio guides show you around Weatherfield. This is your

Big Band Break

2 Days - Sun 27th July: £115pp / £105 for Travel Club members (Single supplement £15. Available in Bucks, Beds & Herts only). chance to walk down Coronation Street on the famous cobbles and have your photo taken in front of the Rovers Return. Fri 15th and Fri 29th August 3 Days Half Board: £199. Single room supplement - £50

Thursford Christmas Spectacular:

Thursford Christmas Spectacular


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

3 Day Beaks: Fri Nov 14th & 28th and Fri Dec 5th: £259 (Coach Travel, entrance & 2 nights stay half board). Single supplement £50.

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

Ri HOng LI now 01 DA fo 29 Y B r y 6 RO o 33 C ur 66 H 20 66 UR 14 E!

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the biggest and most exciting Christmas show in the UK with dazzling dancers, beautiful costumes, Christmas songs, carols and outstanding music and singing from a cast of hundreds. Day Trips: Wed Nov 12th, Tue Nov 18th & Thur Nov 27th: £65 (Coach Travel & entrance). 2 Day Breaks: Thur Nov 20th & 27th: £145 (Coach Travel, entrance & 1 night stay half board) Single supplement £10.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

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 11 12 15 19 22 27 28

Tempted in Thame


Dead shrew gets day in court

A good year


Face of the Vale

Gem of a place


Go home, go hard



Let there be light

Now you see it...


Murder on the sales floor

Historic hotel


A place in town

Style file


Happy campers

Lily in the lake


In the pipeline


Place in the sun

Inside and out


Let’s Twist again

Winning formula


Turn it up!

No pain, no gain


Fab at 50


Magic of Henley

Twenty page Thame special feature Ella Jane celebrates first birthday Biagio has the rhythm of love Beautiful buggies and lots for baby Space saving ideas from The StudyBed crew Eagle continues to spread its wings Katy’s packing holiday tips New florists is bloomin’ lovely

30 Put your cards on the table 31 33 35

Card boxes are the real deal

Heads up for the White Hart garden room Salon’s graded No1

Amanda gets the needle

36 Chair-raising time!

Made to measure comfort

Happy Birthday


t’s not often you get to sup a pint served by a barmaid celebrating her 100th birthday! Dolly Saville, pictured right with me, at The Red Lion in Wendover, where she has worked for more than 70 years, seems more like a nimble septuagenarian than someone who has ‘done the ton’ if that’s the correct expression. I was chatting to her for a new ‘Face of the Vale’ column that we have introduced to Vale Life Magazine. We have teamed up with photographer Pete Griffith of All People Photography in Waddesdon and while he takes a portrait


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

photograph I will be interviewing a selection of ‘faces’ from across the area. These don’t have to be celebrities, although they might be, but they should be noteworthy members of the local community for some reason. Faces of interest or achievement. We are open to suggestions, so please email with any ideas. Last edition we started the series with David Stopps of Friars Club and Howard Jones fame. This issue was Dolly, you could be next! By the way, talking of birthdays, this edition marks the fourth birthday of Vale Life... The time has whizzed by, but I’ve met some amazing people though for more competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: A spa day for two at Whittlebury Hall; Lady AGA apron; Tickets to The Homebuilding and Renovating Show. A copy of Letters of a Dissatisfied

Penny’s losing the lot Happy 100th, Dolly!

Tracy’s so tough - on herself Dee Dashwood can light up your life Janice smells a bargain or two

Omega’s new showroom is open in Aylesbury Everything but the kitchen sink for Charlie Bathroom firm have a plan Naomi’s keen to get in the garden Shall we do lunch - in Wendover? Stuart’s got the latest on HOTC Towersey celebrates golden year We’re in with the in-crowd

and found out about all sorts of fantastic local businesses and terrific local producers. Please keep supporting them and thanks you Charlie Trott, Editor for supporting us too. Cheers everybody, happy reading!


Woman and a Book House voucher Last issue’s prizewinners were: Dinner for two at The Crown at Granborough: Jason Brookes A pair of Backdoorshoes: Shelagh Hutson, Thame; Louise Parbat,

Aylesbury; Jayne Roadnight, Drayton Parslow Tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Summer: Lyn Duns, Long Crendon; Lynsey Tyson, Flackwell Heath; Angie Daly, Wendover

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

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014



Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

A trip to Thame is a delight. The pretty, quintessential English market town has an inspiring assortment of independent stores, cafés, pubs and restaurants, plus a huge free car park! What more do you need...


rom humble beginnings in Saxon times as a crossing point on the River Thame, Tame, as it was then known, became a new market town after the Norman Conquest, and the right to hold a weekly market was granted by Royal Charter in the 12th century. The boat-shaped Upper High Street, purported to be the widest in the

country, is a reminder of these days when livestock was driven in and corralled in the centre of town on market day - the cattle market is just out of the centre now but still active several times a week. With a mention in the Domesday Book and beautiful, old architecture everywhere, it is a town that oozes history and yet is very much in step with modern life.

Win a £25 Voucher for


ehind the quaint, traditional front of the Book House in Thame, one of the country’s few surviving independent bookshops, lies a modern business maintaining its role in the community which has supported it for over 40 years. “We started as one of the first children’s bookshops in the country,” says owner Brian Pattinson “and we still see children’s books as the core of our shop, whilst now stocking a wide range of books for everyone of whatever age.” The shop inside is much larger than its exterior suggests, and is comfortingly traditional in its service - which includes next day supply of orders - to customers. “I am now serving children of customers who were children themselves when I first started working here,” says manager Luise Pattinson “and that’s rather lovely...” 8

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

The Book House regularly tweets about its enthusiasms and forthcoming events and is at the centre of the Thame Arts and Literary Festival every October. The Guardian called it ‘A smashing bookshop!’ and The Independent voted it as one of the top 50 bookshops in the country. Good traditional businesses such as this need our support to stay on our high streets. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a £25 Book House voucher, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Who owns The Book House? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by June 10th, 2014.

l The Book House, 93 High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3HJ Tel: 01844 213032

While many small town high streets have struggled in the face of competition from supermarkets and retail parks, Thame has maintained a good balance and boasts many excellent independent stores and a fabulous selection of cafés, pubs and restaurants, which make shopping in the town a delight. There is lots of free parking amid the historic architecture and Thame is very much a ‘living’ market town today, with a popular general market every Tuesday and a once monthly Farmers’ market (second Tuesday). Annual events such as Thame Arts and Literary Festival (Oct 16-19th and Thame Food Festival (Sept 27th) get more popular every year, while Thame Town Carnival (June 14th) and the Christmas Lights event always attract a good turn out. The Thame and Oxfordshire County Show (Sept 18th) which is the largest single day Agricultural Show in England is a huge event and popular with people from across the country, while Towersey Village Festival (see page 74) is an international music festival which runs for several days in the nearby village of Towersey. Thame has a lovely Museum ( housed in the Old Court House on the Lower High Street, a theatre (www. on Nelson Street with an excellent programme of high quality entertainment and regular film nights, a sports centre, a football club, a rugby club and a tennis and bowls club, to name but

a few of the activities you can get involved in here. The spectacular 13th Century Church of St Mary’s dominates the skyline and is open to the public most days, while hidden away a short stroll from the church is the Bandstand which came from the Wembley Exhibition of 1921. The Birdcage Inn, on the Cornmarket, was built in the 15th Century and once housed French prisoners from the Napolionic wars while they were awaiting trial. Walking around the town you may notice Blue Plaques drawing attention to the places that historically significant people and events were associated with in Thame. Leaflets are available from Thame Town Hall, cafés and restaurants with more information and suggested walks and trails around the town taking in places of interest - you can also see them online under the ‘publications: available downloads’ menu at: Plaques include: John Hampden (1595-1643) , the English Politician who famously challenged the authority of Charles 1 of England, was educated at Thame Grammar School. He died from his wounds after The Battle of Chalgrove Field in a house on Thame High Street by Greyhound Walk, which later, in the early 19th Century became the Greyhound Inn. Hampden’s descendents still live in the Town. WB Yeats, the Irish poet was living here in 1921, when his son


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Photograph by Nick White:

Photograph by Nick White:

and special offers at many of the town’s businesses and every Thame shop where you see a Thame Loyalt Loyalty Card sign. y Participating loyalty card Card scheme businesses include: l Abbotts Office Solutions l Gallery Wood Flooring l Kismet Jewellers l Pearson Insurance It’s Tha Services me to shop l Petcare Apply fo r a Tha l Piece of Cake m to enjo y a who e Loyalty Card l Powder le rang community. special youwonder e of gre andNo offersbusiness get at disco in man service l Newitts y interesting un of the s. In faso many ts and and celebrated town’s ct, in e sign fo very s ops a r the Th l Racquets Fitness Centre op wheto h nd people here ame Lohaveshchosen re ysettle yalty C ou see ard. a l Thame Therapy Clinic Of c and continue to do so! ourse, s hoppin pleasure in itself g in Thame h For further information csee: as alwa . True to entre, th ys Thame Loyalty e towl its trad Scheme n’s stre ition as been a ty of fa e ts a mark a re hom ntastic th et e e ir s hops – to a wh up an application form at Thame stoc as imag ole items – k as thEmail: ey are in ative in broad in Town Hall or from participatingcafes anTwitter: their ch d resta urants. oice of Now, th businesses. Facebook: ThameLoyaltyCardScheme ough, th st e re a y ’s in g lo an Thame is a lovely Town to visit. can sav cal. With you extra incentiv r Tham e for e mone Surrounded by beautiful countryside e Loyalt y or pic y Card, k up lo ts ofdiscover you else Read on and aking sis a it is vibrant yet tranquil.MThere e x tra goo what u dies. your pu re you haThame ve a Th has to offer in our special rs good mix of shops, plenty of good e a o m r e Loyalt wa t is need d y Card o is com lle20 simplicThame in pubs and cafés and a vibrant ity itse feature... plete thpage take it lf. e form All you into an on this y one o leaflet, f the p and articipa It costs ti ng outl ju ets. benefits st £1 to enjo y all th of own e Thame ing you Loyalty r card. Happy shoppin g.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


campaigner for ‘Real Food’ ran the was born at Cuttle Brook House, where he lived at the time. Spread Eagle Hotel (see page 20) The ‘First Champion of England’ and wrote ‘The Inn Keepers Diary’ about his time there. and the first Boxing Coach, James Finally, Alfedo Campoli (1906Figg, the bare knuckle fighter, was 1991) the respected violinist retired born in the town. You can now enjoy a beverage in The James Figg to Thame in 1986 and lived on North Street. Pub, (formerly the Abingdon Arms) You can follow a planned trail to on the High Street. view the Blue Plaques and other Keeping the pub theme, Henry historical sites, as well as the more Boddington (1813-1886) the modern ‘Midsomer founder of Boddington’s Dates for your diary Murders Trail’. The popular TV Brewery, was also Thame Town Carnival: mysteries were born in Thame. June 14th filmed in and His father was Towersey Festival: around Thame. a miller who August 21st-25th All the trails are became master Thame & Oxfordshire available in leaflet of the workhouse County Show: September 18th form from the before moving Thame Food Festival: September 27th Information to Manchester, Centre situated in where Henry got Thame Arts and Literary Festival: October 16th-19th the Town Hall. a job with the If you shop in local Strangeways brewery. He eventually bought it and Thame, don’t forget to apply for a Thame Loyalty Card, which opens changed the name to Boddingtons. up a whole range of great discounts John Fothergill, an early





The 29Tham 018 www


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that! The book of her popular blog Letters Of A Dissatisfied Woman is out now and available from The Book House, Thame (and all good book stores). Ingrid, whose mother is bestselling local author Valerie Blumenthal, wrote her first complaint letter at the tender age of eight and over the years has complained about everything from can-openers that should be renamed can’t-openers to cocoa powder that tastes like bad breath. She is a lady of letters with a difference and believes that complaining is an art that should be done with style, etiquette and panache. Every letter is genuine. Ingrid’s letters have been the talking point of various TV chat shows and newspaper columns of late and her book is thoroughly entertaining and beautifully

illustrated by Tim ‘Rockins’ Watkins. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a signed copy of Letters Of A Dissatisfied Woman , simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where did Ingrid grow up? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by June 10th, 2014. l Ingrid Stone can be contacted via:

FUN DANCE, FITNESS & PERFORMING ARTS FOR ALL In 20 different venues in & around THAME

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Cut into the alley at the side of Thame’s Swan Hotel and you’ll discover Swan Walk, a trendy modern arcade lined with alluring independents. For gorgeous gifts and more, head for the far end where you’ll find the rather lovely Ella Jane Gifts boutique...


lla Jane gifts is owned and run by Alison Cooper and her daughter Rosie Ella Jane, 10. Alison lives in Thame and opened her shop in the town last year after building a following for her range of jewellery, gifts and homeware at markets, parties, fetes and events. Ella Jane Gifts sells unique vintage/shabby chic style pieces of furniture, which act as display units for her stock: “They are all one-off pieces which have been done up either by myself or a friend,” says Alison, “so are completely individual. I also stock gifts, toys, homeware, cards, bags, scarves and jewellery, at prices to suit all pockets. There are items from as little as a pound, to larger pieces of furniture for several hundred pounds, although most of our range is under £50. “I try to choose items that you don’t find everywhere else. Good quality products at prices people can afford. “We’ve been here a year now and it’s been really good - I love being based in Thame. People are very friendly and have been really supportive. New people often come in following a recommendation now, which is nice. We’ve a lovely regular clientele and I appreciate their loyal custom. “I started a facebook page before we

opened here, to keep customers up to date with new stock and any offers or discounts, and our followers have doubled over the last year. I have a new special offer every fortnight, so ‘like’ my Ella Jane Gifts Facebook page and you’ll be kept up to date - it might be 10% off certain items or a special deal on something. “Having so much free parking in the centre of town is great for the businesses here. You can stay for three hours in the main car park and that gives people time to mooch around and discover little hidden shops like our’s. Swan Walk has a really interesting mix of businesses now. “Our range is constantly changing. I’ve added more Alison Cooper greetings cards - they are really good value - and our quality, affordable jewellery is proving very popular - we have introduced some gorgeous Sterling Silver jewellery, which is designed and made in England and mostly priced at under £25. We also stock the beautiful Estella Bartlett jewellery range for adults and children, with prices ranging from only £10 to £14.99. “Our beautiful, handmade award-winning Sophie Court range is made from paper, acrylic and sterling silver finished with fresh water pearls - it’s funky, pretty and very different.

“We also have some gorgeous Argento Azzurro Swarovski Crystal jewellery, which is rhodium plated and set with the most amazing Swarovski Crystals. Beautiful, very glamorous and incredibly good value, ranging from only £29.99 to £39.99.” For a relatively small shop Ella Jane Gifts packs an amazing range, from scarves and picture frames to scented soy candles (made from soy bean wax), carousel candle mobiles, notebooks, hanging signs, new born baby gifts, wedding and christening gifts, cute washcloths on lolly sticks, decorative drawer knobs, keepsake boxes... it’s a real Aladdin’s cave! “The furniture is doing really well,” says Alison. “we have some lovely real leather and canvas bags too, which are rather stylish. We aim for good quality items at really reasonable prices and we wrap everything too, free of charge in tissue paper and ribbon. “People seem to like what we do. We’ve only been here a short time but I think we are quite well established already. It’s been a good year.” l Ella Jane Gifts, 11 Swan Walk, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3HN Tel: 01844 260865 Email: Website: Open: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5.30pm

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Celebrating 25 years in business this year and 23 years in Thame, Biagio The Jeweller continues to evolve. ‘Keep the traditional but always have an eye on the new’ says Manager Peter Thomas...


he last couple of years have been more than challenging for everyone in retail. Biagio Patalano opened his first jewellery store in Bicester back in 1989, so he is used to tough economic times. With hard work, a passion for jewellery, style, vision, an Italian eye for design, and a flair for finding unusual pieces that delight and enthrall, Biagio’s business has flourished though and on March 1st he opened a majestic new flagship showroom on Bicester’s Pioneer Square. The new store has three times the space of the old shop, with bespoke furnishings helping to create the most glamorous Italian interior: “It looks fantastic,” says Peter Thomas, manager of Biagio’s Thame branch. “It’s a real destination store. The company and Biagio is very good at is always evolving, always moving forwards. Claudia Bradby Acorn pendant finding the right pieces. We are updating our branding and revitalising “We’ve a good selection of our website at the moment and of course our great value watches too - popular collections are constantly being updated. ranges from designers such as: “Biagio has once again been sourcing Armani, Gucci, new suppliers and found some Rhythm of Life pendant Skagen, DKNY stunning pieces. I particularly like and recent addition, the Rhythm of Love pendants and Michael Kors which earrings. The central diamond in each make excellent gifts, piece is ingeniously suspended in its ideal for an 18th birthday or setting and dances with the heartbeat A Level success present! creating an exquisite sparkle. They are “Virtue ‘Keepsake’ lockets lovely. are finely finished and hold “We also have a collection of interchangeable discs in different timeless, versatile and elegant pieces finishes, materials and designs which by Claudia Bradby, who numbers the can be layered within the locket to Duchess of Cambridge among her create an individual necklace - very fans. Her Acorn Necklace is inspired pretty. by the Middleton family crest and “We’ve seen an increased demand was designed to commemorate the for bespoke diamond jewellery, rings birth of Prince George. It’s a very in particular, for engagements or special striking collection. occasions such as wedding anniversaries. “Silver, white gold and platinum continue “Of course gentlemen proposing to to be the most popular choices of metal, pop the question may be uncertain if their but rose gold is coming back as a new trend, proposal will be accepted, or quite what often set with diamonds. The Monte Carlo design of ring their loved one might prefer, Collection by Leo Wittwer has elegant rose so we have introduced the ‘buffer’ ring. It’s gold pieces, encrusted with a sea of pavé set an inexpensive silver and cubic zirconia cognac diamonds. They are quite amazing. engagement ring which can be used for “Our customers are looking for good the proposal, leaving the actual bespoke quality, well made jewellery, but they want an edge, something a little bit out of the ordinary engagement ring design to be decided upon 12

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Peter Thomas

and made afterwards. “Biagio’s passion is diamonds and he loves to hand-pick the best ones for our bespoke pieces. He has a portfolio of suppliers and can buy diamonds at very good prices so our customers benefit from that.” Working at Biagio in Thame must be good fun as all the staff have been there for at least seven years and two, (Peter being one), for 17 years! “Thame is an amazing place to work, it’s so friendly,” he says. “I love the way I can walk through the town and bump into customers who say hello or stop for a chat. There’s a good mix of shops here and we are starting to see more tourists in the town, it’s got a lovely, friendly, market town feel and visitors are coming to experience it. “It’s an exciting time here at Biagio, but while we have an eye on the new, we keep the traditional - fine quality stones and classic designs are always going to be popular.” l Biagio Thame, Aureo House, 2 Greyhound Walk, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3DY Tel: 01844 217001 l Biagio Bicester, Pioneer Square, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 6HY Tel: 01869 252323 Website:

Leo Wittwer Monte Carlo Collection

Thame feature

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Monera Beauty Clinic


onera Beauty Clinic has been pampering and beautifying the good people of Thame for more than 20 years. Founded by owner, Karen Case the salon has been in its North Street location since 1990 and was revamped with a stylish makeover last year. Monera offers a wide selection of beauty treatments, from a simple eyebrow shape, to a selection of facials, massage, eyelash extensions, thread vein therapy and more (see their website: for a full list of treatments and prices). Karen is proud of the fact that her salon offers the highest standard of treatments and has built a loyal following of clients who return on a regular basis. Her team of three receptionists and 12 therapists are highly trained and continue to add to their skills with additional training throughout the year. At this time of year many of us are

preparing to take off some of our winter layers or maybe go away on holiday and Monera has a range of treatments that may be particularly relevant for the season. A St Tropez Spray Tan is better for your skin than sunbathing and will give some almost instant colour, so you don’t look too pale those first few days on the beach! Several self tanning mousses are available if you’d rather ‘tan’ yourself at home. Eyelash extensions and eyelash tinting lasts for weeks and mean you won’t need to use mascara and come out of the pool with panda eyes! A pedicure will soon have your feet in tip top shape while Geleration for hands and feet includes all the usual benefits of a manicure and pedicure but with a gel polish finish that will last up to three weeks and should protect nails from getting chipped or scuffed. Waxing will remove unwanted hair for four to six weeks and is ideal for legs, bikini line, underarm, upper lips

and chin. It is quick and effective. Monera caters for men too and currently has an offer of 20% off all men’s treatments taken in May. June’s offer is for Clarins products. Monera is a Clarins Gold salon, offers Clarins treatments and stocks all Clarins retail skincare products. When you buy two listed Clarins products in June (to include a skincare product) you will get a free Clarins travel pack worth £39! For this you can choose three travel-size products from a selection of ten, all perfect for the holiday season. Monera is open from 9am-8pm, Mon-Thur, 9am-6pm on Fridays and 9am-4pm on Saturdays. Monera has a large selection of skincare and make up available to purchase and gift vouchers can be made up for any amount. l Monera Beauty Clinic, 62-63 North Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 260454 Website: Twitter @MoneraBeauty

Sherlock Combs


Juno Newman

t’s no mystery. Thame Hair may have disappeared but the gentlemen of the town will still be able to get a cracking hair cut at 61 North Street. It’ll be by Juno Newman though, or her colleague Paula, at the renamed ‘Sherlock Combs’ as Thame Hair and owner Ian Lee have retired after 30 years. Juno, left, is from Long Crendon and knows the shop well: “All my uncles and my grandad used to come here,” she says. “This shop has been a barber’s since the 1920s, it was known as Hacking Harry’s after one of the first owners who frequented The Wheatsheaf pub next door (now a charity shop) and his technique suffered accordingly! “That’s why I’ve filled the place with memorabilia - a Raleigh Tomahawk bicycle and old film posters - I want customers to relax and forget the busy modern world while they’re here. One of my barber’s chairs is a classic 1950s Belmont electric rather than hydraulic, while the other is from the 1930s.” Juno trained as a hairdresser in

Oxford in the 1980s. After a break to get married, have a family and start up a market gardening business, she went back to hairdressing and trained as a barber. She has since worked in several barbershops and is experienced not only in hairdressing but beard trimming too. “I’m thinking of offering hot towel cut throat shaving if there’s a demand,” she says. “I took over before Christmas and the customers I’ve met have been lovely, although I think some are uncertain about having a woman cut their hair instead of a man! They will get a good haircut though and I can talk about the rugby, if that’s what they’d like! “I’d like to update the shop gradually, put in some new flooring and install backwashes but a lot of customers like things the way they are, so I’m treading gently. “I want it to be a friendly, relaxing place with a chilled atmosphere. I’m happy doing classic cuts for the older clients but I’m a creative person so I keep up with modern trends too and can accommodate the latest styles, whether comb-overs or clipper cuts.

“I’ve lowered some of the prices and pensioner and child rates apply any day of the week, even Saturdays (haircuts for under 16s only £8.50).” Sherlock Combs is open seven days a week: Mon-Wed 8.30am-5.30pm, Thur/Fri: 8.30am-7pm, Sat 8.30am5pm and Sunday: 10am-3pm. l Sherlock Combs, 61 North Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 Tel: 01844 218087 Twitter: @SherlockCombs1 Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

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Thame feature

Providing the ultimate salon experience


here’s a lot going on at Eclipse Hair Design at the moment! First of all The Redken suncare range is in stock and if you buy two products you get a free summer bag too*! (* while stocks last). These fab Summer products are: Color Extend Sun: After Sun Shampoo, which gently cleanses and helps to

New staff wanted! We are looking to recruit a

new salon Apprentice and a shampooist/salon assistant Salon Apprentice: Full-time At Eclipse, we believe that excellence can only be achieved through strong foundations and a commitment to your craft. We are passionate about education and our experienced Educator provides continuous training and development for every Eclipse Stylist and Apprentice. We will provide on-going training including: Kebelo Smoothing, Redken Colour, Cutting, Perming and Product Training. We are looking for someone who is looking to make a successful career in hairdressing and has the enthusiasm and drive to learn. We are an extremely supportive salon and will provide an excellent level of training so the successful applicant has the tools to succeed in their hairdressing career with us. Salon Assistant/ Shampooist: Part-time All ages considered Experience preferred but training will be given l l

You must be friendly, enthusiastic and reliable and enjoy working in the hair industry. You will be trained in shampooing and generally helping around the salon.

remove minerals, chlorine and salt deposits from sun-damaged hair. Color Extend Sun: After Sun Mask - a gel-cream mask which helps to detangle and reinvigorate sun-exposed hair providing intense moisture, leaving hair feeling invigorated, soft & lustrous. Color Extend Sun: Take Cover SPF 25 a lightweight, Redken conditioning Color mousse which Extend Sun helps leave hair range feeling volumised with a healthy looking shine, while providing sun protection for your scalp. We also now have American crew hair styling products especially designed for men. All the girls are really excited about using these in the salon, so come on guys!

Have you experienced Express Colour?

Express Colour, our new superfast colour service has been proving popular! In less than an hour you can have your roots done, highlights added or grey touched up and then choose to dry and style yourself at our Blast Bar (free) or have a blow dry from one of our stylists (additional charge). Root Rage £15 - Quick fix root touch up Glossy Locks £25 - Fast colour gloss Brighter Lights £20 Six face-framing highlights Colour Camo £15 Discrete backwash service to hide grey Creative Colour £25 Colour trends NB New clients must have an allergy test 48 hours prior to any colour service

Eclipse welcomes new stylist Steph Steph, right, has just joined the team at Eclipse Hair Design. She is an accomplished stylist with five years experience on the salon floor. She previously worked at Lifestyle in Aylesbury and says she quickly felt at home in the Eclipse salon: “Everyone was very friendly and I was immediately impressed by the team spirit and professionalism of all the members of staff,” she says.

“Meeting owner Louise and Salon Manager Vicki it was refreshing to find people who genuinely want to make both customers and staff a priority. “Training and advancement for all Eclipse staff is high on their list and it keeps the salon motivated. “I am excited to be working alongside professionals who offer such fantastic customer service. Please come along and meet my new team!

To apply for either position please call: 01844 260062 or come in and speak to reception. Eclipse Hair Design, 56 North Street, Thame, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 260062 Web: Email: Follow us on Twitter: @eclipsethame and Facebook Eclipse Hair Design

STOP PRESS... Like us on Facebook for up to date information and promotions: Eclipse Hair Design 14

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Thame feature Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Apparently there’s a bit of a baby boom taking place in Thame at the moment, so it’s just as well the town has its own dedicated baby and toddler boutique, stocking a gorgeous range of clothes, toys, shoes, buggies, bags, gifts, nursery furniture and much, much more...


erwent and Tracey Walsh opened The Baby Studio, on Thame High Street, some 14 months ago. The couple had built their business online for four years previously and now really enjoy working together in the store and meeting their customers face to face. Derwent and Tracey both have corporate backgrounds and believe in offering the highest level of customer service. With three grown up children of their own, they know a thing or two about babies but the idea for The Baby Studio came when Tracey was out shopping for her daughter’s newborn: “We just weren’t that impressed with what was on offer,” says Tracey. “We did some research and thought there was a real need for somewhere that supplied good quality baby clothes, toys and accessories at reasonable prices. “I’ve always believed in listening to what the customer wants,” says Derwent. “We’ve gradually developed our range and the feedback we are getting is that customers really appreciate the care we take in sourcing well made, good value products. The Baby Studio is an official stockist for iCandy strollers, an amazing buggy or baby traveller system produced by a British, familyrun company: “It’s very clever and really well made,” says Derwent, “the Aston Martin of push chairs - a simple modular design, superbly engineered and

Tracey Walsh with Emile et Rose outfits of exceptional quality and when you buy one we deliver it to your home, set it up and demonstrate how everything works and how to operate all the features. iCandy prices are very similar across suppliers but we offer some great extras in our packages so it’s always worth checking what is available.” Tracey and Derwent research their products carefully. “We want all our customers to enjoy their shopping experience,” says Derwent. “whether they are buying a pair of £2.99 baby socks or a top of the range baby traveller system for£1,000! We try to find interesting and unusual items too - brands and designs that you don’t see everywhere. Customers are often looking for something different these days, especially for gifts.” The Baby Studio website showcases a wider range of products than can be displayed in the Thame store. If your budget doesn’t stretch to an iCandy, you can choose a travel system such as the Hauck Colt Stroller Set, which includes a car seat, for only £289. They also supply a lovely range of nursery furniture, including the East Coast range, crafted from solid oak. “We specialise in designer baby changing bags,” says Derwent. “the kind you see c’leb mums such as Holly Willoughby carrying. They are cleverly designed to contain all you might need when out and about: changing mats, insulated bottle holders and wet items.

We have bags from Baby Moov at £44 up to gorgeous nappa leather Il Tutto bags for £249 and brands such as Storksak, Oi Oi, Pitterpac, Vanchi and more in between. We are very competitive on price too, better than you’ll find on eBay or Amazon generally, especially when you take postage into consideration.” Other items on display at The Baby Studio include Natures Purest toys and clothes, Frugi clothes, the Joules baby range, Hatley’s waterproof coats, Emile et Rose baby clothes, and Ever Earth wooden toys from sustainable managed forests: “Frugi organic baby clothes are very popular,” says Tracey. “It’s a Cornish company and very good quality. The clothing doesn’t fade or bobble, even when washed over and over.” The Baby Studio is ideal for lovely but inexpensive gifts too - a baby romper or pair of little leather shoes are only £7.99 and there’s plenty of options for baby shower gifts or birthday presents for babies and toddlers up to around four years. Be careful if you visit though, many items are so lovely you may end up feeling quite broody, even ready to join that baby boom! l The Baby Studio, 90 High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3EH Tel: 0844 504 1736 Email: Web: Twitter @The_Baby_Studio Open Mon-Sat: 9.30am-4.30pm

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Thame feature



CRIZAL PREVENCIA SELECTIVELY FILTERS BLUE-VIOLET AND UV LIGHT Prevents premature aging of your eyes by selectively filtering out harmful light. Preserves your overall well-being by letting essential visible light pass through. Provides optimal vision and durable transparency by offering the best protection against reflections, scratches, smudges, dust and water. Wendover

23 High Street HP22 6DU T. 01296 625892 16

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


47 High Street OX39 4DJ T. 01844 351564


3-4 Greyhound Walk OX9 3DY T. 01844 212048

What’s cooking

Risotto d’Asparagi Asparagus Risotto (Serves 2)

Ingredients: 50gr butter A small onion, finely chopped 200gr Arborio rice A small glass of white wine 400gr asparagus 1 litre vegetable stock 1 lemon, zest and juice 3 tbs grated parmesan Salt and pepper What to do: Melt half the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.


Thame feature Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

on’t let anyone tell you that risotto is difficult to cook - the reality in fact, is quite different. Risotto is one dish where the results you can achieve at home are often far superior to those achieved in restaurants. (Unless a restaurant warns you that it will take 20 minutes to cook, leave well alone!). The secret is to follow the tried and tested method, without trying to cut corners. It will take you 30 minutes, standing in front of your stove, but with the radio on and a glass of wine by your side, who can complain?

At this time of year, British asparagus is at it’s peak (early May to mid June) and it just so happens that asparagus makes the very finest of risottos. Before you start, wash your asparagus, trim off the woody part of the stem and slice on the diagonal into 5mm slices, leaving the tip whole. Bring your stock to a gentle simmer and you are ready to begin!

Add the chopped onion and let it soften. Stir from time to time, you do not want browned onions. Once softened, add the rice and stir so that the rice is coated in the butter (use a wooden spoon or spatula). Now add the wine and let it reduce to almost nothing. Add a ladleful of hot stock and again let it reduce, stirring all the time until the liquid is absorbed. Now add the asparagus and another ladleful of stock and repeat the process - this is the rhythm of risotto

making. Keep adding the stock a ladle at a time and reducing down, until the rice is ‘al dente’, i.e. firm to the bite but not ‘chalky’. Season with salt and pepper, lemon zest & juice. Add the remainder of the butter and the parmesan and stir through. Leave it to rest for a couple of minutes. Ideally, serve in a wide rimmed soup plate with more parmesan offered separately.

l Tony Hazelton is Director and

Head Chef at What’s Cooking, Thame - an artisan food shop selling freshly made, delicious food straight from their kitchens above the shop. The company is also an event caterer of distinction, catering for

Tony Hazelton all events, both private and business, small or large.

l What’s Cooking, 6 Cornmarket,

Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3DX Tel: 01844 212209 Web:

Win a Simon Drew Lady AGA Apron


or decades, one of the most defining characteristics of an AGA cooker was the fact it was on all the time. Not so now, with the launch of the new electric AGA cookers the AGA Total Control and AGA Dual Control. Both are built for the 21st century, with programmable features, flexible to your lifestyle. You can save on running costs and these new cookers can be sited anywhere in the kitchen, including an island unit. The newly refurbished AGA Shop at Thame has a stunning selection of the latest AGA cookers including the innovative AGA Total Control - ultimate flexibility - ovens and hotplates can be controlled independently and with some models, remotely via a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, and the new AGA Dual Control flexibility but with hotplates which can be switched on and off for that

indefinable AGA warmth. Ovens can be on full, or at a lower economy setting. The AGA Shop also displays fridges and a wide range of cookware and kitchen accessories, including lovely Lady AGA aprons with exclusive designs by Simon Drew. The apron is ideal for the lady of the house, it’s 100% cotton and comes complete with adjustable neck line and tie to front. To be in with the chance of winning one of three Lady AGA aprons, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where is Thame’s AGA Shop? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by June 10th, 2014.

iPhone App now available to download free from The App Store Airport transfers a speciality

l AGA Shop, 10 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3ER Tel: 01844 214214 Web: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014




lthough not strictly a Thame business, Pinefinders is located only a mile or so up the road, in Haddenham, on the Thame Road Industrial estate. Founded by owner Ken Gibbins, below, in 2001, the company specialises in old pine furniture. Ken’s sizeable warehouse is

well worth a browse, being full of beautiful cupboards, dressers, washstands, wardrobes, tables, chairs, chests and more. Nearly all of the pieces are extremely old, often dating from the early 1800s and gathered from all over Europe. It is often German in origin and extremely well made: “The big wardrobes are very

Kenneth Gibbins at his Pinefinders warehouse/ showroom Open: Fridays 10am-4pm, Saturdays 10am-5pm, Sundays 12pm-4pm or by appointment

Thame feature popular, they usually come apart so they can be transported and then reassembled in their new home,” says Ken. “We can deliver such items and assemble them for you if you wish. They are so well made, you just need wedges to put them back together.” Furniture arrives at Pinefinders stripped back to the bare wood, although many of the pieces may have previously been painted or varnished: “I have three different prices for each piece,” says Ken, “depending on whether customers would like to buy it as is and do it up themselves, or whether they would like me to do it up, ease the doors and drawers etc and make sure all is in good order before finishing with a good polish. I also offer a painting service if they would like a painted finish. We take great pride in the quality of our furniture and in the tasteful restoration and finishing of each piece. “We have a high turnover of stock - we also sell to antique and furniture outlets around the country, so there is generally something new to be seen in the warehouse. Every

piece I stock is listed on our new website too and items are added or taken away daily as they sell, or new ones come in.” If you would like to be notified when new stock arrives, go to the Pinefinders’ website and join the ‘New Delivery email list’. In addition to the old furniture Ken also stocks new furniture, made in the same rustic fashion from old reclaimed timber. The range of farmhouse kitchen tables, dining tables and benches are handmade in Daventry from old floorboards and have quite a unique look. Pinefinders has been featured in the ‘Bargain Britain’ section of The Telegraph and on ITV’s ‘60 Minute Makeover’ programme. Apparently BBC One’s ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ series is due to film at the warehouse soon too, so an early visit could be well worthwhile, if only to collect Ken’s autograph! l Pinefinders, Thame Rd Industrial Est, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8BZ Tel: 01844 291231 Mob: 07956 862934 Email: Website:

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creative home interiors

Free measuring and quotation Installation available

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014 for more information Decorative accessories and gifts for home and garden Shop online FREE DELIVERY for online orders—use offer code VLDEL

Thame feature

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Many homes are tight for space and bedrooms can often be a bit small for a bed and a desk, but what about a StudyBed...

It’s a desk

Pull it down

It’s a bed


he StudyBed Company Ltd was set up by Ben Berry in 2007. Ben had stumbled upon an idea that was the perfect solution to modern working and sleeping space dilemmas. “The StudyBed has taken a lot of time and effort to develop,” says Ben., “but we’ve now got a top quality space-saving product.” Ben is not wrong. It’s actually hard to appreciate just how good the StudyBed really is without seeing one in action! With this in mind The StudyBed Company has videos on its website demonstrating how easy it is to use. Even watching the video you can’t quite appreciate the solid build quality and smooth operation that’s incorporated. The StudyBed is extremely sturdy and yet lowers from a desk to a bed, smoothly and easily, despite the solid construction. The picture top right shows the StudyBed in desk form. The drawer unit on the left is an optional freestanding unit that wheels out from under the desk and can then be used as a bedside cabinet. Once this is done the bed can be pulled down out of the wall where it is stored causing the desktop to descend, see main picture above. The desktop lowers smoothly and horizontally, so whatever is on the desk, be it

a computer, a cup of tea or a vase of flowers, stays in place and is lowered to near floor level. The bed is by this time also horizontal and ready for use with desk and work items stowed underneath. It takes seconds and the reverse process can be done instantly and with ease as well. Prices start at £1680 for a 3ft StudyBed. For a demonstration call The StudyBed Company and arrange to pop along to their Thame showroom on Station Road Industrial Estate. StudyBeds are manufactured in the UK using the highest quality real wood veneers: “We use double A-sided lacquered oak veneers,” says Ben. “They are excellent quality with beautiful light oak grain patterns. The beds are usually finished in a smooth matt/satin lacquer but can be given a bespoke finish and painted or stained any colour combination you require.” Ben comes from a sales background and is experienced in running businesses and giving good customer service. In seven years he has built The StudyBed Company from a two man operation to a thriving business selling, delivering and installing StudyBeds across the country. He now has nine full time employees and several part-time installation staff. Ben’s grown-up children also regularly help the family business, assisting at exhibitions, and modelling

for images like the one above. StudyBeds come in a variety of standard imperial sizes from 3ft to king size and are generally 6ft 3in long but can be supplied 6ft or 6ft 6ins. Standard mattresses will fit the beds but StudyBed can also supply their own SmartRest mattresses: “Our SmartRest mattresses are amazing value,” says Ben. “They are extremely comfortable and come open sprung or in memory foam. They are available separately too, usually with free next day, local delivery. A double is only £180 and comes with a five year guarantee.” A range of matching furniture is also available: cupboards, shelves, wardrobes... Like the StudyBeds these are free standing and come in different finishes and sizes. You can have a complete home office set up if required. See for further details. Also on display at the Thame showroom is a clever new concept that makes the humble office desk look very outmoded - get a sneak preview at: l The StudyBed Company Limited, Station Yard, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3UH Tel: 01844 214484 Web: Twitter: @studybeds Email: Web: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Thame feature

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Follow in the footsteps of kings, famous writers and politicians and visit The Spread Eagle Hotel at Thame. Set in the heart of the town it has been at the centre of Thame life for centuries and offers luxurious accommodation, fine food, entertainment, and wedding, conference and function facilities...


he Grade 1 listed Spread Eagle hotel has stood imposingly in the ancient heart of Thame since the 16th century. During its colourful history the hotel has played host to Charles II, French prisoners from the Napoleonic wars, famous politicians and writers such as Evelyn Waugh. The Georgian facade, (a later addition) is highlighted by an unmissable 30ft inn sign, originally designed by Dora Carrington which has welcomed guests for nearly a century. The hotel’s reputation for a warm welcome, attentive but discreet service and excellent food and wine is as deserved now as in the days of John Fothergill, the hotel’s pioneer innkeeper, who

wrote ‘An Innkeeper’s Diary’. Having undergone an extensive and gradual makeover the hotel now sparkles with a contemporary flourish and the refurbished bar and restaurant exhibit a true mix of tradition and style, as befits the hotel’s history. Dining: The hotel’s restaurant is open to non-residents and a full menu of freshly prepared dishes (locally

The Spread Eagle Hotel

sourced where possible) is available for lunch and dinner. The Spread Eagle also serves brunch from 8am until 11.30am and sumptuous afternoon teas, daily. You can choose from light bites such as Basil and Goats Cheese Crostini, or Nachos with Sour Cream; a selection of salads; Starters such as a Classic Prawn Cocktail; Smoked Haddock Fish Cake (served with spinach, poached egg & topped and

Hollandaise sauce); Antipasti; Baked Camembert; or Chicken Satay and mains that range from: Pan Fried Breast of Chicken (served with fondant potato, green beans & wholegrain mustard jus); Whole Trout (with buttered new potatoes and green vegetables) or Slowly Roasted Lamb Shank (with rosemary and garlic mash, roasted root vegetables and lamb jus); vegetarian options such as: Pan Fried Gnocchi, or Vegetable Strogonoff, or a selection from the grill: Steaks and Burgers, or a Mixed Grill (gammon, rump steak, lamb sausage, chicken and black pudding). Prices are very reasonable ranging from £9.25 to just over £20 for main dishes and around £5-£6 for a starter. Desserts such as Lemon Posset

Tribute Nights at The Spread Eagle Hotel The Beatles Friday 19th September Motown Saturday 11th October Includes: 3 Course Meal Amazing Tribute Act and Disco until 1am Tickets only £24.50 per person (Loyalty Card Holders £22)

Abba Friday 28th November Michael Jackson Saturday 29th November Includes: 3 Course Meal + Christmas Novelties Amazing Tribute Act and Disco until 1am Tickets only £32.50 per person For bookings or further information, please call: 01844 213661


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Weddings at The Spread Eagle Hotel


with shortbread biscuit, Apple Crumble and Sticky Toffee Pudding are very tempting at around the £5 mark. You can view a full menu on The Spread Eagles’s website at: Set price roast lunches are available on Sundays from 12noon3pm (£9.50-£16.50) while the Wednesday Night Supper Club offers the option of a Steak Dinner for two with a bottle of house wine for only £24.95 and if bubbly is your thing, pop in on a Friday when there’s 50% off Champagne! Accommodation: Forever adapting to changing needs and demands The Spread Eagle boasts contemporary styling and sleek design set within traditional surroundings, presenting guests with a unique, relaxing and comfortable experience and ensuring the Spread Eagle’s reputation for innovative hospitality is maintained and carried forward for generations to come. From romantic four posters with creaky floor boards and quirky corridors, to an open-plan suite complete with freestanding bath, there is an inviting variety of bedrooms to choose from. Contact reservations for the best available rates - bedrooms from £75, Tel: 01844 213661. l The Spread Eagle Hotel, Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BW Tel: 01844 213 661 Email: reservations@ Web:

he Spread Eagle’s spacious and stylish Fothergill’s Hall seats up to 220 guests and can accommodate up to 300 for an evening party. With its own private bar facilities and ample parking it is the perfect venue for an unforgettable day, whether you are planning a Civil Ceremony, Wedding Breakfast or evening party. The Spread Eagle offers bespoke packages, so every element of your day can be individually tailored, and a choice of 35 comfortable bedrooms from singles, to family rooms and suites. It is an historic, intimate and enchanting setting for your special day. Wedding Packages start from just £45 per person and include all of the major elements of your day The Spread Eagle holds a Wedding Open Evening on the

Fothergill’s Hall first Tuesday of every month, when couples can view a Civil Ceremony and Wedding Breakfast set up, and enjoy a glass of bubbly. For a limited time only, the hotel is offering a free £250 Bar Tab for the day of your Wedding

if you confirm your Wedding booking within one week of seeing the venue! Contact the events team on: 01844 213661 or email: events@ for a brochure or further information.

Meetings, conferences and events at The Spread Eagle Hotel Augustus John Room


ocated in the centre of Thame, The Spread Eagle Hotel enjoys excellent motorway and rail links and is within easy reach of both London and Oxford and Heathrow International Airport. For centuries The Spread Eagle has been welcoming guests for business and leisure purposes and offers a flexible approach to

Fothergill’s Hall

conferences, meetings, functions and events. Fothergill’s Hall, with direct access to the ample on-site car park, is spacious and selfcontained with all the modern facilities you would expect including: complimentary Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, private bar/ breakout area and natural daylight. The Suite has adjustable

partitioning and is perfect as a meeting room, conference venue or function room, accommodating from 2 to 200 guests. In addition there are two lovely smaller private rooms, the Augustus John Room which accommodates up to 16 guests for a meeting or dinner, and The Cockpit which seats eight guests.

For bookings or further information, please call: 01844 213661, or email: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Rumsey’s Chocolaterie


umsey’s Thame Chocolaterie couldn’t be sweeter! It is situated in a beautiful Georgian building on the Upper High Street, from which the delicious smell of hot chocolate and freshly ground coffee waft Parisian style! Once inside a mouthwatering range of wonderful cakes, pastries, savouries, hand-made chocolates and ice cream, await - to eat in or takeaway. Master chocolatier Nigel Rumsey has been creating his exquisite range of award winning hand-made chocolates since 1991. He started the business with wife Mary from their home in Aylesbury and now have two chocolateries: the first opened in Wendover and had its 10th anniversary on Valentine’s Day earlier this year; while Thame opened its doors seven years ago this July. “We refurbished both shops ourselves and based the décor on the film Chocolat,” says Mary.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Thame feature

Job Vacancies Sandwich Chef / Kitchen Assistant Full-time, Thame Manager required

Wendover details on application Contact Mary Rumsey 01296 625060 The Thame shop has been used to film episodes of Midsomer Murders and more recently Lewis. These television programs have such a following that visitors often come to the shop while on a tour of the filming locations.” Karen Lumpkin, manager of the Thame shop, has been in charge since it opened and has a fantastic team working with her, including Oliver Clark the Chocolate Chef, who not only makes the delicious chocolate moulds (bunnies and eggs

recently) but is a fantastic teacher and regularly shows excited course participants how to make their own moulds and truffles (see www. for course details). Popping in for a hot chocolate, bite of lunch, or some delicious coffee and cake is always an experience at Rumsey’s, but imagine what it must be like to work there! The company is actually looking to take on more staff at the moment, both at Thame and in Wendover.

So if you love chocolate, enjoy a busy café atmosphere and would like to join the Rumsey’s team, go to: and click on ‘About Us’: ‘Work with Us’ for more details. l Rumsey’s of Thame, 8 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER Tel: 01844 260303 l Rumsey’s of Wendover, The Old Bank, 26 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EA Tel: 01296 625 060 Website:

Thame feature

Abbotts Office Solutions

O “

ur main goal is to help people save money,” says Tim Crabtree owner of Abbotts Office Solutions. Abbotts, founded in 1918 by Arthur Abbott, is much more than a stationery firm, although it is one of the primary suppliers of office equipment and supplies in Thames Valley and has customers nationwide, some, such as Wycombe Abbey School, which have been clients since the 1940s! Tim bought the business from the Abbott family in 1990 having worked for them since 1984 as general manager when they were based in High Wycombe. Tim is originally from Beaconsfield but now lives in Thame and relocated Abbotts to the town in 2007: “Thame, is a fantastic market town with a great range of independent shops,” he says. “It’s a lovely place to live and work.” Abbotts helps customers to drive down the costs of what they buy

and more importantly how they buy: “We supply desking, storage, seating, stationery, catering and janitorial items and office machines,” says Tim. “Anything that you need for your business other than computers and telephone systems - from a tin of coffee to a shredder, desk, or complete office interior - most items have free next day delivery too, if ordered before 5.15pm. “Firms can take the Abbotts Stationery Spend Savings Audit challenge! It’s a free, no obligation, service to check you are buying the right items at the right price, in the right way. “We generally find there is an instant 20% saving to be made,” says Tim. “Our buying power and experience allows us to pass on savings to our customers and offer really excellent value. “We also operate ‘Managed Print Services’ - we look after a company’s printers and copiers to reduce costs. We remotely monitor their system to pick up any issues,

T is a useful and informative news-based website for Thame. It is owned and edited by independent journalist, Sonja Francis, who was formerly the news reporter for Thame’s local newspaper. Sonja has lived in Thame since 1992 and founded in 2003. As well as reporting news and great place to live, to visit information relevant to Thame, she and to do business in. She publishes is dedicated to promotingThame as a the latest local news as quickly

Sonja Francis and Mabel the cow at entrance to Jordans Courtyard

repair any problems and supply any consumables as required, so everything runs more smoothly.” Tim has just saved one client £25,000 over the last year, so it can be well worthwhile! Abbotts online order management system allows companies to login and do their own ordering - either as a whole or by the department making their purchasing easier to monitor, control and budget for. Abbotts has a Secure Shredding operation too and offers an Electronic Document Archiving service. They take your documents, scan them and index them and return them as searchable pdfs on a memory stick or CD. It’s a much more convenient way to store data and a cost effective way of creating more space, as doing away with five filing cabinets frees up room for another member of staff. For more details see Abbotts online store: www.abbotts-office. com or give them a call.

as possible and reports on local events and council meetings and offers a platform on which local businesses, organisations and events can promote and connect with the community. “It’s a web portal for Thame,” says Sonja. “Where to stay, where to eat, daily news, bus timetables, history of Thame, community groups and events, there’s a young people’s page... just google ‘Thame’ and we’ll come up! We’ve been going 11 years so the site is very well established. We have 14,000 unique visitors a month, so a lot of people are already using the service. “I found working for the local newspaper frustrating as not only is it weekly and not that up to date, but so often news items and stories would be left out through lack of space. can report the news almost instantly and there’s always space for locally relevant stories. “A local photographer, Ian Fairweather started a website and was looking to sell it. I mentioned it to the newspaper as they didn’t have a website at the time but they weren’t interested. I felt the internet was the way forward - to

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Tim Crabtree

l Abbotts Office Solutions, Station Yard, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3UH Tel: 01844 268 360 Fax: 01844 268 370 Email: Website:

give people immediate news, so I invested in a laptop, took on a small office and started! “I later bought from Ian and have now amalgamated the two sites. The front page is all news, it’s dynamic, always changing and behind is lots of useful local information. “If you want to know anything about Thame or to tell Thame about you, we are the place to go. We have match reports from sports clubs, travel and entertainment news, a business and services directory, we are here for anything Thame. “We offer a subscription service too, so you don’t have to look at the website each day, we’ll email the latest news and information to you. “If you want to get in touch, you are welcome to pop in to our office, (between Rumseys and The Swan Hotel), call me or email. Send me your club reports and news, I’m always interested to hear about anything local!” l, Jordans Courtyard, 8 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER Tel: 07792 487030 Email: Website: Twitter @ThameNews Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Thame feature

Farol’s Super Saturday


arol Ltd are one of the area’s leading suppliers of John Deere and Stihl garden machinery. The firm, based near Thame, is holding their annual ‘Super Saturday’ on May 17th from 10am to 3pm. It’s a chance not only to see their exciting range of gardening and horticultural equipment but to give some of it a try too, see demonstrations and talk to experts about your needs. On offer will be a large selection of the John Deere walk behind and ride on lawn mowers to suit all sizes of gardens with expert advice from Farol staff. From a simple RUN series walk behind mower to the SELECT range, there will be a walk behind mower to match your mowing needs - even if you like stripes! Ride on machines come in various specifications including mulching, side discharge and collecting, along with a range of deck sizes and luxury options including cruise control, drinks

holders and high backseats with lumbar support. A grass demonstration area will be on offer so you can ‘try before you buy’ and find the right mower to suit you and be impressed by the quality of finish from a John Deere machine. In addition the complete range of Stihl chainsaws, brushcutters, hedgecutters, leaf blowers, pressure

Unbeatable offers on all Stihl machines in stock will have you walking away with a bargain and a new ‘toy’ for your garden. Farol don’t just sell machines, they service them too and the service department will be on hand to offer fixed price servicing on all makes of mowers and garden equipment. If you need a part, Farol have an extensive stock of consumable parts and accessories to meet your requirements. On offer in the showroom will be Makita power tools, Teng hand tools, Karcher pressure washers, Le Chameau boots, Hoggs clothing and John Deere toys, clothes and ride on tractors. What more could a man want!

Pictures from last event washers and kombi systems will be available on display and to try.

l Farol Ltd, Rycote Lane Farm, Milton Common, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2NZ Tel: 01844 278843 Web: Facebook: Twitter: @FarolLtd



SUPER SATURDAY advice • Working demonstrations • Expert


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Rycote Lane Farm Milton Common Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 2NZ

NEW LARGER display of machinery for 2014

Saturday 17th May 10.00am - 3.00p m

Tel: 01844 278843

kitchensbathrooms Thame feature

+ living

Italian style is now on show in Thame, with Scavolini kitchens being displayed at the Stoneworld Gallery in a range of contemporary and traditional styles. Scavolini is one of the world’s most significant manufacturers of custom kitchens and bathrooms with over 1000 showrooms across 60 countries. Like Stoneworld, Scavolini is a family run firm. Founded in a little workshop at Pesaro in 1961, Scavolini is now

over 50 years old and creating high quality kitchens for households of all cultures and tastes, aiming to satisfy their customers’ varied demands in terms of styling, functionality, safety and durability. Stoneworld is now supplying and fitting Scavolini kitchens across the local area and has a selection of Scavolini designs on display at their Gallery in Thame, in a choice of colours and finishes. Scavolini kitchens are built in Italy and

arrive fully assembled. The expertise of Stoneworld means that a wide variety of stone worktops can be ordered to complement the kitchen. If you would like to see what a Scavolini kitchen could look like in your home, Stoneworld provides a complete design service, using the latest computer aided design technology, to generate a 3D image of your chosen units. Come and see some of Scavolini’s stylish range at our Gallery now!

l Renowned Italian kitchen brand, Scavolini, now on display and available from The Gallery, Stoneworld, Thame. l Family run firm Scavolini is one of the world’s most significant manufacturers of custom made kitchens and bathrooms. l Stoneworld is supplying and fitting Scavolini kitchens across the local area. l Computer technology can generate a 3D image of a Scavolini kitchen in your home on request. l Scavolini units are built in Italy and arrive fully assembled.

Scavolini Kitchens at The Gallery, Stoneworld in Thame The Gallery Stoneworld, 43A Upper High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 2DW. Tel: 01844 279307 Email:

E st a

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Thame feature

Win a Gym & Swim membership for Thame Leisure Centre


e all know that a healthy lifestyle needs to include some physical activities each week and that inactivity is linked to problems of ill-health and obesity. Luckily for Thame residents, Thame Leisure Centre (TLC) is a cracking state-of-the-art Sports Centre which boasts a 25m swimming pool with sessions for fitness and fun, fully equipped gym, a large dance studio offering a wide range of group exercise classes, a new cycling studio, a crèche for children up to 5 years of age, junior sports and leisure activities and lots of fun options for your next birthday party! The fully equipped, air-conditioned gym offers a range of fitness equipment for everyone. Members can choose from cardiovascular machines such as treadmills and rowers, resistance equipment including free weights and dedicated stretching areas and fitness aids such as Swiss balls. Once you’ve completed your

induction, a fitness instructor will be happy to put together a fitness programme tailored to your needs and give ongoing advice as to how to vary your routine and keep focussed. Swimming is great at any age. Whether you want to improve your technique, get fit, meet new friends, compete or have fun, you’re sure to find a pool session that you’ll enjoy. A variety of ‘SwimFit’ swimming sessions are timetabled, usually with lanes marked out, plus ‘Swim for all’ sessions which are for everyone to enjoy and offer a chance to have fun in the pool, without any lanes. The Group Exercise Studio is large and bright with mirrored walls and over 50 classes a week are available, ranging from Aerobiking to Yoga. Classes are fun and sociable with lots of aerobic options to get your heart and lungs working more efficiently and help make everyday tasks that little bit easier; activities to tone and condition your body; and ones to calm, stretch and relax. There’s also a handy crèche for under fives where you can leave your child for up to two hours, knowing they will be well-cared for while you

Watch the Arsenal Legends Charity team at

TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW Adults £6.50 (£7.50) Concessions £2.50 (£3.50) Family ( 2 Adults/2 Conc) £17.50 (£20.00) Prices in brackets are for pay on the day at turnstiles


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

exercise. For older children, check out the website for details of junior memberships, holiday activities and holiday play schemes: uk/thame If you’d like the chance to win a FREE Gym and Swim Membership for Thame Leisure Centre, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: How long is TLC’s main swimming pool? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by

email by June 10th, 2014. l Thame Leisure Centre, Oxford Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BB Tel: 01844 215607 Web:




Thame feature

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 River Island Cream Abstract Print Top £28 Brenu Check Trouser £35

Accessorise London Sights Weekender Bag £39 M&S Collection Stud T-Bar Sandal (available in green, yellow or pink) £17.50


ow is the time to think ahead and make the most of upcoming summer weekends - so if you have a short break planned, what are you going to pack? For a few short days away, there really is no need for excess baggage you will be able to take the essentials and more in a carry-on bag and still have a selection of outfits you can mix and match to suit the weather and the occasion. A recent survey found that on average, women wear less than half of the clothes they pack to take on holiday, so instead of wasting time on endless items that don’t get worn, get to grips with these simple techniques to get everything you need for a great weekend away without straining a zip on your case.

House of Fraser Biba Jewel sleeveless top £69 & Printed slouch trousers £69

no space at all. An evening handbag or on-trend clutch can double up as storage for smaller jewellery and scarves in your travel bag. Last of all, to be savvy with your packing, check out the amenities at your chosen location - really no need to pack a hairdryer if there is one provided.

Getting Practical Before you pack a thing, take a good M&S per una Dress £89, Necklace £19.50, Belt £12.50, hard think about Bag £19.50, Shoe, £29.50 your plans - will you be walking, sightseeing or Pack a Punch taking in some great Roll up all the nightclubs - or maybe all three. items you can as this will reduce Select the outfits you will need and creasing. Anything tailored should lay them out. Then consider what be turned inside out - tuck in the you are going to wear for each part sleeves to keep shape and minimise of your break (do you really need crumpling. that extra top that doesn’t really go Pack shoes at the bottom of your with anything?). case and utilise the corners of your It will certainly help to base your bag. Save space and pop all the small outfits on a neutral colour such as items, like undies and socks into navy, black or taupe and then add pockets or inside shoes. complimentary accessories such as scarves, necklaces, belts and shoes The List in colour. So here is the lowdown, your And talking of shoes - how may essential packing list for the perfect pairs will you REALLY need? Wear getaway: the most practical of your selection 1 Mac/coat to travel in, then choose a more 1 Jacket/cardigan glam pair for your case for evenings 1 pair of trousers/skirt out. A slim pair of ballet pumps 1 pair of jeans are a lifesaver and take up virtually 1 dress

Jessica Kitten Sunglasses £14 Elephant Block Print Chiffon Stole £17

2 tops 2 scarves 1 pair of loafers/brogues/ sneakers 1 pair of heels Lingerie & nightwear Accessories Toiletries & cosmetics

Using these tips, you will save time packing and choosing your outfits whilst you are away as you will already know what you have, and take no time at all deciding what to wear - so that means more time enjoying your precious time off. So now you know how to pack – what are you waiting for? l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant. From her home studio in Thame, she can help you discover the confidence to change or develop your personal or professional style and image whether it’s a new career, a new stage in your life, finding the right outfit for a special occasion or to completely reinvent your look and make the most of you. For more details about the products and services available, visit: or email: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Jade’s arrangement in an old ammunition tin

We all love fresh flowers - a stunning floral arrangement is a fab, inexpensive way to brighten up a home or workplace. New florist’s The Lily Pot don’t just supply flowers though, they like customers to try a little arranging too and are happy to share their knowledge and enthusiasm...


he award-winning Watermead development, on the outskirts of Aylesbury, was designed as an ‘executive village’. Most of us have driven past the estate on our way up or down the Buckingham road but may not realise Watermead has a pleasant centre with a bar/ restaurant and small lakeside shopping parade. There’s a vet, a dentist, a hair salon and now a new florist - The Lily Pot. “We aim to offer a more personal touch,” says owner Sam Walker. “We have an experienced and creative team and offer floristry for all occasions, but we also do children’s parties and seasonal workshops.” Sam is from Aylesbury and lives in Stoke Mandeville where she has been helping run her husband’s sewage treatment company for many years, so knows a bit about being in charge of an independent business. The couple have five children, the youngest being two, so working at the flower shop is probably a welcome break! Sam has always loved flowers and gardening and took a three year course in floristry and flower arranging at the Winslow Centre for Adult Learning. She has since gained experience working for local florists and set up her first flower shop last November at Stoke Mandeville Goat Farm. Unfortunately they were completely flooded out almost straight away and had to find alternative premises, which is when Watermead came up. “Its a nice sized unit,” says Sam. “We’ve space for a training/teaching area at the back as well as plenty of shop space and the covered cloister area at the front is handy for outdoor displays. There’s plenty of free parking here and a lot of people live this side of Aylesbury, what with the new


2 28

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Sam Walker

Workshops (£35) Spring:

17th May - Hand tied in a bag 14th June - Cube/tank vase, lemons, limes & sweets with an arrangement on top


12th July - Small bride posy & buttonhole 9th August - Simple hand tied in a jug 20th September - Modern / limited front facing arrangement

developments and the villages out around Whitchurch. The nearest florists are in centre of Aylesbury, so it’s easier for people to pop in and see us here. “I’m lucky to have a great team of girls in Jade, Jo and Mandy, who are excellent florists and lovely to work with too. We can create and supply bouquets and arrangements for any event or occasion and we pride ourselves on listening to our customers needs and creating bespoke arrangements rather than supplying a standard range, although we are happy to help with The Lily Pot suggestions or come up with something creative if required - arrangements can be made using any flower and colour and to suit any budget. You can even bring in your own container and we’ll do an arrangement in it if you like. “We aim to give good value for money, but we make sure our flowers are excellent quality and will last for a reasonable time. “We like to meet people and engage with the local community and will be running seasonal courses at which you could learn to hand tie Spring flowers in a bag, or make a wreath for Christmas. We also do children’s parties for all ages

combining nature with arts and crafts skills in a fun atmosphere. They get to take home a flower creation and decorate their own pot or bag too. “If you’d like to bring your Aunty or Nan in because she’d like to have a go at doing an arrangement, give us a call and we’ll set something up - we’re very approachable! We just love flowers and want to share our enthusiasm. “We also do funeral flowers and floral tributes and offer customers the opportunity to be involved and help make their tribute if they would like to.” Sam’s favourite flowers are Lilies and Peonies. The shop’s name, The Lily Pot, was thought up by a friend and combines this with the fact they do pot parties for kids! The Lily Pot has only been open a couple of months but already business is blooming! “We’ve had some really nice feedback,” says Sam, “customers say they really like our arrangements. We already have a few regular clients and a couple of weddings have booked up. We are doing flowers for several local businesses and we’ve a local guide troop coming for a party everything is rosy!” Contact The Lily Pot as below: l The Lilypot, 31 Lakeside, Watermead, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 0FX Tel: 01296 708095 / 07538 296430. Email: Website: Open 9am-5pm, Monday-Saturday .


PANDORA Aylesbury Friars Square Shopping Centre, Aylesbury, HP20 2SP 01296 428658 Be inspired at Vale Life : May/Jun 2014



Column: Sally Turner‘Fascinating finds’

Put your cards on the table


Sally Turner

Fascinating finds

Have a full leg wax or full leg and bikini wax and get the Elemis Skin Nourishing Body Scrub for only £22 or the Tranquil Touch Body Polish for only £18.

Buy Australian Gold Gelee with Bronzer for only £20 and get a FREE 650ml moisturizer! Have an Eyelash ti brow tint nt, &b wax for onl row y £26* *all treatm ents m be taken at ust the same time

AmazingL a s h e s

home of lash couture

Book a full set of lashes and get the first infills for HALF PRICE*

*infills must be booked in two weeks after full set has been done Body and Soul, 59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury HP21 7HS Tel: 01296 434216


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014



If you’re looking for the personal touch we are an independent, 4th generation, family run jewellers.


at Body & Soul

l Sally Turner Antiques, Hogarth House, High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 624402 Open 10am-5pm Mon-Sat (closed Wed and Sun)

Specialists in Fine Jewellery, Certified Diamonds, or just something a little bit different . . . Quality repairs and jewellery re-modelling too. A warm welcome always awaits you at

Fine Jewellers Cambridge Street ▪ Aylesbury ▪ Bucks ▪ HP20 1RS ▪ 01296 482963

a n D Re W Le g ge T T


signified a farewell A folded top right corner meant congratulations A folded bottom right corner expressed condolence. If there was a black band around the edge, it signified the carrier was in mourning over the loss of a loved one. Card cases vary greatly in price. People collect them today, as they are often affordable and take up little space. The card cases shown here which are displayed in the shop are priced from £50 - £750.

l Sally Turner is an antiques expert with many years of experience. She buys and sells antiques and jewellery at her shop in Wendover. She is an expert in diamonds and precious stones and offers services including: cleaning and repairs of furniture, jewellery, antiques, clocks, oil paintings, enamel and porcelain, remodelling of jewellery and much more...


(salver), which was set on a hall table, or leave the card with a servant so that the homeowner would know they had called. In the nineteenth century the design, style, and even colour border of a card actually carried a message to the receiver. The meaning of the folds were as follows: A folded top left corner meant the visitor had come in person; this corner unfolded meant a servant was sent. A folded bottom left corner


he visiting or calling card was an essential accessory to any Regency or Victorian lady or gentleman. Visiting cards, supplied by the local printer or skilled penman, served not just as a letter of introduction or aide memoire, but also as an indicator of social class and good manners. The card cases in which they were carried were considered to be status-enhancing accessories. They were fashioned in silver, sometimes gold, more often in either tortoiseshell, ivory or mother of pearl. Many were made to celebrate an event or place visited. The best known silversmith of such silver card cases is Nathaniel Mills of Birmingham. His silver card cases are highly prized. From the early 1800s the fashion for both men and women to carry cards in beautiful cases spread quickly from France throughout Europe. Calling cards were left at each person’s home the individual went to visit, whether they were home or not. The person visiting would typically either leave their card on a silver ‘card receiver’




Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


ome into the garden, says Jane, “It’s lovely out back!” She’s right too - her garden room has some beautiful new home and gardenware including a touch of ‘Broste’, one of Scandinavia’s leading interior brands - a new name at the White Hart Studio but a rather stylish firm with a very cool line in bamboo deckchairs, rustic lanterns, candles and tableware. Then there’s Stone The Crows antiquity style jugs and bowls, vases and urns and the fabulous Sting In The Tail range of vintage style gardeners’ soaps, hand scrub, dibbers, plant labels, grow your own kits for kiddies and fun ‘cress head’ packs. This is hardly scratching the surface though, so quick, before the weather gets too nice, pop in to The White Hart Studio and get ready for a super stylish summer! l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm & Sun 11am-4pm Website:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Get Glamourous at

Special Offers LVL lashes

from £25.00 High Impact Brows

from £19.00

Love the skin you’re in The Gatehouse Clinic, 82 Billing Road, Northampton NN1 5DF Tel: 01604 875040 The Paddocks Clinic, Aylesbury Road, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 0JS Tel: 01844 211777

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Scooping the Salon of the Year title at this year’s Span Awards is impressive enough but Risborough’s TwentyFour Hair collected several staff awards too, showing quality runs right through this popular salon...


wentyFour Hair opened their stylish new salon on Princes Risborough High Street 18 months ago. The business, owned and run by Clare Hobson, right, was launched in 2005, in a tiny salon at the opposite end of town on Bell Lane, but had become extremely popular, outgrowing the original premises. At TwentyFour Hair, Clare has built a team of highly trained salon professionals and guarantees a luxurious hairdressing experience and a fantastic range of the best quality products. It’s a smart, contemporary salon with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and some nice details - Maltesers with your coffee - great idea! “We want TwentyFour Hair to exceed our clients’ expectations every time they visit,” says Clare. “We cater for all ages - one family has five generations coming to the salon! and our aim is to give everyone the very best quality and consistency of service, so they come back and see us again and again.” Clare is originally from Wendover and attended the John Collet school. She trained at Aylesbury College and worked for several local salons in Wendover and Princes Risborough before setting up her own business: “I’m dyslexic and at school I wasn’t particularly academic,” she says. “The hair and beauty industry attracted me as I like making people happy and to feel good about themselves. I like being creative and was always doing my sister’s hair and my dolls’ hair - I seemed to be quite good at it too, my dolls looked great!

Clare Hobson “Opening my own salon was scary at first,” says Clare. “I’d management experience though, so I knew what was involved and I knew the kind of salon I wanted to run. I’m very keen on education and training and wanted to ensure the staff were Bryony with highly professional, motivated Span award and constantly learning. “I enjoy seeing our trainees getting their qualifications and developing into skilled, professional stylists. We maintain contact with local schools too and have experience days for pupils and I give occasional careers talks. “We have lots of different levels of training going on here at any one time. Learners may be taking their NVQ qualifications while stylists are taking Advanced Hairdressing and someone may be training to be a trainer! “We started at the old salon with three on the hair side, while a friend did beauty treatments upstairs, but by the time we moved we had three times the staff and we were bursting at the seams! We have 13 members of staff here now but there’s still plenty of space. The move has been a really good thing but the success of the salon is down to the great team I have here and their hard work

and to all the customers who have supported us over the last few years.” Clare can feel particularly proud at the moment as not only is business booming but her team has just done very well at this year’s Span Training Company Awards. TwentyFour Hair won ‘Salon of the Year’, Clare won ‘Assessor of the Year’, learner Olivia was runner up in ‘Learner of the Year’ and trainee Bryony, below, was third in the ‘Hair Up’ category - an amazing achievement! “We’re looking to recruit trainees at the moment,” says Clare. “A hairdresser needs to have good communication skills, to be able to work well in a team, to be creative and have a passion for hair and beauty and to have a sense of humour and be up for having fun and enjoying their work. We’re here for a purpose but it’s much more enjoyable if you can have some fun as well. At TwentyFour Hair we all get on really well, the team is like one big family really.” Salon services include: cutting, colouring (Weller and Paul Mitchell), hair up, Great Lengths hair extensions, BTX Hair Conditioning - a caviar oil and collagen treatment which plumps up your hair, Moroccan Oil and massage chairs. Contact the salon if you would like to book in for a free consultation or take advantage of our great half price offer. l TwentyFour Hair, 10 Duke Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AT Tel: 01844 342444 Email: Web: Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, late night opening to 10pm on Wed and Thur, Sat: 9am-4pm

Vale Life Reader Offer: 50% off your first cut and blow dry at TwentyFour Hair

Call: 01844 342444 and quote: ‘Vale Life Offer’ to book your appointment Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

33 3


eauty & Tanning Studio

Beauty & Tanning for all occasions

Men’s barbers, 245 Main Road, Walter’s Ash, Bucks, HP14 4HT Men’s hair: £10.50 Wash & Cut: £14 Boy’s hair: £8.50 Crew cut: £6.50 Senior Citizen: £6.50 Under 5s: £6.50 Saturdays: all cuts £12

Address: 16 Ringlet Way, Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 9BS Telephone: 07786 026334 Email:

10% OFF your first treatment of your choice Further offers available when introducing a friend or family member, buying treatments in blocks, or incentives when you become a regular client.

Open Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 9.30am to 5pm Sat: 7.30am to 4pm, Thur & Sun: closed

Tel: 07742 361711


Thai Orchid Massage and Spa

      Expert fitting into awkward spaces   sssincluding under sloping ceilings   Call for a brochure or to arrange a

sssfree no obligation survey 01525 854142


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Traditional Thai Massage, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy Body Massage, foot massage, herbal hot compress, back, head & neck massage One hour Aromatherapy Full Body Massage £35 One hour Traditional Thai Massage £40

Reflexions Health & Leisure Centre

Tel: 01296 330311 Mobile: 07587 172659 Buckingham Road, Watermead, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 0FY

Amanda Trott

l Column

For many, the idea of going under the knife in the name of beauty, is one step too far. But in our quest for anti-ageing what can we do to turn back the clock?


any beauty treatments, creams and serums can certainly go some way to improve the look and feel of the skin, but if you’re searching for real results there are now a range of procedures which stop well short of surgery but are a step up from the average beauty treatment. For instance to improve the look and texture of skin that has previously been scarred by acne or other means, medical skin needling in the form of EDS Dermastamp may be right for you. Finding a fully trained aesthetic nurse to carry out this treatment though is paramount. Nikki Russell is Aesthetics and Skincare Nurse at Whitethorn Fields MediClinic in Stoke Mandeville. She offers non surgical cosmetic treatments and professional skincare advice and has 22 years experience in a wide range of medical and surgical treatments. She has been practising aesthetic medicine since 2010. She explained how EDS (Electronic Derma Stamp) works. “Derma Stamp acts as an alternative treatment to a skin peel,” said Nikki, “and can reduce or eliminate fine lines, correct uneven skin pigmentation - often caused by sun damage - and soften the appearance of scars, as well as skin blemishes and brown spots. For most patients a course of three treatments six weeks apart is recommended, although some people with extensive scarring may require more.” As an anti-ageing treatment Nikki generally only recommends it to patients in the 30 to 55 age bracket. A thorough consultation prior to treatment is extremely important, as EDS is not a relaxing ‘beauty treatment’ and some discomfort may be felt for several days after the procedure. Keen to try this skin rejuvenating treatment, I put myself in Nikki’s experienced hands.

Scar removal: before

Scar removal: after

Nikki administers the EDS treatment Before Nikki talked me through the procedure she applied a numbing cream to my entire face, to minimise discomfort caused by the advanced micro-medical skinneedling or dermastamp process. Once the cream had taken effect she started the treatment by gliding a small ‘pen-shaped’ device over my skin. It is in fact a cartridge of minute needles designed to create a micro injury deep in the skin. This procedure speeds up the process of cell renewal and in turn stimulates collagen production which regenerates the skin at a faster than usual rate. As the new cells are made deep in the dermis they eventually rise to the surface and create smoother, plumper skin. The skin will generally look red

and maybe even a little swollen for at least 24 hours and no immediate results will be seen. After about a month you should begin to recognise an improvement, although Nikki explained to me that her patients usually start to see a really noticeable difference after their second treatment. She went on to explain that I might get a little flakiness and that in two to three weeks I could possibly experience a minor reaction due to a spike in collagen production and cell activity which could cause a little reddening and bumpiness for a few days. She gave me some serum to use for the next 48 hours and armed me with a Heliocare factor 30 sunscreen which she recommended I use for at least the following six weeks, but

suggested I bring into my general beauty routine - skincare specialists like Nikki are now recommending we use a moisturising sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 on a daily basis. After treatment my skin looked very red and felt quite uncomfortable, almost grazed and wind burnt and in need of intense moisturising, although within 48 hours the redness and tightness started to dissipate and flakiness was minimal. I had decided not to use any make up during this time, although Nikki said the use of a mineral make up, after 24 hours, would be fine, should I wish to use anything. Despite having had only one treatment, a month later, with no further reaction, my skin definitely felt plumper and more velvety and worth the discomfort of the initial treatment. EDS is not for the feint-hearted - the procedure itself is a little uncomfortable and recovery time isn’t pleasant - but the results can be astounding, especially for fading some types of scarring, if you are prepared to have the recommended number of treatments. As they say ‘no pain, no gain!’ l Whitethorn Fields MediClinic, Old Risborough Road, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, HP22 5XJ Tel: 01296 614441 Email: enquiries@ Web: www.whitethorn l Amanda is a talented and experienced, Vidal Sassoon trained hair stylist. During her varied and creative career she has managed Charles Worthington’s Covent Garden salon and her own salon in Princes Risborough. If you would like your hair cut, styled or coloured by Amanda she is available in Thame from Mondays through to Thursdays at Eclipse Hair Design. Call 01844 260062 to book or arrange a free consultation. Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Independent Living Consultants is a family run business committed to making life easier for anyone of any age who may be experiencing difficulties with mobility or personal care. Their showroom is an Aladdin’s cave of helpful gadgets, scooters, beds, chairlifts and some rather comfy reclining chairs...


omfort is an important part of furnishing our homes, even more so when you have a

disability. Mr and Mrs Edwards from Widmer End were recently advised by their doctor that due to Mr Edwards’ deteriorating eye sight and balance problems, it would help to have a tilt and recline chair to assist him when sitting down and getting to his feet again. Luckily Independent Living Consultants are based not far away at Woodway, near Princes Risborough and were able to demonstrate a whole range of options.

The couple visited the showroom, or Mobility Centre as it is called, where Mr Edwards was able to try an extensive range of ‘Riser-Recline’ chairs: “They were very helpful - we were even offered a cup of tea or coffee,” said Mrs Edwards. “There are not many places that offer such a good customer experience these days!” The couple discovered that they could have a chair made especially for them, which would provide additional comfort and safety and be covered to match their existing lounge decor back home. Mr Edwards was carefully measured to get his exact leg and back position and the couple were

given a wide choice of fabrics. The chair would also be fitted with clear, easy to use controls on a remote handset to help with Mr Edwards’ eyesight problems. Within a few weeks the ‘Dunster Bespoke Complete Recliner Chair’ arrived in a beautiful soft, tealcoloured chenille fabric, called Panaz. A perfect match for their lounge colour scheme. The ‘Dunster’ came with a removable headrest and side storage pocket. It has two motors and completely reclines. It also slowly tilts to bring Mr Edwards to

Mr Edwards relaxes in his Dunster recliner

an upright standing position. “ We are absolutely thrilled with this chair,” he says. “It is comfortable and looks good and means that I do not now have to rely on my lovely wife to help me all the time - she already does so much for me. “The advice and service from the Independent living lady was exceptional!” l Independent Living Consultants, Woodway, Loosley Row, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0NN Tel: 01844 273050 E: W: www.independentliving

Mr & Mrs Edwards The chair also tilts forward to aid standing (see picture far left) 36

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


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

Dead shrew’s day in court


’ve lost my diary. Not my sad, pathetic little Bridget Jonesesque journal but my diary diary; the paper equivalent of my brain. I have always had a brain like a sieve: the good bits that I really should be holding onto trickle straight through the holes, and all the crud and mush I don’t really want to keep are what usually remains. If it’s not something I’m interested in, then that gets strained down to leave me flummoxed in meetings blabbering something like “Oh… the bananas…he left a message with me about the snorkel… there’s something happening at Easter”, or words that are similarly useless, senseless waffle. This is why I write everything down. Losing my diary essentially means I have lost my mind. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to be doing, and with whom I am supposed to be doing it. I know that I lost it while I was doing jury service recently. I took it out of my bag to make

room for my paperback as I was anticipating a lot of sitting around. My diary wasn’t the only thing I mislaid that week. My natural born killer of a cat caught a shrew and deposited it on the rug in the hallway. I hadn’t seen a shrew in years and (don’t ask me why) I decided to take a picture of it. So now when friends are scrolling through the cute pictures of my niece, they come across pictures of dead rodents. I guess that’s just the charm in me. ANYWAY…I gathered up my coats and bags, my keys, my recycling etc and I headed out of the front door. It wasn’t until we were halfway through the morning session in the courtroom that I remembered what I’d done with the dead shrew. A woman next to me started coughing and spluttering and I reached into my jacket pocket for a tissue. Only,

I didn’t grab hold of a tissue…I grabbed hold of something small and furry. Oh blinking heck. “Tishshrew?” I asked. I didn’t really. There was just an awkward pause and I thrust the dead rodent back down into my pocket. In a weird kind of ‘Of Mice and Men’ way it was sort of comforting to have it with me. I didn’t tell anyone the shrew was in my pocket (you think I want people to know I’m a mentalist?!) and I didn’t feel I could just toss it into a bin. It was a little expired life after all. So, I brought it home with me and gave it a suitable burial… next to the thousand others Bozzy had killed in the last seven days. Since then I have turned my house upside down looking for that diary. I have returned to the place where I definitely know it is not, about a squillion times (as you do) as there is obviously something I

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Penny Harper

Small Town


have done or somewhere I have been that has slipped through the holes of the sieve and is now floating around in the bottom of a bowl somewhere. I have resigned myself to buying a new diary before the situation becomes critical and I forget to go on holiday or something hideous like that. Case in point: I am writing this column whilst sat on my suitcase, having forgotten that it was going to be due while I was away. As long as I don’t forget to finis…

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Face of the Vale

A new Vale Life Magazine series of interviews and portraits in conjunction with photographer Peter Griffith of All People Photography, Waddesdon,


olly Saville, above, has just celebrated her 100th Birthday and is now known as ‘The oldest Barmaid in England’, although - as she will point out - she’s a waitress really! Yes, amazingly Dolly is still working three days a week at The Red Lion Hotel and Bar in Wendover and doing a very good job. As part of our ‘Face of the Vale’ portrait series, in conjunction with All People Photography, we asked Dolly about her life, her long service at the Red Lion and how this amazing lady has kept so fit and healthy for so many years. Born Dolly Oakley in Eton, Royal Windsor in 1914, a few months before the outbreak of The First World War, Dolly moved with her family to live in Wendover when she was quite young. She left school when she was 14 and went into service, working for Mr Keele, the wealthy owner of a Tea Plantation in his large house just behind The Firecrest at Smalldean. One day, in 1940, Dolly, now a young lady of 26 with two children, Anne and Roland,


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Dolly Saville

Picture by Pete Griffith, April 2014 was walking down Wendover High Street and Captain Fode who was the landlord of the Red Lion at the time, stopped her and asked her to work for him. Dolly declined, but she was asked several more times by the Captain after that and eventually she accepted. Dolly’s first job at The Red Lion was washing glasses but she was very soon working in the bars and said that during her time there, she worked in most areas: restaurant, kitchens and bedrooms. Many famous people have stayed and visited the Red Lion during Dolly’s career and been served by her, including: Dame Margot Fonteyne, the renowned Prima Ballerina who she cooked scampi for and was allowed to serve too - but only once she’d removed her chef ’s whites! Edward Heath who was at the time Prime Minister, Pierce Brosnan, Margaret Lockwood, Anneka Rice and Peter Cushing who Dolly said was ‘so sweet, you would never think he made all those horrible films!’ As you can imagine, Dolly has seen a lot of changes at the hotel and in Wendover generally

over the years. “There’s a lot more traffic now,” she says. “And a lot of the day to day shops have gone, the fruit shop and the bakers.” Dolly worked through the war and enjoyed dancing the night away at RAF Halton after working in the bar and still managed to turn up for work in the mornings. She remarked that at that time ‘you could not move in the High Street for all the uniforms!’ “I was a bit of a flirt in those days,” she chuckles. Dolly, a Mother of two, Grandmother and Great Grandmother to little Darcy whom she absolutely adores and enjoys, is a remarkable lady. But what is the secret to enjoying such a long and happy life? “A lot of it is to keep going the whole time,” she says, “I must be doing something. Some people slow up when they get older, but I just keep going!” What a lovely lady and what a privilege to have met her. We hope she likes our photograph, taken by Pete Griffiths. Thank you Dolly, you are now officially a ‘Face of the Vale’, many happy returns!


Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Tricky business


arms traditionally remain in families for generations, but when they do have to be sold, it can be a far more complicated affair than selling a house. Sales include not just the farm and buildings, but livestock and machinery. And if the farm is in multiple ownership - which is often the reason for the sale - a delicate hand is needed to deal with the negotiations. Will Abbott, an agricultural valuer and auctioneer based in Twyford near Buckingham, has been running his own business, WJP Rural Practice, since 2009 and specialises in helping families through what is inevitably an emotional experience. “A farm sale is a public auction open to everyone,” says Will, “and it can be an enjoyable day for us. There are obviously some very sad situations but you can feel pride that these people have entrusted you with their life’s work.” Increasingly, non-farming people

Auctioneer Will Abbott attend farm sales, where they can pick up vintage, unusual or practical items for their gardens, small holdings or hobbies, and this is why most farms sales are now held on Saturdays. Will admits he does little to no preparation for the strenuous vocal work needed as an auctioneer: “We don’t think about it enough,” he says. “I’ve just started doing choral singing and we are encouraged

to warm our voices up. We should do that with auctioneering but we don’t.” Will started his career with Readers auctioneers in Thame and Aylesbury, doing clerical work and working with and watching the senior auctioneers. He says the fast talking during bidding comes with practice, but admits mistakes can be made. “A lot of bidding is discreet, farmers bid by winking or nudging. I don’t know why, but that’s the way a lot of them like to do it. So in that system there is an opportunity for error because someone might be simply blinking because they’ve got something in their eye! “But you get to know who to look out for. You know who the likely buyers are for a particular animal or tractor, and at an outdoor farm sale you try to keep the sun at your back rather than looking into it.” As a teenager Will enjoyed working on his grandfather’s mixed farm near Princes Risborough, but the chance to run it never came as there were too many family interests in it and it had to be sold. So after many happy years working at Readers, Will took the

This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

plunge to start his own business five years ago. His wife Ali, with whom he has three young children, works as his secretary. And for the last four or five years Will has been asked to provide the commentary during the Grand Parade of livestock at Bucks County Show. He said: “I enjoy that very much. There’s been the odd stock bull who’s got a bit frisky during the parade, but there are plenty of stewards around to handle the situation.” l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist and a farmer’s wife. You can follow her on Twitter @HJBjournalist. She and her husband sell their own award winning Terrick Beef and other local produce from their small farm shop in Terrick on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. See:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014



Column: Fitness Focus with Joanna Beardsmore-Dilks

Health & Fitness

Spice up your life A

lthough Rosemary Conley Food & Fitness Ltd has gone into administration, Joanna Beardsmore-Dilks the local franchisee for Aylesbury, is to carry on teaching her successful classes and is excited for the future. Her motivational coaching classes will continue to include a variety of inspiring talks, nutrition advice and exercise sessions which embrace Joanna’s philosophy of work hard, play hard and have lots of laughs! Joanna has been running her classes in Aylesbury for six years and has helped thousands of local ladies and gents to get fitter and slimmer. She works with several local charities and has provided the fun warm-up for the Florence Nightingale Midnight Walk since their launch, and is looking forward to seeing many of you there again this year. Joanna says, ‘With my training and experience in nutrition and weight management, I feel confident that I can now offer

Joanna Beardsmore-Dilks says: “Thanks for your support wonderful members!” Joanna and some of her class members at last year’s Midnight Walk a more personal and flexible approach to eating and fitness plans - considering life-styles, encouraging healthy eating, portion awareness and ways to lower calorie intake without sacrificing flavour. “I am a big believer that inch loss is far more important than just counting the pounds on the scales, and with the variety of exercise and toning we offer, you are likely to see your shape changing in addition to noticing other health benefits and improved fitness.” Joanna encourages members to focus on positive change and join

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the fun, friendly and welcoming environment that has built up at her classes and other club social events. A range of exercise types are offered at Joanna’s classes as she believes that variety really is the spice of life. Sessions include Zumba, Fitsteps™ (dance fitness programme created by Strictly Come Dancing stars Natalie Lowe, Ian Waite and former contestant and world champion swimmer Mark Foster), and aerobics. Throughout the year short courses of exercise sessions are also offered for High Intensity Interval Training (HIITS) and

Kettlebells. Outside Summer Bootcamps will also be introduced very soon to get you ready for your holidays. All classes and courses now offer an exercise only option too! “Although I have had some brilliant years with the Rosemary Conley brand, I am excited to now be working with some truly innovative people,” says Joanna. “Moving forward I will be able to offer so much more to our members. l For details about Joanna’s classes call: 01296 485933, or e-mail joanna.beardsmore-dilks@

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Health & Fitness

Column: Fitness Focus with Tracy Kiss

Go home, go hard


am twenty-six year old blog writer from Wendover and a single mother of two - my daughter Millisent is six and my son Gabriele will be two years old in April. As you can imagine it’s pretty hectic juggling family life single-handed, let alone finding any ‘me’ time with the children being so young and dependant. After my son was born I signed up to a local gym for the very first time. A few evenings a week I would rush to get the children fed, washed and to bed for the babysitter, before driving to the gym, working out as fast and hard as I could and racing back home within an hour. If anything it was incredibly stressful and expensive and I found I didn’t have the stamina or energy to do everything I wanted in the little time available, late in the evening away, from the children. Acknowledging what I did have though - flexible workout time at home around the children and being able to walk to school instead of

Tracy driving, I asked friends and family to buy me home weights and workout DVDs for my birthday, so a professional could train me in my own home at a time to suit me. In 2012, after having my second baby, I began working out at home with Insanity, a three-month American extreme fitness DVD and I have never been so fit and active. I wanted to tone up my body and gain strength and stamina to keep me going through the sleepless nights and heavy lifting as my son



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grew bigger, and it worked a treat. I had my first ever six-pack abs within weeks. I have since gone on to complete P90X and P90X3, which are similar DVDs, which I do once a day around the children. We walk an hour and a half to school and back, which is the perfect warm-up for my workout once I get home, and it keeps the children healthy too. There are so many home workouts available for which you can choose how much or little equipment you use: dumbbells, resistance bands, pull up bars or press up rings. Or you can do it all bare foot with nothing but your own body weight as resistance. Being fit and healthy isn’t about how long you spend in a gym once a week, it’s about how active you are in your daily life that counts. You can make the biggest difference by walking instead of driving, taking half an hour of gentle exercise in the evening whilst watching your favourite TV soaps, or using a pedometer to

Tracy Kiss measure your steps and increasing them by a hundred or so each week. In order to see a difference you have to maintain a gradual change, so throw out the weighing scales and ditch those car keys in favour of charting your activities and steps and you’ll soon see the pounds fall away, and for once it won’t be from your pocket! l View Tracy’s daily fitness diary for tips and advice at:

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’m always jealous of families who walk. Properly walk, not just to the sweet shop and back like my pathetic brood, but up mountains, across dales, families who wear their outerwear like they’re in the rescue services, and who use the words ‘ration’ and ‘stamina’ rather than ‘play’ and ‘iPad’. I did take my family on a walk to Stowe Landscape Gardens in March, which though flat as a pancake, is a fair old trek around. It was a Hansel and Gretel moment for the children who were fed sweets instead of crumbs along the trail (a modern update of the classic, if you will) and that seemed to work swimmingly. Interesting to watch my four year old virtually running the three-mile route in the hope of extra sweets. Yes, that old trick. Now that we’re on the lovely spring/summer cusp and local families are blithely talking about scaling Snowdon and Everest with their toddlers, I’m setting my own modest outdoor sights. If you’re like me and just looking for some pretty scenery not a million miles from where you live, feel free to copy the following blueprint. My secret plans include frogmarching my children up to


Christmas Common by mid May to see the bluebells with a picnic at the ready. Enticing them onto the Go Ape tree trail in Wendover Woods by asking them to visualize their feast in the café afterwards. Persuading everyone to bike around Ashridge Estate with the promise of a nice pub lunch at the end of it. In short, I will utilise the string in the family bow - generally pigginess – to get them outside and into the fresh air. Everest is all very well. But you know, sometimes the view can be just as pretty at base camp. l Sign up for free email updates on the best things to do in Bucks & Oxon from Hero’s award-winning blog at

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Column: Emma Ward‘Country Girl’

A day at the races


oint to Point; one of the mainstays of the countryside’s social calendar, bringing together young, old and everyone in-between. Easter weekend for us wouldn’t be complete without the point to point meet at Kimble, near Princes Risborough. It is run by Kimblewick Hunt, formerly The Vale of Aylesbury Hunt. Pretty much an annual event since 1912 it attracts thousands of people from all over the Vale and further afield. For me this meeting holds a lovely sense of ‘belonging’ - the day feels like one big reunion; I spend most of the day not gambling, but stopping every ten feet or so to talk to an acquaintance I haven’t seen in a year, or five! My group of Young Farmer’s Club members have been going to point to point collectively for about ten years and I still remember my very first one. I was one of a group of girls, all under seventeen, feeling very privileged indeed to be driven to the racecourse by my friend Sarah’s granddad. He had a car pass, allowing us free entry

Bledlow Point to Point

and a prime position in the car parking area with the best view of the course. At sixteen I think we all felt very important, driving past the crowds in a rickety 4x4, dressed in our best countryside attire outlandish patterned wellies and a pink Joules polo shirt! Too young to bet, we walked the course, bought a racecard, admired the horses in the parade ring and then hurried down the hill to the fence to watch the race, feeling the tremble of the ground as the horses rushed by. We did miss one monumental point to point tradition that year though – the picnic. I’d never come across such picnics as the ones at the point to point! Whole dinner

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

services magically appear out of the back of Land Rovers with the biggest buffets I’ve ever seen. I even saw a whole dressed salmon once, laid out on a silver platter and flanked by two lit candelabra. We made do with the burger van instead that year. Fast-forward a couple of years; eighteen and the proud owner of a blue Vauxhall Nova, I’m able to ferry my fellow country-loving girls to the point to point. Sadly the picnic was still fairly non-existent - a baguette and a pot of humous between us. It was only when I reached my twenties that the picnic preparation became a military operation. With more money and more point to point know-how, I proudly purchased a Joules picnic basket big enough for a proper feast. A slight lack of regard for the actual racing had started to creep in by now, with the main focus being more on the bar area, shopping and gossip! And then there is the after-party of course, which we were banned from going to by our parents, the first year we attended Kimble, having behaved badly at a party the night before! However, many memorable point to point parties

Emma Ward

Country Girl were to follow. Ten years on and it’s a different story. This year, for the first time, I chose not to go to the party afterwards, favouring a night in with a cup of tea and a magazine. I am cringing whilst writing this - only 25 and all partied out!! It’s point to point season though and checking my diary I can see there’s another meeting next weekend... and it has an after party. Perhaps I should let my hair down and show there’s life in the old dog yet, now where’s that picnic hamper... For more information on The Kimblewick Hunt and local Point to Point meetings see: See

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Contact: Roselle 07989 947316 email: roselle@

Does your dog:

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

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

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

• have issues with food?

Happy Holidays! Maccabee’s Pet Hotel

New r e d Un ip h s r e Own

While you’re away make sure your best friend has the holiday he deserves. Maccabee’s Pet Hotel near Princes Risborough, right in the hear t of the Buckinghamshire countryside, has everything to ensure his stay is happy and safe. With over 4 acres of land, great rooms, grooming and agility facilities we’ve everything in place to make sure he has fun and looks as good as he feels when he comes home.

Tel: 01844 342515

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


by Dee Dashwood

People will put a lot of time, effort and money into decorating and furnishing their home but end up missing a trick. Good lighting can make or break the ambience of a room, so it pays to get it right, says Dee Dashwood...


hen I was knee high to a grasshopper, my mother always tells me - I was ‘a determined little miss!’ I was a mischievous tomboy, always in trouble and even when tucked up safely in bed and supposed to be fast asleep, I remember sneaking under the covers, with my trusty torch, to read well into the night. Its not rocket science - lighting is a direct source which highlights a work area, reading area or a favourite painting. However it also creates mood. All rooms need a variety of lighting: ambient or background lighting, task lighting for close-up work or accent lighting to highlight special features.. I was evaluating a house the other day and I walked into the dining room to discover there were absolutely no wall lights or ceiling lights at all in the room. The owners were relying on three-pin electrical sockets and lamps to provide appropriate lighting (and only two at that!). Now that’s fine if you wish to use the room just to dine. But what if, perish the thought, you need to use the room for something else? Let me just say, before I continue and briefly discuss colour and light, in my previous article I mentioned how many colours the BHS Camera Tripod floor spot human eye can spotlights are great for Accent perceive. lighting but can be a little bright if no dimmer is available When it comes 48

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

to lighting, the human eye responds better to the green/yellow colours of the spectrum and less to the blue, violet or red end. Therefore if you take into account how this relates to mood, the lighting you choose is very important. A bright room will create a sense of wellbeing and happiness, whilst a darker room creates a more sombre relaxed mood. Bottom line - effective lighting is essential in your home. So lets discuss the various forms available to you. We often forget that we have a natural source of lighting - we spend a lot time blocking out the sun from our homes, however, natural light is a great source of life. So let’s use it to best effect in our homes and make the most of what we have before introducing ‘artificial’ light. Hang mirrors opposite windows so that they reflects the light. Remove unnecessary window dressing and replace with voile or muslin to diffuse light. Replace an inner door with a glazed panel. Trim trees and bushes that overshadow windows and try to incorporate light reflective surfaces and pale

A pendant light with downlighters for soft ambient lighting carpets. Artificial light must be among man’s most useful inventions. What would we do without it especially in the winter months?! Candles are very lovely of course and very popular these days but electric lighting comes in all manner of shapes and forms and can transform a room. When you break it down though there are four basic types to look out for and you will want them all somewhere in your home: Ambient; Accent; Task; Decorative Ambient lighting Ambient lighting or background lighting is used to mimic daylight. Hence the use of pendant lights (those that hang from the ceiling).


by Dee Dashwood

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Garden lighting can be relatively inexpensive, pretty and functional

Charles Huntington Flooring Decorative lighting What is the first thing •Expert Advice BHS Arrow table lamp you do when you walk into the•Professional room - turn the Fitting Accent Lighting light on. •Very Competitive Spotlights are a versatile way of However, ambient highlighting detail. They can add for beResidential lighting can harsh, bland and interest when used in corners of Commercial work and flat. rooms where you don’t normally Incorporating theto usesuit all •Carpets have light. of downlighters can be Budgets If you feel so inclined you could incredibly helpful and install different lighting circuits •Free Quotes effective, but should be - one for spotlights to highlight used in•No the proper place. Obligation specific areas and one so that you If you have a room that can adjust levels general levels of Parking during •Free the day receives light. a fair amount of natural Spotlights are used excessively daylight, downlighters these days and the light they CARPETS • VINYLSwill• create SISALa soft • STAIR RODS glow and add provide can be very harsh, so the Decorative in the evening. SAFETY FLOORING •ambience WOOD • BINDING TAPES lighting Continued on page 50

Charles Huntington Flooring

Table lamps are generally for ‘task’ lighting

•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 Huntington Flooring •Expert Advice •Expert Advice•Free •Professional Fitting Advice •Professional Fitting Quotes•Expert •Expert AdviceFitting •Professional •Professional Fitting •Professional Fitting •Very Competitive •No Obligation •Professional Fitting for Residential and •Very Competitive •Very Competitive •Very Competitive •Very Competitive Commercial work for Residential and Residential and for Residential•Free and •Very Competitive Parking for Commercial work for Residentialwork and Commercial Commercial work

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

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 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 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment Opening Friday 10am until 5pmSaturday Opening Times: to Friday 10am until 5pm OpeningTimes: Times:Monday Mondayto to FridayMonday 10am until 5pm 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 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 •Free Quotes •Free Quotes •Free Quotes •No Obligation •Free Quotes •No SAFETY FLOORING • •No WOOD • BINDING TAPES •No Obligation Obligation •FreeObligation Parking •No Obligation •Free Parking •Free Parking •Free Parking •Free Parking

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Continued from page 49 use of a dimmer switch is crucial to instantly change the light from dramatic to romantic!! Task Lighting Task lighting does exactly what is says on the tin; provides illumination for you to perform some type of work, i.e. table lamp, reading light or a light used to highlight a pathway - garden lighting.


by Dee Dashwood

Decorative Lighting I love decorative lighting... it can be fun, inspirational, cheeky. You choose. Decorative lighting definitely adds personality. It says something about you. Shop around and you will find some amazing stuff out there. As an example, draping strings of pea lights over the headboard of your bed, using neon signs to express yourself, or lava lamps for atmosphere and to amuse - they can be mesmerizing. And finally, not forgetting our outside space. The garden. Adding garden lighting can create a magical space at night. It doesn’t need to be expensive - solar lighting is particularly reasonable. I have a set of solar lights draped over a potted Acer tree and in the evening my courtyard garden is transformed. It’s lovely to sit out there with a glass of vino on a warm summer night - with the invention of garden heating I spend much more time out there these days, but that’s another column..

ul t if

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l Dee Dashwood is a creative, Berkhamsted based interior stylist and founder of Dee Dashwood Interior Style and Design the home of creative interior styling, ideas, guides and workshops. Email: Twitter: @thestylegoddess

al items from all

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www. the


Tel: 01296 415035


ld or

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


Be au

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w Wall art w Clocks w Candles w Lamps w Mirrors w Vases w Ornaments w Homeware w Prints w w Fireplace sets w Signs w Furniture w Kitchen & Dining w Gifts w Cards w Mats w Handcrafted Fairtrade Products w 50

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

‘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 Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


The new BMW 4 Series Coupé

Specialist Cars Tring

The Ultimate Driving Machine

SEARCH: SPECIALIST CARS TRING. THE BMW 4 SERIES COUPÉ. AVAILABLE NOW AT SPECIALIST CARS TRING WITH 5 YEARS’ COMPLIMENTARY SERVICING. The dramatic sculpture of the new BMW 4 Series Coupé will drive your desire before the wheel has even turned. It’s a sight that holds so much promise. A true reflection of The Ultimate Driving Machine from the defined sporty body lines of the exterior to the sweeping layered design of the interior. With the BMW xDrive intelligent four-wheel drive system* you can be assured this is a car that delivers confidence in any conditions. To find out more or to book a test drive**, please call 01442 890666 or visit

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Official fuel economy figures for the new BMW 4 Series Coupé range: Urban 24.8 – 52.3mpg (11.4 – 5.4l/100km). Extra Urban 45.6 – 68.9mpg (6.2 – 4.1l/100km). Combined 34.9 – 61.4mpg (8.1 – 4.6l/100km). CO2 emissions 189 – 121g/km. *Selected models only. **Test drive is subject to applicant status and availability.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Murder on the sales floor


magine my excitement when a post on Facebook popped up from the ITV series Midsomer Murders announcing that they were selling their entire wardrobe department for charity! Double that excitement when I realised that it was to be held at one of my regular haunts, a charity shop in Aylesbury, the combination of two of my personal favourite things all rolled into one weekend of shopping bliss. I quickly emailed the event co-ordinator at Helen & Douglas House to ensure myself a ticket to the preview and launch. The night itself was a roaring success and brilliant fun, the staff of H&D having turned their shop into a crime scene, complete with Scene Of Crime officers dusting for fingerprints while the haunting melody of the show’s theme tune set the scene for the fashion show. The generosity of Bentley Productions is incredible. Literally thousands of items of clothing worn maybe only once and certainly without blood stains, from designers like Oswald Boateng, Gieves and

now returned to its normal status displaying furniture and music but growing in the corner of the shop is a dedicated craft section which the manager is aiming to build upon with craft making supplies, fabrics and trimmings. Situated on the Broadfields retail park, this Vintage vinyl at Helen branch of H&D and Douglas House Vintage furniture would do Mary bargains at Helen Portas proud. and Douglas House It’s so well laid out that you are Hawkes, Paul Smith, hard pushed to Armani and Harris Tweed. distinguish this There were rails charity shop upon rails of suits worth from a cool hundreds selling for as vintage store. little as £25. Many named collectables like Poole The entire collection has now been shipped out to the other Helen Pottery nestle on top of Midcentury classic pieces by G-Plan. & Douglas charity shops around They have retro 50s drinks the Vale so look out as it says cabinets, cool upcycled pieces which ‘Midsomer Murders’ on the label. The Aylesbury branch of H&D has they do instore, and a wide range of

w Quality w Value w Service w

Hard Rock Flooring Handmade Tiles & Natural Stone

Tiles & Natural Stone from British & European Quarries Slate Marble Limestone Handmade Terracotta & many more, available from stock Visit our Showroom & Warehouse at Fleet Marston Farm, Fleet Marston, Aylesbury, HP18 0QT See our Website at:

Family owned business

Making the most of it furniture at a fraction of high street prices. Their music section has a large collection of vinyl records, now back in fashion and highly collectable. I’m extremely pleased with my bargains and so is my partner who is looking very smart in his nearly new Saville Row outfits, we look good enough to be in a TV show! l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in The Vale.

Herald handmade traditional Sash Windows Heritage slim double-glazed units Herald Sash Windows incorporating Slenderpane double-glazed units

l l

Open: Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm Tel: 01296 658755 Email:

Janice Issitt

Looks like single glazing l Slim timber glazing bars Ideal for conservation areas l Choice of glass types l Trade and retail enquiries welcome

Herald Joinery / Slenderpane Ltd, Unit 5, Thame Road Industrial Estate, Thame Road, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8BZ Herald Joinery: 01844 291111 Slenderpane: 01844 292779 Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Win a copy of

Bletchley Park book


he Official Secrets Act and the passing of time have prevented the Bletchley Park story from being told by many of its key participants. Here, at last, is a book that allows some of them to speak for the first time. Gordon Welchman was one of the Park’s most important figures; his pioneering work was fundamental to the success of Bletchley Park and helped pave the way for the birth of the digital age - yet his story is largely unknown. In order to finally set the record straight, Bletchley Park historian and tour guide Joel Greenberg has drawn on Welchman’s personal papers and correspondence with wartime colleagues that lay undisturbed in his son’s loft for many years. The author of Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence, Joel Greenberg, is from Swanbourne, near Aylesbury. Joel is a volunteer supporter of Bletchley Park, he gives lectures and conducts tours of the site and is also a parttime member of its management

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team. Packed with fascinating new insights, this is essential reading for anyone interested in the clandestine activities at Bletchley Park. To be in with the chance of winning one of three copies of Gordon Welchman ‘Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence’, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where does Joel Greenberg live? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by June 10th, 2014.






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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


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Rabans Lane, Aylesbury HP19 8RE Affordable quality since 1898 Call 01296 486255 • *Terms and conditions apply. Interest Free Credit: 0% Typical APR. Subject to status and minimum spend of £995 with 1/3 deposit.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Omega Homestyle’s brightly signwritten vehicles can often be spotted on local roads. In six years the firm has gone from a two man start up to a thriving business with four teams of fitters and a growing sales and admin staff and now there’s a new showroom in Aylesbury...


ndy Lucas set up Omega Homestyle six years ago. With some thirty years experience in the double-glazing industry, there’s not much he doesn’t know about windows, doors and conservatories and he was confident that he could offer a better standard of service than the national firms he had worked for previously. “We offer the kind of service I’d appreciate myself,” says Andy. “We’re a small family firm and it’s a personal service. I usually see each of our customers and do their quote personally. I’ll survey, measure up, design and order the job, then make sure it is fitted to our client’s satisfaction. It’s a personal service and it means a better understanding of the customer’s needs and a lot more chance of the job been completed as requested. “Jennifer Evans is our office manager, she helps run things and handles enquiries if I am out, while I oversee most of our jobs and my wife, Emma, helps out with admin and marketing.” Although the last few years have been difficult for many, Omega Homestyle has flourished. The company, based at Woodway Farm Industrial Estate, near Long Crendon since 2009, moved to a larger unit there in 2012 and has now just opened a second showroom, next to Howdens on the Griffin Industrial Estate, at Griffin Lane, Aylesbury. Pop into either location and you can see a cross section of their products, from solid wood-framed, leaded windows to PVC-U


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Andy Lucas

stable doors, sturdy Solidor front doors and bi-fold patio window units. “We’ve gradually expanded our range to accommodate our customers’ requirements,” says Andy, “and because there are some really excellent new products on the market. “Residence 9 is a new double or triple glazed window system designed to replicate old 19th Century timber sash and casement windows. They are UPVC but you’d never know to look at them. They are low maintenance and energy efficient and ideal for use in conservation areas due to the authentic

appearance. It’s a top quality luxury window brand that’s made to measure, hand-finished and comes in a choice of 11 different colours - you can even have a different finish on the inside to the outside. “We offer a full range of glazing services, from replacing a broken pane, or broken unit, to coloured glass splashbacks for kitchens and bathrooms, or a complete conservatory extension; from foundations, to walls and glazing. We’ve recently fitted several of the ‘LivinRoom’ conservatories by Ultraframe and they are lovely - they feel more like an actual

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

room extension than a glass conservatory. “Kommerlings’ slimline sash windows are one of the slimmest profile UPVC windows you can get and not only look good but are excellent quality. Even better their colours exactly match our Solidor door frames, so the two go perfectly together. Solidor doors are the only composite door with a solid hardwood core. They are tough, secure and come in 17 colours! They also have a 10 year guarantee. “If you like a certain door or window but are looking to save money we can generally find a good quality alternative to suit. “Obviously the top of the range models are going to be fabulous but if you are only planning on living in your current home for a couple of years, you may feel a budget option would be more than adequate. “All our installations come with a 10 year guarantee. Most will be personally inspected by me and some by FENSA who ensure that replacement windows and doors comply with current thermal performance standards. When we fit your new window or door, as a FENSA member we check it is compliant with current energy standards so you don’t have to go to the trouble of getting a separate assessment done by the local authority. You will also receive a FENSA certificate on completion of the installation. “The government has standardised energy ratings and there’s now a door energy rating (DER) and a window energy rating (WER) index. The energy performance of products are rated from ‘A’ (best) to ‘G’ (worst). All doors and windows we supply are A rated.” “Of course it’s not just about insulation. We want to make your home look nice as well, so it’s important to choose frames that suit the style of the building. We’ll help you find the right type of window in the right design to suit your home - there’s no one size fits all here. “If you are considering a conservatory we can help you develop your ideas into a plan, have a design drawn up and any relevant planning permissions organised.

“It’s worth popping in to our showroom to have a look. We’ve got wood frames and PVC-U to compare. Some of the wood effect PVC frames are very hard to tell from the real thing and yet are easier to maintain.” Andy started Omega Homestyle working from home with an assistant who helped him with the on site fitting. His first showroom was a little unit across the yard from his current Woodway Farm base. Five years on his second showroom is now open and things are looking good. “I’ve run a tight ship here,” says Andy, “and reinvested back into the company, so we are financially stable. We own our own vans, all our suppliers are paid on time. In a few years we’ve gone from nothing to a solid business, things have gone very well. “Our Long Crendon premises are great, we’ve got all the space we need, plenty of parking, rubbish disposal and recycling facilities and the transport links are good. Opening the showroom in Aylesbury takes our products to a new market though. We already get people coming over to see us but having a showroom in the town will make it much easier for people in the Aylesbury area to visit us. We like to make life as easy as possible for our customers, it’s all part of the service!” For more information on Omega Homestyle and their products and services see the company’s website at: or visit the Long Crendon or Aylesbury showrooms.

New Aylesbury showroom

l Omega Homestyle, Woodway Farm Industrial Estate Bicester Rd, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP18 9EP Tel: 01844 201888. l Unit 5a Griffin Industrial Estate, Griffin Lane, Aylesbury HP19 8BP, Telephone 01296 321789 Email: Website: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

There’s no going back now.... The builders have arrived and within hours the kitchen and dining room are but shells. It’s a clean sheet upon which Ridgeway Kitchens will weave their magic, but how do we cope in the meantime and will it really only take a couple of weeks...


ale Life editor Charlie Trott and his family are the proud owners of a brand new kitchen, supplied and installed by Thame-based company Ridgeway Kitchens and Interiors. Read on and share his experience.... Last edition I told of the excitement at Trott Towers when we realised we had embarked on a journey. Our dreams of having a kitchen that functions, with appliances that work and a cool new kitchen/diner instead of a pokey galley and a cramped dining room looked like they might come true. We had a mountain to climb though. Ridgeway Kitchens based on Rycote Lane, near Thame had come up with a great design and some nifty space saving ideas and they had a team of skilled craftsmen ready to rip out our existing excuse for a kitchen, but it was going to take at least three or four weeks to fit the new one - how would we cope! We’d have to find somewhere to store all the crockery and junk that was filling our existing units and then manage without an oven, hob, washing machine, kitchen sink and tap for a week or so... Actually it wasn’t that bad, we had a microwave in the living room and the power was on most of the time so kettles could be boiled. We ate a lot of takeaways of course and had to do the washing up in the bath but hey, it was a bit like camping in your own house! Meanwhile the Ridgeway team were ripping through the old kitchen at a rate of knots. Carl, Graham and Keith arrived and within a day had removed all the old units, knocked through into our dining room (it was only a light partition wall) and basically stripped the rooms back to a shell. Even the tiles and flooring were gone, it was amazing. The guys were friendly and polite, managed to keep mess to a minimum and took all the rubbish away each night, so there was no need for a skip. The shell had to be made good and plastered of course to get a smooth finish. The original door out of the kitchen into the hall was blocked up and plasterboarded. 58

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

The old kitchen just had to


Awaiting the ‘knock-through’!

Cabling for ceiling lights was prepared and then hidden as new ceiling board was tacked up. Holes for lights were cut. Within a week the shell was virtually ready for units. New ceilings had been fitted, the walls were plastered and we would be able to do some painting at the weekend before the units arrived in the second week. Ridgeway fitters Carl, Graham and Keith made a good team. They all chipped in when required but seemed to have their own speciality. Keith was an expert plasterer, Graham did electrics and Carl did organisation, customer relations, problem solving and anything else that was required. They all ate large quantities of biscuits and drank a lot of tea but they didn’t seem to stop

Above: The old kitchen as was. Left: Graham and Carl, right, knocking down the last of the partition wall between kitchen and dining room. Below: Two rooms become one and we get a real idea of how much more space there will be.

work to do this, in fact they didn’t seem to stop for lunch either, pretty impressive, eh?. With the help of a friend, Norm, who runs Berkhamsted based Spectrum Decorating

Carl plastemrse around sobo replacementworkx

Graham shows his plastering skills

Services, we got a couple of coats of emulsion on the bare walls and ceiling over the weekend which was a lot easier while the room was empty than it would be once units had been fitted. On the second week it was the turn of Simon the flooring expert to work his magic. We were advised against having real wood flooring in a kitchen so had chosen a wood effect vinyl flooring by Karndean. It’s laid in vinyl planks with filler strips in between and looks exactly like real wood. It’s extremely hard wearing though and won’t warp or swell like wood can. First of all though a latex self-

levelling screed is smoothed over the entire floor. It’s liquid at first so it seeps into any holes and levels out uneveness in the concrete floor. It needs a few hours to dry, during which time you can’t walk on it but afterwards you have a smooth grey surface which the vinyl can be stuck to. Simon would come back after the units were installed to do that though. Meanwhile there was coving to be done. A separate team of specialists arrived and within what seemed like only minutes they been and gone and left us smart white coving all round the room. All was

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Norm painting a couple of coats on while the room is empty. The colour is an off-white called ‘Skimming Stone’

looking good. Much of the preparation work was in hand and disruption had been minimal. The Ridgeway crew had been very efficient and knowing the units and appliances were going in any day the excitement was mounting. More next issue... l Ridgeway Kitchens and Interiors Office and Showroom, Rycote Lane, Milton Common, Oxfordshire, OX9 2NZ Tel: 01844 279900

Simon spreads on the latex

Your kitchen. Your space. Your way.

Ridgeway designs English bespoke kitchens to match your wish list then installs them with care and precision. We offer a complete service, from free initial CAD designs to project management and final sign-off. Our team of in-house, IKBBI-registered fitters, builders, plumbers and electricians work to extremely high standards, giving you quality at a fair price. For traditional or modern kitchens, German engineered kitchens, worktops, Karndean flooring, taps and top brand appliances, come and see us.

Visit our showroom near Thame. Call 01844 279900 to make an appointment. Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Adroit Services have been active across the Vale fitting and repairing bathrooms for more than 25 years now and the company has never been busier. The family run firm is led by managing partner Roger Graw who is enjoying the prospect of son in law Peter taking the plumb job...


droit means 'clever' or 'skilful' and seems the perfect description for the services Roger Graw and his bathroom supply and installation company, Adroit Services are offering. Roger founded the business in 1989 and has built an excellent reputation for quality workmanship, reasonable pricing and excellent customer service. “Bathrooms are more about finishing than plumbing.” he says. “Obviously the plumbing has to be done properly and work - we take care to ensure it is and that there are no leaks, but usually, in a bathroom it is not complicated and the pipework is mostly hidden away. “We offer a complete service, it is not just about fitting a shower or suite, we leave you with a finished room. It is about attention to detail, how everything lines up - the tiling, the paintwork, the lighting - that is what makes our bathrooms special. “We do anything related to bathrooms, including any related building work. We make bathrooms bigger, create bathrooms out of part of a bedroom, knock toilets and

Peter Butt applying sealant to a wet room


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Roger Graw, right, and son-in-law Peter Butt

bathrooms together, install wet rooms and wet floors. We do the whole job in-house.” Over the years Roger has expanded Adroit Services as a partnership. He has been senior partner, dealing with quotations, co-ordinating projects and running the Aylesbury showroom and office with his wife Elaine. There are then ‘Key Installers’ who manage the fitting of the various bathroom projects. They are all highly trained fitters with skills in a variety of areas, from plumbing to electrics, tiling and decorating. “Although many of our team have specific trades, to us it is more important that they are personable, polite, intelligent and take a pride in their work,” says Roger. “We’ve handpicked our guys - they start as junior partners and then, after an initial trial period, they can become a Key Partner and are entitled to a share of the profits. They are fully trained during their trial period, which can take a couple of years. It is in their interest to ensure that each job they do is completed to the highest standard as they will directly reap the benefits in recommendations and future business. “Our clients appreciate that the installers in their homes are from our own team and not sub-contractors engaged without being directly known, as can be the case with some companies.”

Adroit’s key installation team includes Peter Butt, Barry Hinton, Paul Bowness, Peter Aiken, Mark Welsh, Mariusz Nicholson and Rafal Swarbula. There are pictures and profiles of the staff on the firm’s website at After 25 years at the helm, Roger is stepping back and semi-retiring this year, although he plans to be involved in the running of the firm for at least another five years. He will hand over many of his duties to his son-in-law Peter Butt, who will become managing partner. Peter is married to Emma, Roger and Elaine’s daughter. Elaine aims to retire next March and her daughter Emma, who is already job sharing with her at Adroit, will then take over Elaine’s role: “Things are changing but it will be very much business as usual,” says Peter. “We are proud of the way we operate our business. I worked for a packaging company, as an IT Project manager covering Europe. When I married Roger’s daughter Emma, I decided to stop travelling so much. I joined Adroit ten years ago and really enjoy the project orientated nature of this job. You know what you have to do and how long it should take. You are completely responsible for the outcome and at the end, the customer says ‘wow!’ and it feels good to have done a great job. The customer’s happy

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Aylesbury showroom

Bathroom installation, Bierton

Aylesbury showroom

Aylesbury showroom

Bathroom installation, Thame

and you get the next recommendation - you not really open to the general public,” says are only as good as your last job though, so Roger, “it’s more for clients to come in and we work hard to keep our standards up. If look at tile samples and ideas for suites, lights, we didn’t it wouldn’t just upset the customer, heating, cupboards and so on. it would upset the previous customer who “When a customer gets in touch Peter or recommended us too and we don’t want to let I will meet them at their home, take some any of these people down. measurements and discuss “I served an electrotheir requirements,” says Customer comments: mechanical engineering Roger. “We check the water “Installation team were apprenticeship, so am system and see what will punctual, well organised technically qualified as an and consulted regularly with work for them. We’ll take a customer” - Mr & Mrs H, Stoke selection of brochures and electrician and I returned Mandeville to college, to complete the literature and can recommend electrical regulations course “Hard workers who take suitable sanitary ware, taps, and the inspection and testing great care and have attention to showers, tiles and bathroom detail. Very friendly and good at qualification, so I’m now the furniture to suit their tastes communicating” - Mr & Mrs K, qualified electrical ‘supervisor’ Thame and budget. for the business. “We can supply all the “Another excellent job” “We take great pride in all selected products, from the Mr S, Slapton that we do, we all work hard bath suite to tiles, lighting, to protect the company’s heating, radiators, underfloor reputation. We are specialists, advising heating, mirror demisters, low voltage lighting, customers during installations to achieve the bespoke inset mirrors, custom marble or best result possible and we are confident of granite worktops, plaster walls and ceilings... our work. It’s an interesting role, there’s lots Anything you could want in a bathroom we of variety and we get to meet some lovely know how to do and how to do properly and people.” we do it as a package, so you’ll get a quotation Four years ago Adroit took on premises at for the total cost.” Bridgegate Business Park, just off Gatehouse Adroit Services is part of the Trading Way in Aylesbury, which they fitted out as Standards ‘Buy with Confidence’ scheme a showroom and office: “The showroom is which means Trading Standards have verified

they are a good firm to deal with and that they are committed to good customer service and comply with consumer protection legislation. Trading Standards constantly monitor feedback from their customers too, so you can be confident their recommendation is current. “Although we work to best practice and maintain very high standards, we are not considered expensive,” says Roger. “Our value for money rating on the feedback forms shows customers are pleased with the price they are paying for the work we are doing. “A good after-sales service is important to us as well. Even if a problem develops years after we have fitted a bathroom we’ll sort it out. We have what I call a common sense guarantee. As we supply and fit the bathroom, you only deal with us, we are responsible for supplying everything and fitting it, so you are much better off should there be a problem as we will put it right for you. If you take a faulty tap back to a bathroom supplier under their guarantee, they may exchange it for a new one, but you’ve still got to fit it - if it’s been fitted by us we will get the part and swap it over for you. “There’s generally a manufacturer’s back-up as well. For example if we supply an Aqualisa shower and it’s installed by us you get a five year guarantee from Aqualisa and we honour that with regard to any labour needed. That shower must have been installed properly in the first place though. Aqualisa specifies a specific way of installing their showers but some installers cut corners to save time, which could mean the shower isn’t covered and the guarantee would be void. Our installers are trained in the correct procedures. “Working in a customer’s home we are as efficient as we can be and work as cleanly and as painlessly for you as possible. We cover the access route, including the stairs, to protect floor coverings and protect other areas as required. We tidy up at the end of each day and dispose of all rubbish responsibly, keeping disruption of your daily routine to a minimum. And we ensure a working WC will always be available at the end of each day!” l Adroit Services, Unit 17 Bridgegate Business Park, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP198XN Phone: 01296 489993 Email:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Place in the sun


t wasn’t long ago we were talking about waiting for the ground to dry out after the ridiculously wet winter - but now, as the sun continues to shine, I’m going to take a look at creating your own shade haven in the garden. Many gardens - my own included - are wonderful suntraps, but unless

Forest’s CARB Venetian Corner Arbour

Forest’s CARB Venetian Corner Arbour at night

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

you have an established garden with plenty of trees and bushes, you can struggle for a shady spot. Of course you can create one by using a large parasol. The kind that can be angled according to the position of the sun are well worth investing in if you find yourself being baked on the patio! But how about creating a little seating area, a shady spot where you can enjoy the warm weather without being blasted by the sun’s rays? It’s simple to do and will create more interest and height in a yet-to-be established garden as well. An arbour is a wooden seating area with its own roof, which can be placed anywhere in the garden. I think they look particularly effective in amongst a border, where plants can grow around them - or perhaps on the lawn. (The one pictured here is from Forest, which are stocked by many garden centres). If space is short, the clever RHS Centenary Arbour from Scotts of Thrapston also features storage at the back for garden tools - see their site at for stockists. Another option is to use a sail to create shade by the house, or any area where you can secure the sail. See: www.gardenstreet.

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An outdoor beanbag is very comfy for sails starting from less than £40. If you love to lounge, how about choosing an outdoor beanbag rather than garden chairs? The Bean Bag Bazaar (www.beanbagbazaar. has a great selection starting from around £50. Next you need to think about planting around them - can you grow some pretty climbers up it? Clematis are usually easy to grow and can be quite prolific, growing quickly and producing great results in a relatively short

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

This Venezia 6-light chandelier from Christopher Wray makes quite a statement. Prices from £975

yellow flowers and black centres are very striking in a sheltetered spot. If you don’t want to grow from seed (sow now), you can often find plants for sale in the garden centre. Lights can bring your garden feature to life in the evening - your local garden centre will no doubt stock Gardman’s new range of Cole & Bright solar lights, which provide effective and atmospheric lighting without the need to run cables round your garden. I particularly like their ceramic lantern and solar décor lantern (£14.99 and £19.99). If you have a much bigger budget, how about going for Christophers Wray’s exterior chandelier, left, which comes in at more than £900! Add a little table to the arrangement and you can enjoy some al fresco dining in your shady haven - if you’ve had your eye on something pretty in the way of glasses and plates, but haven’t been able to justify buying a complete set - just buy a set of two, so that you can enjoy them on your own or with a friend!

time. For instant effect in one season, you can always grow some annual climbers while you’re waiting for your slow-growing ones to establish - sweet peas are beautifully scented, nasturtiums will grow like mad and black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia), with their

l Naomi MacKay is a freelance journalist and editor who has worked on a number of gardening magazines and for the RHS. She has recently launched a website for parents of boys aged 4-11 at www.itsaboything. net. The site covers education, sports, books, activities and lots more.

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Vacancies for hard landscaper and skilled labourers - contact Rodney on: 07732 329118 Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Garden centres aren’t just for plants these days and at Haddenham, near Thame, we have a huge independent that not only offers an amazing selection of plants and gardening accessories, but also homeware, gifts, clothing, barbecues, cards, books, a pet department and a cracking café...


amily owned independent, the Haddenham Garden Centre was opened in 1978 by Chris Hawkins and his father, Jack as a nursery with a single glasshouse. It has steadily grown over the years and is today run by a third generation of the Hawkins family: Stephen, Kate and Ben, while Chris plays a major role behind the scenes on the development side of the business. The business has changed dramatically over the years moving with the times and adapting to the changing needs of the customer: “The centre has expanded in size several times and we have introduced lots of new product ranges,” says Kate. “We aim to offer a relaxed, pleasant and friendly shopping experience and customers say they love browsing the homeware section or choosing some garden lights or garden furniture before having a quick coffee and picking up some bedding plants. There’s lots of free parking right outside too, so wheeling items to the car is easy and help is on hand if required. “In 2007 we introduced the Gardener’s


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Retreat Coffee Shop, which has gone from strength to strength over the years. It’s run by Chef Dan Powell, whose mother, Tracy, and sister, Zoe also work in the business. Dan leads a team of three chefs and a total team of 15 members of staff. “Locally sourcing and making much of our food from scratch are the two core principles of the Gardener’s Retreat. There is a great selection of homemade cakes, four hot seasonal specials every week and a tasty coffee shop menu. We also offer an Early Bird Breakfast for only £3.99 until 10.30am, as well as our Full English until 11.30am and Roast Dinners are served on a Sunday. Our fruit and vegetables come from the village greengrocer, Bloomin’ Fruity and meat comes from the village butcher, Parminters. We are also selling a range of Parminters’ meats in the garden centre, along with the local Bradmoor eggs which are laid at the nearby hatchery. “Coffee beans and other core coffee shop supplies come from Bean Bags Coffee, a local independent based in Worminghall. We use their Fairtrade Java Organic coffee bean,

Kate, Stephen and Ben Hawkins

it has a great taste and goes down well with customers and staff. “The Plant Department is headed by our resident horticulturalist, Simone, assisted by Julie and Tom. They are happy to answer any plant-related questions and advise on what grows well where, so customers can feel confident in their choices. We have a huge range of bedding plants, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, climbers, roses and trees. The area has expanded dramatically over the last couple of years, so there should be no problem in finding something to suit your garden. We also have a big range of pots and planters in colours to suit everyone’s tastes.” It’s always nice to get something for nothing and Haddenham Garden Centre customers can sign up for a Reward Card free

Horticulturalist Simone

Pet Nutrition Advisor Becky

in store. You then earn points every time you shop, and receive reward vouchers to spend in the store. Members also receive exclusive special offers and promotions. The centre’s Pet Department has changed dramatically recently and now offers lots of new food and products for all our furry friends. Becky, pictured top right, a trained Pet Nutrition Advisor heads the Pet Department. She’s a real animal lover herself, so is happy to advise and help with any pet related enquiries. “We are always looking to find the best and healthiest products for your pets,” says Kate. “We have recently started selling Natures Menu raw dog and cat food, which feeds your pets as nature intended. Dogs and cats are carnivores and are designed to eat a meat and bone based diet - they have evolved to

digest raw food quality proteins rather than cooked proteins and grains. Many customers that have switched to this food have found improvements in their animal’s health. We already stock a large range of these foods and are looking to expand on this. “We also now stock a range of products for chickens, including food, treats and bedding, so if you fancy a few chickens in the garden we have everything you need.” The Gifts and Homeware department is ever expanding at Haddenham Garden Centre and you can always find a lovely gift or tempting item for your home or garden. There’s handbags and jewellery, scarves, candles and toiletries, cushions, books and DVDs, greetings cards, photoframes, clocks and kitchenware, it really is like a not-so-mini department store! “We have recently started selling Regatta Outdoor Clothing,” says Kate. “Regatta is Britain’s best loved outdoor clothing brand and is becoming popular across Europe too.

It’s high quality, great value outdoor gear for the whole family, not just gardeners! We have a great range to suit all the family. “We also stock Tigi Clothing for women. Established in 1952, Tigi is a casual clothing label designed for leisure and a relaxed lifestyle, with an emphasis on comfort, easy care and value for money. Tigi is available in a range of colours and styles, in sizes 10 to 24.” Of course now is the time to be thinking about replacing that tatty set of ancient garden furniture or rusty old barbecue that’s ruining the effect of your lovely garden. Haddenham Garden Centre has stylish ranges of furniture to suit all tastes and budgets and a massive choice of gas and charcoal barbecues. Time to get cookin’ perhaps?! l Haddenham Garden Centre, Stanbridge Road, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8HN Tel: 01844 290395 Email: Website:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


l Column: Jacqui

Jacqui’s spoilt for choice


fter a few weeks of limited restaurant meals, I seem to have dined out almost every day this week - from American, to French bistro, to pop-up British in a village hall. While I like to think of myself as fairly adventurous when it comes to food, it turns out, I’m actually pretty predictable. There are some dishes I’m immediately drawn to when I’m browsing a menu, and others that, well, I’m just never going to order. Take me somewhere for Sunday Lunch and it’s a sure bet I’ll order the beef, with a big dollop of horseradish. Send me for breakfast, chances are I’ll order a full English (even if I can’t manage the whole thing), or eggs Benedict. When it comes to starters, I love them so much that I’m often sold on a venue by those alone. Chicken liver parfait? Yes. Ham hock terrine? Yes. Soft centre Scotch egg, warm duck salad, or escargot?

Thorndyke ‘Foodie On Tour’

YES, YES, YES! But then there are after my dining companions have finished and the dish will be stone the ones that I happily skip over cold! on the menu every time: Vegetable But then there’s also the odd tartlet? Meh. Cheese soufflé? Far thing I’m squeamish about too: Soft too much air. Soup of the day? Not Shell Crabs - please don’t plop a a flaming chance. whole one on my plate. I also have I’m massively scared of a theory spiders and, well, they about the look like spiders! Pop type of food some in a sushi roll and to order when I’ll wolf it down, but I it’s being won’t even look at a whole cooked by a one if it’s sat in front professional of me, perfect tempura - it has to Cheese Soufflé, batter or not; be better, Oxford Brookes Restaurant Fat on meat or more - I pretty adventurous, much always than I could cut this off, or would make at unless it’s home. I very rarely rendered order chicken - I eat down really far too much of it at well or home and chicken Eggs Benedict: Door 74, Oxford particularly never feels particularly crispy. I just adventurous. Sausage can’t stand the texture of it. and mash? Those sausages had So with me clearly being so better be amazing and the mash damned predictable, and a tiny bit smoother than silk. Fish? I really squeamish, I’ve decided to start like fish, but not on the bone. It’s ordering things I might usually pass just too damned fiddly for a slow up, and it’s already uncovered a eater like me, I’d be eating long

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2013

Jacqui Thorndyke

gem. Ever thought of trying a bacon maple milkshake? No, neither had I. Until I tried one, and it was bloomin’ delicious. So while I’ll no doubt still have some preferences, I’m going to try choosing a few more adventurous options - keep your fingers crossed for me. Just don’t hold your breath with the soufflé. l For local food and restaurant reviews and recommendations, visit, or follow Jacqui on Twitter @FoodieOnTour. To contact Jacqui directly, please email:

Win a Spa Day for two at Whittlebury Hall


ould you like to experience the ultimate in pampering and unwind at the awardwinning four-star Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa? Well read on, for Vale Life Magazine has teamed up with Whittlebury Hall to offer readers the chance to win the perfect Spa Day for Two. Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel, Conference and Training Centre, with an award winning Day Spa, set in rural Northamptonshire, near Silverstone. The Day Spa at Whittlebury is one of the largest Spas in the country with 23 treatments rooms and a choice of over 60 treatments delivered by a team of highly skilled therapists. In addition, The Leisure Club includes a 19-metre pool, whirlpool spa, bubble jet, steam room, sauna, aerobic studio and gym, with the latest state-of-the-art facilities. In addition, Whittlebury Hall boasts three excellent restaurants. The Spa Day for Two* includes; • Two course Buffet Lunch • Full use of Heat and Ice Experiences • Full use of the Spa and Leisure Club facilities The award-winning Day Spa 2 66

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

answer to the following question to: How many treatment rooms does Whittlebury Spa have? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 10th, 2014. Winner or not, why not take advantage of our great value Reader Offer** - Buy either an Escape and Spa Stay OR Escape and Spa Stay Plus and receive a Complimentary Cream Tea. Call 0845 400 0002 and quote ‘VALE14’. l Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, Nr Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8QH Spa reservations: 0845 400 0002 Hotel and Dining reservations: 0845 400 0001 Web:

incorporates Whittlebury’s unique Heat and Ice Experiences, which provide a range of body sensations brought about by dramatic changes in temperature. Facilities include a Sanarium® incorporating a sauna, soft steam bath and herbal bath; a Caldarium hot room and a Soap Massage

Room. Other facilities include an Aromatherapy Crystal Steam Room, an Ice Cave, Roman Salt Steam, Experience Showers, Foot Spas and Hydrotherapy Pool. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning the Spa Day for Two simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the

*Terms and Conditions apply. This prize is non-transferable and non-refundable, and has no cash equivalent. This prize cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. This prize is available Sunday - Thursday only, subject to availability. Guests must be aged 18 years or over. This competition is not open to the employees of Whittlebury Hall and their family members. Prize to be booked and taken by 4th September 2014, excluding 3rd -6th July. **Offer includes a complimentary Whittlebury Cream Tea per person worth £8.95 per person when purchasing an Escape & Spa Stay for £108.90 per person or Escape & Spa Stay Plus for £141.90 per person per night. Offer valid for bookings taken by 4th September 2014, excluding 3rd - 6th July.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Some will know Twist@Wendover as a stylish wine bar, or a lively weekend party venue, but it also has a reasonably priced restaurant serving rather lovely food, says Andrea Frost...


t is true to say that the best part of writing a restaurant review is eating the food ! The hardest part is actually describing the experience in a way that does it justice or not! I have absolutely no such predicament in describing my gastronomic experience @Twist of Wendover. I was invited to sample some of the dishes from the new menu, launched in April. Twist has been providing great food and a lively bar for only a year but has successfully managed to be all thing to all men... and women! Not a thing that many establishments can pull off! Twist serves well priced delicious Breakfast dishes from 9am and good coffee. There is a light lunch menu including Open Sandwiches, Deli Boards and Salads. I was asked to try from the main menu which you can have at lunchtime or in the evening. There is also a Grill option of locally sourced Steaks and Burgers. Manager, John Johnston seated my dining companion, The Editor, and I at a table in the window looking out onto the pretty Wendover High Street. Although Twist is within a beautiful old beamed building, the interior is contemporary and stylish. Other diners were already enjoying their lunches and there was a relaxed and welcoming but quite buzzy atmosphere. John explained that his experience in the catering and hospitality business had provided him with some great ideas for dishes and he had worked closely with the chefs to put together the new menu. The Appetisers arrived as two perfect works of art! Salt and Pepper Squid with a Tomato and Avocado Salsa and a Grilled Halloumi and Tortilla Salad. The squid was not overwhelmed with salt and pepper and the batter was light. The salsa was also light and fresh with good chunks

We did however enjoy a glass of Prosecco each, which is on tap, and a pleasant way to refresh palates before the main course. I was presented with Oven Roasted Sea Bass Fillets. This was two crispy-skinned fillets on a bed of crushed new potatoes, spinach and smoked salmon. A dressing of sun-dried tomato and wine flavoured the dish. It was really delicious and I would thoroughly recommend it. The Editor’s main of Pan Fried Free Range Chicken Supreme in a Diane Sauce looked very good. This chicken sat on sautéed potatoes and mushrooms and was greatly enjoyed. “Succulent and full of flavour,” said The Editor, “I’d normally imagine Steak with a Diane Sauce but the peppered mushroom/gravy flavour works really well with chicken. A wise decision not to go the whole hog and flambé it at the table too!” No room for a pud you are probably thinking, as were we, but the arrival of a dessert platter board with Homemade Honeycomb, Marshmallow, Rocky Road, Fresh Strawberries and a Warm Chocolate of avocado in it. This was a relief because at Dip, changed our minds! This is a great first glance I had thought that the portion size sharing board as long as you have a dining was a bit generous. John explained partner who knows how to share. I that it could be served as a small did not!! main but all the flavours were so ‘For the dessert Twist @Wendover really has delicate I had no difficulty in the package. You can platter you need holdwhole polishing it off! a breakfast meeting with a partner who The Editor actually enjoyed free Wi-Fi included, a coffee the Grilled Halloumi and catch up with friends, a light knows how Tortilla salad too, even though lunch or sophisticated evening to share...’ meal, he mumbled about it not being the plus there’s a great bar which kind of thing he would usually order. comes alive at night and even the Grilled Mediterranean vegetables and salad occasional Disco night with dancing! Twist is greens were sat on top of a deep fried, puffed a fun place, it’s not at all pretentious and the up tortilla. Again, it was light and fresh and a staff are lovely! good sized starter or enough for a light snack. l Twist, 20 High Street, Wendover, As this was a ‘working’ lunch, I was sadly Buckinghamshire, HP22 6AR steered away from the extensive wine list, Tel; 01296 696380 which is a varied and carefully thought out Email: collection of wines from around the world. Website: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


l Recipe:

Jack Bull, Head Chef, The James Figg

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Scotch Eggs Serves 8

Ingredients: 8 free-range eggs 400g of good free-range sausage meat 1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley Pinch of salt and pepper To coat: 2 free-range eggs 100g plain white flour 100g breadcrumbs What to do: Place the 8 free range eggs into boiling water for 6 minutes, then plunge into ice cold water. Mix together the sausage meat, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper. Place 60g of sausage meat in between two layers of grease proof paper and press. Once the sausage meat is flat, wrap around a pealed egg and place into the fridge to set for one hour. Roll the coated eggs into flour, then

Platter of Scotch Eggs, Crispy Fried Chicken and Savoury Tart

onto the egg wash and finally in the breadcrumbs. Deep fry the eggs at a temperature of 180° degrees for three minutes or until crispy. Place into a moderate oven for about 5 minutes or until the Scotch eggs are cooked through. Serve with brown sauce. Ideally, serve in a wide rimmed soup plate with additional Parmesan offered separately.

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

Welcome... Andy and Emma welcome you to The Boot, modern country pub and eating house, in the heart of the picturesque Chiltern Hills. Come and celebrate our first anniversary at The Boot! We’re open all May Bank Holiday Weekend -Monday 26th too! Bouncy Castle and lots of fun!

The Big Boot Weekender Friday, July 11th: The Boot Ball Saturday, July 12th: Beer Festival: Starts 12noon, live band afternoon and evening plus Hog Roast Sunday, July 13th: Classic Car & Motorbike Rally, 12noon, BBQ available

Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 | Email: Website: 68

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


love simple food done well and this Scotch egg is a perfect example of that. It’s hand-made in the pub here, by me, with great quality ingredients, such as fantastic free-range pork from Jimmy Butler’s organic farm in Suffolk - we insist on meat from the female pigs or sows, which is softer and sweeter, and we always use fresh, local eggs. I’m passionate about finding and using great quality produce and

Jack Bull knowing where it comes from. I love this kind of food because to me it’s what great pub food should be - good, simple fare made with top notch ingredients. “It’s what good British pubs have been crying out for!” Jack Bull, 24, is Head Chef at The James Figg in Thame.

l The James Figg, 21 Cornmarket,

Thame, Oxon OX9 2BL. Tel: 01844 260 166 Web:

Ian & Elle welcome you to

l Column: Katy Butler - mix96

The George & Dragon

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

New Early Bird Menu up and running: Monday to Thursday 5.45pm-6.45pm, 2 courses only £10 l


New Summer Menu from May 1st


Sunday Lunch Menu


Friday and Saturday Steak Night 10oz Rump or 8oz Ribeye Steak, mushrooms, onion rings, tomatoes and chips, plus a bottle of House Red or White for only £30 PER COUPLE!

Friday Night is Live Music Night, Live Music every week from 9.30pm (time to book dinner first) l

l Accommodation available: our guest rooms are rated 4 Star by The AA Guide

The Restaurant is open: Mon-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm Sunday Roasts: 12pm-4pm (booking advised) Great outdoor decking area, ideal for eating and drinking in the sun! The George & Dragon, 74 High Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0AX Tel: 01844 343087 Email:


ou can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life. See that girl, watch that scene, digging the Dancing Queen!” I think I can safely say that most people will know which song these lyrics are from! It holds a special place in my heart as it was my Grandma’s favourite and reminds me of her, not to mention the fact that it was the first song we ever played on 96.2fm, 20 years ago! I have a picture of me 20 years ago (which thankfully hasn’t found its way to the print of this edition!) wearing what can only be described as a dress made out of curtain fabric, (think, The Sound of Music). That was my very fetching bridesmaid’s dress which I was donning at the ripe old age of 11 on one special day in April 1994. Here at Mix96 it was the launch of Aylesbury Vale’s first ever local radio station and on the 15th April this year we celebrated that fact, with many an embarrassing photo from the past, party games-aplenty and of course, a very large cake! I felt quite privileged to be broadcasting the breakfast show with Darren that day but really it was the listeners providing our content. I might well remember that over the course of the last two decades

Happy Birthday Mix96!

The Queen and Prince Philip came to Waddesdon Manor for its official reopening in 1995, that World Cup fever hit Aylesbury when the England football team trained at Aylesbury United’s ground in 2002 and that The London 2012 Paralympic flame was lit at Stoke Mandeville Stadium - birthplace of the Paralympics. But it was our listeners who got all nostalgic; Trish who remembered listening to Mix96 whilst delivering her son at Stoke Mandeville Hospital 9 years ago, Tracey who told us a song dedicated to her and her daughter at Christmas helped her get through the worst traffic jam of her life and Wendy, who received a call in 1998 as she sat in a hair salon and was told she was our Bride of The Week! These small moments, that we’ve been a part of over the years really stay in people’s hearts and it’s just lovely. If you remember Mix96 right back in the early days or want to know more about its history, you can listen to a very special birthday podcast with the founders of the station, on line at So here’s to another 20 years! .

l Catch Katy weekdays from 6am-9am on 96.2fm Website: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Stuart Robb


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

The Dung Beatles are at this year’s HOTC on August 24th

Cobblers! H

Stuart Robb

Turn it up! Stuart Robb is an award-winning music professional who has supported the local music scene for over 15 years. He ran his own successful record label, and has organised countless gigs and music festivals (including Hobble on the Cobbles). Stuart is now actively supporting Friars Aylesbury, and the British Guitar Academy. Contact Stuart with local gig and music news at: Add gigs to our website what’s on diary at:

Live Music Friday 23 May: Replica Rockaholics, 10.30pm ShootPool, Aylesbury. Open Mind, 9pm The Aristocrat, Aylesbury. Saturday 24 May: Devastation, 10.15pm The Rising Sun, Thame. 5th Element, 9pm The Bell, Tring. The Synthetix, 9pm ShootPool, Aylesbury. Sunday 25 May: Jam Night, 8pm The Queen’s Head, Aylesbury. Friday 30 May: Incognito, 10.40pm ShootPool, Aylesbury. Hustler, 9.30pm The Aristocrat, Aylesbury. Saturday 31 May: Hustler, 9.30pm The Green Man, Aylesbury. F*Awesome, 10.30pm ShootPool, Aylesbury. Blind Man’s Buff, 9pm The Bell, Tring. Friday 6 Jun: Cry Wolf, 10.45pm ShootPool, Aylesbury. Get Funky, 9.30pm The Aristocrat, Aylesbury. Saturday 7 Jun: Rockbone, 9pm The Bell, Tring. Sinfiction, 9pm The James Figg pub, Thame. Friday 13 Jun: Mark Cann, 9pm The Green Man, Aylesbury. Larry Miller, 8pm QPC, Aylesbury. 70

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

obble On The Cobbles has been called ‘Buckinghamshire’s largest free all-day music festival’, and 2014 marks the seventh year this fabulous event has taken place in Aylesbury town centre. Another fantastic line-up for HOTC has been confirmed for this year as it makes a welcome return to Aylesbury town centre, on August 24th from 12noon-8pm, courtesy of Aylesbury Town Council and as usual, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from ska to heavy rock, to pop to acoustic singer-songwriters... So a big thank you to all the bands already confirmed including SkasoulsUK, Sinfiction, Open Mind, Frowser, Without Reason, The Dung Beatles, NBS and El Bronson to name but a few. We are also very excited to announce Goldheart Assembly will be performing at HOTC this summer. If you haven’t heard of them before, I definitely recommend you check them out. Full schedules and programmes will be available online in due course, so keep reading Vale Life and checking out all our social media pages, and the official website: www. For those of you who aren’t familiar with HOTC, let me give you a quick trip back in time... Hobble On The Cobbles was, I believe, originally a free public music event that ran in Aylesbury Market Square back in the 1970s – basically running in conjunction with the then Aylesbury Carnival.


It continued to run consecutively till 1977, showcasing local bands, groups and performers from morris dancers to rock bands. On Sunday August 13th 1978, Friars promoter David Stopps organised an event with John Otway, who headlined in front of a packed audience of about 20,000 people in Aylesbury Town Centre. This major event (incidentally not called HOTC) was known as Open Air Otway, and also featured local bands such as The Vice Creems, Power Take Off, and TCOJ. Fast forward to 2005, and I, together with a small team wanted to bring music back to Aylesbury on a grand scale. We simply wanted to create a popular event for the town, while also continuing to promote the local music scene. So that’s what we did! In August 2006, we invited Otway back to Aylesbury to headline Market Square, - the first time in 28 years - and the event has kept growing year on year ever since, despite a two-year break in 2011, when the event was postponed, mainly due to budget cuts, and in 2012 due to the Olympics and Paralympics. But it was warmly welcomed back by music fans and the town last summer, when 60s legends The Searchers performed to an enthusiastic and vocal Market

Square crowd, who were singing along to the hits. In 2006, headliner Otway introduced his old friend and band mate Wild Willy Barrett to join him on stage for a couple of songs. Then in 2007, the original members of Marillion joined headliner Fish on stage to perform their 1982 debut single ‘Market Square Heroes’. The following year saw not only Eddie & The Hot Rods headline Market Square but The Chopper Club celebrated its 35th Anniversary by riding into Aylesbury, and parking on the top floor of the Civic Centre car park to create a spectacular static display. In fact they enjoyed the event so much, they asked if they could return for their 40th anniversary last year, so we arranged for 750 bikers to ride into Aylesbury once again specifically as part of Hobble On The Cobbles. 2009 saw the newly reformed Kajagoogoo, complete with original singer Limahl, 2010 had very popular local band The Red Bullets headline, and as I mentioned earlier, last year The Searchers were top of the bill. So, we’ve pretty much covered ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’00s.... maybe ’90s band Jamiroquai may like to perform one year...!?

Peakin’ at the Beacon... B

eacon Festival is a high summer weekend of music, art and fun. A boutique family event celebrating the longest day of summer high up on The Chiltern Hills of South Oxfordshire. It may be the furthest point from the sea but there will be a hot, holiday feel to this event - definitely the epitome of summer with a weekend of enlightened entertainment and the best sunset for miles! Beacon Festival brings a new vibe to a legendary place.

Staged at Watlington Hill Farm, the site of the infamous Music On The Hill festival, Beacon Festival takes place on June 20th-22nd. See: ongratulations to local rock band Without Reason who recently signed to indie music label NUB Country Records. Their debut single ‘Weakest Defence’ will be released this month, with their single launch-party booked for May 30th at Esquires in Bedford. Check out: www.withoutreason. net for full details.



ylesbury/Serbian musician Pete Kosanovich has re-released his debut album. Find out more about Pete at: ur Allegory is the brand new single from the long awaited debut solo album ‘20 Odd Years’ by Paul Adams, founder member of local music community DreamChaser Entertainment. It has been available online from the beginning of this May. Visit:










Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

John Smith

Towersey Festival is 50 this year! The fabulous folk-tinged family feast of music, dance, food, drink and fun is right on our doorsteps and boasting an amazing line up of top talent this year...


amed independent festival Towersey celebrates its 50th anniversary in August (Thursday 21st to Monday 25th, 2014) with what promises to be a very special five-day event. Among those taking to part in the festival’s half-century birthday celebrations are folk rock and guitar legend Richard Thompson, Mercury Music Prize nominee Seth Lakeman and the multi BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning Lau. They’ll be joined by Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy and Martin Carthy, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Georgia Ruth, Dick Gaughan, John Smith, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, The Urban Folk Quartet, and many more. The Bootleg Beatles, arguably the world’s biggest tribute act, will be headlining the opening night spectacular where they’ll be marking 50 years since The Beatles’ Help! hit number one, while The Chipolatas have a very special Takeover Night featuring cabaret, music, comedy and international guests planned for Sunday night. It was way back in 1965 that Towersey Village locals, looking for ways to fund urgent renovations to the village hall, decided to launch a festival. From a one-day event, it was soon expanded to three days and a major, arts festival was born. Music has always been at the heart of the festivities, but the modern day Towersey Festival also embraces poetry, comedy, theatre, circus performers, visual arts, films,

Picture from last year’s Big Top

workshops, dances, storytelling and great food. Towersey’s Children’s Festival is a major attraction, featuring everything from drop-in craft activities to baby reflexology, while other highlights include Shooting Roots, a programme of activities dedicated to, and run by, young people, and a Real Ale and Cider Festival, featuring a range of artisan beers and ciders, many from the surrounding area. “We’re very proud indeed to be celebrating Towersey Festival’s Golden Jubilee,” says Festival Director Joe Heap, whose grandfather was one of the festival founders. “The annual

l Towersey Festival runs from Thursday, August 21st, to Monday, August 25th, 2014. Towersey Playing Field, Thame Road, Towersey, Oxfordshire, OX9 3QF Tickets: 023 8071 1818 Web: Twitter: @towerseyfesti Facebook: Towerseyfestival

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

event has grown considerably since those early days, but it remains one of the most welcoming and friendly festivals in the UK. “We’re looking forward to marking 50 years, and also welcoming friends both old and new.” Tickets for the full festival start from £120 (until 31st May)/£135 (from 1st June) for an adult. 5-11 year olds are £55, and under 5s free. Camping tickets are also available (£145/£160 adult). Day tickets (Fri-Mon) are £10-£40. Concessions also available. For further information and to book tickets, call 023 8071 1818 or see: Special Offer for Local Residents: If you live in Thame or Towersey, adult Resident Season Tickets are available for the entire festival for just £70. That’s nearly half-price! These tickets are available only by calling 01629 827016.

The Urban Folk Quartet

The world’s premier Beatle band

The Bootleg


£22 £11 conc.

plus support

Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of all time...

RICHARD THOMPSON “The Finest rock songwriter after Dylan” - LA Times

£20 £10 conc.

Plus support from Blair Dunlop and Merry Hell and late night dance party with Rusty Shackle

Mercury Music Prize nominee

SETH LAKEMAN Plus support from Welsh music prize winner Georgia Ruth and late night Cajun dance party with the The Flatville Aces

£20 £10 conc.

a night of circus, music, , dance, DJ and magic... clowning

he Chipolatas TTAKEOVER NIGHT with special guest Eliza Carthy Plus Late night dance party with The Glorystrokes

£20 £10 conc. The

50th Festival Finale with...

£20 / £10 conc.

The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble

The biggest sound on the scene as more than 30 of the UK’s hottest young musicians whip up a storm for the last night of the big 50th Festival

Or try a

Towersey/ Thame

Residents ticket from

£ 70

Towersey, near Thame Full Day tickets from £ 40 and Full Weekend tickets from £ 109

Or try a Towersey / Thame Residents ticket from

Tickets from

£ 70 and experience 10 stages and over 30 events each day.

or telephone

023 8071 1818

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

This year Wendover celebrates the 800th anniversary of their market Charter being granted to Lord of the Manor Hugh de Gurnay, by King John. All are invited, let the festivities commence...


ollowing the great success of their Jubilee and Olympics celebration in 2012, Wendover has once again found good reason to put on a bit of a party In view of the very historic occasion that is to be marked, a medieval style fete and fun day has been planned for Sunday May 25th, with a concert in the evening by popular singer and ex X-Factor contestant Andy Abrahams to bring things back up to date. The event starts at midday with a carnival parade through the village to end at the John Colet School Playing Fields, where an afternoon of fun, games and entertainment will commence. There will be a Medieval style ‘It’s a Knockout Competition’ going on through the afternoon. Teams of 10 may enter the competition with a fee of £100 per team payable in advance. So get your friends/club/society Andy Abraham together and join in the fun! Other attractions on the day include: l The Medieval Combat Society bringing the 14th century to life with their Medieval Village, sword fighting, archery and dancing. l Falconry display

The Stocks!

l Children’s tent with a circus skills workshop, medieval story teller and a mini disco. l Performances on stage from local schools and groups l Local food and drink stalls l Stocks and Pillory l Stalls and displays from local charities and organisations This afternoon event is free to enter. Please note that there is no onsite public car parking (except disabled). Please use Ashbrook Playing Field on Aylesbury Road to park and walk from there if you need to drive. The evening concert starts at 6pm and will feature a selection of local bands offering a wide range of musical styles, headlined by Andy Abraham, left,one of Britain’s most exciting male vocalists. Andy is a platinumselling recording artist who has performed to millions around the world and has released four studio albums - his most recent release ‘Remember When…’ selling in excess of half a million records. Andy shot to fame when he finished runner-up on world famous TV show X-Factor in 2005. His soulful voice and down to earth personality saw him wow his mentor

Sharon Osbourne, the judges and the public week after week as he took classic songs such as ‘Unforgettable’, ‘The Greatest Love of All’ and ‘Me and Mrs Jones’ and made them his own with soaring, searing, soulful renditions. The evening concert is ticketed. Tickets cost £10 for adults 18+, £5 for Youths 13-17, and are free for children 12 and under (they must have a ticket though). Tickets can be bought online from the Wendover Celebrates! website or from Peach Lane Studios on Aylesbury Road, Wendover. For further information see: l Wendover Celebrates! 32 High St, Wendover, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EA Email: Web: Wendover Celebrates! is a charitable notfor-profit company incorporated for the benefit of the community of Wendover. The two major beneficiaries of this event will be: PACE and the RAF Benevolent Fund.

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Kat Newman

Potter: Jane Hanson

Yellow signs point the way to the county’s biggest visual art event - Bucks Open Studios - where artists and artisans present fantastic free workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions...

Y Hazel Williams

Sarah Rooms-Heaphy gives a demonstration

Potter Peter Stocker shows off his skills

ou know Spring has well and truly sprung when little yellow signs begin to emerge across Buckinghamshire. The Bucks Open Studios’ markers pop up every year and herald the beginning of the county’s biggest visual art event, which this year takes place from June 7th-22nd. It’s an opportunity for members of the public to visit local painters, textile artists, jewellers, photographers, furniture designers, ceramicists and many other gifted artists in their studios and see FREE workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions. So if you’ve ever seen the yellow signs and wondered what they are for, let them lead you to pay some of your local artisans a visit. There is an amazing wealth of talent within Buckinghamshire, and Bucks Open Studios covers a vast array of artistic disciplines and levels of involvement, from professional artists with international reputations to passionate hobbyists. They are a friendly bunch of people and would be delighted to demonstrate the work that they do. Whether you are an art enthusiast or just fancy an interesting day out, you can talk directly to the artists about their work, watch demonstrations and even be inspired to take up a new hobby. A small sample of the participating artists from Aylesbury Vale include: Peter Stocker (pictured left) Landscape inspired studio pottery: Peter draws inspiration from the views of the fields and hedgerows around his studio and his work tries to reflect the unique patterns and gentle folds of local landscape. He will be demonstrating at the Obsidian Gallery during Bucks Open Studios. Obsidian Art Gallery, Layby Farm, Stoke Mandeville. HP22 5XJ. Tel: 01296 612150 Website: Obsidian’s Bucks Open Studios’ event is June 6th-July 6th, 2014 and includes a high calibre exhibition of art and craft in a wide

range of media by some of the best selected artists and makers from Buckinghamshire. The Crafty Four - Jewellery, textiles and pottery: Participants Alison Court (textiles), Jacky Russell (textiles), Jane Hanson (ceramics, pictured above) and Tiny van der Velde (jewellery and textiles). Pop in for a browse, chat and a cup of tea just around the corner from the Methodist Church. They are all artists who love making beautiful things. If the materials are reclaimed, then even better! You can see silver jewellery, textile experiments, fine thrown stoneware in vibrant colours and colourful bags for everyday and special occasions. Baptist Church School Room, Stockwell, off Crabtree Road, Haddenham HP17 8AX. Tel: 07742 434278. Little Kimble Art Group Fine arts and artisan crafts are displayed in the charming Stewart Hall by a friendly group who are known for the relaxed atmosphere and their cream teas! Students are especially welcome on Thursdays when talks will be given. Artists will be demonstrating on Sunday June 15th. The Kimble Stewart Hall, Station Road, Little Kimble HP17 0XN. Tel: 01296 622053 To find out more about Bucks Open Studios 2014 artists, venues and opening times please visit: You can also pick up a free guide from local libraries, arts centres and tourist information centres. l Bucks Open Studios Web: Email: Tel: 01296 614283

Like us on Facebook: Open Studios Follow us on Twitter @Bucksopenstudios Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Midnight Walk Sign-Up Day, Harris & Hoole, Tesco Broadfields, Aylesbury - Thursday 5th June Come along, find out more and register to take part on the day! 10am-1pm Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Five years on, the Midnight Walk in aid of Florence Nightingale Hospice is more popular than ever. Registration for this year’s event is now open - get your bunny ears on and join the ladies in pink...


In the pink: Bunny ears galore as last year’s entrants ready themselves for the big event. Mix96 presenter Katy Brown is in centre at front in white top. Picture courtesy of the Bucks Herald.

A silver twist! This year is a very special one as the Florence Nightingale Hospice is celebrating 25 years of providing specialist palliative care to local people, including children and adults. In honour of this fantastic milestone, 25 Silver ballot places have been awarded to male walkers for the anniversary year-only, with one of the lucky recipients being a 12-year-old boy who is taking on the challenge as a ‘thank you’ to the Florrie’s Children’s Hospice at Home Team, who care for his younger sister.

‘Let’s paint the town pink for one very special night’

f you want to be part of something big and make a difference locally, the Nightingale Gemstone Midnight Walk, on Saturday 12th July, in aid of the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC), is the event for you! Registration for the fifth consecutive ladies’ Midnight Walk is now open, and this year organisers hope to hit a fundraising target that totals £300,000 since the event launched in 2010. With both a six and a 13 mile walking challenge across Aylesbury on offer, the event is accessible to a wide range of ages (12+) and abilities. FNHC hopes to see over 750 ladies pounding the streets this year, with plenty of pink T-shirts and flashing bunny ears to literally ‘paint the town pink’.

About the 2014 route Also new for 2014 is a single location for the start and finish in Aylesbury College for both the six- and 13-mile routes, which means some tweaks have been made to the walking circuit to make it a new experience for those walkers who have taken on the Midnight Walk over the past four years. Aylesbury College will play host to the event build-up on the night, with a fantastic stage show setting (thanks to Class Act) planned from 10pm to get walkers in the mood. Acts on the night include The Zefrons, a performance from the charity’s ‘Strictly Florence’ event winners Sian McCarthy and Mark Henderson, plus soloist Sophie Ray will be entertaining walkers on the night.

You can enter online at:, pop in to any Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity shop in Aylesbury, Wendover, Winslow, Chinnor and Leighton Buzzard, or the Charity’s Furniture Warehouse on Chamberlain Road (off Bicester Rd) Aylesbury, or Thame Information Centre, located at Thame Town Hall and fill out an entry form. Download a printable version of the entry form at: Getting the party started for a second year will be Mix96 Breakfast favourite Katy Brown (née Butler) and the popular Mix96 Street Stars. Commenting on the event, FNHC spokesperson Karen Shardlow said: “Since 2010 around 3,000 walkers have donned the pink bunny ears to light up the night sky as

we all set off to take on the challenge. This year, walkers will be able to purchase a few different accessories including silver tinsel wigs in celebration of our silver jubilee year.” How YOU can take part Registration for the event costs £15 (same price since 2010), to include a pink T-shirt, souvenir medal and a hot or cold breakfast on completion of the challenge. Refreshments are also available along both routes via the event ‘pit-stops’. Ladies are being encouraged to be as creative as possible when decorating and customising T-shirts. “We really want to see lots of sparkle this year in our 25th anniversary year,” explained Karen. “Previous events have seen feathers, sequins, glitter, tassels, jewels - you name it!” Find out more about the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity at:

l Website: Facebook: florencenightingalehospice Twitter: @fnhospice Linkedin: florence-nightingale-hospice-charity

Thanks to our sponsors Mix 96, Premier Windows, Aylesbury College, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Bucks Herald, A Splash of Colour. 76

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

A visit to Blenheim Palace is always a fantastic day out but from June 20-22 there’s the added attraction of Blenheim Flower Show, a star-studded horticultural extravaganza...


he much-anticipated Blenheim Palace Flower Show is set to burst into bloom in June to celebrate the very best of gardening in the UK. Thanks to the overwhelming success of its debut last year, the stunning show, organised by Aztec Events, will return to the grounds of the Oxfordshire stately home from 20-22 June 2014. Packed with inspiration and vibrant colour, the sweet-smelling event will feature over 150 floral and garden exhibitors. Some of the UK’s finest landscape designers such as Nicholsons, Green Art, Slate Grey and Prime Design will be displaying breath-taking outdoor spaces to showcase their exquisite design work. Elsewhere the stunning 25,000sqft Grand Floral Pavilion, which forms the main centerpiece of the show, will play host to a selection of the UK’s finest nurseries including D’Arcy Everest, Eagle Sweet Peas and Oska Copperfield Nurseries. It will also provide the perfect place to speak to the show’s growing crop of celebrity experts. On hand to open the three-day show will be horticultural expert Monty Don. Best known for presenting the BBC television series Gardeners’ World the writer and speaker will be welcoming and sharing his extensive gardening knowledge with visitors. Meanwhile, on Saturday, June 21, presenter, author and gardener Joe Swift will be joined

by ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter Frances Tophill in the Experts Theatre. Joe will be talking about landscaping, garden design and home gardening while Frances will be encouraging people to get out into their gardens and to make the most of whatever space they have. The ever-popular Ground Force television duo Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh are back in action on Sunday, June 22. Charlie will be entertaining visitors with expert advice on choosing and installing water features and Tommy will be sharing knowledge and tips on various garden building projects. “No summer flower show could hope for a finer setting than Woodstock’s Blenheim Palace,” says Matt Upson, director of Aztec Events. “Given the success of the 2013 show, we expect to attract 40 thousand this year.

“Once again we’re expecting visitors of all ages from right across the UK and not just keen gardeners. Our show is also popular with those passionate about food, local heritage and the great British outdoors as the elegant palace provides a stunning backdrop to rival those offered by the Chelsea and Hampton Court shows.” Built by Vanbrugh and now home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and their family, visitors to the Blenheim Palace Flower Show can also visit the beautiful surrounding landscaped parkland and gardens free of charge. The inspirational World Heritage Site, which was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, offers a memorable day out in its own right. For more information or to book discounted advance tickets to the Blenheim Palace Flower Show, visit the website: Tickets are priced from £12.50 adults and £6.50 for children at the gate. Concessions and family tickets are also available. Parking is free and dogs are allowed on a lead (no dogs are permitted inside the Palace building). l Blenheim Palace Flower Show, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP 10am-5pm, June 20-22 Web: Blenheim website:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Ben Richards and cast in rehearsal for Rock of Ages Pic: Manuel Harlan

Move over Summer of Love, this is the Summer of Rock, so slip on your spandex leggings, sweatbands and shades and prepare to headbang along to some classic rock anthems...


he award-winning smash hit musical Rock of Ages is strutting on to the Waterside stage as part of its major 2014 UK tour in Jun – for one week only! Following a three-year run in London’s West End, Aylesbury audiences will have the chance to rock along to this ovation-inducing rocktacular starring Ben Richards ( 9 to 5 The Musical) as rock god Stacee Jaxx and Noel Sullivan ( We Will Rock You) as Drew Boley. Ben Richards is best known for playing Bruno Milligan in ITV hit-television series

Ben Richards

Footballers Wives, along with roles in The Bill and Holby City, and as a regular judge on the BBC’s Strictly Dance Fever. He returns to the stage in Rock of Ages after an extensive career in London’s West End and around the UK. Previous theatre credits include Sky Masterton in Guys and Dolls (West End and UK tour), Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (West End and UK tour), and Jerry Lukowski in The Full Monty (West End). The cast have all been working hard in rehearsal, but star of the show Ben, took time out for an exclusive interview with Vale Life Magazine: What attracted you to the role of Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages? Ben: “The script essentially. It’s funny and witty, slightly irreverent and filled with great songs. I especially liked the role of Stacee Jaxx, because in truth, most guys my age grew up wanting to be that rock god! So a chance to play him is amazing.” The show did well in London. What does it offer regional audiences? Ben: “This show might in some ways be

more suited to regional audiences than to London ones, because I think people are more up for having a good time in their local theatre than they are going into London to see the show in the West End.” As you’re the first to tour the show as Stacee Jaxx, do you have free reign to develop the role as you wish? Ben: “My Stacee Jaxx is a pretty unique one. Whenever I read a character for the first time, I go with what comes off the page for me and I have been very fortunate working with directors who allowed that. Luckily, with this show that has carried on and I’ve been given a lot of freedom within the boundaries and structure of the show.” What’s your favourite song in the show? Ben: “I love to hear Cherrie sung by Noel Sullivan, it’s so catchy and Noel sings it so well, but I am equally lucky to get to sing the Foreigner classic I Want To Know What Love Is and Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi and to join in with everyone else – including the audience! – with Don’t Stop Believing!”

Warning: this show may unleash your inner rock god, ha 78

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Ben Richards and cast in rehearsal for Rock of Ages Pic: Manuel Harlan How does it feel going from Oliver! to Rock of Ages? Ben: “One of my mantras is to change it up; I try not to do the same type of project twice in a row, so to go from an Edwardian thug to an 80s rock god is perfect for me. I enjoy the process of playing completely different parts, it’s what keeps me on my toes.”

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

What do enjoy about touring? Ben: “I love seeing different parts of this beautiful country of our’s and performing in front of different people - each city has its own heartbeat and the people in it their own personalities.” How do you relax when you’re on tour? Ben: “With great difficulty! Netflix is a lifesaver: I’m currently getting through Californication. I spend a lot of time in the gym, too, to keep fit for performing.” What’s the best thing for you about Rock of Ages? Ben: “The heart and sentiment of this show are the most wonderful. The obvious answer would be the great songs we sing, but I love the show’s message and you can tell the amount of love that’s been instilled in it from its birth.” Noel Sullivan stars alongside Ben as Drew Boley. Noel is currently playing Tick in the UK and Ireland tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and has previously starred as Galileo in We Will Rock You and Danny Zuko in Grease, both in the West End. Sullivan is also well-known as a member of the pop group

Noel Sullivan Hear’Say, completing multiple arena tours with the band. His TV Credits include: Gavin and Stacey, Popstars, Meet the Popstars, Hear’say It’s Saturday, Hear’say the Next Chapter, The Royal Variety Show and Top Of The Pops. It looks like the Vale is set for a rockin’ good summer with Rock of Ages providing the ultimate mix-tape musical backing for rock fans. It’s an hilarious story of dreams, love and - of course - rock. A celebration of classic 80s rock culture, and memorable hits

Live Screening: A Small Family Business

Mon 12th June


Mon 16th to Wed 18th June

Immortal Chi

Thu 19th & Fri 20th June

The Chuckle Brothers

Sat 21st June

Ian English Boodlum Band

Fri 27th June

Rock of Ages

Mon 30th June to Sat 5th July

Roy Orbison and Friends

Fri 11th July

Money Penny Murder Mystery Night (Second Space)

Sat 12th July

Abba Reunion – A Tribute Show

Sat 12th July

Evita starring Marti Pellow

Mon 14th to Sat 19th July

Annie Get Your Gun

Tue 22nd to Sat 26th July

such as We Built This City, The Final Countdown, I Wanna Know What Love Is and Don’t Stop Believin’. Book now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit (bkg fee). l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

ave you reaching for your air guitar and rockin’ in the aisles! Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


by Cathy Soughton

The Court House


The Court House, Aylesbury


ention County Hall to any local person, and they will probably conjure up an image of the 1960s concrete tower block in Walton Street in Aylesbury. However this was not the first County Hall built in the town - that honour goes to the 18th century building at the bottom of Market Square which is now the Crown Court. There had been rivalry between Aylesbury and Buckingham for a couple of centuries regarding which one should be considered the county town. Whilst Buckingham had originally been granted that status and had lent its name to the county, in practice, since the Tudor period, Aylesbury was regarded as the county town and the majority of the Assize Courts (predecessors of the Crown Court) were held in the town. In 1720 it was decided to rebuild the old gaol and court house in Aylesbury and two local architects submitted plans for a County Hall which were judged by John Vanbrugh the architect best known for designing Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard (a cheaper option than paying him to submit plans himself!). He chose a design by Thomas Harris of Cublington; it is not known if he accepted them without any modifications, although he almost certainly wouldn’t have designed a building himself

with prominent drainpipes placed between the windows. Work commenced in 1722 but was suspended for 13 years from 1724 due to lack of funds and political feuding and the building was finally completed in 1740. Built in a classical Palladian style, with some baroque features, it is one of the first examples of a provincial Palladian building. It was constructed in red brick with stone dressings and seven bays - the middle three crowned with a pediment decorated with three large stone urns. The far left ground floor window was originally the entrance to the gaol whilst the county emblem, the Buckingham swan adorns the wrought iron over the central door. Unless called up for Jury Service, most people probably won’t see the interior of the building, which contains a stately staircase and a grand panelled court room. This was destroyed by fire

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

in 1970 but restored in every detail, including box pews, a gallery and a raised judge’s seat. Both Assize Courts and the local Quarter Sessions courts were held at the County Hall and there were a number of notorious cases heard for crimes including murder and highway robbery. Those found guilty were often sentenced to death including those charged with lesser crimes such as sheep stealing and wounding of deer. In the 19th century progressively fewer executions were carried out and convicts were often transported instead. Between 1810 and 1845 those who were still condemned to die were hung from a drop below the County Hall’s upper middle window. The executions attracted huge crowds and the Bucks Herald estimated around 6000 ‘less respectable’ people crowded into the Market Square to watch the 1845 execution of John Tawell who had poisoned his mistress. In 1845 a new prison was built on Bierton Road (now the Young Offenders prison) and new Judge’s lodgings were constructed in 1849-50 at the back of County Hall to replace the old gaol. The new Buckinghamshire County Council established in 1888 was based here until the Old County Offices were built in Walton Street in the 1920s. l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and house history research in Bucks and adjacent counties: Tel: 01296 624845 Web: Email:

All the fun of the farm


ledlow Country Show and Princes Risborough Young Farmers’ Club Rally takes place on May 31st at Manor House Farm, Bledlow, this year. The 2014 event is run by Princes Risborough Young Farmers (our local Young Farmers Clubs take it in turns to host this annual show each year) and usually attracts between five and seven thousand visitors. It’s a fun, family day out with the spectacle of Young Farmers’ Clubs fiercely competing at everything from homecrafts, flower arranging and photography, to vehicle handling, welding and the inter-club main ring competitions - the club with the most points scored on the day is awarded the coveted Rally Cup. The Main ring attractions such as: the Parade of Fox Hounds, Dog Agility Competition, Sheepdog Handling, Vintage and Modern Tractor Parade and Tug of War competition are always worth seeing and working demonstrations include: Thatching, Hand Spinning, Wood Turning, Farrier, Lace Making and Heavy Horse Dray Rides - which youngsters love of course. There will be craft demonstrations, a crafts


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Sheepdog demonstration

barn, a Farmers’ Market with lots of local artisan produce, shopping and refreshment stalls too, handicrafts, tug of war, stock competitions, cookery, flower arranging, wood work, country skills photography and much more. The show will appeal to the whole family and is sure to be a great day out, being in the beautiful surroundings of Manor House Farm. Tickets available on gate: Adults £10, Children 5-15yrs £5, Children 4 yrs and under Free. Family ticket (2 adults with up to 3 children) £25. YFC Members £5 with ID.

l Bledlow Country Show & Princes Risborough Young Farmers’ Club Rally, Manor House Farm, Perry Lane, Bledlow, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PA. Saturday, 31st May, 10am-5pm Web: Email: Show secretary: 07803 554078 Show Sponsorship, Trade Stands and Yearbook Advertising: A sponsorship and a trade space booking form can be found on the show website at: Crafts Stands: See website for details.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Pic by Adam Sorensen

Henley Festival is a spectacular annual event. A fabulous five-night party when you can glam up and mingle with the beautiful people amid a magical mix of art, music, food and glamour on the banks of the Thames...


ow in it’s 32nd year, the uber-gorgeous Henley Festival, in partnership with BMW, is a series of truly extraordinary evenings featuring vibrant performances from an array of world class acts. Taking place this year from July 9th-13th, once again on the stunning banks of the River Bryan Thames at Henley, Ferry this eclectic festival has been described as ‘the summer’s greatest party’, offering guests an intimate and magical experience. Only 5,000 tickets are available for each elegant, black tie evening - on sale now - with all proceeds going to The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts. Visit for more information. Some of the world’s finest musical performers are set to appear on the Floating Stage this summer, alongside a spectacular line up from the world of comedy, food, art, sculpture, theatre and performing arts. Starting proceedings on Wednesday, July 9th, is one of the

most stylish and innovative singers in popular music, Bryan Ferry. Thursday, July 10th, features soul diva extraordinaire, Joss Stone, while on Friday, July 11th, one of the most accomplished composers of the 20th Century, the legendary Burt Bacharach takes to the stage. The amazing Jacksons will be boogieing down on Saturday 12th July! Yes! Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito are ready to weave their magic at Henley; and completing the magnificent festival, on Sunday 13th July, are two very special co-headliners, the world class Rebecca Ferguson and charttopping Doo-wop quintet The Overtones who share the bill. Throughout the stunning evenings, a host of appearances will take place across numerous riverside locations. Godfather of stand up Jasper Carrott and the master impressionist Alistair McGowan are passing the baton for an hour of non-stop comedy excellence on Sunday 13th July. Rock giant Rick Wakeman, performs his one man show about life as a keyboard genius, on Friday

Art on the river band


Vale Life : June/July 2012

11th July, and on Saturday 12th July it’s the turn of Perrier Award winner Milton Jones, the hugely entertaining ‘one-liner’ comedian. Bass player Guy Pratt has worked with Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Michael Jackson and Madonna unveils his hilarious accounts of life on the road on Saturday 12th July. Finally, having toured for 29 years, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are simply the best at what they do and their much anticipated performance on Thursday 10th July is a must see! Alongside some of the biggest names in music and entertainment, guests can also sample an exquisite dining experience at Michelin Starred chefs Albert & Michel Roux Jr’s ‘Roux at the Riverside’ restaurant, or one of the many magnificent culinary choices, including The Terrace Restaurant, which overlooks the river and La Scala situated by the Sculpture Lawn. For guests who want the complete festival experience, new for 2014 will be a selection of luxurious Lotus Belles in the picturesque ‘glamping’ area. Shaped like a freshly whipped meringue, each one is incredibly light and spacious and comes furnished with a sumptuously soft, queen sized bed

Performing Art on the river band

The Jacksons

Joss Stone and brushed cotton linen. For more details on restaurants and on site accommodation, visit The Henley Festival hosts an extraordinary selection of magical performances at each unique black tie evening. Don’t miss this chance to experience Henley’s elegance, atmosphere and excitement. l Henley Festival, July 9th-13th, Booking office: 01491 843404 Website:

Rebecca Ferguson

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Here’s the boss Honda CR-V


f there’s one thing I’ve learned never to trust, it’s official fuel consumption figures. Manufacturers shot themselves in the foot providing drivers with on-board computers which give you actual real-time mpg figures - and they’re almost all disappointingly way below what’s officially quoted. But in the case of Honda, it’s ‘never say never’ and I actually trust in what they say. I’ve been converted by the spectacularly successful Honda CR-V’s new 1.6 i-DTEC engine, which has raised plenty of eyebrows with its frugal performance. Official figures quote an excellent 62.8mpg overall - but Honda have proved that that can be regarded as a minimum, given a light foot and some careful driving. Keen to put their theory to the test, Honda entered the CR-V with that ‘Earth Dreams’ engine into the MPG Marathon event covering more than 500 miles of a

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES variety of roads and conditions, at speeds which represent real-world driving. The result? The CR-V clocked up 84.87mpg. And with CO2 emissions as low as 119 g/km, the 1.6i-DTEC diesel qualifies for zero road tax for the first year and as low as £30 annually afterwards. No wonder a number of families I know have actually chosen the CR-V over ‘Chelsea tractor’ gas guzzlers. After nearly 20 years on the market and five million sales, the CR-V has proved its worth worldwide with its car-like driving

Honda CR-V dynamics and SUV security and practicality. Instantly recognisable, despite its current more dynamic and striking stance and details, the CR-V continues to impress on all fronts - Honda themselves mark it as ‘reliable, capable and reassuring’ and it’s hard to argue. The CR-V I have been testing is the two-wheel drive 1.6i-DTEC SE-T manual (£25,425) which certainly makes a design statement, with big road presence. The inverted V-shaped rear, swooping wraparound rear lights, predatory narrow front headlamps,

scalloped bonnet and large, raked screen give the CR-V a character all of its own while generous ground clearance and a high seating position put the driver in a commanding position. Top class build (in Swindon) and practical, classy interiors are another hallmark. Hard black plastics on dash and doors are possibly the only disappointment, being built for durability rather than a tactile feel, but then the CR-V is essentially a working vehicle. This is also shown in the heavyduty rubber mat which covers the


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Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

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l Column: Jonathan Vernon-Smith

Consumer Affairs

Honda CR-V main boot. Ergonomics and displays are excellent and readily understandable, though colour changing eco-lights around the instruments I could live without. That remarkable 1.6i-DTEC engine is remarkably subdued in terms of noise levels and is only a murmur even heard from outside the car. It boasts plenty of zip through the gears, with a clinical, snappy six-speed change and the manual gearbox is set high up on the console readily to hand. One of the most car-like of all the SUVs, the CR-V is satisfying to pilot around, with decently

engaging steering and ever comfortable suspension. Honda’s system for converting the rear seats is brilliantly simple and the maximum luggage area is very generous. The CR-V is hard to fault and still bosses its class. Factfile: Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE-T, 2WD Manual, £25,425 (CR-V prices range from £21,505-£33,215). Key features: Sat-nav; rear view camera; front and rear parking sensors; auto lights and wipers; Bluetooth hands free telephone; economy mode and idle stop.

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


ith the holiday season almost upon us, I thought his month would be a good time for me to warn you about some of the most common holiday related scams that sadly people fall for year after year. It’s seems a basic start, but only book holidays with good reputable companies THAT YOU’VE HEARD OF! It never ceases to amaze me how many people simply google ‘Cheap holiday’ and then part with hundreds of pounds on some website that may or may not be genuine. Always do your research to make sure you are paying a proper UK based company with a good reputation. It’s also advisable to use a company that is both a member of ABTA and ATOL for your protection. Having booked your holiday with a genuine company, the next mistake some people make is to purchase their travel insurance from scamsters rather than a bona fide company. Again use a quality British insurer that will actually answer the phone if you find yourself in need of making a claim from the poolside in Faliraki. Whilst you’re organising your health protection for your holiday, you should be aware that applying for your EHIC European health insurance card (which provides you with free or reduced health care in European countries) SHOULD be FREE! There are lots of websites out there that will charge you a fee for applying for the card on your behalf. Apply directly with the NHS or the post office and avoid be being ripped off! If you’re like me, you’ll probably hire a car while away. There are of course various scams to watch out for with hire cars. Only ever use good, recommended firms, avoid the dodgy little backstreet hire car company that charges half the price of anyone else. You’ll probably find out why they’re so cheap when the wheels fall off. One very important thing to watch out for when hiring a car abroad is that you ensure you have signed paperwork

from the hire car company to confirm the condition of the car. Very often people drop off their hire car in a rush to get their flight home and don’t insist on this. It is imperative! I have known several people (sometimes using wellknown companies) who have returned to the UK, checked their credit card, only to find a £500 charge for ‘damage’ to the car. Trying to prove that you didn’t cause it, when you’re no longer in the country and with no paperwork to support your argument, will be a nightmare. The final holiday scams you MUST be aware of regard the dreaded ‘Timeshares’ or ‘Holiday Clubs’. I lose track of the number of times I’ve dealt with complaints from consumers on my radio programme about these. Picture the scene: You’re strolling down the seafront, all bronzed and relaxed when a lovely, attractive (probably British) person approaches you and offers you either an invitation to an event or a scratch card that will provide you with the invite. Your guard is down as you’re on holiday so you agree. You’ll then be whisked off to a luxury venue, plied with pinot grigio and then forced to endure a hard sell on the advantages of joining their club. Sadly I have known even the most forceful, confident, savvy consumers get caught like this and the results have been awful. Very often timeshare and holiday club contracts are difficult (and in some cases impossible) to get out of. What many people also fail to recognise is that these holiday club memberships are sometimes to be passed down to your children, meaning many years of misery not only for you, but for your family when you’ve died! My advice is that when approached by anyone offering you something ‘for free’, particularly when your guard is down on holiday - KEEP WALKING! l Listen to The JVS Show weekday mornings from 9am on BBC Three Counties Radio: threecountiesradio

Tyres l Brakes l Batteries l Servicing l Exhausts l MOTs Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


l Column: On

Car of the year

A ll makes serviced & R epaired

Peugeot 308


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f you thought the 208 was a step in the right direction for Peugeot, wait till you get a close up look at the new Car of the Year winning 308. It’s a vast improvement on the version it replaces and to be fair it needs to be - the C sector of the market accounts for a third of all sales in Europe so being ‘decent’ just doesn’t woo buyers into the showrooms any more. You need to add in a bit of that French ‘je ne sais quoi’, only in this instance we do know quoi. It’s quality, and a more upmarket feel than you’d have got from 308s of old. The model has been a big seller for the French manufacturer since its launch in 2007 - and the latest version shows no sign of giving up without putting up a fight. The 1.6 litre unit under the bonnet of the model sampled here (a Feline THP 156 listing at £21,345) proves to be livelier than a terrier’s tail at teatime and

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road gave a very good account of itself, the 156 standing for its bhp output. A torque figure of 240Nm from 1400rpm means its accelerating ability is also adequate, 62mph appearing in a matter of 8.4 seconds and a top end of 132mph - impressive figures from just 1598cc. But it’s the bits you can see rather than hear that are the impressive features of this car. Peugeot have effectively decluttered the dash area, so you won’t find it awash with switches,

Tel: 01844 274652

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0 01 A4




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Peugeot 308 buttons and knobs. Like the 208, the main instrument cluster sits above the top edge of the small steering wheel, so an uninterrupted view is guaranteed. There’s no handbrake just a button operating the electric parking brake. And basically, all the information and controls you need are housed in the 9.7 inch centrally located touchscreen. It’s obviously the way to go in this info-tech dominated world, and in reality is fairly easy to use. The huge panoramic sunroof adds to the overall light and airy feel to the cabin – but not every

model will have this, obviously. Driving position is good and the steering wheel is smaller and neater than the norm, flat bottomed, so legroom is unhampered and people of all shapes and sizes should have no problem finding a comfortable position behind the wheel. Gearchange has a nice feel to it, with a reassuring clunky movement. And the steering is nicely weighted, with plenty of feel and response for the driver, so even the slightest wiggle will tell you the wheels have changed their course. One little French quirk you’ll

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Peugeot 308 notice is that the speedo needle flicks from left to right round the dial, while the rev counter needle moves in the opposite direction from right to left. And it’s the same for the fuel and temperature gauges - a different touch. Suspension is nicely compliant, with a bouncy feel to it that gives an acceptable ride quality, even on some of the ropey roads used for this appraisal. A good smooth ride is a definite plus point these days, and the 308 is certainly a good handler, and a forgiving one too. If you feel the need to drive it quickly it’ll let you, without biting back.

Let your eyes linger over the smart new body – certainly the neatest 308 they’ve built to date. It’s difficult to build a five door hatch that’s different from the norm, but the 308 now has a renewed character and style that should win it converts from other marques.

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FASTFACTS: Peugeot 308 Feline THP 156; £21,345; 1598cc 16 valve, 156bhp, 240Nm; six speed manual; top speed 132mph, 0-62mph 8.4 seconds; fuel – urban 35.8, extra urban 61.4, combined 48.7; CO2 134g/km; will it fit the garage? 4253/2043/1457 (l/w/h).

More spec. More technology. More efficiency. Less tax. Less CO2. Less than you’d think. The new Golf. From £199 a month. More spec includes more room inside, more boot space and electronic parking brake with auto-hold. More tech includes post-collision braking system, optional automatic distance control, lane assist and fatigue detection. More efficiency means up to a 23% gain across the range. If you take the 1.6 TDI model, it delivers up to 74.3 mpg on the combined cycle, with just 99g/km resulting in nil road tax. Solutions representative example based on 10,000 miles per annum for a Golf S 1.2 85PS 3-door with metallic paint. Duration

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6.4% APR representative

Model shown includes metallic paint: £16,785. *Payable within first payment. †Payable with optional final payment. Further charges may be payable if vehicle is returned. Indemnities may be required. Subject to status. Available to over 18s. Terms and conditions apply. Retail sales only. Volkswagen Finance, Freepost VWFS. Offer available on orders before March 31st, 2013. Subject to availability. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Certain vehicles excluded. Ask for details. Official fuel consumption in mpg (litre/100km) for the new Golf range: urban 41.5 (6.8) – 61.4 (4.6); extra urban 62.8 (4.5) – 85.6 (3.3); combined 53.3 (5.3) – 74.3 (3.8). CO2 emissions 123 – 99g/km.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

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Win four tickets to the Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show


or the first time this year, Britain’s largest homebuilding, renovating and home improvement shows are joining forces to attract both self-builders and remodelers. The inaugural Southern Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show will take place in Surrey at Sandown Park from 28-29 June to cater for all projects, tastes and budgets. This year’s event will host over 150 exclusive exhibitors, free seminars and masterclasses, and a wide range of property experts will be on call to provide tips, advice and answers to visitors’ property questions. As part of a new national educational initiative, The Department of Energy and Climate Change will be hosting seminars at the exhibition to advise visitors on how to take advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme’s sustainable energy technologies and financial benefits. Visitors can stop by the zone to find out if they qualify for a monetary incentive and access the latest information from RHI experts. For those seeking interior and colour scheme recommendations, the Dulux Design Service Drop-in Clinic hosts professional designers who will help visitors transform their home into a beautiful property.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

One-on-one free consultations are available to help consumers choose the most appropriate accessories and furniture for their renovation project. Planning permission expert, Sally Tagg, will be available at the Planning Clinic for individual 15-minute meetings to guide householders through their planning application, which can be a complicated process. Professional advice and updates on all the relevant rules and regulations will be on hand. The Kingspan Potton Design Lounge is another hot spot where visitors can gain advice on how to design and create a new home. Potton’s self-build experts will be

able to consult on any stage of the housing project, from laying the foundations and erecting the building, to architecture and interior design. Alternatively, visitors can bring their building and renovation plans to a one-on-one meeting with an experienced and dedicated team of creative specialists at The Oakwrights Design Consultation Service, where they will find all the help they need to choose their plot and make construction decisions. With years of experience building oak framed homes, these certified designers can explain the advantages of opting for the Oakwrights build process, which will allow the

flexibility and resistance needed to satisfy the most ambitious demands. For more in-depth information on the crucial aspects of homebuilding and improvement including design, self-build, extensions, remodeling, landscaping, finance, budgeting and legal issues, visitors can attend the free daily seminars and masterclasses hosted by professional companies and key celebrity experts. The Advice Centre is open to discuss project plans and find solutions to any issues by visiting the live theatre demonstrations. To learn how to hang a shelf or frame a painting, the tricks of the trade presentations are hosted by DIY Doctor Mike Edwards, who will show consumers how to tackle these tasks with confidence and ease. If you fancy going to the show and would like the chance of winning four tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where is the Homebuilding & Renovating show being held? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by June 10th, 2014. l The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show, Sandown Park, Surrey, 28-29 June 2014

l Column: Catherine Stoker Learning process

Opening lines of communication Independent education consultant Catherine Stoker advises on matching sixth form subject choices to university course ambitions...


ast week I had a number of conversations with parents about niggles regarding their child’s progress at school, friendship or peer group issues or lack of key information to enable them to support their teenager in making informed decisions about their future. It amazes me that rarely do they seem to have discussed their queries or concerns with the school, choosing instead to seek answers amongst other parents or work colleagues. All too often parents appear to feel they should not be ‘making a fuss’ or interfering in the work of the professionals, leaving responsibility for their child’s education in the hands of the school, until suddenly a relatively large and unforeseen major issue emerges, seemingly out of the blue. Success for any child in education

areas and are well integrated socially. Regular informal communication with key contacts at the school such as the class teacher, Head of Faculty, tutor or Head of Year, raising small worries as and when they occur, will assist parents to maintain an up-to-date picture of progress, behaviour, all-round participation in co-curricular opportunities and to quickly resolve small issues or concerns, before they have time to escalate, un-noticed into a crisis. Learning process If problems do arise in the future, well-established lines of Catherine Stoker communication and a supportive relationship between school should be delivered through a and home will facilitate speedy partnership between school and identification and resolution. home, where parents support and Familiarise yourself with the school reinforce the education message pastoral care structure and follow the delivered at school on an on-going correct process for raising concerns. basis at home. Waiting until the You will find details on the website annual parents’ evening when or in the parent handbook teachers may have 100s of other Pick your battles. Give rational parents to speak to, as well as reading the twice yearly reports seldom gives consideration to your worry rather than flying off the handle. Form a parents an in-depth picture of their balanced view taking account of all child’s contribution at school or angles. Is it of enough significance whether they are working to their true academic potential in all subject to formally raise it? Remember that

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your child is unlikely to be in the right or truthful all of the time. Talk with them, try to get to the bottom of the issue and what might be causing it. You will then be able to talk to the right staff at the school when you have all the facts. Avoid trying to resolve an issue regarding another child yourself, by talking to the child or their parents directly. Always address problems via the school. Addressing concerns diplomatically and reasonably is always a better option. l Catherine Stoker is Managing Director of the Independent Education Consultants, offering timely advice for parents on all aspects of education - from choosing a school, transition at 7+, 11+, 13+ and 16+ to career planning and applying to university. For more details about their team of experts, their services and how they support parents in making the right education choices, visit: www. independenteducationconsultants. Catherine’s blog offers weekly tips for parents on all aspects of education. Follow her via the link http://futureschoolsfairs.blogspot.

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Why not promote your business in Vale Life Magazine? This space only £35 per issue! Vale Life is a quality magazine that local people enjoy reading - not a directory full of adverts! Get your company seen by our 30,000+ readers. We publish eight editions per year (every six weeks) and distribute throughout Aylesbury, Waddesdon, Winslow, Tring, Wendover, Thame, Princes Risborough, Chinnor and surrounding areas. Call Charlie for more details on: 07702 006218 or email:

AJ’s Domestic Appliance Repairs Cookers w Tumble Dryers w Washing Machines w Dishwashers w etc

Engineer with 15 years experience Parts sourced for most competitive prices l Fixed prices on ALL repairs l NO call out charge or hidden costs l Miele Trained Engineer l l

Call: 07917 276965 / 07739 806637 Email: Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


Windmill Services Property Maintenance

For all your property maintenance needs

Andrews of Thame Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Painting & Decorating Property Maintenance Domestic & Commercial Call now for free estimates

Tel: 01844 279519

Tel: 01844 260337 Mobile: 07590 573419

Email: Website:

N R Hearn Glazing Ltd uPVC Installations Sealed Units l Fascia/Soffit/Gutters l Repairs l




Glass Splashbacks Property Maintenance (Handyman jobs)

K Collins Felt & Flat Roofing Specialist Local business, Roofmaster approved Established 1969 We also do slate and tiling repairs, PVC fascia boarding and chimney repointing

Call today for a free estimate 01296 655526 / 07831 465501

Please contact me for a free, no obligation quote


by your local female plumber

Bathrooms small jobs - taps, ballcocks, showers AND FRIENDLY Cylinder and EXPERIENCED tank replacements RELIABLE,TIDY SERVICE Outside taps by your local female plumber Sinks, basins, toilet changes Bathrooms; Leaks; Cylinder and Leaks Tank Replacements; Unvented Cylinder Small Servicing Jobs: Taps, Ballcocks,


Specialists in hardwood and softwood windows

Showers; Outside Taps; Sinks, EXPERIENCED AND FRIENDLY Basins, guaranteed, Toilet Changes; cost RELIABLE, TIDY SERVICE Simple,

Unvented Cylinder Servicing effective devices for saving fuel by your local female plumber (5-20%) and treating limescale Call Gemma on: Simple, guaranteed, cost effective Bathrooms once for fuel all. (5-20%) Free survey devices forand saving and small jobs taps, ballcocks, showers t: 01296 425969 treating limescale, once and for all. and installation. Cylinder and tank replacements

or: 07769Outside 330983 taps Sinks, basins, toilet changes

Tel: 07736 941539 Email:

Free survey and installation.

Simple, guaranteed, cost effective devices for saving fuel (5-20%) and treating limescale once and for all. Free survey and installation.

t: 01296 425969 or: 07769 330983


Leaks Unvented Cylinder Servicing

AA Window Repairs


Misty windows~Draughty windows~Window hinges Dropped doors~Guttering problems~Window handles Door handles~Gasket replacements~and much more

FREE QUOTES & OAP DISCOUNTS Call our repairs manager direct for an appointment.

07432679405 ANYTIME


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

ticed? Do you need tognge, taffonordable Stunning desi nt customer prices and excelle with us… service. Stick

spread the word…

01296 423769

Vehicles Fascia signs Safety & traffic Exhibition graphics

Great Prices... we guarantee it

Banners Anti Vandal



Shop signage

Vehicle signage

All aspects of sign making 01442 826846 & design undertaken

Vinyl labels Business printing Branded garments & much more...

Our professional team have the imagination and technology to create almost any sign you could imagine.

J.T. RecoveRy SeRviceS

From cut vinyl lettering & Vehiclebusinesses Signage Shop Signage Debt recovery for small digitally printed graphics for company vehicles to acrylic Chasing overdue accounts can be frustrating and signs & light boxes & window time consuming. Cash flow is crucial though, graphics for shops, whatever so let us worry about your overdue accounts, your business or personal while you concentrate requirements, we can take anon running your business idea and turn it into effective marketing reality! No wiNA-Boards - No fee Banners

F no ina Tel: 0781 4398284 ti l ce Email:

01442 826 846 01442

All this...

Expert Advice... est.1994


All aspects of sign making and design undertaken

You want...

Great Products... guaranteed quality

fast 01296 488902 22-23 Rabans Close, Rabans Lane Industrial Park, AYLESBURY, Bucks HP19 8RS

Cleaning Services Window Cleaning Deodorising Window cleaning from £10 Conservatory roof clean from £25 Gutters and Soffits clean from £35 Thermal Fogging Deodoriser: Small house/large room or car from £25

Carpet Cleaning Upholstery Carpet cleaning £15-£40 per room 3 Bed House from £100 Upholstery: Armchair £25 Mattress/car from £20 3 Seater Sofa £35

For free quotations, or to book call: 01296 350205 / 07739 047413

Ad 1

don’t am cut corners, 5/3/13 We9:48 Page 1we clean them!

R.W. PEARCE & SON LTD RO O F I N G C O N T R AC T O R S Established 1958 Specialists in re-roofing Period Properties, Country Cottages, Farm Houses and Barns, using traditional materials. Slating and tiling repairs undertaken.

01844 345859

Vale Life : May/Jun 2014


bespoke kitchens on

DISPLAY We are a family run business that has designed, supplied and

installed kitchens and bathrooms for over 25 years. Our extensive showrooms are open to the public six days a week, so please pop in and see us. Watermark Worminghall Road Oakley HP18 9UL t: 01844 338137

Bring along your measurements for a FREE kitchen or bathroom design.

Monday to Friday 9am-5pm Saturday 10am-4pm Sunday-Closed

Vale life magazine may june 2014  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK

Vale life magazine may june 2014  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK