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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

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May/Jun 2015


Towersey Festival

Cover picture: fitch & fellows owner Susannah Fellows, right, with Strictly Come Dancing stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace: See inside page 11 Photograph by Nick White Photography

See our website at:

Win adult weekend tickets

Celebrate the unusual

New gallery opens in Thame

Thanking you

Flooring firm marks 25 years

Buon appetito

Wendover restaurant’s Italian connection Free local listings for events and businesses

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

w Fifth Anniversary edition w

The Old The Old Thatched Inn Thatched Inn Gastro Pub

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

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

Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN


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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


DESIGN WEB PRINT We offer a hassle free combination of professional design and print production facilities with a fast and efficient service


Church View

Established 1992

Funeral Directors

The Independent Family Funeral Service

folders vehicle graphics

leaflets digital print adverts exhibition forms

cost effective web Stationery

mailers & Flyers

roller banners

Feel free to contact us to see what we can do for your business or project at competitive prices

46 Buckingham Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2LL


Telephone: 01296 398553

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

Baby & Tots Boutique - Thame High St



Best Price*

Best Aftercare Service Exclusive Packages Save & Pay Option Free Deliver & Build Service**

24 Hour Service

A tradition of dignity, respect & choice

The Lily Pot Floristry for all occasions

l Bouquets and arrangements for any occasion: anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, Christmas... contemporary or traditional designs l Floral Tributes: Option for bereaved to assist in creating floral tributes for their loved ones l Children’s Parties: Combining nature with arts and crafts skills in a fun atmosphere l Seasonal workshops: see website for details and dates

Maxi Cosi Car Seats Coming Soon Clothing 0-4y, Gifts, Changing Bags, Wooden Toys, Lamaze Toys

90 High St, Thame, OX9 3EH - Tel: 0844 504 1736

Email: See satisfied customer comments on Facebook - The Baby Studio Ltd *No one can offer a lower price package **Free deliver and build within 15 miles of our store 4

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

4 Lakeside, Watermead, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 0FX Tel: 01296 708095 / Mobile: 07538 296430 Web:

vale_life_advert_Layout 1 21/07/2014 15:54 Page 1

Stoneworld the stone experts

Stone for the garden: for patio, paving, walls, gravel, cobbles and pebbles, feature stone and water features.

Stone for the home: for floors, worktops, fireplaces and hearths. Stone made to measure: reproduce any item in stone, from restoring an architectural feature to intricate sculpture for home and garden. or come and visit: Stone for the garden Great Milton OX44 7NW 01844 279274

Stone for the home Thame OX9 2DW 01844 261768

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

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

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details




Thanking you


What’s in the box?


Latest looks

Celebrate the unusual


Simon says ‘time to retire’

Charming Chesham



Affordable luxury


Face of the Vale

Natural rhythm


Aiming to please

Be well from the feet up


Waxing lyrical

All about family


Magic of Henley

Service with a smile


A little seasoning

Working together


Buon appetito

Pardon my English


Art & Alpacas

Taking inside out


Feast your senses

Give it a lick!


Every which way

11 14 16 18 21 22 24 26 31 32 37

Katy Dyer reports on the latest fashions New season at Chocolate Boutique New gallery opens in Thame

Janice discovers yarn bombing Great value spa breaks Winslow welcomes Dr Hauschka Reflexology with Rebecca Holmes Aylesbury dentists are caring crew Anyone for Thame Tennis Club? Bucks Carers and National carers week Call my Bluff says Jacot Polly’s tips for al fresco fun New store revamps old stuff


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 though for more competitions inside this

edition, including the chance to win: A meal for two plus bottle of house wine at The Boots, Bledlow Ridge; Tickets to The Southern Housebuilding & Renovation Show; A copy of Rupert’s Parchment book; Scaramouche & Fandango men’s grooming bag;

Flooring firm celebrates 25 years Charlotte’s adding colour

Village butcher calls it a day

Naomi’s guide to all things garden Steve’s up for World Title Gunsmith has new string to bow Tracy’s day with Madame T. Stunning acts for floating stage Farm shop thrills with foodie delights When in Wendover eat as the Romans do Sculpture trail on working farm Tuck in to Waddesdon’s new event Lot’s to see at Waterside

Two adult weekend tickets to The Towersey festival. Last issue’s prizewinners were: Summer lunch for two at Hartwell House: Gwen TaylorHall, Aylesbury Tickets to The London Pet Show: Maria Marston, Chesham; Philippa Forster, Thame; Diane

Moulder, Dinton; Sarah Worrow, Aylesbury; Bev Bristow, Tiddington A £50 voucher for The Entertainer Toy Store at Aylesbury: Suzanne Gubbins, Thame A copy of David Stopps ‘How to make a living from music’ book: Steve Ross, Monks Risborough

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


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


It’s five years since the first edition of Vale Life Magazine rolled off the presses and I’m happy to say, so far, it’s been an amazing success...


y assistant Andrea and photographer Charlotte Hazeldine, persuaded me that a small celebration of Vale Life’s anniversary was in order and as Charlotte is planning a series of interviews and photographs with local entrepreneurs for the magazine, it seemed only fitting that I should be a guinea pig on this auspicious occasion. This is the 41st edition of Vale Life and I shall always be grateful to the handful of advertisers who came on board for the very first edition. I’d been accosting local business owners with a vague plan, a couple of other people’s magazines, to show them what mine wouldn’t quite be like and some ideas on the back of an envelope and God bless them, a few took a leap of faith and made the whole think possible. Perhaps they felt sorry for me, or perhaps being the astute business people they are they could see the potential. Five years later that first 36 page offering has grown to 80 pages and well over 100 advertisers per issue plus numerous columns and articles giving a fascinating insight into local life. It could have grown even more but there’s only so many hours in the day and I haven’t worked out quite how to process any more in the six weeks between issues. I’d never planned to be a magazine editor or producer of course - I’ve never quite decided what I do want to be when I grow up. Luckily for me at Berkhamsted School they forced me to learn enough English and Maths to be able to write coherently and spell a bit and add up the accounts. Grammar’s not always correct I know but helpful readers generally let me know when I’ve made a gaff. I did art for O’ Level and later in the 90s a course in Desk Top Publishing so I could print my own what’s on magazine to plug the gigs I was doing while trying to be a pop star with my band.

Vale Life Magazine Editor Charlie Trott The music didn’t take off but my talents as a designer did and a small design and print business kept me going for a while until my main client got bought out and I took a job with the local newspaper to tide me over. Five years later the newspaper company had downsized dramatically several times and I was facing my third redundancy! Time to take my destiny into my own hands I thought and necessity being the mother of invention, it struck me that there might be a

gap in the market for a local interest magazine around these parts - so far so good. I couldn’t have done it without all you readers, contributors and advertisers though. Your help has been and is, very much appreciated, here’s to Vale Life and to all of you too - many happy returns! l Vale Life Magazine Tel: 07702 006218 Email: Web: Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


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



ometimes we just feel the need to pare down - call it a Spring clean, sloughing off, out with the old, in with the new - whatever you choose. And for the ideal capsule wardrobe - said to be from as few as 12 to as many as 100 items - what creates the ultimate streamlined collection is making time to find those perfect pieces that can take you anywhere. But how on earth do you find the ideal staple items for you?

The Shoes Heel or not? Well, it’s really down to preference and comfort. A shade of nude to suit your skin tone will be a great investment, whether it’s ballet flats or a slim stiletto. These will take you from daytime to evening effortlessly, without even having to think if they will go with a change of outfit or simple accessory swap.

The White Shirt If you want to splash out, make it a luxurious fabric - silk, satin or linen. If you are curvy, choose a fabric with drape and softness and perhaps without traditional buttons. Keep it contemporary with a button-back or shell style, to avoid the placket pulling or gaping. If you have a straighter shape, or more of a ‘pear’ shape, then choose structure so cotton, linen or twill to work with your shape.

House of Fraser White shirt £45 Linea Weekend Paint print jeans £190 Polo Ralph Lauren at House of Fraser Pink clutch bag £99 Modalu at House of Fraser

John Lewis Denim Wardrobe by Trilogy American Vintage Cody Long Sleeve Shirt, Nacre £75 AG The Angel Bootcut Jean, Saga £195 The Jeans I have my personal favourites (Levi’s Curve ID, seeing as you asked), but there are so many brands to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start. Consider your shape first of all. Curvy girls make sure your denim comes with lycra - side zips and shallow pockets also work well. In terms of cut, if you are pear shaped, straight styles or those with a little flare at the


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

ankle will balance your hips. Jeans are perfect for those with a straighter shape, as the fabric and detailing will work with your bodyline. If your challenge is avoiding a muffin top, try styles with a higher rise to give a smoothing effect.

The T-shirt Perfectly easy way to add a pop of colour without breaking the bank. You can go high-end or high street. A true red, teal or navy will work well for everyone, so these colours are a great starting point. Layer under or over with a long sleeve, jacket or cardigan (or even under that must-have white shirt). Some of my favourites for colour, quality and feel are from Hobbs, Jigsaw and Jaegar (available at House of Fraser and John Lewis) as well as M&S Autograph range. The Jacket Jackets are the new cardigan super-smart, chic and stylish, take a look at styles from Zara, Whistles and Oasis, with great colour and fit. The current look is less tailored and more styled - so look for fabrics like

M&S Collection Bag, Scarf, Boot Autograph Bracelet

ponte and linen with contemporary necklines. Check where your jacket finishes to get the most flattering silhouette.

Zara Pink Jacket £59.99

M&S Per Una Jacket £85 M&S Collection Top £22.50 Limited Edition Jean £39.50 Bag £29.50 Shoe £25 Which are your go-to pieces; those you wear time and again and replace seasonally? These are your investments and worthwhile taking time to find pieces that will give you a great return. l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant, specially trained in the needs of brides and wedding attire. Based 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. For more details about the products and services available, visit: or email: Gift vouchers and experiences are also available.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


May is an exciting time for all of us who love clothes. Parcels of the new season fashions have been arriving at local boutiques and the rails are now glorying under gorgeous collections of the loveliest, latest styles...



es, the boxes have arrived! The Spring/ Summer collections have been delivered to Chocolate Boutique and after the long Winter months it is time to welcome some colour into your wardrobe! Chocolate is an independent boutique offering a stylish collection of well known and well priced brands, brought together by owner Jo Louis at her charming shop in the pretty market town of Princes Risborough. Here you can find easy to wear fashion from Sandwich, Masai, Anna Scott, Saint Tropez, Fransa, Cream, Pomodoro and the Spanish label Desigual. Some of the labels come with a warning! ‘Postcard from Brighton’ is designed and manufactured in the UK and is a capsule collection of soft muted colours in jersey with some lace detailing. Layering is the key with this brand but “Beware!” says the label, “A Postcard from Brighton clothes are highly addictive!” Their pieces are ‘designed to be worn by ‘anyone, anytime, anywhere’ and are great to pack for summer getaways! Masai is a striking collection of beautiful, coordinated pieces and Chocolate has a good selection from their range in gorgeous blended colours. In contrast, Desigual has a stunning mix of bold patterns and styles to lift your wardrobe and add individual flair. You can complete your look here

with ‘Envy’ Jewellery and a beautiful ‘Fiorelli’ bag and you’re good to go! Although Chocolate is a relatively small boutique, there is a great collection of styles and looks, in realistic sizes, to suit a wide age range, from smarter pieces suitable for a wedding or Christening party, to everyday wear and some great holiday essentials. Even better the clothing and accessories are of excellent quality and very reasonably priced. Pop in for a browse and a try on, the team at Chocolate are very helpful and friendly and are looking forward to seeing you soon! For regular news, offers and information on special events email your details to: enquiries@ or see the website as below.


l Chocolate Boutique, 19 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 OAE Tel: 01844 346688 Email: Web: Open 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Saturday


Fiorelli Sandwich Lily-flame Candles

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Mia Sarosi

Victoria Atkinson

Sarah Jane Brown

Fashion, Jewellery, Gifts & Interiors


here is an amazing diversity of artistic talent in this great nation of ours and at The White Hart Studio in Haddenham they do their best to support new and exciting designers, artists and makers. There is always a good selection of beautiful, unusual, unique and downright quirky craftsmanship on show and Jane has recently introduced some fabulous new talents that she discovered at The British Craft Fair.

Joanna Coupland

Sarah Jane Brown Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Mia Sarosi Sarah Jane Brown Sarah Jane Brown has been working sculpturally with metals since 1994; her current collection is in the form of creatures created in wire knits. These are moulded by hand, first making the body of the structure then adding details like legs and arms by hand-stitching them together. Lastly collars, tags and small details are added to give the piece real character and a unique quality that are making them very collectable pieces of art. Her work is very tactile and can be personalised by gently adjusting the head or the tail to convey different expressions.

Mia Sarosi Mia, (right), works with porcelain, producing hand made and hand painted, functional and decorative pieces. In the past she has supplied pottery to Fortnum and Mason, making tea caddies, jam, honey and mustard pots for their grocery department. Mia now works exclusively with porcelain

Victoria Atkinson


Joanna Coupland Joanna produces a range of creatures from her home workshop in York. She takes her inspiration from nature, in particular birds and animals, working with Joanna Coupland wire and paper to create unique, delicate pieces intended to make you smile. Inspired by taxidermy, Joanna has developed her own range of animal heads including stags, zebras, foxes and hares and has even completed commissions of client’s pets, from dogs and horses to fish.

Victoria Atkinson Vicki’s work is at first whimsical and quirky but, look again and serenity, poise and expression exude from her sculptures. Her work has a simple honesty which she attributes to everyday observations and an Victoria Atkinson interest in early mythology.

Mia Sarosi

Joanna Coupland

Victoria Atkinson

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 2015

West End star, daughter of actor Don Fellows, talented leatherworker and now gallery owner, Susannah Fellows is not one to rest on her laurels...


ocally Susannah Fitch Fellows is known for her fabulous leatherwork - bags, purses, notebooks, belts, Smart Phone and Mac book carriers, brief cases, cushions and unusual bespoke animal collars and leads - which she has been making as Fitch and Fetch Leatherwork for the past five years and selling via her website and at craft fairs. Susannah uses the finest leathers and suedes and each item is hand finished, some with added decoration such as buttons and ribbons, it’s stylish fun and funky. Born in New York, she came to England with her father as a young girl and went to drama school here, while he worked in TV and films. Her first West End job was taking over from Elaine Paige in Evita and a long and successful career followed including numerous West End roles in musicals such as Mamma Mia, Aspects of Love and Chicago, film and television work. During the 90s Susannah was living and working in London and opened a gallery ‘Fitch’s Ark’ in Little Venice, all to do with animal imagery. She ran it for about 6 years alongside working as an actress but then had twin girls and the gallery had to go! She moved out to Brill with her family about 12 years ago and now lives in Postcombe. “About five years ago I decided to retire from theatre work,” says Susannah, “and I asked John (John The Stitcher, who had a leather workshop in the gallery premises previously) if he would teach me how to do leatherwork. He took me on and I started making bags and selling them at craft fairs. “Sadly John is now suffering from cancer and had to give up his shop, so I have taken on the premises and refurbished as a gallery.” Susannah has completely transformed the

space, which although compact, now provides an upstairs workshop and a downstairs showroom/gallery with a fascinating display of wares from vases to objet’s d’art, bowls to automatons, flying fish, cute papier-mâché dogs, glass and some lovely leather bags! “I want people to come in and enjoy the gallery,” she says. “It’s a happy, friendly space to have a laugh and look round. There’s some really fun pieces here, an amazing variety of creative craftsmanship, from quirky, animalthemed, painted ceramics by Laurance Simon, to breathtaking, hand blown glass by Elin Isaksson - her ‘Dew Drops’ and ‘Liquid Ice Bowls’ are fabulous - to Neil Hardy’s hand

wound automata and Wendy Johnson’s hand built ceramic clocks, candlesticks and bowls.” Fitch is Susannah’s middle name and being as her gallery exhibits work by some of her artists from Fitch’s Ark days and also her own Fitch and Fetch leatherwork, plus some gorgeous items by new makers whose work she admires and enjoys, ‘fitch and fellows’ seems the perfect name for the new gallery. “fitch & fellows is all about work that has an offbeat, amusing or unusual take on a subject,” says Susannah. “We have ceramics, wood, glass, papier-mâché and metalwork and I’ll be constantly rotating the artists and items on show, so there will always be something new to see.” Find fitch and fellows opposite the Cross Keys, Thame. Pop in for a browse - prices are very reasonable from around £20 upwards. l fitch & fellows, 1, East Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3JS Tel: 01844 215099 Email: Web: Open Mon-Sat 11am-5:30pm Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



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 Feb/Mar 2015


Column: Sally Turner‘Fascinating finds’

Closing up after 27 years


he Antiques trade has been my life for so long. My parents first opened a shop in the 1950s so I have known very little else. Starting life living above their shop was a great training ground

for the antiques world and, at the ripe old age of seven I was allowed to help in the shop and with the encouragement and help of my parents I started buying and selling at that age from a trestle table on the forecourt outside.

Sally Turner has closed her Wendover Antiques store but will be trading from her website:

Many years later, in 1981, I opened my first shop on the Pimlico Road in SW1 and then, in 1988, the shop in Wendover, which I am with some sadness now closing. The last 27 years in Wendover have been a roller coaster ride of hard work and emotion, with very many difficult times, but I would like to thank all my customers and friends who have been so supportive of the business and appreciative of all the antiques and jewellery they have purchased from the shop over all those years. I would like to urge Vale Life readers to photograph all their treasured possessions whether precious or sentimental in case the worst happens. I have so often been asked to value items that have been lost or stolen from just a verbal description or a rather long distant photograph. Good photographs always add weight to your insurance claim. Also check your limit for each individual item insured, if you are under insured your claim may be invalidated. And, if possible, install

Sally Turner

Fascinating finds a house alarm. I am happy to help with insurance and probate valuations and will continue to buy and sell antiques and jewellery on-line. After a break I hope to return to writing articles for Vale Life Magazine on antiques and jewellery later in the year. If needed I can always be contacted via my email address: and items for sale can be viewed on my website: l Sally Turner Antiques

ANTIQUES AT… WENDOVER A Dateline ANTIQUES CENTRE Est. 1987 A QUALITY ANTIQUES CENTRE offering town and country antiques in a Tudor, brick and timber house, with wall paintings and inglenook fireplaces. Park in the Courtyard at the rear, where you will find Garden Antiques, a Tea Shop, the Barn Courtyard Shops and an Artist’s Studio. We are open every day - from 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 5pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers

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

01296 482963

A ‘Marque Defabrique’ late Victorian stereoscopic viewer. Ref CK115, priced at £95. The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Website: Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Janice Issitt

Charming Chesham


hesham is a great little place for the artistically minded, not only the most beautiful old buildings and cobbled alleyways, but for art and craft supplies and quirky individuality. A friend asked me if I’d seen the yarn bombing, which I was surprised to learn had arrived in Bucks. If you haven’t heard of yarn bombing, it’s a kind of street art using brightly coloured knitted and crochet items wrapped around trees, bollards and such. Around Market Square, the yarn bombing has been supplied by local shop owner Hazel Hopkinson and her knitting guerrillas. Hazel is the owner of thriving craft shop Blue Haze which covers just about every crafting need. The bollards have been covered in knitted jackets and the tree has woolly cobwebs. Bunting and cheerful knitted flowers are scattered all around the square too.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Making the most of it

Chesham’s Market Square has been delightfully Yarn Bombed! Also on Market Square you will find JPS Stationers who carry a range of art supplies and office essentials. There are several cafés and a very quirky one is The Drawing Room, a place for art, music and food in a very cozy and intimate atmosphere - it’s great having a rest, after a morning of shopping, in a 17th century timber framed house! Another absolute treasure, and again, totally unique, is The Collectors Paradise. Stocking a

good range of music on vinyl at really good prices, one could spend quite some time here going down memory lane and chatting with the staff. Like most of the High Street, the building has an amazing history and inside you can see photos of its previous incarnations. Sad to say there are a few empty shops along Chesham High Street, which I sincerely hope will change soon, as this is such a stunningly beautiful old town. They have a street market on Saturdays and Wednesdays, often with local artists

The Living Room work like that of Betty Zee who makes soft furnishing from vintage fabrics. Nearby you can also find an Aladdin’s cave of eastern charm at The Bazaar, which stocks hand made items from Turkey. l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in The Vale.


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

Always the bridesmaid


t’s official: I am the last single woman standing. I don’t mean in the entire world, I have a one-and-a-half-year-old niece for crying out loud! That being said, she is already getting pretty tight with the little boy who lives next door. I told my brother the other day: “If she gets married before I do I’m going to shoot myself in the face.” It doesn’t help that the latest female to become ‘enfianced’ is my best friend at school. Luckily I got the heads-up and didn’t learn about the happy event when she was presented with some champers by the Head in the middle of the staff room. But she is the last one… with one exception. Then came the words that every 30-something single woman dreads hearing: ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ I actually spat tea across the room, thinking that we had already discussed her plans to stick with flower girls and this must surely be some sort of a sick and twisted joke. But when I looked up again, the only emotion being

portrayed by her face was that of a kind of ‘bridey’ glow. Oh good grief, this is genuine emotion; she really wants me to be there for her. It would have been quite touching really, had I not been dribbling Earl Grey. And so it begins. The wedding’s not until December so that’s eight months to find a dress that doesn’t make me look like Alice Tinker from The Vicar of Dibley dressed as a panto dame. No mean feat. She texted me later that evening: “Fancy going wedding dress shopping tomorrow?” Oh boy, do I?! Surely there’s no greater pleasure to be had than to be surrounded by meringues and feeling like you’ll break out of a rash if even the hint of lace touches your arm. The next day in Brides R Us (I’m sure that was what it was called), claustrophobia began to set in- and there wasn’t even champagne. In the films they always do this sipping champagne. I guess it acts as a sedative for tightly-wound bridesmaids who can’t stop saying,

“Wouldn’t you rather do this with your mum?” Out came all the dresses, followed by all the inane comments from the sales assistant who (predictably) thought she looked wonderful in everything. Luckily she had me to rely on for the truth: street-walker; Vegas showgIrl; Little Bo Peep. I was great at dispensing the advice, and of course she looked gorgeous in lots of them. In the end, I suppose I will have to admit that it was sort of fun. That was, until we got back home with ‘the dress’ and she insisted I try it on, before going into hysterics over how much better I looked in it and how fat she was. I didn’t, I looked like I was in a really naff play, and she’s as thin as a rake so I am putting it down to pre-wedding jitters. I think I am going to be putting a lot down to pre-wedding jitters. I realised though that I am looking forward to going to the wedding of someone I actually love. That hasn’t happened for a while.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Penny Harper

Small Town


For a while it was all HIS friends and we went to 15 almost-identicalwith-slight-variations-on-colourschemes weddings and I longed for someone to elope, or have a Vegas blow-out (I know where you can get a sequinned dress) or ANYTHING other than a sit down meal and a disco. This might actually be a refreshing change. The trouble will be the morning after the night before when I have to drive down to Wales to meet my school expedition group and lead them across a mountain. Oh Miss Harper…the green taffeta is SO becoming.

Confetti BridalWear of tring

87 High Street, Tring, Herts, HP23 4AB 01442 828653

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Amanda Trott

l Column

Health & Beauty

Spa breaks don’t have to be expensive. In fact Whittlebury Hall, near Silverstone, Amanda Trott offers an overnight stay, meals and a couple of treatments for less than £80! It’s no Beauty Spot wonder the hotel and spa was voted ‘best spa’ by Good Spa Guide readers last year...


t’s that time of year when many of us start looking forward to a holiday, but if time or funds are short this summer, maybe a spa break is just the ticket and you don’t even have to go far to find an award winning spa, just up the M40. Whatever the weather, the awardwinning Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa (Good Spa Guide Readers’ Choice Award, Midlands & East 2014), set in rural Northamptonshire is currently offering an exclusive one night stay for only £79! This includes full use of The Leisure Club facilities, including Jacuzzi, a 19 metre swimming pool with bubble jets, sauna and more. An Energising Express Facial and a 25 minute Body Polish are also included along with a threecourse dinner in Astons Restaurant, overnight accommodation and a full English breakfast the following morning. If you wish to to upgrade any of your package, for an extra £20 you can enjoy dinner in their 2 AA Rosette restaurant, Murrays, (well worthwhile) and upgrade to a Club Room for just £20 (usually £40) which entitles you to extras such as bathrobe and slippers, wine, water and tasty treats in the room and more. Adding a two-course buffet lunch for £10 per person too is great value! This is just one of the many packages Whittlebury Hall is offering this summer including day passes at only £49 per person and a very reasonable two night stay for £89 per person! During your stay you can enjoy the four star deluxe hotel which boasts 213 bedrooms, 4 restaurants and one of the largest Spas in the country with 23 treatments rooms and some of the most up to date treatments on offer. The Day Spa incorporates their unique Heat and Ice Experiences, which provide body sensations 16

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Whittlebury Hall Spa has a twin treatment room where you can enjoy a massage alongside your friend or partner

Whittlebury Hall Spa Jacuzzi

Whittlebury Hall

brought about by dramatic changes When we visited last month, Mr in temperature. Facilities include a T and myself made the most of Sanarium®, Caldarium hot room, our day and not only enjoyed all Aromatherapy Crystal Steam Room, the wonderful facilities on offer an Ice Cave, Roman Salt Steam, but each indulged in a couple of Experience Showers, Foot Spas and treatments too. Hydrotherapy Pool. Whittlebury Hall not only caters If spas and cars are your thing, for the ladies but also for a large being close to the world famous male clientele and offers treatments Silverstone accordingly. Circuit you can Elemis Urban Cleanse Facial They have an even combine extensive range a day at the of treatments track with a geared towards stay at the men including The Day Spa. massage, waxing The Formula and facials. One British I had booked Grand Prix Mr T in for is being held an ESPA Skin at Silverstone from the 3rd - 5th Purifying Facial for Men, a relaxing July this year and accommodation facial to purify, balance and hydrate packages start at £345 for the one the skin. It uses a combination of day Sunday night stay, but if you steaming hot towels, pressure point really want to push the boat out massage, lymph drainage, a purifying then a four night stay will set you mask and conditioning hair and back £3,250 per room. Included scalp mud to aid drainage, prevent is Dinner, Bed and Breakfast, full blocked pores and ease tension. use of The Day Spa Heat and Ice The facial lasts for 50 minutes Experiences and 20% off preand I have to say that he emerged booked Treatments in The Day Spa. looking radiant and extremely

relaxed! Together we indulged in a rather sumptuous fifty minute Signature Massage - this is a lovely treatment for friends or couples to enjoy together and comprises of a full body massage that is designed to deliver relaxation and enhance well-being. The massage includes legs, arms, décolleté and a soothing back, neck and shoulder massage using your choice of aromatherapy oil. The therapists took time to asses our individual needs and tailored each of our massages accordingly. It would have been perfect if only Mr T’s snoring hadn’t kept me from drifting off! Finally, whist my extremely relaxed husband floated off to the Terrace Café to indulge in a Detox Smoothie, and no doubt a sneaky slice of cake, I enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing Elemis Modern Skin Facial. My therapist cleansed and massaged me into a wonderfully deep sleep and I can honestly say it was one of the best facials I have ever had. Elemis have designed this facial for modern day skins that are lacking in radiance. The booster facial combines massage, exfoliation, and a combination of masks and serums to leave the skin visibly brighter, clearer and balanced. I had recently had a peel and although the results were remarkable my skin was still feeling a little dehydrated and this facial certainly sorted that out. Whittlebury Hall never fails to deliver with its vast range of treatments, highly trained, friendly therapists, delicious food and comfortable surroundings, hopefully it won’t be too long before our next mini break! l Amanda is a talented and experienced, Vidal Sassoon trained hair stylist. If you would like to experience the Kebelo Smoothing System, or to have your hair cut, styled or coloured by Amanda she is available in Thame from Mondays to Thursdays at Eclipse Hair Design. Call 01844 260062 to book or arrange a free consultation.

Win a set of Scaramouche and Fandango body and skincare products for men!


ale grooming brand, Scaramouche & Fandango launched in February 2013 and is stocked in John Lewis, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, as well as a number of other independent retailers. The range includes a core set of skin and bodycare products that are all made in the UK using only the finest ingredients. Scaramouche and Fandango is bold and distinctive and was created for men who want products that simply perform without the complex oversell that often goes with them. The company is now launching a shower essentials gift set in House of Fraser nationwide, including the Aylesbury branch, which retails at £13.50 and could just be the perfect gift for Father’s Day! If you’d like to try out Scaramouche and Fandango products then this comprehensive gifting pack pictured right, comprises their bold and sturdy wash bag, along with a complete set of their body and skincare products.

The set includes: Shampoo, 200ML, with cleansing Black Quinoa & Shea Butter Conditioner, 200ML, with Strengthening Keravis Protein and Softening Black Quinoa Body Wash, 200ML, with remineralising Brazilian Papaya & Vitamin E complex Shave Cream, 100ML enriched

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Body and Soul, 59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury HP21 7HS Tel: 01296 434216

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products are revered for their purity, quality and use of natural and organic ingredients. Jane Jarvis goes undercover in Winslow to discover the delights of the Dr Hauschka Classic Treatment, a mix of natural medicine, healthy skin and the rhythms of nature…


s an over-stressed, overloaded working mum, beauty treatments are a luxury I’ve had precious little time to indulge in. So when I was offered the chance to step off the treadmill for a morning and test out a new skin specialist, offering a sumptuous two-hour treatment using the legendary Dr Hauschka products and methods, I leapt at the opportunity with undignified haste. Skin specialist Lucy Newing joined Winslow’s Horn Street Clinic in November and offers a range of Dr Hauschka treatments lasting from one to two hours. The clinic is housed in an attractive, atmospheric, old building dating back to 1590, which used to be a doctor’s surgery and is now a private medical centre, housing a range of complementary therapists. “This is much more my sort of place than a typical beauty salon,” says Lucy. As we sat down to discuss my medical history, Lucy simultaneously started my twohour ‘Classic Treatment’ by placing my feet in a hot footbath with essences of lemon and sage. Not only was this a welcome treat, as the day was chilly and my feet are always cold, but Lucy also informed me the sage would help begin the detoxification process by drawing energy from my head to my feet. Originally trained in conventional beauty therapy, massage, aromatherapy and other holistic therapies, Lucy has worked with big-

Lucy applies warm, scented, muslin compresses to Jane’s face

name products such as Decléor and Guinot. She first discovered Dr Hauschka about 20 years ago, when her children were attending a Steiner School in Canterbury - and became a convert: “Once you know something works, it’s hard not to tell the world about it,” she says. “And it works in such a nice, noninvasive way.” Whereas modern-day life sees most of us working and living ever faster and more frenetically, Dr Hauschka products and treatments are based on the principle of being

in rhythm with nature. It is based on the theories of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical medicine and the remedies are produced without using alcohol as a preservative. The herbs and flowers are grown in the company’s own biodynamic organic garden where possible and prepared by a unique rhythmic process. Dr Hauschka therapists also undergo a lengthy training in the specialist methods of applying the products - again based on the life-giving properties of rhythm.

Stimulating the lymphatic system

Detoxifying lemon and sage foot soak Photographs by Vicki Churchill, Vicki Churchill Studios: 18

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Lucy Newing

containing spruce essence. Next she used tiny motions with her hands and special brushes on my face to stimulate the lymphatic system. Ampoules containing a unique water-based solution of Rose, Madonna Lily, Marshmallow and Silver were then applied to bring harmony to my skin, followed by a firming mask, chosen for me by Lucy for its nurturing and hydrating properties. And while this was on, Lucy treated me to a fantastically relaxing massage of the décolleté, upper arms and shoulders using a rose body oil, chosen for its harmonising and balancing effect. Finally, the mask was removed using lemongrass compresses to awaken the senses, pads were again placed over my eyes and Lucy left me to emerge in my own time from my snug, contented cocoon, while she wrote up my ‘prescription’ - a personalised beauty regime and product recommendations, including Rose Day Cream for my very dry skin. Glowing and invigorated, I fairly wafted down the street and back to my car, in a divinely scented bubble of serenity, with a goody bag of scrummy samples clutched in my hot little hand.

The cost of the two-hour Classic Treatment sampled by Jane is £90. Treatments start at £60 for a one-hour Cleansing Treatment. Stimulating the Appointments are available with lymphatic system Lucy at Horn Street on Thursday as cotton wool pads My footbath over, it was time to hop up and Saturday mornings. with Eye Solace on, (a onto Lucy’s heated couch to be enfolded To book an appointment, call cooling soothing eye in towels and begin the main part of my Lucy on: 07927 417471 or email preparation), were applied to my eyes. treatment. her at: It’s hard to describe the First Lucy massaged Find out more at Lucy’s brand new website: Lucy Newing calming feeling of being my feet with Cleansing Workshop wrapped up in warm, scented body lotion. Saturday, May 23rd. l Lucy Newing, Dr. Hauschka Skin Care scented muslin, and I’d This she followed with a Specialist, Horn Street Clinic, 24 Horn Street, £30 for one person / £55 for two series of gentle arm lifts happily have carried on Winslow, Buckinghamshire, MK18 3AL includes face care kit and light-pressure arm lying there like that all Tel: 07927 417471 and muslin face cloth. day. and hand massage to Email: Next my face was stimulate the lymphatic Website: Lucy Newing cleansed with cleansing system, then head and Skin Consultation Mornings milk, using a gentle, rollneck rolls to gently Saturday, May 16th move the lymph and and-pat motion to follow and Saturday, June 13th, the direction of the relax the neck muscles. 9.30am - 1.30pm. As she performed The consultations are free and include lymph and blood flow on the face and neck areas. her gentle massage, in-depth advice and products to try. Cleansing cream was Lucy’s hands were describing the rhythmic ‘lemniscate’, or figure- then applied to gently exfoliate and deeply of-eight, massage pattern that’s part of the Dr cleanse, before being removed with the muslin cloth, followed by a stimulating cool compress Hauschka philosophy. Then began the True Facial Treatment - and and toner, then a facial steam bath containing extracts of daisy, nasturtium and witch hazel. it was like nothing I’d ever experienced, or Lucy then applied a silky smooth clay expected. Warm muslin compresses soaked in sagemask to my face and décolleté for a deep A unique solution to scented water enfolded my face and décolleté, external cleanse, removing it with warm water bring harmony to the skin

Photographs by Vicki Churchill, Vicki Churchill Studios: Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Column: Fitness Focus with Rebecca Holmes

Health & Fitness

Be well, from the feet up


o you often feel stressed or anxious? Do you have difficulty in sleeping, or suffer from digestive issues or a variety of aches and pains? Are you fed up with taking medication and would like to find a natural non-invasive alternative? Then Reflexology might be your answer. I am a qualified, experienced Reflexologist and I know from first-hand experience that the conditions I mention above can be helped by Reflexology. I love observing the positive effects it can have on my clients. The therapy is based on the theory that certain points of the hands and feet reflect, or mirror, the organs and structures of the body as well as a person’s emotional health. By applying gentle finger and thumb pressure to these specific points on the hands and feet, it can encourage the body to balance and heal itself. Reflexology is a wonderful gentle

Rebecca applies pressure to a client’s feet encouraging the body to balance and heal itself

therapy that can be enjoyed by all ages, but my work with children in particular has opened my eyes to the impact it can have on them and their families. Many of the children I see are suffering from very high levels of anxiety, poor sleep patterns, digestive issues, and behavioural problems. They are often on a variety of medication such as

Thame Therapy Clinic Complementary Health Therapies from Experienced Practitioners 23 Upper High Street, Thame, OX9 3EX Tel: 01844 215555

Bio-melatonin for sleep disorders and laxatives for constipation. Reflexology treatment has been able to improve significantly the lives of many of them, to the extent that parents have not needed to put them on medication as originally planned or, in other cases, enabled them to come off the medication altogether. For example a mum called Charlotte asked me to treat her eight year old Autistic child. He was becoming extremely anxious and withdrawn and she was considering putting him on anti-anxiety medication. After four sessions Charlotte said, “His anxiety levels dropped dramatically resulting in him being able to cope at school better and become more involved in class activities. He also started to behave much better at home and smile more. I feel like I have my little boy back”. I treat all ages and a wide variety of ailments in my treatment room in Great Kimble as well as

What does it cost? CV Health offers a competitively priced service at £80.

Call now 01494 555204 Monday to Friday ( 9 am to 5 pm) or email for an appointment:

working two days a week in Special Needs Schools in Buckinghamshire mainly focussing on children on the Autistic Spectrum and with ADHD. If you would like to find out more about the subject then please contact me, Rebecca Holmes via my website: Alternatively if you would like to find a Reflexologist in your area then contact the Association of Reflexologists: or The Complementary Therapy Association: l Rebecca Holmes, Chiltern Hills

Therapies, Great Kimble. Tel: 07713 355428 Email: Web:

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

People don’t often say they enjoy a visit to the dentist but at denta-care in Aylesbury it seems the friendly caring approach and expertise of Dr Dinesh Ramdoo and his team ensures smiles all round, even for nervous patients and those with serious anxieties or dental phobia...


e all know it’s sensible to visit a dentist regularly for check ups and to see the hygienist, but many of us feel nervous at the prospect, or are embarrassed about the condition of our teeth and put off going. “Feeling nervous about dental treatment is very common,” says denta-care’s Dr Asif Khota, Buckinghamshire’s only Dental Phobia Certified dentist, “but for some patients this can develop into a deeper anxiety or even phobia and prevent people from visiting the dentist altogether, putting their long-term oral health at risk. “A recent survey by YouGov found that nearly 40 per cent of people who don’t visit their dentist regularly avoid attending because of their dental fears. “At denta-care we enjoy From left: Liam (hygienist), Claire, Asif, Liv and Dinesh helping people to overcome their dental anxiety and to feel “This develop my phobia work. Dinesh and I have comfortable visiting a dentist, may involve similar views, it’s not just about filling a tooth, ultimately enabling them to meeting it’s about the person. We love meeting people keep their teeth healthy.” away from and the interaction with patients. Our patients Softly spoken and the surgery really are like part of an extended family to possessing a gentle caring for a chat to us.” nature and natural ability start with. Denta-care was previously known as to empathise with nervous We make it Fielders Dental Practice. The private, patients, Asif has been independent dentists was founded by Edward Staff celebrating denta-care’s 5th birthday recently! as nonsuccessfully treating phobic clinical as and Valerie Fielder over 40 years ago and was L to R: Asif, Liv, Dinesh, Claire and Courtney clients for more than 16 years possible and originally located on Aylesbury High Street. and thoroughly enjoys putting his charges at they can tell me about their anxieties. There’s After 33 years the couple were looking to ease while helping them work towards better many degrees though, everyone is different retire but having built their business with a oral health. On the suggestion of his work and we tailor the experience to the individual particularly caring, patient-focussed ethos, colleagues he recently formalised his expertise and their level of phobia. were keen to pass on the reins to someone by gaining Phobia Certification, which is not “I’ve always enjoyed treating phobia they felt would continue their good work and an easy achievement and one that relies on the patients but now my endeavours have been treat their clients equally as well. support of anonymous patient testimonials. officially recognised, it’s given me a new “I met the Fielders in 2009,” says Dr “I really enjoy it,” says Asif. “There’s a real sense of purpose and confidence and I am Dinesh Ramdoo “and really liked the way sense of achievement and satisfaction for keen to meet new patients who would like to they ran the practice and the warm, friendly, both myself and the patient as they go from overcome their fears.” family feel the practice had. They treated being initially too terrified to visit, to being Asif has been a dentist in Aylesbury for their patients like an extension of their own happy to come and see us for routine check some 16 years and joined denta-care two and family. We have similar values and were ups, on a regular basis. a half years ago. delighted when they agreed to have us take “Often these fears stem from negative “I very much appreciate the freedom I on their patient base. We have endeavoured to experiences as a child and we work to overlay have working with Dinesh at denta-care,” he continue their good work and like to think we those negative experiences with positive ones says. “I am able to offer the high level of care have lived up to their expectations.” and in time reduce the phobia. and treatment I want to and to pursue and The practice is now based in pleasant,


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

maintenance scheme and insurance package to cover costs. A monthly payment covers the cost of regular check ups and oral hygiene appointments plus any emergency treatment needed, apart from laboratory costs or cosmetic work. “All practising dentists in the UK have to be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who regulate and inspect dental practices. “We are also part of the Denplan Excel accreditation programme, which is an additional mark of quality, tailored to support and encourage practices to reach their full potential as providers of excellent customer care. To join Denplan Excel, a practice must demonstrate continued commitment to quality improvement and pledge to use the most appropriate procedures and dental knowledge to ensure patients are receiving the highest standards of care from start to finish, while encouraging patients to be involved in any decision making stages. “We are also an accredited Enlighten Tooth Whitening Centre. This cosmetic teeth whitening procedure is popular with TV personalities, celebrities, X Factor, Hello Magazine and so on and gets fantastic results. It’s very affordable for Denplan patients too. Our bridal package for mums and brides is particularly good value. “Our patients come from all over. Mostly from the Aylesbury area but some from much Asif chats to a nervous patient about her dental phobia further afield including Spain, Belgium, Slough and Poole! We have the capacity to take on morning but that’s the way we want to look light and airy premises at the top end of new patients though and with Asif ’s phobia Buckingham Road. With the Fielders no longer after our patients, like caring for one big creditation and skills we are particularly keen extended family. involved it is now called denta-care. to help nervous patients. “We want to make coming to the dentist a “This is historically a family run dental “We offer a full range of dental care wonderful, positive, pleasant experience, not practice,” says Dinesh. “We care for all ages, from cosmetic dentistry, to orthodontics something you dread. Past generations of whole families from children to parents to and implants and if required, the option of grandparents and we love that aspect of the dentists haven’t always done that and we’d like sedation.” practice. Our strapline is ‘Our family caring to restore a little faith in the profession.” If you are looking for a local dentist, or for your family’. We offer affordable, private, Although officially Dinesh owns denta-care thinking of changing to a new practice see the family dental care. We are a small independent he is quick to say that the practice is very much denta-care website, (, or a team effort - he prefers to be one of the practice with two dentists (myself and Asif), arrange to pop in and meet Dinesh or Asif to team and for all to be on an equal footing. three hygienists, three dental nurses and two discuss your requirements. receptionists. I am lucky to have a wonderful Dinesh grew up in Wolverhampton and As a special offer for Vale Life readers team here, they are very friendly, easy-going studied dentistry at Birmingham University, denta-care is offering 40% off the cost of your going on to work at practices in Reading and and relaxed and that helps our patients relax first consultation and check up (normally £60) too.” Oxford. He currently lives in Rickmansworth . Just mention Vale Life Magazine when you and lists cricket, cars and shortbread as his Dinesh and Asif work Monday to Friday book your appointment (valid until Dec 31st, and Asif also offers Saturday appointments for passions! 2015). those unable to attend in the week. “I enjoy general and cosmetic dentistry,” he “Our personal mobile numbers are available says. “particularly the practical aspects - the challenges involved in actually working on to patients,” says Dinesh. “So if they have problems out of working hours, during the a patient’s teeth. Meeting patients and the l denta-care, 49 Buckingham Road, Aylesbury, social interaction is the best part though, it’s evening or at weekends, or on Bank Holidays Buckinghamshire, HP19 9PT they can contact us and we will try and see very much about people. We sometimes get Tel: 01296 424 037 them. We hope our patients find it reassuring presents from patients who have appreciated Email: to know we are only a phonecall away at all what we have done and it’s very satisfying. Website: “Dental work can get expensive so at times. Other dentists seem surprised when I Facebook: / dentacareaylesbury Twitter: @dentacareay denta-care we offer an affordable Denplan say I treated someone at 1am on a Saturday

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

23 3


Column: Fitness Focus with Helen Frost

Health & Fitness

Service with a smile


hen I was at school tennis was an excuse to get out into the sun and have a chat with my friends. Rackets resting on the net we would share the latest gossip under the pretext of gathering balls, or changing ends. Occasionally we would discuss the merits of John McEnroe (my hero) vs Bjorn Borg, but mainly tennis was an opportunity to be outside and have fun. Fast forward twenty years (and the rest) and some who know me well would suggest that not much has changed! I still enjoy a chat with friends and getting outside, come rain or shine, and playing tennis. These days though I spend a lot more time hitting the ball! Tennis has been a lifeline for me. Moving from London ten years ago to the wonderful market town of Thame I knew no-one and was, for a while, a bit lonely. Thame Tennis Club changed all that. Tucked away on Queen’s Road, Thame Tennis and Bowls Club is a place that has much to offer the community. I was given

Tennis - a sociable sport for all ages a very warm welcome and, despite playing shockingly badly (due to all that time spent chatting) I was encouraged to return and become an active member of the club. The club offers all sorts of classes and opportunities for people of all standards to play tennis: there’s beginners classes, rusty rackets and club nights to name but a few. Most importantly, as a mum of two children, the coaches Steve Bell and Mark Wilkins offer

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

all sorts of coaching for children and teenagers, as well as for adults. Coaching goes on throughout the year and is particularly busy during the summer months. It has been wonderful to see both my children take up such a great sport and enjoy playing. Having taken up tennis when she was seven my teenage daughter now plays for a ladies team and also enjoys playing with friends we have made at the club and their families. There is much in the news about young women giving up sport and, with this in mind, it is notable that Cardio tennis on a Monday night is incredibly popular with teenagers. My daughter needs no encouragement from me to go, seeing it as a time to catch up with friends and wind down after a busy school day. You don’t have to have played much to enjoy this class; cardio tennis is a great way to get fit, hit a few balls (it doesn’t matter where) and most importantly have fun. It has been exciting times for British Tennis recently with Andy

Helen Frost

Thame Tennis Club

Murray at the top of his game. Times are equally exciting at the club, as I write, work is underway to put in four new courts. With new floodlights too there really will be no excuse not to play tennis all year round! For now though I am looking forward to Wimbledon 2015, hopefully winning tickets in the club ballot, and balmy summer days playing tennis with my family and friends. Come and join us – you will receive a very warm welcome! For more information please see Thame Tennis Club website: l Thame Tennis Club, Chiltern Grove, Queens Road, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3NH Tel: 07762677770 E: Web:


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

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

June 8th-14th is National Carers Week - the annual campaign to help raise awareness of caring, to highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and to recognise the contribution they make to families and communities across the UK...


ndividuals and organisations around they may have about their caring role. Please the UK are coming together to note you need to register to use the online organise activities and events for forum before you can take part. Carers Week and draw attention Carers Bucks Chief Executive, Stephen to just how important caring is. Archibald says “We are looking forward Carers Bucks, the charity which supports to celebrating Carers Week and shining a Carer Mick Hall and his wife Joy and promotes the wellbeing of unpaid family spotlight on the amazing job that carers do in who suffered a stroke over seven years ago carers of all ages in Buckinghamshire, has providing unpaid care to their loved ones. organised a number of events between the 8th “It’s been 10 years since Carers Bucks first physically exhausted, while over one quarter and 14th June, to mark the occasion including launched, and our work continues to focus on (25.3 per cent) of carers feel frustrated and the launch of a new ‘Carers Hub’ at Stoke reaching out to Carers in Buckinghamshire stressed by their caring role. Mandeville Hospital on Monday 8th June. we currently support over 7,000 carers across Young Carers Bucks currently supports This new service will greatly enhance Carers the County.” over 600 young carers between the ages of 6 Bucks’ ability to support more carers and 18 years old. Being a young carer can living in the local area. The Carers Hub is impact on all aspects of a child’s life and located between Wards 8 and 9 of Stoke can deprive them of a ‘normal’ childhood, Mandeville Hospital and will be managed with effects that can last all their lives. by a Carers Hub Co-ordinator based in the Young Carers Bucks is here to help by hospital, to provide immediate face to face raising awareness of the challenges young support and advice for carers visiting the carers face and giving them the support hospital. they need. Other events taking place during Raising awareness of the work being Carers Week include an Afternoon Tea done to recognise and support young for carers at Missenden Abbey, Gt carers in local schools in Buckinghamshire Missenden on Tuesday 9th June, an ‘Open also be a key focus for Carers Bucks Carers Bucks celebrated its 10th anniversary this year at will House’ event for unpaid carers living during Carers Week 2015 - visit: www. The Gateway in Aylesbury with over 100 carers attending in the area at Carers Bucks’ offices in for further details. Chief Executive Stephen Archibald is pictured far left. Aylesbury on 12th June at which carers For further information on the services will receive pampering treatments and health “We now look forward to welcoming carers provided by Carers Bucks or if you know checks. to our new Carers Hub at Stoke Mandeville a local carer who could benefit from their Carers Bucks is also hosting a live hospital, a much needed and eagerly support, please contact Carers Bucks on: Question and Answer session for carers via anticipated service here in Bucks.” 0300 777 2722, email: its online forum: are currently over 49,500 unpaid or visit bucks-forum/ on 11th June, when carers will carers living in Buckinghamshire and 3 in 5 of For further information on Carers Week be able to ask Carers Bucks staff questions us will start caring for someone at some point 2015 visit in our lives. This person may be disabled, If you would like to make a donation to frail, ill, have mental health issues, a learning Carers Bucks, to help the charity in their work, disability or misuse substances - it could be you can do so at: or by your partner, relative or friend. texting the code BUCK10 £1/£5/£10 (i.e. Caring for someone can take its toll: “When the amount you want to donate) to 70070, you start caring it is really important that you or by sending a cheque payable to Carers look after yourself,” says Stephen, “as caring Bucks to Ardenham Court, Oxford Road, can impact on you physically, emotionally and Aylesbury HP19 8HT. Every donation makes mentally, so it’s important to get your own a difference to the lives of carers. health checked regularly as well.” l Carers Bucks, Ardenham Court, Oxford Road, A recent survey by Carers Bucks revealed Aylesbury, HP19 8HT Tel: 0300 777 2722 that, 27 per cent feel mentally exhausted from Email: caring, and over one fifth (22.2 per cent) feel Website:

Young Carers at one of Young Carers Bucks regular Club Nights in Aylesbury

2 26

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

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Louise Onisha Claremont Holistics & Wellness Tring HP23 5DE 2015 Vale Life : Feb/Mar


Providing the ultimate salon experience

What’s the news from Blowdry bar: 30 minutes “Eclipse Hair Design is delighted to introduce our new Redken Pillow Proof Blow-dry Bar which we will be launching at the beginning of June,” says Salon Manager Vicki Krol. “The new Pillow Proof Blow Dry service is ideal for women with a busy lifestyle. It’s a quick appointment that will fit between meetings, or around lunch and could be a lifesaver for mums on the run.” “Pillow Proof, reduces blow-dry time while giving lasting volume and the Pillow Proof extender product can be used the following day to maintain the look that you had in the salon and absorb any oil in the hair to keep it fresh.” Blow-Dry Bar: £25.

Colour WOW:

Winner of 28 Major Industry Awards Eclipse stocks COLOUR WOW! This amazing product covers up roots in an instant with no mess or fuss. Perfect for your ‘in-between visit’ to the salon. The unique, professional powder compound adheres to hair without being sticky or oily and without dulling or looking dry. A water-resistant formula means the results last from shampoo to shampoo, but you can swim, sweat and sleep and the powder will stay in place. Plus, each shade contains a variety of pigments and reflective particles to ensure a natural match with many different hair colors. • Mineral powder technology • Apply to dry hair • Fast, easy, no mess • Lasts until you wash it out • 60 Application kit Usage: Start with dry/styled hair. The enclosed dual-tipped brush lets you customise your Cover Up application. Start with a small amount of powder and apply to roots/regrowth, starting at the scalp and working out. Add more powder and repeat until roots disappear. Then apply to temples and any other grey hair as needed. Powder will stick to hair, but powder won’t stick to powder, so don’t over-apply.

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We are currently looking for an ambitious, experienced stylist who excels in cutting and colour and wishes to progress their career within our successful company. You must be: enthusiastic, friendly and client focused with high standards. You will be part of a very friendly team and benefit from: • High commission rates • London training courses • In house training • Excellent incentives • 30 days holiday per year • Support in developing your skills and working towards promotion Please call Vicki or Louise on 01844 260062 or email your CV in confidence to:

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

Life, sheep, witches, bluebells & birds

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks This is a wonderfully detailed and candid account of a life that is both individual and typical of this role in rural society, told by the first son of a shepherd, who was himself the first son of a shepherd, all three generations working in the Lake District where the family have lived for 600 years. A Viking would still recognise their patterns of work through the seasons and yet the book was born from a series of blogs, modern messages from an ancient way of life. The harsh physical side of his life is not ignored, but told in great yet never over-whelming detail in glorious prose. And James Rebanks always sees the bigger picture - he has to, he needs to run other jobs (one of them advising UNESCO) as hill farming doesn’t pay enough to live on… At the end, you feel as though you have

had a very privileged, personal invitation into a world which often goes unnoticed and yet has had such a profound impact on our landscape and our history. A gripping blend of memoir, history and the best of nature writing.

Half Wild by Sally Green Just out for teen readers, is the sequel to the wildly successful Half Bad. It is set in a modern world inhabited by Black and White witches, two factions who are determined to destroy each other. Nathan is descended from both sides, reviled, hunted, unwanted. His father is a notorious Black Witch, his mother is dead. Having escaped from the all powerful White Witch faction, Nathan is now on the run in Europe. His elusive father has given him the three gifts that confirm

Children love books!

him as an adult witch. He needs to find his friend Gabriel and rescue Annelise, the girl he loves, from the clutches of Black Witch Mercury. Most of all he needs to learn to control his new powers, which threaten to overwhelm him. This is a story of rebellion, of a War between Black and White Witches, and a fight for freedom. Can Nathan trust his new allies? Will his love for Annelise survive the upheaval of War? Can he save Gabriel? A fast paced, supernatural thriller, with some violence.

Bluebell Bears by David Ellwand Sometimes a picture is all you need, and in May, when the woods and dells are full of the glories of the bluebell season, this charming counting book (full of gorgeous photographs of teddy bears hiding

in bluebells) will have you heading for a teddy bears picnic under the leafy canopy! And the rest of the year it will conjure up those heady delights to be found in those brief weeks when the bluebell carpet winds its way through the trees…

Little Book of Garden Bird Songs by Andrea Pinnington Focusing on twelve of our bestloved garden birds, this clever book is all you need to inspire and inform children about our birdlife. A large photograph, a brief description and a few salient facts are given for each one, and then twelve buttons each give a burst of the relevant birdsong. Simple and perfect. l The Book House, 93 High

Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3HJ Tel: 01844 213032 Open Mon-Sat: 9am-5.30pm

Win a copy of new Magna Carta story


Come and choose from the best children’s bookshop in the county:


93 High Street, Thame, Oxon OX9 3HJ Tel: 01844 213032 Open Mondays-Saturdays 9am-5.30pm

Website: Email: We also sell books for grown-ups... and fantastic cards as well as gift stationery and toys. 30

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

une 5th marks 800 years since the Magna Carta was signed - the first human rights legislation and a protection of individual English freedoms. Magna Carta is an important part of our history and now a delightful new children’s book, Rupert’s Parchment: Story of Magna Carta, by award winning author and historical preservationist Eileen Cameron, provides an authentic insight into the occasion for children. Rupert, son of a local parchment maker, has a ringside seat at the historic sealing of Magna Carta in the English meadow of Runnymede in the year 1215. In this great charter, King John pledged to honour the liberties and rights of free men in England. Rupert’s Parchment offers children an authentic experience as they live through this exciting time with Rupert and witness the granting of English freedoms, which after centuries,

influenced the birth of American freedoms. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Rupert’s Parchment, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: Where was the Magna Carta signed? (Don’t say ‘at the bottom!’) Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 4th, 2015. l Rupert’s Parchment is available from all good book shops.

l Column: Catherine Stoker Learning process

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Surviving revision and exams time Independent education consultant Catherine Stoker’s ‘Exam and Revision Season Survival Guide for Parents’...


his is the time of year when parents are often tearing their hair out about their teenager’s revision planning - or lack of it! No one knows this better than Brian McGee, our new Director of Consultancy Services. As a Head of Sixth form at a large state boarding school he has years of experience of supporting worried parents and their teenagers at this time. Here is his list of Dos and Don’ts to help parents alleviate both confrontation and concern at what can otherwise be a very stressful time for all. Do: · Provide a clear, quiet space for revision, away from the rest of the family, with a desk and access to the internet · Support your teenager with ready drinks, snacks and healthy meals · Ensure that the family routine

Catherine Stoker Learning process allows for good quality sleep · Offer to help with revision planning, including drawing up a calendar of family commitments between now and the end of the exams which might interfere with the programme · Encourage your teenager to take regular breaks, including periods of activity, preferably outdoors, after any two-hour revision session. The brain needs time to absorb new material and so the memory will still be working away while the student is doing other things · Offer to act as a testing buddy.

Facts and theories need constant embedding through regular checking and testing of knowledge. Test material from the previous day’s revision, then test it again the following week · Encourage your teenager to use the study methods which work best for their learning style, be they mind maps, charts, audio clips or flashcards · Download past papers and mark schemes from the exam board websites so that the student can test and check their knowledge and understanding under examination conditions · Offer to buy revision guides, highlighters and index cards to help with revision, but beware of spending too much on published revision guides without the advice of your teenager’s teachers · Plan little treats to break up the revision period and a nice big treat for after the exams Don’t: · Nag! Not only is nagging counter-productive, but it actually

interferes with the calm, rational thought processes required for good learning to happen. It also causes unproductive stress for you! · Assume that your teenager’s laissez-faire attitude means they don’t care. The head-in-the-sand response can often belie severe anxiety going on underneath · Panic that they have left it all too late. A good revision plan even at this stage can make a difference, working back from the dates of the exams · Tell them they’re going to fail. Teenagers’ confidence can easily be severely damaged by your apparent view of them, even if wellintentioned Good luck!

l Catherine Stoker is Managing Director

of the Independent Education Consultants. Is there a chance you may need some help with making the right decisions when results time approaches this August? Their friendly, professional team of education consultants can help with UCAS Clearing and planning for re-takes. Why not save the contact details now, in case you need some expert advice over the summer. Tel: 01865 522066, or email Claire via: consultants@

Pardon my English! A local dialect ‘Call My Bluff’ by Jacot de Boinod Can you guess the right definitions of the following words? 1) mommered (Buckinghamshire dialect)

3) bodge (Buckinghamshire dialect)

A) dazed, confused in mind B) tired from complaining C) the state of a husband whose wife has arrived at the alehouse to make him come home

A) a man working at a trade, not a master workman B) to flick a marble with finger and thumb C) to handle food in a messy way (often said of children)

2) quilt (Oxfordshire dialect) A) the last and least willing sheep to be sheared B) to swallow C) to walk alone with the head held low

4) frim (Hertfordshire dialect)

Children Learning to Succeed

Maths & English Tuition

in Aylesbury

A) strong, luxuriant; succulent B) short and thick-set C) to rejoice extravagantly and boisterously

l Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for

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

Call for a FREE assessment!

07762 886 951

ANSWERS: 1A) dazed, confused in mind. 2B) to swallow. 3A) a man working at a trade, not a master workman. 4A) strong, luxuriant; succulent Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Interiors Edition: The big outdoors Employ all your flair and personality to define the garden in your own style, just as you would any room in the house...

Polly Gibbs

Step inside


Polly Gibbs, Creative Director at Coco Design, shares her down to earth approach to interiors, from design secrets to trends and everything in between.

ummer is here and we can at last make use of that extra room - the garden (granted, weather permitting). There has been a lot of talk around ‘bringing the outside in’ over the past few years - the idea of letting the interior reflect the great outdoors in terms of materials, patterns, colour palettes and textures. In particular, the expanse of glass and level access that bi-fold doors provide, has blurred the division between inside and out. This has had me thinking for a while. How about making the garden a fully cohesive extension of the home, by taking the inside, well,


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Bistro Lights, The White Company

Create Social Hotspots

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Savannah Rug by Unnatural Flooring

outside? Technology now allows for outdoor rugs, lighting and music, so you can literally create a garden that not only reflects nature but your interior style too. Here are my five essential ingredients for a hip outdoor space: 1. Colour Code The same design principles apply outside as inside, so keep to a refined palette of three to four colours max. Garden colour traditionally comes from the plants and foliage, so new elements should complement an existing or scheduled planting scheme. If you have moved over to the ‘dark side’ take this outdoors too, as greenery literally pops against charcoal shades and looks uber cool. I’m not a fan of lots of little bits of colour (think pink and yellow floral bouquets from petrol stations), rather, I prefer to maximise impact with large blocks of single colour, whether it’s in the flower beds, a wall, fence or the shed. Make each area an interesting vista that compliments the last, for a cohesive whole.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

2. Create Friction Use bold textures and weather hardy materials to create friction (yes, friction) - harmony comes from the overall balance of a scheme, while friction is created when contrasting elements collide. Play with rusty versus galvanised surfaces, wood set against stone, living (e.g. moss) walls next to brick. It is this unexpected grit that generates interest. 3. Hotspots In the height of summer create social hotspots and relaxing nooks by pulling your rugs outdoors for some laid back socialising. Lounge on them in the sun with a few plump pillows and cushions, or dine on them with long tables and vintage mismatched chairs. For all year round, opt for an outdoor rug that is fade, (UV stable) and water resistant like the Savannah, far left, by Unnatural Flooring (From £75. | 0844 414 2166), or Riso Grey by Benuta Continued on page 35

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


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

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Step inside by Polly Gibbs

SuperArchimoon by Philippe Starck for Flos Lighting Continued from page 33

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Miami F3 Lamp by Anton Angeli Rockcoco LED Chandelier

(£74.95. | 0203 608 0595), or. You can even take your sofa outdoors on a sunny day - just like the Cubans do. 4. Decoration / Personalisation Use cut flowers or oversized foliage in clear vases or jars to style the patio table, entwined with white outdoor fairy lights for a focal point by day or night. Rinsed cans and scent diffuser bottles make handy little vessels too. I like creating a table centrepiece by grouping a few different sized ‘indoor’ pots together in a simple colourway (for me it’s chalky white), planted with hyacinth, lavenders or aromatic herbs. Art, sculptures and architectural salvage really personalise gardens and large pieces can add real grandeur. But make sure the piece suits the space in terms of balance, colour, subject and scale. 5. Illuminate Layered lighting at different heights works best for an atmospheric glow. Hang lanterns from trees, huddle candles together in hurricane vases and jam jars, or create the ultimate outdoor living room with lamps and chandeliers that look as if they just walked straight out of the house. There’s the Rockcoco LED chandelier by Fatboy, £439 (available at design-conscious. | 01282 455330), the Miami F3 outdoor floor and pendant lights by Anton Angeli, from £715 - £1690 (available at | +727 940 5812), the K-Tribe F3 (outdoor version) at around £1307, or the SuperArchimoon priced at £5495, both by Philippe Starck for Flos Lighting ( | Stockists: David Village Lighting. 0114 263 4266). Fishpools offer a reasonably priced Palma table lamp (£149., but my number one pick for the garden

this year (though I do swoon over the SuperArchimoon) is festoon lights. Their chunky retro look gives a magical aura reminiscent of fairgrounds and summer fetes. Drape them over a pergola, line a path, or hang from a gazebo for a chic sparkle. Try these Bistro Bulbs, (pictured at start of article on page 32), in black or white by The White Company (£65. | 020 375 89 222).

Make some Pimms lollies, add good company, a dash of sun and you’re set! l Polly Gibbs is an award-winning designer, Decorex100 Interiors Influencer and Amara Interiors Blog Award Finalist 2014. Discover her blog at Email: Twitter: @coco_design Facebook: / Web: Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


‘The Art of Wood Burning’

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

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01865 361505 Featured stoves from JØtul 36

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Call it upcycling, revamping or making over, it’s amazing what you can do with an old wardrobe and a coat of chalk paint - pop into Thame’s new Vintage Home Emporium, Jack & Atticus where you’ll find all you need, plus advice by the bucketful and a room full of inspiration...


urniture, accessories and other covetable goods’ says the Jack & Atticus strapline, but that’s only a hint at what’s in store. The shop is the brainchild of Scott Broussard, a Texan from Houston, who came to England in 2008 and found himself helping a neighbour in Amersham to sell some of their old furniture. “It kind of grew,” says Scott, “until I found myself with a warehouse in Chalfont St Giles full of people’s junk and old furniture and I was painting and upcycling things and selling them on and really enjoying it! “At first I was selling second hand furniture that I’d revamped but then people started asking me how to do it and where they could get the paint and so on and I started selling those bits too. Now we have two shops and two warehouses and run courses teaching people how to use different paints and do the techniques themselves. We also do commissions, revamping pieces for customers, bespoke painting services, upholstery and picture framing and some home staging. “We sell antique, vintage, painted, second-hand furniture and homeware on a 50/50 basis, working with anyone who has good quality pieces to sell. Our suppliers range from local craftspeople to those downsizing or de-cluttering their homes. We don’t take anything though, it has to be reasonable quality. In addition, we sell Autentico chalk paints, Earthborn clay paints and miss mustard seed’s milk paint, the best paintbrushes, sugar soap, handles and knobs, whatever you need.” Scott, who now lives in Tring, previously worked as a design consultant to the dental industry and has some 22 years experience supplying dentists with their office and surgery interiors and equipment. “The dental business is all about service,” he says, “and we aim to offer that here too. If you have never painted before, we’ll lead you through the process - people are generally surprised how easy it is though and are really pleased with the results. “Chalk paints are the most popular as they allow you to paint with very little preparation. There are chalk paints for outdoors as well as in, there’s vintage chalk for furniture and velvet for walls - which is chalk paint but less porous

Scott Broussard at Jack & Atticus, Thame

- and we do Earthborn clay paint, which is very breathable and ideal for period homes. The Autentico chalk range is our best seller though, it will go on almost anything - wood, concrete, plastic, wallpaper... “The shabby chic look has been very popular but now people are also making things look smarter and accentuating details rather than going for the all over distressed look. We’ve gone from cream to greys and then cream and grey together and now bolder, darker colours, blues and black. The contemporary look with a sharp dark block finish is in at the moment. “I really enjoy taking our workshops. We demonstrate how to use glazes and waxes and different upcycling techniques. We have one a month in Amersham and plan to start at Thame on June 20th. It’s so nice to see the ‘wow’ reactions when people discover a new technique and are blown away by the results they have achieved!” Jack and Atticus - the store is named after

two dogs, Scott’s Jack Russell/Terrier and a friend’s Labrador - opened in Thame last November. The showroom has different paint effects displayed in sections, on the walls and on furniture, to demonstrate the range of glaze effects from ‘granite’ to ‘zinc’ and paint examples from velvet to vintage chalk. You may have seen the picket fence out front showing the outdoor chalk colour range. “Whether you are painting your walls, or giving a lift to a dresser, we can show you how to do it and supply the equipment, or we can do it for you,” says Scott. “We can generally help, whatever you are revamping in your home. We love to give old things a new life, or to inspire our customers to have a go themselves. Come in for a browse and a chat and see if we can inspire you too!” l Jack & Atticus, 55 North Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 212327 Email: Website: Open Mon-Sat: 9.30am-5pm Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Aylesbury Flooring is this year celebrating a landmark 25 years in business and owners Ian and Jayne Middleton would like to let all their customers and staff, past and present, know just how much the couple appreciate their help and support over the years...


stablished in 1990 by husband and wife Ian and Jayne Middleton at the same premises on Jansel Square, Bedgrove, they occupy today, Aylesbury Flooring is now marking 25 years as a successful, local, family run business. “We’ve laid a good few miles of flooring over the years,” says Ian, who had been in the army for seven years before training as a carpet fitter and then starting the business with wife, Jayne. “Most of our work is in Aylesbury and the surrounding area: Tring, Thame, Wendover, Missenden... but we occasionally work with interior designers and do a bit in London and further afield too. I quoted for a job in The Falklands once but fortunately it didn’t happen!” “We’ve done a stretch limousine, boats and barges, shops, old peoples homes, schools, hotels, therapy centres and flats...” “Last year we supplied and fitted flooring for the Vale of Aylesbury Housing apartments on the corner by our showroom,” says Jayne. “We had to carpet and floor 20 flats in ten days and hoover them all down for the handover and the lift wasn’t working!” “It’s still good though,” says Ian. “I really enjoy most of it! It can be really busy though, I may have eight or ten appointments in a day to measure up, plan, price and quote, it gets quite hectic! We get a lot of return business and recommendations though, which is nice


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Jayne and Ian Middleton

and shows we are doing the job right.” The firm, which has built an excellent reputation for good service and specialist knowledge, caters for both domestic and commercial flooring, boasting an impressive range of over 5,000 carpet samples from leading manufacturers such as Victorias, Brintons, Westex and Penthouse to name a few. They additionally specialise in Design Flooring from leading manufactures Karndean, Amtico and Moduleo. “When we opened in 1990 there was a recession and it was quite a struggle at first,” says Jayne. “We had a business development loan to pay off and my eldest, Joshua, was only 8 months. There was just the two of us to start with and we worked six days a week and didn’t take any holidays for about seven years! Business has gradually built up though and things are a bit easier now!” Jayne grew up in Aylesbury and attended Broughton School, Turnfurlong and John Colet. She went into retail management and worked for Laura Ashley for several years in Milton Keynes and London and picked up useful office, admin and management skills. She now manages the office, taking care of admin, accounts and marketing. Ian moved down to Aylesbury from Preston with his family when he was about

nine, so also grew up in the town. The couple have three children: Joshua, 26, Toby, 23 and Maisy, 15. Toby, who is a barber and works at Salvino’s Salon on Kingsbury Square, is a keen footballer and started a local Sunday league team called ‘Aylesbury Flooring FC’ with a group of old Bedgrove School friends. Their strip is purple and white as it’s the Bedgrove School colours and the company helps them with sponsorship. They’ve just had a really good season winning the Berks and Bucks FA Junior Cup and the Vale of Aylesbury Cup, were beaten on penalties in the final of the Tony Higginson Cup and just need to win or draw their final game of the season to finish top of the SLN Aylesbury Sunday Football Combination League they play in. Pretty impressive! Eldest son Joshua is pretty active too, especially considering he was diagnosed with MS at 23. It’s not a progressive form fortunately but comes and goes and he is generally well and active. He is involved in fundraising for the MS Society charity and did the Brutal 10k run last year raising £2,000. He is aiming to climb Mt Kilimanjaro this year for which Ian and Jayne are helping him fundraise and you can too at: “The flooring industry has changed

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Sales Manager Gary

Recent Karndean flooring job dramatically over the last 25 years,” says Jayne. “It was nearly all carpet when we started whereas today a large proportion of our business is luxury vinyl tiles, such as Karndean and Amtico. “Carpet has become a little more adventurous too with striped carpet becoming popular for stairs. We have a special machine which can overlock the carpet edges so we can do a stair runner which goes up the middle and leaves bare board either side, which is very fashionable at the moment. “We have also noticed a trend for customers to carpet throughout their home in the same colour carpet rather than have different carpets for each room. It’s a more uniform look and can be very cost effective. “Customer service is our key though, no matter how big or small your job we will give you our best service and the personal attention of myself, Ian or our sales manager Gary, who has been with us for three years. “We have a good choice of floorings and many years experience, so can advise on the best options for any particular situation. We offer free quotes, measuring service and sample loans. “The showroom is a good size and nice and light and airy and we would always encourage prospective customers to pop in for a chat and

Stripes are popular for stairs

Recent Karndean flooring job Win Karndean flooring!!! To celebrate 25 years in business Aylesbury Flooring have teamed up with Karndean to offer 12m2 of Karndean flooring as first prize in a special in-store competition. Pop into the Aylesbury Flooring showroom, make your choice from the competition range and put your name down to enter.

to have a look at samples in addition to visiting our website. It’s nice to be able to actually feel the carpets and tiles and see them up close and we may be able to suggest alternatives that are even more appealing. “We can explain the difference between different floorings, why one is more or less expensive than another and how it will suit a particular room or location. “If it’s difficult for someone to come in we can get an idea over the phone as to what is wanted and visit with some samples, but we’ll never be able to take the whole range, so coming in is the best way. There is a car park right outside and some nice local shops and cafés in the centre here too! “We are recommended retailers for Karndean and amtico so if you are looking for these particular brands we have all the samples and brochures and are very knowledgeable about the products and how to install them.

The Aylesbury Flooring showroom “It’s very important to us that the customer is totally happy and it’s the positive feedback, recommendations and testimonials that give us real job satisfaction. We quite often get emails saying how pleased a client is and how polite and efficient our fitters are and that’s really appreciated.” Congratulations Aylesbury Flooring, well done and here’s to the next 25! l Aylesbury Flooring, 3 Jansel Square, Bedgrove, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7ES Tel: 01296 415038 Email: Website:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



by Charlotte Bolton

Latest looks Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Charlotte Bolton

Bring your home to life this Summer by using colour and pattern to transform your walls...


here’s still a Bank Holiday this month which means plenty of spare time to ‘do stuff ’ around the house... (smile...!!!!). Need inspiration for an instant room update? A ‘feature’ wallpaper is still a fabulous way of creating a stylish focal point for the room bi-colour block prints are big this season and tropical designs are still everywhere. Or if you fancy giving your sitting room or bedroom a lick of paint, the big colour of the moment is blue. So hit the shops, get yourself ready, and follow these hints and tips for an instant style fix! Paint Trends... Blue hues Although blue has always been a popular and easy colour to use in our homes it’s been the deeper, darker tones that have been stealing the limelight in the last year

Combine different tones of blue - such as teal and indigo - for a layered effect or so. From charcoal grey blues, through to deep indigo and cobalt, and striking teal and turquoise, the possibilities are endless and will make any scheme unique and personal. Use these shades for a tranquil scheme too. How to use: 1) Paint a sitting or bedroom (wall/s) with a bold cobalt blue to give your decor a fresh Mediterranean feel with impact. Or combine different tones of blue for a layered-effect; choose a background shade for the wall(s) then opt for accessories/furnishings in blending tones 2) Pair the wall(s) with accessories such as pretty glass vases, display bottles or glass candlestick holders in rich shades of indigo and turquoise for a contemporary mismatched feel.

Tie a bold wallpaper scheme together with accessories in the same shade as the main ‘block’ colour 40

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

3) Cement your scheme by teaming a mixture of blues with warm neutrals, soft whites or pale yellow – choose cushions, bed linen, and throws in these colours for a stylish finish. Whereas lighter hues can often

Make sure you use bold prints in the right context... smaller designs are better for more compact spaces feel cold, these neutrals can be much richer (against the blues) - you can even throw in a few other shades to warm it up such as copper for an on-trend masculine feel, or dusky pink for a softer, feminine side.


by Charlotte Bolton

Team warm neutrals and soft blues for a calming, relaxing scheme

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

4) Complete the whole look with a vase of fresh flowers - opt for blooms in pretty pastel shades or soft yellows. Wallpaper Trends... Bi-colour block prints Inspired by traditional block printing, which was the method used to hand print wallpaper and textiles for hundreds of years, block-print designs are a fabulous way to add depth of colour and distinctive pattern to your home. They usually consist of two bold shades in a repeated design. How to use: 1) Using a block-print wallpaper is a great way to dress up a plain wall and create a stunning focal point. But be aware of the size of the room as some designs may dominate the space if used on all the walls. Larger rooms with high ceilings Continued on Page 42

BLINDS AND SOFT-FURNISHINGS – free measuring and quotation: assistance with choosing appropriate products and installation available INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE - tailored to your needs: from plan to completed design or help with finishing off your look

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Visit us at our new studio 55 North Street Thame OX9 3BH Shop online for accessories and gifts Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

by Charlotte Bolton

Continued from Page 41 can carry a bold large-format pattern in a strong shade but smaller rooms are better suited to smaller patterns. 2) Choose your colourful block print then tie your scheme together with accessories in a similar prominent shade (doesn’t matter what style your furniture is). For instance, if you’ve chosen a paper with bright orange tones look for cushions, throws, light fittings, vases, photo frames and other decorative items in a similar shade.

Tropical prints are still very popular this year – fresh and vibrant, they add instant pizazz to any room

touch, perfect for refreshing any room in time for summer!

l I also write for some of the UK’s best-selling homes magazines such as Ideal Home, House Beautiful, Your Home, Style at Home and Homes &



N S TA L • I L

Gardens. Send me pictures of your home revamps (with a little bit of info about your project, whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, or whole house transformation) and your home could appear in a magazine!

I’m not looking for grand designs or unlived in show-home types, I’m interested in REAL people and how they live in their REAL homes. To find out more, visit: or email me at








• ST O



Tropical designs These continue to be hugely popular, reflecting the trend for bringing the outdoors inside. A range of designs are available, many feature hummingbirds, butterflies, leaves and feathers – and colours range from soft shades of stone, cocoa and olive to daring brights, including flamingo pink, mango and raspberry. These beautiful prints have a really natural feel, while the vibrant pops of colour add a bold



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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Simon says, ‘time to retire’


he village of Haddenham is picture perfect, a truly quintessential English village with a duck pond by the church, thatched roof cottages, a small school and it even boasts a family butcher - something sadly lacking in many towns and villages these days. But unless someone buys Parminters Butchers shop as a going concern the village will soon lose this wonderful facility, for after more than 30 years serving the people of the village and surrounds Simon Parminter is going into welldeserved retirement. He and his wife Margot are moving to Hereford, a place they have visited every year for the past 20 years. Simon wants to devote time to painting and will volunteer for the nearby steam railway. His father and grandfather ran the butcher’s shop before him, but it wasn’t something he originally intended to do himself. “I love cooking,” he says, “I still do the cooking when we have people over for dinner, although

cookery class and he jumped at the chance. Soon other boys followed, and they were the envy of the rest of the lads when they left school at the end of the day with tins of freshly baked goodies. Simon went on to work at The Spread Eagle in Thame for 15 years, starting out as the washer upper and ending up as the second chef. He enjoyed being there but the work meant very unsociable hours and the only people he ever saw were his workmates. His father suggested he should come to work in the family business and he never looked back. In Haddenham Simon found not only a new job but his future wife, as Margot worked at Barclays Bank which had a branch in the village Simon Parminter at that time. She recalls: “I had to Margot does the day to day cooking. pursue him, he was very shy. But My mother was an amazing cook; I I liked wearing high heel shoes watched her a lot and made cakes and I wanted someone taller than with her. ” me who could cook. One of my At school Simon was ‘bloody colleagues said she knew just the hopeless’ at metalwork and right person. She used to pop into woodwork, so his teachers his shop and she told me to go down suggested he joined the girls in the there, so I did, and I saw Simon

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This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

who is six feet seven inches tall. “I thought he had definite possibilities. He was a bit shy, and so was I, but I thought if I want this I’ve got to go for it.” Within a couple of years Simon and Margot were married at St Mary’s Church on the village green. They have one daughter, Zoe, who lives in the village but works in London as a scientific patent researcher. She will not be moving with her parents and so they will return to visit the village often. l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

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Email Telephone 07751 472181 Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Showtime M

Physocarpus opulifolius: pic Hillier Nurseries

ay at last! The blossom is out, herbaceous perennials are perking up, and the sign that the gardening season is truly under way - the garden shows are nearly upon us! Most famous of all of course is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - and one of the stalwarts of the show, and looking to bag its 70th Gold medals this year, is Hillier Nurseries. For 2015 its display is taking visitors on a tour around the continents with a number of, not new plants, but some garden stalwarts from around the globe. “The performance of a show plant at Chelsea is a good indication of its durability in the garden,” says Andy McIndoe, Hillier’s managing director, who is designing and staging the Hillier exhibit at Chelsea for a 25th consecutive year. “If it stays in good condition during preparation, transport to London, staging and for the week

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

of the show, whatever the weather, it will stand up to most things in a garden.” So refresh your memories and add a touch of the globe to your own garden with the following plants, which will appear on the Hillier exhibit this year: Physocarpus opulifolius: Eastern North America Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diable d’Or’ is a good example. This is a striking foliage shrub with arching branches and redbrown leaves, with copper at the tips of the shoots. It looks good from spring to autumn. Clusters of pinkish flowers are secondary but they then develop into jewel-like clusters of fruits in late summer. The foliage’s warm rich tones work with most colours, but team with apricot, orange and flame for best results. Hillier suggests Rhododendron ‘Firelight’ or Rhododendron ‘Mrs T.H. Lowinsky’.

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

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Phormium cookianum: pic Hillier Nurseries

Sambucus nigra ‘Blue Sheen’ : pic Hillier Nurseries

Agapanthus: pic Hillier Nurseries Phormium cookianum: New Zealand Phormiums, offer bold, architectural statements along with exotic colours. Create contrast by planting with the soft round forms of many familiar garden plants, whether in mixed plantings or as specimens grown in pots. Andy McIndoe recommends Phormium cookianum ‘Tricolor’ with bold arching leaves of green, striped cream and red. It also benefits from being tougher and hardier than other varieties. Agapanthus: South Africa This lovely summer-blooming

perennial is happiest in a sunny border or a pot on the patio. Not all varieties flower well in our climate, but some hybrids have been bred to perform well here Agapanthus ‘Charlotte’ is one of them. It’s compact, evergreen and has heavenly blue sparkling blooms from mid to late summer. Fatsia japonica: Japan If you have a shady spot under a specimen tree or shrub, make it shine with the large, green, glossy leaves of Fatsia japonica. It brings a touch of the exotic to a planting scheme and is a great choice for a pot in shade.

Sambus nigra: Europe Everyone knows the common elder, with its flattened heads of creamy white flowers and red-black berries. But it is the purple-leaved varieties that have become popular as foliage shrubs in our gardens. They grow quickly, are happy in most soils, especially chalk and clay, and offer foliage from spring to autumn. Their flowers and fruit attract wildlife - insects in early summer and bird in autumn. Hillier’s choice is Sambucus nigra ‘Blue Sheen’, which boasts deep purple black foliage and a distinctive metallic blue sheen to the leaves.

Fatsia Japonica: pic Hillier Nurseries

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Grow, cook, eat and enjoy outdoors this summer, with inspiration from the Alfresco Show Garden, winner of a Gold medal at the RHS Flower Show Cardiff. Picture: RHS went to the Alfresco garden, which offered a stunning contrast with its bold black landscaping and fresh spring planting, creating a garden that was both productive, being the place where fruit and veg were grown, and a place to cook and enjoy the produce with friends and family. You could easily recreate the feel of this garden on a large

Continued from page 45 Black is back The shows are also of course a great place to pick up trends - and one that is becoming clear is the raised border, with a coloured surround. Something that is very easy to recreate at home. At the recent RHS Flower Show Cardiff, Best Show Garden

patio, using raised beds painted or stained with dark colours. A boundary wall or fence could also be painted - or you could use dark-coloured trellis against the side of the house or against a fence that you didn’t actually want to paint. Sow veg seeds (or plant young plants), and don’t forget to include a barbecue, smoker or even a

pizza oven for some al fresco dining. l Naomi Mackay is a freelance journalist who provides editorial services for small local businesses, including social media campaigns and blogging. Vale Life readers get a 10% discount. Contact her at:

Enjoy our beautiful location It’s nice to meet someone who enjoys not only his job but the area in which he works too. Of course being based in Tring on the edge of Chilterns, Simon Hallings ‘office’ includes some spectacular countryside and lovely homes... Simon Halling of Simon Halling Estates believes his work selling property in and around The Chilterns is a privilege and does his best to provide a first class service whether you are buying or selling. He is a caring and conscientious fellow and guarantees transparency and honesty while striving to make a transaction as straight forward as possible. And, from an initial market appraisal to legal completion, Simon promises to be on hand to deal with matters efficiently and promptly to ensure your objectives are reached. 46

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


e are so lucky to be living around here,” says Simon. “It is easy to overlook all the beauty that is around us: the rolling countryside, the Chilterns, Tring Park, the Grand Union Canal and our local reservoirs. “So much wildlife too, not all of it spread on the road, herons, red kite, foxes... and apparently the badger sets in Tring Park are over a thousand years old, although I’ve never actually seen a badger there! “I have seen lots of red kite though - one of those powerful creatures thought about taking my cockerpoo Charlie, who was bold enough to try and chase the

big bird away. Luckily the kite did a quick circle above my bounding little pooch and decided to fly off instead. A near disaster narrowly averted. “So there we are - even in our beautiful environs, stress is never far away. And that is why, if you are thinking of selling a property it is good to employ my services, as I take as much of the stress as possible off your shoulders and do my best to make each transaction as simple and efficient as it can be. “We are so lucky to be living around here - and London is just up the road.” If you are thinking of selling Simon can be contacted 24/7 on: 07500 147380.

Simon Halling l Simon Halling Estates Ltd Akeman Business Park 81-82 Akeman Street Tring, Herts HP23 6AF 01442 822863

Anglo Business Park, Aylesbury fully sold


lan Chandler of Stupples Chandler Garvey, marketing agents for Anglo St James Limited is pleased to announce that the last available unit, Unit 3, has now been sold. The scheme comprises approximately 100,000 sq ft of B1/B8/B2 space, with unit sizes from 1,700 sq ft upwards, developed by Anglo St James Limited in conjunction with Newlyn Developments of Ireland. Development began in 2005 with completion of the first phase in 2006. Alan has been marketing the units since then and says: “During the first part of the development we were experiencing a commercial property boom. Then we hit the

comprise approximately 5,200 sq ft with a 600 sq ft concrete platform to be utilised for offices or further storage. These units were originally being sold for around £575,000 but now, due to depressed values, are around £350,000/£360,000. “There is now a shortage, particularly of freeholds, in the Aylesbury area,” says Alan, “and we worst recession ever in terms of had a higher offer on Unit 3 from commercial property and for 2/3 a Watford company unable to find years we hardly had any viewings. anything in their own area. Over the last 3/6 months the market “A lot of companies from West has improved and we have sold London, Park Royal, Hillingdon, Unit 17 to TWS Plastics Limited of Uxbridge etc are looking to come out Aylesbury and Unit 6 has been sold this way at the moment too, due to a as an investment to Corpe Limited lack of supply in their areas and the with Coldene Castors as a tenant.” fact that the units that do become The last 3 units: 17, 6 and 3 available are very expensive.”

Sunley House Office Suites, Aylesbury :

Connery House, Amersham :

(12,348 sq ft - suites available from 2,000 sq ft upwards) The 3rd and 4th floor office suites at Sunley House are available on flexible terms with extremely economic rental from £3.50/sq ft. The open plan office space and common areas have/ will be refurbished to a high standard. Amenities include good on site parking and passenger lifts to the four floors. The offices are within easy walking

To Let

distance of the town centre and rail and bus stations.

(Only 2nd Floor Remaining - 3,789 sq ft)

Croudace Properties have completed an extensive refurbishment of this property, to provide these ‘Grade A’ offices at Repton Place. Excellent car parking, video entry system, and new passenger lifts are just some of the amenities provided, with a

To Let

convenient location for rail, underground and motorway connections (

To Let Iconic Headquarters Building – The Blue Leanie - Aylesbury: (From 9,424 sq ft to 36,447 sq ft, over three floors)

A rare opportunity has arisen to occupy this iconic landmark property and Stupples Chandler Garvey are pleased to offer office accommodation (over ground, 3rd and 4th floors) on a full repairing and insuring lease. VAV Air Conditioning and excellent natural light provide a pleasant working environment with good on site parking and both passenger and goods lifts

To Let

for easy floor to floor access. Centrally located, with excellent road and rail connections.

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

A new perspective on property

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2015


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,

Steve ‘Pocket Rocket’ Cook

Photograph by Pete Griffith, March 2015


hampion kick boxer and owner of Pegasus gym, Steven Cook was a chubby youngster who got picked on at school, so his dad took him aged 12, to Tae Kwon Do classes, to make sure he could stick up for himself. Steve kept it up and eventually crossed over to Kick Boxing about 14 years ago. On May 30th this year he will be fighting Soufiane from Morocco for the Professional WRSA Full Contact Kickboxing World Title in Ely. Born and bred in Aylesbury, Steve went to Quarrendon School, attended Tae Kwon Do classes at Aylesbury multi-cultural centre and then Pegasus kick boxing classes run by Mike Zilles at the Guttman Centre in Stoke Mandeville. When Mike closed his Aylesbury classes Steve travelled to Chesham three times a week to continue his training. He started fighting in amateur competitions and won four light contact titles, including inter-continental champion, for which he defeated the Italian world champion. He applied to join the army but was turned 48

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

down as his medical records showed he’d had eczema. At Pegasus martial arts school he worked up to black belt and started teaching classes and when Mike retired Steve relaunched Pegasus in Aylesbury, opening his own Pegasus Kickboxing Fitness and Martial Arts Centre behind Lucas World of Furniture on Rabans Lane. It’s an impressive set up with purpose built exercise studio complete with punchbags a full-size boxing ring, monkey bars, gymnastic rings, kettle bells, free weights, matted areas and a large exercise/dance studio. The fitness centre has a full timetable of classes from Boot Camps to Bokwa, Zumba to Anti-Gravity Yoga, Street Dance, Pole Fitness, Spinning, Kickboxing and popular new phenomenon White Collar Boxing plus the gym’s Fight Like A Pro programme, for which men and women who have never boxed before train like a professional boxer for 10 weeks and finish with a matched bout at a big fight night. It’s been a spectacular success and is collecting valuable funds for local charities through its accompanying Donate Like a Pro

programme, whereby each team of fighters tries to raise as much money as possible - so far more than £20,000 has been achieved! Steve is now a black belt full-contact kickboxing champion, a certified personal trainer, a fighter’s conditioning coach, a boxercise coach and a qualified first aider! “Having grown up around here I know that local teenagers have very little to do,” says Steve, “so I wanted to create a place they could come and have fun doing something worthwhile instead of getting into trouble. “We’ve tried to create a family environment here where beginners can mix with professional athletes and anyone is welcome. We don’t want arrogance or elitism, everyone can have a go and the mix of dance, fitness and martial arts all under one roof is great. It makes for a really good atmosphere here.” The next Fight Like A Pro Fight Night is on Friday, 21st August, 2015 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium ( To find out more about Pegasus Gym see:


Column: The Flo Show with Florence Grace

Blinkin’ marvellous!


he year seems to be disappearing before my very eyes but I have been as busy as ever! I was a presenter at a concert hosted by my radio station: Blink Live! 2 at Beaconsfield School. I had never presented to such a large crowd, or to a live crowd either before, and I was so nervous! There was no need to be though, as the whole evening went amazingly well and was so much fun! I got involved with stage door interviews between my presenting slots, which allowed me to experience the on stage buzz from the musicians and capture a little on camera. The most anticipated of all the acts was young Bucks band, Table 21, who did an extremely impressive set and really got the crowd excited! As well as playing their own songs, they covered popular tunes by bands such as Nirvana, who have a similar style. The group consists of four boys

Flo interviews Table 21 Flo with Katie Hopkins

aged 15-17, who have only been together for a few months - their talent is overwhelming though and I sense big things on the horizon for them! I also attended a once in a life time event... a Q and A session with the one and only Katie Hopkins! Arguably the most controversial woman in Britain, Katie is a columnist for the Sun newspaper, who polarises the public with her

extreme views on current issues and people often disagree with her. I am one of her (few) supporters, as she is a real inspiration to me when it comes to writing! The session was a real eye opener into her opinions and her life. She told us about her army training, suffering from epilepsy and how her career affects her family life. I got to meet her at the end of the night and she said some very

Florence Grace The Flo Show

touching things to me, advising me never to give up on my dreams, no matter what rejection I face. I converse with Katie over Twitter frequently and to have her recognise me and give me some advice regarding my own writing meant a lot to me. I may or may not have left crying... (tears of happiness of course!) Summer is now on the way, and there are so many exciting things happening this year for me... I can’t wait to tell you all about them! Until next time... Love from, Florence Grace. l Florence Grace lives in Aylesbury and blogs at: She is also a photographer and DJs for internet radio station BlinkFM (

Win a pair of tickets to The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show


ack at Sandown Park, Surrey from 27th-28th June 2015, the annual Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is the one-stop event for those wanting to build or renovate their home and are in search of practical advice, expertise, a wide variety of innovative products, services and inspiration.

Visitors who want to create extra room by extending, converting, or embarking on an ambitious new-build project, will discover dedicated areas and features and be provided with comprehensive recommendations across the twoday exhibition. Free 15-minute sessions with the UK’s property specialists, in-depth

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seminars and over 30 masterclasses will provide the essential answers to everyone’s questions and queries. Tips ranging from architectural design, furnishing, lighting to insulation, design ideas, home improvement and much more will be available to cater for the needs of every visitor, no matter what their project, budget or lifestyle. Plus more than 220 national and local companies will be showcasing their latest technologies and bespoke services to offer vital support to

those undertaking a project and Sally Tag and her team of experts will be located at The Planning Clinic to advise on the latest regulations, Visitors are recommended to bring any plans to The Advice Centre to benefit from free 15 minute face to face consultations with a variety of experts. Standard tickets are £8 in advance or £12 on the door (children under 16 go free). For further information visit or call the ticket hotline on 08712 301086 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras). If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a pair of tickets to Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: When is this year’s show? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 4th, 2015. l Ticket hotline: 08712 301086 Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



Column: Down to business with Philippa Batting

Overcoming rural challenges


uckinghamshire’s beautiful countryside helps to make our county a great place to live, but the issues that affect our rural businesses can often be overlooked. The tribulations of these businesses are very different to those in urban areas, as anyone who has struggled for a Wi-Fi connection in a vast open space, or tried to catch a bus to a rural business location, will know. Rural businesses are often out of sight and mind of developers whose infrastructure projects can be very town-centric. Buckinghamshire Business First’s (BBF) rural members tell us of the challenges they face, including a lack of suitable premises - particularly early stage business accommodation - slower broadband speeds, inconsistent mobile telephone coverage, a lack of affordable housing for staff, planning constraints, a shortage of business networks, a more restrictive labour market and weak public transport provision that

Bob Newell, left, and Chris Rawson, BBF Broadband Manager, by the superfast broadband cabinet that supplies Bob means some employers have to hire only those capable of driving to work. Despite these obstacles, rural start-ups are now overtaking those in large urban areas, encapsulating the spirit of the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain. In all, 40% of businesses in Buckinghamshire with fewer than 250 employees are based in rural areas and we need to create the best possible conditions for these businesses to thrive. Part of the £55 million that Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership

(BTVLEP) procured for Buckinghamshire in the last year from the Government’s Local Growth Fund will specifically be spent on issues that rural businesses find most prohibitive to growth, such as weak broadband coverage. A recent injection of £5 million from the combined coffers of Central Government, BTVLEP, our local authorities and BT will see superfast broadband coverage extended to 95% of the county. The hard work of the Connected Counties team in bringing superfast broadband to Buckinghamshire is benefiting business owners such as Bob Newell of Newell Projects Ltd. “We won our dream contract,” Bob told BBF, “but we had such slow broadband speeds we were faced with the prospect of moving somewhere with faster speeds. The arrival of superfast broadband changed our world; the work that BBF have been doing to bring this development to Buckinghamshire is the sole reason we are keeping our business in the county.” The challenges that face rural

Philippa Batting Down to business

businesses will not be solved overnight, but BBF is working closely with BTVLEP, local authorities and other stakeholders to face them head on, including raising awareness of these issues at local and national government level. See how Buckinghamshire Business First can support your business, whether you’re rural or urban, at l Philippa Batting is the Managing Director of Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF). The organisation, based in Saunderton, works to support and facilitate success within the business community and to create a dynamic environment in which local business can flourish. Membership is free - visit: for more information.


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Gunsmith Doug Burton is well know in shooting circles as an expert at repairing, maintaining and restoring shotguns. His business is expanding and he now buys and sells guns as well...


oming from a farming background, Doug Burton grew up using shotguns and after school he took an apprenticeship at the world renowned gunmakers, Boss & Co in London. “I trained there for five years,” says Doug. “All the shotguns were handmade - every part of the gun. There are different skills involved. You have the stocker, the actioner and the barrelmaker - which is my speciality.” Doug set up his first gunsmiths aged 21 at the Old Bakery in Chinnor, moved to premises in Thame and then worked from his home in Waddesdon. After a spell living abroad in Spain, Doug returned in 2010 and set up in a small unit on The Upper Barn Farm industrial estate at Westcott. Doug is well known as an expert at servicing, repairing and restoring guns but has recently expanded his business to include buying and selling shotguns as well. He has moved into larger premises on the same estate, which provides additional space for an office and showroom as well as workshops. “The workshop is really busy,” says Doug. “and I now buy and sell guns too. I buy from people I know or from auction and take guns in part exchange, so I’ve an ever-changing selection for sale. I also take guns on a sale or return basis. Sometimes I buy an old gun that needs refurbishing and I’ll do it up. It’s quite satisfying to bring one back from the grave! They are generally English guns although I do sell a few over and unders as ‘starter guns’ for around the £400/£600 mark. They hold their value well, so when the time comes to upgrade you’ll usually get your money back.” Being a gunsmith Doug knows how to keep a shotgun in tip top condition - so his guns are always well-presented and safe to use. “I use traditional methods and techniques,” says Doug. “It’s mostly done by hand. If used regularly shotguns should be serviced every year. They need to be stripped and

Doug’s showroom

Doug Burton cleaned, any faults repaired, lubricated and reassembled. If a gun goes wrong it can be dangerous, so it needs checking regularly. “We can also do stock alterations, so your gun fits you more comfortably - cast it left or right, alter the drop, or extend it with wood, ebonite block or a recoil pad.” Doug has customers all across the UK, quite a few being regulars as he works for the gun trade as well as private clients: “I try to provide a good service,” he says. “I aim to please. I am reliable, do a quality job, and look after my customers. “When a gun is made, or restored, it has to be tested or proofed at a special proof house. It is fired with a heavy load, say three tons per square inch and is checked for flaws to make sure it is safe. It is date stamped with the size of the barrels - measured to 1/1000 inch (proof marks). There is a certain amount of wear allowed in the barrels but once it exceeds 9/1000 inch it has to be repaired and resubmitted for proofing again, it’s a bit like an MOT test!” English barrels are often lighter so need careful looking after as there’s less metal to work with. Pitting can occur as a result of corrosion if the gun is not cleaned properly

In the workshop after use and the barrel then needs lapping out, a kind of internal filing down to make the bore smooth again. “I’ve a Delapena honing machine which is great for boring out the barrels,” says Doug, “a lot more adjustable and controllable than lead lapping which can tear the pits. If there’s a dent I raise it and give the barrel a light bore out, so there’s no evidence left at all and the barrels are completely struck off and blacked and polished. If you would like to get in touch with Doug (visits are by appointment only) to have your gun serviced or repaired, or to buy or sell a shotgun, see his website at: www. or give him a ring on the numbers below - Doug much prefers phonecalls to emails as he rarely uses his computer! If you are interested in a career as a gunsmith Doug currently has a vacancy for an apprentice, who is interested in learning about the craft. l Douglas Burton, Three Shires Gunsmiths, Unit 6A Upper Barn Farm, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18, 0JX Tel: 01296 655477 Mobile: 07576 021678 Web:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


l Column: Jonathan Vernon-Smith

Consumer Affairs

fieldstead insolvency Debt problems? Cash flow problems?

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...

Creditors demanding payment?


Bay has been around for being listed, how can you pay in the years now. You would most secure way? imagine therefore that When possible, always choose everyone knows the way to pay by paypal. That way you to use the site effectively and safely. are likely to be protected by their Sadly, based on the constant number moneyback guarantee (if the of stories I hear on my show from transaction is eligible). Be very very unhappy buyers and sellers, this is wary of any seller who tells you not the case. their paypal account is not working, It staggers me how trusting or tries to persuade you to pay some consumers are of people without using paypal. What are their selling goods on eBay. It can be motivations? Is it that they’re trying a wonderful site for finding and to defraud you? purchasing rare items and bagging a I would never pay by a bank/ bargain. However, if you don’t know international money transfer what you’re doing, you or using money may just end up crying vouchers. The con into your keyboard. artists often ask for So how can you ensure payment in this way. you don’t end up an Once they’ve got your unhappy eBay customer? money, they close Firstly, ALWAYS look their eBay account at the feedback for the and vanish into the seller you’re purchasing ether. from. Anyone can Finally where theoretically sell stuff payment is concerned, on eBay whether they’re always complete a decent person or an your transaction via absolute toe-rag. Avoid the eBay site. If you If shopping be smart! buying from sellers that suddenly agree to take have received negative the sale/purchase feedback recently. Also look at offline and deal independently with similar items they have sold, to see if the seller, you are not protected by customers are happy with them. the eBay money back guarantee. Be When you feel comfortable with very suspicious of any eBay seller the seller you’re planning to buy who suggests doing a deal without from, remember to inspect the concluding things via the site. product description thoroughly. Where delivery is concerned, my Watch out for underpriced items advice is that if the seller is offering and expensive items where the seller a more expensive and secure method offers free delivery. If the deal seems of sending, use it. You’ll be grateful too good to be true, it probably is. you opted for this if the item goes Be extra cautious when buying missing or gets damaged in transit. presale items (eg music and concert If you follow all of these tips, tickets). Check the seller’s feedback you’ll hopefully ensure your and selling history before purchasing eBay experience is a happy one. and don’t leave feedback until you’ve Remember though, if you DO have actually received your tickets. problems, I’m always at the end of Be cautious of strange item the radio to help you. descriptions - they’re often an Just drop me a line at: indicator of a fraudulent listing. For and tune into example, if the item description my show 9am ‘til 12noon, Monday looks like an automatic online to Friday on BBC 3 Counties Radio. translator has translated it chances l Listen to The JVS Show are you’re never going to receive it! weekday mornings from 9am So when you feel happy with the on BBC Three Counties Radio: seller, their feedback and the item


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

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Column: Small World with Robyn Bourne

Lobby, lobby, lobby!


obbying, sounds dull but it could just make a difference to your business concerns. With the election now behind us how does the voice of business get heard, and will it make any difference with no election looming, for another five years? Lobbying governments and key stakeholders is a vital way of letting those that can do something know what needs addressing, and how they can use their positions to make a change. Not just through heated argument but by a constructed response with carefully thought through suggestions and solutions. The Federation of Small Business (FSB) was set up 40 years ago as a lobbying organisation* and to this day still provides a voice for business owners to be heard at levels that they might not be able to reach by themselves, or to provide that extra bit of support when they come across an area of concern that they feel unable tackle alone.

Lobbying organisations are happy to get behind a campaign that will help and support those people who need it most but whose voice by itself might go unheard. At the FSB, we do this by looking at the problem, working out the key areas that need to be addressed and then approaching the people that can make these changes. We investigate the impact on all small business owners, not just our members, and ensure that any desired outcome or changes required have their best interests at heart. As an organisation we work at both a national and regional level. It isn’t just about lobbying government, but any organisation that is potentially having an effect on SMEs from local councils to larger businesses, local MPs or county councils. An example of lobbying that I am currently working on is the Waddesdon relief road. We, along with other local lobbying organisations, have been

approached by the Waddesdon Relief Road Campaign to give our backing and support to their proposal for a delivery road bypassing Waddesdon Village along the A41 corridor between Aylesbury and Bicester. We are looking at how this will affect business owners, either for good or bad, and will then work with the campaign organisers to get the best possible result all round. It is about joining together and getting a voice heard and acted upon for the best possible interests of those concerned. If you have an issue that you feel strongly about, or something that is affecting your business, why not try approaching an appropriate lobbying organisation to see if this is something that they can help you with. It doesn’t always have to be the large things, but something affecting you might be an issue to lots of others as well and worth working together on to achieve a better result for all concerned. A few examples of issues that I

Robyn Bourne Small World

have had across my desk... parking charges stopping customers visiting town centres, business rates crippling businesses, congestion on the roads, roadworks stopping people working productively, broadband isn’t up to standard... and many more. You are unlikely to be alone with your problem and sharing it could just make all the difference. *other lobbying organisations are available! l Robyn Bourne is the Development Manager for the Thames Valley region of the Federation of Small Businesses supporting 7,500 local members and helping them lobby on issues that are of importance to small businesses.

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DayTrips, Theatres and short breaks & Shows BIG BAND BREAK

After the success of last year’s event we Enchanting all the way! have added this great Cologne value 2 day break with accommodation booked at c om trthe s t t o m Orchard Hotel . w nline: ww o in Nottingham. Enjoy a k o o B cabaret style dinner and live entertainment.

Big band night

A fabulous 4 day break with Andre Rieu’s concert being the highlight. Come with us to see a great performance with the Johann Strauss Orchestra and solists. We make the most of this concert’s location and include for your enjoyment - A Guided Walk through the Old town * Visit to the Cathedral * Visit & Guided Tour of the Chocolate Museum Breakfast & 2 Evening meals in the hotel * 1 Evening meal in a Beer Cellar with a complimentary beer. We stay for 3 nights in a 4 star hotel. Entrance tickets are in category 4. Concert Ticket Upgrades are available. Single room supp. £65 No major interchange. Thursday, Feb 25th 2016 4 Days: £359. Members: £349.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

50s & SWINGING 60s WEEKEND Join us for a great weekend as we salute the Swinging 60s and enjoy some fab 50s entertainment. We stay at the 4 star De Vere Staverton Park Hotel with themed entertainment throughout the break including quizzes and tribute acts. We have also included a visit to Cambridge. It’s fun in a group. Friday Aug 14th, 2015 3 Days: £175 Members: £165

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR TOURS - ON SALE! Christmas Austria, Switzerland, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Brugge, Monschau, Bournemouth, Constable Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman all left their mark on Country, 1960s Themed, Eastbourne, Scarborough, the music world with some Torquay, of the best Swing tunes of N. Wales yesterday. Combine that with the orchestral and New Year popular sounds of Bert Austria, Paris, Rudesheim, Kaempfert and James Sidmouth, Bournemouth, Last and vocal tributes to Eastbourne, Hogmanay, song stylists of yesterday Weymouth. and today such as: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Enjoy a day in Michael Buble, Diana Krall a Continental and you have a show of Coastal Resort! unforgettable musical magic. De Panne, Belgium, Sunday, Aug 23rd, 2015 June 13th: £40 2 Days: £119, Ostend, Belgium, Members £109 June 27th, Aug 9th & Oct Single room supp £15 17th from: £40 No major interchange Le Touquet, July 26th: £45

Day Breaks: May 2015 Sun 24th Swanage £20 Weston Super Mare £20 Medieval Brugge £40 Mon 25th Southend on Sea £20 Brighton £20 Tue 26th Warwick Leisure Day £19 Warwick Castle £34 Wed 27th Salisbury Leisure Day £19 Thur 28th New Forest Scenic Drive £20 Severn Valley Railway £30 Fri 29th Borough Market & South Bank £20 The Shard & Borough Market £49 Sat 30th Southwold Coastal Day £20 Hatfield House Garden Show £32 Sun 31st Clacton On Sea £20 Margate & Ramsgate £20

June 2015 Mon 8th Elvis Exhibition at the 02 £35 Wed 10th Sights of Suffolk & Afternoon Tea £25 Thur 18th Royal Ascot – Ladies Day £59 Sat 20th Blenheim Palace & Flower Show £34 Wed 24th River Avon Fish & Chip Lunch Cruise £36 Thur 25th London Theatre Mamma Mia & Carvery Lunch £69

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Column: ‘Kiss & tell’ with Tracy Kiss

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Waxing lyrical!


his week I took a trip to Madame Tussauds in London for my first ever experience of a waxwork museum, and as a spinster of twenty-seven years it was the perfect opportunity for me to check out some A-list eye-candy and size myself up a potential husband! Entering the Marylebone Road venue I was immediately greeted by a room buzzing with laughter; men, women, children, tourists and grandparents of every race and religion, milling around and posing for pictures with famous film stars, singers, super heroes, sporting legends, world leaders and royalty. The waxworks are incredibly life like, as I’d expected they would be to find their way into such an iconic venue. Each figure takes around four months to make and costs a whopping £150,000! Hundreds of intricate measurements and photographs are taken before the

Who got Tracy’s vote!?

character is sculpted in clay and then moulded in wax. He or she is then hand-painted by a makeup artist, applying moles, freckles, wrinkles and dimples and then each human hair is individually implanted before being cut and styled and the waxwork is then dressed. The entire fascinating process can be seen step by step in the behind the scenes area. Once finished, each celebrity is allocated their own zone themed around their profession; some performing on stage, standing on the red carpet, seated in a cafe or lounging on a sofa, making the pictures you take of yourself next to them look

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Tracy Kiss

Kiss & tell

incredibly real and something to treasure forever. There’s also a chamber of horrors, a taxi ride themed on The Spirit Of London, the chance to have your own hands moulded in wax and a Marvel 4D movie to

keep all ages entertained, plus a wonderfully stocked gift shop and copious nibbles. New figures are added throughout the year so return visits are well worthwhile. It’s perfect for families and a wonderful way to brush up on London’s culture and history. Now I just have to hang my photos with Brad Pitt, David Beckham and George Clooney - my hallway won’t know what’s hit it! l Read Tracy’s blog at: or follow her on: Twitter: @kisstracy4 Facebook: /TheTracyKiss

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Henley Festival is the most glamorous event. A fabulous five-night party on the banks of the Thames where you can sip champagne with the in crowd and enjoy a magical mix of art, music, theatre, food and fun...


he banks of the River Thames are once again set for five nights of remarkable revelry, as the uber-glamorous Henley Festival in partnership with BMW returns from 8th-12th July. Now described as ‘the future of festivals’, Henley Festival began as an idea, in 1983, to bring music and culture together - fast forward to 2015 and this extraordinary Festival brings artists of the highest calibre from across the globe and draws an audience to one of the most magical festival settings they will ever experience. Step into a world of visual art, comedy, theatre, pop up eateries and riverside dining, which collides with unexpected surprises waiting for you at every turn. Just 6,000 tickets are available for each black tie evening priced from £35; for more details and to book, visit This year a host of musical icons are set to play the festival’s unique Floating Stage for a series of not to be missed concerts. Opening the festival on Wednesday is super cool

Lionel Richie

British singer-songwriter Jessie J, followed by soul icon Lionel Richie on Thursday. Friday night will see a one off performance celebrating the work of George Gershwin; Who Got Rhythm?! With the Philharmonia Orchestra, soloists Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula, trumpeter Alison Balsom,

Spandau Ballet


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

and pianist Ji Liu. Plus, members of Ballet Black perform a new piece of choreography created by Matthew Bourne protégé Christopher Marney. Saturday it’s the incredible Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes & Tonino Baliardo and for Sunday’s finale - chart toppers Spandau Ballet bring the festival to a spectacular close. There’s comedians too, performing in the intimate Salon Late. Laugh out loud, with funnyman Mark Watson, impressionist extraordinaire Luke Kempner with his comedy masterpiece The Only Way Is Downton and outlandish musical talent Alex Horne with his Horne Section. Plus, writer, producer, musician & comedy connoisseur Adam Kay, critically acclaimed Adam Hills, and many more, make up this years comedy programme. For foodies there’s pop-up dining with outstanding menus for all budgets from Albert & Michel Roux Jr with Roux at the Riverside, to Atul Kochhar, local chef Paul Clerehugh with The Crooked Billet and Mark Hix brings his grazing Hix Fish Dog for those who just need a light snack. Guests can also enjoy early evening drinks, late night bars, champagne and cocktails from numerous pop up bars and restaurants. Of course one of Henley Festival’s unforgettable features is the Roving Troupe of whacky, surreal and the beautiful performers that rove around the festival

Jessie J

enclosure each evening, turning heads and just occasionally creating mayhem. This year, there’s Crazy Pony who combine world music and acrobatics, miniature film experiences in Bakkie-Bike’s world’s smallest cinema, France’s Aquacoustic’s concert in a paddling pool and Scubabianchi’s underwater car. Impressive Greek statues come to life too as a river’s worth of water erupts from all over their bodies, turning them into mesmerizing human fountains! All this plus visual art and sculpture, funky bars and nightclubs, the only problem is - which night do you go on?! l Henley Festival, July 8th-12th, Website:

by Cathy Soughton

The King’s Head Aylesbury

and daub. A section of the original wattle and daub discovered during restoration work has been preserved for visitors to view in the Great Hall. Cellars underneath the Hall are even older and are believed to date from the ucked away behind the Market Square in Aylesbury, 13th century. Originally the building would have the King’s Head, a Grade had a multi-purpose usage. As well as II* listed building, is one the inn, there were shops and cottages of England’s best preserved coaching inns and with a history that dates back on the premises and it may have served as a guesthouse for the adjacent over 650 years, it is the oldest pub in Greyfriars priory (the arms of the Aylesbury that’s still standing. In 1455 Ralph Verney, a prosperous Boteler family who founded the priory are also featured on the stained glass London mercer and later Lord Mayor of London acquired an inn ‘lately built’ window). The many visitors to the called ‘le kyngeshede’ in Aylesbury. King’s Head probably included When it was first built the King’s Parliamentarian soldiers billeted there Head would have had a prominent position facing onto the Market Square during the Civil War in the 1640s pistols and swords were later found in but later encroachment by shops now a priest hole, whilst it was rumoured keeps it screened from the square. that Henry VIII wooed Anne Boleyn in The oldest part of the inn is the the Solar Room above the Great Hall Great Hall which has an impressive in 1533. stained glass mullion window at the There were also claims that there front, extending the entire width of were a system of underground tunnels the room. The glass features different coats of arms including those of King linking the inn to other buildings in Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou who the town that could be used as escape routes but no evidence has been found he married in 1445. of such. The walls of the older sections of The inn is reputedly haunted by the inn are timber frame and would have originally been infilled10/04/2015 with wattle Adams Travel.pdf 09:11:08ghosts including a Grey Lady seen by

The King’s Head


the fireplace in the Great Hall. In the 1600s, criminal courts were held in the grand Gatehouse Chamber and judges including the infamous Judge George Jeffreys, the “Hanging Judge”, would announce their verdicts from the first floor window to the crowds below. In 1700 it was considered converting the inn into an overflow jail but the costs involved were too prohibitive. From the 17th century the King’s

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Head prospered as a coaching inn for travellers on route to London and it was expanded to provide additional accommodation and stabling for up to 30 horses. The old stables still surround the cobbled courtyard and archaeological excavations have revealed that there was once a medieval cess pit under the courtyard. The inn was subsequently used by auctioneers to hold sales of land and goods and was the base of the charitable Aylesbury Friendly Society. In the 1870s it was acquired by Nathan Rothschild of Tring Park who made a number of improvements. The Rothschild family later gifted the inn to the National Trust in 1925. Still a National Trust property, the popular Farmer’s Bar run by the Chiltern Brewery offers a pint of real ale in the historic surroundings whilst more details about the inn can be found in the tourist information centre housed in the inn’s panelled Georgian Room. l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and house history research. Tel: 01296 624845 Email: Web:










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Column: Anna Webb‘Barking blonde’

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Why train your dog?


here’s a shocking statistic that says 80% of Britain’s dogs are untrained, this is about six million dogs! Some people worry that training will stifle their dog’s personality. The irony is that a trained dog is a happy dog and that makes for a happier owner. Some dogs are naturally calm others are more excitable. Certain breeds are predisposed to certain behaviours more than others and so it goes on. With over 200 breeds registered by The Kennel Club, there’s a dog for everyone. That’s the first most important step, choosing the right dog for your lifestyle and home environment. A dogs’ personality is imprinted into his genetic make up, and won’t ever change, but it can be tuned and improved with training. One thing’s for sure you’ll build a stronger relationship with your dog based on respect. A puppy learns everything it never forgets, whether it’s good or bad, by 20 weeks old. One of my clients at Crendon Canines had the

Anna Webb

Barking blonde Gremlin, Molly and Dexter foresight to seek advice from day one when their new puppy arrived. Monitoring, managing and setting basic boundaries, we’ve helped put basic training and household rules in place early on. Dogs love leadership as much as they love having fun. Combining both into your daily routine is the key. With ‘teamwork’ based on rules and rewards, you’ll have hit the jackpot. All training, whether it’s teaching a sit-stay, or a recall, is a game to your dog. They don’t look at it as

boot-camp. Done properly dogs love learning. They’re all very intelligent and enjoy pleasing you by doing things right. Fido doesn’t realise that both these commands will make him more manageable to live with, or that a stay or a recall could save his life from a busy road or livestock. Molly my miniature bull terrier was probably the naughtiest puppy that ever lived! So full of beans and super bright with a wilful disposition that Barbara Woodhouse claimed Bull Terriers, impossible

to train. Molly is proof that early training and loads of socialisation pay dividends. Gremlin my cat is better trained than many dogs, and likes to show off his tricks. Whereas little new kid, Dexter still has a lot to learn... l Combining a psychology degree with

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

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

Out of the Doghouse Dog Listening

Contact: Roselle 07989 947316 email: roselle@

Aylesbury 01296 706403 Winslow 01296 715697

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 • have issues with food? Dog Listening uses a simple non-confrontational method, suitable for all dogs, regardless of size, age or breed, through which you can address all undesirable behaviours and build a 43b Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, rewarding relationship with your dog.HP20 2NQ Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury / High Street, Winslow

Top quality food & accessories for all your pets, from dogs, cats and horses to rabbits, wild birds, small mammals, chickens, fish and reptiles. Expert advice, tailored feeding plans, puppy socialising, dog training classes, and now our professional dog grooming and pampering service...


01296 706403

Tel: Contact: 01296 423233 / 0800947316 298 8514 Roselle 07989 or

Email: or visit w Weddings w Corporate w Special Occasions w w Birthdays Parties w Sympathy w Gifts w w Soft Toys w Wines and Champagne w Innovative, contemporary and traditional designs 58

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Call 01296 706403 or pop into the shop to book your grooming appointment.

l Column: Katy Brown - mix96

Win Tickets to Towersey


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

rriving at my first home visit I was unsure what to expect, I was meeting a little boy called Will who is 2 years old and has a brain tumour. Today I was joining Angie from Florries, our Charity of The Year. Florrie’s Children’s Team are a specialist team of nurses and carers who provide care and support to sick children and their families in the local area and in the comfort of their own home. As Mark (Will’s Dad), opened the door to us, Will greeted Angie, with arms wide open reaching out for a big cuddle, he was clearly excited to see her! As we made our way into the living room there was an abundance of toys across the floor and children’s music playing, as you’d expect in any home of a toddler. However Will’s life is a little different to your average 2 year old. Having undergone his first operation at the age of just 4 and a half months old his life is filled with hospital appointments, chemotherapy, physio and occupational therapy and this is where Florries come in. For Mark and his wife, trying to balance looking after their very precious little boy, hold down jobs and just simply live a normal life is quite challenging at times. With no family living nearby and unable to leave him with your average babysitter, the service given by Florries is invaluable. Mark described to me the enormous pressures of having a son who requires so much care and support and how sometimes, you just simply need a break. He described Angie to me as ‘an aunt’ - she knows Will’s medical history and how to look after him and most importantly has an

Angie, Will and Mark understanding of the type of care and attention he needs. Mark told me the first time they left Will with Angie they must have phoned back to check on him two or three times in the space of an hour! Now, Mark and Angie have built up a trusting friendship, so he and his wife can take time out to run errands, have a coffee and enjoy a break and essentially do some life admin! They might even have a night out together once in a while! As Mark headed out the door, I made us a cuppa and watched Angie take over caring for the afternoon. She was like a member of the family and quite lovely to see with Will. He even gave me a cuddle too - just adorable! The service that Angie and her team at Florries provide really is something else. It’s a lifeline and one that only a team of very specialist nurses can provide. This is why they are our charity of the year - a light needs to be shone on them and, the work that they do, celebrated. If you or someone you know would benefit from the care provided by Florries you can find out more at just click on ‘Charity of The Year’. l Catch Katy on air weekdays from 6am-9am on 96.2fm



ellowhead, Stornoway, Joan Armatrading and Show Of Hands are among the headline acts for this year’s Towersey Festival (Friday 28th to Monday 31st August 2014). They’ll be joined by singersongwriter and Tom Jones-approved Voice UK 2014 finalist, Sally Barker, Scottish supergroup The Treacherous Orchestra, and Martin Simpson, whose new venture has him teamed with melodeon player Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr. Other acts include songwriter/ guitarist John Smith (fresh from supporting David Gray), Mancunian alternative folk combo The Travelling Band, Chris While and Julie Matthews, BBC Horizon artist Kizzy Crawford, Lisbee Stainton (fresh from touring with Seth Lakeman), Luke Daniels and enduring Towersey favourites from Australia, The Spooky Men’s Chorale. “We’re very pleased to be welcoming back Bellowhead, who have become one of the UK’s biggest live bands since they first played Towersey in 2006,” says Festival Director Joe Heap. “Last year’s Golden Jubilee Festival was our best festival yet and we want to make 2015 even better! We’re on a new site this year, about a mile from Towersey on the Thame Showground and have some real treats in store for festivalgoers, while making sure we retain everything our regular visitors have

told us they love so much about Towersey. From humble beginnings in the 60s Towersey Festival quickly established itself as one of the UK’s most respected annual music festivals. Featuring multiple performance spaces, it now combines topflight musical talent with spoken word, dance, workshops and family-friendly activities and this year the event also features a dedicated Children’s Festival, activities aimed at young people, a Real Ale Festival, film screenings, stalls, street theatre, street food vendors and much more... Tier One tickets for the full festival are available now. Prices start from just £90 (Adult), £63 (Youth 12-17yrs), £45 (Child 5-11yrs), with under 5s free. Camping is £25 (per adult/youth). A split payment option is available. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a pair of Adult Full Weekend tickets (non-camping), simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: What county is Thame in? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 6th, 2015. l Towersey Festival 2015 Bookings: 01629 827016 Web: Twitter: @towerseyfesti Facebook: /Towerseyfestival Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Win Meal for 2 at The Boot, Bledlow Ridge


he Boot at Bledlow Ridge is a relaxed, comfortable and welcoming, modern village pub and eating house, run by Andy and Emma Goddard. Situated in the heart of the picturesque Chiltern Hills, The Boot offers local ales, fresh, locally produced food and fabulous wines. Chefs Andy and Shane work hard to create exciting dishes that suit all tastes and ages and the pub has become a popular dining destination, especially for Sunday roasts, and it is generally wise to phone ahead and book yourself in, to avoid disappointment! They are already taking bookings for Father’s Day on Sunday, June 21st when lunch will be served from 12noon to 6pm. As the weather warms up The Boot’s huge garden can provide hours of fun for children (and well behaved dogs) and the attractive outdoor eating area offers a pleasant spot to relax in the sunshine or dine al fresco. There is ample room for marquees too, if you are planning a large event! The menu offers lots of choice Meat or Fish Sharing Platters; Box Baked Camembert with Red Onion Jam and Rustic Bread; or starters such as Bubble & Squeak, Crispy

The Boot, Bledlow Ridge Smoked Bacon, Poached Egg and Hollandaise sauce; Crispy fried Ham Hock with Cherry Tomato, Asparagus and Béarnaise Sauce; or Pan fried Scallops, Celeriac Purée, Black Pudding and Pancetta. Main course examples include pub classics and comfort food such as: Fish and Chips; Burger; Ham, Egg and Chips; or Steak, Mushroom and Ale Pie with Swede & Carrott Mash, Broccoli and Green Beans; or there are some tempting salad options, Steaks, or from the main menu: Spicy Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine

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


with Tabouleh; Fillet of Sea Bass served with Confit Fennel, Broccoli and French Beans with a Cider and Vanilla Velouté; Breast of Chicken with Bubble and Squeak Cake, Crispy Parma Ham, Pearl Onion and Pea Jus; or the amazing ‘3 Little Piggies’ Pork Belly, Pork Fillet and Crispy Ham Hock, Crackling, Black Pudding, Confit Garlic Mash, Creamed Cabbage and Apple Purée...yum! Desserts range from Sticky Toffee Pudding to Vanilla Cheesecake via Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée and Caramel Torte among others... you

know you want to! If you are short on time The Boot offers Fish and Chips to Take Away from 6pm to 7.30pm Tuesday to Saturday. Coming up is a fun Family Day on Sunday, May 24th to celebrate Andy and Emma’s 2nd anniversary at The Boot with Sunday menu served from 12-6pm and a Hog Roast from 5pm, plus live music, a bouncy castle, children’s disco and bar open all evening. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a meal for two plus bottle of house wine at The Boot, Bledlow Ridge, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: What are The Boot’s chefs called? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 4th, 2015. l The Boot, Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 E: W:

Grown in the Chilterns A rich source of Vitamin E 10x more Omega 3 than Olive Oil GM Free, No artificial flavourings or colourings Only 6.5% Saturated Fat compared to 14% in Olive Oil

Andy and Emma welcome you to The Boot, modern country pub and eating house, in the heart of the picturesque Chiltern Hills. Enjoy fresh, locally produced food, local ales and fabulous wines. Our chef creates exciting dishes suitable for all tastebuds, so families can dine in style. Pop in for a pint, a delicious evening meal or a leisurely Sunday lunch, you will always be greeted with a friendly smile and attentive service. Family Day - Sunday, May 24th Father’s Day - Sunday, June 21st Open: Tue-Thur: 11am-3pm & 5pm-11pm, Fri/Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun 12noon-7pm Food served: Tue-Sat: 12noon-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm. Coffee & pastries from 11am Sundays: 12noon-6pm. Closed Mondays Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 | Email: Website: 60

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Our award winning Rapeseed Oil with 10 infusions

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

With its delightfully rural location, stunning selection of farm-fresh foodie delights and stylish café, Seasons Farm Shop is a great place to stock up with goodies. Go on tempt your tastebuds...


easons Farm shop at North Dean, just down the hill from Speen, near Princes Risborough, is one of those hidden gems, we delight in discovering. It’s not just the mouthwatering deli counter and impressive selection of artisan cheeses, the friendly welcome or the beautifully dressed meat counter, with its stunning selection of locally grown produce and ready-to-barbecue packs, helpfully marinaded in tempting sauces, there’s also a light and airy café area with quirky cow wallpaper and inviting shelves of gourmet goodies, in which to enjoy a tasty snack and proper coffee, before checking out the new barn area for premium quality local produce and tempting delicacies from further afield. Part of Beechdean Farms, Seasons Farm Shop is run by Alison Kent. The awardwinning (Best Farm Shop) shop and café has been open for nearly three years now and was started by Alison as she was not impressed by local supermarket meat. “I knew we could do better,” she says. “Our family has been farming the Chilterns for over 50 years. We produce top quality free range, beef, lamb and pork, trimmed and cut to your requirements by our skilful butchers, Lee and Molly. “Our beef is Hereford beef, our pork is from home reared Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs, one of the oldest British rare breeds and our lambs, which graze freely and taste amazing, are a Romney Sheep/North Country Mule cross, bred to produce the most succulent and tasty lamb possible. “We also make our own hams, pork pies, sausage rolls, sausages and burgers which are wholesome and healthy with very little fat and lots of quality meat.” Seasons offers a great range of produce from quality staples, such as meat, vegetables, bread, fruit, cheese, eggs, honey and milk to treats and more exotic items for a dinner party or special occasion. “We stock local produce where possible,” says Alison, “but we like to have some unique

Seasons Farm Shop




items too, fun things that make cooking a bit more interesting and also make lovely gifts. I look for quality, value for money and inspiration and I’ve sourced some gorgeous Italian products, including some amazing chocolate pasta, chilli pesto, balsamic vinegars and olive oils, Prosecco cheese (yes it is cheese soaked in Prosecco), chocolate mustard, fruits in alcohol (which generally seem hard to find outside of Christmas), rose petals for cake decoration or to float in your champagne... “We have Carved Angel pickles and chutneys from Devon, their ‘Moonlight’ sweet garlic pickle and ‘Gunpowder’ hot garlic pickle are so good we use them in our own products, garlic from the Isle of Wight and Cornish rillet/paté which is absolutely gorgeous. “Closer to home there’s Pretty Perfect cakes made by Sophie from Loosely Row, whose brownie mix has been praised by Paul Hollywood! We have a big range of Heritage flour, milled at Prestwood, plus scrumptious fruit and nut chocolate slabs and jars of sweets and dipped ginger by The Sweet

Gift Company from Gt Kingshill.” It really is an impressive mix and to accommodate her range Alison has knocked through to the rear barn, so there are now two large rooms of goodies to choose from! Whether it’s delicious desserts from the Lake District, beautiful olive wood cheeseboards and carving dishes from Italy or colourful Mediterranean ceramic bowls and dishes you didn’t realise you coveted, there really is something for everyone and a good range of price points too from standard value fare to luxury high end gourmet products. Alison and her team are friendly and informative and obviously enjoy their work. “I really enjoy running the shop,” says Alison. “We meet so many lovely people, a lot of whom have become regular customers and come in several times a week, to have a coffee and buy their meat.” l Seasons Farm Shop, Home Farm, North Dean, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4NQ Tel: 01494 562481 Web: Open Mon-Sat, 9am-5.30pm Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



Column: Sophie Watson Healthy living

How to live a healthy life


he sun is out, the weather is warm, rusty barbecues are beginning to appear in our gardens and the usual questions are coming up - how can I get fit, healthy and happy for summer? The answer is simple - a balanced diet along with an active lifestyle is your key to success. I live in North Dean, a tiny village surrounded by fields and farmland. My community farm shop, Seasons, is perfect for buying fresh, local produce. With their meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and dairy products, any meal is possible! Here are some recipe ideas, with a couple of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These basic ideas can be altered to meet your preferences and needs, but provide a balanced and nutrient rich meal. Breakfast: 1) Scrambled/poached eggs on rye or sourdough bread with grilled tomatoes and a small fruit juice 2) Low fat greek yoghurt with a handful of oats, orange, blueberries and strawberries

Lunch: 1) Smoked salmon, avocado and tomato sandwich on multigrain or rye bread with a squeeze of lemon 2) Chicken salad with spinach, hard boiled egg and sunflower seeds

Dinner: 1) Baked sweet potato wedges, chicken skewers with peppers and onion, and broccoli or green beans 2) Tuna steak dressed in pepper and lemon with new potatoes, carrots and kale or asparagus It is very important to maintain a varied diet with different foods throughout the week. Certain foods are rich in nutrients that are needed by the body every day but aren’t always easily provided by your diet. For example, spinach is a great source of calcium and iron, whereas sunflower seeds will provide magnesium and B Vitamins in the diet. By alternating foods in your diet and substituting different vegetables each day, you will be more likely to reach your nutrient

targets and this will improve your health, body and mind in many ways. Avoid excessive snacking in between meals, and substitute crisps or biscuits with healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Snacks that are high in protein, such as nuts or seeds, are more filling than high fat or carbohydrate foods, so help avoid unhealthy and unnecessary snacking. Adults are advised to be active every day and should be completing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week. For example, a combination of fast walking, cycling, or tennis would be ideal, as long as you are raising your heart rate and feel like you’re working harder than at rest. Avoid sitting down for long periods of time. Research has shown that breaking up long periods of sitting with brief interruptions of standing and walking can actually reduce disease risk factors. Even if you are sitting around in the office, get up every 20 minutes for a drink,

Sophie Watson


toilet break or just to stretch your legs. My top tips Drink plenty of water Drop white bread for multigrain, rye, spelt or sourdough bread. Everything in moderation! A glass of red wine and a bit of dark chocolate here and there can actually be good for your health. l Sophie Watson is an Associate

Nutritionist with a degree in Psychology and a masters degree in Nutrition. She is working at Seasons Farm Shop, North Dean, whilst searching for a permanent role in nutrition / the food industry.



Why not treat the family this Sunday to a delicious Three Course Carvery Lunch at the Holiday Inn, Aylesbury.

£13.95 PeR ADuLT

£9.95 CHILDReN uNDeR 12

Call us to book your table in our child-friendly Junction Restaurant, where we will have a fantastic Three Course Lunch waiting for you at an amazing price!

There’s an ice-cream decoration too! station and a colouring corner Perfect venue for family gatherings, birthdays and anniversaries.



Packages available from £25 per person to include Three Course Meal and private room hire.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Tribute nights 2Tone Night 15th May £24.95 Only Fools & 3 Courses 3rd July £34.95 Devil Dolls Halloween Spectacular 30th October £24.95 Abba One (duo) 20th November £34.95 Michael Buble Act, Joe Gibson 27th November £34.95 To book guests will need to call 01296 734038 or email

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

‘What’s The Point?’ you might ask if in Wendover and those in the know will say, ‘a rather fun bar/restaurant serving delicious modern Italian fare in relaxed and stylish surroundings’ ...


umber 20, Wendover High Street has changed hands several times over the last few years. The attractive period property dates back to the 16th Century and was for some time during the 18th and 19th Centuries run as a pub - The Two Brewers. In more recent times the quaint, oak beamed building has been Rossini Italian restaurant and Robina’s Fine Dining, before a spell as Twist @ Wendover. Now renamed The Point, it is now owned and run by surgeons Sam McElroy and Marwen Farouk and Sam’s wife Jan. The trio have been developing their offering as a modern Italian restaurant/bar/bistro and have recruited a talented, young, Italian chef, Alfio Fichera and his partner Maria, and more recently an Italian manager, Giacamo Pardini who joined at the start of May with his partner Michaela, who will be working front of house. Marwen, lives in Halton and is a General and Laparoscopic Surgeon. He is a keen cook and has always dreamt of running his own restaurant. When he heard The Point was available it seemed a great opportunity and so he roped in old friend and colleague Sam, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and his wife Jan, an ex nurse, who he met while a junior doctor at her hospital many years ago. “I’m really loving running The Point,” says Jan. “Working with the staff here is like having a new family! We have a great time and things are really coming together. Alfio has done a brilliant job in the kitchen and has created a fabulous menu. We wanted it to be family friendly, good quality, modern Italian food and great value and he’s done that. We’re getting lots of positive feedback,

Hayley and Jan

Giacamo our customers are really loving his cooking.” The Point has a stylish but relaxed feel, Trio di Bruschette which builds into a warm vibrant atmosphere at evenings and weekends. You can still pop in for a coffee and pastry or glass of wine or beer but the food is definitely becoming the main draw. There’s a menu on the website and daily specials but options include starters such as: Pepata di Cozze (Sicilian style mussels with crusty bread); Arancino (Deep fried rice ball stuffed with Bolognese sauce and mozzarella) and Tagliere di Salumi e Formaggi (A selection of Italian cured ham and cheese served with gnocco fritto and is suitable for two to share). Mains are split into pizza/salads/fish/ meat and pasta dishes such as: Spaghetti allo Scoglio (Clams, mussels, calamari, prawns, cherry tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil); and Ravioli di Zucca (Pumpkin ravioli in a sage butter with Parmesan shavings); or Saltimbocca di maiale (Pork loin with Parma

Maria, Marwen, Alfio, Jan and Sam ham and sage in a white wine butter sauce); and Carre d’agnello (Rack of lamb in a Insalata di Cesare vanilla, pea and mint sauce). There is also a rather tempting dessert menu with dishes such as: Crema cotta Rosmarino (Silky egg custard infused with rosemary and topped with a soft caramel) or Terrina di Cioccolato (Set chocolate cream with white chocolate sauce served with fresh orange). If the weather is nice a small courtyard garden to the rear offers an al fresco dining option and watch out for special offers such as a sharing platter and bottle of Prosecco for £20 or Prosecco at £10 a bottle on Thursday nights from 8pm-12am. l The Point, 20 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EA Tel: 01296 696380 Email: Web:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


l Column: Jacqui

Thorndyke ‘Foodie On Tour’

Wandering is wunderbar!


ust last week Mr Foodie and I spent a rather relaxing few days in Copenhagen, WITHOUT the kids. It was sheer and utter bliss. We missed the little blighters, clearly, but were ecstatic at the eight plus hours of uninterrupted sleep we were getting every, single, night! As a self-confessed foodie, I usually spend hours planning which of the best restaurants we can try during any trip, however this time things were a little different. This time, I didn’t plan a thing. Not a single restaurant was booked, not even one of the numerous Michelin starred establishments (Denmark has a whopping 21 stars across 18 restaurants). This trip was all about relaxation and us time. Oh, and lots and lots of overdue SLEEP. Lazy lay-ins preceded leisurely breakfasts, followed by meanders around the streets of Copenhagen, all interspersed with the occasional coffee and pastry before sniffing out somewhere for lunch and dinner.

Moored boats, bars and restaurants at Copenhagen’s pretty harbour area Sniffing being the ultimate word, as we literally followed our noses for every meal. And it was glorious. On night one we discovered a cute little café-cum-restaurant near our hotel, where we chose a chef’s tasting board starter - an unusual but cleverly paired mixture of shrimp with dried apricots, salad and mayonnaise, plus paté, olives and artichoke - followed by a beautiful Chateaubriand, all accompanied by a number of rather delicious cocktails and freshly baked hunks of sunflower seed bread. Our second day was a wander

through Copenhagen’s vibrant city centre to the canal, then lunch al fresco looking out over the moored up boats. Evening took us further afield in hunt of a popular local bar, the one place we did seek out purposely, before landing in the trendy meatpacking district for dinner. A basic shell of a basement at best, the bar we’d sought out had Mr Foodie in utter delight, with an impressive lineup of local craft beers, a delightful cherry wine pour moi and a particularly good spicy biltong for nibbling on. Day three led to even greater success, with a leisurely cycle through the suburbs and a phenomenal final meal in a gorgeous French bistro. A couple of glasses of fizz, bouillabaisse, côte de boeuf and crème brûlée brought our little break to a rather luxurious close. After three restful nights and two full days of exploring it was time to depart. For what had been a pretty last minute holiday, the trip was a huge

Jacqui Thorndyke

success. We’d caught up on sleep, wandered arm in arm through a wonderful city, and absolutely, genuinely relaxed. While I’m not ready to banish the restaurant bookings entirely, I’d certainly recommend taking a more relaxed approach.Turns out planning isn’t everything, and half the fun is in the finding. l For local food and restaurant reviews and recommendations, visit, or follow Jacqui on Twitter @FoodieOnTour. To contact Jacqui directly, please email:

Community Matters Every month we give our time and money to local communities. We donate £1000 to be shared by three good causes that you choose.

Waitrose Thame Supporting the community 64

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

l Column:

Farm Life by Jim Mackellar

Lambing season at Orchard View


t’s Spring time at Orchard View Farm, Shop and Café which means even more to do than usual! This is definitely my favourite time of year; the weather turns a corner: winter out of the way and most importantly, new life is welcomed onto the farm in the form of lambs. It is by no means an easy time, with many sleep deprived nights spent in the lambing shed, to ensure that any new arrivals are safe and well. So far all has gone smoothly with only one ewe requiring assistance. She had ‘kissing lambs’ which is where they are intertwined in the womb so neither can get out. When I arrived just two feet were showing, which after some investigation belonged to separate lambs. As soon as you know the birth is not going to be an easy one the adrenalin kicks in and any drowsiness due to the late hour is gone in an instant. It took 20 minutes to untangle the first lamb, which is a long time, and whilst the lamb had a pulse on arrival it was not breathing. A quick whirl round holding the back legs helped clear the lungs but it was still not breathing, so, whilst rubbing it vigorously, Joe my

Jim Mackeller Farm Life Jacob Ewe and lambs farmhand inserted a piece of straw up the lambs nose to stimulate the cough reflex, and after what seemed like an eternity, it took its first breath - more a cough-sneeze, but just the result we were looking for. With Joe working on the first lamb I set about getting the second ready for birth. 15 long minutes later the second lamb was out with few signs of life - not surprising considering the length of time it had taken. I set to work. This lamb was reluctant to live but the two of us gave it little option. Two hours after starting we had two live and kicking lambs being watched over by an attentive mum. With both fed we decided to leave them to it, for what was left of the night. The first night is always the most worrying, so when I opened up the

Lambs lambing shed in the morning I went straight to pen 3 and was greeted with the amazing sight of two bright eyed lambs looking back at me and a somewhat bleary eyed mum! There were still potential complications for the ewe so she was put on a precautionary course of antibiotics, in case of infection, and the family were put in a pen for close observation. Whilst the lambs did well with the odd supplementary feed the ewe refused to eat and lost quite a lot of condition, a cause for great concern. The rest of the flock carried on lambing, without any great trauma and 10 days on I am now happy to report that the mum is fine and she and her lambs have been put out with the rest of the flock on some lovely

spring pasture. Whilst greatly enjoyable and immensely rewarding I am always glad to finish lambing and look forward to just a little more sleep! But as my wife has just reminded me the longer days do mean I can crack on with an extensive ‘to do’ list and there is Open Farm Sunday on 7th June to prepare for... Oh well! I love it really and would not change what I do for anything! l Jim and Helen Mackeller run Orchard View Farm, Farm Shop and café at Little Meadle near Longwick. Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Lane, Little Meadle, Buckinghamshire, HP17 9UG Tel: 01844 273387 / 07968 560724 Email: Web: Open: Tue-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Paul Adams

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Doggone great band to top the bill for good cause Paul Adams

Turn it up! Our music page columnist is Paul Adams – an experienced musician and performer who can regularly be seen in venues across our area. He is a presenter for Thame internet station, Radio Blackfrog and runs DreamChaser Entertainment. Contact Paul with local gigs and music news at: Add gigs to our website what’s on diary at:

Live Music May 9: Pulse 626 at The Queen’s Head, Aylesbury. 16: Stanley Dee (Steely Dan Tribute) Dunfest, Tring. 22: Not The Hoople, British Legion, Wendover. 22: The Dung Beatles, Players Theatre, Thame. 29: King Loud, George & Dragon, Princes Risborough. 30: John Otway, Limelight Theatre, QPC, Ayesbury. June 6: Lou’s Sextet, St Leonards Village Hall, Tring. 12: Last Resort, The Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard 19-20: The Beacon Festival, Watlington. 20: Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection, Limelight Theatre, QPC, Aylesbury. 20: Music In The Square, Fairford Leys, Aylesbury. 26: Juan Moore, Victoria Club, Aylesbury.


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Who’s Got The Dog? are a 10-piece party and function band covering music from the 60s to present day in all genres; rock, pop, soul, funk and disco. On Saturday, June 13th, they will be playing a charity fundraising gig for the SMA Support Charity (spinal muscular atrophy) at Haddenham Village Hall from 7.30pm at a cost of £10 a ticket.

Local musician and supporter Lee Buckingham explained to me why they chose this charity. “We have chosen to support this charity as our tenor player, Joel, and his lovely partner Rosie have a child that suffers from this evil, debilitating disease. The support network is worth its weight in gold assisting them to cope day to day.

“All monies raised at this event will go to the SMA Support UK charity. We expect this gig to sell out due to it being local and for a local cause, so early ticket purchase is advised. For more details follow on our Facebook page & twitter feed.” Tweet them at @_wgtd

Win Beacon Festival tickets


he festival season is nearly upon us so I caught up with Michelle from Crash Records to get all the details about Crash and The Beacon Festival. What are Crash Records about? We set up Crash Records 2001 to launch a single by Hedroom. We decided to set up as a label but labels aren’t so important these days – we now concentrate on helping to run festivals. Tell us more about the Beacon Festival... Grown out of the infamous MOTH or Music on the Hill which ran for a 10 years, the festival

is a family event celebrating the longest day of summer (the summer solstice) high up on the Chiltern Hills of South Oxfordshire that is Watlington. This festival offers a weekend of entertainment and experiences – and one of the best sunsets. We have over 50 bands performing over three stages, real ales, local cider bar, glam camping in tipis and bell tents, international food stalls, performing arts, and a Kidzone, plus much more. Rusty Shackle are headlining the Friday Night (always a favourite at Towersey Festival) and Queen tribute band Flash will be headlining on Saturday, supported

by a mix of original, tribute, and party bands, local and national. Weekend tickets for June 19th - 20th are £27.50 for adults and £16.50 for under 18s and children under 12 go free. Visit > If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a pair of tickets to the festival, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: When is the Beacon Festival? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 4th, 2015.

I’m signing off with a plug and a promo


his will be my final post for Vale Life Magazine. It has been a blast and I thank editor Charlie Trott and the team for indulging me in my musical merriment. You can follow me on Twitter @dreamchaser2005 and on mrpauladamsmusic and tune in to my show Sunday Night Live on every Sunday from 8pm. Before I go, though, here are a duo that I urge you to take a listen to. Evette Judge and Paul

they combined forces and now play their unique, folksy acoustic rock all over the country. Check them out at

Taylor were playing in several bands alone and together when unforeseen circumstances created this acoustic duo. Both wanting to play original music,

Of course I couldn’t leave you without a shameless self plug. So here’s Harriet Stewart and me as A Little Bit Country with a live version of our new single Come To The Crossroads. watch?v=EWLGGjn_aK0 You can buy the single at iTunes and other online stores.

Join the carnival!

You don’t have to dress like a movie star to enjoy the Carnival fun at Thame this year but if you do you won’t be out of place...


hame’s annual Carnival takes place on Saturday, June 13th with a filmthemed parade down the High Street from 12noon followed by an afternoon of fun and frolics on the Southern Road Recreation Ground from 1pm. Attractions include live music throughout the afternoon organised by the First Thursday Music Club and Thame Institute of Music, Classic Cars, Dog Show, Face Painting, food and drink vendors, beer and Pimms, plus plenty of different stalls with a variety of activities, a Tug-of-War competition, Tombola, theatre and dance demonstrations, inflatables and much more. There’s also added glamour in the form

Trina and Shamus of Miss Swindon and Miss Oxfordshire who will be attending with some of their MissGB contest friends. In the run up to Thame Carnival 2015, local smart phone video enthusiasts are invited to get filming around the town and enter the Thame One Minute Video competition. Your one-minute video can be about any aspect of ‘Life In Thame’. Just make your film between now and May 30, 2015, and upload it to YouTube. Feel free to add music or sound effects but sound will not necessarily score you extra points. Video your family, your pets, your friends, your club, life on the allotment, the pub, the

townscape - anything that showcases an aspect of ‘Life in Thame’; upload it to YouTube and send the link to:, for passing on to the Thame Carnival Committee. Event in aid of: The Thame Skate Park Regeneration Project and Rosie’s Rainbow Fund l Thame Carnival 2015 Email:

Open Garden at Dadbrook House


adbrook House gardens are to open to the public on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June from 2pm-6pm to help raise funds for The Finley Newell Mobility and Equipment Fund. Finlay’s supporters are fundraising for a powered wheelchair and general mobility equipment. Finley Newell, who lives with his parents in Haddenham, is 2 years old and has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2, a rare neuromuscular condition which leaves him unable to walk and also affects his arms, hands, head and neck movement and breathing and swallowing. Finlay’s grandmother, Elizabeth Davies tells me that despite the condition he is a bright and happy little chappy with excellent communication skills for his age. A pleasant afternoon is planned at Dadbrook

which has lovely a beautiful 3-acre garden and there will be the added attractions of homemade teas and plants for sale. There is free parking and wheelchair access but no dogs allowed. Admission is £4 per adult but children are free. Finley currently has a power chair supplied on loan by the national charity ‘Designability’ but at three years old he will need a larger chair costing in the region of £15,000. l Open Garden, Dadbrook House, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0AG - off A418 AylesburyThame Road Adults: £4, Children: free Tel: 01844 290129 / 01844 299150 Proceeds to The Finley Newell Mobility and Equipment Fund

See: for more information on Fimlay’s condition.

Dadbrook House Cuddington HP18 0AG

(off A418 Thame-Aylesbury road)

OPEN GARDEN SAT 6th & SUN 7th JUNE 2pm—6pm


wheelchair access (please no dogs)

Entry £4 children free Enqs: 01844 290 129 / 01844 299 150 for The Finley Newell Mobility & Equipment Fund

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

67 3

Art Exhibition A



Sponsored by L Brooks Plastering celebration exhibition of 65 years of paintings and designs by Haddenham artist and stained glass window designer Stewart Bowman is to be held at Brill Village Hall on Sun, June 28th, 11am-4pm (entry free). Stewart established a stained glass business in Haddenham in the early 80s and painted a stained glass window, designed by Michael Farrar-Bell, for St Mary’s at Haddenham. He was joined by his son Stephen and Bowman’s Glass has been responsible for many beautiful works including new windows at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at Thame, a Millennium window complete with windmill at All Saints Church in Brill and a stained glass window in memory of the victims of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster at St Mary’s, Dover. A new stained glass window representing the Ascension at St Mary’s church in Oakley was installed in 2001 and a window depicting the creation at St Mary’s in




Painting and window by Stewart


Radnage the same year. Stewart’s work can be seen in churches all over England.

l Stewart Bowman Art Exhibition, Brill Memorial Hall, Church Street, Brill, Bucks, HP18 9RT l The exhibition will continue on at Bowman’s Stained Glass Studio, 4 Fleet Marston Farm, Aylesbury, HP18 0PZ Tel: 01296 651777 Mob: 07703 536931 Email: Web:







For more information visit:

A feast of art and cream teas too!

O Kat Newman

Sally Prendergast

ne exhibition not to miss during this year’s Bucks Open Studios Fortnight is Entry 148 - Little Kimble Art Group. Their show features the work of seven female artists, passionate about fine arts and skilled crafts, who come together for exhibitions and artisan craft markets at Stewart Hall, opposite Little Kimble Station, on the A4010 Aylesbury to Risborough Road (300 bus route). The ladies produce an exciting mix of items, for you to enjoy looking at, or to get inspiration from and will all be there demonstrating their skills on Sunday, June 14th. The artists featured are: Jane Waller: Dynamic line drawings, books on knitting, ceramics and children’s novels. 68

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Jane Waller

Susie Upstone Kat Newman: Fused and flame glass art, kumihimo, and unique cloth dolls. Lielo Edwards: Ceramic sculptural Rosalind Castling forms and pots, suitable for the home or garden. Polli Phippen: Ornamental and useful mosaic

Lielo Edwards

Polli Phippen

items, weatherproof for outside or indoor use. Rosalind Castling: Textile and felted creations; both decorative, as hangings or vessels, or wearable, as accessories. Sally Prendagast: Evocative landscapes and seascapes in oils. Susie Upstone: Contemporary designed silver jewellery, traditionally crafted for everyday as well as special occasions. l Little Kimble Art Group, The Stewart Hall, Station Road, Little Kimble, Bucks, HP17 0XN Exhibition open for viewing: Sat/Sun: 6th/7th, 13th/14th, 20th/21st, from 10.30am-5pm Thur/Fri: 11th/12th and 18th/19th from 1pm-5pm

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

What better way to enjoy a stunning display of contemporary art and sculpture than in the delightful surroundings of a local alpaca farm...


e can’t be sure just how much alpacas appreciate art but there’s a chance for you to appreciate both art and alpacas at an exciting exhibition of contemporary sculptures, paintings and other works of art to be hosted by Andante Alpacas at Old Brick Farm, Stewkley in June. It’s a fascinating opportunity to admire thought-provoking and affordable limited edition works of art and photography in a rural Buckinghamshire setting. ‘Sculpture on the Farm’ from 13th-28th June, (excluding Mondays and Tuesdays) open 11am-6pm,

Helping Hand sculpture by Dawn Benson

Pygmy Hippo sculpture by Linden Hamilton is being organised by Lendon Scantlebury (

Sculpture on the Farm 13 – 28 June 2015 10 acres • 30 artists • 200 artworks Old Brick Farm

Dunton Road, Stewkley, Leighton Buzzard LU7 0LU Sponsored by: Caroline Roberts Knitwear Organised by: 07949 260111

and sponsored by Caroline Roberts Knitwear (www.carolineroberts. and is taking place on a working alpaca farm. Entry is free and some of the artists will be on hand demonstrating or discussing their work. The event is spearheaded by Lendon Scantlebury who has previously curated hugely successful exhibitions, including ‘Sculpture in the Vineyard’ at Bothy Vineyard in 2013 and in 2014 ‘Sculpture in the Garden’ at Turn End, Haddenham, and the ‘Art in Ardington’ village exhibition which attracted over 6,000 visitors. Based in Wantage, Lendon has run his own bronze foundry and sculpture casting business for over 30 years. He also undertakes sculpture restoration. Caroline Roberts breeds alpacas on her farm and designs and manufactures an exclusive range of alpaca baby and children’s clothes, individually hand-crafted and finished by some of the finest factories in Britain. She collaborates with Lucy Cox (, a technicallyminded young British designer, who cleverly constructs versatile garments from alpaca, creating understated luxurious additions to

any modern wardrobe in a range of natural colours. Caroline is also an ambassador for Amantani (www.amantani., an award-winning British charitable organisation which focuses on helping the Quechua children in the Andes of Peru, from whence alpacas originally came to this country. A proportion of the proceeds from the sale of refreshments available at the exhibition will be donated to Amantani. l Old Brick Farm, Dunton Road, Stewkley, Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire, LU7 0LU Tel: 01525 242084 Email: Website: Facebook: /AndanteAlpacas

Below: Alpaca knitwear by Lucy Cox

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2014

Artist Sally Fisher who will be exhibiting at the Obsidian Art Gallery, Stoke Mandeville

Potter Jane Hanson in action

Buckinghamshire’s largest visual arts event is back to celebrate its 30th year with a bumper countywide collection of fantastic free events, workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions...

B Pitstone Windmill by Louisa Stobbs who will be exhibiting at College Lake, Tring

ucks Open Studios is taking place from 6th-21st June 2015 and will showcase an array of over 500 local artists and makers opening up their studios to the public for a dazzling selection of free demonstrations, handson workshops and exhibitions. Talent on show includes painters, ceramicists, glass workers, basket weavers, metal workers, wood turners, jewellery makers, book makers, photographers, print makers and silk makers and organisers are hoping to top the 25,000 visits made by the public during the event last year. Bob and Ann Marshall, the Joint Chairs of Bucks Open Studios said “In 1986 Buckinghamshire became one of the first ever counties to hold an Open Studios with around 43 exhibiting venues - we now have over 200 spanning the length and breadth of Bucks. We hope that people will join us in celebrating our 30th year by visiting the many venues - just look out for the yellow road signs that start springing up in May or visit our website to see what’s on. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an art enthusiast, or if just fancy an interesting day out, you can see some fantastic, free demonstrations by talented local craftspeople and maybe even have a go at creating your very own masterpiece!” To find out more about Bucks Open Studios 2015 and to find participating artists and venues visit: where you can

Picture left: This local Acrylic Painters Group will be exhibiting at Haddenham Methodist Church with sculptor Hannah Stembridge-King. Back L to R: Diana McNeillie, Ruth Aslett, Sue Currie Front L to R: Ali Cockrean, Hannah Stembridge-King, Clare Hoath 70

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Jewellery by Cathy Timbrell College Lake Artists is a new group of nine Artists and Makers, whose talents include Jewellery, Painting, Ceramics, Glass, Textiles, Photography, Sculpture and Metal Creation. The group comprising: Catherine Ceramics by Kay Waite Smith, Cathy Timbrell, Chris Dunsby, Jenny Hoole, Kay Waite, Linda Cavill, Louisa Stobbs, Paul Rowbottom and Shirley Jones will be exhibiting at College Lake Nature Reserve Visitor Centre near Tring from Sat 6th-Sun 21st June, 10am-4pm. A percentage of sales will be donated to the nature reserve. search out what is on by area, artist, venue or artform. You can also pick up a free Open Studios Directory from local libraries, arts centres and tourist information centres. A ‘Fanfare Exhibition’ at Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury heralds and precedes this year’s event with a glorious mix of paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture and jewellery from 23rd May to 4th July (10am-5pm, Tues-Sat plus Mon 25th May). l Bucks Open Studios Web: Email: Tel: 01296 614283 Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter @Bucksopenstudios

Rothschild Collections


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Artizani Ltd - Lobster á la Cart


11.00-4.00 (LAST ENTRY 3.30)

There’s a modern day Baron’s Treat to be enjoyed at Waddesdon Manor this June with an open invitation for one and all to join a most magnificent garden party - unleash the feast...

Colourscape is a large inflatable sculpture containing coloured labyrinths. Put on one of the capes provided and walk inside the sculpture to experience light, colour, space and music.


£1 per visitor, suitable for all ages. Normal admission charges apply

ew for 2015, Feast Weekend at CREATING PHOTOS Waddesdon Manor promises WITH LIGHT an experience not to be missed! 10.00-5.00 by the historic ‘Baron’s oin artist, Andrew Fowles, andInspired explore how we play and use performance to Treat’ a huge garden party in the grounds reate photographic images with light. sing digitalto cameras and a darkroom which Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild he will show how everyday torches would invite local can be used to create complex and children and the families eautiful photographs that will amaze of staff that worked at the Manor - Feast friends and family! £1 per visitor. Normal admission charges applypresent day visitors to Weekend invites or phone 01296 653226 enjoy Waddesdon as a guest, in the tradition for which it was built, as a backdrop for entertaining and pleasure. The weekend of 20th/21st June 2015 will see the North Front area of the gardens transformed by a 150 metre long elaborately decorated table, where visitors can take a seat and enjoy a picnic, or sample some of the delicious food on offer from one of 50 handpicked artisan food and wine stalls. Meanwhile, a range of extraordinary and captivating performances to delight and surprise young and old alike will be taking place throughout the day. The Young Pilgrims Marching Band will be bringing their rock-induced, brass band madness to the weekend, welcoming visitors on arrival and with various performances throughout the day. The Ragroof Players Tea Dance will take place each day, with the audience invited to take part and learn from a dance teacher (no experience required!) or just indulge in a delicious cake and a cup of tea whilst watching the fantastic Ragroof Dancers as they bring a touch of vintage glamour to the

Ragroof Tea Dance ©Ludovic des Cognets

The Fairly Famous Family - Anyone for Tennis?

weekend. the Lobster À La Cart, Talking Pictures Look out for a beautiful acrobatic and Arthur the Usher. Or take a walk over performance entitled Bench performed by to the Aviary where a rare set of friendly the talented Mimbre, or travel back in time exotic bird puppets, The Birds, have escaped with the silent movie characters The Lost captivity and taken a liking to the local Luggage Porters in their quest to find a habitat - with their unmistakable plumage and railway station, navigating their way through repertoire of bird song! a modern-day metropolis, as weird and June is set to be an exciting month at wonderful tales unfold! Waddesdon, as it also A taste of Wimbledon happens to be the month will return to the North that two large sculptural Front, where Edward VII bedding installations once enjoyed a game of designed by artist Simon tennis during a visit to Periton will appear on Waddesdon. Anyone For the Parterre to the South Tennis brings a pristine of the Manor, continuing Curious Cargo Ltd - Lost Luggage court, dead posh umpire the tradition of threeand highly strung players dimensional bedding to entertain one and all, in a thrilling one set begun by Alice de Rothschild. match! And from 17th June the Coach House Even the youngest of our visitors have exhibition space at the Stables welcomes an plenty to look forward to - roll up your sleeves interesting exhibition charting the life and art for a performance of the quirky Troll’s of Henry Moore through a selection of 100 Kitchen, where the Cordon Bleu Chefs have drawings from the collection of The Henry been called in to cook a meal fit for a hungry Moore Foundation. troll - cue lots of hilarity and fun as putrid It will also include two major sculptures stews, rancid cupcakes and mangy salads are in bronze entitled King and Queen (which the dish of the day! can be seen at the Coach House) and Hill Peep into one of the marquees and you will Arches (which will be on display adjacent to find free workshops and craft activities on the Aviary). The exhibition runs until 25th offer with the Waddesdon Education Team October 2015. and artist Stu McLellan. l Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Don’t forget to keep an eye out for variety Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH of unusual characters who will be roaming Tel: 01296 653226 around the gardens on this weekend, notably weekend at

Feast Waddesdon

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

What with Northern Ballet, East is East, hit West End shows and a tribute to Southern boy made good Elvis, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre has all points of the compass covered this season. Best check out their new brochure for directions and start planning your trip...


race yourselves Bucks, the Khans are coming to town! Following a critically-acclaimed West End run and a limited season tour, Ayub Khan Din’s East is East is coming to the Waterside from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th June, starring the award-winning screen icon from Father Ted (Mrs Doyle), Shameless (Libby Croker) and Eastenders (Yvonne Cotton), Pauline McLynn. Pauline will be joined by some of the original cast from the West End production of East is East: Ashley Kumar (Tariq Khan), Darren Kuppan (Maneer Khan) and Sally Bankes (Auntie Annie). “I am very excited to be part of this production,” says Pauline. “The play by Ayub Khan Din is sparkling, funny and tender and I’m delighted to be working with the brilliant Sam Yates as director too. I cannot wait to get out there with it!” East is East is most well-known from the 1999 hit movie, but was in fact

Ayub Khan Din (centre) as George ‘Ghengis’ Khan in the West End production of East Is East

Pauline McLynn originally written to be performed as a play, and was indeed first performed on stage in 1996 at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Studio. Pakistani chip-shop owner George Khan “Genghis” to his kids - is determined to give his children a strict Muslim upbringing against the unforgiving backdrop of 1970s Salford. Household tension reaches breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella, gets 72

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

caught in the cross fire - her loyalties divided between her marriage and the free will of her children. East is East is Ayub Khan Din’s semiautobiographical account of British Asian life in the 1970s and the clash of cultures within a multi-cultural family growing up in Salford and is a play that continues to resonate and provoke discussion today. Starring a host of the finest British acting talent, this long awaited revival of a modern comedy classic promises to be unmissable. Summer brochure out now! If you haven’t picked one up yet - do! From Northern Ballet to Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends, West End phenomenon, Jersey

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

One Night of Elvis: Fri, May 29th

Milton Jones: Sat, May 30th

Northern Ballet, Madame Butterfly: Fri, Jun 19th

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

Fri 29th May

Milton Jones

Sat 30th May

Reginald D Hunter

Fri 5th Jun

Illegal Eagles

Sat 6th Jun

The Chicago Blues Bros

Thu 11th Jun

Thank You For The Music

Fri 12th Jun

Chuckles of Oz

Sat 13th Jun

The Bootleg Beatles

Sun 14th Jun

The Three Degrees

Wed 17 Jun

East is East

Mon 22nd Sat 27th Jun

Win a pair of tickets to East is East If you just Khan’t wait to see East is East, a) Broccoli we have a pair of tickets to be won for the b) Mushy peas Opening Night at Aylesbury Waterside c) Prawn crackers Theatre on Monday 22nd June. Email your answer with your name, address For your chance to win simply tell us which and telephone to: of the below is a popular fish ‘n’ chip dinner Winner to be drawn and notified by email accompaniment: on Monday, June 8th. Boys to master of psychological illusion Derren Brown, Reginald D Hunter to the unmistakable Basil Brush, there’s something for everyone in Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s scorching Summer line up. What’s more the theatre is producing their first ever Youth Musical Theatre Project

Derren Brown: Mon 6th to Sat 11th July l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

New Youth Musical Theatre Project

and are looking for enthusiastic performers aged from 8 to 21 years. Register your interest by emailing Book now for this sizzling Summer season, visit the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Branching out Subaru Forester 2.0i DIT XT CVT


o company are better placed to take advantage of the current obsession with all-wheel drive than Subaru. After all, the Japanese masters pioneered the use of four-wheel drive in passenger cars back in 1974 with the Leone. It took other manufacturers into the first part of the next decade to cotton onto the idea of incorporating four-wheel drive on normal cars, not built specifically for rough driving. Nowadays four-wheel drive falls roughly into two camps - the rugged, purpose-built 4x4s for rough off road work and those with all-wheel drive and builtin safety systems for surer road driving. Then there are those like the Subaru Forester with a foot in both camps - a toughly built allterrain vehicle with good ground clearance that can do a good job on and off road.

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES The new Forester XT, with its striking good looks and strong road presence, is certainly making waves. Even a Land Rover owning neighbour grudgingly admitted that the Forester ‘looked a lot better than I thought it would.’ The vehicle in question, the Subaru Forester 2.0i DIT XT CVT, looks the business, does the business and drives like a good ‘un. One of the most car-like of the current 4x4s to drive, the Forester combines supreme comfort and a wonderfully pliant suspension with

Subaru Forester 2.0i DIT XT CVT top-notch driving enjoyment and eyebrow-raising performance. Sculpted with rather wonderful curves, contrasting sharp lines and a workmanlike, upright stance, there is nothing on the road quite like the Subaru. Quite how a solid, mid-size vehicle like the Forester can accelerate to 62mph in 7.5 seconds (beating some sports cars) leaves you shaking your head. The secret lies with the 2.0-litre petrol Direct Injection Turbo Boxer engine, driving the front and rear wheels (AllWheel Drive) via a six-speed Lineartronic CVT transmission. Acceleration, as the figures

suggest, is wickedly quick - listen closely and you may just decipher a delightful low whistle as the turbo comes into play. Power output is refined, smooth and quiet. Don’t be put off by the thought of CVT transmission some of these tend to sound harsh under strong acceleration but the Forester’s operation is always seamless and slick. Electric power-assisted steering is engaging and positive, so the Forester bats along smoothly with great feel and cornering is always reassuringly grippy. Inside build quality is smart Continued on page 76

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

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Subaru Forester 2.0i DIT XT CVT Continued from page 74 and refined, with tactile fascia surfaces, and all leather sports seats are generously bulked out with bags of side support and all electrically operated. There is plenty of information on display both between main dials and on the dash and

‘infotainment’ access is simple and uncomplicated. A large bonus is the amount of generous glazing which gives everyone panoramic views and makes the vehicle easy to park and manoeuvre - a commanding driving position is also to be commended. Powering up the tailgate reveals

a healthy amount of luggage space, with generous cutaways for loading, though the folded rear seats are still raised slightly higher than the floor. Slightly off the wall, quirky and with all round skills, this an irresistible package - Subaru’s six-star logo is heading to unknown frontiers.

Factfile: Subaru Forester 2.0i DIT XT CVT, £30,995. Powered by 2.0-litre horizontally opposed, turbocharged ‘flat-four’ petrol engine. 0-62mph in 7.5 secs; top speed 137mph. Combined 33.2mpg. CO2 emissions: 197g/km.

Tel: 01844 274652

Email: Chinnor Road, Bledlow, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PH





0 01 A4




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Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


l Column: On

The Road

Quite a catch AUDI Q3 1.4TFSI


tick ‘CoD’ in the name of a car and you can be forgiven for thinking there’s something fishy going on… But when it comes to VW Group products the abbreviation has its plaice (sorry…) I’ll stop carping on and explain that Cylinder On Demand (CoD) is the rising star of the latest refettled Audi Q3 range, now on sale. In a nutshell, the 1.4 litre TFSI petrol engine has some technological wizardry that knows when you don’t need all four cylinder pumping away under the bonnet - so it’ll shut two off and run on the other pair, until such time as it detects your right foot twitching in anticipation of a bit more speed, at which point it brings the other two back into play again. The benefits are that you don’t waste fuel and it cleans up your CO2 emissions a bit at the same time. The latest incarnation of Audi’s compact SUV gets a few changes to its cladding, notably moving the front fog lights into the main headlight unit and giving it a new distinctive radiator grille, to tidy up its already smart face, as well as adding in even more equipment. Common to all versions dual zone climate control, a Concert

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI SE CoD 78

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI SE CoD

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road audio system with a 6.5 inch retractable colour display screen, Bluetooth and light and rain sensors. There’s a new three spoke multifunction steering wheel to keep you in touch with the tarmac and the onboard systems, and the cabin has room for up to five adults to travel in comfort, as well as a decent sized boot area for your luggage. If you’re following one you’ll not fail to notice the new dynamic ‘scrolling’ rear indicators which illuminates sequentially within two-tenths of a second from the inside out in the direction the driver intends to turn. Audi’s drive select adaptive dynamics system comes as standard now, and there’s the choice of a six speed manual or 6 or 7 speed S tronic according to model. Most of the new engines show an increase in power but while

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI SE CoD that’s not applicable to the 150ps CoD unit its CO2 figure is down nine to 128g/km. You can have your Q3 in SE, S line and S line Plus trim which will give you even more toys to play with. Specify Audi connect and your car becomes a mobile wifi hotspot, allowing passengers to play while you have access to online traffic info and navigation via Google Earth and Google Street View. Audi now has a staggering 509 derivatives in its 50 model product range – quite a jump from the 17 model range they offered UK buyers back in 2001.

In the 50 years they’ve been operating in the UK they’ve sold two million cars and last year was their best yet with over 158,000 cars registered. In fact it took something in the order of 40 years to register a million sales. Doubling that figure has taken them a mere decade. Their only limiting factor is production capacity, not customer demand, so in reality those sales figures could have been much higher. Prices for the new range start at £25,340. Topping it all out is the 340ps RS Q3 at £45,495.

FASTFACTS: Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI SE CoD; £25,340; 1395cc 4 cylinder, 150ps, 250Nm; six speed S tronic gearbox; top speed 126mph, 0-62mph 9.2secs; fuel – urban 39.8, extra urban 54.3, combined 47.9 (17 inch wheels); CO2 136g/km.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2015

No, it’s not a joke - Auto Torque offers great value servicing and the chance to have your engine remapped for greater torque and improved performance at very reasonable rates ... Ross Marshall with the Auto Torque breakdown truck

Chris Marshall, right, in the Auto Torque workshop with technician Jack


uto Torque was founded in 2007, by Motorsport engineer Chris Marshall, to offer great value performance car servicing and tuning. Chris is a highly trained and experienced vehicle technician who has worked in the high performance world of competitive rally racing with race teams such as RockStar Rally team USA, British Rally and Rally Cross and was the chief technician for various Evo motorsport race and rally teams for some nine years. In just eight years Auto Torque has expanded from a small unit with a few customers a week to a thriving servicing and repair garage with a purpose built workshop and many loyal customers and the firm is now to double in size by taking on a new workshop and showroom. Chris and his team are car enthusiasts, treating every vehicle as if it were their own, and are committed to high quality workmanship and providing a professional but personal service. They also charge extremely reasonable rates. In addition to the routine servicing and repair of any vehicle, Auto Torque specialise in all aspects of maintenance and tuning for the performance car market. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Subaru, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Jaguar, BMW, Audi and many more can all be expertly serviced and tuned by Auto Torque’s specialist technicians for a fraction of main dealer prices. “We’ve recently opened up two new sides to the business,” says Chris. “We do ECU Remapping, which is the retuning of the Engine Control Unit or management system, to improve the efficiency of the engine, giving your vehicle increased power output, torque

and fuel economy, without workshop and having to compromise showroom will open on reliability and exhaust in June and I’m emissions. Vehicle factory looking to take on settings don’t utilise the two more technicians. true potential of an engine Tom, who used to Chris in the office/reception room with Pat work with us, has as they are on a kind of general utility setting that returned to run the will work with all sorts of fuel grades and car sales and help run the new workshop. It’s a under a variety of conditions across the world. big expansion, a big commitment for us but it We can tweak these settings to both improve seems the demand is there. performance and fuel economy. “Catering for the high performance market “We started tuning high performance vehicles we draw in customers from all over the UK but but we have seen such a general demand that we apply the same high levels of service and we now tune a wide variety of petrol and diesel attention to detail to the road cars we work on vehicles and have listed some of the potential for local customers as we do to the performance improvements from a remap of specific models cars. All our customers are equally valued. on our site: “Customer service and aftercare is important “If your vehicle is not listed give us a call and to us. Doing a service is one thing but we want we’ll see if we can remap it.” customers to come back and to recommend us “We have also started AT Performance, to others so we take pains to ensure we do a which is a high performance car sales business. really good job.” It goes well with our performance servicing Chris is helped out by Pat, who assists with as we can ensure the vehicles are in the best office duties and by Chris’s father, Ross, who condition and offer aftersales care as well. All operates the Auto Torque breakdown service our sale cars undergo a full inspection and will - handy if a customer has broken down or be serviced if required. If customers are looking needs his vehicle picking up for a service. He for a specific model we can usually source some can also take your car to motorsport events if options and can inspect and prepare the chosen you are competing but not road legal. vehicle for sale in our workshops. We are not l Auto Torque, Unit 9, UBF Industrial looking to trade large quantities of vehicles, it’s a niche market which we know well and we aim Estate, Bicester Road, Westcott, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JX to offer good quality vehicles and a high level Tel: 01296 658257 Email: of service. We can also take part exchanges if required and offer comprehensive warranty and care plans. “It’s an exciting time for us. The new Open: Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm; Sat, 9am-2pm Vale Life : May/Jun 2015


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Garage gifts 4x4 life saver P

rinces Risborough’s Risboro Garage has donated a brand new Honda CRV 4x4 emergency vehicle to the Princes Risborough Community First Responders (CFR) team. CFRs are volunteers from the community who are trained in basic life support skills and the use of a defibrillator and can quickly attend local emergency calls, received by the ambulance service, in the immediate vicinity of where they live or work, to provide early and often vital intervention for patients while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. CFRs then work alongside a clinically qualified practitioner. At a handover ceremony at Princes Risborough Golf Club in April Mark Tubb, Chairman of the Rural Community Defibrillation Group (RCDG) thanked Risboro Garage directors Sean Graham and Tim Stevens for their generous gift, which will significantly improve the

responsiveness and capabilities of the team. The CFR group was established five years ago and now numbers eight volunteers. “A 4x4 will give us greater access in all weathers and terrain,” said CFR team member Geoff Clark. “But most importantly, it enables us to carry Entonox (gas and air), a vital pain relief which can only be carried in vehicles which are insured through the ambulance service.” In March this year, the Princes Risborough team recorded 413 hours on call and attended 32 emergencies, in many cases arriving at the scene before the ambulance crew. Francesca Skelton, attending the event in her new role as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire,

The new CRV donated by Risboro Garage. Left, Sean Graham hands over the CRV keys to CFR team member Geoff Clark praised the CFRs for their vital work in rural and vulnerable communities and for easing the burden on the local ambulance service. Risboro Garage in partnership with RCDG aims to install defibrillators into local villages so the life-saving technology is on hand to save lives in more rural areas.

So far they have installed five defibrillators, these are at: Princes Risborough Golf Club, Lacey Green, Bledlow Ridge, Haddenham Library and Speen, with a further two already purchased for installation at Princes Risborough Fire Station and Princes Risborough Police Station, each costing £1,500, an amazing achievement and one that has a very real, positive impact on the lives of those across our local area.


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Vale life may jun 2015 web edition  

Six weekly, glossy, lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and surrounding area: Wendover, Winslow, Waddesdon, Tring, Princes Risborough, C...

Vale life may jun 2015 web edition  

Six weekly, glossy, lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and surrounding area: Wendover, Winslow, Waddesdon, Tring, Princes Risborough, C...