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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home

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May/Jun 2017

Cover image: Bluebells at Dockey Wood, Ringshall, Ashridge


Curtain’s Up!

Thame gallery makes a move

Science of beauty

No surgery with new technology

See our website at:

Designed to delight

Flower store has something different Plus our columnists: Katy, Heather, Naomi, Polly, Amanda, Janice, Cathy, Paul, Peter, Tracy, Sandra, Shaun, Nigel, Rob, Alan and much, much more...

Free local listings for events and businesses

w A Meal for two at The Peacock Inn, Henton w Thames Rockets cruise w w two Tickets for waterside theatre w Bell Pie Shop Pies w

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Bespoke, fitted or just supplied, our stunning range of German and English kitchens come with total peace of mind. Ridgeway will work with you throughout your project — whether small or large. It’s all done from surveying, designing, delivering and fitting your dream kitchen and using our own in house teams of experts. All you need to do is relax and enjoy the end result. Add to that free survey and design, it all adds up to a very attractive deal indeed. For more information on our range of over 500 kitchen options, you will be very welcome to drop into our showroom off the M40 near Thame in Oxfordshire. Or visit our website ( or call us on 01844 279900

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

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

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

01296 622975 07711750917

F u n e r a l D i r e c to r s 21 -23 High Street, Wendover HP22 6DU

Comfort and Quality from People who Care Independent Living Risborough If you are choosing a new sofa, suite, Made in Britain bed or chair, it is important to ensure your purchase is not only stylish but comfortable, provides the right support, is well-designed and constructed and offers value for money. ILC is a local, family-run business with many years experience supplying bespoke and offthe-shelf beds and chairs. Contact one of our Buckinghamshire showrooms for friendly, professional help and advice. ILC, Woodway, Loosley Row, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0NN Tel: 01844 273 050 Email: Website:


Five Year Warranties and Finance available Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

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

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details

8 11 12 13 14 16 18 22 24 26 32 34 37

Sharp dressed men


Rediscover your garden

Curtain’s up!


Safe and secure

Letter from Morrocco


Gardens, a place for everyone?

Designed to delight


Tick and flea prevention

Country retreat


It’s baby season!

Science of beauty


Turn it up

Breaking point


Music, food, comedy, art!

You have the power


A classic thriller

Quench your body


A quiet Spring

Goodness of gardening


Driven to create

Curiouser and curiouser


In the kitchen

Brighten up your life


Elizabeth’s got it licked

Quality is key


Hear the quality

Katy’s fashion tips for boys Gallery move for fitch & fellows Janice takes a writing course New flower store is busy busy Tina’s spa is just out of town No need for surgery with new technology When all seems hopeless, it’s good to talk Hypnosis can help you help yourself Are you drinking enough water? Charity heals through time with plants Bold interiors that make a statement Turning on to smart bulbs

Don’t be afraid to ask, says Nigel.

Charlotte’s tips to transform your yard What’s so good about automated gates? How to child proof your patch

Prevention is better than cure says Lucy. Lots to see and do at Eco Farm Adam’s got the latest music news Tickets are flying for Henley Festival Win tickets to A Judgement in Stone Shaun’s guide to theatreland Artist is a bit of an all-rounder Another yummy recipe from Nick Coffer Artisan ice cream? Don’t mind if I do! Alan’s impressed by his Kadjar stereo

Don’t be a doughnut, eat one!


t always seems to be National something or other week these days, or World something day... I guess it’s a good way of increasing awareness for various causes and celebrating things that might otherwise be forgotten. May is National Share a Story month and Purple Action on Stroke month, and contains Foster Care fortnight, Donkey Week,Family Safety Week and Lost Sock Day to name a few! Some are certainly fun to join in with as may be the rather delicious sounding National Doughnut Week (6th-13th May)!


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

I’m sorry if you’re reading this too late and have missed it but I’m sure it’s ok if you celebrate after the event, just chomp down a couple of doughnuts and then make a dough-nation to The Children’s Trust ( which is the charity that is to benefit from this lipsmacking promotion. The Children’s Trust is a residential and community-based rehabilitation service for children and young people with a brain injury and like any charity needs help and funding to keep up the good work. Bakeries can register on the

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 at The Peacock, Henton; Two tickets

doughnuts as is possible, which seems to me one of the more appealing charity challenges that I’ve come across to date. website: www.nationaldoughnut If you’re watching your waistline then get baking and you can always walk it all off again promoting and sell lots of on Florence Nightingale Hospice doughnuts to raise funds for the cause, while all the rest of us have to Charity’s Midnight Walk (June 24th) or by getting on your bike and do is eat one or two... easy! supporting Wheelpower’s Tour de Christopher Freeman who runs Vale (June 11th) or get some friends Dunn’s Bakery in Crouch End together and enter a team in Cancer started the initiative 26 years ago Research UK’s Relay for Life (July and it’s been getting more popular 1st-2nd at Halton). every year. Last year £22,783 was Happy reading everyone! raised for the charity, with the help of 394 bakers, cafés and shops. We can all do our bit by finding a local bakery that is taking part Editor, Vale Life Magazine and buying and eating as many

for A Judgement in Stone at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Tuesday May 30th; Two Bell Pie Shop pies; and two tickets for a Thames Rockets RIB boat trip. Last issue’s prizewinners


were: A meal for two at The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington: Perdie Reid, Lane End VR Headset: Sally Whitworth, Meadle Escape game: Leigh Reed, Haddenham

Oxfordshire cook book: Michael Buggins, Thame Rumsey’s Chocolates: Marie-Claire Nixon, Piddington Hotter pumps: Lizzie Evans, Aylesbury

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 2017


with Katy Dyer

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

Sharp dressed men


ashion is often thought of as predominately the reserve of women. But menswear has caught up hugely over the past decade. And whilst men’s fashion still moves more slowly than women’s (benefit: longer lasting wardrobe), sartorially speaking it’s never been easier for men to express their personality and uniqueness through their wardrobe, especially with so many business dress codes being way more relaxed than they have in the past. But does that make it easier to get dressed? Often no – it’s harder to find the right balance in the workplace, whether you’re a city gent or selfemployed IT buff. The Essentials It’s those little details that can really make a difference – especially in the workplace. Don’t neglect your accessories. Quality in wallets, pens, laptop bags and briefcases

Crew Clothing Foxley V-Neck Jumper £49

really pays to find the fit that works for you. If you have a sporty frame, choose crisp fabrics with a sharper cut. A little softer round the edges? Stick to less fitted designs and choose relaxed fabrics to work with your shape.

White Stuff Charles Wallet £25 and Adam Canvas Crossbody Bag £39.95

really creates a sartorial edge, especially when making that critical first impression for interviews and pitches or at conferences and meetings. Casual Cuff Here’s a simple way to express your style personality without shouting out loud. If you’re a relaxed soul and prefer a straightforward button cuff then it’s simple and easy. Like to add a bit of creativity? Look out for patterned or contrast cuffs. If you’re somewhere in between perhaps consider quality in herringbone or poplin shirting with a stylish yet understated pair of quality cufflinks. Fit for Fashion In men’s style, fit is everything. There is a huge range of cuts for suiting, trousers and shirts so it


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Office Entice Sneaker £34.99

Eschew the norm In my experience, shoes for men are possibly one of the most time-consuming purchases in the search for perfection (and often more pricey than women’s). Finding the perfect fit is a priority, and style can sometimes be compromised. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Look for quality, independent stores and brands that offer ranges in half sizes and different widths so comfort, quality and style can be achieved. Make your local shoe repair shop your friend, and your purchases will last a whole lot longer – and as they say in the trade ‘shoes worth wearing are worth repairing.’ Dress Down The difference between casual and smart casual? Well casual could be described as the ultimate summer look – coloured tee, shorts and slides (combine with an on-trend trilby to instantly update the look). Making the transition from casual to smart casual then switch jeans to cotton trousers and swap the tee for a smarter collared shirt with a print

Topman Blue Suit & Stripes

or check (or perhaps a coloured knit). Add a waistcoat or relaxed jacket for a little more gravitas. Shop Success – the Men’s Room The male approach to shopping tends to be to head out for what is needed (rather than going out to

Office Bhatti Brogue £69.99

Mens at Dune Naples Hat £25

discover what they want) - something we can all use as a tip when updating our wardrobe. “What do I need?” makes for a successful trip without purchasing repeat items of what you already own (another pair of black trousers anyone?). For a seasonal update, holiday shop or capsule collection for that new job, it really is worthwhile taking some time out during the week to shop, fully armed with a list of what you need, along with the colours, styles and quantity you require for your trip, working week or next few months. Before you go scan your wardrobe – donate what’s not working and recycle what’s damaged beyond repair. List your gaps, determine your budget and favourite stores and plan your route - and push the boundaries! How do you want to feel in that new office, on the beach or even on your new fitness regime - because when you look good you feel good! Pick a location that’s easy to get to where you can offload or store your purchases and get the very most out of that precious time you have taken. With your wardrobe, it’s the time and space taken up by clothes and accessories that counts as well as the money spent – men or women, and it’s safe to say we can all learn a lot from each other’s shopping habits and rituals. As the quote says, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, so why not push your wardrobe boundaries and start the journey?

Crew Clothing Foxley Crew Neck Jumper £45

White Stuff Swag Engineer Stripe Short Sleeve Tee £25 l Katy Dyer is a style coach and corporate image consultant and works with people of all ages, stages and backgrounds to help them present themselves at their very best. Because when you look good, you feel good. Find out more at www. or simply call 01844 872 025.

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

Sew Claire

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

Helen Grace Beautifully hand crafted stylish hats

Image Style Colour Corporate

Wardrobe Review Personal Shopping Group Consultations & Workshops

01844 872 025

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



Column: Nicky Gregory‘Curious World’

Just follow my thread


ollectors love small unusual items and Ribbon Threaders or Pullers are no exception. Threaders come in various types: simple handles with a wire loop, more ornate, often silver, pieces with a hole at one end. A heavy needle with a large ‘eye’ is the most basic and the most unusual is a stork with a long flat beak in the form of scissors. Sometimes when you open the threader there is a baby cocooned in swaddling clothes inside the stork. There are several tales about the ‘Stork’ threader – 19th or early 20th century they are often German or Dutch where the large migratory bird is highly revered and steeped in folklore. One story says they were used by midwives to clamp the umbilical cord of a new born baby (although there is no way of ‘clamping’ them shut), another is they were used for picking up dirty nappies (hardly large enough as they are only about 10cms long), or perhaps they were placed on the mantle shelf or chimney breast to indicate that the mistress of the

A flock of English Silver Georgian Stork Threaders

Nicky Gregory

Curious world

collecting. Our Mar-Apr edition’s mystery object was a bread fork. Can you guess what this one below is?

Victorian Silver Handled Threader

Beading lace with ribbon Mystery object

house was pregnant, (storks are a symbol of fertility and we all know the stories about a Stork delivering the baby). The most obvious is that they were used for threading ribbon through open lace on baby clothes, shawls etc. A seamstress would use ‘Threaders’ or ‘Pullers’ to thread

fine ribbon through lace to decorate clothes such as the lace on ladies undergarments and children’s clothes. This lace was called ‘beading’ lace which is made with holes woven into it to enable easy threading, conventional lace would prove more difficult. An ideal and unusual item for

Email your answers along with your name, address and contact telephone number to: Winner to be notified by email. l Nicky Gregory is the owner of Antiques@Wendover, The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Web:




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.

Elm Captain’s Chair, made locally in High Wycombe at end of 19th Century: £228 The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Website: 10

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers

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

01296 482963

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Former West End star Susannah Fellows, whose first major role was as Eva Peron, replacing Elaine Paige in the hit musical Evita, runs Thame’s popular fitch & fellows gallery which has just moved from East Street to a new town centre location on the Buttermarket...


usannah Fitch Fellows has long been a fan and collector of contemporary art and opened her first gallery, Fitch’s Ark, in Little Venice back in the 90s. She ran it for some 6 years whilst working as an actress - a long and successful career that involved roles in numerous West End musicals such as Mamma Mia, Aspects of Love and Chicago and film and television work - before having twin girls and moving out to Brill with her family some 14 years ago. In 2010 she retired from theatre work and in 2012 began learning leatherwork from ‘John The Stitcher’, a well known Thame character with a leather workshop in premises on East Street, which Susannah later converted into her first gallery/shop, after John had to retire due to ill health. He sadly died in 2016. The gallery was small but packed with a fascinating display of wares from vases to objet’s d’art, bowls, automatons, flying fish, glass, ceramics and some fabulous leatherwear fashioned by Susannah herself! “It was lovely, but tiny,” says Susannah “and we just outgrew it. It was a great way to dip my toe back into running a gallery again though and it’s given me a chance to renew old contacts, update my awareness of what is out there and get in touch with new makers and artists. I am stocking some of the same artists I did 20 years ago but they are much more experienced now and in many cases better known and more respected. “For me a piece of work has to resonate - it has to tell you something about the subject beyond just being a good likeness. An artist will use their skill and individual creative imagination to give you their own ‘take’ on a subject - it’s always interesting to see the

Susannah in front of her sister’s tree mural

amazing array of ways in which a simple piece of clay can be interpreted!” The new fitch & fellows gallery on The Buttermarket is light, airy and spacious and already stocked with displays of the beautiful and the bizarre - gorgeous, fascinating, offbeat, amusing, unique and desirable items priced from just a few pounds - ideal for gifts - to more substantial works worth several hundred. There’s Katie Almond’s delightful, delicate, vintage-inspired hand painted porcelain pots, jugs and cups and Christian Marsden’s ‘StolenForm’ works which are masculine, industrial objects such as bricks, pipes and gratings, repurposed as colourful, handmade, slip-cast earthenware ceramic vases, coasters and pots, while Joan and Jack Hardie design and print 3D porcelain pots inspired by plants, seed pots or shells, using a specially converted 3D printer! Janet Halligan is inspired by everyday

‘Going to the Book Club’ by Laurance Simon - the rabbit is reading War and Peace!

household items and makes ‘trompe l’oeil’ sculptural pieces and hand-built vessels in stoneware - shoes, bags, boxes such as an amazing pair of bright blue knee high converse boots - a real conversation piece - and there are little gifts such as shiny silver pewter spoons and Sandra Young glass dragonflies and bees. On one wall is a fun tree mural painted by Susannah’s sister, Samantha Fellows, an artist of note who has a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery at the moment and was recently on Sky Arts TV show Portrait Artist Of the Year. “I’m really excited to have the extra space here so I can have regular exhibitions, private views and events through the year,” says Susannah.“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, animal-themed, painted ceramics by Laurance Simon, to beautiful affordable jewellery by Jane Moore.” Susannah is Chair of Bucks Open Studios (10th-25th June, uk) the annual, countywide artists and makers event and, as Fitch and Fetch Leatherwork, is a maker herself, using the finest leathers and suedes to create: bags, purses, notebooks, belts, brief cases and beautiful bespoke animal collars and leads - each item hand finished, some with added decoration such as buttons and ribbons. Pop in for a browse, or to pick up an Open Studios leaflet, there’s always something new to see and prices are very reasonable from around £20 upwards. l fitch & fellows, 18 Buttermarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3EP Tel: 01844 215099 Email: Web: Web: Open Tue-Sat 10.30am-5:30pm

Ceramic boots by Janet Halligan

Brick vase by Christian Marsden

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Letter from Morrocco


reativity takes on many forms, some crafts require a great deal of tools and supplies, but here’s one that needs nothing more than a pen and an empty page. I have attended a lot of classes and courses since the day I left school and generally speaking, the teacher’s ability can make a difference, although in most cases, if you can glean the basics of the craft that’s all you need. Creative writing is a totally different ball game. Here is a creative practice that is totally dependent on the skill of the teacher, and until you’ve tried it you won’t understand. A good teacher can show you the techniques to unlock the flow of words and to unblock the imagination; it is a truly unique art. Wingrave teacher Claire Steele is one such teacher. Through word play and the exchange of phrases with the other pupils, Claire can bring out an ability you didn’t know

you had, whatever level you are. Probably enticed more by the holiday element than the writing, I decided to join Claire Steele and her merry band of wordsmiths in Essaouira Morocco for a week of writing. In the mornings we experimented with words and the

afternoons were free to be shown around the Medina and Kasbah of this beautiful seaport. Claire takes her writers to many exotic locations for their classes and her skill both as a local guide and teacher are exceptional. You really will be amazed at how Claire can unlock your potential, and what you do with this skill is up to you, but it can be very therapeutic and fun, so I highly recommend that you give it a go, either here on your doorstep or in a far off land such as India, Morocco or Turkey. You can find her more locally at one of these places : Thursday 10-12am, upstairs room Holy Trinity Church, Walton St, Aylesbury - creative flow workshop Thursday 8-10pm, 1 The Dean, Wingrave - creative flow workshop 2nd Saturday each month Constellations Workshop, 10-4pm 1 The Dean, Wingrave - a 10 month

Janice Issitt

Making the most of it writing course with mentoring, editing and professional critiquing to develop a significant piece of work. 3rd Saturday each month, Constellations Workshop, 1 The Dean, Wingrave 3rd Sunday each month, Big Myth Workshop, Queens Park Art Centre, Aylesbury 10-4pm, creative flow reinventions of the major cultural stories that underpin our sense of who we are. You can find Claire’s facebook page at: magicalwritingjourneys l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in the Vale.

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

There’s nothing like fresh flowers to brighten up a room or lift your mood, especially if they are selected and arranged by Fiona Faber at her Wendover floral design store, where there’s a stunning array of vintage vases and containers to accommodate her beautiful, natural, freeform displays ...


ou don’t have to be sharp-eyed to have spotted a stylish new addition to Wendover’s High Street. Fiona Faber Floral Design opened in January this year, in what was Sally Turner’s Antique shop, on the corner by the library car park. Fiona has refurbed and redecorated and although the building is still a charming higgledy maze, it now boasts an airy shop plus workshop and office areas, with a courtyard and spacious old timber-framed barn to the rear for classes, courses and events. There’s also a consulting room where Fiona’s husband Andrew Faber, Fiona Faber who grew up in Wendover, runs his variety of working Chiropody/Podiatry practice. with clients who have A couple of successful workshops different tastes and have already taken place in the barn ideas. Her bouquets and Summer Florals workshops are Barn workshop and arrangements planned for Tuesday 20th (7-9:30pm) are all bespoke and and Wednesday 21st June (10amtailormade to the client’s requirements, using 12:30pm) see website or phone for details. “We’ve got a lady coming to do a lampshade fresh, natural flowers and foliage, locally grown when possible, to give a relaxed, country feel making course,” says Fiona, “and local and ensure excellent vase-life. You won’t find watercolour artist Suzanne Parker, whose ready-made, set-price bouquets as Fiona makes beautiful floral paintings are for sale in the to order, so you can choose exactly what you shop, is going to do some art classes here want and how, from a single stem to a striking too. The barn is an inspiring space and selfarrangement, complete with vase or container. contained so I hope to have lots of different There is a fascinating choice of these too, things happening - I’m open to ideas! We’re for upstairs a whole showroom is dedicated to having a Summer Fair in the courtyard too pots, baskets, bottles and jars, French brocante, and have a few tables available for hire to French baskets, trugs, garden bits and pieces craftspeople, it’s on June 17th to coincide with and anything unusual, interesting and vintage the Open Studios from 10am to 3pm.” that will hold a display or set off a bloom. Fiona has been involved with flowers since There’s also some upcycled furniture items. the early 90s and has certificates in floristry A second room houses pop-up displays by from The Covent Garden Academy of other local traders - at the moment it’s vintage Flowers and the Floristry Academy and is a ephemera but Indigo Blue clothing is due member of the British Floral Association. Her soon. Speak to Fiona if you are a trader who style is naturally, freeform and quintessentially might like to try a pop up there. English, although she loves the challenge and Fiona offers professional advice, support and assistance for weddings and events. She can help with your theme, co-ordinate ideas and turn your dreams into reality. From arranging your flowers, dressing the tables, sourcing or making the perfect accessories to complement your theme, to a complete design and/or planning package, she won’t take away the fun of planning your event, just the hard work and worry! This can mean beautiful bouquets for

The Flower Room

the bridal party, table centrepieces, pedestal arrangements, buttonholes and corsages and even beautiful floral crowns and hair clips to complement your chosen hair style. Finishing touches such as: candlesticks, candleabras, lanterns, outdoor lights, jugs, bowls, bunting, outdoor games, flower boxes, sweet jars, pedestals and urns are also available to buy or hire.

First floor showroom “It’s going really well, so far,” says Fiona. “We have some lovely regular customers and I’m gearing up for a busy wedding season, as having worked freelance for a while, I had several booked in and the diary has quickly filled up. Customers seem to like the unusual variety of flowers here, the natural country look, our gift wrapping - particularly of potted plants - and the personal service.” To find out more about workshops and events, pop in, phone, or see Fiona’s website. l Fiona Faber Floral Design, 13 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 695837 Email: Web: Open: 10am-5pm Tue-Sat Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


l Column

Amanda Trott

Massage can be beneficial for many reasons; it reduces stress, brings a feeling of wellbeing, aids circulation and eases tired, aching muscles, what’s not to like...

Tina Baxter


n a converted stable, tucked away in a peaceful, countryside location on the outskirts of Thame, is Tina Baxter’s beautiful massage clinic, The Stables Studio. Tina, who trained with Sarah Thomas, one of the founding members of the Massage Training Institute, qualified in Holistic Swedish Massage in 1997. She has continued to add to her massage skills over the years with varied training courses and, of course, a wealth of experience. She now incorporates Thai stretch; Pulsing - a method that helps to move and release trapped energy by rocking - and Acupressure. Tina takes an holistic approach to massage and treats the complete person - the mind, the body and the spirit - as a whole, tailoring her massage to your individual requirements and needs - not only does massage relieve aches and pains and aid relaxation, it’s also wonderful for emotional relief. As I was in need of some serious relaxation, Tina recommended she give me a full body massage focusing on the points where I was feeling the most discomfort. She explained that she liked to work that way, as working on the whole body gave the best results and would give me most benefit. “I tailor the massage to suit your needs and work on the problem areas, but massaging elsewhere can also help with lymphatic drainage,” she explained. Tina prefers to use Neal’s Yard oils as she feels they are well produced and ethically sourced. They also have the most amazing fragrance! Having a full day ahead of me we chose an energising mix which combined 14

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Amanda Trott

Beauty Spot

The Stables Studio wonderful fragrances such as geranium and lavender. Tina’s studio is warm and inviting and being situated in the grounds of her own countryside home, peaceful and airy; the perfect place to unwind and relax. Scented candles are placed around the room, soft music fills the air and soon I found myself drifting off into a state of pure relaxation. Tina focused on my problem areas, working the spots that seemed tightest with a combination of massage, pulsing, acupressure,

and Thai stretch. When she was finished, I felt a wonderful sense of calm and well being but also energised and deeply stretched. It was one of the best massages I have experienced. Tina reminded me just how important it was to drink plenty of water over the next few hours in order to aid lymphatic drainage and if possible, not to wash the oils off for several hours to maximise the effects

of the treatment. Once a month Tina volunteers at Thame Community Hospital where she gives hand massage to the elderly patients, and she also visits stroke patients, in their own homes, on a weekly basis, to offer rehabilitation massage along with physio. New mothers can book a course of massage, individually or in small groups, where Tina teaches them how to massage their babies, a unique and wonderful way of bonding. She also offers on site massage within the workplace, something that modern companies are embracing to enhance the wellness of their workforce. Being a former art student, creativity is important to Tina and so, along with an artist friend, she is hosting an Unwind and Create retreat day, whereby patients can come to paint but also receive a massage and lunch. The first one is being held on June 24th. To find out more, or to book an appointment with Tina, or for her Unwind and Create Retreat Day, see her website or contact her as below. l Tina Baxter Holistic Massage, The Stables

Studio, Highclere, Thame Park Road, Thame, OX9 3PN Tel: 07552 994001 Email: Web:

l To contact Amanda with regard to Beauty Spot

features please email:


Column: Fitness Focus with Sara Hammond

Health & Fitness

Mind Full or Mindful?


ou can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn Do you frequently find yourself consumed and often overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings, worries, pressure and responsibilities? Do you find it hard to switch off at the end of a busy day? Does all of this get in the way of you being fulfilled, connected and happy? Then how about trying mindfulness? Research shows that mindfulness can significantly change the way you relate to stress and difficulty, and enhance your capacity to cope better with life’s ups and downs. Mindfulness helps you to become more aware of what is happening for you moment by moment. This helps you to recognise and step away from habitual, often unconscious ways of reacting to everyday events. The aim of mindfulness is not to eliminate all of life’s problems but to create awareness, so that you can choose new ways of relating to them. Practising mindfulness

Sara Hammond

Mindfulness / Stress Reduction Sara’s courses are held at College Farm Barn, Long Crendon can boost your attention and concentration, raise your levels of self-understanding, increase your resilience and improve your relationships. It can also help you to feel calmer and cope better with pain and illness. So how do you get started with mindfulness? There are plenty of books and apps available and these may work for you. However, getting a regular practice together is not so easy and that’s one of the reasons the eight week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is so popular. MBSR was founded

in 1979 by John Kabat Zinn and thousands of people around the world have benefited from the course since then. MBSR is a group based personal development course that teaches you practices and techniques to enhance your wellbeing and help you find ways to get more out of your life. It will help you find new approaches to old patterns of thinking and reacting. It is intended to help a broad range of people who wish to develop new ways of responding to the ups and downs of life and to enhance their overall

wellbeing. To find out if MBSR is right for you, why not come along to a taster session? You will get an opportunity to try out a variety of practices and find out more about MBSR. Once you have done a taster you can decide if you would like to join one of the eight week MBSR courses starting in September at The College Farm in Long Crendon. l Sara Hammond is a trained

mindfulness teacher, coach, supervisor, counsellor and facilitator working with individuals and organisations. Find out more at: call: 01844 396464 or email:

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Edward Masheder has always been quick to invest in new technology and at his award-winning Bowhouse Practice an impressive range of the latest non-surgical beauty treatments are now available...


he pretty double-fronted period cottage, on Tring’s Western Road, housing the Bowhouse Practice, gives little away as to what lies within. The ‘Centre of Dental Excellence’ boasts not only a smart, modern, reception area, soothing ambience and friendly staff but also surgeries and treatment rooms packed with the kind of cutting-edge technology you would expect in a top Harley Street practice, for in addition to dentistry, Bowhouse caters for a variety of popular beauty treatments and some of the very latest non-surgical body sculpting and facelifting prodecures. For some time Dr Masheder, who is not only a highly qualified and gifted dentist but also holds an MFDS qualification from the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh and worked as a facial, head and neck surgeon, has offered aesthetic treatments such as: l BOTOX® anti-wrinkle injections - to smooth out age-related wrinkles such as crows feet, frown lines or lines on the forehead; l Juvéderm® dermal fillers - to gently ease signs of ageing and subtly add volume to achieve a natural younger look for your lips and the curves of your face; and l Sculptra™ - a long-lasting, treatment than can smooth deep lines and wrinkles and restore facial volume lost to the body’s natural ageing process. And now he has introduced a range of impressive new state-of-the-art technology to provide the ultimate in non-surgical skin, face and body care. “I’m really excited to have these new

Dr Edward Masheder

3D Skintech LED light treatment treatments for our patients,” says Edward. “It’s the ultimate non-surgical package. All the celebrities are talking about them and now they are available here in Tring! You need to have properly qualified practitioners for this kind of work though and we have been joined by skin expert Helena Tepper, who has many years experience in the field and is very focussed on individually tailoring treatments and advice, so that each patient gets the most out of their time here. Their skin needs to be analysed and assessed for suitability and their medical history taken into account before any particular treatment can be recommended.” To this end Bowhouse has an Observ® skin diagnostics machine which can analyse the condition of both the skin surface and underlying layers, so that a personal skin care routine can be formulated for an individual’s

Helena with patient

needs, imperfections identified and steps taken to prevent or minimalise future issues. The practice has also introduced the revolutionary 3D Skintech and 3D Ultimate face and body machines. 3D Skintech skincare combines several technologies with medical grade skincare and peels, for the effective treatment of acne, pigmentation and anti-ageing; while the 3D Ultimate machine offers a range of non-surgical but highly effective skin enhancing, anti-aging and beauty treatments for face and body, including: l Fat Cell Reduction and Body Sculpting (3D Cavitation/3D Cryo Freeze/3D HIFU); 16

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Non surgical facelift: Before


Skin Tightening and Smoothing (3D-RF Face & Body); l Facial Lifting and Tightening (3D-HIFU Face non surgical facelift); l Radio Frequency treatment for Eye Area tightening skin and reducing lines for smoother more youthful appearance (3D-Eye RF); l Fat Cell and Cellulite Reduction (3D-Cryofuse); l Lymphatic Drainage and Cellulite Reduction (3D-Dermology); l Skin Tightening/Wrinkle and Cellulite Reduction (3D-Body RF); and finally l Fat Breakdown/Collagen Synthesis/ Lymphatic Drainage (3D-Shockwave) which reduces cellulite and increases skin elasticity. These 3D treatments have been highly praised by celebrities such as Patsy Kensit and Amy Childs as they are extremely effective but have no downtime. The treatments are also pain free, non-invasive and produce fantastic results, so are an appealing alternative to cosmetic surgery. “It’s an amazing machine,” says Edward. “I was particularly impressed by the HIFU (High Frequency Ultrasound) facelift which produces superb results in just one treatment. The highly focussed energy encourages your skin to generate new collagen from within which, over a period of weeks, will tighten, lift and rejuvenate your face, reducing folds and wrinkles in the process and follow up treatments are only required about every 18 months. The HIFU is also great for fat reduction as is the Cryo Freeze which actually freezes and kills fat cells with the handpiece. They then drain away naturally through the body’s lymphatic system.” Skin expert Helena Tepper has worked in the beauty industry for many years. She was a successful model, which took her all over the world and introduced her to skincare products that weren’t available on the high street at the time. She has studied body therapy and beauty therapy and the chemistry behind beauty products and ran her own beauty business, between modelling assignments. She has trained doctors in the use of cosmeceutical products to transform patients’ skin and has now teamed up with Edward to launch the l

Fat reduction: Before

Bowhouse skin, face and body clinic bringing together a range of fantastic, clinically proved cosmeceutical products with cutting edge technology for the face, the skin and the body. “We create bespoke treatments for each patient to lift, tighten and correct the skin,” says Helena, “working with the skin to make it respond without surgery and downtime. When I cleanse and examine someone’s face I can see any issues that need addressing, from sun damage to hormone/medication based problems to broken capilliaries or pigmentation, thinning or thickened - the skin is a living breathing organ and can be easily damaged, especially by the use of incorrect products or treatments. If you destroy the acid mantle or protective layer, harmful bacteria can get in. If you don’t protect from UV rays it can break down your skin’s collagen fibres, so we also advise and educate, so patients can help themselves as well. “On the body side we have some amazing technologies to remove fat and to tighten and firm the skin, reducing stretch marks etc. Treatments may take several hours and involve several different techniques but they are non surgical and very effective. We want our patients to get the best possible results, so there may be lifestyle decisions to be made in conjunction with certain treatments to ensure the best outcomes are achieved and maintained. “We’re going to be doing some workshops too - an anti-aging clinic, a clinic on stretch marks, perhaps poor skin quality and acne. “It’s a really exciting time for the beauty industry with years of research and development coming together in some amazing new products and equipment that are non-invasive yet work deep within the skin and beyond. “Anyone interested in finding out more is welcome to book in for a free consultation. Just phone or email quoting ‘Vale Life’ and we’ll find out what treatments may be suitable for you and all you’d like to achieve.


3D-Cavitation - overall fat reduction

3D-Cryo Freeze fat reduction/body sculpting 3D-RF Skin Tightening

l Bow House Dental Practice, 75 Western Road, Tring, HP23 4BH Tel; 01442 890384 Email: Website: Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Any relationship will have its ups and downs but if you feel ‘one and one no longer make two’, it could be time to seek help and try some Couples Counselling...


he media recently praised Prince Harry and The Duke of Cambridge for encouraging people to speak up when having difficulty coping with emotional issues and not be afraid to ask for help. Prince Harry revealed that counselling had been helpful to him after years of struggling with the aftermath of his mother’s tragic death. “Talking is always good,” says Wendy Willis, “when people come to see me for a therapy session they can discuss their issues in a safe and confidential way; perhaps talking about things they feel they can’t discuss with close friends, family or partner.” Wendy Willis is an experienced counsellor offering ‘Couples Counselling’ as well as individual counselling sessions. She qualified in 2001 and is a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, and training in Couples Counselling. Wendy works locally as a counsellor, mostly from her home in Long Crendon. CBT is now recognised as an effective method of empowering clients to deal with issues such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. The past has an influence on our lives, but CBT is a practical hands-on therapy based on the here and now. Concerns about finance, employment, health or family problems can adversely affect relationships, making it easy to lose sight of personal priorities. It may be that our listening skills could be better or we may need to learn new ways to demonstrate our care and concern for those we love. We may need to overcome guilt and anger or to refocus our values and priorities. Counselling can be helpful in identifying and dealing with such issues. “There seems to be a demand for ‘Couples Counselling’ at the moment,” says Wendy. “It’s an area I find particularly interesting. Maintaining meaningful relationships is


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Wendy Willis crucial to our wellbeing but they can break down because of poor communication; sadly people end up going their separate ways, when with help, perhaps they could have got their relationship back on track.” One partner may feel the other, “never listens to them”, or that they “get blamed for everything”. They may feel that as a couple, “we never talk about important things anymore” or, “we just keep going over the same old arguments…” An experienced therapist might ask a couple: - Do you wish to explore ways of being honest with your partner rather than seething in silence? - Would you like to move from a critical stance e.g. “You never think about anyone but yourself ”, to a more constructive one - “I feel

neglected when you make plans without me”. - Do you ever consider the consequences of the “Silent Treatment”; e.g. withdrawing and emotionally distancing yourself from your partner? Couples Counselling can help to explore new ways of interacting rather than replaying destructive elements which adversely affect relationships; it provides the arena and framework for honest conversations and a positive way forward. “A good counsellor won’t tell you what to do, be judgemental or critical of your actions,” says Wendy. “Our role is to facilitate change by helping clients to communicate more effectively and to reach their own conclusions. “When someone gets in touch I like to have a detailed conversation on the phone to find out more about them and to try to understand some of the issues they are struggling with. “When counselling couples, I like to meet them individually and then follow up with joint sessions.” Avoiding issues means staying fearful and destructive in a relationship, but listening openly to what your partner may reveal, helps both parties to move forward. As Prince Harry implied, it is not weak to ask for help; in fact it demonstrates strength of mind. Many individuals or couples brave enough to seek help have been able to address important issues in their lives. Taking the first step is difficult and takes courage but making the decision to do something positive to mend a relationship, can prove very worthwhile. If you would like to find out more about counselling and how Wendy could help you, or if you are interested in speaking to her about your own issues or relationship, please contact her as below. l Wendy Willis, In Touch Counselling, The Old Police House, 5 High Street, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9AF Website: Tel: 01844 208837 Email:



he Buckinghamshire NHS spring/summer 2017, long crendon health checks are free health check-ups that act as a spring/summer 2017, long crendon 8 week mindfulness course midlife MOT. The checks are part starts september 2017, longofcrendon 8 week mindfulness course a national programme and are starts september 2017, long crendon 8 week mindfulness course designed to spot the early signs of more information: starts september 2017, long for crendon health problems. for more information:, These checks are completely, 01844 396464, free and open to Buckinghamshire for more information: 01844 396464, residents aged 40 to 74 years. They, are offered in a wide range of 01844 396464, locations across Buckinghamshire, including pharmacies, community venues and workplaces. Why have an NHS health check? Over the age of 40 our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and dementia increases. The good news is that these Traditional Thai Massage, conditions can often be prevented Swedish Massage, and by having your health check Aromatherapy Body Massage, now health problems can be foot massage, herbal hot compress, back, head & neck massage identified and addressed before they develop and cause long lasting 1 hour Aromatherapy Massage £40 damage, helping you to live a long, 1 hour Swedish Full Body Massage £40 active and independent life. 1 hour Traditional Thai Massage £45 What will happen at my free Reflexions Health & Leisure Centre NHS health check? Buckingham Road, Watermead, Aylesbury, HP19 0FY The health professional will ask Tel: 01296 330311 Mobile: 07587 172659 you some simple questions relating to family history and lifestyle mindfulness tasters mindfulness tasters spring/summer 2017, long crendon

Thai Orchid Massage and Spa

and carry out a number of tests, including a blood test on a finger prick sample. The aim is to detect any potential problems early, before they do any damage. The full screening takes 20 to 30 minutes and assesses risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney disease and dementia. All results are instant including a summary page and a full detailed report. You will receive personalised advice relating to your results and you may be referred to your GP or local lifestyle services to help with any lifestyle changes. How do I book my free NHS health check? To see the full eligibility criteria and to book your free health check today visit: http://buckinghamshire. or call: 0800 7814737. “We are looking for new venues,” says Health Check co-ordinator Emily Cheek, “so if you have the facilities or think these checks could benefit your workplace please email me at:”

Call: 0800 7814737.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Fitness Focus with Sam Marshall

Health & Fitness

Enjoying things together


an you spare an hour or two each week to enjoy a chat and cuppa with a person living with Dementia? We are looking for befriending volunteers all over Buckinghamshire and would love to hear from you,” says Alzheimer’s Society Befriending Manager, Sam Marshall. Befriending with the Alzheimer’s Society is doing something you love with a person in the earlier stages of Dementia who enjoys doing the same sort of thing. This could be a hobby, interest or just having a chat over a cuppa. Some people visit National Trust centres or local garden centres, others pop in to a local café for coffee and cake, others choose to stay indoors and just chat about the weather and what they watched on TV. All volunteers are carefully matched and the matches are regularly reviewed to ensure that both the person with Dementia and the volunteer are still enjoying the visits.

Befriending means doing something you enjoy in the company of someone in the earlier stages of dementia

Becoming a Volunteer Befriender can make such a difference to someone living with Dementia, who can feel very isolated and alone once they have a diagnosis. The Befriending scheme runs throughout the whole of Buckinghamshire, including Aylesbury Vale and is open to people in the earlier stages of their

Dementia journey. We will find a match local to you that suits your preferences. No experience is needed for the role, just good communication skills and the ability to commit to at least six months in the role after training. Full training is offered along with regular support meetings so you can meet others doing the role as well as the Befriendee you visit. The difference you make is huge. A recent carer said My mother always enjoys your visits so much and it gives her a big boost to spend time with what she calls ‘real people’ rather than just interacting with carers and events for the elderly, so it was great to know that you enjoy the visits too and are happy to continue. Thank you! And as a volunteer you get to meet new people and learn new skills. This is what some of our volunteers have said: Volunteer 1: “I have been befriending for over a year now

and can thoroughly recommend it. I enter someone else’s world for just a little while each week, knowing that every shared smile, story or activity is hugely appreciated. I provide company and an opportunity to reminisce, and I look always look forward to our next meeting.” Volunteer 2: “Being a befriender is very rewarding and that I think I get at least as much from it, if not more, than the people I visit.” If you would like to find out more please contact Sam on: 01926 331722 or email: l

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

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Column: ‘Kiss & tell’ with Tracy Kiss

Mum warns of symptoms


t the start of 2017 my Mum was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer and suddenly the entire world stood still. Despite her suffering from intestinal pains for some eighteen-months and no longer being able to sit down we’d somehow convinced ourselves it was simply a food intolerance that would go away of its own accord. I never wanted to entertain the idea that it could be as life-threatening as cancer, but sadly it is. Standing in Stoke Mandeville Hospital holding Mum’s hand as she received her diagnosis her surgeon spoke of a permanent colostomy surgery to disconnect her bowels followed by an intensive five-week course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink her tumour, and if successful, the hope of having the life saving surgery to remove her bowels and womb - his very words took the air out of my lungs. Yet Mum stood with a smile on her face and her head held high

Shopping trip with help from Shopmobility thanking the nurses one by one and taking their hands in hers as she was relieved to finally have an answer to her suffering. It broke my heart to watch my Mum change from an athletic, active and energetic country-girl to the frail, gaunt and weak aged lady she is today as this awful disease takes hold of her. It may have taken her health and independence but it hasn’t done a scratch to her

kindness, love and positivity as she remains up-beat and appreciative of everything she has to go through to get better. Despite Mum being a very private lady she said that she’d like to write a blog about her journey to comfort, inform and advise others of the warning signs and symptoms of bowel cancer as it’s the second biggest killing cancer but the quicker discovered the higher the survival rate. Mum plans to walk 100 miles for charity if and when she recovers, but when she lost her ability to walk it really hit home how severe her condition is. I knew nothing about wheelchairs or disability aides until we came across Shopmobility - located at the back of QD on Aylesbury High Street - and they’ve been an absolute godsend! After registering for a free membership I was able to take Mum shopping in town in a wheelchair which folded into the back of my car and gave us some

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2017

Tracy Kiss

Kiss & tell

precious normality and freedom for an afternoon out together. They also provide motorised scooters, manual wheelchairs, walking aides and short and long term hire of mobility aides, along with full training on how to use them, for anybody with a mobility problem, not just blue badge holders. And on Mum’s recommendations: “more people should know about how wonderful they are!” You can read about Mum’s progress here: news/bowel-cancer l Shopmobility: 01296 336725 l Read Tracy’s blog at: or follow her on: Twitter: @misstracykiss or Facebook: /TheTracyKiss

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Health & Fitness

Column: Fitness Focus with Kate Middleton

You have the power K

ate Middleton - no not that Kate Middleton - is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist based at Bierton, Aylesbury. Kate first became interested in Hypnotherapy some years ago: “The power of the mind fascinated me,” she says. “And the more I found out, the clearer it became to me that we all have a lot more control over our lives, the way we think, act, feel and behave than we realise. “I wanted to know more and started to further investigate Hypnotherapy. I had previously studied Psychology and Counselling and worked in social care for 15 years, so it seemed like a natural progression for me. I trained at the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, and am now a member of the National Council of Hypnotherapy, the General Hypnotherapy Register, and the Complementary and National Healthcare Council. “Hypnotherapy is recognised by The British Medical Association

(BMA), and The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a safe, effective treatment that can help with a wide range of issues, in a relatively short time. “These issues might include, but are not limited to: stress, anxiety (including exam nerves and social anxiety), sleep disorders, weight

people’s lives for the better. “You are totally in control when under hypnosis, and if you wanted to cough or move position, you could, it is a very pleasant and relaxing feeling. “I like to take time to look into the way a client thinks, feels and acts, which helps to identify any

The Floura Health Care clinic, Bierton, where Katy practises loss, lack of confidence, ME/ CFS, phobias, bad habits (such as smoking), and coming to terms with loss / bereavement. “Essentially, we can change the way we think through hypnosis and hypnotherapy, therefore changing the way we feel and behave. Hypnotherapy can have very powerful results and really change

‘thinking errors’ they may have. The focus of the therapy is to achieve whatever goal a client has, so I work differently with each person depending on their needs and wishes. “I also introduce clients to Mindfulness (a simple meditation, that helps us to focus on the present moment, without trying to alter or

Kate Middleton Hypnotherapy judge it). I teach clients a variety of techniques to help them deal with their issues on a day to day basis. I also show people how to ‘selfhypnotise’, and provide recordings that can be listened to between sessions.” If you are interested in learning more about how Kate works and how she might be able to help you, please contact her as below for a no obligation 20 minute chat. l KM Hypnotherapy, The

Cobblestones, 186 Aylesbury Road, Bierton, Bucks, HP22 5DT. Tel: 07970 553752 Email: Web:

katie banfield BSc (Hons) Ost. Med. ND Registered Osteopath Gibbins (MAR MIFPA) Ros Ros Gibbins (MAR MIFPA)

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Column: Fitness Focus with Joe Harman

Breaking Barriers


am a specialist personal trainer and sports massage therapist and the director of Breaking Barriers, a business which I created based in Aston Clinton, Bucks. Breaking Barriers provides specialist personal training, sports massage and osteopathic spinal manipulation for people experiencing injury, illness or disability. We support people experiencing physical injury, head injury, stroke, neurological illness, chronic pain, back pain, arthritis, diabetes, obesity issues, autism, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or any other personal challenges that cause a barrier to physical health/activity or fitness. Breaking Barriers focuses on rehabilitation based physical activities utilising specialist training or sport massage targeting: movement, mobility, flexibility, muscle tone, strength, balance, core strength, pain reduction, and reducing aches, pains and discomfort. We also support increasing fitness through varied

physical gym based activities. We offer our Breaking Barriers private one-to-one gym facility for our clients. We can also visit clients in their own homes or in their own local gyms. We will work to support our clients as well as working alongside family members, carers/support workers or professionals such as physiotherapists, to provide the best interventions. As the creator of Breaking Barriers, I am passionate about motivating and inspiring people facing their own challenges, to improve their physical abilities through rehabilitation or fitness sessions. I experienced my own challenges after a serious road accident 7 years ago, and I worked hard through my own rehabilitation to recover. This

inspired me to retrain in the fitness field and through my experiences I can empathise and understand some of the challenges my clients face, whilst also motivating clients to achieve more than they may think is possible to break through barriers to achieve their goals. Last year I received a national award for the work of Breaking Barriers in supporting people with disabilities in fitness. I aim to ensure every session is different, fun (and a little challengingđ&#x;˜Š) for clients to help them to keep progressing. Whether we are focused on rehabilitation or fitness we tailor Joe with client everything to the individual client. Specialist personal training sessions with injury/illness or disability can vary – session may involve being very active and energetic- using

Health & Fitness

Joe Harman

Rehabilitation fitness cardio machines, weight equipment, kettle bells, battle ropes, bosu balls and much more! Or, sessions may involve opening up or strengthening the use of an arm, hand or leg, or completing mobility exercise to support walking or balance, working slowly and carefully at a client’s pace. Breaking Barriers has a range of equipment available including being the first gym in the UK to offer a state of the art SMARC cardio rehabilitation machine. If you would like to find out more, please do get in touch to talk about how we can help l Telephone: 07581 039611;

email: breakingbarrierspt@

Spirit Health Club Aylesbury Spirit Health Club Aylesbury is the right place to be if you

are looking for a Health Club with a personal touch. Our Lifestyle Consultants are able to provide one to one guidance that has already helped numerous members achieve their goals. Why not let them help you reach yours through the use of the club’s facilities including fitness suite, swimming pool and studio classes. In a friendly and relaxed environment come and unwind and take advantage of our sauna, steam room, and spa pool. Numerous benefits to members include complimentary towels, discount on Holiday Inn stays and beauty treatments as well as use of all other Spirit Clubs across the UK. Additional services also include Personal Training, Physiotherapy, Beauty Therapy and Swimming Lessons.


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Column: ‘Good Health’ with Sandra Smith

Quench your body


ne of the most vital elements in our daily diet, a natural substance which contributes to our physical health, influences mental capacity and heads the list of those ingredients essential to survival, is water. Hardly surprising, then, that the correct intake is essential. Dehydration causes stress on the kidneys with kidney stones more common following prolonged low fluid intake. But how do we know the sort of quantity we should consume? And what are the consequences of failing to match our bodies’ requirements? “The thing to remember is we have a thirst reflex designed to tell us,” explains Nutritional Therapist Rosie Pearce. “Without enough water, we can suffer from headaches or fatigue, even disruption in our mood and alertness. Water also helps eliminate toxins.”

Are you drinking enough?

Between 20-30% of our daily water requirement is available from food, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables. And while sugary drinks should be kept to a minimum, herbal tea contains beneficial nutrients and a glass of water accompanying every glass of wine helps sustain hydration. With the onset of warmer weather our bodies have to work harder at controlling our core temperature. In fact, both heat and exercise require increased water consumption in order to replace lost fluid. “Sports drinks contain sugar

as well as minerals such as salt which replenishes glycogen in our muscles,” Rosie advises. “But unless you’re doing extreme sport they shouldn’t be necessary. Water prior to exercise is useful though not too much as you don’t want to have to interrupt exercising to go to the loo.” Meanwhile infants and young children should be encouraged to drink regularly since they are less heat tolerant. And for the elderly thirst regulation is believed to decrease with age, making cognitive behaviour alterations and confusion common if failing to drink sufficient liquid. A visual inspection of your urine - which should be pale, straw coloured - is a simple way of checking your fluid balance. Anything more concentrated and extra water is advised. Good hydration also helps eliminate constipation. However, Rosie suggests a visit to your GP if, even

Good Health

Sandra Smith after topping up your water levels, either problem persists. “We are all different so it’s difficult to pinpoint how much water is right for each person but getting that balance right is important,” she emphasises. Individuals’ needs may vary but an awareness of those needs is fundamental in maintaining healthy fluid levels and a healthy body. l Find out more about Sandra

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

Experts in Mobility and Healthcare Supplies Come and visit our new showroom at Watermead, Aylesbury or, if you can’t get to us - give us a call and we’ll visit you! Specialists in ‘tilt in space’ riser recline chairs Lightweight wheelchairs Wide range of mobility scooters Extensive range of three/four wheeled walkers Bath and shower solutions Aids for daily living Profiling beds and stairlifts Discreet professional advice on continence management Advice and guidance on all aspects of mobility and personal care Equipment Hire Excellent after sales service and customer care 35 Lakeside, Watermead, Aylesbury, HP19 OFX | Tel: 01296 435607 | Web: 24

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

WIN tickets for two on Thames Rockets’ ‘Ultimate London Adventure’ river tour


iving as close to London as we all do, no doubt most of us have at some time ventured into the big city to see the sights, do some shopping or take in a show. A boat trip on The Thames can be a lot of fun and a great way to see some famous landmarks and hear a few historic tales from a guide along the way. If that sounds a little sedate for you though there is now a way to enjoy a sightseeing cruise with some added adrenelin rush! Thames Rockets have a fleet of RIB (rigid inflatable boats) and run tours from three different central London locations on The Thames - from London Eye, Canary Wharf and St Catherine’s Pier. I tried their ‘Ultimate London Adventure’ recently and it’s a real blast! The boats, which have rigid bottoms and inflatable sides like the modern RNLI lifeboats, seat 16 and you start out, in this

case from a pontoon under The London Eye, at a relatively slow rate of knots. Your friendly guide points out places of interest, some 22 on this trip from the Houses

of Parliament to The Globe Theatre and The OXO Tower. Then, once past Tower Bridge the skipper opens the throttle the 630 horsepower engines rev up

rocket style and speed doubles up to 35mph. You are skipping across the water like James Bond in The World is not Enough! It’s a 50 minute ride in all with about 20 minutes of that being high speed fun and brilliant for all ages. For more details of this and other Thames Rockets trips, including an all action rush to the Thames Barrier see their website at: If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning an Ultimate London Adventure trip for two, email your name, address and telephone number, plus answer to the following question, to: What is the clocktower that houses Big Ben called? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 4th, 2017. l Thames Rockets Tel: 020 7928 8933 E:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Nick Phillips ‘Good to give’

Goodness of gardening


he weather is getting warmer and, like many, I am spending more time in the garden preparing for summer. There is something fulfilling about gardening; it’s wholesome hard work - unlike toiling at a desk. You can burn up to 330 calories an hour and there’s an enormous sense of wellbeing at achieving something positive. It feels good to be out in the fresh air, with a sense of creativity and a link to the nature. Recent studies have shown that just 30 minutes of gardening can have a positive effect on mental health. Known as social and therapeutic horticulture, gardening can be enormously valuable for people with mental health needs. One local charity is using it to make a real difference to adults with a wide range of such needs, including depression and dementia. Some months ago, I was shown around the gardens at Lindengate by director, Michael Harris and was surprised and inspired by the creativity and ingenuity of the team and visitors

Gardening at Lindengate who have created such a wonderful interactive garden there. Lindengate was set up in 2013 by Sian Chattle and Charlie Powell. Both had family experiences of mental health needs and the profound and positive impact that being outside had on their family members. The charity operates from a 5-acre site adjacent to the Wyevale Garden Centre in Wendover and offers a range of gardening and horticultural activities. Here users, or gardeners as they are known, can spend time in a managed, calm and safe environment to support their recovery, wellbeing and good mental health. Lindengate takes its name from the Old English for a lime tree, ‘linden’, known for its recuperative and stress relieving properties and ‘gate’ symbolising passing through

on the journey to recovery. Lindengate now supports over 60 gardeners a week and works with 140 volunteers. They also offer arts and crafts, construction and conservation. Speaking to Michael Harris, it is clear what they are doing is really special. “When you come to Lindengate your individual diagnosis is left at the gate; you’re here to enjoy yourself and fulfil your own goals.” says Michael. “We provide our gardeners with a structured process and their own individual plans which meet their needs; we don’t just hand people a trowel and let them get on with it! For some, being amongst other people and making them a cup of tea is a great achievement. All our activities are co-ordinated to develop the gardens, satisfy the needs of our many volunteers and support our gardeners. Lindengate is a real community.” As well as referrals from GPs, individuals can self-refer to Lindengate and they’ve just started running free monthly ‘Memory

Nick Phillips

Good to give Pathway’ sessions on the last Friday of every month for dementia sufferers and their carers and subsidised Wednesday afternoon women-only ‘green gym’ sessions. “Don’t take your mental health for granted,” says Michael. “It’s no different to physical health - if something is wrong, don’t ignore it and don’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about it. If you recognise a mental health need in yourself, friends or family do something about it. Places like Lindengate are here to provide you with a place to go.” Find out more about Lindengate at or contact them on 01296 622443. l Nick Phillips is CEO of

Community Impact Bucks: Tel: 0300 1111 250

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 26

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


Column: Bookworm with Waterstones

Fiction Book of the Month: The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler This is the story of the coming of age of Franz, a young, naïve country boy who arrives in Vienna to take a job in a tobacconist’s shop. Franz is a wonderful protagonist; he is innocent but intelligent, honest and thoughtful and he observes what is happening with the somewhat bemused eye of decency. He also forms a friendship with Sigmund Freud, who is a customer, with whom he discusses things, including the turmoil of his teenage heart, which is beautifully depicted. This is a fairly short but brilliant book. It is superbly translated, so that all the author’s insights into character, place and so on come over perfectly, and it is insightful, readable, rather uplifting in places as Franz’s integrity shines through, and ultimately very moving. This is one to keep and re-read many times, I think. Very warmly recommended. Children’s Book of the Month: The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave This is a really creative, short fantasy

novel that sits on the line between Middle Grade and Young Adult. The story follows Isabelle, the daughter of a mapmaker, who is forced to act as a cartographer in her father’s stead when her best friend goes looking for a murderer. The world is a kind of alternative version to Earth, with place names like Afrik and Europa. The main land of Joya seems to be an alternative Caribbean, heavily influenced by both Spanish and African culture. Everything about this book is beautiful: the cover, the title, the

Pardon my English!

prose, the world it speaks of, and the brave characters featured in it. It tells a thoughtful tale of friendship and loyalty, of love and family, and of courageous dreams. The Girl of Ink and Stars is one of the few middle-grade fantasies that I think adults will enjoy. It has that timeless quality that good fairy tales have. Non-Fiction Book of the Month: East West Street by Philippe Sands In this book , author Phillippe Sands looks back to the city of Lviv, known as Lemberg (as well as many other names) and located variously

Book reviews in the Austro Hungarian Empire, Poland, occupied by the Soviets and, after 1944, part of Ukraine. Lviv, or Lemberg, was home to three men before the Second World War. One was the author’s grandfather, Leon Buchholz. Another was Hersch Lauterpacht, a professor of International Law, born in Zolkiew, near Lemberg in 1877. The last was Rafael Lemkin, a professor and lawyer, born in 1900. Also, linked in to these men’s histories is Hans Frank, who spent two days in Lemberg in August, 1942. The author’s grandfather never spoke of his time during the war, but Sands carefully unravels those years in this wonderful book and asks the questions he wishes he had asked his grandfather while he was still alive. This is a fascinating look at family histories and of the lives of these two legal experts. l Reviews by Diana at Waterstones, Aylesbury Tel: 01296 423153 Web:

Wider Fit Shoe shop now open!

A local dialect ‘Call My Bluff’ by Jacot de Boinod Can you guess the right definitions of the following words? 1) Hackle

(Hertfordshire dialect) A) the outer skin B) to beat up batter for pudding C) the leather strap to bind a hawk’s wing

2) Gully

(Berkshire dialect) A) local alleyway B) the windward side of a hedge C) vigorously; with might and main

3) Mammerin’

(Hertfordshire dialect) A) without thought, headlong B) loud feminine laughing C) the small noise made by bats

‘Excellence for all your foot care needs’

4) Heal

(Berkshire dialect)

A) to cover B) to walk with one’s shoes nearly off one’s feet C) a spur attached to a fighting cockerel

l Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for the

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

The average person walks some 75,000 miles in their lifetime! So it is not surprising that many of us experience foot problems at some point. At Feet First our team of highly qualified and experienced Podiatrists utilise a combination of innovative technology, professional expertise and care, to help keep your feet healthy and happy. We also stock a range of stylish shoes for men and women with wider fittings for problem feet. Feet First, 13a Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER Tel: 01844 261023 Email:

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


ANSWERS: 1: A) the outer skin. 2: A) a local alleyway. 3: C) the small noise made by bats (said of a child). 4: A) to cover.


Column: Down to business with Philippa Batting

Support for rural business


overnment support for rural businesses is essential With each passing year rural businesses are presented with new challenges and opportunities. In my view it’s really important that those running these businesses are supported to diversify and grow because of the impact they make to our economy It is vital that the government factors rural areas and businesses into its long term planning. Last year the government launched its Industrial Strategy with the aim of supporting and developing industries to boost economic growth. The strategy itself makes no great mention of rural areas specifically, but does include a call to support regional development. In government speak, ‘regional development’ is usually reserved for cities. But it is of the utmost importance that any policy decisions focused on growing

local economies, supporting local businesses and energising local people are rural friendly. How rural businesses perform greatly affects how the UK economy performs, with approximately 650,000 businesses employing 3.4 million people in England and Wales. Remove these businesses from the equation and we lose £230 billion in GVA in England alone. Rural businesses need help in retaining talented employees, not losing them to bright city lights. The connected issues here are never ending: housing, transport,

broadband, skills training, education, leisure, health. Rural areas can sometimes be out of sight and mind of central government policy makers, but this is to the detriment of our economy. We are increasingly seeing businesses moving out of cities and into rural areas in search of suitable office space, but they need the infrastructure around them to be fit for purpose. In order to head off challenges and embrace opportunities, rural businesses are seeking to diversify and grow like never before. There are success stories like E J Lacey & Sons, a family-run dairy near Marlow, whose owners went from labelling milk by hand to installing a fully mechanised bottling plant. This particular diversification was made possible with the help of a £40,000 grant from the LEADER programme, a European Union grant funding scheme that provides rural businesses with funding for a

Philippa Batting Down to business

wide range of projects. Hopefully we will see the government step up with specific plans to support rural businesses. Might we see overtures made to rural business owners in the run up to the General Election? We wait with bated breath. The LEADER programme has just begun its latest funding cycle, with grants of up to £50,000 available to businesses in the Chilterns and Aylesbury Vale. Discover whether your project is eligible for LEADER funding at or by calling 01494 568968. l Philippa Batting is MD of Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), working to support and facilitate success within the business community. Membership is free - visit:

fieldstead insolvency Debt problems?

Treasurer sought for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research


toke Mandeville Spinal Research (SMSR) is on the lookout for an Honorary Treasurer to join its Board of Trustees. This is an exciting new voluntary post to support SMSR’s staff and trustees, and a fantastic opportunity for an individual with passion to help take the charity to the next stage of growth. SMSR is based at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville. Its mission is to improve quality of life for people 28

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

living with spinal cord injury. The charity would greatly value the expertise and guidance of an experienced accountant to oversee all financial activities. For further information about the charity visit their website at:, or contact Charlotte Minoprio on: 01296 315255, or email: to find out more about the role. The closing date for applications is 15 June 2017. l

Cash flow problems? Creditors demanding payment? Demands from HM Revenue & Customs? Pressure on the overdraft? Call us on 01296 433303 for a FREE initial consultation LEADING INDEPENDENT INSOLVENCY PRACTICE

Change of use - light Industrial to residential PRESS RELEASE


new permitted development right has been introduced to allow the change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from Class B1(c) (light industrial) to Class C3 (dwellinghouses). These rights will be for a temporary period of three years, starting from 1st October, 2017, to enable local authorities

to potentially withdraw these rights, by using Article 4 directions. The change of use itself will be permanent. The change of use will be subject to a process of prior approval from the relevant local authority, with conditions and limitations, including that the gross floorspace of the existing building cannot exceed 500sqm.

The prior approval process includes considerations of highways, contamination and flooding impacts, together with the sustainability of the provision of industrial services. Further details from Alan Chandler: / 01296 398383.

CHAndLER GARVEy MARkET nEW COMMERCIAL Buy TO LET For AyLESBuRy sale For saleOPPORTunITy / C6 Brunel Gate, Aylesbury In Space Business Centre, to let

6,696 sq ft

Aylesbury - 43 units from 367-908 sq ft

Alan Chandler, Director of Chandler Garvey has been instructed by Kingston Space Ltd to Modern market high bay the Space Business Centre, a development 43 units, all units currently of 27 located in one back to back warehouse in income producing, terrace and 16 units in the other. The units are of modern construction, having been built in easily accessible for sale individually 2009. ft. andofare distribution area.The sizes range from 367 sq. ft. up to 908orsq. in blocks unitsfitted with a mezzanine floor. Spec includes 7m accommodation on the estate is 19,541tosq. investors / owner The total ft. The site benefits from tax and stamp eaves, secure site, occupiers. duty savings, cheaper than renting, commercial investment yields will be higher than yields on roller shutter doors, Office, workshop, residential exempt (small fully fitted first floor buy to lets, all units are business rates project, storage units business rate relief), and offices, reception benefitting from a there is a dedicated unit and visitor parking.

area and kitchen. mezzanine to each with an amenity block and visitor EPC D78. togetherand withKingston parking. EPCLtd D85.are the long The freehold is owned by Aylesbury Vale Districtunit Council Space

leaseholders, with over 130 years remaining. units are available from £64,000 plus VAT.

To Let

5/6 Chiltern Court, Chesham

To Let

4 Anglo Office Park

All units are let on monthly licences andsq are income in excess 5,146 ft now producing a gross annualAmersham - 3,310 sq ft of £300,000. Further details from Alan Chandler – / 01296 398383.

Chiltern Court is an established business park close to Chesham town centre. Modern two storey offices which could be split (from 2,573 sq ft). Amenities include perimeter trunking, private office, boardroom partitions, two

To Let

kitchen areas and parking.

20 The Vale Ind Est Aylesbury - 20,100 sq ft

The property provides a concrete portal framed building, comprising 3 bays with brick and profile metal cladding to all elevations and benefiting from various loading doors and a yard to the rear. accommodation, kitchen facilities, Space heating to the majority of the unit, eaves car parking facilities and generous yard to the rear.. height 5.5m, ample WC

Modern recently refurbished two storey office building off White Lion Road, Amersham. The premise benefits from 12 parking spaces, air conditioning, raised floors and recessed lighting. EPC C54.

to let

The Gatehouse, Aylesbury 3,106 sq ft & 4,912 sq ft

Newly refurbished offices, located on the ground floor of ‘The Gatehouse’. Accommodation provides high quality air conditioned offices, full access raised floors throughout, excellent on-site parking and pleasant landscaped gardens. Joint Agents Bray Fox Smith.

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 : May/Jun 2017

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Curiouser & Curiouser

Main Bar - Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield

Interiors that fall somewhere between surprise and hallucination ...


ast time I promised you something a bit out there didn’t I? And why not, life’s for living and interiors are for self expression, so why hold back? Here’s some unique looks that share a party loving escapism that’s pure theatre. The Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield is where rock star style meets town and country. No expense has been spared on the lavish

interiors that owner Jason Hunt envisioned back in 2008 (following on from the inception of The Crazy Bear brand at Stadhampton in 1993). I remember him frequenting The Railway in Wheatley way back then, with a presence every bit as confident as his exuberant design flair. A sophisticated, heady mix of crystals, swags, tassels, gold leaf, mirrors, bedrooms

The Crystal Room, Crazy Bear

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. with copper baths from William Holland that fill from ceiling spouts, leather clad everything and antique taxidermy all transport you to an exotic headspace. The hedonistic vibe envelops you in a darkly seductive atmosphere where the clientele is as edgy as the look that awakens your free spirit; I bet the Alma leather clad walls could tell some stories. Step into the rear and you’ll escape to Marrakech in the Moroccan lounge by the pool. Sumptuous sofas in sunset coloured


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2017

Moroccan Lounge, Crazy Bear

Library at Aynhoe Park

stripes and buttoned pouffes gather socially around decoratively carved low tables. Clusters of lanterns and lamps at varying heights offer a dimly lit exotic atmosphere, perfect for a garden room on balmy summer nights. Someone who does curious cool with pizazz is Cowboy Kate. Her home is alive with a sense of spirited adventure where carefully arranged objects tell a story. Notice how

Cowboy Kate the dark background and flooring make the accessories pop, while the limited colour palette maintains a sense of calm and order. Textures are also key, mixing

shaggy sheepskins with hides and jute balance out the edginess of the dark atmosphere. Another source for inspiration is Continued on page 32

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

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


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Step inside by Polly Gibbs Angled Bird Feet Candle holder, Rockett St George

Harriet Horton taxidermy print Continued from page 31 the ultimate in British eccentricity Aynhoe Park, which I recommend checking out online. Quirky is an understatement - it houses a surreal collection of antiquities, taxidermy and curiosities that have made it host to many a fashion shoot and the occasional celebrity wedding. Where else could a stuffed polar bear in flying goggles, a lion in a crown, a unicorn and ostrich feather lamps occupy the same home as Doctor Who ornaments and an impressive decorative plaster collection? What all of these interiors share is a deeply personal style - an unapologetic, flamboyant narrative deviates from mainstream interior design and captures the essence of who the owners are. The results are playful spaces full of intrigue, personality and humour. An interior around the notion of curious is going to excite if you’re fearless and bursting with stuff. Imagine creating a Crazy Bear style

Angled Bird Feet Table, Rockett St George

Faux taxidermy, Rockett St George dark cloakroom with a copper basin from William Holland, or an Aynhoe library style lounge with your book and curiosity collection. To create the look you’ve really got to nail the details: try Alma or Jim Breen for leather surfaces and tiles; Rockett St George have loads of quirky chic pieces for this look from a neon ‘Kiss Me’ artwork or Julius Caesar bust (£195), to their Angled Bird Feet collection (from £39). Original artwork really sets interiors apart and I particularly like Ben Rousseau’s CNC etched ‘Kiss It’ - an engraving of your own lips (POA). Like it or loathe it, taxidermy has been having a resurgence lately. Take a look at Harriet Horton and The Get Stuffed for ethically sourced pieces (specimens that are the result of natural causes). If you find the real deal too macabre then Rockett St George have a fabulous faux taxidermy zebra, unicorn and metal bull skull, Harriet Horton sells prints of her work (from £50) and

by this I mean keeping the layout, Rory Dobner’s ‘Henry’ and ‘Albert’ proportion, heights and arrangement artworks (from £744) may all be of every piece in harmony with more palatable. its neighbour, as well as with the Softer still, you could whole room. Get this curious just include cowhide or mix right and you’ll have the sheepskin rugs - try Source List Cowboy Kate. ultimate diorama. As promised, my Start with a new blog is out of moodbook to hibernation filled with keep your ideas oodles of discoveries, and carry it design inspo and with you for tips to get your ideas reference when flowing in between sourcing. My previous feature magazines. Discover it first at: curious-coco. ‘Collect, Collate, Curate’ showed (Jim Breen) you how to edit like Plus, if you’ve got a rockin’ interior or design a pro, this is crucial dilemma message me and it and will be on my blog soon if you missed it. could feature in the next issue: You’ll want to choose a good background colour that makes your l Polly Gibbs is an award-winning collection really stand out so think designer, Decorex100 Interiors about contrast. Influencer and Amara Interiors Lighting is also important from Blog Award Finalist. Her website is uplights to wall lights that’ll bring currently undergoing a revamp. your curiosities to life. But balance Email: Blog: of the overall composition is key,


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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

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comforts Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Tech spec with Andrew Marshall

Brighten up your life


ou can now buy Smart Bulbs that fit into your existing lights but can be operated from an app on your mobile via a hub or gateway unit that connects to your WiFi. This means you can dim them or programme them to come on or go off at certain times or even change colour or hue. The popular Phillips Hue system offers a full range of bulbs in bayonet, screw or 2 prong fittings. These cost between £15 and £50 each and the mandatory WiFi gateway unit is £50 although Phillips sells starter kits from £59 for a bridge and 2 white bulbs. Ikea TRÅDFRI, is a relatively new system offering 2 types of fitting: screw and 2-prongs. If you only have bayonet type fittings, converters are £1 for 2. Currently, the only bulbs they provide are the equivalent of Philips White Ambiance, which can be altered from a Warm yellowy


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

white to a harsher blue-white, but are only £15 each (Phillips are £25). The starter kit for £69 consists of 2 bulbs, a gateway and a remote control. The equivalent from Phillips is more than £100. A gateway is not mandatory for Ikea; it is possible to pair the remote control directly to the bulbs, but a gateway allows individual control of the bulbs via a smartphone app. Setup of both systems is similar; a smartphone app needs to be downloaded which is used to configure the gateway and and to identify and link the bulbs. The gateway needs to be connected to your internet router via a network cable, which may

affect where you can place the bulbs as they need to be in range of the gateway to function. Security - with Phillips, you need to press a button on the gateway to link to the app. while Ikea requires you to scan a QR code on the bottom of the gateway and to pair each light with the remote before they will work. With the configuration complete it is possible to turn the bulbs on and off and alter the colour temperature and brightness remotely. Smart bulbs come into their own when integrated with other IOT items to become part of your smart home. This is where the more mature Phillips system pulls ahead as at the moment, the Ikea system will only work with other Ikea sensors. The Phillips system provides an open API via Friend of Hue. This means that you can link to Alexa or Apple HomeKit so that the lights become an integral part of your

Andrew Marshall Tech spec

larger smart home. I can link my lights to my TV so that with one click I turn on, adjust the mood lighting and switch on the surround sound at the same time. At present, even though the Ikea system is much cheaper, if you are looking for smart lights which work with the rest of your Smart Home kit or multi-coloured lighting, I would have to recommend the Phillips Hue, but beware of the cost. A longer version of this review can be found on my website below. l Software and technology expert Andrew Marshall is Founder of Digitwell Solutions Ltd, a mobile application development company. He can be contacted on: or via twitter: @DigitwellApps www.

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Column: Safe as houses with Nigel Grace

Quality is key


f you are in the lucky position of spending over £100,000 on a new car then you will probably be shopping for a premium model built in a clean modern factory by a trained workforce who are well supervised and highly motivated. Your new car will be backed by a warranty where most, if not all faults are put right free of charge with the minimum of disruption to your day to day life. However spending £100,000 on building works at your home can be a totally different proposition and unfortunately you are not offered the same sort of guarantees of quality or after sales service. Over the past few weeks I have seen both extremes of building quality. I am working with builders who take a real pride in their work and also have a real passion to see that their customers are totally satisfied and at the other extreme I have seen new build houses which to be honest have more problems than you would think are even possible, when you are buying something that costs over

half a million pounds – floors that aren’t level, decoration that looks like it was done by a three year old and more leaks than a rusty wheelbarrow! So what is the key to making sure your build is completed without these problems? I have written in previous articles about the importance of finding and appointing the right builder. I also want to reiterate that a good builder is a busy builder – especially at the current time. I was recently talking to the managing director of a Buckinghamshire based building contractor and depending on the project he is currently telling prospective clients that they will have to wait between 6-12 months for their next available slot. If your chosen builder is busy and can’t start immediately don’t be tempted to choose second best, unless there is a very good reason to do so. It is also very important that

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you inspect the works regularly – you may not be an expert in building but most of us know when something doesn’t look or feel right. If you find something then raise it with your builder and express your concerns. Don’t worry about feeling a little foolish because you will feel a lot more foolish if you don’t raise it and then when your builder has left you realise that you have a problem. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get, or you are still not happy then get advice – from your architect or designer. Ask them to come round and look – it may cost you a couple of hundred pounds but it could save you ten times that amount – if not more. My own personal belief is that the most important factor in getting a quality job is quality supervision. Most builders will have a foreman on site or someone who is in charge – it may even be the owner of the building company you have employed. This person is the key and he should be supervising all the trades to make sure that they are doing it right with no short cuts. Get to know the supervisor and

Nigel Grace

Safe as houses

build a relationship with him – it is a lot, lot harder to let someone down who you have a personal relationship with. Let them know the importance of the build to you and your family. Having said all this – most problems on building projects are minor and can be resolved quickly and amicably, but it pays to be always vigilant, always asking questions and most importantly not afraid to potentially make yourself look a little silly! l Nigel Grace is a chartered quantity surveyor experienced in all forms of residential projects who has built and redeveloped many houses himself. If you are thinking of starting a building project or need help and advice, he can be contacted on:

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Rediscover your garden! Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Real Living

by Charlotte Bolton

Five great ways to grow a COUNTRY COTTAGE scheme ...


Real Living

Charlotte Bolton

acked full of colourful flowers and quirky detail, a traditional cottage garden ‘area’ – perfect for planting in late spring - is easy to create AND maintain. Here’s how to create your very own rustic haven… 1) Keep your planting quite informal with a good mixture of flowering shrubs, hardy perennials, grasses and spring and summer bulbs (ask any good garden centre for assistance if need be). There are no rules when choosing flower colours, but it’s often more effective to stick to a loose colour palette rather than risk a garden full of clashing colours. Cool blues, purples

and pinks are a classic combination for a pretty cottage garden look. 2) Give your scheme height with flower-clad arches and obelisks, and if possible - at least one tree for focus and impact. An apple tree is a lovely choice as it brings spring blossom as well as fruit, and no cottage garden should be without roses, passion flower and clematis. 3) Plant for perfume as well as for colour, and make sure scents will be fully appreciated by using plants such as lavender, stocks or buddleia near the back door or close to a path, so you can enjoy their fragrance as you pass. Continued on page 46 Salvage quirky planters such as an old watering can, a half barrel or bucket


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


Real Living

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

by Charlotte Bolton

Continued from page 44 4) Make use of charity shop/salvage yard finds. Creating the cottage garden look is about more than just plants, so look out for quirky accessories in unusual places. An old half barrel for example makes the perfect rustic planter, while interesting urns or metal watering cans are features in themselves. 5) Don’t forget wildlife. A healthy and productive cottage garden relies on pollinators (an animal or insect that causes plants to make fruit or seeds by moving pollen from one

Red Valerian

part of the flower of a plant to another part) and gardenfriendly bugs and birds. If you so wish - and you have the space in your garden – put up a bug hotel, create a log stack in a corner for overwintering creatures, and leave gaps in fences at ground level for hedgehogs to come and go.

Alnwick Rose

Butterfly bush

Balkan Clary


flowers on RED VALERIAN until October, or encourage To fill your garden with colour nature with the from late spring to autumn, Lavender aptly named start with LAVENDER. BUTTERLY BUSH, with its scented It’s brilliant for creating a ‘heady’ purple flower spikes. Plant the cottage-garden scent; choose a ‘ALNWICK ROSE’ SHRUB ROSE tall variety to edge a garden path. next to a path or at the front of a Enjoy the clusters of raspberry red Six Favourite Cottage-Garden Plants

border to get the best of its scent, then use FOXGLOVES as a striking backdrop – they thrive in patchy shade. BALKAN CLARY will add deep moody purple flowers plus lovely aromatic grey-green foliage until October. l To find out how your home could be featured in a UK homes magazine visit my website: Share your home interior ideas with others in a magazine! It’s fun, and free!

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Safe & Secure

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


utomated gates are secure, convenient and practical and with an appropriate design can add quite a bit to of curb appeal too! It’s no wonder increasing numbers of home owners are having them installed, it’s so much easier to click a button or have a sensor open the gates instead of hopping in and out of the car in the rain. IQ Gates are leaders in innovative automated gate design and incorporate the very latest in technology in their bespoke automated driveway and entrance gates and barriers, which are engineered to suit your home, building or landscape design. In choosing the right gate for you, the key points to think about are: What material do you want the gates made from? What type of traditional operation do you want - swing steel gate or sliding? How do you want showcases to control access through the your building gates? What additional safety behind components to you want to a robust integrate? What levels of security do you require? Architectural metal gates Metal framed timber gates are becoming increasingly popular for contemporary designs. You can choose security barrier. from a large range of finishes, colours and Automated design options for the timber as well as being Aluminium able to design the metal framing to suit. Gates are a Aluminium gates IQ timber gates are available as swing or popular option sliding entrance gates and can be specified for entrance in a wide range of timber types and finishes, gates of all styles, sizes and building types. including specialised burnt timber, Shuo Sugi The lightweight nature of aluminium means Ban, for a truly unique look. Timber gates are it is possible to create larger gates with lighter a popular option for modern building designs operating mechanisms than steel or hardwood and create a warm and inviting entrance. timber and modern aluminium can recreate Steel gates will help you achieve a more the appearance of a timber or steel gate in a traditional design. The barred nature of a lightweight material that is easy to maintain. IQ Gates can also create bespoke entrance gates from a whole host of architectural metals to perfectly match your building design. From Corten™ Steel to Patinated Bronze and everything in between. IQ Gates’ partnership with bespoke architectural metal works, IQ Metal, means they can create a unique gate to your unique design requirements. IQ Gates have been awarded the ‘Gate

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2017

Timber gates

Steel gates

Safe’ emblem showing their automated entrance gates have a level of basic safety built into the design and adhere to the latest safety legislation. Safety ‘upgrades’ or additional safety equipment can easily be integrated into your automated gate design if you require. At the Sky House Design Centre in Amersham, IQ Gates have a comprehensive array of gate designs on show to illustrate what is possible and help you create the most impressive and secure entrance for your home. Contact their dedicated team as below, if you have any questions about gate design and installation or to arrange an appointment with an IQ Gates gate technician who can help you specify the right gate for your project. l IQ Gates, Sky House Design Centre, Raans Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 6JQ T: 01494 722880 E: W: Make an appointment to visit the Sky House Design Centre - Tel: 01494 722880 Web: Mon-Fri, 9am to 5:30pm; Sat, 9am to 3pm

Metal framed timber gates

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Gardens - a place for everyone? O

Naomi’s Crown Imperials

ver the past few years, we have discovered that our love of gardening has been overtaken by our son’s love of football. This is the picture I hastily took of one of my beloved crown imperials (Fritilleria lutea) – it’s the first time in four years that I have seen it come to its full glory, as flowering time is just as the weather improves and our back garden becomes a mini Wembley – and every year without fail it has had its head sliced off by a powerful volley. I resorted to putting one of the garden chairs in front of it last weekend to save it. Just to add to our woes, we also have a dog. To be fair she is very good and is not a digger, so she has little effect on our garden. But when we first got her, she got our son in trouble… I wandered down the garden, happily planning to

pick some strawberries for dessert, having earlier spotted that there were a number of red fruits ready for picking. I bent down and looked at the first plant – nothing. I started scrabbling under the leaves all along the row – zilch. My poor litte boy proclaimed his innocence but I didn’t really believe him, although I did wonder if perhaps the birds had gone off with them – until I caught a certain four-legged friend nose first in the greenery. She looked up, licking her lips when I shouted! And then I discovered where the phrase ‘hangdog expression’ came from! Well, how was she to know that those delicious morsels just sitting there were not for her! We have learned out lesson and now have a very pretty picket fence separating the veg garden from the rest of the plot.


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The message to go with the flow if you have kids and dogs is repeated by our friends at Hayes Garden World, a Lake District centre set in a heavenly location, as they write about dog and child friendly gardening… Rule number one for gardening when you have children and dogs is to lower your standards; you’re not going to have a perfect garden, plants are going to get squashed, dug up and broken, and flowers will be picked. Safety is the most important factor when children and dogs are playing in the garden. If possible, a large grassy area is preferable to paving or concrete; it is a much softer landing pad even though it will get a little muddy with constant use. But a little mud is preferable to a cracked skull. Make sure any climbing frames are secured to the ground. Train

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Local boy done good The first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show will take place on the Derbyshire Estate in early June – and at its centre will be a man with his roots in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Jospeh Paxton was head gardener at Chatsworth in the mid 1800s. The Great Conservatory he designed and built there was based on the veined leaves of the giant water lily grown at Chatsworth – Victoria amazonica – and used to house this plant. The design was echoed when he later designed the Crystal Palace in London, his most famous creation. A recreation of the great conservatory will be at the centre of the new flower show from the RHS. What you may not know is that Paxton was actually born in 1803 in Milton Bryan in Bedfordshire and began his gardening career at Battlesden Park near Woburn. He was later commissioned by Baron Mayer de Rothschild to Chatsworth House and the Emperor design Mentmore Towers in Fountain designed by Joseph Paxton, Buckinghamshire - one of the the highest fountain in the world at greatest country houses built the time of building! Pic: Chatsworth House Trust during Victorian times. the dog to use a dedicated area as a toilet as faeces can cause Toxicara canis, and urine on a lawn will turn the grass brown.

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Continued from page 51 out of bounds and securely locked. Keep the garden gate locked, and the perimeter fence high enough that an active dog or child cannot climb over or tunnel underneath. Keep any herbaceous borders densely planted to provide a seemingly impenetrable barrier, with tough soft leaved plants on the outside and your precious vulnerable specimens on the inside. Check that the plants are not toxic to dogs and children and steer clear of any with sharp thorns or spikes. Making well-defined paths can keep both children and dogs on the right track. Making a wildlife area in the garden can keep a child engaged for hours’ bug hunting, making a hedgehog house or creating piles of sticks for insects to use as sanctuary. Fill bird feeders and a bird table for watching birds from indoors if the weather is wet. Consider putting up a nest box with a camera to keep an eye on chicks. A children’s planter can start a child down the road of growing their own flowers and vegetables. Start with child-friendly vegetables

and fruit such as strawberries, Tumbling Tom tomatoes and Chantenay carrots and some bright flowers such as marigolds, which are cheap to grow and easy to germinate from seed. These are just a few of the plants that are toxic to dogs: Apple seeds, bluebells, buttercup, crocus, cyclamen, daffodils, daphne, delphinium, foxgloves, hellebores, hydrangea, oak, rhododendron, tomato, wisteria, yew. A full list can be see at: www. Unfortunately there is just as long a list of plants that are toxic to children so they must be educated not to eat any plants that are growing in the garden unless they have grown them themselves and you are present. A shady spot A little shady ‘woodland’ area is lovely in the garden if you have room – just a small corner can do – but it’s not always easy to get plants to grow there. Why not try this new Shade Mix from Seedball? This little tin is packed full of bee and butterfly friendly British native

Naomi MacKay

wildflower seed balls that have been specially selected to thrive in shadier spots. The balls are made from clay, peat-free compost, seeds and chilli

Seedball Shade Mix

powder, protecting seeds from birds, ants and slugs and giving them the nutrition they need to get a head start and germinate easily. Just throw onto soil or compost and water well. Shade Mix includes Red campion (Silene dioica): a medium to tall perennial with rose pink flowers; Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): a tall grassland perennial with clusters of creamy white

flowers; Bellflower (Campanula trachelium): a medium to tall perennial with beautiful bellshaped blue flowers; Forgetme-not (Myosotis arvensis): a short annual with blue-grey and occasional pink flowers; Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare): the largest member of the native daisy family, this tall grassland perennial has distinctive white petal flowers and yellow florets; Ragged robin (Silene flos-cuculi): Beautiful tall perennial with raggedy red flowers; and Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris): The tallest of the native buttercups. Each Shade Mix tin has 20 seed balls with around 30 seeds per ball and can be sown in spring or autumn, RRP £5.99. Sold in garden centres, l Naomi MacKay is a locallybased freelance writer and editor who specialises in gardens. She also helps small businesses get their message to potential clients using websites, blogs, social media and more traditional printed products. Email:




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Column: Lucy Ellis ‘Animal Magic’

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Tick and flea prevention


ow that Spring has sprung we need to remember that warmer temperatures increase the risk of fleas and ticks which thrive in balmy conditions. So how can we protect our pets, and homes, from these airborne bugs? Prevention First: Preventing a flea infestation is much less hassle than trying to get rid of them once they take hold. Keep your lawn short, regularly remove litter and debris, and use herbs such as sage, rosemary, catnip, basil and mint around the back door, as the natural oils present in these plants help deter fleas and keep them out of your house. Most parasites prey on the weak, so feeding your animal a healthy balanced diet is a great way to ensure they stay fighting fit and insect free. A raw diet is the most natural way - frozen raw food is readily available from pet stores, but a high quality kibble or wet food is a good alternative. Natural Supplements: In

addition to a good diet, you can add a couple of natural supplements to boost your pet’s chances of not playing host to fleas and ticks. Adding Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to water or food creates an acidic coat and balanced alkalinity in the gut to naturally repels any nasties. Alternately you can sprinkle a small amount of garlic powder on your pet’s meal – but remember - garlic is dangerous to animals in larger quantities, so don’t overdo it - a ¼ small Flea dirt clove per 5kg of animal is safe and beneficial to overall well-being. The potent punch of garlic exudes through your pet’s skin and makes her coat unpleasant to fleas and ticks who will opt for a sweeter smelling host. Diatomaceous earth is a natural mineral which breaks down flea larvae and dries them out before they can grow into adults. You can add human grade DE to your pet’s food, or spread it in your garden on

spots where you think fleas might be lurking. Ultrasonics: Many people prefer to avoid chemicals if possible, so you could invest in a Tickless ultrasonic tick and flea repeller. The small gadget attaches to your pet’s collar and emits ultrasound impulses to disturb the flying insects and prevent them from settling on your pet. This natural option does not disturb humans or animals and lasts for 9-12 months. Treatment: Regularly check for fleas using a flea comb, with fine teeth designed to flush them out, and rinse the comb in a solution of water and ACV between each brush to keep it clean. If you find a tick, ensure you use a tick twister in a spiral motion to remove the whole insect. If you do get fleas, treat your pet, her bedding and all areas in the house she regularly visits. You can easily treat your animal

Lucy Ellis

Animal Magic and bedding with a sprinkling of diatomaceous earth to kill the fleas, but remember to apply the powder outside and cover your mouth so you don’t inhale it as it can irritate the lungs. It is also important to wash all bedding, including yours, in a natural flea detergent, and hoover all materials thoroughly to disturb the eggs. Remember that a flea’s full life cycle can be several months, so it’s important to maintain a good routine of hygiene throughout the summer to keep on top of any infestation. l Lucy Ellis is a writer and blogger who with Jenna Tomlins runs Unique Pets, a local, independent pet shop offering individual advice for pets, two grooming salons, dog training and a pet photography studio.

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

53 47

It’s baby season at Green Dragon


s the days lengthen and the growing season really kicks off, we’re busy with our new baby animal arrivals. It’s the perfect time to visit them as they find their feet, explore their new surroundings and become more independent. We have about seventy babies on the Farm at the moment, from lambs, chicks, goat kids, piglets and rabbit kits. Our daily programme of demonstrations, encounters and hands-on activities in our Animal Barn and Pets’ Corner are always popular and allow our visitors to get up close to the animals, as our expert handlers inform the children about what’s special and unique to each of the different breeds and how we look after them. As we’ve developed the Farm over the past two years, we’ve brought in species of rare breeds across sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry from around the UK that haven’t been seen in large numbers

for several generations. We like to think that we’re doing our bit to save rare breed farm animals from extinction! We’re also busy planting in our walled garden and sustainable greenhouse, made in part from recycled wood and glass and using its own renewable energy system. As well as salads, much of the fruit and vegetables we grow are Heritage varieties, such as Rhubarb Victoria, Tomato Banana Legs and Jerusalem Artichokes. We use our meats and homegrown produce in our cafes and we’re offering more seasonal, freshly prepared dishes all the time. Alongside our indoor and outdoor play centres for 2-8 year olds, this season we’re starting hands-on Gardening activities, plus Gardening and Nature Clubs. It’s fantastic to see the children so

enthusiastic about learning and getting involved with growing fresh, healthy food. l The Green Dragon Eco Farm. Farm Park, Play Centre & Eaterie Claydon Road, Hogshaw, Bucks, MK18 3LA Tel: 01296 670444 Open daily 10am-5.30pm

What’s so good about raw feeding?


any of us are striving to improve our diets and know that processed convenience foods are not healthy for humans. We try to source quality ingredients and eat a more natural diet, but did you know it’s easy to improve your dog’s food in the same way? ‘BARF’ (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) aims to give dogs a natural diet - as close as possible to what they might have eaten as wild animals. Such a diet supplies the protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and other important nutrients vital for excellent health and is suitable for all dog life, stages and breeds. This is not a new way of feeding - commercial dog food was only invented by James Spratt in 1860 - and although it can sound complicated, it doesn’t have to be and you will quickly see the benefits to your dog’s wellbeing. Let’s bust a few myths about raw feeding: Feeding raw food means a lot of preparation and amateur butchery. A number of companies, such as Cotswold Raw, prepare complete diets, so all you need do is work out 48

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

a wide range of meats so your dog can enjoy variety and different nutrient sources. A complete diet such as Cotswold Raw has all the elements of a balanced diet ground into a coarse mince and may also include vegetables and a variety of botanical additions like herbs etc which are intended to add to the flavour and help combat common canine problems. It’s expensive to feed raw dog food - Raw food should cost the same or less than feeding a how much your dog should be fed premium kibble. Cotswold Raw (for a normal adult dog this is 2% to 3% of their weight), defrost this even offer a loyalty card enabling you to claim free products. amount and serve it - easy! Raw feeding enables you to take Raw feeding is unhygienic - You don’t need to worry about handling a more direct control over your dog’s diet, weight and wellbeing and hygiene, normal kitchen which may well reduce vet visits. cleaning rules are enough. Raw dog food is supplied frozen and this If your dog has intolerances or helps to kill a range of bacteria that allergies you can eliminate these more easily as raw food contains would normally be of concern with fewer ingredients than many dried raw meats. It may take a few days to get into the pattern of defrosting dog food and if you offer your dog raw bones such as Venison ribs to meals each evening but eventually chew then you will also help their it becomes second nature. It’s hard to feed a balanced diet dental health. - An ideal raw diet for a healthy The best benefits of raw feeding adult dog contains muscle meat, come when the quality of the offal, bone and very little else. ingredients is high, so look for We would encourage you to feed companies who use British meats

and seasonal vegetables where possible. By using only food with sustainable, traceable ingredients from approved producers you are ensuring your dog’s food is of the best quality. Raw feeding can make my dog dangerous - Actually the reverse is usually true. Chewing bones helps your dog release endorphins - the happy hormones - and reducing the artificial chemicals and preservatives found in many foods may also help reduce anxiety and hyperactivity in your dog. If you are interested in learning more about raw feeding why not speak to us at Mcgrumpy and Snuffles; we are happy to suggest further resources or discuss your dog’s individual needs. We can talk in more detail about feeding raw and if it’s a good fit for you and can develop a customised feeding plan to get you started. Dogs are always welcome in store and our staff are all trained in canine nutrition. l Katy runs McGrumpy & Snuffles, Unit 8, Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury, HP20 2SQ Tel: 01296 426102


Feed raw for a healthy, active dog

A Cotswold RAW complete diet brings you all the health benefits of a fresh and natural raw diet, in the convenient form of traditional mince and easy to handle sausages.

Cotswold RAW is available from your local store: McGrumpy & Snuffles Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury, HP20 2SQ 01296 426102 Widmer Feeds & Country Store Pink Road, Lacey Green, HP27 0PG 01844 344765 JRG Animal Services 16 Parton Rd, Aylesbury, HP20 1NG 01296 422619 Pet Care Thame 15 Cornmarket, Thame, OX9 2BL 01844 213710

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‘NEW TO STORE’ OFFER Buy 2kg of Cotswold RAW and get 1 FREE pack of treats worth £2.45 New to store offer - for limited time only.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Paul Adams

Garage gig for Goff

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

Live Music

MaY 16th Tortora Band (Blues) Tring Park Cricket Club, Tring 1st Secret Genius, The Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard 4th Leech, Dukes Wine Bar, Princes Risborough 5th A Little Bit Country, Horse & Jockey, Aylesbury 6th John Otway, Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury 12th Apollo, Victoria Club, Aylesbury Biggsy Aylesbury Ex-services Club, Aylesbury 13th Cupid’s Inspiration British Legion, Heath and Reach Popscene (BritPop, 4 piece) Shootpool, Aylesbury 14th Smooth Operator Anglers Retreat, Marsworth 18th Storm Warning Tring Park Cricket Club, Tring Jason Stretch Dukes Winebar, Princes Risborough 19th Andy Fairweather Low (Musician for Amen Corner, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison) Court Theatre, Tring 20th Nicky B - Westcott Sports & Social Club, Westcott 21st Rachel Redman, Dukes Wine Bar, Princes Risborough 25th Wheatus (Teenage Dirtbag) - Bucks Student Union, High Wycombe 26th The Measures The Unicorn, Cublington 28th Various Acts, The Old Swan Music Festival, Cheddington 2nd Dizzie, The Griffin, Toddlington 3rd Backstreet Noise The Plough, Marsh Gibbon 9th Holly Marie - Ex Services Club, Aylesbury 10th Who’s Got The Dog The Legion Club, Wendover 17th Mouth On A Stick, The George & Dragon, Northchurch


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


pring is finally here - hooray! Why am I still cold? There is one sure fire way to warm up though and that is to check out all the hot acts from around the area. Those of you familiar with the local music scene, should recognise the name Tony Goff and The Broken Colours - an alternative Indie Rock four piece from Bucks. Its members are Tony Goff, Rhannan Conner Lacey, Keiran Unsworth and Andy Pickup. Their sound includes an element of pop which the band like to call RPPP - Rare Radio Pop Pleasure. The lads have known each other

Tony Goff & The Broken Colours for quite some time as they have always lived locally and things really kicked off for them after Tony won London’s “Be On The Scene” contest back in June 2013. They have been touring ever since, including a stint

in Denmark! Fast forward to today and things are getting rather exciting. In March, their self titled EP was released by their label Phonik and 1980 Publishing - reaching number 66 in the UK iTunes Alternative chart - and the group is set to support Indie icons The Ordinary Boys at The Garage in Highbury on 20th May. Check out their new EP on iTunes and Spotify and for tickets to the Highbury show email: Find out more about the band at

Trio not hanging around N

ightjar are a brand new originals band formed at Amersham and Wycombe College. Fusing dark poetic vocals with heavy grooves, their music is a unique blend of Rock, Goth, Punk and Grunge. Influenced by a wide variety of genres and artists with their favourites being Highly Suspect, Jimi Hendrix, Rage Against The Machine and The Gorrilaz. The band consists of vocalist/bassist

What’s new • The Old Swan Music Festival at Cheddington is on 28th May. Acts include: Mr Paul Adams, Dizzie, Pete & Dunk, Sky Riders, and Blonde Rebel. • Oakfest (Beer & Music Fest), is at Oakley School Field on 10th June. Acts include: Muther’s Union, The Band With No Name, Steve Winch & The Inception, The Dung Beatles and many more. See page 56 for details, or visit • A brand new open mic is coming to The Aristocrat in Aylesbury on the last Thursday of every month, starting 27th April. To book a performance slot or for further information contact • Congratulations to local musician Rachel Redman and her partner Hannah who are expecting their first child this year - and to my old !nDefinatley buddy Liam King and his wife Lauren (previously landlady of The Green Man, Aylesbury) on the birth of their second child Chase.

Nightjar Alex Read, guitarist Luke Page and drummer Luc Pomfret. They may be relatively new to the scene but already they have an EP being launched in late May which will be accompanied by a tour and are busy planning their music videos too. My “spidey sense” is tingling about these guys and I suspect

that you will be seeing and hearing a lot from them over the coming year. In the meantime catch them at The James Figg in Thame on 4th May and Chesham United Football Club on 19th May. Why not show them some support at nightjaruk

c d i o o F s u M Come Arts

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


Henley Festival, the UK’s most glamorous boutique festival, and winner of Headline Performance of the Year at the 2016 Festival awards returns to its stunning setting along the river in Henley-on-Thames, from 5th - 9th July 2017, and tickets are selling fast...

Jess Glynne


Pet Shop Boys

enley Festival is the event of the summer. A chance to sip champagne and enjoy fabulous things to eat in sumptuous marquees on the banks of the River Thames. There’s international stars in concert on a floating stage, top quality comedy, street theatre, performing arts and all manner of musical entertainment. Your only problem is what to watch next! So dig out your DJ or cocktail dress and prepare for a stellar cast that this year includes headliners: Jess Glynne (Wed 5th), Pet Shop Boys (Thur 6th), Chaka Khan (Fri 7th), Goldie & The Heritage Orchestra (Sat 8th), and on Sunday 9th All Saints and ex Spice Girl Melanie C. . There’s more fun on The Floating Stage this year as PizzaExpress Live will be getting things started each night with earlyevening performances. ‘King of Soul’ Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band will perform on Wednesday, while Thursday will see American pop/rock singer Vonda Shepard return to the UK. On Friday night, it’s high-energy Soul/R’n’B band: The Staxs Band and on Saturday night, British Jamaican R’n’B/soul singer-songwriter, Ruby Turner - who was recently awarded an MBE for services to music – will delight festival-goers. Finally, on Sunday evening critically acclaimed funk and soul band, Brother Strut, do the honours. Of course it’s not just music that Henley’s

Chaka Khan famous for, the 2017 comedy line-up is bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Andy Parsons, Seann Walsh, Sara Pascoe, Mark Dolan, Russell Kane, Matt Forde, Mitch Benn and Paul Sinha among the biggest names of the 25 comedians performing at this year’s Festival. In addition, up and coming comics including Rose Matafeo, Thinking Drinkers, John Robins, Nish Kumar, Eshaan Akbar and Kiri Pritchard Mclean will also be keeping audiences entertained. Henley Festival’s ongoing support of independent artists and galleries means works by some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary artists will be on display and for sale at the Festival. This festival is also for food lovers - Henley caters for all tastes with a huge number of restaurants and pop ups from street food to fine dining, from The Spice Merchant and The Dog & Badger to Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ club, Newquay Sushi, Snob Lobster and Champagne, Pizza Express and Awesome Crispy Squid. And Henley will once again host the UK’s largest pop-up restaurant, with catering maestros The Dish serving 800 covers a night at the atmospheric Riverside Restaurant. Don’t spend too long dining though - some prefer to picnic in the car park beforehand - as you may miss some of the amazing entertainment, art and street theatre taking place across the festival site. Cabaret stars, buskers and entertainers abound, from


All Saints

walking works of art La Galerie Mobile, to moustachioed muscle men on ‘Beach Patrol’, and from a life-sized, fire-breathing, horse robot, to a human red carpet, the bewitching troupe of street performers will interact with guests offering them delights, surprises, and mesmerising performances throughout the festival. It doesn’t stop there though there’s Ronnie Scott’s for Jazz fans, The Bedouin Tent for a taste of global world music and home spun folk and Pure Heaven nightclub to visit. Not just for grown ups, Sunday at Henley festival is Family Day, when young visitors can enjoy and interact with outdoor theatre in a greenhouse, with The Little Gardener; comedy from Britain’s Got Talent contestant Bruce Airhead; a mini musical adventure with Tommy Foggo - Superhero, and much more, while parents relax in the stunning festival grounds. It’s going to be another amazing festival, our favourite event of the year here at Vale Life, so don’t delay, get your tickets today, as some evenings have already nearly sold out! l Henley Festival, Henley Bridge, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2LY Tickets from £45 T: 01491 843404 E: W: Facebook: /HenleyFestival Twitter: @henleyfestival Car park opens: 4.30pm Festival gates at 6pm Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

There’s some familiar faces to be found in the new touring version of Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone. They won’t help you identify the guilty party in advance but when quizzed about touring, their roles, and why everyone needs to come and see this classic whodunnit, they sung like birds…

A Judgement in Stone: Thursday 30th May to Saturday 3rd June


hen Eunice joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper, the very reason for her awkwardness, long hidden and deeply buried, leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood - on Valentine’s Day and a shocking revelation as grizzly as the murder itself. Here we speak to cast members Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street, the Bill), Sophie Ward (Heartbeat) and Deborah Grant (Not Going Out, Bergerac) about this Ruth Rendell plot full of deceit, despair and cover-ups. A Judgement in Stone is widely considered to be Ruth Rendell’s greatest work - why do you think that is? Andrew: It’s a real statement on our class


Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

system. A fascinating story, sad, shocking and real. Deborah: It has her Andrew Lancel usual strong and clever ‘Who Dunnit’ element. It’s a rich book with so much more in atmosphere than we can show on stage. When I read the book I was hooked immediately What attracted you (Deborah Grant) to the role of Joan Smith, a lively and outspoken woman? Deborah: She’s a great character. A huge challenge. I couldn’t see at first how I could possibly play her. I was well out of my comfort zone. I think, as an actress, I have inevitable extrovert qualities though, and like Joan

Sophie Ward

Deborah Grant

I’m also growing old disgracefully! This production has been on the road since January, what are the nicest things about touring? Sophie: In some ways it’s like camping, some of the everyday concerns of being at home fall away! Deborah: It’s great moving on to a new venue each week. No chance to get bored, lots of new places to explore, and I love the company. Another good thing about touring is that one day it’s a new theatre, new everything and you spend the week getting used to the

Let’s Twist Again: Saturday 27th May theatre, your digs, your dressing room – the play is a comfort, the only thing that stays relatively the same. The magic of touring is that you don’t get bored, the audiences are different, and the whole dynamic is different. Andrew Lancel, you were last at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in the musical, The Sound of Music, what attracted you to this new genre? Andrew: Just that really, it’s a whole new genre for me and the first time I have played a copper since The Bill. Finally, without giving too much away, why should our vale Life readers come and see A Judgement in Stone? Sophie: The play is a combination of a psychological thriller and a political observation of how society can leave some people behind. It has moments of great humour and pathos, particularly when you see all the characters come to life, though you know they

Win tickets to see A Judgement in Stone! For your chance to win two tickets to see A Judgement in Stone on Tuesday 30th May at 7.30pm simply tell us which character Andrew Lancel played in Coronation Street - was it: a) Brian Jones b) Hank Gloucester c) Frank Foster Email your answer to the above to: marketingawt@theambassadors. com by Monday 22nd May and include your name, address and contact telephone number. are doomed! Deborah: It’s a cracking good play. Terrific cast, magnificent set… we keep you guessing! A Judgement in Stone runs from Tuesday 30th May to Saturday 3rd June.

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

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

Wed 24th May

Joe Longthorne

Thu 25th May Sat 27th May Tue 6th June Tue 20th June Thu 22nd June

Let’s Twist Again Russell Brand Brian Poole & the Tremeloes NT Live: Salome live screening (Second Space) That’ll Be The Day ROH Live: Otello The Big Chris Barber Band

Sat 24th June Wed 28th June Wed 28th June

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Wednesday 24th May Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Showtime! with Shaun Nolan

A quiet Spring

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Miranda Hart is in Annie


t’s strange for this time of year, but for once, the local area and London are both very quiet as regards new shows opening – a lot are being saved for summer openings, or until the post-summer buzz has died down. But that doesn’t mean that what is actually opening is bad at all. At Aylesbury Waterside this month there are a couple of long runs making an appearance: Gangsta Granny (17th May – 21st May), Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone (30th May – 3rd June) and the Northern Ballet’s The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (9th & 10th of June). I think I’m probably too old for the first of these pickings, although I adored the hit book and film, but it’s a perfect family choice. The show is heading to the West End for a short residency a few stops after the Aylesbury tour date, so if you miss it while it’s here, you’ll have to stump up a train fare as well! I’m very excited about the latter two shows and will be seeing both.

Shaun Nolan Showtime!

On The Town stars Danny Mac

If you want to see my reviews for shows that tour to the Waterside, be sure to follow me on Twitter or check out my theatre website The Court Theatre at Pendley this month features Tring Festival Company’s production of the Olivier Award-nominated Best New Musical Hot Mikado from the 23rd to the 27th of May. I have a few friends in this fantastic Gilbert and Sullivan show and not only are they superbly talented, but the show is brilliant too. Other shows over at The Court Theatre this month include Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Raiders on the

19th of May and the HOT Academy production of Hairspray Jr. on June 3rd. In London this month: the National Theatre production of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour – which won the Olivier for Best New Comedy this year – transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre and is already in performance. It’s an hilarious play with music that tells the story of a group of Scottish girls on a night out - I can’t wait to see it in its West End residency. On The Town starring Strictly main man Danny Mac starts performances at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre on May 19th as well – a brilliant musical with a stellar cast and sure-to-be stunning

choreography by Olivier-winner Drew McOnie. Meanwhile Miranda Hart leads the company of Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre from May 23rd and the Andrew Scottled production of Hamlet starts performances at the Harold Pinter on June 9th. I just saw the show at the Almeida and it is incredible. Are you seeing any of these shows this month? Tweet me and let me know! l Shaun Nolan is a London theatre blogger who writes for publications including LondonTheatreDirect and LondonTheatre1. Find him at @shaunycat on Twitter and if you want your show mentioned in this column, tweet him & let him know!



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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Sandra Smith ‘Our Creative Vale’

Jane driven to create J ane Waller’s Dancers in Movement drawings radiate grace and rhythm. Never mind if, unlike this artist, ballet is not part of your theatrical agenda, or the nuances of classical music are little more than vaguely familiar. For in capturing elegance and sequence, Jane transports you to a front row seat at some of the world’s most breathtaking performances. “I draw with charcoal, which is the fastest medium, using my whole arm, mostly continuous lines with the rhythm of the piece. Each ballet has a signature move. I work with the music to analyse movement. Drawing something moving is difficult but if it was easy I’d get bored.” Despite the unique composition of every image - from soloists to corps de ballet – their commonality revolves around Jane’s understanding of the strength behind each individual’s physical skill.

Jane Waller in one of her own knits “Dancers use their diaphragms. I know if these are positioned in the middle of the page I can draw the rest. The space around what you’re drawing is as important as the subject. Positive and negative spaces are like yin and yang; they are important to each other.” Founder of Little Kimble Art Group and self confessed recluse, Jane’s Ellesborough home includes

the Long Gallery, a recently built room dedicated to her wide ranging talent. Framed ballerina drawings fill one wall. Shelves opposite celebrate a passion for ceramic making. Then there are glass cabinets showcasing her glassware and rows of books she has written, from children’s stories to A Stitch in Time, one of seven knitting volumes which follows a 20 year journey of knitting patterns from 1930. At the gallery’s far end a generously sized window overlooks woodland and Jane excitedly points out an area where wild garlic is growing in abundance. Inside, much of the lodge’s décor is down to its owner who is dedicated to inventing artistic techniques, and details how she instigated a (successful) campaign to save London’s Oxo Tower. Then there’s her latest project - a memoir, Me Jane - and daily reading of New Scientist, details interspersed with repeated expressions of her

Oakfest is back - festival becomes annual fixture O

akley CofE Combined School are hosting their fourth OakFest Music and Beer Festival, OakFest’17 on Saturday 10th June. The event has been such a success over the last three years that it is now to be an annual fixture. The gates to the school field on Worminghall Road, (HP18 9QY) open at 1pm and the crowds will be entertained through to midnight by 11 bands and artists, many local to Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, including: The Dung Beatles, Cooper Black, Baz Frances Duarte, The Band with No Name, Bright Shadows, 2am Blue and Cherry Smoke something for everyone from Rock to Folk, Country to Blues. There will also be a fully stocked bar featuring 10 real ales, local ciders, lots of lager, a Pimms tent and a barbecue, as well as a traditional tea tent. There’s ample free parking and camping on the 56

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Old Country Union on the main stage at last year’s Oakfest recreation ground via Lynnens View off Oxford Road. For the children there is a craft activity tent and a bouncy castle, ice creams, sweeties and even a ‘selfie station’. Rugby-Tots will be running rugby sessions and ASL will lead a street dance workshop and give you the chance to have a go at Zorbing. It is hoped that the popular axe throwing will be returning this year too!

All monies raised go towards much needed equipment and learning resources for Oakley CofE Combined School, Oakley PreSchool and towards the running costs of St Mary’s Church, Oakley. Take your own deckchair or blanket and enjoy the activities and entertainment. It’s a fun-filled day for all the family and all are welcome. Tickets are available on the gate or in advance via the website:

Creative Vale

Sandra Smith need, if not frustration, to find an agent. Indeed, this creatively energetic woman is so engaging I’m not surprised to hear that rest is a rare resort. But don’t rely on my word. Jane welcomes visitors to her Long Gallery and I urge you to take the opportunity to meet one of Aylesbury Vale’s most stimulating artists. l Find out more about Sandra

Smith’s work as a freelance writer by following her on Twitter: @TheCurrentMrsS or visiting her website: from the School Office: 01844 238364,, and from Vintage and Modern Guitars, Thame and The Eight Bells, Long Crendon. Adults £10, Under 18s £5, advance ticket sale offer (ends 26th May), buy one Adult ticket get an under 18 ticket free - for details visit: www.cuatoakfest., or follow the Oakfest Facebook page \Oakfest17. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a family ticket (2 adult & 2 child tickets including all day bouncy castle and slide wristbands) to Oakfest’17, email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: editor@ In which county is Oakley? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by June 4th, 2017. l

BUCKSOPENSTUDIOS artists and makers countywide events 10–25 June 2017

Over 500 artists and makers in over 200 venues in the County’s largest visual arts event. Pick up a free directory from local Tourist Information Centres, libraries and participating venues, or follow the bright yellow signs.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Nick Coffer ‘In the kitchen’

7 Layer Bar


am not sure I know any food writers who are more prolific than Hannah Miles. Every time she is a guest on my programme, she seems to have added another couple to her list and she is now up to well over 30 books. Her latest is called Traybakes (published by Lorenz Books) and, in it, she shows how versatile traybake cakes can be. This indulgent tray bake may actually be the Queen of Traybakes. Loads of indulgent ingredients, bound together by a can of condensed milk, to create a perfect snack or lunchbox treat, especially for your children or grandchildren. It’s also ideal, as traybakes often are, if you need to rustle together a cake for the school fete or a cake sale at work. This is a big treat bar, packed with flavour, fun… and calories!

In the kitchen Nick Coffer

Ingredients For the base 300g/ digestive biscuits or graham crackers 125g butter For the topping 200g chocolate chips 100g fudge pieces or butterscotch chips 60g raisins 100g pecans, coarsely chopped 150g flake sweetened coconut (or desiccated) 60g toasted hazelnuts, halved or roughly chopped 398g can of condensed milk

Method: Equipment: food processor or blender, 35cm x 25cm deep baking tin, greased and lined Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F. Blitz the biscuits to fine crumbs. Melt the butter in a saucepan and pour into the crumbs. Stir well so that all the crumbs are coated in the butter. Press the crumbs out in an even layer over the base of the tin using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over

the biscuit base in a layer. Sprinkle over the fudge pieces, raisins and pecans. Sprinkle over the coconut and hazelnuts. Drizzle with the condensed milk. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown, then leave to cool completely in the tin. Cut into 24 squares to serve. This layer cake will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days if it lasts that long! l Hear wonderful recipes on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen every Sunday morning on BBC Three Counties radio at 11am. You can also join Nick weekday afternoons at midday for music plus local guests with great stories.

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

Order your takeaway or reserve a table online at or call: 01844 343111 / 01844 346100 Coco Tamarind, Aylesbury Road, Askett, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9LY 58

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Win a meal for two at The Peacock Country Inn T

he Peacock Country Inn at Henton near Chinnor is owned and run by Martin Roberts, who came across it whilst walking the Ridgeway in 2004. It is set in an unspoilt location at the foot of the Chiltern Hills with some impressive views across the fields to Bledlow Ridge. Martin has spent the last few years completely refurbishing this hidden gem, which has 25 bedrooms, a bar/restaurant and a light and spacious meeting room with lovely views over the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire countryside. The Peacock restaurant serves delicious traditional pub food in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Martin says: “Whether you’ve worked up an appetite walking, cycling, or simply relaxing – we think you’ll appreciate the great service here

and our honest, fresh pub food at affordable prices. Pub favourites such as lasagne and fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding are always on our menu.”

Typical dishes served include Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Saltimbocca, Confit Duck Leg, Grilled Salmon Fillet with Chilli & Lime Butter, Sausage and Mash, Ham, Egg and

Chips and many more. The Peacock is particularly popular at weekends when those in the know come from far and wide to enjoy the pub’s renowned Sunday roast. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a three course meal for two at The Peacock Country Inn with a complimentary bottle of house wine, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What is a female peacock called? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by June 4th. l The Peacock Country Inn, Henton, Oxfordshire, OX39 4AH Tel: 01844 353519 Web:

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017



Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Elizabeth’s got it licked


hen you gain weight as easily as I do - just thinking about a bar of chocolate requires letting my belt out a notch - every morsel has to be worth consuming. When it comes to ice cream I like The Works in Aylesbury, where I seem to conduct most of my business meetings. I can happily pop there for a massive ice cream sundae or a chocolatey crêpe and accept that as my main meal for the day, dining out on a Braeburn apple for tea. Now there is another scrumptious ice cream on offer locally – Oliphant & Pomeroy, created in Twyford near Buckingham and available in specialist shops around the country, including several topclass establishments in London and, from this year, Waddesdon Manor. The historic Rothschild manor has opened a new eating experience, The Treaterie, next door to their Stables Café, offering visitors a selection of the aforementioned ice cream, crêpes, waffles, fudge, naughty cakes and

Elizabeth with her ice cream in The Treaterie at Waddesdon

pastries. When Oliphant & Pomeroy partner Elizabeth Prior was approached to provide the ice cream she says: “I needed a nano second to say yes please. It’s such a thrill. Waddesdon is a jewel in the National Trust crown.” Elizabeth is supplying approximately a dozen flavours of ice cream plus some sorbets, with a

couple of recipes inspired by those found in the Waddesdon archives. She says: “We love collaborating, that’s why it’s such a joy that the team at Waddesdon are so enthusiastic about what they want to provide at the Treaterie. It’s such a pleasure to work with people who have the same approach to quality.” Elizabeth’s background is a scientific one, she has a degree in biochemistry and worked in scientific marketing, but says: “I no longer had the fire and wanted to do something different.” She started making artisan iced confectionary, creating what were essentially tiny choc ices but quickly added tubs of ice cream to her product list. She now employs up to six people at busy times of year and has the fabulous job of having to taste ice cream every day. She says: “My favourite is honey, it’s the most glorious thing to eat when it’s just been made, it’s heaven on earth. I also love the sorbets.” She says people who go into artisan food don’t go into it to make

Harvest Moon

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

money. “It’s really hard work, you go into it to produce something that pleases people. You get a lot of pleasure.” Elizabeth says the quality of the ingredients is what makes artisan ice cream amazing. “We will produce the salted caramel from scratch. We don’t use preparatory flavourings, we make all the flavourings. If we use chocolate it will be the same kind of chocolate a chocolatier would use and we use that in our ice cream. We put real fruit in the ice cream and we use the best Italian gelato equipment to make it, giving a very smooth texture.” l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

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

l Column: Peter

Purvis ‘Not that Peter Purvis’

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

It’s a standing joke P eople sometimes ask me what makes me do standup comedy. They say things like ‘you must be mad!’ They aren’t so far off the mark. I’m not sure what the answer is. I took early severance from the Civil Service in 2006, having become disheartened by the ascendancy of corporate world values over the public service ethos. I was also the victim of bullying and my mental health was fragile. After the Civil Service, I did various jobs, including as a freelance working with EU countries such as Poland and Lithuania and in human resources roles in trade organisations and NGOs. I also trained as a psychodynamic counsellor. Unfortunately, my mental health deteriorated once I began working with clients. As my very last client underwent a significant improvement in their emotional well-being, I became depressed and suffered panic attacks. I find that rather funny

in a bleak way, now. But seriously, therapy is a tough job and maybe my skin was too thin for it. As I recovered - and was well enough to begin working again, in my current ‘day job’ as a policy advisor for QC Appointments – I found myself in a session with my therapist one day, telling her that I fancied having a go at stand-up comedy. Where that idea came from I really have no idea. It certainly seemed counterintuitive to both me and my therapist and we had a good old laugh at the conceit - certainly there was more laughter in that room than in some of my first fiveminute Open Mic spots. By a strange synchronicity, a few days later I saw an article in The Bucks Herald about the Tringe Comedy Festival. They were seeking applications from local people to train to do stand-up comedy. The twelve week training course would culminate in a Rovers Night, where the trainees would do their first five-minutes in front of audiences in

four different Tring pubs. The course was led by the great comedy trainer and writer, Logan Murray, from Wigginton. It was a marvellous, fun experience and I was hooked. Six years later, I have clocked up over 600 gigs, from seedy back street bars in front of one sleeping man and his scabby dog, to small theatres and clubs with audiences of several hundred. But I still cannot say why I decided to do stand-up. There is a terrifying element to it and there’s nothing more ego-crushing than ‘dying’ in front of a roomful of strangers. But there is also something incredibly liberating about it; it’s a huge rush making people laugh, when it goes well. It is also rather cathartic: my sometimes dark and strange comedy comes from an authentic place, drawing in part on my own mental health history. It’s a delicate path to tread though and I don’t always ‘get it right’. I sometimes joke to audiences that I have Samaritans on speed dial. And like

Peter Purvis all good jokes, there’s more than a little truth in it. l Peter is from Aylesbury and performs as stand-up comedian Fred Ferenczi The Tringe - Tring’s Comedy Festival is back, courtesy of the Get Stuffed Comedy Club, for it’s eighth year from June 25th to July 15th 2017. Tickets are now available for the numerous top quality acts performing at the Court Theatre and in various pubs around the town. See for details or to buy tickets.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


Win a Bell Pie Shop award-winning pie! T

he Bell Pie Shop is located in The Bell Hotel, which has stood on Winslow’s Market Square since Tudor times - Henry VIII would no doubt have approved of the delicious award-winning pies they now bake to take away. Amazingly The Bell Pie Shop scooped 11 awards at the 2017 British Pie Awards, so these really aren’t just the perfect pie with a pint in the bar, or fantastic in the comfort of your own home, they are super pies and very, very tasty. And with flavours such as Beef and Haggis and Lamb HotPot Pie it’s not surprising, they even sound delicious. The pies are made in The Bell’s kitchen from recipes created by Chef Paul Capener MCCG (Master Chef Craft Guild), MCGB (Master Chef Great Britain). A mixture

A perfect Bell pie, ready to go

The Bell Hotel, Winslow of his skill and top quality locally sourced ingredients seems to create a flavour that you can’t beat, and they are extremely filling too! With flavours such as Beef & Stilton; Chicken & Mushroom;

Farmhouse Beef and Highland Chicken, you can call into The Bell anytime and the smell of the pies cooking is sure to entice you

to buy one As well as The Bell Pie Shop, The Bell Hotel in Winslow boasts a popular carvery, open 5 nights of the week, and every Sunday lunchtime. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning two individual pies of your choice from The Bell Pie Shop menu, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: How many awards did the Bell Pie Shop win in the 2017 British Pie Awards? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by June 4th. l The Bell Hotel, Market Square Winslow, Buckinghamshire, MK18 3AB Tel: 01296 714091 Email: Web:

Music can do more than help your Golf C

hiltern Music Therapy (CMT) are on a mission to show just how life-changing music is. Music can affect many areas of your life - even golfers are claiming that listening to music can help with their golf swing - but Chiltern wants to show that music can do so much more. On Saturday 10th June they are inviting golfers to experience the power of music for themselves, which is why they are introducing the ‘music hole’. Chiltern’s annual Golf Day raises money to provide music therapy to those who would otherwise be unable to access their services. This year, they are going one step further by giving entrants the opportunity to see the work they do in action. Chiltern are bringing together music therapy and golf in 62

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

tee off at the ‘Music Hole’ and a Chiltern Music Therapist will be on hand to explain how that piece of music is effecting their brain. “For people who are suffering from Dementia or Parkinson’s, Autism or Learning Difficulties, the power of music can be life changing,” said Rebecca Atkinson, Director of Services at Chiltern Music Therapy. “See the effects of music yourself by signing up for our golf day. Individuals and teams can enter, just email: to secure your place.”

a very exciting way. Have you ever heard a piece of music and been transported back to the day you first heard it? Do you put on a specific song that makes you run faster? In those

moments, you are experiencing the power of music. Music is allowing you to recall a memory and that song is helping you to move faster. Members of each team will be given a song to listen to as they

l Chiltern Music Therapy, Office A, Irfon House, Stones Courtyard, High Street, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, HP5 1DE T: 01442 780541 E:


by Cathy Soughton

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Pitstone Windmill Pitstone/Ivinghoe


id you know that Buckinghamshire has one of the oldest surviving windmills in Britain? Standing in fields between the pretty village of Pitstone and nearby Ivinghoe, it is a fine example of an early post mill that was originally built at the end of the 16th century. Now a National Trust property it is open to the public on summer Sundays. Post mills were the earliest type of windmill in England. The body of the mill sits on a large central vertical post around which the mill could be turned to bring the sails into the wind. Records show that there had been two mills in Pitstone (originally known as Pightelsthorn), as early as 1231. Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) tests on the timbers in the windmill indicate that the body of this mill was originally built using trees felled in 1595-7 but it underwent a number of later

modifications and repairs over the centuries. The date 1627 is carved on a beam but this probably relates to a later refurbishment. The local miller would have been a vital member of the community, milling grain grown in the local fields into flour. A return produced in 1798 shows that a James Burt was then the miller at Pitstone and ran the windmill and also a nearby water mill, producing a combined average weekly yield of 20 sacks of grain from both mills. The mills were put up for auction in 1810 and the windmill was described as ‘a very capital and substantially built WindCorn-Mill standing in the open Field of Pitstone… about half a mile from the Grand Junction Canal’. It appears the Grand Junction Canal Company subsequently purchased the mills, presumably as an investment, and they subsequently updated much of the windmill’s machinery. In 1842 they sold the mill to Francis Beesley, a miller and baker. Francis later sold the mill in 1872 for £400 to the third Earl Brownlow, who owned the nearby

The Hawkins family purchased the mill in 1924 when the Ashridge Estate was broken up following the death of Lord Brownlow in 1921. The Hawkins were unable to restore the mill and they donated it in 1937 to the National Trust. In 1963 the Pitstone Windmill Restoration Committee was founded to raise the funds and manpower to repair the windmill. Over the next 7 years the windmill was fully restored by a dedicated team of volunteers using existing materials, old photographs and local memories to help identify what it would have Ashridge estate. Lord Brownlow previously looked like. subsequently let the mill to John By 1970 it was once again able to Hawkins a local farmer who lived at grind corn but whilst the machinery Pitstone Green Farm. He managed is still intact it is no longer the mill successfully and oversaw operational. further repairs in 1895 although by For more details on visiting the the late 19th century traditional mills windmill see: were being replaced by new larger uk/pitstone-windmill ones powered by steam etc. In 1902 the operation of the mill l Cathy Soughton is a professional came to an abrupt halt when a fierce genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and storm caused extensive damage and the sails crashed into the round house history research in the local area. W:, house walls. It was deemed too E:, costly to repair and was left to decay. T: 01296 624845

Pitstone Windmill

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Hear the quality Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130


t says something about today’s car market when Renault decides to stick the word ‘BOSE’ on the wings of one of its current models. Yes, it’s the legendary sound system, as most of us are aware, and the model in question is the Kadjar dCi 130 crossover – a full-sized SUV with belting good looks, plenty of swagger and... oh, yes... a rather good set of speakers. This is the flagship Kadjar, and as such, is kitted out with plenty of gear for your £26k – lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, auto high/low beam, cruise control, speed limiter, ECO mode... the list goes on and on. And for those who like these things, a BOSE sound system to blow your socks off, with seven speakers and a subwoofer and digital amplifier. All rather lost on me, I’m afraid, whose nearest thing to a subwoofer is my black Labrador rescue dog. But sound and tech moves metal in showrooms now, so turn on and tune in, if that’s your thing. The top Signature edition also boasts a seven-inch touchscreen

Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130 64

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES with FM/AM/DAB tuner, TomTom LIVE with EU mapping, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calls. Most of which I could live without, but if someone like myself can actually work it all pretty easily, it must be user-friendly and well designed. Come to think of it, I never did find that AM band, though... But onto the car itself – one of the most handsome in the current craze SUV range and one to compete without anything out there – even the acknowledged benchmark Nissan Qashqai, to which it is closely related. And I think the Kadjar is actually better looking and a

Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130 more comfortable drive. No expense has been spared in polishing up the cabin, either, which features tactile soft surfaces everywhere and a smartly laid out, minimalist interior. For those who still put their trust in diesel, the dCi 130 is a tempting option. Smooth and

free running, it accelerates briskly to 62mph in a tad under 10 seconds and is one of the most petrol-like units around in terms of response and calm cruising. An official 62.8 combined mpg figure is healthy, too. On the road, the Kadjar is wonderfully comfortable and has all the hallmarks of a family favourite. Renault’s traditionally cosy seating is a bonus and a high driving position makes for a commanding view. Like most SUVs, a heavy body means fairly heavy handling and this is the case here if you really put the car through its paces. But steering is decently involving and the Kadjar hangs on in there safely through the bends. From a practical point of view, the Kadjar’s rear seats convert easily to a really useful maximum load floor, which has various shifting patterns and plenty of versatility. Solid construction and a smart street image will take Kadjar a long way. But probably the word BOSE will be the allure for this particular model. Welcome to today’s world.

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

Factfile: Model tested: Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130. Price: £26,045 (£27,490 as tested). Engine: dCi 130 unit of 1,598cc, 130hp. Performance: 0-62mph in 9.9 secs, top speed 118mph. CO2 emissions: 117g/km. Key points: Visio safety system; BOSE sound system; Hill Start Assist; ECO mode; R.A.I.D. (Renault Anti Intruder Device); full LED headlights; multi-media system with

7-inch touchscreen. Alternatives: Nissan Qashai, from £18,795 The vehicle that really started it all over a decade ago. Still fresh and popular. Honda CR-V, from £23,275 Japanese still rules for reliability and robustness and the CR-V does just that. Quality. Skoda Yeti Outdoor from £17,600 Ugly duckling - but customers do love their Skodas... and look at their prices.

Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130

Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130

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Vale Life : May/Jun 2017 67 03/11/2012 09:32

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

l Column: On

The Road with Rob Auchterlonie

It’s in the mix Suzuki SX4 S-Cross


F we were handing out commendations, then the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross would be driving off stage with quite a few. A car that effectively took the compact crossover battle head on with the then class leading Nissan Qashqai has had a major facelift – and it’s made it an altogether more purposeful looking piece of kit than before. Suzuki have always been renowned for an unblemished ability to build good, workmanlike cars as well as decent motorbikes – but the arrival of the S-Cross in 2013 marked them out as a car maker capable of much more. Suzuki is a company that has embraced the needs of the 21st century motoring public when it comes to all the things that tick our boxes – looks, practicality,

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road equipment levels, space, performance and price. The SX4 S-Cross has a more distinctive front end and headlight treatment than before which adds to its distinctive on road presence. It’s certainly more noticeable than before and now comes with slightly better ground clearance, which means for you and I getting in and

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 68

Vale Life : May/Jun 2017

out is easier. And there are a lot of people out there who appreciate that in a car. When launched S-Cross came with either 1.6 petrol or diesel, but now they have added the excellent Boosterjet engines in 1.0 and 1.4 form, as first used in the Vitara and Baleno, to the package, and they really are cracking units. The one litre three cylinder sampled here is a smashing little engine and while its output at 111ps and 170Nm might seem on the face of it modest, bear in mind the car itself weighs just 1160kgs so performance is perfectly adequate. Effortless is the word. There’s a purposeful thrum as

it revs its little Hungarian nuts up the rev band as you push on, but at cruising speeds it settles down to be no more annoying than any other engine you might come across in a car of this ilk. Its overall lightness gives it an agility than belies its chunky look and interior space on offer. Vitally important to anyone parting with their hard earned for a car is how they settle behind the wheel, and the S-Cross is no letdown. There’s good head, leg and shoulder room and with a good range of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel the ideal position can be fairly easily found. All grades have a very good

level of equipment, with the SZ-T sampled here adding sat nav, bigger alloys, rear parking camera, front and rear sensors, dual zone air con, and LED headlights. Handling, comfort and its overall behaviour on the road earn high marks – it drives really well - and the interior is neat and uncluttered, black the predominant colour with the edges of panels picked out with silver trim to brighten things up. It’s neat, workmanlike and uncluttered yet still has a classy look to it. The crossover sector of the European market is ‘Sales Central’ these days and one that Suzuki firmly has a foothold in.

The S-Cross was born out of a mix of their compact car expertise and their ability to build workmanlike sport utility vehicles. The result is a car with the best of most motoring worlds. FASTFACTS: Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T; £19,499; 988cc three cylinder 12 valve, 111ps, 170Nm; Five speed manual gearbox; Top speed 112mph, 0-62mph 11secs; Fuel – urban 49.5, extra urban 61.4, combined 56.4; CO2 113g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4300/1785/1585 (l/w/h).

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Vale Life Magazine May-Jun 2017 web edition  

Six weekly lifestyle publication for Aylesbury, Thame, Wendover, Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Tring, Waddesdon, Westcott, Winslow, Watlingto...

Vale Life Magazine May-Jun 2017 web edition  

Six weekly lifestyle publication for Aylesbury, Thame, Wendover, Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Tring, Waddesdon, Westcott, Winslow, Watlingto...