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Vale Life

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Nov/Dec 2014 Cover picture: Stars of Cinderella Aylesbury Waterside from December 12th See page 66


Flowers & more... So much to see at Thame’s new florist

Four legged friends

Good news for Beauty & Butch

World of music

Learn guitar, keys & drums at XYZ

League of their own

See our website at:

Premier Group is on the up Plus the usual suspects: Katy, Penny, Heather, Naomi, Polly, Amanda, Janice, Jacqui, Rob, Alan, new columnist Tracy Kiss and much, much more...

Free local listings for events and businesses

w A Click Stick w Ultimate pamper pack w dinner for Two at Hardings w Christmas Hamper w Adventure travel show tickets w English station Book w

The Old The Old Thatched Inn Thatched Inn Gastro Pub

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

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

Main Street Adstock Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN


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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


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

Exceptional Elderly Care in Buckinghamshire Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Church View

Established 1992

Funeral Directors

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

The Independent Family Funeral Service

Whatever the size of your business we can help you.


folders e-mail


leaflets digital print adverts exhibition forms

cost effective web rollers banners SMS Messaging


46 Buckingham Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2LL


Telephone: 01296 398553

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

24 Hour Service

A tradition of dignity, respect & choice

The Tythe Barn at at Christmas

6288 CRM_Vale Life Ad_Oct.indd 1

21/10/2014 10:46

We Thursdays are decking the 15th Century Tytheand BarnSundays at Haddenham Opening tobeautiful Saturdays 9.30 – 5pm 10 – 4pm with stunning Christmas decorations, gorgeous gifts and unusual stocking fillers. November 6th to December 21sth

Webeautiful will be open from November 6th to December 21st decorations, We are decking the 15thC Tythe Barn with stunning Christmas Thursdays to Saturdays: 9.30am-5pm and Sundays: 10am-4pm gorgeous gifts and unusual stocking fillers.

The Tythe Barn, Manor Farm, Church End, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8AH


The Tythe Barn, Manor Farm, Church End, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8AH Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

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

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

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

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

Friday 12th & 19th December £46.00 per person

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

Saturday 13th & 20th December £49.00 per person

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

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

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


Luxury Coach Holidays

Theatre trips, day trips and short breaks

DayTrips, Theatres & Shows 2015 Special

Day Trips: December

Day Trips: January 2015 Sat 17th Sat 17th

London Shopping: £20 Matinée Theatre Trips: Wicked: £60 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: £75 Lion King: £75

Strictly Come Dancing - The Live Tour

We have managed to get our hands on tickets to one of the most popular live tours of 2015 Strictly Come Dancing! Dust off your sequins and wipe away your winter blues with jiving judges, dazzling dancers and of course our favourite celebrity contestants! Featuring much-loved routines from this series, together with new and exclusive performances, breathtaking costumes and supersized glitterballs, this multi-million pound UK tour is the must-have ticket for Strictly fans everywhere. Book now to avoid disappointment! Price includes travel and entry. Sun, January 18th, 2015 - Birmingham Barclaycard Arena, 1.30pm performance: £72 Fri, February 6th, 2015 - Wembley SSE Arena, 7.30pm performance: £72

Love is in the air! European What better way to treat your loved one, than a romantic getaway to some of Breaks the finest and romantic cities Europe has to offer. We have a selection of 4 days breaks to Paris, Bruges, Luxembourg, Amsterdam and the Rhine. Take a boat cruise on the Seine and see the spectacular Eiffel tower, enjoy the canals of Bruges or Amsterdam or the quaint Luxembourg villages. The choice is yours!


4 Day Tours- departing on Friday February 13th Parisian adventures B&B - £229 Breathtaking Bruges B&B - £239 Rhine House Party HB – £239 Ardennes, Luxembourg & Little Switzerland HB - £219 Amsterdam, Windmills & Waterways B&B - £229 Single room supplements will apply – Insurance £31

Exclusive to Crusader Holidays! Warners Lakeside Coastal Village, Hayling Island Come and join us for a fantastic get-together in 2015 at Warner Lakeside Coastal Village! The chalet accommodation here really adds to the friendly village feel, offering a unique atmosphere no other village can deliver. Meet friends, old and new whilst enjoying the activities on offer as we take over the entire resort. Expect fun and games throughout with quizzes, sports events and live entertainment and great prizes on offer. With included excursions to the New Forest and maritime Portsmouth, this is not to be missed! Fri 27th Feb 2015 4 days half board: £205.

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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

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

Tue 18th Songs & Laughter Ironbridge: £49 Fri 19th Birmingham German Christmas Markets: £19 Sat 20th Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London : £20 Harrods Christmas Shopping om stravel.c£20 ottLondon: & illuminated m . w w w : e k onl inMatinée Sat Theatre Trips: Boo20th Warhorse: £85 Miss Saigon: £71 Memphis the Musical: £85

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

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

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details

8 11 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 24 27 28

Style file


Care and care alike

Spirit of Christmas


On yer bikes!

Flowers and more...


History file

Rising to the challenge


Four legged friends

Merry Christmas!


More is definitely more...

Not on the High Street


Ground floor tiles, first floor carpets

Not just for Christmas


Festive looks for less

Giggles for Christmas


League of their own

Diamond pleaser


Win an Orchard View Farm hamper

Win an ultimate pamper package!


Success on a plate

Join our club


Crowning glory

Time to be positive


It’s party time!

Be happy


World of music

Katy gets ready for the party season Top of the shops for festive fun, it’s No1 Gifts and homeware at Thame’s new florist Welcome Tracy Kiss, our new columnist Lots on at Aylesbury central this season Wendover’s hidden gems have live reindeer! Sally’s guide to sparklers

Gorgeous gifts for babies and youngsters Perk up your pinkies at The Belmore Centre Lovely products from Bucks Health and Beauty Anyone for squash?!

21 days that’ll change your life More to Yoga than exercise says Cath Campbell

Fit for a punch up?!


Bluebird links with local charity Sign up for Hospice’s two-wheel challenge The Royal Bucks Hospital Unique news for horses and shaggy dogs Polly reports on trends for interiors Quacking deals at Duck Farm Court Charlotte’s tips for budget decs Quainton group moves up a gear

Christmas dinner fresh from the farm Top chef takes on Village Gate Tasty news for Granborough diners Bistro unveils seasonal schedule

Academy offers guitar, keys and drums

Paul Saw in action

part: “Train

Dean V Rantle Like A Pro

s we go to press an exciting ‘white collar’ boxing event is about to take place in Aylesbury at The Guttman Stadium hosted by Pegasus Gym. Around 40 local men and woman will take to the boxing ring in front of an audience of more than 1,000 fans and well-wishers to slug it out in their first ever proper fight. The contenders are ordinary people who a few weeks ago might not have been particularly fit and certainly hadn’t boxed before but they have been in training with a professional coach for the last couple of months specifically for this ‘Train Like A Pro’ event!

The fighters have committed to raise at least £200 each for the Stoke Mandeville Special Care Baby Unit as part of the challenge and funds will also be raised on the night for Esmé’s Allstars to help a local four-year-old girl with Retts Syndrome. Train Like A Pro aims to give competitors an insight into the lives of a professional fighter, the training and nutrition and lifestyle regime required and also some real life insights with tales from the coaches and professionals involved. There are four teams with ten contestants in each team who will be battling it out against each

has really taken off,” he says. “It’s changing people’s lives for the Fight Like A Pro fighters better. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to get fitter and change to a healthier lifestyle, build confidence and do something for the local community other. Each fighter will walk into at the same time.” the auditorium amid smoke and Good luck Paul and all involved! lights, glitz and glam, in front of For more details contact Pegasus a huge audience, with their own Gym on: 01296 482610. theme music pumping and face the Happy reading everyone! ultimate one-to-one combat test. Organiser Paul Saw of Pandora Charlie Trott, Editor Aylesbury is one of those taking

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

though for more competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: Dinner for two at Hardings Restaurant, Aylesbury; a signed copy of ‘From Now to Wow’ by Sylvia Baldock; an Ultimate Pamper Pack; a Click Stick; a copy of The

English Railway Station; an Orchard View Farm Christmas hamper; tickets to the Adventure Travel Show. Last issue’s prizewinners were: Dinner for two at The Bell, Stoke Mandeville: Kelly Carboni, Aylesbury



A signed copy of Gorilla Dreams book: Riley Bates, Aylesbury A CAMRA Good Beer Guide: Malcolm Dent, Thame; Chris Kelly, Wendover; Frederick Reed, Upton; Karina Williamson, Thame.

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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


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

Who’s ready

to party?!

Next Metallic Lace Dress


s the nights draw in our attention turns to the coming party season. Smart, casual or pure glamour - get a look to take you from day to night and into the early hours with just a few simple steps. Dress Up Dresses are the wardrobe staple for women’s eveningwear and fortunately, with femininity and glamour featuring this Autumn/ Winter, the dress is a continuing trend. From shift to shirt-waist, empire line to jersey, there are styles to suit every body shape and style personality. For straighter figures, the shift is the perfect versatile cut. If you are curvy choose softer fabrics and styles that follow your bodyline.

M&Co Print Tunic

Party in Prints otherwise plain outfit and works well Along with colour, there are with slim trousers, pencil skirts or more and more bolder prints. Big jeans. prints can be great to wear but they don’t suit every taste or shape. Sleeve Lines There is a variety of pattern in this In line with the Next necklace season’s styles, so if it’s for you, just romantic look, focus on sleeves: voluminous puff, remember: petites - try to kimono, dainty and bell- stick with smaller prints or choose just a top with shape. The trick is to be pattern, whilst if you are careful with how much taller, your can carry large volume you opt for, so prints with effortless think like-for-like: if you style. are petite, you don’t want enormous sleeves that your arms can swim in. Equally, if you are larger in scale then you can Looking at Lace take more volume and more fabric, There is still a fair amount of but make sure the widest point of lace in stores this season. It gives the sleeve does not sit beside the a gorgeous feminine touch to an widest part of your body line. Tunic Tales Tunic tops and dresses are still around and their versatility mean they work for all shapes and sizes. Wear as a dress, or over jeans or smart trousers. Great for daytime or nights out, the variety of detail including patterns, embellishment, puffed sleeves or shiny fabrics offer a wide choice for all tastes.

Dune Burst Shoes


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Colour Creates Whilst neutrals and monochrome are still good staples, there is more and more colour. As the season progress, there will be bold, jewellike shades in emerald greens, bright blues, strong reds and deep purples.

Twinkle Twinkle Metallics have been venturing even further into daywear. Sporting a sparkly gold jumper during the day or wearing a jacket with a shimmer of silver is not considered overdressed and works really well to take daytime into evening during the party season. As well as bags, belts and hair accessories, metallics can now be found in a range of clothing. Owning at least one pair of shoes in silver, gold, bronze or pewter, whether heels or flats, will be more versatile than you might as first imagine. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise You’ve heard it many times – but accessories can really make an outfit. Take a bit of time to look through your own accessories including jewellery, bags and scarves to re-discover treasures that will work with your existing wardrobe to add style and sparkle to your winter wardrobe - and wear it with confidence! l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant. From her home studio in Thame, she can help you discover the confidence to change or develop your personal or professional style and image whether it’s finding the right outfit for a special occasion or to completely reinvent your look and make the most of you. For more details about the products and services available, including gift vouchers, visit: or email: katy@katydyer. com

Above, M&S Gold Tunic Dress Left, Next Metallic Skirt Right, M&S necklace

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


here’s a chill wind blowing through the Vale, which brings a shiver of excitement for White Hart Studio shoppers, as we know this mean Christmas is on the way! Jane’s Haddenham boutique is a glittering grotto of Christmas delights at this time of year. The back room is full of stylish decorations, seasonal homeware and great gift ideas. There’s cards and giftwrap, baubles and bells, Santas in spaceships, candles brown paper parcels tied up with ribbon and coloured wrapping string, leather gift tags, and lots of our other favourite things... Jane has obviously been to Lapland and back in her search for new delights to give your home an extra special festive sparkle this year. From snowflake mats and coasters to reindeer mugs and cushions, party napkins, angel wings, driftwood carvings and fairy lights. It’s a clever mix of old and new, traditional handmade wooden decorations lit by the subtley changing coloured glow of a pretty LED angel or spaceship - kids will love them! Owls, penguins, lanterns, table decorations, door stops - all in seasonal themes and colours, starry, starry lights... best to see for yourself really, Jane should have the wood burner fired up by now, so all will be bathed in a warming glow, now, where did we put those chestnuts... l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm & Sun 11am-4pm Website: Twitter: @WhiteHartStudio

Braintree cardigan £45 Braintree skirt £45 Handmade vintage stone necklace by Anne Sherburne £45

Braintree turquoise cardigan £89.95 Braintree purple knitted dress £89.95

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



DIAMOND MERCHANTS (certified stones always available)

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





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

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

LSA shot glasses

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

At Wendover’s Number One, Vicky and team love a bit of festive fun! From spectacular window displays to the stunning range of seasonal decorations, gift ideas, cards and free wrapping service - not to mention, mulled wine and mince pies if you’re lucky - it’s a One-stop Christmas shop...


utumn has been so mild this year, and napkins from award-winning Dutch firm it’s hard to imagine Christmas Artebene and offers a free gift-wrapping is nearly upon us. But a visit to service too - especially handy for us guys, who Number One at the bottom end struggle with those tricky finishing touches! of Wendover High Street will relight your Looking around the store we loved the cool festive fire! The stylish gift and LED fairy lights with little homeware store is overflowing holly trees, snowflakes and with exciting seasonal supplies stars and also the Scrabble and a huge range of decorative, letter place mats and coasters functional and fun present ideas. which look great and could There’s lovely handmade be a useful educational aid for ceramics and fabrics created by youngsters. Fenella Smith at Henley. She has The new Anges + Cat recently added a brand new doggy range of candles from range designed for The Dogs Trust Cumbria boasts heavenly and to whom 25% of sales are scents such as ‘Bah Humbug’ donated. The Dogs Trust is the and ‘Snowfall’, while the St largest dog welfare charity in the Eval Candle Company from Scandanvian throws UK, providing happy homes for Cornwall’s unique fragrances thousands of stray and abandoned pooches. and traditional candle-making techniques Fenella has also teamed up with her brothers come in fresh floral or fruity fragrances Myles and Greg to write a humorous book including: Inspiritus, Orange and Cinnamon about dog breeds - ‘Breeds’ which is an ideal and Sandalwood. They also make advent fun gift for dog lovers. candles. Fenella’s Pug gift wrap and stationery is There’s luxury shea butter handcreams, great too and there’s dog bowls as well as soaps, body wash and fragrances from the jugs, mugs, giftwrap and xmas cards, so even a Somerset Toiletries Co - again new this year, pressie for Fido here! and shelves of fun cake tins, man tins, signs “Our large paper decorations are very and sayings. popular,” says Vicky. “as are the candleEmma Bridgewater’s new Christmas powered mobiles and our new range of postage stamp range is cute and festive with Scandanavian Christmas decorations too. The hares, deer and robins featured on mugs and Scandanavian look is very in. People love the crockery and there’s an eye-catching range clean, crisp, modern designs. We have some of stunning, recycled leather bags by Paper gorgeous Scandanavian 100% lambswool Thinks. Beautiful handbags, wallets, pouches throws, so soft and cosy and also some faux and accessories, made from leather offcuts! fur throws, cushions and hot water bottle Number One stocks leading glassware covers that are lovely and snuggly!” brand LSA, known for its quality and unique Number One stocks beautiful giftwrap style and the original designs include some beautiful copper coloured flutes and wine glasses. There are four different shades within the range, which you can buy as a set or mix and match - also some stylish tumblers, vases, shot glasses, tea light holders, hurricane lamps and decanters. “Copper is very popular for interiors right now,” says Vicky. “The LSA glasses are very in vogue!” You really need to visit Number One to

Fenella Smith ceramics

Vicky, centre, and girls offer a free wrapping service

take in the variety on offer - there’s too much to list here. From the leather arm chairs and sofas and lamps in the window to the slate cake stands and cheeseboards at the back of the store, there really is something for everyone. Number One is open Mon-Sat: 9.30am-5pm and from Sunday November 23rd will also be open on Sundays from 10.30am-4pm. A fun time to visit will be Wed, Dec 3rd, the night of Wendover’s Christmas Lights Switch On, when Number One will be open until 8pm with mulled wine, mince pies, carol singers and lots of festive fun - all are welcome. l No1, 1 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 623150 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Sharp-eyed Thamensians will have noticed a change on Thame’s Cornmarket. A stylish new flower and gift shop has appeared in place of Wallace’s Home Boutique and it’s bloomin’ lovely...


ay it with pots,’ might be a good slogan for Forever Green, the exciting new florist on Thame’s Cornmarket. The shop has an amazing selection of jugs, vases, pots and containers and will fill them with flowers for you to make a fabulous gift. Of course the pot will remain as a keepsake long after the flowers have gone, leaving a lovely, long-lasting present. Run by florist, Gail Robertson and her team, the store opened in July and is much more than a flower shop, being jam-packed with all manner of gorgeous gift ideas and homeware too. Gail grew up in Great Haseley and after 20 years as a data entry operator and programmer for a local firm, during which time she married Mike, a landscaper from Chinnor, had daughter Lydia, and set up home in Oakley, she fancied a change of career. “I’ve had a passion for flowers since I was a girl,” she says. “I was always thrilled to receive them. My late mother kept an immaculate garden full of beautiful seasonal blooms which I just loved. The colours, shapes and variations have always fascinated me.” Gail took a Saturday job with a local florist, eventually going full time. She attended a three year floristry course at Aylesbury College and then furthered her training with a year at Berkshire College of Agriculture, where she won an award for ‘Most consistent standard of workmanship on the course’ and passed both her practical and theory with distinction. Gail has since done additional courses in balloon decorating and gift wrapping. Gail moved jobs to work at a florist’s in Beaconsfield and ended up taking over the shop. “I’ve had the Beaconsfield store for five years now,” she says, “and it’s going really well. We supply fresh floral arrangements to offices, shops, schools, restaurants, hotels and many other businesses across Buckinghamshire. I felt the time was right to expand with a new


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Forever Green is literally packed to the rafters with tempting gifts and homeware

branch in Thame - which I love and is nearer to home Gail Robertson for me - and would allow us to serve the Oxfordshire area too.” The Thame shop opened in July with beautiful displays of fresh flowers and plants which are restocked daily. “We stock quality, best grade, long-stemmed flowers and aim for a good range with exotic and unusual blooms in amongst the standard and seasonal selection,” says Gail. “We supply flowers for all occasions: weddings, funerals, celebrations and for corporate displays and events - we are open seven days a week and operate both a local delivery service and a national delivery service - for which flowers ordered are selected from the shop and delivered the following day - so you can come in and choose your flowers and write a card to be delivered with them if you like. “We also have a user-friendly website on which you can purchase flowers, plants and gifts from the comfort of your own home. The pictures on the website are all bouquets we have made up ourselves and photographed, so you can see what you are ordering and what is in season at the time.” In addition to the gorgeous flowers Forever Green is packed with a wide range of carefully

selected gifts from quality suppliers including candles, room fragrances and diffusers by companies such as True Grace, St Eval, the Country Candle Co and Dr Vranjes; glassware by LSA; Heron Cross Pottery; Wild and Wolfe gifts, games and accessories; Pollyfields oils, potpourri, and Christmas decorations; lanterns, old fashioned sweets, seasonal decorations, clocks, jugs, vases, mirrors, sconces, wreaths and much more. “For Christmas we do door wreaths and table arrangements and have quite a range of Christmas decorations and gift ideas,” says Gail. “Wreaths can be made to your specifications or to one of our set designs.” Forever Green also offers a complimentary giftwrapping service on all items purchased and if you’re not sure what to get for that perfect gift, there’s always the option of a gift voucher. Forever Green is listed in the Good Florist Guide and is also a member of the British Florist Association. l Forever Green, 2 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3DX Tel: 01844 212812 Email: Web: Open: Mon-Wed 8.30am-5.30pm, Thur-Sat 8.30am-6pm, Sun: 10am-4pm

Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Ready for Christmas!


f you happen upon the Christmas edition of Homes & Antiques this December you’ll find me featured inside. The magazine called recently to see how I was going to decorate my house for the festivities, so Christmas came early for this Vale reporter as I decorated my home in seasonal style. I like to keep things local and being the season to be jolly, it’s nice to spread a bit of love around to the people and businesses who need our support - I picked up some real trees with roots on (so I can keep them going for more than just a few weeks) from Hartwell Nurseries and planted them in large builders tubs, costing only a few pounds from a DIY centre. Painted, using chalk paint tester pots, they now look like galvanised buckets. Along with decorations from Holy Cow Home (a new shop on Cambridge Road, Aylesbury), I made my own trimmings using crochet snowflakes, little velvet bobbles cut from braid, pine cones from the garden and little hand

embroidered felt and knitted socks. I also made a cute fireplace garland using hand decorated wooden stars from Holy Cow Home who also have lots of lanterns and unusual ethnic style home accessories. To get into the spirit of the

season I put on my favourite music, a CD which was recorded by friends of mine, The Mediaeval Baebes. Their album ‘Of Kings and Angels’ is their own beautiful versions of well known carols. If you are getting a bit tired of the usual Christmas song compilations then I urge you to give this a listen. My food spread came from Waitrose - I chose local produce from British farms. I decorated the spread with candles and holly and also repainted my kitchen units using Chalk Paint and stencils. For extra Christmas spirit I have recently made my own Sloe Gin and Cider. The presents under the tree were my favourite things, brown paper packages tied up with string, and home made labels using plain luggage tags with bits of live greenery tied to the bows. The house was adorned with findings from the hedgerows, ivy, holly, rosehips and such, put together with candles from local shop,, Making The Best, and with florists Wild Orchid supplying

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Janice Issitt

Making the most of it additional flowers and hessian ribbon. The look was simple, rustic and reminiscent of an old fashioned Yule celebration. My favourite place for picking a tree is Claydon Christmas Tree Farm where they have real reindeer to entertain children of all ages. Hope you have a fabulous festive holiday and happy decking! l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in The Vale.

Ginger Interiors would like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas! Christmas goodies now in

Your local Independent retailer with an amazing selectio of unusual home accessories Open 7 days

Christmas ❆ ❆ goodies now in

10% OFF

with this voucher until v

31st October 3


10 Duck Duck Farm Farm Court, 10 Court, Station Station Way, Way, Aylesbury, Aylesbury,HP20 HP202SQ 2SQ 01296 415035 Tel: 01296 www.

Local independent retailer with an amazing selection of unusual gifts and home accessories Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Column: ‘Kiss & tell’ with Tracy Kiss

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Rising to the challenge


am incredibly excited to begin my new column today with Vale Life magazine, so I’d best start by introducing myself. My name is Tracy Kiss, and before you ask, yes it is my real surname my family heritage is Hungarian! I am a 27-year-old single mother living in Wendover with my amazing daughter

Tracy gets festive with daughter Millisent

Millisent, (7), and my cheeky son Gabriele (2). I am a blog writer, model and television personality with quite a hefty amount of life experience under my belt for my tender years. As an A* student I was bullied terribly throughout my childhood for being quiet and a bit of a geek, and it was a surprise to all when, after a self-funded breast augmentation at the age of eighteen, I went on to become a glamour model signing to The Daily Sport Newspaper and enjoying a fun filled lifestyle to boot. Following a suspected brain tumour at the age of nineteen, an undiscovered second trimester pregnancy, a six year engagement, the collapse of my PIP breast implants, miscarriage and £20,000 of surgery, I began bodybuilding, yoga, meditation and to find myself as a person, whilst juggling the perils and exhaustion of being a singleparent family! It’s safe to say I’ve had my fair

share of spanners in the works, but life thus far has served to prove to me that whatever doesn’t kill you certainly makes you stronger. And I have come to view life as one bright and beautiful journey, setting myself a bucket list and quashing my worst fears along the way. From learning to ride a motorbike, fire a shotgun, snowboard, spa with the UK’s number one kick-boxer and conquer my fear of drowning, there’s nothing that I won’t try, because we can only discover our true ability when pushing our limits. To this end I am looking for new and exciting challenges to undertake in the New Year and tell the world about, so please send me your suggestions - email me at: it could be anything from trying a new beauty treatment to a sport or activity, learning about a local company or a real daredevil challenge! At the moment I’m looking forward to Christmas. It’s such a magical time of year and I feel it’s important my children get to marvel and immerse themselves

Tracy Kiss

Kiss & tell in the wonder and innocence of Christmas spirit whilst they still believe. Please cherish the family and loved ones around you and be thankful for your good fortune. Despite debts, poor health, heartbreak or worries, you can be sure that there are many more far worse off than you, who would do anything to be in your position. Eat, drink, be merry and make priceless memories to cherish a lifetime. l Read Tracy’s blog at: or follow her on: Twitter: @kisstracy4 Facebook: /TheTracyKiss

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Column: Emma Ward‘Country Girl’

A stitch in time...


f you are a regular reader of my column you may remember my love of crafting and in particular, sewing. I come from a traditional family where clothes were mended and socks were darned and where it was an absolute crime to throw an item of clothing away unless it was sporting more than twenty holes... well, maybe a slight exaggeration but I certainly remember my old pyjama bottoms being used for rags in my dad’s workshop! However, sewing not only has it’s practical uses, it also has major health benefits too, with crafting now proven to lower stress levels and even fight the onset of depression and dementia. With the cold winter months creeping ever closer, the gloomy weather and short days can really affect some of us, including myself, so you can imagine how pleased I was to discover an antidote to those pesky winter blues: introducing The Plainstitch Workroom in the charming market town of Wendover. Plainstitch, as the name suggests, specialises in simple,

Holly tries a storage basket for size modern and fun sewing workshops. There are classes for absolute beginners such as ‘Get to Know Your Sewing Machine’ (perfect for those of you who admire your sewing machine from afar but are slightly scared of all those switches and buttons!), right up to how to make a variety of glorious patchwork quilts. In fact, patchwork, appliqué and quilting

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

are what Plainstitch owner, Debs McGuire, specialises in and her love of it is infectious. I completed my third Plainstitch workshop this week and after every class not only have I come away with a huge sense of achievement but also a feeling of being accepted into one big sewing family! Each and every one of the ladies I have met along the way has joined me in cooing over the newest fabric loveliness to arrive at the workroom and enjoyed a chat about last night’s telly over a cuppa. It’s such a stress buster to be so welcomed and so inspired. The wonderful creations coming out of the classes have numerous practical uses too, as well as looking gorgeous. I have included a photo, left, of my fabric storage basket (which I am particularly proud of!), being borrowed as a cat bed by one of my fur babies, Holly. If I can prise her out of it I intend to use it to store my felt sheets as I have just started my own crafty business (as if all my other jobs weren’t enough!) making unique home decor from felty loveliness; check me out at www.facebook. com/KittyPinkFelt. As much as I adore my new venture, the amount of felt I have is slightly overwhelming so massive

Emma Ward

Country Girl thanks must go to Plainstitch for coming up with an ingenious solution to the chaos! Of course with the ‘C’ word fast approaching these fabric baskets also make very useful gifts and there are a few ladies (and men!) in my family who could do with a basket or two. I’ve got a couple more classes scheduled into my diary before Christmas but I’d better keep those hush hush for now as I don’t want everyone to know what their Christmas presents are! If like me you feel you need a little winter pick-me-up you’d better be quick as spaces fill up fast at the workroom. Head over to for a full list of classes and more info.

Win tickets to The Adventure Travel Show


he Adventure Travel Show takes place from 17th-18th January 2015, at Olympia, London and offers the chance ‘Uncover your Journey of a Lifetime’! Now in its 19th year, the show is a world of extraordinary discoveries all under one roof. It is the UK’s leading event for people who like to travel outside the mainstream - whether it be on small-group adventures, exclusive expeditions or epic journeys. The Adventure Travel Show is packed with inspirational and essential travel advice, specialist seminars and the best adventure speaker line up of 2015, including explorers, adventurers, tour leaders and guidebook writers who will help you uncover your perfect adventure. Plus, the biggest collection of specialist travel operators all under

one roof will be on hand to offer guidance on everything, from walking and trekking to exploratory journeys, safaris, overland trips, life-changing volunteering projects and much, much more. The Adventure Travel Show at Olympia is where your journey begins, for more details or to buy tickets visit We are giving 3 lucky people the chance to win a pair of tickets to the show! Simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where is The Adventure Travel Show taking place? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by December 10th, 2014. Vale Life reader ticket offer: Get your tickets for only £6 (that’s saving £4 off the door price!!) by quoting ‘VALELIFE’ when booking tickets online at: www. or when calling: 0871 230 7159. (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras). l

Adams Travel Your Local Independent Travel Agent

11 Market Square, Aylesbury Tel. 01296 873017

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Festive dates for your diary: Aylesbury Town Centre Thursday 6th November. Autumn Storytime & Craft Session at Aylesbury Library from 10am-11am

service begins in St Mary’s Church at 5.30pm Sun 7th December, Christmas Craft & Gift Fair, Market Square, 11am-3pm

Thursdays: 6, 13 ,20, 27 November and 4, 11 December Lunchtime Classical Concerts at St Mary’s Church 12.45pm

Fri 12th December, Teddy Bear’s Christmas Picnic, Aylesbury Library, 11am-12.30pm Waterside Christmas Parties, Waterside Theatre, 8pm-1am

Sat 8th & Sun 9th November, Murder Mystery Walk from Town Hall 6pm & 8pm. Tickets available from Visitor Information Centre, King’s Head Passage, Aylesbury Tues 25th November, Farmers’ Market, Market Square, 9am-2pm Find unique gifts and tasty treats at our festive Farmers’ Market which shares the Market Square with the Vintage & Craft Bazaar so why not browse all the stalls and make a day of it?

Weds 26th November, Quiz Afternoon at Aylesbury Library, 4.30pm-6.30pm Sat 29th November, Winter Craft Fair at St Mary’s Church, 10.30am-3pm Fri 5, 12, 19 December. Live Music at The Broad Leys Sat 6th December, Christmas Craft Family Event at Aylesbury Library, 11am-12noon Sat 6th-20th December. A Box of Delights Bucks County Museum Enjoy sessions on Christmas plants and flowers, Christmas food and the geology of wine and more. Sun 7th December, Mayor’s Carol Service & Lantern Procession, Parade starts from Town Council Chambers at 5pm,

Sun 14th December, Christmas Fair Market Square, 11am-4pm Carolfest Market Square 6pm-7pm Mon 15th December to Xmas Eve, Gift Wrapping Service Friars Square Get your presents beautifully wrapped for a small donation to Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity. 15th-19th December, Christmas Craft Activities for under 5s, Bucks County Museum - drop in 10am-12noon or 1pm-3pm daily Sat 20th December, Carols@Christmas Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity & Aylesbury Waterside Theatre host (around tree outside Waterside Theatre)

• Santa’s Grotto from 30th November • Sunday trading every week 10.30am-4.30pm • Late night shopping until 8pm every Thursday from 20th November up to Christmas • Free parking from 4.30pm every Thursday from 20th November until Christmas in AVDC Aylesbury town centre and Friars Square car parks

Changes to shopping hours Thursday 20th November 9am-8pm Thursday 27th November 9am-8pm Thursday 4th December 9am-8pm Thursday 18th December 9am-8pm Friday 19th December 9am-8pm Monday 22nd December 9am-8pm Tuesday 23rd December 9am-8pm

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Christmas Lights Switch On Thursday 21 November,



NOV Christmas Lights Switch On 5.30pm - 7.30pm

Christmas Lights Thursday 20 November - Town Centre Popular event providing free family THU 5.30pm–7.30pm Switch On entertainment from 5.30pm. The lights will


Popular event providing free family be switched on 6.50pm followed by Thursday 21atNovember, entertainment from 5.30pm. The lights NOV fireworks music. There is also a small 5.30pmand - 7.30pm will be switched on at 6.50pm, followed by funfair and the opportunity to do some late Popular event free is family fireworks and providing music. There also a small night shoppingfrom until5.30pm. 8pm. The lights will entertainment funfair and the opportunity to do some late be switched on until at 6.50pm night shopping 8pm. followed by fireworks and music. There is also a small funfair and the opportunity to do some late night shopping until 8pm.

Weds 24th December, Crib Service St Mary’s Church, 4pm Thurs 25th December, Free Community Christmas Lunch St Mary’s Church, 12noon Especially for those who would normally spend the day alone. Please book in advance if possible. St Mary’s: 01296 437641

Wednesday 24th December 9am-4pm Thursday 25th December CLOSED Friday 26th December 10.30am-4.30pm Thursday 1st January 10.30am-4.30pm There may be slight variations between shopping centres and selected stores For assistance getting around Aylesbury contact Shopmobility on 01296 336725

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Sat 13th & 20th December, Christmas Children’s Stories, Crafts & Seasonal Fun Aylesbury Library, 11am-12noon



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San Santa’s Parade Santa’s Parade

SUN Sunday 30th November - Town Centre Sunday 24 November, Parade starts at 10.30am parade starts at 10.30am Activities 11am–3pm and activities 11am - 3pm NOV Come and cheer Santa, the Snow Queen A firm favourite. Santa and all his and herfamily Ice Elves as they parade along SUN friends parade through the town from Sunday 24 November, the High Street and into Friars Square for the High Street, around Market Square parade starts atGrotto. 10.30am the opening of the There will be a NOV and Friarsand Square. There will also be andinto activities 11am - 3pm small funfair activities across the town entertainment and free face painting after A firm family favourite. Santa and all his centre, including free donkey rides.

Santa’s Parade



the parade. friends parade through the town from the Highin Street, Square Information this leaflet around is accurate Market at time of going to press. andfurther intoinformation Friars Square. There will585880 also be For please call 01296 entertainment and free face painting after the parade. Information in this leaflet is accurate at time of going to press.

For further information please call 01296 585880

Markets in Xmas week:

Monday 22nd, Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th December Get Ready For Christmas! Enjoy the hustle and bustle of last minute Christmas shopping, pick up your fresh fruit and veg for Christmas dinner and maybe a final pressie or two while soaking up the festive atmosphere in Market Square.

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Wendover’s independent boutiques make it a great place to shop for original and unusual items. In The Barn Courtyard you’ll find much to delight and a rather lovely tea room too...


endover’s cobbled lanes and hidden alleyways are fun to explore. In particular the ancient Barn Courtyard behind Wendover Antiques Centre at the top of the High Street is a pretty collection of ancient barns, outbuildings and lofts that now house a fascinating selection of small businesses and a delightful tea room. There’s an artist’s studio, an interior design business, a gallery, a couple of little gift, craft and homeware boutiques and a fascinating collection of unusual gifts, art, jewellery, clothing and home accessories. LIVELUXE is a small but stylish studio specialising in home decoration and original gifts. Owner Trixy Gallagher is a talented, qualified, Interior Designer, with a flair for fashion and style. In the past she has worked for Vivienne Westwood, Pam Hogg and more recently as a buyer for Liberty of London. In addition to her full interior design and project management services Trixy has brought together a stylish collection of cushions, throws and ornaments for the home. She also has a great selection of fabrics and wallpapers and offers furniture painting and furniture restoration services. Pop into Liveluxe during November and December, mention Vale Life Magazine and you’ll receive a free gift with any purchase over £20.

l Liveluxe Design Tel: tel 07786990537 Email: Web:

Further down the courtyard is ‘a little bird told me’ gallery. Launched in 2009 by Melanie Bird, who has many years experience in fine art retail and framing, the gallery displays a colourful combination of original pictures and illustrations, including new edition signed Quentin Blake prints, humorous dog prints by Michael Ogden and Stephen Hanson, colourful flower prints by Yvonne Coomber, vintage prints from comics like The Dandy and The Beano and many more. There is an eclectic selection of unusual, original, hand-crafted silver jewellery by local designers including Kerry Newth (www. and Xuella Arnold ( and handmade folk art,

Don’t miss

The Courtyard Christmas Fayre Saturday 29th November and Sunday 30th November, 10am-4pm Fun, gifts and festive goodies!

Also Wendover Light Switch On night Wed, Dec 3rd - real live reindeer in The Courtyard & late night shopping 5-7pm

The Barn Courtyard

Come and meet


at The Barn Courtyard, 25 High Street, Wendover, HP22 6DU Come and wonder at some of Santa’s reindeer, feed them a carrot

two and ask them whatand the big man is reallyrather like. cards, toys,orbooks, gifts some funky Entrybrightly £1 per person with your I Love Wendover card to looking and coloured ukuleles or £2 per person without. bring out the musician in you! A full bespoke picture framing service is available for anything from prints to sporting memorabilia and if you take this page into ‘a little bird told me’ during December you will receive a free gift with your purchase!

l A little bird told me gallery Tel: 01296 622942 Email: Web: Open:Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm

Upstairs from the gallery is The Dandy Kid, described by owner Becks Clarke as a ‘family lifestyle store’. The Dandy Kid stocks children’s clothing (sizes from 0-8 years) for ‘happy kids with style,’ toys and games and even some items for parents and parenting. The boutique won this year’s Muddy Stilettoes Award for ‘Best Children’s Shop’. Brands are all stylish, well-made clothing labels, ethically sourced from around the world. The range includes playful, bold, colourful clothing from Tootsa MacGinty (now in Selfridges too), Bang Bang Copenhagen, Hello Apparel, Bella

Boo, Marmalade & Mash and many more. There are organic cotton Metsola babysuits from Finland, colourful melamine plates by Canadian artist Helen Dardik, quirky Corby Tindersticks dolls, Little Titans tights for boys, play tents and more. An added attraction is Hannah The Knitting Midwife, (monthly knitting classes at Whitewater Deli, last Tue of month, 8-10pm, who is in the shop on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm to chat about all things baby and pregnancy over a nice cuppa! She will be doing baby massage and baby yoga later in the year too. l The Dandy Kid, Tel: 0845 860 6016 Email: Web: Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm & Sun 11am-4pm

The Lady Gray Tearoom is a pretty, traditional tea room in the Little Barn at the far end of the courtyard serving tea, coffee, delicious, homemade cakes, breakfasts and light lunches. Open Wed-Sun, 10am to 4pm the tea room can be booked out by parties of 10 or more at other times for parties and events and there is a covered patio where weary dog-owners, walkers and cyclists enjoy sharing stories of the day’s adventures. Counting down to Christmas there will be an interactive Advent Calendar from which children can pick sweets and treats! l Lady Grey Tea Room, Tel: 07584 195327 Email: Web: Open Weds-Sun 10am-4pm

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Column: Sally Turner‘Fascinating finds’

Not just for Christmas...


ong before Diamonds were desired, Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds were used in jewellery to adorn both men and woman, the wearers believing these gems possessed mystical powers to cure them from ills and improve their fortune in love and war. Sapphires, the birthstone for September, are the second hardest stones, together with Rubies, after diamonds and come in many colours, not just shades of blue. The ring illustrated here from our stock is a stunning example of a cornflower blue Sapphire weighing 20 carats from Kashmir. Rubies are the birthstone for July. The Rubies pictured are in diamond cluster earrings. Rubies are very highly prized especially if bright red and from Burma. In Southeast Asia in ancient times, the Ruby was the most valuable gem mined. The Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan was said to have offered an entire city in exchange for a sizable Ruby It was said that Rubies saved the wearer from plague and pestilence,

Ruby diamond cluster earrings

Tanzanite pendant

Above: 20 ct Cornflower blue Sapphire from Kashmir warned of impending danger and kept the body safe. Today the ruby is a symbol of love and passion. Emeralds are the birthstone for May and are highly prized. Almost all Emeralds have inclusions in them, the fewer of these impurities, the rarer and more expensive the stone. The exquisite Emerald brooch shown is set with old cut diamonds. The Emerald was believed to know whether a lover was lying and cure all types of evil and illness. Today it is known as the stone of successful love. A more recent coloured gem is the Tanzanite which was only discovered in 1967 and Tanzania is the only known source. Tazanite gained almost immediate popularity both for its

Celebrating our Sapphire Anniversary 45 Years in Aylesbury

1969 - 2014

Rare Yellow Diamond set in cluster ring

Emerald brooch set with diamonds

scarcity and its rich, blue-violet colour. It is far too modern to have any myths associated with it. The triple AAA Tanzanite pendant shown here was made in our workshop and weighs 21.16 cts. Last but not least, Diamonds ‘eternal love forever’ are the birthstone for April. Diamonds can also be beautiful colours including red, blue, green and a bright yellow known as ‘canary’. Diamonds with good colour are very rare and can sell for much more per carat than traditional white diamonds. Shown above is a unique Diamond cluster ring crafted in our in-house workshop set with a vivid yellow natural Diamond. Jewellery… not just for Christmas, but forever.

Sally Turner

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


Hester Clarke Fine Jewellers

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


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

01296 482963

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

French Rococo ormolu candelabra C1860 with porcelain columns and gilded stands £1500.

The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

For clothing you would be proud to dress your gorgeous giggler in and toys that will last for years, take a trip to Princes Risborough where you’ll find a rather unique children’s boutique...


orgeous Giggles in Princes Risborough is now well into its fourth year and continues to prove popular as a source of excellent quality baby and children’s clothes, accessories and toys. Owners Helen and Mark Lowe are passionate about finding ethically produced, well made and reasonably priced brands. As parents of Amy (4) and Emily Grace (8 months) they enthusiastically seek out the best, new and most innovative designs on the market, appreciating that a child’s early, formative years are so important and should be fun for both parent and child. “You will find we actually have lower prices than the company who claims to be ‘never knowingly undersold,’” says Helen. Their range includes UK labels: Frugi; Piccalilly; Kite; Toby Tiger; adorable appliqué animals by Olive and Moss; and for little fashionistas - Lily and Sid, amongst others! You will no longer find the odd discarded bootie or sock lying around, as there are now ‘stay-put’ brands in the shop, along with super absorbent bibs boasting specialist technology to prevent dribble-rash during those testing teething times. “We of course still feature christening wear by Sarah Louise, as this was the original catalyst for Gorgeous Giggles,” says Helen, “and her beautiful hand-smocked dresses. She just uses the best quality fabrics and her

Toby Tiger Snowsuit

Melton Bootles

Sarah Louise Smocked dress Hatley Rainsuit

Ruscoe Bear

design and attention to detail is fabulous! “We also have Aden and Anais swaddling blankets - as snapped on Prince George - the muslin squares have many uses, from covering up while breastfeeding, to sheltering your little one from the sun, or using to lay your baby down and they are very keenly priced at only £18.95.” Helen and Mark are also pleased to be stocking the most beautiful Merino wool baby shawls by Piccalilly. They are made in Yorkshire and will snuggle any precious newborn. “Hatley raincoats and wellies, from Canada, are one of only a couple of none UK clothing brands to be found in Gorgeous Giggles,” says Helen. “We just can’t source a British supplier who is as good. Hatley’s lined waterproof coats are lovely and children adore the colourful prints. The wellies with handgrips to pull them on are brilliant too. The coats are £29.99 (RRP £32) and the wellies are £19.99 (RRP £23) and are our ‘price promise’ to customers. Gorgeous Giggles also has a fantastic selection of toys and games, to help Santa fill any child’s stocking. With Christmas approaching, now could be the time to check out the ride on cars, balance bikes, train sets, rocking

Frugi Snuggle Fleece

horses, kitchen playsets, farm sets, garage sets and menagerie of cuddly toys from small and cute to life sized - well, almost! There’s large Labradors and Dalmatians (no vets bills or feeding required!) at only £34.99, a huge Giraffe for £69.99 and King Penguin prices are currently frozen at only £21.99! There are plenty of ‘stocking-filler’ toys too from ‘Story Cubes’(£9.99) that encourage children to make up their own stories, to bags of marbles and inexpensive items within the range of pocket money. Letters to Santa can be posted in a special Santa’s Postbox at the shop and if posted in time, Santa promises a reply! Gorgeous Giggles has wheelchair and pram access and plenty of space inside, plus a safe play area in which a toddler can stay amused while you shop. If you can’t get to the store before Christmas, which would be a shame, you can shop on their easy to use website at: Take a look, it’s the place to go for the special little person/people in your life and a visit will be sure to put a smile on your face! l Gorgeous Giggles, 4 Duke Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshir, HP27 OAT Tel: 01844 690378 / 07519 547694 Email: Website: Shop open 10am-4pm Mon & Tue, 9am-5pm, Wed-Sat.

Lots of games and toys in store!

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Amanda Trott

l Column

It’s Autumn, the season of mellow fruitfulness, harvest festivals, Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes and cool, damp misty mornings that can play havoc with your hair...


t’s that time of year again - time to dig out scarves, hats and gloves and protect ourselves from the harsh, chilling winds and freezing temperatures that are, no doubt, on their way. For me the winter months mean donning gloves each time I step outside and regularly slathering my Clarins hand cream on by the bucketful, as without such precautions I would soon be suffering from hands sore with dry, cracked skin. Being a hairdresser my hands are constantly in and out of water and in contact with various chemicals. Combine that with the winter winds and cold temperatures and my hands soon start to resemble those of Snow White’s wicked step mother. Not a look I am going for! Lots of us have regular nail treatments nowadays but the rest of our hands can end up being neglected. Although hand cream can ease dryness even the best ones can’t always make that much of an improvement in the appearance of the skin, so what can we do? Laura, who has worked at The Belmore Centre at Stoke Mandeville for the last ten years and is their Beauty Supervisor, suggested I try a Carlton Diamond Peel Hand Treatment to help slough away dead skin cells and encourage new cell growth, whilst adding much needed moisture. She started by gently wiping a pre-peel lotion over my hands, just to remove any impurities coating the surface of my skin, which left them feeling squeaky clean.

Applying prepeel lotion 20

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Cool blue light helps aid serum penetration

A relaxing hand massage to finish Diamond head microdermabrasion tool in action She then activated a small diamond head microdermabrasion tool which she glided up and down my hands to remove any dead cells. Laura explained that as we age our cell renewal slows down which can make skin feel drier, so exfoliating our hands will not only remove those old cells but also allow moisturiser to penetrate the epidermis more easily. Already my hands were beginning to look visibly plumped and smooth! She then applied a soothing mask and moved an infra red light over my hands to help soothe away any irritation the microdermabrasion might have caused.

Infra red light

Silky smooth hands!

Wiping clean with hot mitts Once completed, Laura removed any of the remaining mask with hot mitts before applying an ampoule of nourishing serum which she then worked into the skin using a cooling blue light to aid with penetration. A Galvanic gel was then gently smoothed in before, last and not least, Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream was massaged into my hands and fore arms and oil was massaged into my cuticles. Apart from feeling so much smoother and more plumped, I really was amazed at how different my hands looked! The skin over the backs of my hands definitely had a finer more youthful appearance and even the dent in my finger where my wedding ring sits had almost disappeared!

Laura made me promise to keep up with slathering on the hand cream and recommended I came back to see her in four to six weeks, which I could also combine with a manicure or even gel nails if I wished. The whole treatment only took 30 minutes, so easily done in a lunch break and perfect for brides to be or clients wanting to make the best of their hands before a special event. l Amanda is a talented and experienced, Vidal Sassoon trained hair stylist. If you would like to experience the Kebelo Smoothing System, or to have your hair cut, styled or coloured by Amanda she is available in Thame from Mondays through to Thursdays at Eclipse Hair Design. Call 01844 260062 to book or arrange a free consultation.

Win an Ultimate Pamper Pack A utumn has arrived a little later this year but now it is time to think about keeping healthy and looking good through the grey days of winter. To help you in these aims, Bucks Health and Beauty has introduced a range of sensibly priced nutrition, wellbeing, health and beauty products to Aylesbury Vale. The ancient Egyptians were probably the first to show a degree of ‘expertise’ with cosmetics, applying poisons such as arsenic and white lead to ‘improve’ their skin; and a paste made from copper, ash and burnt almonds for eye make-up. During The Middle Ages women used leeches to make themselves pale and urine to fade freckles. In Georgian times men as well as women would apply a face powder containing lead, vinegar, horse manure and perfume to look paler (and hence more wealthy). Hair was often whitened with flour or finely ground chalk, lips would be reddened with preparations containing crushed beetles while false eyebrows were made from mouse skin! Many of these compositions were deadly and users would end up with hair loss,

sickness, muscle paralysis or in their graves prematurely due to heavy metal poisoning. It might all sound odd to us now, but even today there are beauty spas which use bird droppings as part of their standard treatments. While the history of cosmetics is peppered with strange items and practises which our ancestors utilised to enhance their looks and be fashionable, today, being more aware of our environment and what is good for our bodies, people are seeking to use more natural products. Happily the Bucks Health and Beauty range of Xenca cosmetic products, many of which are produced in the UK, are all based on organic and naturally occurring ingredients. In fact most of the products are suitable for vegetarians and are manufactured from certified organic sources.

Be a real cracker this Christmas

Even better, with Christmas approaching, Bucks Health and Beauty have some great special offers on their website: www. including savings of up to 44% on packs in their Perfection range, so you will not only look good but can get inspired with some handy gift ideas at the same time! Plus, as an introduction to their range, Bucks Health and Beauty is offering Vale Life readers the chance to win one of two Ultimate Pamper Packs containing Body Smoother, Face Smoother and a Skincare Bag. If you’d like the chance to win an Ultimate Pamper Pack, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to:

Photograph of Brill Windmill by Steve Boniwell of Bucks Health and Beauty Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by December 4th, 2014. l For complete details of all these products and more, visit: Look Good - Feel Good

What did the ancient Egyptians use for eye make-up?

Come & celebrate Christmas

at Body & Soul

Christmas Evening Wed 12th November, 6.00 - 8.00pm

By following one of Cambridge Weight Plan’s programmes you can achieve the weight-loss results you want or need — to help you shine this Christmas.

Treat yourself to 15% off treatments* booked and paid for on the evening

Unlike other weight-loss options, you’re never on your own with Cambridge Weight Plan. You’ll have your own Cambridge Consultant who will support you through every step of your weight-loss journey and explain the very real benefits of our flexible programmes.

December Offers


07538 827623 07983 093300 07718 742006 07900 806169

Beautiful Elemis Gift Bags NOW AVAILABLE+ LASH EXTENSION OFFER 10% OFF £5 off all full sets of lashes (normal price £65) Images courtesy of AmazingLashes

Your Independent Cambridge Consultant:

Kirsty: Leeanne: Rachel: Tanya:

Amy, 2009



Gift Vou ch in Dece ers mber

Not all bags will be held in stock, orders must be taken by end of November, subject to availability.


*Terms and conditions apply - see website for details.

59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury HP21 7HS 01296 434216 You should always speak to your doctor before starting any weight-loss programme. Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Providing the ultimate salon experience

It’s party time!

Call Eclipse Hair Design now, to book in for your perfect party hair


ith the festive season coming up fast and hopefully, lots of seasonal celebrations, Christmas parties and a New Year bash to be enjoyed, the big question is do you go up or down with your party hair?! Using modern styling products, equipment and techniques a beautiful blow dry can look as sleek and sophisticated as a classy hair up. Eclipse Hair Design stylists Sam, Emma and Kelly demonstrate some party hair ideas for girls who just wanna have fun. Sam: I thought my model Gina would look great with a vintage, Great Gatsby look. I started by applying ghd Curl Activator and then used ghd Eclipse Hair Straighteners to create a soft wave. Pinning Gina’s hair I used some padding to create bulk and with this as the base, added a detail of pin curls towards the side and a finger wave look


Jess before styling

Sam styling model Gina

Gina back with a side parting, which softened Gina’s face. Hair pieces, padding and glitzy hair slides or hair bands are my tips for a glamorous party style this season.


Kelly: my party hair inspiration is a modern curl up do, which I started by prepping with ghd Curl Hold and then used the ghd Curve Classic Curl Tong to create a springy tight curl - my model Jess has fine hair so this gave her texture and volume. I then pinned up her hair, loosely curled at the back and created some height by back combing the crown area and smoothing it over, leaving a few curls falling to the front to soften the look. This would be great for any party occasion. Emma: My model Kerry has lovely long hair, ideal for showing you don’t have to have your hair up to have style. The new ghd Curve Classic Wave Wand can create a glamorous curl that is perfect for the Christmas party season and also a lovely way to wear your hair down and look fabulous. Before I curled the hair I sprayed it with ghd Curl

Jess back

Hold, which prevents the curls from dropping during the evening and then finished with ghd Shine Spray to give a beautifully glossy finish.

Photographs by Frank Millar

Kerry back


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

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Column: Fitness Focus with Christina Dore

Health & Fitness

Join our club

than me as that’s a great way to improve your own game and I have enjoyed playing against both males and females, and all ages, from teenagers up to seniors like myself! out-hit the men, so you need to play Twice a year there is a fun differently. Develop good touch and tournament, often doubles, which be tactical.” He was right - a good sounds scary, but is fantastic fun game of squash is a bit like chess and our squash and curry nights are - you are trying to out manoeuvre increasingly well attended! your partner to make the winning There is also a league you can shot. I really like the strategic sign up for which is a great way to nature of squash and it’s very play and meet other players and satisfying when you win! play across all abilities. Because squash is a fast, I’ve been involved with Lord competitive game it’s also brilliant Williams’s squash club for a long for keeping fit, even when time is time now. It’s run by a small group limited. I enjoy good food so I find of volunteers and provides excellent it an easy way to burn off those value for money. Although the club extra calories! A court booking has been in existence for nearly lasts for 45 minutes and you can get 50 years lots of local people are a lot of exercise in that time. still unaware that we are open I am a member of Lord to anyone in the community who Williams’s Squash Club which has would like to play squash! courts at the Upper School by You can either pay and play as Thame Leisure Centre. I love the an associate or join and become a club nights when you can turn up member like me. and have several games against I’ve sometimes wondered what whoever is there. We do that every I will do when I can’t run around a Tuesday from 7pm-9pm. squash court anymore. Well, more If you play in a club you get to and more people are also playing play other members of varying racquetball, which uses a larger abilities. I’ve never worried about ball and racquet, but tends to be a playing people who are much better slower game with longer rallies so


started playing squash as a teenager, in 1975, and amazingly, I’m still doing it! A friend and I persuaded a guy in our office, to show us how to play. He was a bit reluctant but I really enjoyed the game, right from the start. Reasonable eye/hand coordination helps but it’s an easy game to learn and a lot of fun. Tennis pro Colin Long gave me some good advice many years ago: “Christina,” he said, “you will never have the strength to

Squash - A great sport for men and women

Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy Has helped many people in many ways. It could be just the help you need!

Christina Dore

Lord Williams’s Squash Club great for anaerobic exercise. I think I might have to have a go at that! Squash has been my favourite sport but it’s given me a lot more too. Remember that guy who reluctantly taught me to play when I was a teenager? Well, we’ve been married for 35 years now! Please see our website at: for more information on the club and our membership fees. The Club has two courts, shower facilities and plenty of parking nearby. If you are interested in joining please email our membership secretary Rachel Humphreys: If you are wondering if squash is for you or thinking about joining, why not come along for a free trial or join us for a session on a Tuesday Club Night. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming so come along and give it a go.

What are you looking for from your dentist?

Angie Elbourn

DHP. MNRAH Reg Hyp. Reg CNHC Over 25 years experienced therapist

CNHC are the only regulatory body for the profession of hypnotherapy that is recognised by the Dept of Health. Tel: 07775 677796 Website: (just .co not uk) Email:

Kate Walker

Mobile Chiropodist

ü ü ü ü ü ü

BSc (Hons) Hcpc Registered


General Foot Care l Verruca Treatment l Ingrowing Nails l Biomechanics

Relaxed atmosphere Friendly staff Appointments that are flexible and fit round you A dentist that spends time listening to you and doesn’t rush you out of the door Personal text messages to remind you of your next dental appointment Late evening (open until 9pm) and Saturday morning appointments to save you taking time off work FREE parking outside the practice


Tel: 078875 51591

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Ring Di, Hannah or Lois on 01296 398 180 Or email us at Or come in and see us.

Festive Fun Run A fun way to start the countdown to Christmas! Festive dress encouraged with all entries receiving a free Santa hat! Run, Jog or Walk our buggy friendly 3k route.

25 Sunday 7th December 2014

To register:

Thame Town Centr e R un star ts at 10am

Collect a registration form from FNHC Charity shops, Thame Town Hall, Wally’s Toy Shop or Kismet Jewellers or call 01296 429975

Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity Unit 2 Walton Lodge, Walton Street, Aylesbury Bucks HP21 7QY 01296 429975 Registered Charity No. 1119499

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We offer a full range of treatment such as:

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Column: Fitness Focus with Sandra Brooks

Health & Fitness

Time to be positive


he UK is eating its way to an obesity epidemic! It’s in the papers and on the news, and we are bombarded by social media telling us how we have too much sugar in our food and eat too much processed and fast food, which is leading to poor health and increasing pressure on the NHS. But what should we do?! Sandra Brooks lives in Long Crendon and has worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years, helping to motivate and educate others to achieve their personal fitness goals. “Fitness trends and diets come and go,” says Sandra, “but the basics remain true. To be successful you have to be inspired, you need to see results and it has to fit in with your lifestyle or it’s not sustainable. Plus if it’s not fun you won’t make the time! As a wife and mother, I fully understand the pressures of a busy family life. “Quick fix diet fads, calorie counting, pills, potions or meal supplements are no good. To make a long-lasting difference means a

Sandra Brooks DROPiT21



‘Positive Change’, in how we view food, our lifestyles and general wellbeing. This means little (or ideally NO) processed/packaged foods and a back to basics approach to food and cooking. Simple and balanced, ‘clean’ eating is a deceptively easy concept. “Eat lean protein, good-for-you carbohydrate and fats, fresh fruit and vegetables all washed down with lots of water and you can turn your sluggish body and metabolism into a fat-burning machine! “We need to eat ‘real’ foods. Foods that are un- or minimally processed, refined and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible. But be

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warned... there are serious side effects from making this ‘Positive Change’ - you will feel some, if not all, of the below: l More Energy l Better complexion l Better Mood l Better Sleep l Improved Brain Function l Significant Weight / Inch Loss l Improved Self Esteem “A simple change to your diet could also curb or prevent certain life-threatening conditions and diseases, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.“ Sandra has produced a unique 21-day clean eating, weight loss/

inch loss and wellbeing programme called DROPiT21: “Your taste buds regenerate every 10-21 days,” says Sandra. “So if you cut sugar/ processed food from your diet for 21 days your cravings will be gone! “DROPiT21 is a proven, sustainable plan involving fresh food, clean living and just 10 minutes of exercise per day which really does invoke ongoing ‘Positive Change’. “It is delivered online and can be done in your own home. The average weight and inch loss is 11Ibs and 11 inches, but more importantly DROPiT21 educates and changes your views relating to food - you’ll beat your cravings and you’ll simply feel great.” Call Sandra on: 07771 800913 see: or email:

Maria Bray

Nutritional Therapy

The Science of Health and Vitality l

Eat Well l Live Well l Feel Well


New Saturday morning Teen Clinic: £30 for 1 hour session l Boost your energy l Lower ‘bad’cholesterol/blood pressure l Lose weight without starving l Brighten your skin, hair and nails l Take charge of your health l Help your child deal with

growth/development or food issues

I can assist you to achieve your desired health improvements with a mutually agreed and appropriate stepped programme of dietary and lifestyle changes.

Call for free half hour consultation

Tel: Maria on 0771 5414719 / 01296 581561

Thai Orchid Massage and Spa Traditional Thai Massage, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy Body Massage, foot massage, herbal hot compress, back, head & neck massage

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

One hour Aromatherapy Full Body Massage £35 One hour Traditional Thai Massage £40

Reflexions Health & Leisure Centre

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

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

Tel: 07742 361711

Email: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Column: Fitness Focus with Catherine Campbell

Be happy! I

have been practicing yoga for most of my life and on a physical level the practice of asanas (postures) brings benefits such as improved flexibility and strength of muscles, joint movement, posture and alignment of the body, blood circulation, digestion, immunity, energy and relaxation. With deeper yogic practice, I have found over time that yoga is not merely a form of exercise for the body, it is a gateway to experiencing more subtle and blissful states of mind. It is a path towards unity of the body, mind, feelings, emotions, breath and spirit. 14 years ago through a Sri Sri yoga Art of Living teacher I was introduced to meditation and found a

deeper sense of inner peace, calm and much needed stillness. I soon signed up for my first Art of Breathing/ Happiness course and haven’t looked back! On the course I became aware of the power of the breath through Pranayamas (breathing techniques) and the amazing Sudarshan Kriya (Healing Breath) which helps release toxins and stress, reduce negative emotions, cleanse and harmonise the body and mind. Combined with simple and practical life-guiding principles, originating from knowledge, wisdom and philosophy from ancient yogic scriptures dating back over 5000 years, this path transforms the quality of life, bringing new expanded awareness

of the different levels of existence and a sense of connectedness and belonging to the whole. Yoga and the Art of Living have given me invaluable tools enabling me to stay balanced and energized through challenging or stressful times such as pregnancy, childbirth, depression, the ups and downs of family life, numerous relocations, surviving 1.5 years living with builders, and improved my under-active Thyroid condition. Hopefully I’ll breeze through the menopause and continue to conduct a busy productive fun life juggling different interests and responsibilities and being a useful focussed member of the local community! My friends used to say ‘How do you do it?! Now you know! My powers of observation and perception have improved and I am an even bigger fan of planet earth and the beautiful countryside and nature around us! How lucky we are - we have much to celebrate!

Health & Fitness

Catherine Campbell Oh and the only addiction I have is to fresh air! I became a Sri Sri Yoga teacher five years ago and a voluntary Art of Living teacher three years ago to make a positive impact on the quality of lives around me and help others searching for a healthier, happier, more harmonious and fulfilling life. It is rewarding to help spread smiles! I enjoy teaching yoga in Princes Risborough to groups of adults and at local schools. A few times a year, alongside Art of Living colleagues, I organise additional courses. The next Happiness Program and Sahaj Samadhi meditation courses are in the New Year so would make a great Christmas treat for you or a loved one! Call me for more details. l For info contact Catherine on: 01844 274962 or 07746 368085 Email:

Win Now to Wow!


ormer nursing sister and current Regional Director of The Athena Network, Sylvia Baldock, is known as one of Bucks premier business networking and business mentors. And she is now celebrating the launch of her book ‘From Now to Wow in 30 Days’, a step-by-step guide for those seeking to build a strong personal presence, which went global within seven days of its launch. Already well known in Bucks as a personal presence trainer and professional speaker, Sylvia, who lives in Aylesbury, has aimed her book at people in business Sylvia Baldock Sylvia’s book is available to buy who want to build their on Amazon, but if you would like business presence, or who suffer a the chance to win a signed copy of lack of confidence or direction. ‘From Now to Wow in 30 Days’, ‘From Now to Wow in 30 Days’ is simply email your name, address and a step-by-step guide to building a telephone number, along with the stronger personal presence that will ensure you stand out from the crowd. answer to the following question to: It takes the reader on a journey Where does Sylvia live? through top tips that ensure you Winner to be drawn at random are the best version of yourself and from correct entries and notified by leave a lasting impact on everyone email by December 10th, 2014. you meet, enhancing personal success as well as success in a team l environment. 28

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Any one of us could become a carer - if a family member or friend developed dementia, became ill, disabled, or frail in old age they might need occasional or even daily help...


t is thought three in five of us will be a carer at some point in our lives. There were 6.5 million carers in the UK at the time of the 2011 census, 49,514 adult carers in Buckinghamshire alone! These carers are not only doing an amazing job but in providing unpaid care for their loved ones are saving the UK economy more than £119 billion every year. It is not usually a role they have planned or chosen, so carers can feel isolated and may struggle to find the support and information they need. Aylesbury based Bluebird Care, run by Ruth Levett and Edward Banks, is the local branch of a leading national home care agency. The company works hand in hand with many local carers providing valuable respite care and help with various tasks on a daily or weekly basis. “We see first hand how difficult it can be for carers,” says Ruth. “There is support out there but it may be hard to find. “Carers Bucks is a charity that supports unpaid, family carers in Buckinghamshire. Their experienced staff do a fantastic job of helping local carers by providing: up to date information, advice and support and help to navigate the system to get help. “At Bluebird Care we have made Carers Bucks our charity of the year this year and will be doing our best to help raise awareness

Ruth and Ann discuss Carers Bucks

of their services and to assist where we can by giving out leaflets and fundraising. We are making sure our own customers in the area know about Carers Bucks too and we hope to be able to offer carers the chance to benefit from some of the Bluebird Care training which our own carers benefit from.” “There are two different types of carers,” says Ann Whiteley, Operations Manager for Carers Bucks. “Professional carers like those working for Bluebird Care and then the unpaid home carers, looking after a family member, of which we are supporting about 7,000 at the moment. “We don’t just offer advice, there is practical help too. Our Flexible Breaks for Carers fund can make sums of up to £500 available to carers whose health or well-being is affected by their caring situation (e.g. back injury, stress, psychological ill health) and is available through your GP. It could fund respite care from a provider such as Bluebird Care while you take a break, or help pay for leisure activities.” “Our Bluebird Care care plans are tailored to the customer’s needs and wishes,” says Ruth and can be anything from a 15 minute visit through to day long care. “We might undertake domestic tasks, such as cleaning, washing, ironing and dog walking, preparation and cooking of meals, or assistance with shopping and other daily activities, it might be assistance with start and end of the day activities, such as getting up and washed and dressed, before cooking breakfast, it depends on the customer’s needs. “In the case of respite care this might be just for a few hours each week, for example if the principal carer needed a relief carer, to allow them some time for themselves, to take a break, go and meet friends or do some sport or leisure activity.” Ruth has been out collecting and found public support really strong for Carers Bucks: “I had a really positive response,” she says. “People were very generous and several stopped to say what a great job they thought Carers Bucks did.” “We have an office in Aylebury and one in

Ruth Levett of Bluebird Care, left, with Ann Whiteley of Carers Bucks High Wycombe,” says Ann. “We run support groups with monthly meetings across the county that are very well attended. Carers can become isolated so these monthly meetings very useful. “We have around 600 young carers in touch with Carers Bucks too,” says Ann. “We work with schools to try and ensure the young carers get the same opportunities that other children have. Often they are happy to carry out their caring role but they need time off and to have their own lives too.” If you are a carer you are welcome to contact Carers Bucks for information and support. See: for details or call: 0300 777 2722. If you would like to make a donation to help the charity in their work, you can also do so via their website, above, or by texting: BUCK10 £5 (or the amount you want to donate) to 70070, or by sending a cheque payable to Carers Bucks to Ardenham Court, Oxford Road, Aylesbury HP19 8HT. To find out more about the home care services offered by Bluebird Care, contact them as below. If you wish they can visit you at home to discuss your needs and how they would be able to help. l Bluebird Care Aylesbury, 39 - 41 High Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1SH Phone: 01296 399000 Web:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

You don’t have to be an experienced cyclist to enjoy our beautiful countryside on your bike. So why not take the Chilterns Cycle Challenge and do just that for Rennie Grove Hospice Care...


Bucks resident Fern Britton - and ennie Grove Hospice Care is encouraging a fantastic £40,000 was raised in sponsorship. It’s hoped the 2015 people of all ages and abilities to saddle up and challenge will raise even more for the charity, helping it to meet the enjoy the local countryside on its increasing demand for its services. Chilterns Cycle Challenge. Online registration is now open “We rely on the generosity of and hundreds of Vale residents will the general public to fund around be signing up to support the charity, 85% of our £6.5 million annual costs,” says Ruth Proudfoot, Events which provides care for patients Manager at Rennie Grove Hospice diagnosed with cancer and other life-limiting illness and their families. Care. “There are a variety of fundraising events throughout the The sponsored cycle ride returns year, and the sponsorship money we for its fifth year on Sunday 22nd receive makes a huge difference in March 2015, and locals have been busy signing up to take advantage of helping us to continue to care for an Early Bird discount being offered patients and their families across Herts and Bucks. up until the end of November. “The Chilterns Cycle Challenge Last year, more than 500 cyclists is particularly popular came together to take part in the 1 15/10/2014 IR_ccc_2015_90x125_ad:Layout 14:15 Pageas1with a choice of three fantastic routes, event - including TV presenter and

A sponsored bike ride around the Chilterns with a choice of a 10k, 35 or 75 mile route – from family fun to the ultimate cycle challenge

Sunday 22 March 2015 Starts in Aylesbury town centre chilternscycle

01442 820740 supported by Fern Britton

Registered Charity Number: 1140386

Raising money to provide care for local patients Care based around you


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Child entry fees Aged 5–16 incl – £10 Aged under 5 – free Adult entry fees (aged 17+) 10k route – £17 35 mile route – £20 75 mile route – £30

Keen cyclists at the start of last year’s event there’s something for all abilities. The 10k ride is perfect for a family wanting to enjoy a day out with young children as it makes use of the Gemstone cycle ways around Aylesbury, going through Watermead and Fairford Leys. “For the more adventurous, there’s a 35 mile option going out to Kimble, Longwick and as far as Bledlow Ridge, then back through the Hampdens and Butlers Cross. Or, if you’re really looking to test yourself, there’s the ultimate challenge of 75 miles! Here, you’ll split from the 35 mile route to cover villages including Stokenchurch, Ibstone and Fingest, and go as far east as Latimer before returning back to Aylesbury through Berkhamsted and Wendover.” All routes start and finish in Aylesbury town centre, and entry fees will depend on the distance you choose to take on. An adult (aged 17+) Early Bird entry for the 10k route is £15, for the 35 mile route it’s £17, and if you’re up for the ultimate challenge it’s £27 to cycle 75 miles. Child entry is £7.50 (aged 5-16 inc) and free for under 5s. After Sunday 30th November, those wanting to take part will pay the full price, and the charity is encouraging

both past participants and event newcomers to sign up early and start fundraising. “The registration fee includes a Chilterns Cycle Challenge t-shirt, a medal on completion, and refreshments and encouragement along the way. It is your sponsorship money that goes to help Rennie Grove Hospice Care,” says Ruth. “So we ask that you raise as much as possible to support the care we provide. “We’re so grateful for the support we receive year on year in this event, and we’d love to see even more team entries of friends, family members and colleagues taking part. Entry to the challenge could even make a perfect Christmas present for someone who wants to join you, and you could plan some fundraising activities together in the run up to the event. We hope to see you there!” For more information on the Chilterns Cycle Challenge or to register, please visit: or call the Events Team on: 01442 820740. l Rennie Grove Hospice Care

by Cathy Soughton

Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital


t will be the most beautiful hospital in England’ wrote Florence Nightingale, referring to the new hospital being built at Aylesbury in 1862. Now the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, the grand Grade II listed building on the Buckingham Road was the first civilian hospital to incorporate Florence’s design ideas following her experiences during the Crimean War. Until 1833 there was no hospital in Aylesbury but a cholera epidemic in England in 1832 prompted a group of prominent local men, headed by Sir Harry Verney of Claydon House, to launch an appeal for funds to buy and convert a large house, on the outskirts of the town, into a hospital. Wings were added to the house and the Bucks Herald reported that it would be open for the reception of patients from 18th October 1833. There was no free service though - patients had to pay to be admitted. Initially only a few patients were admitted each week, to what was originally known as the Buckinghamshire General Infirmary, but numbers gradually increased and by the 1850s the hospital had become too small and a new committee was

established to raise funds for an extension. Sir Harry led the appeal again and enlisted his sister in law Florence Nightingale. Florence had recently returned from the Crimean war, and was helping to reform British Army medical services. Florence had specific ideas about how the hospital would be designed. She insisted that each patient must have 1200 cubic feet of space and wider wards, each with a scullery and lavatory. She advised Sir Verney “to have wards with windows only on one side is to injure the sick.” Plans for expansion were consequently changed to a complete rebuild and a London architect David Brandon was appointed. He designed the new hospital using the revolutionary ‘pavilion’ design whereby each ward was connected to a central corridor to maximise daylight and fresh air intake. It was probably the first small pavilion hospital to be completed and was used as the model for the type in Florence Nightingale’s 1863 Notes on Hospitals. In April 1861, the foundation stone of the new Infirmary was laid by Lady Verney. The building was constructed in red brick with an Italianate style

Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, Aylesbury central block with a large stone porch. It was formally opened in June 1862. In 1887 the Buckinghamshire Infirmary was renamed The Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital as part of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations. It is believed the ‘royal status’ was influenced by the future King Edward VII who was treated at the hospital following an accident whilst staying with the Rothschilds at Waddesdon Manor. Further extensions were made from the 1870s, some partly funded by the Rothschild family who had established their country houses in the Vale. Later developments included a new rear wing, an x-ray department and maternity ward. The Royal Bucks as it was called colloquially remained the main hospital for Aylesbury up until 1948

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

when Stoke Mandeville Hospital on the outskirts of town was expanded and took over that role under the new NHS. The Royal Bucks became a maternity hospital until the early 1990s when a new maternity wing was opened at Stoke Mandeville. The hospital stood empty for a few years until 1994 when it was sold by the NHS and became a private hospital specialising in Spinal Injuries and Rehabilitation. During this time it was extensively modernised with new facilities added. The hospital was purchased by the Affinity Group in 2013 and now offers a wide range of services for people with spinal and neurological conditions. . l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and house history research in Bucks and adjacent counties: Tel: 01296 624845 Email: Web:

Looking for an unusual Christmas present? Why not give a gift voucher for Family or House History research by a professional qualified genealogist? Packages start from £50. Contact Cathy Soughton at: Tel: 01296 624845

The Lily Pot Floristry for all occasions

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

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

Wardrobe Review Personal Shopping Group Consultations Workshops

Gift vouchers also available Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


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

Wartime, walks and puppy dog tales


rmistice Day in November is a chance to reflect and remember the fallen, and many families have their own stories to share. This year the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, has seen a flurry of publications on that subject. Local author Jane Cotter was spurred on by her own grandfather’s story to put together a collection of wartime experiences of the people of Oxfordshire, from local reaction to the outbreak of war, to experiences of those who enlisted, changes on local industry and the effect of the conflict on local children. Her book ‘Oxfordshire Remembering 1914-1918’ is part of a series of 24 books published by The History Press, each concentrating on a different part of the country, all handsomely produced and fully illustrated. “Why would you walk without a dog or a pitchfork?” asked Clare Balding’s father. In the Balding family, walking had always taken just too long for Clare’s liking - galloping was more her style. Then, starting

out in her broadcasting career, she was asked to present a series of walks with interesting people - and after fifteen hundred miles of footpaths she finally caught the walking bug. With the enthusiasm of a new convert, she then wanted to get her whole family on a trek along the seventymile footpath which

Win station book


elebrating some of England’s most iconic, busiest, and most visited buildings, The English Railway Station, by celebrated historian Steven Parissien, is published on December 4th by English Heritage publishing. It explores the history of our most treasured train stations and describes how these buildings have adapted and fared for over 180 years, through extreme industrial upheavals, engineering advancements, world wars, and both economic boom and crash. Containing brilliant photos from the English Heritage archive, the book is packed full of facts about stations, from gilded royal stations that accommodated elephants to stations bombed in world war two, about station hotels, station masters, station pets and the lives of illustrious station architects. Whilst deploring the needless destruction of station buildings after World War Two, Parissien celebrates how the railway station has regained its place at the heart of British communities over the last fifty years. If you like the chance to win a copy of The English Railway Station, simply email your name, address and 32

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

runs past their Hampshire home. Her new book ‘Walking Home - My Family and Other Rambles’ is the result of that and other paths Clare has followed in her life. Since 2012 Emma Chichester Clark has been delighting thousands of followers with her blog Plumdog, which records the day to day life of Plum, her dog, in Plum’s own words and Emma’s irresistible illustrations. This book collects Plum’s best pages in book form. “Hello. My name is Plum and I’m a whoosell - that’s whippet mixed with Jack Russell and poodle. I especially like swimming, leaping, catching, and croissants, and my favourite fragrance is fox poo. I live with Emma, an illustrator, and Rupert. My sister, Liffey, lives nearby. Over the last year I’ve been keeping

a diary. Emma has helped with the pictures, but the words are all mine...” It will bring cries of delighted recognition from anyone who has ever owned a dog and,

dare one say it, charm the pants off even those who strongly prefer cats. For all ages ! Happy reading! l The Book House, 93 High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3HJ Tel: 01844 213032 Open Mon-Sat: 9am-5.30pm

Children love books!

Come and choose from the best children’s bookshop in the county: telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: At which London station does the Eurostar service terminate? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by December 10th, 2014. l Steven Parissien has written extensively on architectural and cultural history and is Director of Compton Verney Museum and Gallery in Warwickshire. His greatgrandfather was station master of Birmingham Snow Hill.


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

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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


l Column: Catherine Stoker Learning process

Interview tips A-Z Independent education consultant Catherine Stoker advises parents on how to prepare your teenager for those all important interviews...


ommunication and interview skills are much in demand at this time of year. Whether for an up-coming senior school entry assessment day, for a place on your dream university course or to secure that perfect internship or job, many are facing the nerve-wracking interview panel. Here is my A-Z of useful tips to support the preparation process: Answer concisely stating firstly your thoughts or opinion and then secondly why you think that way. Body language - good posture shows that you are interested and enthusiastic. Communicate with confidence without showing arrogance to give the best impression. Dress smartly and appropriately for the potential job environment. Eye contact with the interviewer is crucial

Learning process Catherine Stoker Face should be clean-shaven or trim ‘designer stubble’ neatly to give the impression you take time to look after your appearance. Give examples in discussion which show you are well-read and have relevant knowledge or experience. Hand shake should be firm not vice-like or droopy. Invitation letter should be read carefully to check if there is anything you need to bring or prepare in advance. Join proactively in discussion stating relevant considered opinions, whilst also listening to the opinions of others. The ability to work and

communicate within a team will be high on the priority list of the interview panel. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to discuss both. Listen to the questions carefully without interrupting so your answers are accurate and to the point. Mock interviews are a good way to practice interview skills and techniques in advance. Never criticise a past, current employer or those in authority-show diplomacy and discretion. Opinions should be honest but not too extreme. Pause before answering. It implies respect for the interviewer and allows you to think of the answer Questions at the end the interview are your chance to show your enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment. Prepare some in advance and be prepared to engage in discussion. Research the company, school or course and the interviewer beforehand, to appear knowledgeable and interested. Smile often. Think before you speak.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Undertake a review of your skills and experience as relevant to what you are applying to do. This enables you to go into the interview confident that you would be a capable asset to the organisation, school or university if successful. Voice should be pitched at the right level to show a positive mood. Not too loud or so quiet it is hard for the interviewer to hear what you have to say. Waffle should be avoided at all costs X-factor-do you have it and why? You are what is important - be yourself and try to relax. Zealous enthusiasm for meeting goals set by new challenges will leave a lasting impression. OK, deep breath... smile... good luck! l Catherine Stoker is Managing

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

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

fieldstead insolvency

l Column: Jonathan Vernon-Smith

Consumer Affairs

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


e’ve all been there - you return to your car to find a dreadful luminous yellow packet stuck to your windscreen. The dreaded parking ticket! When should you pay up though and when should you fight it all the way? If you have been silly and parked somewhere you shouldn’t, and as long as the company/council has made you aware of their rules on parking with clear signage, you should pay up as quickly as possible. Delaying will only mean that the bill goes up. Pay it, learn from it and move on. In many cases though, things are not so clear cut. Very often motorists are left confused as to what parking restrictions are. In these cases it is always worth appealing. If you want to appeal, then follow these simple instructions: 1. DO NOT PAY if you intend to appeal the fine. Generally paying a parking fine is an admission of liability and you will not be successful with an appeal after this. 2. If you’re going to appeal, then do so as soon as possible. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Write to the company and ask them to put the penalty on hold until they have investigated your appeal. They don’t have to do this, but reputable companies and councils will do. 3. When you appeal, make sure you gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. 4. Take photographs of your car in position, the signs or lack of them nearby. Anything to demonstrate that it was not made clear enough that you could not park your car in that place. 5. If you’re claiming exceptional circumstances (i.e. you were suddenly taken very ill and had to abandon your car in a place you shouldn’t have), then obtain supporting letters etc. 6. See if you can get any witnesses to back up your claims and provide you with a witness statement. 7. Stick to the timeline dictated by the company or council. If you are late submitting information etc, then you will lose by default. When you receive a parking penalty

from a council, you need to have your wits about you. These are fully enforceable and need to be taken very seriously. Private parking company ‘fines’ are a slightly different matter and should be approached as such. Firstly, they are NOT ‘fines’. They are merely invoices and unless the company is prepared to take you to the small claims court for payment of the invoice, are nonenforceable. That is not to say you shouldn’t consider carefully how to deal with them. If you have parked on private land and broken the rules of the owner of that land, then pay the fee requested as long as you consider it reasonable. If you don’t then pay a reasonable amount based on an equivalent charge for a penalty on a public road. The company would have to sue you for the difference and explain to a judge why the extra money is necessary. If you want to appeal, then use the company’s own appeals process first. If you are unsuccessful then most private companies will be members of either the British Parking Association or the Independent Parking committee. They have their own separate appeals processes that you can use to escalate your complaint. Finally, the best way to deal with parking tickets is to avoid getting one in the first place. Always look for signs and road markings when you leave your car to see if it’s allowed there or not. l Listen to The JVS Show weekday mornings from 9am on BBC Three Counties Radio: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Exciting new things are happening at local pet supplies store Unique Pets, which is fantastic news for dogs and horses and their owners, plus anyone who enjoys a spot of fishing...


nique Pets will be celebrating its third birthday soon. Owner Jenna opened her first shop in Winslow in December 2011 and a second in Aylesbury just over a year ago. The firm is quick to respond to customer demand and is constantly introducing new lines which people have asked for: “I’ve had several requests to supply horse feed,” says Jenna, “so we are now stocking bags of hard feed plus a range of Global Herbs supplements, balancers and additives such as Flaxoil and mixtures to combat laminitis. “We have Dengie’s Alfa-A fibre feed and Healthy Hooves, a range of Baileys feeds and TopSpec’s antilam product, cool balancer and comprehensive feed balancer - there are full details on our website - we are currently giving customers buying horse feed a 10% off voucher for Global Herb supplements and we also offer free delivery on any orders for more than £15. “We’ve also been asked for fishing bait and are now pleased to stock a range in both Aylesbury and Winslow, which includes maggots, worms, boilies and tinned bait. “We have opened our own grooming salon at Aylesbury. The previous first floor salon was a separate business but they have moved and so we have refurbished and launched our own Unique Pets Grooming salon manned by Jaime Worth. Jaime is young but she’s brilliant. She’s an ex-hairdresser who has re-trained as a dog groomer and has also completed a Pet First Aid course! She loves animals, and worked as a student at Tiggywinkles before joining us at Unique Pets. She has a flair for the job and a great way with dogs.” “I’m really enjoying it,” says Jaime. “It’s interesting as all the dogs are different and there’s quite a range of styles we can do, depending on what the owner wants.” “We’re aiming to create a more relaxed spa type environment for the dogs, so they enjoy their visit,” says Jenna. “We want to make sure each dog gets the attention it deserves. “Some dogs are very nervous, so it may be advisable to bring them in a few times to get to know the place before they are groomed. We have a Pet Remedy plug-in which is a naturally calming diffuser to help your dog


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Ellie and Jenna stock up the new horse feed section

winter coats, made from thin soft-shell anorak type material which means they are easier for smaller dogs to wear and flashing safety lights for collars, so the pet can be seen in the dark, plus smart Doodlebone soft padded dog harnesses and jackets. The lovely ‘all-natural’ biscuit stockings look ideal for Christmas morning, while Oggi’s Oven dog scone and cake mix is something you bake yourself at home to give your pet a treat! See the Unique Pets website for full details of what is on offer plus a useful and informative blog on pet matters, or pop in for a browse.

Jaime bathes one of her new customers

relax while he or she is being pampered. “We use Wild Wash shampoo and condition every dog too, as it is good for their coats. We also utilise Wild Wash detangle which is great for getting tangles and matts out” Jaime is already getting booked up, so if you’d like your dog tidied up before Christmas, get in touch soon - every dog groomed in November will be given a free collar light as a little pre-Christmas gift. In addition to the pet food and bedding Unique Pets have lots of fun toys and gifts that will make great Christmas presents for your pet or pet owner. The rogz ‘grin’ balls are really funny - if your dog picks it up the right way, it looks like they have a big cartoon grin on their face! There’s stylish Buster

Jaime gets a kiss from Rory

l Unique Pets, Unit 9, Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury HP20 2SQ Tel: 01296 706403 61 High Street, Winslow MK18 3DG Tel: 01296 715697 Email: Web:


Column: Anna Webb‘Barking blonde’

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

‘Watch me glow,’ says Molly


he clocks have gone back and walking the dog just got darker, colder and wetter. Dogs owners are not fair-weather walkers! I’ve had it easy over the years as like most bull breeds, Molly my Miniature Bull Terrier, isn’t a fan of rain, or any extreme weather conditions. She’d rather opt for a lazy morning lying on the sofa watching Loose Women than braving a downpour. Clearly this ‘couch-potato’ attitude and love of daytime telly won’t help her waistline. Luckily years ago I discovered our ‘most useful’ product - an Equafleece jumper. Made from Polartec fleece it’s totally rainproof keeping her warm and bone dry even in a deluge. The jumper works just as well post-walk on a soaked muddy mutt. The fleece sucks up moisture in minutes and stops them from getting a chill. Molly’s ‘high-viz’ literally ‘glows in the dark’, very handy when you own a black dog. According to the RAC ‘doggy’ road incidents goes up every year in winter. Surely it

a chilly night. With ‘al fresco’ dining ‘filed for a year, we checked out some locals for their indoor dog-friendliness. Health & Safety states that dogs are only banned from spaces where food is being prepared ie the kitchen. Elsewhere ‘Health & Safety’ allows dogs in the bar or the restaurant. Decisions on dog policy is therefore a landlord’s decision and discretionary. I understand that a barking and generally badly behaved dog would irritate some customers, which is why like-minded dog owners obey the golden rule: only wellmannered dogs welcomed! Glow-in-the-dark Molly Molly and Dexter enjoy the relaxed vibe in the awardshould be mandatory winning Rising Sun in Ickford. to make Fido safe It’s a pretty ‘thatch’ with a and seen, like cyclists, great fireplace. Molly, ‘towny’ horses and riders? rates it as a perfect country With a raft of high-viz collars and jackets and One for the road boozer. In Long Crendon the ‘opulent’ red leather sofas in flashing dog tags in The Churchill got the paws-up, as stores locally, there’s no excuse. has the Eight Bells’ excellent dog Dexter, Molly’s ‘Mini-Me’, has friendly policy. There’s even talk a bright red Equafleece. His own coat is still a bit threadbare, so like that the ‘Bells’ might be introducing doggy bar treats - new for 2015, Molly, he likes his as a ‘pyjama’ on

Anna Webb

Barking blonde hurrah! The Rose & Thistle in Haddenham, although mainly Chinese restaurant, reserves a table for dogs and their owners, simply dogtastic! The award-winning Thatch in Thame is very relaxed about dogs, altogether - great news for Molly & Dexter. l Combining a psychology degree with

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

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

Out of the Doghouse Dog Listening

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

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

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Call: 01296 615905 / 01442 870990 Visit our website at: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Step inside by Polly Gibbs

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Trend Predictions

Having been on the London scene for the annual design trade shows recently, Polly Gibbs is literally bursting with looks and styles that are gaining momentum as we head towards 2015...

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. take you on an enchanted journey being a key feature. Three main looks emerge, from the outrageously dramatic, to more whimsical interpretations for you to choose from.

Victorian Woodworks have an amazing array of dark reclaimed and antique wood floors on display at their Mayfair showroom


reative geniuses showcase their new collections for the adoration (and scrutiny) of the design industry at the annual trade shows in London. With all the hustle, bustle and wonder of a souk, the challenge as a designer is to stave off the bombardment of materials, patterns and colours, and seek out little gems and trends. What do we look for? Well, it has to be eye-catching, different, beautiful and definitely not over-designed. It’s a lot like Fashion Week, with some design hits and the occasional design miss but that’s for another time. A collective opinion forms trend predictions, subsequently played out as designers pick up and run with their favourite products. So here’s a snapshot of what’s hot for the year ahead: Geometric designs will remain a strong influence since bursting onto the design scene in summer 2013. Bronze, copper and brass metals are really taking over from chrome and silver (though mixing them is hot right now also), and look out for inky blues, a

definite colour coming through particularly in cobalt, indigo and denim. But the look that got my attention has a collective sense of ‘Archive’, celebrating skilled craftsmanship, legacy and a big return to decadence. ‘Archive’ is all about referencing historical interiors and patterns, with bold decorative wallpapers that

1. Dandy Not for the faint hearted, Dandy is pure theatre. A dark and mysterious mishmash of collectibles and curiosities from every era, that collides with flamboyance and flair. This look is highly individual, loaded with masculine personality and an eccentric sense of discovery, adventure, grandeur and intrigue. Anthropological and archaeological finds (and the odd peacock) are displayed against rich dark woods, intermingled with vivid jewel colours, feathers, animal prints, chandeliers Continued on page 40

Golden Oriole Gold Leaf Panels (Timorous Beasties)

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Continued from page 39 and dimmed lighting for added drama. Masters of this look are the designers and restauranteurs Les Trois Garcon (explore their wonderful world at www. and you have to check out the New York home of fashion designer Nanette Lepore, which is more club than home (photographer’s site - www. Victorian Woodworks have an amazing array of dark reclaimed and antique wood floors on display at their Mayfair showroom (www. and the ultimate collection of curiosities are housed at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford - with over half a million eclectic exhibits from shrunken heads to voice distorters to inspire you ( 2. Moghul Moghul is a more serene interpretation of the archive trend that references historical Persian textiles. A sense of colonialism and empire punctuate this look, with faded materials featuring elephants, tigers and zebras. Long Indian summers, ancient scrolls and the romance of the Taj Mahal inspire, best captured in Zoffany’s Jaipur Collection. Mix statement papers and murals with textural

Step inside by Polly Gibbs Golden Oriole from Zoffany’s Jaipur Collection

plains for a look that’s alive with mystical narrative. Have a look at Burnham Tobacco by Warwick (, Jaipur or Pulu (the Persian word for ‘ball’ and precursor to Polo) by Zoffany (, or my favourite, Dazzle by Juliet Travers (, below.

3. Fashionable Foliage Taking inspiration from country

estates and textile archives including 19th Century botanical illustrations

Dazzle by Juliet Travers

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and artists’ paintings, Fashionable Foliage is defined by painterly fauna, flora and bird motifs reinvented for a modern day audience. Enchanting, romantic and sometimes whimsical, the look is timeless and welcoming, and I bet you didn’t expect Chintz to make a comeback any time soon, but Zoffany’s version, right, embodies this story perfectly. If, however, this is too English country for you, try combining plain textured wallpaper with Rapture & Wright’s Paradise Flower, left, - a beautifully rich wool that’s particularly nice in Slate 1 (www. For further ideas and historical context take a look at William Morris wallpapers (, or you may like to visit ‘Watts Architects’ Wallpaper 1870-Today’, an exhibition celebrating 140 years of pattern at the Fashion & Textile Museum, Bermondsey, London (until 18/1/15. Tel: 0207 4078664 / l Polly Gibbs is an interior turned homeware designer based in Oxfordshire. Her designs, trend forecasts and expert advice have

Paradise Flower, textured wallpaper by Rapture & Wright graced the pages of many a publication, whilst the simplicity of her homeware range delights designers and design lovers alike. Twitter: @coco_design

Chintz by Zoffany

tillynilly creative interiors BLINDS AND SOFT-FURNISHINGS – free measuring and quotation: assistance with choosing appropriate products and installation available At Buckinghamshire Glass & Glazing we offer a variety of services ranging from small maintenance and repairs to replacement windows and doors.

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Ground floor: tiles T here’s an impressive collection of independent businesses at Aylesbury’s Duck Farm Court. Some like Charles Huntington Flooring have been there for years, whilst others like Aylesbury Tiling Centre are more recent arrivals. “It’s a great location,” says Michele Fierro, owner of Aylesbury Tiling Centre. It’s easy to get to and there’s free parking in the courtyard, so customers can stop right outside. Michele opened the Aylesbury Tiling Centre earlier this year. He was born and brought up in Aylesbury and Quainton and has been a tiler for some 13 years, as was his father and grandfather, who is originally from Italy, where the family has a long history in the industry. Michele started selling tiles, tiling materials and accessories online about six years ago. Business grew and opening a store where people can see samples and discuss their requirements seemed the next step.

“I think tiles are in my blood,” laughs Michele. “I’ve grown up with them! There’s not much I don’t know about tiles and having worked as a tiler I understand the issues that may arise when laying different types of tile, so I can offer better advice than the average tile store sales assistant. “I also supply tiles, materials and tools to the trade as well and being a tiler myself offer great trade deals. “There’s an incredible range of tiles available now, all sorts of sizes, finishes, materials and quality. There’s some amazing prints

available now too, textures and patterns as well. Laura Ashley have a whole range printed with their wallpaper designs. “We also do splashbacks for kitchens - glass, granite or composites. There’s an accompanying glass tile to go with each splashback if required. “We have stone flooring and ceramic or porcelain stone effect tiles, which are very popular at the moment as they take less maintenance and are cheaper to lay and less to buy.” Michele supplies a vast range

of tiles while keeping his prices competitive. “I don’t have the overheads that larger firms do so I can offer a high quality service, while keeping the cost down,” he says. “I’m happy to visit a customer’s home with samples and brochures, see how the tiles look in the room, measure up and provide quotes. “We offer a full service from design to supply of tiles and top quality professional tiling from experienced specialist tilers. We also design and install bathrooms including the sanitary ware.” For more information have a look at The Aylesbury Tiling centre website, give Michele a call, or pop in to the showroom, it’s open seven days a week.

l Aylesbury Tiling Centre, 16 Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ Freephone: 0800 699 0065 Email: Web: Open: Mon-Fri: 7.30am-5.30pm, Sat: 8am-5.30pm, Sun: 8am-1pm

First floor: carpets U p the stairs on the first floor at Aylesbury’s Duck Farm Court, you’ll find Charles Huntington Flooring. The company is run by David Castellano, a master carpet fitter experienced in the supply and installation of carpets and flooring and his partner, Emma Goddard. Their compact showroom boasts a spectacular display of samples for all types of flooring from wood, laminate and vinyls to sisals, coir and carpet. There is a stunning range of carpet options from patterned to plain and everyday twists, loops and velvets, to natural floor coverings such as sisal and coir. One that is particularly popular with families is a fully bleach cleanable carpet which is ideal for children’s bedrooms. “We’ve got some lovely earthy, ‘Farrow and Ball’ colours available at the moment,” says David. “Greys, beiges and muted tones are popular too, perhaps with some texture in


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Charles Huntington Flooring

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

CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment

the loop for that waffle look. Dutch firm Best Wool Carpets do some lovely textures with lines and colours across the weave.” For the bolder amongst us and those who like to be a little different, Charles Huntington also has a wide range of fashionable stripes, tartans and animal prints. Any of the carpets can be made into rugs or stair runners, which can either be whipped or bound in a colour of your choice and fitted.

Tel: 01296 337181 Mob: 07767370067

Web: Patterned binding tape is also Carpets. STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ possible now, for additional wow 23 DUCK FARM See COURT, the Charles Huntington WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN ON information QUALITY OR SERVICE website for further factor! David is happy to come to your and visit their photo galleries for inspiration. home to measure up and give you advice and quotations. If you are l Charles Huntington Flooring, unable to visit the showroom, he 23 Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury, can bring samples to you. Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ Tel. 01296 337181 Charles Huntington can supply Mobile: 07767 370067 most brands of carpet - their Email: popular ranges include: Roger Oates, Web: Best Wool Carpets, Crucial Trading, Open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Cormar, Karndean and Victoria Saturdays from 10am-4pm

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Festive looks for less Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


by Charlotte Bolton


Charlotte Bolton

I love Christmas but with pressies to buy, friends and family to entertain and the home to dress perfectly too, some tips on how to add festive style while saving some pennies could be timely advice at this time of year...


very year I love the big run up to Christmas but nowadays it seems there’s pressure not only to choose the right present for each member of the family - AND entertain - there’s an emphasis on making your home look perfect too! So if like me, you don’t have a ‘decorative’ theme in mind this year (or you don’t want one either!!)... BUT you would still like to bring in a few stylish touches for the big day, follow these top tips for achieving YOUR fabulous Christmas looks for less! Create a Stylish Christmas Mantelpiece Liven up a sitting or dining room mantelpiece with a fresh-looking Christmas display. Use white or metallic-style lettering

Brown paper parcels tied up with string...


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

A stylish mantelpiece gives festive focus to spell out your festive message, add twinkle with fairy lights, and finish with a few sprigs of ivy or mistletoe. Classic decorating, minimal effort! Try or branches of B&M Home ( to find your local store) for a good selection of wooden, white and metallic lettering. Make your own Country-Style Gift Wrap This country-style Christmas gift wrap is fuss-free but still fabulously festive. Wrap your presents in simple brown paper, secured with sticks/twigs of cinnamon, bound with a sprig of holly (look in your garden or try your local greengrocer), finished with a simple gift tag. Personal, pure and easy on the purse! Try your local post office or local branch of WH Smith ( for brown paper and plain gift/luggage tags. Visit for a selection of

cinnamon twigs. Serve Mini Champagne Bottles from a Giant Ice Bucket Turn any Christmas gathering into a more glamorous get-together with glitzy little bottles of fizz. Displayed in a giant ice bucket, surrounded by twinkling tea lights and served up with delicious foodie treats, they’ll look stylish and help your party go with a pop! Visit or for mini Ribbon- champagne bottles - find giant ice hung mugs buckets on: Decorate your Hallway with Festive Ribbon-Hung Mugs Think creatively and originally when it comes to decorating this area of the house; try attaching pale coloured mugs (white, yellow or pastel blue/pink shades are good too) to your staircase. Fill the mugs with chocolate treats and candy canes to give your guests a festive welcome!

Ikea ( have a great range of simple coloured crockery. For colourful Christmas ribbon, try and visit for peppermint candy canes. Personalise your Table Place Settings Add kitsch fun to your Christmas table settings - simply adapt sparkly reindeer baubles using a handwritten gift tag, tied with a holly-red bow, to make personalised place holders. Voila... Christmas entertaining needn’t be complex! Visit or www. for reindeer style baubles, for colourful ribbon. Try your local post office or branch of WH Smith ( for plain gift/ luggage tags. Put Up a Beautifully Decorated Tree Nothing adds festive magic like a Christmas tree festooned with traditional decorations. Deck your tree with sparkling baubles and timeless, twinkling, fairy lights, then add to the super-festive spirit with a scattering of sequined cushions and

try or

Tie cutlery with colourful ribbon

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

Deck your tree with sparkling baubles and twinkling fairy lights

flickering candle/fire light. Both www.johnlewis. com and sell a great range of inexpensive sequinned cushions. Display Chic Christmas Cutlery Back to the table again – there’s no need to over complicate Christmas dinner with fussy settings if that’s not your thing - sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Tie together your sets of cutlery with lengths of slim, ice-blue ribbon for an elegant (and organised) dining table detail. For a stylish selection of ribbon,

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

Labels make simple table place settings

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Wildlife friendly Winter L

ast month I focused on keeping your garden birds happy. Now, hopefully, they are fully set up for winter, with feeders, bird baths and everything else they need. So this month I’d like to turn my attention to other wildlife and how you can help it survive the Winter. As I write this we’re enjoying an

unseasonably warm autumn, but when the cold snap comes, the native wildlife will appreciate any help you have given them. In turn, you’ll have the joy of watching the animals enjoy your garden, which usually becomes somewhat uninteresting at this time of year. Frogs and toads will often appear in gardens, even when there is no pond to attract them. Be careful when turning over your compost heaps (and even digging the ground) as they often bury themselves deep when the weather gets cold. Twice this year I’ve narrowly avoided spearing a poor old toad when I’ve been digging up potatoes! Create some log piles or rock piles, as these are great for hibernating amphibians, including newts. Check bonfires for hedgehogs before lighting. Continued on page 48

You can make your own insect home, or use a kit like this one from The kit is suitable for ages 8 upwards, comes in a tin and costs £9.99 Encourage bees by planting plenty of flowering plants and installing their own bee house, like this one from £15.99

Insect home

Festive Fun Weekend at Haddenham Garden Centre 22nd/23rd November

Santa’s Arrival

Don’t miss our huge Christmas Shop, with lots of great gift ideas for all the family!

at 11am Saturday 22nd November

Grotto open every weekend up till Christmas 11am - 4pm kindly run by Haddenham & District Rotary Club with all proceeds to charity.

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Sunday 30th November Stanbridge Road, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8HN Tel: 01844 290395

10.30am - 4.00pm

New Farm Shop Now Open

including lots of local producers

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Continued from page 47 If your pond ices over, melt a hole in the ice to let creatures drink, or get in and out of the water. Use a pan of hot water and sit it on the ice - don’t try to break the ice as this can scare pond creatures. If you float a tennis ball on the water it should prevent it icing over in the first place. A nice DIY project that can get the kids involved is making an insect or bug hotel. Use bamboo and sunflower stems tied together and hung up in the garden. You can also buy kits or readymade ‘houses’ from your local

garden centre. Lacewings and ladybirds will make their homes here. Also leave hollow-stemmed plants intact, as they make good homes for overwintering insects. If you want to encourage larger creatures into your garden, badgers like cheese, fruit, peanuts and lightly cooked meats. Hedgehogs will eat minced meat, tinned dog or cat food (but not fish-based), crushed cat biscuits, or chopped boiled eggs. Special hedgehog food can be found at garden centres You can build a feeding table next to a window if you want to watch shrews, mice and voles. Make sure the top and sides are

Hedgehogs will eat minced meat, dog or cat food (not fish based) or chopped up boiled eggs and water to drink.

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Nectar rich plants encourage insects which attract bats covered with a small-gauge wire to keep predators out and make a walkway from a safe area such as a log pile or bushes where they can hide. Mixed grain will attract mice and voles, while shrews are also partial to fly pupae, which you can buy from fishing tackle shops. Don’t offer large amounts of food as the animals may become too dependent on you - and don’t do it if it encourages them to cross busy roads. As always with any wild animals, exercise extreme caution and do not feed from your hand. For more on feeding wildlife see the RSPCA’s site at Planning for next year This is a good time of year to do some planning too, so if you want to attract more amphibians (and other wildlife such as dragonflies and damselflies) start working on those

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

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schemes for a pond. But best to actually construct it in the spring. Make sure that, if we have a dry spring, your pond is kept topped up (with rainwater if possible). Include some nectar-rich plants into your garden plans for next year. These encourage insects, which in turn attract birds and bats. Leave a patch of long grass in your garden next spring, which will allow butterflies to breed - as will a clump of nettles! Check out the best plants for bees and other pollinators – see the RHS website at www.rhs,org. uk for more details. Late flowering plants such as

Verbena bonariensis, Sedum spectabile and ivy are good for bees later on in the summer/ autumn. l Naomi Mackay is a freelance journalist and publisher of a website for parents of primary school-aged boys called The site includes ideas on getting boys connected with education, Christmas gift ideas, what’s on, expert hints on raising boys, book reviews, toys, gadgets, hobbies and competitions - this month you can win a fancy dress costume from Morphsuits as well as Earth to Echo DVDs.


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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

The industry and innovation now found in rural locations across the Vale, as farms rent out business units to make up for falling agricultural incomes, is quite astounding. MP The Rt Hon John Bercow has been to Quainton, where one local firm is moving up a division...

Joinery workshop Spraying workshop


Paul Hulin and Patrick Green with The Rt Hon John Bercow as he declares the new park officially open

Patrick Green gives John Bercow a tour of the premises

2 52

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

he Rt Hon John Bercow, Member of Parliament for Buckingham and Speaker of the House of Commons was on hand to officially open the new business park at Ladymead Farm, Quainton in October, where the premises have been purpose built to accommodate local company, Premier Industries Group. He was clearly impressed by what he was seeing, remarking on the quality and ingenuity of Premier’s British workmanship, the excellent apprenticeship opportunities the company offered and the positive effect the firm was having on the local economy. Over the last 16 years Premier Plastic Parts (PPP) has grown from a relatively small plastic injection moulding business into Premier Industries - a group of seven companies that complement each other and support British manufacturing in a wide variety of mediums. The business was founded by current owners/directors Patrick Green and Paul Hulin, on 1st April 1998 and has continued to grow year on year culminating in the move to new, larger premises in September. Their new home at Ladymead Farm consists

of three large units which will house the groups various arms and activities. Premier Industries currently turns over approximately £5.2m and employs 26 people, many of whom are from the local area. Patrick grew up in Aldbury and went to Tring School. He trained as an agricultural engineer before becoming involved in plastics and then, with business partner Paul, set up PPP specialising in plastic injection moulding of precision parts and optically clear plastics. In-house design and 3D printing capabilities now ensure that each project is right before the tooling has even started and with capacity from 50t to 320t and extensive assembly and packaging capabilities Premier Plastic Parts can take any project from concept to completion. Premier Moulding Machinery (PMM) was founded in 2005, after Patrick happened to drive past the world’s largest injection moulding machinery manufacturer, Haitian in China and decided to arrange a visit with Paul. They purchased a number of machines to equip the PPP workshop and in the process became the UK and Ireland Sales and Service partner for Haitian and Zhafir. The business has gone from strength to strength and has

Photography by Derek Pelling:

Patrick, Paul and Premier Group employees celebrate the official opening of their new premises seen a massive increase in sales in the last 12 months, particularly in the automotive sector, where manufacturing is returning to the UK from the Far East to capitalise on the technical and quality capabilities of the British and Irish workforce. ( Premier Security Products Ltd (PSP), also founded in 2005, specialises in security products to protect Retail Store Merchandise, such as tags on clothing, which have to be removed at the checkout or they set an alarm off on exit. The company is constantly innovating and designing bespoke solutions to protect the next popular item from being stolen. Products are made by sister company PPP and with their partner production facility in Hangzhou China. (www. EAS Labels Direct Ltd was founded in 2009 as an online business selling Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) labels direct to retailers and source tagging companies. These are the self-adhesive labels that set off the alarm in a retail store if they are not deactivated at checkout. They are usually applied at source by the packaging manufacturers, so the merchandise arrives in store with the protection already applied. This has been a huge growth area with annual sales expected to reach £1m in 2015. (www. Premier Architectural Joinery was founded in 2012 when Premier Group purchased local company Ladymead Joinery. The firm specialises in quality joinery for the listed, historic and contemporary building industry and manufactures for the trade as well as the general public, providing detailed quotations which include full factory finishing in the spray shop. An investment in excess of £1m in the latest CNC production equipment has ensured high precision, high quality manufacture at faster speeds resulting in competitive pricing. Annual sales are expected to reach £1m in 2015. The company employs 9 people of which three are apprentices. (

Joinery Spray Finishing (JSF) founded in 2012 is a specialist sprayer of trade joinery offering a delivery and collection service. They pick up bare wood joinery such as windows and doors from joinery companies within the area and apply a three-coat paint or stain system giving the joinery a superb finish and a 10 year guarantee. The state of the art spray booth has the latest spray equipment and rail system. ( Premier Metal Fabrications founded in 2014 is the latest addition to the group. Increasingly the group was putting out steel fabrication work particularly for PAJ and PMM and the decision was taken to bring this in house. By employing a team with more than 16 years experience the new workshop was set up to manufacture and install all forms of metal fabrication including balconies, stairs, handrails etc. ( Although the process of moving premises is not something Patrick and his staff wish to go through again for some time, their new home brings the group’s activities together once more and provides much needed room for expansion over the coming years. “Enterprises such as Premier should be

Patrick Green explains the plastic moulding process to John Bercow celebrated,” said Mr Bercow. “they are the lifeblood of our economy and can be very proud of what they have achieved.” l Premier Industries, Ladymead Business Park, The Willows, Quainton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 4AN Tel: 01296 655555 Email: Web:

Cutting timber in the Premier Architectural Joinery workshops. Sawdust and waste is recycled to produce eco-fuel briquettes for heating

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Win an Orchard View Christmas Hamper!


ouldn’t it be fabulous to win a delicious hamper full of locally produced goodies with which to feed the family on Christmas Day?! Orchard View Farm, at Little Meadle, between Haddenham and Longwick, supplies off-the-shelf and custom-made hampers to suit any budget, using produce from the farm shop - the majority of which is sourced within a 20 mile radius. At the farm Jim and Helen are currently taking orders for Christmas fare from hampers to homegrown free-range Bronze Turkeys to gammons, hams, beef, poultry, game, Christmas cakes and puddings, mince pies, award-winning sausages and

Christmas hampers can be made to order

6 homemade Mince Pies The prize hamper, worth more than £70, will be available at the farm for collection by the lucky prizewinner from December 22nd-24th. NB picture far left is example of hamper, not actual contents for prize. If you like to be in with the chance of winning simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where is Orchard View Farm? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by December 10th, 2014.

Sunday lunch at Orchard View in front of the new wood burner

bacon and even gravy - much of which is produced on or for the farm. You can shop from their fabulous website at: www.orchardviewfarm. or pop in - which is a lot more fun - see the animals and enjoy tea and cake, a light snack or delicious Sunday roast before picking up supplies from the farm shop, or collecting your pre-ordered hamper! Everything is homemade on the farm or nearby - in the case of the Christmas puddings! The farm shop café is particularly inviting now, since the addition of a cosy wood burner from North Mill Stoves like the one in their advert below - ideal now the cold weather is here.



Orchard View Turkeys in the barn at just a few weeks old To celebrate the festive season Helen and Jim are offering Vale Life readers the chance to win ‘Christmas in a Box’ - a fabulous Orchard View Farm hamper containing: 1 small free-range Bronze Turkey 12 homemade Stuffing Balls 12 homemade Pigs in Blankets 1 jar homemade Cranberry Sauce A selection of Organic Vegetables

l Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Lane, Little Meadle, Buckinghamshire, HP17 9UG Tel: 01844 273387 / 07968 560724 Email: Web: Open: Tue-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm






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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

The farm shop


l Column: Jacqui

J’s rockin the bake!


’ve never watched Great British Bake Off before... There! I’ve said it (runs for cover). Before this year that is. This year I watched GBBO for the very first time and realised what everyone else did ages ago, that it’s awesome! I’m not someone who generally enjoys baking, but watching all the drama unfold those sideways sneaky peaks at neighbouring kitchenettes, the ‘to prove or not to prove’ dilemmas, the show-stopping show-stoppers, coupled with Paul Hollywood stalking his way round each of the contestants’ benches like a lion with its prey - I could barely tear my eyes away. Seeing all those delicious creations almost sent me running straight for the kitchen to immerse myself in a cloud of flour and icing sugar. Not quite though, because I’m simply not a baker at heart

Farmers’ Markets Aylesbury: Old Market Square, last Tuesday of month, 9am-2pm. Diane Fawcett: 01296 585880 / Haddenham: Vale Harvest, Haddenham Village Hall, Haddenham, HP17 8EE. 1st Sat of month, 9am-1pm. Web: Thame: Upper High Street. 8.30am1.30pm, 2nd Tuesday of month and every 5th Saturday, Tel: 01844 212833 Tiddington: Sandy Lane Farm. Every Thursday, 2pm-6pm, Charles Bennett, Email: enquiries@ Tel: 01844 279269. Tring: Alternate Saturdays at: The Marketplace, Brook Street, Tring, 9am-12.15pm, enquiries@ Tel: 01442 842252

Thorndyke ‘Foodie On Tour’

– and heart, I think, is required. When it comes to working with food, you have to love what you do.; otherwise that lack of passion will ring through every mouthful. Though not a natural Mary Berry, I am occasionally tempted to step into the bakery arena and have one little recipe that saves the day every time I fancy something baked, sweet and homemade – the ever so humble Rock Cake.

Jacqui’s Rock Cakes Five minutes to prepare, then 15-20 minutes in a hot oven and BOOM, instant gratification. The husband loves them, the kids love them, plus they can be made large or small enough for packed lunches, biscuit tins… or simply stuffing straight into your mouth. Now this Wendover: Off High Street, 3rd Saturday of month 10am-1pm, Wendover Parish Council: 01296 623056 Winslow: Market Square, 1st Sunday in month, 10am-2pm, Winslow Town Council: 01296 712448

Farm Shops l Bucksum Farm Shop, Shabbington Field Farm, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9EU Tel: 07784 333977 Email: Website: Wed 12-5pm & Sat 9am-1pm

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2014

is home baking I can enjoy. So as a change to my usual wittering on, and for all you other non-bakers out there, I’m going to share the easiest recipe of all (other than Mr F’s ‘cheese on toast rules’), my mother-in-law’s Rock Cakes. You will need… 8oz/225g self raising flour 3oz/85g sugar (I use golden caster sugar) 3oz/85g margarine (I use unsalted butter) 4oz/115g sultanas One egg, beaten Some milk What to do: Mix the flour and sugar into a bowl, then rub in the margarine/butter. Mix in sultanas. Mix in the egg and enough milk to form a stiff dough. Form into 10-15 rough heaps and place onto a greased baking tray. Bake in hot oven (425-450*F/220230*C/Gas 7-8) for approx. 14-20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out dry. l P E Mead & Sons Farm Shop, Wilstone, Near Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 4NT. Tel; 01442 828478 Web: Mon-Sat: 9am-5.30pm, Sun: 9am4.30pm l Peterley Manor Farm, Peterley Lane, Prestwood, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 0HH Tel:01494 863566 Web: Open: Tue-Sat 8.30am-5pm, Sun 9am-1pm l Sandy Lane Farm, Sandy Lane, Tiddington, Oxfordshire, OX9 2LA Tel: 01844 279269

Jacqui Thorndyke

Pop them on a cooling rack if you have one, until ready to eat – et voilà, perfectly formed little handfuls of subtlety sweet, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside cake. Good bake, as the queen of baking might say. Just make sure you get in there early, they go really fast. l For local food and restaurant reviews and recommendations, visit, or follow Jacqui on Twitter @FoodieOnTour. To contact Jacqui directly, please email: Web: l Seasons Farm Shop, Home Farm, North Dean, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4NQ Tel: 01494 562481 Web: Open Mon-Sat, 9am-5.30pm l Terrick Beef, Grove Farm, Risborough Road, Terrick, Buckinghamshire HP17 0UA Telephone: 07767 493653 Email: Web: Open first Fri (12-6pm) & Sat (10am-1pm) of each month

l Howe Farm, Ashendon Road, Dorton, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0NY. Tel: 07852 417218 Email: Web: l Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Lane, Little Meadle, Buckinghamshire, HP17 9UG Tel: 01844 273387 / 07968 560724 Email: Web: Open: Tue-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Vale Life was privileged to witness a master at work recently - chef David Cavalier has taken over The Village Gate and whipped up a couple of sample dishes for us to photograph. Visually stunning, beautifully presented and quite delicious, we think ‘Gate’ goers are in for a treat...


avid Cavalier’s CV is impressive to say the least! Since he left Aylesbury College for his first position as a Commis Chef at The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington in 1980 he has achieved numerous Michelin Stars, Egon Ronay stars and AA Rosettes. He has worked in The United States and in France, where he gained a Michelin Star and had the honour of cooking for the King of France at the Chateau de Amboise. He was voted Young Chef of the Year in 1987 launched his own restaurants, Pebbles, in Aylesbury and Cavaliers, in Battersea, was Executive Chef at The Bell Inn, Aston Clinton in the early 90s gaining 3 AA Rosettes, an Egon Ronay Star and a County Restaurant of the Year award, before joining L’Escargot as joint head chef at L’Escargot with Garry Hollihead and subsequently moving on to Mosimann’s and High Holborn as executive chef. David has more recently been involved with corporate and commercial catering at prestigious venues such as Hampton Court, The Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace. He is a founder member of the Academy of Culinary Arts and has set up his own consultancy, Cavalier Consultants. Living in Chinnor and feeling that there are ‘very few great but affordable restaurants in the area’, David and wife Jo have taken over The Village Gate at World’s End on the outskirts of Wendover. David is not planning an expensive, fine dining


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Jo and David Cavalier retreat though, he thinks the Village Gate should offer great quality food at reasonable prices. The menu certainly looks good value with starters and desserts at £5-£7 and mains £11-£15 but with the option of a small plate selection at £5/£6. “I wanted to run my own place again,” says David. “There’s some phenomenal local produce available around here - beef, lamb, duck, Guinea fowl, escargots - and I just don’t see it being used to its full potential. “The Village Gate has been run as a chain pub and we feel it’s lost its way a little. We want to make it a place where good honest pub food, done really well, is served. It’s a fantastic location and it’s a great pub, it just needs a little care and attention. “There’s a nice bar area with a loyal following of local regulars, many of whom come in daily. It’s been good to chat to them and find out

Fruits de Mer: seafood platter with scallops, crab, langoustine, razor clams, mussels and more! what they’d like to see on offer.” The Village Gate is thought to have been built in the late 1500s and then brick-cased a century later. Originally a coaching inn called The Marquis of Granby, records show it was trading in 1763 and continued to do so until 2010 when it closed for refurbishment and then reopened as The Village Gate. It’s a welcoming and stylish pub and restaurant today. There’s a comfortable bar area with wood burning stove for chilly days and lovely gardens with far reaching views to Coombe Hill and the Monument. For diners a variety of quirky nooks and alcoves can provide privacy while the light and airy main dining room has a spectacular double height

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Loaded Burger: Bucks Chuck & Rump Steak Burger, Smoked Back Bacon and Truckle Cheddar served with Fried Wally (Pickled Gherkin in Batter), Chips, and Village Gate Ketchup and Mayo.

both in the range of dishes and the range of prices, so there is something for all sizes, shapes and tastes. For instance we have sharing platters and a small plate selection for those not wanting to eat a full main course. “Everything is made from scratch - even the tomato ketchup - the kitchen team Blackberry and Apple Pannacotta are at work all day - burgers are 50% rump steak, 50% chuck steak, hand-mixed and seasoned and served with hand-cut triple Marinated Salmon with Brixham Crab, cooked chips. It’s a simple dish but should be one pickled Ginger and Lemon Dressing of the best burgers you’ll ever eat!” Small plates include: Pork Crackling Straws ceiling and pleasant ambiance. with a Bramley Apple Compote; and Scotch With his years of experience and industry Quail’s Egg, Triple Cooked Chips with Curry contacts David has assembled an impressive Mayonnaise; and a Jam Jar of Sausages and Mash! team to run his new venture. Head Chef Simon There’s sharing boards, salads and pizzas but Seckington is another local lad (Lord Williams’s also mouthwatering mains such as: Chicken School/Aylesbury College) with a long and Braised in Red Wine with Lardons, Baby Onions successful gastronomic CV. He has cooked and Mushrooms served with Steamed Potatoes for royal banquets, an American president and or Fillet of Loch Salmon with Mussel Stew celebrity parties and worked with David at and Samphire. Desserts include Blackberry and Mosimann’s, L’Escargot and The Bell Inn. Apple Pannacotta; Caramelised Lemon Tart Front of house manager Dan is from Mansion with Blackberry Sorbet and a scrumptious Sticky House, as is his assistant, while bar manager Mark Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and looks after the drinks side. Vanilla Ice Cream. The menu will of course “I’ve picked a team who are as passionate change from day to day depending on what is about good food and service as I am,” says seasonal and available. David. “With our menu we’ve tried to give variety The Village Gate is now taking bookings for

Christmas at The Village Gate

Christmas Party Menu 1 £24.50 Christmas Party Menu 2 £29.50 Christmas Day Lunch £55 Boxing Day Lunch £25 New Year’s Eve Dinner with live entertainment £75

the Festive Season. There are two great value Christmas party menus priced at £24.50 or £29.50 for four courses, ideal for company or family celebrations. The Village Gate is also offering an amazing value Christmas Day lunch menu, which is only £55 for four courses and a Boxing Day menu at only £25 for three courses. The New Years Eve Menu is a five course dinner including a starter, fish course, main course, cheese course, dessert and coffee, plus glass of champagne at midnight and entertainment from one of last year’s contestants from ‘The Voice’, Andy Otley, all for £75 per head. Booking is essential for the Christmas and New Year menus and recommended for general dining and if any specific dietary requirements need to be catered for. Please note, the current website relates to the previous ownership of The Village Gate and will soon be replaced. l The Village Gate, 225 Wendover Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6BA Tel: 01296 623884 Email: Open from 11am, food available from 12noon-9pm Sunday lunch served from 12-6pm Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014 57

Win a meal for two at Hardings Restaurant


illiam Harding was a local 17th/18th Century philanthropist whose estate set up a charity, still active today, which donates around £1million to Aylesbury schools and their pupils each year. Hardings Restaurant at Aylesbury College, named in his honour, is run as a fully commercial operation, headed by an experienced professional team, which includes Nicky Austin (Curriculum Leader) and chef/ lecturer Fred Reader. The restaurant offers the college’s Hospitality and Catering students and apprentices ‘real world’ preparation for their careers - working for Hardings they learn the business of running a restaurant at every level. The young people cooking and serving your food are not first year rookies though, they are Level 2 and 3 students, bursting with skills, experience, enthusiasm and ability and can more than hold their own in the world of professional catering. Some will soon be making a name for themselves in foodie circles, so get in early, it could be a future Tom Kerridge, David Cavalier or Jamie Oliver cooking for you at Hardings! The emphasis is on casual dining, value for money, great service

Hardings Restaurant

and ‘true’ food - freshly prepared using locally grown, seasonal and sustainable ingredients where possible. And being as the restaurant is open all day and only a short walk from Aylesbury Waterside, it’s not a bad spot for a pre-theatre dinner. Hardings is simply styled to suit the contemporary location and can seat 60 in the main restaurant and cater for up to 250 people at functions by using the spacious atrium area. There is ample free parking on site too. For the festive season Hardings is offering a Christmas menu from Tue, Nov 25th to Thur, Dec 18th, priced at £17.95 for two courses, £20.95

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

Welcome... Andy and Emma welcome you to The Boot, modern country pub and eating house, in the heart of the picturesque Chiltern Hills. Join us for a festive drink, a delicious evening meal or a leisurely Sunday lunch, you will always be greeted with a friendly smile and attentive service. Our Christmas Menu is being served from November 18th lunch & dinner. Bookings also now being taken for Christmas Day Lunch and Boxing Day. Open: Tue-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12noon-7pm Food served: Tue-Sat: 12noon-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm (from 5pm Fridays) Coffee and pastries from 11am Sundays: 12noon-6pm. Closed Mondays Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 | Email: Website: 58

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

for three. Among your choices are: Honey Roast Parsnip Soup with Herb Palmiers and Spiced Curry Oils (V), or Mosaic of Smoked Ham Hock, Wild Mushrooms with Pickled Silverskin Onions, Apple Chutney and Toasted Bread to start; Roasted Supreme of Salmon with Aubergine Caviar, Wilted Spinach and Salsa Verde; Turkey and all the trimmings, or Tatin of Confit Shallot, Beetroot and Goat`s Cheese with a Herb Reduction Sauce (V); and for dessert: Christmas Pudding and Brandy Sauce; or Bitter Chocolate Tart with Chantilly Cream and Raspberry Coulis. The Hardings team can cater for

everything from a romantic meal for two, to weddings, private parties, breakfast functions and business meetings and offers a full outside catering service too. “The students here are very capable,” says Fred Reader. “The Duke of York has dined here twice and was very impressed. We regularly cater for council events, clubs and societies as well as private functions. The food our kitchens produce is very high quality but we keep prices around the £20 mark for a three course meal, so it’s very good value. If you’d like to be in with the chace of winning a meal for two with bottle of house wine at Hardings Restaurant simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: Who is Hardings named after? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by December 10th, 2014. l Hardings Restaurant, Aylesbury College, Oxford Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 8PD Tel: 01296 588577 / 01296 588568 Email: Web: Open: Mon-Fri 8am-10pm, Sat/Sun available for functions.

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Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Just ploughing in the rain


ore than 160 years ago The Chiltern Hills Agricultural Association was created to encourage farmers within a 10 mile radius of Wendover to enter competitions. Local livestock and arable countrymen flocked to join in and be judged on their sheep, dairy and beef cattle and the crops growing in their fields and the competitions continue today, with members gathering throughout the year to enter the different classes on offer. The most recent competition was the annual ploughing match, held this year at Chambers Green Farm in St Leonards near Wendover and it was a very soggy affair indeed! After our lovely long hot summer, when rain was undeniably needed by many farmers, the heavens opened just a few hours too soon to drench everyone taking part or watching. Quite a different scene from last year when the sun shone down brilliantly. And so, as many of the farmers


Chiltern Hills Agricultural Association chairman Ian Waller taking part were doing so in vintage tractors without cabs, they did get very very wet. Thanks to the inclement weather, support from the general public was less obvious than last year, but the farming community stoically turned out in their waterproof jackets and wellies to cheer on the competitors. I was able to speak to association chairman Ian Waller in relative dryness thanks to the kindness of Roger Freeman, agricultural manager of George Browns from

Chesham, a main dealer for Kubota agricultural machinery, who allowed us to shelter in his show trailer. Mr Waller said: “Most of the tractors here today haven’t got cabs on them and this is how it would have been back in the day when this was the standard equipment on a farm. People would have worked out for months at a time on a tractor without a cab, so for these competitors today, out there for a couple of hours doing something they really enjoy, the rain is but a minor inconvenience.” We watched as 18 competitors ploughed their furrows in a variety of different classes with vintage ploughs and modern day reversibles. With so many different classes and different machines being used, I wondered how a judgement could be fairly made. Mr Waller said: “The judges are looking for straightness, burying of trash, which is the straw on the surface, consistency of the furrows, evenness and a perfect finish at the end.”

This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

The overall winner of the whole competition was Mark Clifford from Bovingdon. He received a cup and prize money. Secretary Ruth Wass said: “Everyone had a good time. The farmers do need the rain but it would have been better if it had held off for a few hours until after the competition!” Hot refreshments were provided by Poppet Baylis to warm everyone at the end of the day. l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

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

£49.95 Per PerSON




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

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

For more information or to book any of the above events, contact us on 01296 734000 and quote reference ‘VALe eVeNTS 1’ Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Having undergone a complete and spectacular renovation and refurbishment, The Crown at Granborough is proud to welcome new head chef Darren Wright. He has cooked for The Queen and Prince Charles but promises his efforts for us lesser mortals will be no less impressive...


oby Marchant has lived in the pretty village of Granborough, near Winslow, just a few miles to the North of Aylesbury for some 17 years. He watched the last of the three village pubs head for closure and stepped in to save The Crown from redevelopment last year. He has since orchestrated a complete refurbishment, which has transformed the tired old local into a cosy, stylish, contemporary pub and restaurant that is comfortable and modern while still retaining the character and welcome of a traditional pub. “We’ve preserved character features such as the Victorian quarry tiles and exposed the beamed ceilings,” says Toby, “We’re not sure exactly how old the place is though. It’s always been a pub, or a coaching inn and parts date back to at least the 1400s.” “We have a traditional public bar, a separate wine bar, a small cosy restaurant room called the Crown Room, that seats 20 and a beautiful main restaurant - The Oak Room - that seats 40,” says Toby. “We’ve done a lot of work outside too, which proved very popular this Summer. We now have an outside kitchen area with a pizza oven and barbecue, a sun terrace with an outside bar, a Garden Restaurant area which seats 40 and a lawned Beer Garden that seats many more and boasts the added attraction of a children’s Jungle Gym play frame! “We are keen for The Crown to be a centre for the community as well as somewhere to come for a special occasion. It ends up being a very diverse offer, from Wednesday coffee

The Wine Bar


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

The Oak Room mornings to events involving hundreds of developed his skills cooking for nobility at people such as the Charter Fayre and Ascot The Duke & Duchess of Devonshire’s home, Day, which are hard work but a lot of fun. Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.: “It was “Foodwise we are a real honour to cook for offering a choice - good the Duke and Duchess homemade pub grub from and their guests,” says our Crown Classics Menu Darren, “which included or high end gourmet fare HRH Queen Elizabeth, from our Crown Jewels Prince Charles, Hubert de Menu.” Givenchy (who praised my Being new to the Crème Brûlée as ‘better restaurant trade - Toby was than in Paris’) and many formerly the CEO of an more! We catered for Australian multi-national everything from small paper company - Toby private dinners to large admits it has taken a year banquets, it was a great Head Chef Darren Wright to understand the elements experience and a real that were needed to realise privilege.” his vision for The Crown. “We’ve learnt from Darren left Chatsworth in 2005 and has our mistakes and have a great team in place since worked at The Peartree, Purton, a small here now,” he says. “We are very excited to be hotel and restaurant specialising in modern welcoming Darren Wright as our new head English cuisine and at Calcot Manor, Tetbury. chef. He has the ability, ideas, enthusiasm and “I guess my style could be described as experience to take us to the next level.” Classic British with a European influence,” Darren was previously cooking for fine says Darren. “The Crown menu will develop diners at The Bell at Ramsbury in Wiltshire. over the coming months as I get a feel for He is originally from Mansfield and is what our customers enjoy. People might want an experienced and talented chef having a burger or a steak and they’ll be able to have

The Main Bar

The Crown, Granborough Saturday evening, comprising exciting and creative dishes which may change daily as we will be utilising the best local produce and adapting to what is seasonally available. Our seven course Tasting Menu featuring the best of The Crown Jewels is the ultimate enjoyment of what we have to offer!” “Darren’s influence can already be seen - working with Sous Chef Mitchell and the kitchen team he has created an exciting Christmas party menu which is available from November 18th. “Our turkeys come from a mile or so up the road at Laurel farm Singleborough,” says Toby. “They are amazing KellyBronze® freerange turkeys bred to provide the ultimate experience in Christmas dining and Darren is utilising the latest sealed cooking techniques to produce the most succulent and juicy turkey ever! “For an alternative though, there is Honey The Crown Royale Burger Glazed Duck Breast served with Garlic the finest quality examples here, but sometimes Gnocchi, Orange and Rosemary Jus; or Pan you want to be wowed and have something a Fried Sea Bass with Lemon Cous Cous, Beurre little special and we will cater for that too. Blanc and Creamed Leaks; or a Feta, Butternut “Everything will be made on the premises Squash and Spinach and cooked freshly from the best locally filo ‘Christmas Cracker’ sourced ingredients. For me it’s important to with Tomato Relish.” ensure the quality of your base ingredients. The Christmas menu How you cook them and the flavours you add is mouthwatering and will all enhance the dish but the initial quality at £26 per head for of the key ingredients is all important. five courses looks great “I want people to come here and struggle to value too. choose from the menu as they are tempted by “We aspire to do everything. I encourage customers to submit something really special suggestions for dishes they’d like to see on the here,” says Toby. “The menu. If you had a childhood favourite let me whole concept is to know and I’ll try and improve on it! give people a great “Running two menus gives our customers experience and have choice. The Crown Classic menu, available for them leave here going lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday wow! Darren has joined us on that basis. His with traditional pub classics such as Ham, Egg Christmas menu, for instance, has some lovely and Chips, Bangers and Mash, or the Crown touches. From the Roast Chestnuts with Sea Royale Burger is always going to be popular, Salt on the table at the start to the Mince Pies plus there’s bar snacks, a sandwich board menu and Panattone with your Coffee to finish, his and a midweek fixed price two or three course fine dining experience is adding a real flourish lunchtime menu for those taking a break from to our food.” work or enjoying a midweek outing. Front of House Manager Annabelle “Meanwhile The Crown Jewels, is a fine Kirkland lives in Granborough but is originally dining menu, available from Thursday to from Cape Town. “I love it here,” she says.

An Autumn Picnic

A lamb dish from The Crown Jewels “The Crown is a beautiful old building, where you can enjoy excellent food in a very relaxed atmosphere. I think people like the local provenance and the seasonal nature of the menu and the way it is all freshly prepared on the premises. It’s homely here if you want to pop in for a snack or a pint but also a little bit special if you are celebrating an occasion. There’s a pub side and restaurant side so you get two atmospheres in one building.” Pub Manager Frank Haynes runs the bar and keeps an eye on the building and is often commended for the quality and condition of his ales. There are generally four on pump including Doom Bar and Marstons Pedigree, plus a local beer or two. The wine list isn’t particularly long but contains an impressive selection of carefully sourced and rigorously tested wines that Toby has personally vetted! “I love wine, on its own and with food,” says Toby “and we have some really cracking examples here.” The Crown also boasts a small Cocktail list and already has a reputation for Frank’s excellent Bloody The Crown Room Mary or ‘Bloody Caesar’ made with Clamato juice, a mixture of tomato juice and clam broth, which is apparently very popular in Canada! The Christmas menu will be available for pre-booked parties from November 18th. Booking is also advised for Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes when a traditional roast dinner is served. See The Crown website or call for details. l The Crown Pub & Restaurant, Winslow Road, Granborough, Buckingham, MK18 3NJ Tel: 01296 670216 Email: Web: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Le Bistro at Wendover is a versatile place, equally appealing for afternoon tea , as for a business lunch, family celebration, romantic dinner or lively party night. Andrea Frost eyes the menu...


s a citizen of Wendover, I have been fortunate enough to dine at Le Bistro on many occasions. Sitting at the top of Wendover High Street this family run restaurant has provided great food and excellent service for more than 30 years and with a special festive menu and party nights laid on throughout December it is thought of locally as the place to celebrate Christmas. Le Bistro has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the attention given by the highly trained staff is second to none. Restaurant manager Ben, wife Amy and their team care about their customers’ experience and it is this personal attention that results in many returning on a regular basis. The food, the ambiance and the service are always very good and they really know how to make Christmas special too, for all the family. Children are made very welcome and a festive children’s menu is available. Le Bistro has grown from humble beginnings as a tea room, back in the 80s, to a restaurant serving a mix of European and Persian dishes, inspired by the family’s Iranian roots. Regulars will be familiar with Le Bistro’s signature Beef Stroganoff and Straw Chips which has to remain on the menu to satisfy a constant demand! The tiled floors, mirrors and central bar give a distinctly continental brasserie feel by day, while at night the soft lighting, cosy corners, intimate tables and exotic fragrance of Middle Eastern dishes suggest you could be much further afield. The Christmas Party Menu is available lunchtime and evenings throughout

Revellers at Le Bistro’s New Year party last year


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Le Bistro manager Ben with wife Amy, whose family own the restaurant

Le Bistro by day December and boasts a mouthwatering choice of dishes from Traditional Norfolk Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, Wrapped Chipolatas and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, to the exotic Le Bistro speciality Fessenjon - Persian Ragout, Ground Walnuts Pomegranate Jus, Lamb Meatballs and Chicken Breast served with Saffron Rice! Lunch is £18.95 for two courses, £23.95 for three while dinner from Tue-Thur is £26.95 and Fri/Sat is £29.95. Every Thursday throughout December Le Bistro hosts a Christmas party night for groups to enjoy a three course set menu followed by dancing to a disco - great for an office party or a get together with friends and only £26.95 per person. On Wednesday December 3rd Wendover celebrates its annual Christmas Light Switch On. There’s late night shopping and staff at

Le Bistro will be selling discount vouchers for the restaurant (usable within six months). Le Bistro hosts a special Christmas Dinner and Dance on Saturday 13th Dec (£35) and bookings are now also being taken for their annual ‘Sing Along & Swing Along Christmas Eve Lunch’ when special guest, Santa, will pop in before setting off on his night shift! A New Year’s Eve party night with seven course banquet and disco rounds off the year’s events - details along with all the menus can be seen at:

l Le Bistro, 4 Pound Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EJ Tel: 01296 622092 Email: Web: Open: Thur-Sat 12noon-3pm and Tue-Sat 6pm-10.30pm, Sundays: 12noon-3pm.

Ben & team welcome you to

The George & Dragon

l l



l l

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

Win a Click Stick!


e’ve all been there... you gather your mates together for that hilarious group Selfie, your arm is stretched to breaking point, your hand is shaking and your finger is struggling for that button and... damn! You’ve just cropped yourself out! Designed to ease the strain of taking pictures with your mobi, ThumbsUp!’s Click Stick Monopod will drastically change the way you snap Selfies! This smartphone monopod extends up to 1m, a clamp allows you to adjust the angle of shot and it is fitted with a button that allows you to remotely take your photos. The Click Stick needs no bluetoothpairing or batteries! Simply plug your Smartphone into the headphone socket, strike a pose and click the stick! The selfie stick is designed to work with iPhones and Androids, as easily as a flick of a switch and is compatible with most

Smartphones. Android users: download app Camera 360 for optimum use The Click Stick is available for £19.99 from but if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning one of these handy gadgets in time for Christmas, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: How far does the Click Stick extend? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by December 10th, 2014. l

The Restaurant is open: Tue-Fri: 12pm-2.30pm, Sat/Sun: 12pm-3.30pm Evenings, Tue-Sat: 6pm-8.30pm Sunday Roasts: 12pm-4pm (booking advised) No food on Mondays The George & Dragon, 74 High Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0AX Tel: 01844 343087 Email: Why not pop and say Hello to Ian & Elle at the company’s new venture: www.queensgastropubkingston Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Larry at work

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

An elegant yet cosy country house hotel, The Manor Weston is a delightful place to stay, with the added attraction of amazing food...


he Manor at Weston-On-TheGreen between Bicester and Oxford is a fascinating place for its history alone. Add to this the beautiful stone facade, delightful gardens, comfortable, characterful accommodation, welcoming attentive staff and a restaurant that is run by one of the country’s most exciting and talented young chefs and you have more than enough reasons to book in for a meal, if not for an overnight stay or weekend break it’s a cracking place. Wigod of Wallingford held the Manor of Weston in 1066 at the time of the Norman conquest, his name tops a list of ‘Lords of the Manor’ by the door to the Great Hall, but he never walked these corridors for the house was built later in the early 16th Century, by Lord Williams of Thame. The house was re-fronted in the 16th Century and again in about 1820 and is very pretty in a stately way. The entrance hall has a Tudor fireplace, while the panelling in the drawing room is late 17th century. In about 1780 the 16th Century Great Hall was renovated with a timber roof frame and linenfold panelling transferred from Notley Abbey near Thame and is now a very grand room in which to dine. The entrance hall with roaring fire and sumptuous sofas leads into Bertie’s Bar which sports an opulent but cosy elegance and references to polo and

Larry Jayasekara

2 64

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Dining at The Chef’s Table

The Manor Weston

Bertie’s Bar horsemanship, favourite pastimes of the Bertie family, who once owned the house. The hotel has 25 beautifully appointed en suite rooms, some with four posters, each with its own individual character, fine bed linen and extremely comfortable beds, plus luxury bath and body goodies and fluffy dressing gowns. The hotel also boasts a fine-dining restaurant, open to non-residents and headed by Executive Chef Larry (Lahiru) Jayasekara who joined The Manor in 2013. Larry is an excellent chef who has honed his talents in some of the UK’s best kitchens. He has worked for Gordon Ramsay as Senior Chef de Partie at The Savoy Grill (one Michelin Star) under the watchful eye of Marcus Wareing and then after two very successful years, for Michel Roux Snr at The Waterside Inn (Three Michelin Stars). He subsequently held positions at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and before taking the position of Executive Chef at The Manor was Sous Chef at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. Larry is keen to develop the restaurant at

The Manor as a fine dining destination in its own right and judging by the food we were served it won’t be long before word gets round. It is beautifully presented, imaginative and perfectly balanced. Larry is classically trained but has a light touch and a modern edge to his cooking and a respect for ingredients that was The Great Hall honed at Le Manoir. You can dine in the spectacular Baron’s Hall or by prior arrangement at the special Chef ’s Table in the kitchens, where you have a front row view of Larry and his team in action! Choose from a daily changing five course tasting menu or a full à la carte menu, accompanied by selections from the extensive wine list. For the festive season Larry has created a series of mouth-watering Christmas menus for festive parties and corporate entertaining and for Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Two and Three night festive stay packages are also available. See The Manor Weston website, or phone for details. l The Manor Weston, The Manor at Weston-onthe-Green, Oxfordshire, OX25 3QL Tel. +44(0)1869 350621 Email: Web:

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

l Column: Katy Brown - mix96

Oh yes she is!


’ve done something a little bit shocking. I know that those closest to me will feel that it’s just wrong and going against nature and trust me, my own belief system has been shaken to its very core. Some will never understand what I have done and to them I say, it’s been a lonely couple of months and please, cut me some slack. I’ve gone and got myself a part in a pantomime, “Oh no you haven’t”, “Oh yes I have!” Oh, please shoot me now. I’ve never liked panto and in all my years doing Am-Dram I’ve avoided it like the plague, always assuming that a bout of biblical boils would be preferable to having to talk to the audience. I blame Russ Abbot. We got tickets to see him in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Birmingham Hippodrome when I was little and every time the giant’s booming voice came on, my little brother Tom screamed his head off, which in turn made me cry, which in turn made other brother James vomit. Thinking about it, the up-chucking had more to do with the fact James had eaten his entire box of fruit pastilles in one go. It was all incredibly traumatic and since then I have been terrified of men dressed as washerwomen, women dressed as boys and anyone dressed as a dog. So, it came as a bit of a surprise, not least to me, when I decided to audition. Don’t get me wrong, I am still petrified, but I am working on the assumption that it’s actually good to do things that terrify you, on a regular basis. I’ve also managed to bag the part of the Prince of Hearts, so that means that I will be cunningly disguised as a boy. This is helping me a little. There’s something about going in disguise that eases the situation and

Penny Harper

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

Small Town


I have already started campaigning for facial hair. I think some sort of Errol Flynn moustache would do the trick. I’ve also read through the script several times, to check that there’s no scheduled interaction with the audience for the prince (there isn’t), however I do spend quite a bit of time talking to a mute chimp. Imagine a scene from Crossroads where the extra who’s working with the main actor hasn’t been paid for a speaking role and so is shrugging and gesticulating his little heart out. That’s what we’re dealing with here. Then there’s the Endless Love situation. I have been incredibly worried about singing a song that makes me a little bit sick in my mouth every time I hear it. I voiced these concerns to the lovely girl who’s playing Princess Aurora and she said, “I won’t be able to do it without laughing”. Phew! She is a ‘normal’ and isn’t going to take this as her first step towards the West End. So, with one of us in a state of hysterics and the other up-chucking, it could turn out all right on the night. “Oh no it won’t!” Oh, for crying out loud. Roll on January!

See Dick Whittington and his Cat at the Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury, from December 19th to 31st

Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury, from Dec 19th to 31st Tel: 01296 424332 Web:

Tickets: £12.50 / £8.50 concessions / £6.50 U16s Family Ticket: £32 (for 2 adults and 2 U16s) Early Bird Discount: (valid until 5 Sep) £2 off full price, £1 off concessions and U16s tickets Tel: 01296 424332 Website:

The mix96 team meet Barry The Brewer (centre) while visiting Tring on their Summer tour


ith July being the hottest on record it made sense for us to get out of the studio and about the local area for our Summer Tour, to be seen and heard in a truly local fashion - meeting existing and new listeners, putting faces to names and celebrating the fact that we love life in the Vale! Oh and of course, obtaining a sun kissed tan while we were at it… Did I mention our Summer Tour was in August? Not such a recordbreaking month for the weather… As we rocked up in Bedgrove at 5am for our first morning of broadcasting it was just the milkman and us. As we sneaked around unpacking our kit, loading up software and inflating our portable studio we desperately searched for some WD40 for that blasted squeaky shoe of Darren’s! If it woke you Bedgrove, I’m sorry. A few comments were whispered that it seemed a tad windy and a wee bit chilly for August - good job we had some strong weights to hold down our kit from getting swept up with the tail end of hurricane Bertha, not to mention a few hot water bottles to share around. Bbbrrr! Still a bit of a cold snap wasn’t going to dampen our spirits and on with the show we went, with a ‘beep’ and a ‘toot’ from cars passing by which enthusiastically cried “We’re listening!” So why do we do our tour? Well,

we’re always telling our listeners that we’re local. We attend local events, we support local businesses and we keep listeners informed of local news, travel and ‘What’s On’ but by taking the station on the road we can truly share our enthusiasm and commitment to Buckinghamshire. In Bedgrove we met Felicity and her son Aiden, avid players of the £1,000 minute, in Princes Risborough on Tuesday we put a face to an early morning listener who always makes us smile and goes by the name of Julian. Wednesday in Tring we sampled beers courtesy of Barry The Brewer, a keen Guess The Guest player, Thursday took us to Market Square, Aylesbury where student Chloe from Aylesbury College very bravely opened her A level results live on air - an incredible A, B, B which secured her dream university place and on Friday in Wendover, we met a listener who I’d only seen before in a pair of trunks down at the pool - people look different with their, clothes on, huh? Not awkward at all. All in all, a fun week was had by all - more windburn than sun burn but we can guarantee we’ll be doing it all again next year. But maybe in July... For pictures of our Summer Tour go to and click on ‘gallery’.

l Catch Katy on air weekdays from 6am-9am on 96.2fm Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a pantomime and this year they’re having a ball at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from December 12th. Just grab your glass slippers and prepare to party with Cinders and her star-studded crew...

Russel Grant as Baron Hardup with the Two Ugly Sisters


ord is out and the countdown’s on! This year’s sparkling pantomime Cinderella (Fri 12 Dec - Sun 4 Jan) is on the horizon and rumour has it we’re Andrew Derbyshire as Prince Charming on for a festive spectacle with stunning sets, glittering costumes and the ‘aww factor’ courtesy of real life ponies! It appears we have a panto dream team in our midst headed up by the stunning Suzanne Shaw as Fairy career started at Godmother, and returning due to popular the tender age demand having won the hearts of the of 10. Russell’s Vale two years ago, Russell Grant as dream came true Baron Hardup. Russell and Suzanne are when given the opportunity to learn how to joined by Aylesbury’s very own Andy Collins dance on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing (2011), as Buttons, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist partnered with World Champion Latin Andrew Derbyshire as Prince Charming and dancer, Flavia Cacace. Russell was asked singer/songwriter Holly Brewer in the title by Andrew Lloyd Webber to star at the role of Cinderella. London Palladium in The Wizard of Oz, and Suzanne Shaw got her break in 2001 returned to the West End as special guest star when the ITV show Popstars launched a in Midnight Tango at the Phoenix Theatre competition for contestants to become part reuniting with Flavia and Vincent Simone of a newly formed pop band. Suzanne in 2013. He has since launched ‘Zalza’ with became one of the members of Hear’Say Flavia, a new dance-fitness DVD and can and their debut single Pure and Simple was often be seen on This Morning. the fastest selling non-charitable record For Russell, returning to Aylesbury is ever in the UK, selling 1.3 million copies. In ‘like Christmas has come early!’ “I had such 2008 Suzanne was crowned Dancing On Ice a fabulous time in Peter Pan two years ago,” champion in TV’s prime-time ITV1 show he says, “that when I was offered the chance and hit our screens again last year in the to return I jumped at it. The town’s great, the Champion of Champions series. Suzanne’s theatre is gorgeous and the audiences were in appeared in the popular ITV1 soap Emmerdale a league of their own, a real blast to play to. I and can currently be seen as a regular can’t wait!” contributor on ITV1’s This Morning. Back on a mission to get audiences rolling Suzanne is no stranger to the stage having around the aisles is Andy Collins who will be many panto credits to her name alongside celebrating his fourth panto in his hometown. appearing in Chicago as Roxie in the West Having notched up hundreds of hours on End and as Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing TV and radio presenting a wide range of Technicolor Dreamcoat. programmes from Shakespeare to Stand Up, Fresh out of the kitchen of this year’s 2014 MTV to CITV, Andy is also recognised as the Celebrity Masterchef, Russell Grant’s prolific


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

number one warm up guy in TV and radio, co-presents the national tour of Question of Sport and Dancing on Ice. 2014 has seen him working alongside the inimitable Ant & Dec on their nationwide tour! Love is in the air, and this year’s dream couple are Britain’s Got Talent 2014 semifinalist Andrew Derbyshire and gorgeous singer/songwriter Holly Brewer. Andrew was plucked from ITV’s talent contest in 2001 by Musical Director Mike Dixon to join the original cast of West End Musical We Will Rock You and has since been involved in numerous other stage works including Dirty Dancing (International Arena Tour), Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (UK tour and New London Theatre, West End) and was most recently seen in Thriller on the UK Tour and in the West End. Holly is very excited to be retuning to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre after playing the role of Sleeping Beauty last year. Having spent a lot of time recording in the studio Holly is keen to be back on stage in December performing to live audiences, she said “Playing the role of Cinderella is every little girl’s dream and I cannot wait”. Fancy a party with a difference? Try the Waterside’s Panto Parties! Specially tailored with added sparkle for groups of 10-25 people, they’re suitable for all ages and include

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

snack platters and a special delivery of interval ice cream from the venue’s mascot, Christmas Quackers!

Suzanne Shaw and Holly Brewer as Fairy Godmother and Cinderella

Top 5 Panto Facts From The Waterside 1. A pantomime Dame has up to 9 different costume Andy Collins as Buttons changes and a different wig for each costume, for Cinders this is doubled thanks to the Ugly Sisters! 2. Cinderella’s ball gown uses around 22 metres of fabric including undergarments, about 30 metres of trim and has over 200 sequined motifs sewn on. 3. First Family Entertainment (the panto’s producers)own a menagerie of 65 pantomime animals including 3 crocodiles, 2 cats, 26 rats, 2 dodos, 3 badgers and an elephant! 4. The First Family Entertainment costume department has 6,154 shoes (3077 pairs) in store. 5. It takes 9 months from design to completion to create sets for a pantomime. The clock is ticking... don’t be a pumpkin, make sure you book your ticket for the ball this Christmas! Call the Box Office on: 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit: (bkg fee). l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

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

Mon 1st Dec

Jasper Carrott

Tue 2nd Dec

Mark Watson

Wed 3rd Dec


Thur 4th Dec

Andy Zaltzman (Second Space)

Thu 4th Dec

Paul Carrack

Fri 5th Dec

Christmas Parties

Fri 12th Dec, Sat 13th Dec, Fri 19th Dec, Sat 20th Dec

New Year’s Eve Party

Wed 31st Dec

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Paul Adams Carrack cracker

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Paul Adams

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

Live Music Friday 31st October: Absolution power blues trio, 8pm Limelight Theatre, Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. Saturday 1st November: Ostinato (covers 80s - present) 9pm, The Bell, Tring. Saturday 15th November: Kevin Tait 9.30pm, The Green Man, Aylesbury. SkaSouls UK 9pm, The Weavers, Aylesbury. Bad Wolf (hard rock) 10.30pm, ShootPool, Aylesbury. Friday 21st November: Rock Remedy (rock covers) 8.30pm, The Black Horse, Tring. Ostinato, 10.45pm, ShootPool, Aylesbury. Saturday 22nd November: Palahniuk, Zarak and Cherry Scream, from 8pm Gig Night at The Limelight, Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. Wired (covers-various) 10.30pm, ShootPool, Aylesbury. Friday 28 November: Ostinato (covers-present), 8.45pm, Black Horse, Tring. Saturday 29 November: Mouth On A Stick (acoustic covers) 9.30pm, The Green Man, Aylesbury. 68

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

oxy Music, Squeeze, and Mike and keyboard player, best known and The Mechanics - all great for singing tracks such as ‘Over My bands with one big thing in common Shoulder’, ‘How Long’ ‘Tempted’ and ‘The Living Years’, while - Paul Carrack! many of his own songs have been Many of you will no doubt be recorded by the likes of The reminiscing about your younger Eagles, Diana Ross, Tom Jones, years now and the times you saw and Jools Holland. Carrack has these bands play, while younger been described as ‘a journeyman readers will be wondering what of British rock, who has become relation he has to One Direction! something of a national treasure.’ Such a shame for those who are Whichever camp you are in, the latter! you now have the chance to catch Carrack is an internationally respected British singer-songwriter this great performer in action at

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on December 5th. For details visit: aylesbury-waterside-theatre

Observers’ one-off special


very popular local band are playing a very special reunion gig at ShootPool on New Year’s Eve after a year-long break. Paul, Martin, John and Jimmy are back for some fun and frolics as The Observers, and so I caught up with them recently for a chat. How did it all begin? We met at a jam night in the Queen’s Head in 2007 (we weren’t very good). We played six songs and we got another booking, so we had to practise like hell to get another 25 ready in three weeks! You played your finale last Christmas at Shoot Pool - is this gig part of a bigger comeback? Probably not. We’ve had fun but bands split for a reason. However ShootPool managed to convince us to come out for one special show. What do you think of shows like The X Factor? We are dismayed! There are many talented musicians, bands and singers on the circuit who have served their ‘apprenticeship’, that’s years of playing for next to

nothing in seedy venues, fighting to protect both themselves and their gear, but doing it for the joy of playing. They have not ‘made it’ as in most cases they haven’t been in the right place at the right time. X Factor churns out people who, unless the marketing machine gets it right, end up as ‘celebrity’ reality television contestants, or performing in obscure musicals, at Butlins, or on short haul cruise

liners to the Canary islands! Any other surprises up your sleeve for 2015? The future is currently doubtful for The Observers as three of us have created a new band called Dealey Plaza, which plays at ShootPool on December 20th. For tickets to the New Year’s Eve show pop into Shoot Pool (next door to Hale Leys Shopping centre Market Square entrance).

Triple gig and solving the noise debate


n November 22nd three of the area’s biggest original bands will be joining forces for DCE’s Gig Night at The Limelight, shining the spotlight back on original bands. Aylesbury’s Queens Park Centre and Limelight Theatre is no stranger to the local music scene, having played host to the likes of John Otway and Wild Willie Barrett. Pallahnuik, Zarak and Cherry Scream will be taking to the stage to bring you an awesome night of original rock! Tickets

are available from the theatre’s box office or at


ong established music venues and recreational centres across the UK are under threat as adjacent properties are converted into residential flats and noise nuisance from live and recorded music becomes an issue. There is, however, a simple solution - the Agent of Change principle, which states that the responsibility for soundproofing, etc lies with the newly-built

apartment block. Similarly, when a new music venue opens up in a residential area, the owners would be responsible for controlling noise levels. This is such a common sense approach it’s surprising that it isn’t already part of UK law. It has worked in Australia for years. Message Culture Secretary Sajid Javid at www.change. org/p/sajid-javid-mp-adopt-theagent-of-change-principle to support the principle.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

XYZ Music Academy is a maze of studios and rehearsal space, full of drums, guitars, keyboards and sound gear and staffed by a talented crew of music teachers and musicians. And it’s the ideal place to learn an instrument or hone your talents...

Duncan and students performing at a recent Academy open day Duncan’s drum school

Duncan and Michael in the keyboard classroom


e aim to offer fun effective and affordable music tuition,” says Duncan Lee, co-founder, with brother Michael Lee, of XYZ Music Academy at Westcott, near Waddesdon. But XYZ Music Academy goes much further than that, exposing students to all sorts of positive opportunities, as the Academy’s spacious facility combines classrooms, studios, rehearsal and live space, with options for recording and videoing performances. There are also workshops and courses that encourage playing in groups and writing original material plus the option to improve technique, learn musical theory and take grade exams. Duncan and Michael are skilled and experienced multi-instrumentalists and music tutors. At XYZ Duncan specialises in drums, while Michael teaches guitar and colleague

Christmas gift ideas from XYZ Buy the musician in your life an XYZ Voucher for a combination of XYZ Academy lessons and goodies - call, email, or see website for details:

The guitar classroom

Example 1: Six Group Keyboards / Piano lessons, plus one XYZ Keys/Piano Foundation Book, plus one lesson folder for music scores, plus one XYZ T-shirt (XS-XL) or an XYZ Beanie, plus one XYZ Snapback Cap Cost: £100 Example 2: Six Group Guitar lessons, plus five XYZ plectrums, plus one XYZ Guitar Foundation Book, plus one lesson folder for music scores, plus one XYZ T-shirt (XS-XL) or an XYZ Beanie, plus one XYZ Snapback Cap Cost: £100 - many more combinations... Also XYZ plectrums, T-Shirts, drumsticks, beanies, caps and more available...

The live room / gig venue

Guitar tutor Michael Lee in one of the XYZ studios Ruari is the piano/keyboard tutor. Lessons are available on an individual or group basis and range from £12.50 per hour for a group session to £30 for one-to-one tuition. “We can cater for all styles.” says Michael, “from pop to rock, jazz, funk, blues, reggae...” XYZ Music Academy run their own contemporary music based syllabus which allows students of different instruments to learn the same songs and then perform together if they wish. They are encouraged to gain grades to mark progression and to take part in annual performances to build confidence. There are also online tutorials and teaching aids so students can practise or catch up from home when necessary. “We take all ages and abilities from beginners to accomplished players who wish to improve their technique or learn to read music and understand the theory behind what they are doing,” says Michael. “In the school holidays we have additional courses, such as our Rock Band Workshops, crash courses on learning an instrument and music theory workshops.” XYZ also have services and facilities for local bands and musicians to hire, such as live and studio recording sessions, music videos and rehearsal space. Free taster lessons are available for those who would like to meet the tutors and have a look around the XYZ facilities, call for details. l XYZ Music Academy, Building 14 Westcott Venture Park, Westcott, Bucks, HP18 0XB Tel: 01296 655929 / 07708 733288 Email: Website: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


Treetop fun at Center Parcs Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

by Alan Candy

Imagine a place where all is as fresh as the first morning, everybody’s happy, no cars soil the air, unlimited entertainment is close to hand and man (and woman) are at peace and at one with nature...


his is no impossible dream of paradise - it is the shiny, squeaky clean world of the brand new Center Parcs at Woburn! Here the leisure giants’ fifth ‘village’ is a superb holiday destination that seamlessly links cutting edge design with a centuries old natural habitat and works on every level. It is a place that puts an emphasis on personal freedom linked with personal responsibility - this isn’t the sort of place you want to drop litter or go carousing around upsetting your neighbours. Just as importantly, Center Parcs have learned from experience and set out to smooth the way for a trouble-free holiday. First evidence of this comes when you are handed your ‘magic wristbands’ which not only lock and unlock lodges with one press against a sensor but will also do the same with swimming pool lockers and even act as a handy conduit for your banking needs, should you choose to link a plastic card to it. All-electric cookers have replaced gas, household rubbish is separated and recycled where possible and accommodation is ecologically heated, Wifi is instantly available everywhere, Sky TV abounds. The basic geography of the village has also been sensibly simplified, too, with clearer signposting of which cluster your lodge lies in

Segway riding


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Woodland lodge and wider, safer and better lit pathways. Every lodge deep in the forest is surrounded by tall trees and greenery, and there is a certain reluctance to leave its cool splendour. But then you’d miss out on the attractions on offer - everything from the simplicities of the Segway (electric twowheelers you stand on to glide around the peripheries of the village) to dare-devil treetop exploration, canoe trips, tai-chi, fitness work-outs, archery and creative arts. You name it, it’s here. The jewel in the crown, of course, is the stunning Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Inside the swimming is free and a number of different pools and experiences can be discovered, from white water rapids which twist and turn outside to deceptively innocent looking slides and rides that will leave your heart in your mouth. The nearby Plaza boasts a high ceilinged, spacious and airy sports hall which is well ventilated and benefits from dazzle-free lighting. Sensibly linked into this is the Aqua Sana Spa experience - a two-level paradise of its own with a host of themed steam rooms, ice rooms, chill-out areas, meditation quiet spots and an outdoor bubbling spa pool. Here, for a decadent three hours, you can explore and pamper your body and mind in numerous ways, clad just in swimwear and fluffy white robes. Dining in or out at Center Parcs, Woburn offers plenty of choice. The takeaway/home delivery service including Chinese and Indian food seems expensive at around £38 for two

(there’s even a delivery charge) but arrives bang on time. I thought our ‘banquet’ would last a couple of days but we devoured it easily at one sitting. The Shearing House is new to the villages and sensibly focuses on the inoffensive pub fare that’s universally popular, although served with a clever design twist. Service is good, the food artistically presented and it’s a pleasant environment with cracking views thanks to floor to ceiling glass areas. A word of praise, too, for the consistently excellent Strada Italian restaurant, where you can wonder at the bustling, open kitchen as food is prepared. What food it is, too. We downed home-made ravioli and penna pasta topped off with amazing desserts. Try the semi-frozen ice-cream freddo if you get a chance - a melting masterpiece with hot coffee spooned over it. Just forget the calories for a while. The village’s Parc Market and sibling scaled down express version are both decent value for everyday needs, if the everyday does, indeed, exist here. Soon Center Parcs Woburn will settle into its environment as if it had always been there, and that’s how it has been sympathetically designed. Visiting is a genuinely uplifting and exhilarating experience, away from the world and all its cares. A bubble of calm we all need from time to time. l Center Parcs Woburn Forest, Millbrook, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire MK45 2HZ Tel: 0844 826 7723. Web:

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* * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * ** * ** * * ** * * Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014







* * * * * * * There is something magical about Waddesdon Manor at Christmas time and this * year, in * * * * * * addition to the stunning chateau, you’ll find, huskies, spectacular lights, beautiful decorations, * * and*much, * much*more...* * * delicious food, fabulous Christmas shopping opportunities * * * * * The Siberian Husky Welfare Association will be at the Stables with their dogs * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * ** * * * The Five Arrows * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Bruce Munro light sculpture* * goodies Bruce Munro light sculpture Christmas decorations Christmas * * *


ach year the Christmas decorations at Waddesdon have a different theme. For 2014 the decorations ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : Stuart Bebb in the East and Bachelors’ Wings of the house will reflect Lights and Legends - stories, myths and rituals from around the world - some traditional, some exotic and some contemporary - which celebrate light at this festive time of year. Children and adults alike will delight in the twinkling lights on the huge Christmas trees and the story of the Mousehole Cat interpreted on the staircase as part of the tour. Don’t forget to write your letter to Father Christmas at the Stables and meet the huskies from the Siberian Husky Welfare Association, who will be there Fridays* to Sundays from November 28th to January 4th. on November 19th and offers an array of Artist Bruce Munro has created a inspiring gift and decoration ideas. spectacular new trail of light works for The shop will celebrate a traditional Waddesdon in the gardens. The darker Christmas, with a range of beautiful and winter evenings showcase these light works nostalgic decorations, kitsch ideas for children to perfection, and Waddesdon is and vintage gifts as well as offering an opportunity to witness festive food, cards and gift this with special late evening wrap. openings every Friday*, Saturday Christmas fudge, freshly and Sunday from November 28th to made on site in a range of January 4th, when the gardens will delicious flavours will be be open until 8pm and the house on sale at the Stables and will remain open until 7pm. Waddesdon’s ever popular Why not stay on for dinner at Christmas puddings will be Waddesdon’s Estate hotel, The Five available in both the Manor Arrows, where there is a special and Stables shops. menu on offer on these evenings, In the Manor shop the gifts at £30 per person including a glass will reflect the theme of Lights of mulled wine or from £155 to and Legends with Diwali ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor include an overnight stay with Full photo : Hugh Palmer inspired gifts featuring bright English breakfast the following morning. Call sari colours of oranges, greens and purples. 01296 651727 for details or to book. The Wine Shop stocks a fantastic range of New this year, in the Coach House at the Rothschild and Waddesdon wines, as well as Stables, a special Christmas shop, styled by port and champagne, perfect for celebrating leading London designer Jane Le Bon opens the festive season in style!

©Bruce Munro, Beacon at Long Knoll, Wiltshire 2012 photo : Mark Pickthall

©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo: Mike Fear

The Christmas Fair will be held on the South Front of the Manor this year from Wednesday 26th to Sunday 30th November and Wednesday 3rd to Sun 7th December, and will be a spectacular event combining both gifts and festive foods, with each of the 55 stallholders housed in charming wooden chalets overlooking the Parterre. This is a free event, included in the price of your grounds admission ticket and runs from 10am-5pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 10am-7pm Fridays to Sundays. For a special Christmas treat, take a traditional Christmas Lunch or specially themed Afternoon Tea in the atmospheric Manor Restaurant - lunches start from £21.50 (two courses) and afternoon teas are from £18.50 per person. For more information about opening times, admission rates and events please see www. or call 01296 653226.

l Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH Tel: 01296 653226

©Bruce Munro, Eden Blooms at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio photo : Mark Pickthall

*(not on Friday, Dec 26th though as Manor is closed)

©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : Mike Fear

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Jolly good Sport Volkswagen Golf SV


olkswagen have stretched their imagination to design a Golf that shows that size really does matter in today’s marketplace. The handsome but understated Golf SV (it stands for Sportsvan) is a replacement for the Golf Plus - a beefed up, slightly larger model which managed to stay under many buyers’ radars, despite the fact that it had been made since 2005 and offered more space and flexibility. When I mentioned the outgoing Golf Plus as a possibility to a prospective Golf buyer recently, he hadn’t even heard of it! Almost certainly, the SV will put all that right and make its mark in the popular SUV market where rivals such as the Ford C-Max lurk. The SV - which modestly doesn’t announce its name on the back of the car (just Golf) - is the third version of Golf Mk VII after the hatchback and estate.

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES Its trim, spec and engines match those of its stablemates but the SV steps up from the Golf size-wise - if you want to get out your tape measures, here’s the lowdown: The SV is 83mm longer than a Golf; 48mm longer in the wheelbase (creating more interior space); 81mm wider; and 126mm higher (excluding roof rails). This greater inside space provides for extra flexibility - for example rear seats can slide fore and aft by up to 180mm, to increase either passenger or luggage space as required.

VW Golf SV With rear seats folded down, maximum luggage space liberated jumps to 1,520 litres of room. So this is a Golf that puts the

emphasis on practicality, though it is immediately recognisable as a member of the Golf family. Safety is high on the agenda and all models now feature


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automatic post-collision braking. Other electronic aids include Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, all of which are standard

from SE spec and above. Fortunately, the SV isn’t an Aunt Sally of the SUV class and makes an enjoyable and Continued on page 74

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Continued from page 73 extremely comfortable drive. Ride quality is second to none and a great plus point, while handling is composed, with accurate, well weighted steering. The 1.6-litre TDi version I drove puts the respect back into diesel driving, with plenty of pull in each gear and refined power delivery. Long distance drivers may mourn the lack of a sixth gear for slightly more relaxed high speed cruising but it’s hard to fault in everyday driving.

Volkswagen quote 72.4mpg overall but my personal figure was closer to 53mpg, and I’m a conservative driver. There’s also a handy choice of driving modes from which to choose and the Sport option increases throttle response pleasingly. The SV’s interior is Volkswagen at its very best - a smart and very cool look, sharply finished and boasting plenty of soft-touch surfaces and quality furnishings. A sloping but bulky dash wastes a lot of top surface space but does at least have a lidded box for

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

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VW Golf SV extra oddments – although there’s plenty of room elsewhere with cup holders and a deep centre console box. Lidded oddments box Front seats also feature fold down picnic tables behind them and there’s a Factfile: Volkswagen Golf SV sunglasses box by the interior 1.6 TDI (110PS), windscreen mirror. £22,585 (SV prices Though lacking dramatic road start at £18,875). presence, this is very much a Golf 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds. in spirit, with that added flexibility Combined 72.4mpg. and welcome space many families Five-speed manual gearbox. need. CO2 emissions: 101 g/km.

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2a & 3a Broadfields Court (opposite Tesco), Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8BU Tel: 01296 432552

Do you own a 4x4? Why not let us look after it for you… From oil change to engine change No job too big or too small Family firm - more than 20 years in business locally l Servicing, MOTs, repairs all makes & models l Modern workshop facilities l Latest diagnostic equipment l Friendly, helpful service l

What the customers say: ‘Service is always first class’ ‘Excellent service, I will use again in future’ ‘Would recommend for a good job at a reasonable price’ ‘We have been using GS Motors for over 10 years now and find them reliable, friendly and excellent value for money’ G.S. Motors, Unit 21 Anglo Business Park, Smeaton Close, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8UP

Delivery/ collection or loan car free of charge

Up to 50% cheaper than a main dealer

John Dennis has over 20 years of Land Rover experience. In 2000 he opened his own establishment to service & repair Land Rovers, including all makes of 4x4s. We are conveniently located on the A413 between Aylesbury & Whitchurch. At John Dennis 4x4 we pride ourselves on our friendly unique approach and the personal touch which reflects in our high level of repeat business.

Tel: 01296 425000 Email:

Open: Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm Saturday: 8.00am-12pm, Sunday: Closed

Servicing MOTs Repairs Parts, Tyres Diagnostics and more

land rover specialists

t: 01296 640750 m: 07768 173131 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


l Column: On

The Road



aguar F-Type Convertible: not the sort of car that leaves you sucking your biro wondering what to write! NOISE. The defining attribute of a true sports car. And there’s no getting away from the fact that you can’t have one without the other. So if you like your cars to purr like a pussy then you won’t be in any way interested in the new Jaguar F-TYPE. If, on the other hand, you relish the prospect of your ears being assaulted by the sort of noise that shouts performance - lots of it - at you, read on. Because that’s the overriding memory of a week with Whitley’s finest. Style and comfort are a given, but the sound that blasts out of the big chrome tipped central exhausts (105mm wide EACH) leaves you in no doubt about the F-TYPE’s credentials. The active exhaust system that’s standard on the S and V8 S models adds another dimension of driver-enjoyment - and anyone else in close proximity for that matter. Valves in the exhaust system open under load from 3000rpm which allows the exhaust note to build to a thrilling crescendo at the red line. Not that the front engine rear wheel drive F is an unruly beast it’s the ultimate epitome of style when you’re ambling round in the traffic but when you want to motor, then 60 comes and goes in just 5.1 seconds (340PS model) which by anyone’s measure is on the swift side of the scale. The V8S does it in 4.2. Its gear to gear acceleration is simply stunning and the shifts through the six speed automatic box virtually undetectable. Seductive, powerful and elegant sounds like a fair description of everyone’s favourite Bond girl. But then Bond girls don’t come leather faced (unless they’ve been out in the sun too long) so let’s switch the analogy to the latest in Jaguar’s fine stable of cars. Which does come with its fair share of leather inn a very well fitted out cabin that’s so low you literally fall into it. It’s a return to the company’s heartland: a two-seater, convertible


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road sports car focused on performance, agility and driver involvement. The F-TYPE is a continuation of a sporting bloodline that stretches back more than 75 years which brought us some of the most beautiful, thrilling and desirable cars ever built. Three models are available - F-TYPE, F-TYPE S and the F-TYPE V8 S, powered respectively by Jaguar’s new free revving 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine with 340PS and 380PS outputs and its 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol producing 495PS. The range-topping F-TYPE V8S will reach 60mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186mph. The 380PS V6 F-TYPE S will reach 60mph in 4.8 seconds and 171mph, the equivalent figures for the F-TYPE are 5.1 seconds and 161mph. All engines drive through an eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ transmission, a centrally mounted SportShift selector offering full manual sequential control, as do the steering wheel-mounted paddles, with which you can force a cacophony of crackles and spits from the exhausts as you change down. Its torsional and lateral stiffness make the best of the F-TYPE’s handling agility. Around that rigid aluminium structure, every system - steering, brakes, powertrain - has been honed to respond to driver inputs. Neat touch: the door handles flick out for entry but then slip back in line with the sleek body as speed builds up. Odd touch: I don’t think I’ve ever driven a car where half the buttons on the steering wheel don’t actually have any assigned task!

Jaguar F-Type

Les Liney

Vehicle Hire Car and van hire All sizes available including Luton tail lifts AA Cover Also available: Fully Insured 24 hour accident and Unlimited Mileage breakdown service Customer Parking

Tel: 01844 292783 Mobile: 07860 795236

Old Farm Workshops Haddenham Road Kingsey, HP17 8LS

FASTFACTS: Jaguar F-TYPE; ÂŁ58,535; 2995cc 6 cylinder supercharged, 340ps, 450Nm; 8 speed Quickshift transmission; Top speed 161mph (electronically limited), 0-60mph 5.1 secs; Combined fuel economy 31.4mpg; Fuel tank capacity 72 litres; CO2 209g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4470/1923/1296 (l/w/h).

Tel: 01296 658257

Fri & t s Fa Yo

Bucks leading Jaguar and Car Performance Spe Japanese car Specialists

Servicing & repairs 4 wheel laser alignment Engine diagnost Servicing and lrepairs Latest diagnostic equipment l Courtesy car available 4 wheel alignment Diesel tuning an l 24Hr recoverylaser & vehicle movements l Diesel tuning and ECU remaps MOTs arranged Tyre's, Brakes, C l Fast and friendly service l Full workshop facilities l l

Courtesy car av

Fast & Friendly Service

Performance andfacilities Prestige car specialists Full workshop 24 Hour recover Open Day / Performance car meet at Autotorque Sat, 26th July, 10am-3pm

Timed Competitions l Convoy l Barbecue and drinks l

AutoTorque, Unit 9, UBF Industrial Estate, Bicester Road, Westcott, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JX

Tel: 01296 658257

All cars welcome, especially Evos, Mitsubishi and Nissan GTRs! Call Chris for more details: 01296 658257

Download our0QJ Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 Callfree today for a free and no obligation quote Falcon Taxis email:

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Car, van & people carrier hirehire

Airport transfers a speciality

3B Hire & Servicing, Townsend Garage, Thame Road, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8BY Tel: 01844 291430 w car, van, mpv & minibus hire w vehicle servicing - all makes & models w car valeting w tyres, exhausts, batteries Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014



Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning l

Fully insured l Over 7 years experience

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

Upholstery: Armchair £25 Two seater sofa £30 Three seater sofa £35 l No shrinkage l Minimal drying time Guide prices based on average sized rooms. Quotations available for larger houses

We don’t cut corner, we clean them! Call: 01296 350205 or 07788 799733


Specialists in hardwood and softwood windows

Roofing & Property Maintenance New UPVC fascias, bargeboards, soffits & guttering; New roofs & repairs (flat or pitched); Chimney repairs; Exterior painting; General building work Your efficient, personal, local service phone now for a free quotation

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by your local Allfemale plumber work guaranteed 10 years

Established 30 years


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

Showers; Outside Taps; Sinks, EXPERIENCED AND FRIENDLY Basins, Toilet Changes; guaranteed, cost RELIABLE, TIDY SERVICE Simple, Unvented Cylinder Servicing effective devices for saving fuel by your local female plumber

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9:48 am

Page 1

(5-20%) and treating Call Gemma on: Simple, guaranteed, costlimescale effective Bathrooms once forfuel all. (5-20%) Free survey devices forand saving and jobs -425969 taps, ballcocks, showers t:small 01296 treating limescale, and onceinstallation. and for all. Cylinder and tank replacements Free survey and installation. or: 07769Outside 330983 taps Sinks, basins, toilet changes Leaks Unvented Cylinder Servicing

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

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

K Collins Felt & Flat Roofing Specialist

t: 01296 425969 or: 07769 Local 330983 business, Roofmaster approved www.pinkplumbers.comEstablished 1969

We also do slate and tiling repairs, PVC fascia boarding and chimney repointing

Call today for a free estimate 01296 655526 / 07831 465501 Email:

Andrews of Thame Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

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

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014

Windmill Services Property Maintenance & general building work

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All aspects of sign making 01442 826846 & design undertaken Our professional team have the imagination and Vehicles technology to create almost Fascia signs any sign you could imagine. Safety & traffic From cut vinyl lettering & Vehicle Signage Exhibition graphics digitally printed graphics for company vehicles to acrylicGreat Prices... Banners we guarantee it signs & light boxes & window Anti Vandal graphics for shops, whatever Engraving your business or personal Expert Advice... est.1994 requirements, Vinyl labels we can take an idea and turn it into effective Great Products... Business printing marketing reality! A-Boards guaranteed quality Branded garments

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2014


bespoke kitchens on



NEFF S51T69X3 dishwasher with all bespoke kitchens


We are a family run business that has designed, supplied and installed kitchens and bathrooms for over 25 years. Our extensive showrooms are open to the public six days a week, so please pop in and see us. Watermark Worminghall Road Oakley HP18 9UL t: 01844 338137 Bring along your measurements for a FREE kitchen or bathroom design.

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

Vale life nov dec 2014 net issue  

Six weekly lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and surrounding area of UK

Vale life nov dec 2014 net issue  

Six weekly lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and surrounding area of UK