Vale Life Magazine Nov-Dec 2019

Page 1


Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home

w art w music w people w Motors w homes w gardens w theatre w business w fashion w Beauty w health w Food w

Nov/Dec 2019

Cover image: Beauty and the Beast Amelia Adams Pearce (Belle) and Danny Walters (Beast) star in this year’s pantomime at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from Friday, December 6th. See page 26 for details.


Winning formula

Chef Shumon scoops top award

All aboard for Christmas

Garden centre is one-stop shop

Sausage candy is super tasty

See our website at:

Farm’s award for best banger

Plus our columnists: Naomi, Polly, Amanda, Cathy, Lynnette, Nicola, Fran, Sandra, Shaun, Nigel, Rob, Alan, Virginie, Sherry and much, much more...

Free local listings for events and businesses

Last few 3 and 4 bedroom homes available within this exclusive gated development. Show homes open 7 days a week.



A beautiful selection of 3,4 and 5 bedroom homes. Show homes open 7 days a week.





Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019





A historic country house set in 18 acres of private tranquil parkland with superb views across the Chiltern Hills. Personalised care in exclusive settings, delivered by talented and compassionate people. Our open and evolving care plans allow for effective and reliable care for each individual, providing peace of mind for both residents and their relatives. Providing a bespoke, dementia friendly landscaped garden. A fully trained head chef and catering staff, providing locally sourced fresh seasonal food. A private dining room for use by our residents and their friends and families. An exclusive home cinema room and library. A reputation for exceptional care and a focus on the happiness of our residents, their families and our staff. Join us for afternoon tea and the opportunity to view the new Hambledon Wing. INFO@BARTLETTSCARE.CO.UK TEL: 01296 747 000


Bartlett’s Residential Care Home, Portway Road, Stone, Aylesbury, HP17 8RP

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


CQC rated and inspected

Live Well in Our Care BOOK A VISIT AT PORTHAVEN.CO.UK OR CALL 01296 438032 NURSING • RESIDENTIAL • DEMENTIA • RESPITE Avondale Care Home, Gatehouse Road Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 8EH


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019







Let us take the stress out of christmas QUOTES




you love s g in h t m u o o e y r e time for th ng i v .gi





I Mop Clean offers a professional and specialist cleaning and restoration service, operating throughout Aylesbury Vale and the surrounding counties, towns and villages for both domestic and commercial customers. We offer a high quality, friendly and professional service with excellent customer care and impressive results for:

• Oven cleaning • Carpet & upholstery cleaning • Hard floor cleaning, polishing and sealing • Wooden floor sanding and refinishing Tel: 01296



imopclean clean it green

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Rated as


Individual Care in Beautiful Surroundings Outstanding care in the heart of Buckinghamshire

A place of care for over 50 years, our focus is to tailor your stay with us to your agenda and your needs. If you are in need of recovery after an operation, a break whilst family are away or maybe you are looking for specialist respite care, we would be happy to help in all cases.

First-class rehabilitation

Delicious, nutritious meals

Relaxing environments

“My stay at Chilton House was outstanding in every aspect, staff were amazingly helpful with positive attitudes, the food was excellent, and the physios worked closely with me allowing me to reach my recovery goal.� Mr A, Berkshire

Chilton House, Chilton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9LR | 01844 265 200 | 6

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

How do you find a way forward?

Divorce is never easy, but with advice and a plan of action it is possible to bring about certainty and a way forward for your situation.

Download our document

UNDERSTANDING DIVORCE Book a free consultation with Reshma Sunnassee today on 01296 506071 or email Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


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4 DAYS DEPARTING 19TH APRIL 2019 From £369* per person


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BRAND NEW FOR • Marco Polo Cruise as stated > RINGASKIDDY (County Cork) for 3 nights full board now – before it’s too late! We have2019! SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT BREAK MARY’S (IslesYear of Scilly) Book> ST your New and Valentines breaks a > CARDIFF • Afternoon tea and late fantastic selection of destinations for the UK and Europe, plus, our ever popular This superb early bird getaway weekend, full of fabulous night snacks *Based on two people sharing a fun, marvellous music and divine dining, stays at the ever • Self-service tea &2020 coffee break – find them on our website today! Reunions a Twin great for an early Category 1are Standard Insideoption Cabin; popular, family-run 3* Grand Hotel in pretty Vianden


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and medieval BrugesDAY 1 Cross the Channel and board at Zaandam

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS 4 Day Breaks departing 4-STAR REUNION MURDER DAYon 2 Optional visit to Zaanse PRICE INCLUDES Luxembourg City February 14th 2020 Schans (open air museum AT with EASTWOOD HALL - £279 A full day excursion to Luxembourg City, the charming windmills) Return coach 4 Day Break• departing ontransfers from IN LOVE WITH LONDON £309 – cruise to Amsterdam. little with its listed Old Town in an Oncecapital Christmas is UNESCO over treat yourself DAY 3 Full day included excursion pick-up points plus January 31st local 2020 MEDIEVAL BRUGES £349 attractive through the glorious bulbfields to a breaksetting. to welcome in 2020! Channel crossing

New Year Breaks

ROMANTIC PARIS £389 plus a visit to Keukenhof Gardens. • MV Esmeralda Cruise as Weymouth Harbour Re-join the boat in Hoorn (no

4 Day Breaks departing on Switzerland Moselle River & Scenic Little December 2019you the very best of this A local guide30th will show picturesque area £429 including Remich, the ‘Pearl of the Luxembourg Moselle’ and scenic Mullerthal, known as the Little Monschau £449 Switzerland of Luxembourg.

included lunch today).

stated for 3 nights full board

(no lunch Day 3) Warners – HIGHLIGHTS DAY 4 Full day cruising around • Afternoon tea on 2 days the IJsselmeer and onto Alkmaar. Corton Coastal Village • Late night snacks Captain’s Farewell Dinner. • Hotel for 3 nights with breakfast & dinner

Blow away the post-Christmas blues • Captain’s Farewell Dinner Rudesheim £459 DAY 5with Early disembarkation • A drink dinner each nightfor (local beer, wine or soft drink) (set menu) with this long weekend break– Corton ACCOMMODATION the journey back home. Weymouth £389 • 2 Sparkling breakfasts with free flow local bubbly • On board entertainment for GRAND HOTEL DE VIANDEN is all about; brilliant sea views, live *Based on two people sharing a Bournemouth £399 • Live musical entertainment on Saturday and Sunday nights 2 WEYMOUTH nights The ever popular, family run 3* Grand Hotel deentertainment Vianden and comfy chalets! WELCOME TO Lower Cabin; 5 day travel insurance Cornwall £379in the town and its facilities4include • Tour of Bulbfields & is centrally located • Porterage & welcome drink on arrival 2020 Day Break departing £36 per person; £100 per person REUNION - £219 Keukenhof entrance Hogmanay £489 non-refundable deposit required bar, restaurant, lounge and lift. All rooms are en-suite January 10th 2020 Day Break • Two included excursions as4stated above departing on Full payment due 2 months before • Porterage with TV. Please note that single rooms Warners Norton Grange £439 are small. From Only £199 February 21st 2020 departure. Cruise T&Cs apply.

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Contents 10

Get ready to party!


Where the words just flow


Black Friday bag bargain?


Turkey or goose

All aboard for Christmas


Bring on the Wow

A world in miniature


Dance yourself fit

Aylesbury for everyone


Strong-arm tactics

Merry Christmas!


What lies beneath

Funding for schools


Your dream kitchen

Exciting line up


What’s your favourite?

Let’s get spooked!


Money, money, money...

Shakespeare in space


Food shortage is biting

Get in Santa’s good books!


Sausage candy is super tasty

Home grown, home made


Absolute bliss

Winning formula


Topping the class

16 18 20 21 22 23 26 26 31 33 34

Glitter up, it’s the sociable season! Sherry’s ready for a deal on the day So much to see at garden centre Nicky has her eye on tiny collectibles Garden Town status is good for all What’s on in Aylesbury town centre? Lottery is helping local causes Sally’s shows are great for gifts Look who’s back, it’s the Lady in Black! Shaun’s orbiting the local theatres Dash and donate to our local hospice Farm shop pie is 3 Star success!

Local chef voted best in country!

Places to slake the writer’s block What’s on your Christmas list?

The lush new facial that celebs are loving Is this the class for Strictly fans?! Muscle up and support your body Quality flooring to make your home New firm puts your plans into practice Which one room is selling your home? How to set your building budget Donations needed for hungry locals Farm’s prize for best bangers

Chilling at Champneys is the best Little Audi is big favourite

Just taste the difference


ur area is doing particularly well at the moment, when it comes to top notch food and dining. In Princes Risborough head chef at the Radhuni Indian Restaurant, Shumon Uddin, has been voted Chef of the Year 2019 in the Asian Restaurant and Takeaway Awards. It’s no mean feat, as there are several rounds of judging and then Shuman had to create something really special on the night, to win the crown. Well done indeed to him (see page 34 for more about Radhuni and their chef). Meanwhile at Waterperry Farm Shop, chef Annie has been quietly producing the most

Chef Shumon with Radhuni restaurant owner Akthoraz Miah awaiting the judges decision at the awards exquisite dishes from their lovely farm produce. I can personally vouch for the quality as I’ve sampled several items over the past year, whilst dropping off Vale Life Magazines there! She has now been recognised with a 3 Star Great Taste award, which is exceptional, for her

available in more usual flavours, such as Cumberland Whirls or Pork and Apple, so don’t worry if you prefer a more mainstream Beef & Ale pie, while farm butcher Garry gained a One Star option, they have plenty (see for his sirloin steak (the farm has story page 67)! Finally if you are thinking of having a goose or an impressive beef herd). Well turkey this Christmas, Starveall done to them, see page 33 for Farm, near Stone has won the full story. several Great Taste awards for Orchard View Farm at Little their birds and having tucked Meadle have been farming into one of their turkeys for rare breeds and producing fine Christmas dinner over the last farm to fork dishes in their couple of years, I can personally café, restauarnt and farm shop. vouch for the quality and flavour They have won several awards (see page 37 for more details). over the last few years but are We’ll have another Vale Life particularly pleases to walk away Magazine out in the middle of with ‘Most Innovative Sausage’ December, just before the festive at this year’s National Suasage season, so until then, happy Awards for their Toffee Apple Sausage. Their ‘Marmite Special’ reading, Sausage and Spanish Chorizo also drew accolades at the show. Editor, Vale Life Magazine Their handmade sausages are


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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


with Lynnette Jackson

Personal stylist and image consultant Lynnette passes on tips and tricks for looking your fashionable best, plus the latest news on the high street trends...

Get ready to party!


ell hello party season! How we do love you! This time of year often gives us the opportunity to get a bit dressed up – whether we have a party to go to or not – as it is the season when we can add a touch of glamour and shimmer, even if we are on the school run, nipping to the shops, or having a quick coffee catch up with our friends! This is particularly true this year, with the Autumn/Winter catwalks showing lots of ways to dress up the everyday outfit. And as ever the catwalk trends have made their way to our local shops.

Joules Tweed poncho: £100

So what does this party season look like? Enter the party in style: Capes are not only bang on trend this season, they easily slip over whatever outfit you have on. This cape from Joules (available from your local Next or Joules at Haddenham Garden Centre) not only ticks the checks trend, but also the faux fur fashion for this season.

Leather gloves (John Lewis) £25 10

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

This season the key outerwear accessories are colourful gloves. These gorgeous and super soft leather gloves from John Lewis come in a wide range of colours – so there is bound to be one that suits you!

3. Satin Scarf Neckline Blouse (M&S Autograph) £39.50 The Main Event: Sparkles and shimmer are always great options for the party season, but this year it’s satin which is top of the party list. This soft satin blouse (from M&S Autograph) also has a bow (another key trend this season), which is lovely and versatile – you can create a pussy bow with it, or loosely tie and let it drape. For an up to date look, wear satin with leather/faux leather. These faux leather leggings from Next, are incredibly comfortable, and come

4. Faux leather leggings (next) £26 green


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

01296 423198

Whistles (available from House of Fraser), Leather Skirt, £195 in a wide range of colours again – so why not chose one of this seasons key colours: greens, reds and browns. Or this leather skirt from Whistles (available at House of Fraser) has a very flattering shape built into it. Continued on page 12

Jewellery designed and produced to your specifications, or choose from our extensive range of new, secondhand and antique pieces. l

Diamond merchants

(certified stones always available) l l l

Antique restorations Hand engraving Valuations: insurance and probate

(carried out on the premises) l l

Insurance claims advisors Complete repair service

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

11a High Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1SH Tel: 01296 423198 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Jonathan Ahston polka dot tight ÂŁ28 (from House of Fraser)

Adams Travel Your Local Independent Travel Agent

11 Market Square, Aylesbury Tel. 01296 873017

Helen Grace

Hats and Fascinators to match your outfit available to buy or hire HG

Bespoke pieces can be designed to perfection HG

Enjoy a one-to-one at our studio in Shabbington To book an appointment

T: 01844 201017 E: W: 12

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

For a more feminine look, wear a satin dress like this super flattering one from Monsoon. Team your dress or skirt with some statement hosiery – another key look this season. Think fish nets, spots, florals or even animal print! House of Fraser have a great collection this season, with brands like Wolford, Jonathan Ashton and Charnos - see image left.

Hair clips (Accessorise) £6

Wrap Effect Ankle Boot (Dune) £50

Finish your party outfit: This season, finish off your party look with some hair accessories, and a nice pair of ankle boots (worn with trousers as well as skirts and dresses). These pearl and crystal clips from Accessorise (pic right) are perfect for the party season.

Satin Jacquard dress (Monsoon) £65

Whilst these ankle boots from Dune (available from House of Fraser) can be dressed up and down depending on the occasion.

Amazing gifts for all the family!

If you would like more detail on this seasons party trends, and importantly, how best for you personally to wear them, then contact me to book in for an AW’19 Style Update session (group and 1:1 sessions available). l Lynnette Jackson is an awardwinning Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. She can help you look good whatever your size, shape, age or budget! Web: Tel: 07971 198047

Eye-catching, different, handmade, Fairtrade, reclaimed, recycled... hand-picked from the four corners of the globe, come and see... . Beautiful items for you and your home - gifts, homeware, clothing, jewellery, furniture, bags, accessories, buddhas, gemstones, crystals, home fragrance and. much more...

Our price promise - if you find it cheaper we will match!

Holy Cow Home

6 Cambridge Street, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire, HP20 1RS 01296 485158 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Health & Fitness Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

A d ro p o f s h e r ry

by Sherry Hostler

Black Friday bag bargain?


A heavily disguised Sherry slips past HoF security to check on her bag

’ve never been one for getting involved in the Black Friday madness. It all seems like a lot of pushing and shoving with very little to show at the end of it to me. Hordes of Americans camp out overnight on Thanksgiving, so they can be first in line when Walmart opens at 4am on Black Friday, and able to pick up a widescreen TV for about $50. They know how to do it right. They no doubt camp prepared armed with semi-automatics and ready to fight to the death with Chuck from down the road if he looks like he might get his hands on their precious goods first! And woe betide anyone else who gets in the way, as they will be trampled under foot like a scene from Jumanji. Thankfully us Brits are generally far too polite for all that insanity. We would rather form an orderly queue, making polite conversation with those around us, while tutting and rolling our eyes if someone

Pardon my English! A local dialect ‘Call My Bluff’ by Jacot de Boinod

pushes in. The worst we’d be likely to do is come up with a distraction technique for our rivals, as we grab what they’re reaching for off the shelf. “Look over there! I’ve just seen Philip Schofield in the underwear department!” This time however, things are changing for me, and I’m embracing Black Friday fully. All year I’ve had my eye on this totally amazing designer handbag in House of Fraser at Friars Square in Aylesbury. They’ve been known to have the odd sale, and I’ve literally been popping in there every couple of weeks to see if MY bag has been given a red discount sticker. For 5 months now I’ve been undertaking my bag stake-out, and it is still not sporting a sticker. It’s not looking good. On the plus side, most of the staff now know me by name, especially security who follow me round at a discreet distance.

Sherry Hostler

A drop of Sherry

I’ve almost given up hope. But not quite. You see, I think they’re waiting for Black Friday, which will be the last chance for me and my bag to finally be together. I’ve already chosen the spot for my sleepover on the 28th and invested in a sleeping bag, and an alarm clock to wake me up at dawn. And if all else fails, I’m looking into hiring a Philip Schofield lookalike to wander around the underwear department. Wish me luck! l Sherry Hostler is a freelance writer and blogger. She loves dogs, red wine and snowboarding, but not all at the same time. You can find her at

Frustrated with your Home Technology not doing what you want it to?

… Let the Technology Doctors do it for you!

Can you guess the right definitions of the following words? 1) Haulmim’ (Herts dialect) A) clear high stubble with a sickle B) of one who disappears and then pops up again C) of a person who bores listeners with tales of past exploits

2) Disible (Herts dialect) A) a woman caught when not tidy; in working or untidy clothes B) short and squat in build C) amiable, likeable

3) Bobbish (Bucks dialect) A) chubby and somewhat squat B) handsome, good looking man

C) well in health, lively

4) Bob-cherry (Berks dialect) A) the game of taking the end of a cherry stalk between the teeth, and, holding the head perfectly level, trying to get the cherry into the mouth without using the hands or moving the head B) the boy’s game of progressive leapfrog C) to shoot a marble in an irregular way by jerking the fist forward instead of hitting it off by the force of the thumb only

● WiFi/Broadband boosting or extending ● Smart TV and Wireless speaker configuration ● PC and iPad help and tuition ● Smart home security installations and set up ● Smartphone supply and set up

Contact us via email: or call us on 01296 534537

l Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for the

television series QI and is the author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books. Having researched our rural dialect, he is setting a fun ‘Call-My-Bluff Quiz for Vale Life readers - mind your language now... ANSWERS: 1A) to clear high stubble with a sickle 2A) a woman caught when not tidy; in working or untidy clothes 3C) well in health, lively 4A) the cherry stalk game


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Farm Shop open Thursdays 11am-6.30pm & Saturdays 10am-2pm Fresh organic veg, slow-reared free-range meat & more... Events throughout the year & ‘pop-up’ Seasonal Suppers Visit: for more information Find us in Tiddington (between Thame & Wheatley) OX9 2LA

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

All aboard for Christ Haddenham Garden Centre’s grand expansion project is now nearing completion and boasts a huge new restaurant, impressive butcher, deli and artisan foods area and greatly increased shopping space with lots of new products and brands to peruse. But guess who’s coming for Christmas?!...


addenham Garden Centre’s redevelopment is truly impressive and has vastly improved all aspects of the business, from the smart new car park and entrance, to the specialist deli section, spacious restaurant and new in-house shops for brands such as Joules, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and The Works. It’s no longer just a garden centre, it’s a rural department store! It’s still a relaxed and friendly place to shop though, where you can browse the gifts, cards and Christmas decorations, before having a coffee or snack and picking up some pet food, a new pair of wellies, something delicious for supper and maybe a stylish but cosy item to wear from Edinburgh Woollen Mill or Joules. There’s lots of free parking right outside, so wheeling items to the car is easy, with plenty of sturdy trolleys available and help on hand from staff, if required. The Gardener’s Retreat Restaurant: Now significantly larger, the popular restaurant has a new head chef, Steve Webster, (formerly of The Plough at Great Haseley) and a new menu, which caters for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Sunday Roasts with vegetarian and vegan options. “It’s fresh local seasonal food,” says Food and Beverage Manager Dan Powell. “We have meat from Beef Olive, our in-house butcher, fruit and vegetables from Wendover, wood roasted artisan coffee from Oxfordshire and homemade cakes (with gluten free options).” The new gourmet breakfast menu (available 9-11.30am Mon-Sat and 10-11.30am on Sundays) looks delicious and includes items such as Eggs Benedict and Buttermilk Pancakes with Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup; or Crushed Avocado on Toasted Sourdough with Smoked Salmon, Crispy Bacon or Poached Free Range Eggs; in addition to the Full English or Garden Edds Benedict Breakfast (vegetarian option). A full menu is available on their website: 16

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Children will love a chance to climb on the snow train

At lunchtimes there’s filled Jacket Potatoes, Sandwiches, Baguettes and Toasted Ciabatta, Soup plus hot meals of the day such as: Fish & Chips; Steak & Kidney Pudding; or Sausage & Mash; Quiche of the day and vegetarian options, plus Salads and Platters. On Buttermilk pancakes Sundays Roast Lunches are available from 11.30am and the menu includes Beef Olive’s dry-aged local beef and a Vegetable Roast option. The restaurant caters for Vegans and Vegetarians plus a variety of food intolerances including Gluten and Dairy free. It’s child and dog friendly with a special Children’s menu and a dedicated section where those with dogs may sit (well-behaved dogs may now shop in the centre with their owners). Sumptuous Afternoon Teas are available (£24 for two, from 2-4pm Mon-Sat and 2-3.30pm on Sundays) complete with sandwiches, freshly baked mini scones

and cakes - there’s Prosecco too if you’d like! The restaurant is open from 9am to 4.30pm Mon-Sat and 10am to 4pm on Sundays. Meanwhile new shopping options for customers to enjoy, include: The Farm Shop: smart, spacious and full of tempting delicacies, Christmas fare, festive hampers and gift ideas from local producers and suppliers, including; beers, gins and wines, oils and vinegars, pickles, meats, cheeses and chutneys, honey and preserves, freshly baked breads and pastries, fruit, vegetables, delicious frozen ready meals, party food and desserts - it’s foodie heaven! The Butchery is run by local butchers, Beef Olive, finalists in this year’s ‘Britain’s Best Butchers Shop’ and known for the quality of their products and their friendly, helpful service. They offer premium cuts of meat from nearby suppliers and the best of British farm produce: “We’re looking forward to our first Christmas at Haddenham Garden Centre,” says Tim of Beef Olive, “and to supplying customers with all their meats for the perfect Christmas feast. We are offering locally raised free-range bronze turkeys,

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

tmas at Haddenham!

The Beef Olive team cockerels and ducks from our friends at Potash Farm near Tring, plus geese from Starveall Farm, just up the road, near Stone. If Turkey isn’t your thing, why not treat yourself to one of our dry-aged ribs of beef, loins of pork or a top notch leg of Scotsgrove Lamb? We also stock an extensive selection of game. Please pop in to see us at Haddenham or download an order form from our website: www. The Deli Counter: showcases a mouthwatering selection of award-winning cheeses, mostly made in Britain but with a couple of continental classics to satisfy popular demand, as well as home-cooked meats, fresh breads and antipasti ranging from olives to seasonal salads. There’s also a selection of seasonal home-baked snacks such as pies, handmade scotch eggs and freshly baked sausage rolls, including a seasonal turkey, bacon and cranberry roll, which sounds good! Haddenham Garden Centre is well known for stocking a superb selection of Christmas decorations, gifts, toys and accessories and with the extra space available they have gone to

Sophie Allport dog beds

Christmas decs in blue and gold

Joules clothing and Accessories

town this year, introducing some gorgeous new wear combining hand drawn prints, unique ranges. There’s real and artificial Christmas detailing, flattering fits and comfortable fabrics, trees, lights and decorations for indoors and that looks great and are easy to wear. There’s out in a variety of colours and themes, toys, also hats, scarves and socks by Powder and games, children’s stocking fillers and books, a stylish selection of high quality, fashion cards and wrapping paper, plus clothing and accessories for an arts and crafts area where men and women by The you can buy the bits to make Edinburgh Woollen Mill. your own cards and pressies. “We are still very much a Their popular Santa’s Garden Centre,” says Director Grotto (£6 per child) is open Kate Hawkins, “and we pride from November 23rd, which ourselves not only on the range coincides with a special Festive Plum & Ashby Advent Candle and quality of our plants but Fun Weekend featuring: a also on having knowledgeable Children’s Farm; a Children’s Fairground Ride staff who are happy to offer help and advice. and Facepainting; and Santa’s Grotto (Sat We thank everyone for bearing with us through 9.30am-4.30pm & Sunday 10.30am-4.30pm); the improvements and hope all enjoy the new plus a ‘Meet the Suppliers’ tasting event in facilities and increased range of products now the Farm Shop. available. We are very nearly there!" Santa’s Grotto is back the following weekend (30th Nov/1st Dec) with Fairground l Haddenham Garden Centre, Stanbridge Road, Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8HN Ride and Facepainting and will then continue Tel: 01844 290395 to be open every weekend up until Christmas. Email: The restaurant is hosting a special Supper Website: with Santa event on 18th & 19th December Local delivery service available when youngsters can enjoy supper and meet Santa and his Elves as they distribute presents. From oven gloves, aprons and dog beds by Sophie Allport to Yvonne Ellen’s vintage tableware and bone china; fragrant candles, soaps and diffusers by Plumb and Ashby to Cath Kidston toileteries there’s lot’s to see on the homeware and gift front. The Works stocks great value gifts, stationery, toys and books plus a selection of art, craft and hobby materials, while for the fashion conscious there’s a great selection of Joules, Tigi and Brakeburn - stylish, active

Christmas decorations

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


C u r i o u s Wo r l d

by Nicky Gregory

A world in miniature


he ‘Stanhope’ Lens was invented by Charles, the third Earl of Stanhope in the late 18th century. In 1839 John Benjamin Dancer attached a microscope lens to a daguerreotype camera and produced the first microphotographs. He put miniature images on glass slides and in 1853 photographed the grave marker of scientist William Sturgeon which he circulated to Sturgeon’s friends as a form of momento mori. Later microphotographs were used in espionage as microfilm and microdots. In 1851 this new technology inspired Rene Dagron, a Paris portrait maker, to invent Optical Bijous by fixing a micro-image to a lens. In the early 1860s he began to manufacture novelty souvenirs with tiny hidden images, ‘Stanhopes’ as we know them today. By holding the object up to the light and looking

into a tiny hole the magnified

keepsake. Tiny photos were put

Selection of Stanhopes image becomes visible. In 1864 he produced a Stanhope with a microphotograph the size of a pin head with the portraits of 450 people. During the Siege of Paris in 1870, when the city was occupied by Prussian forces, Dagron’s invention became a way of communication between isolated Parisians and the exiled government in Tours. Before cameras were portable or affordable these little viewers provided a perfect souvenir or

Kindness, care, choice and community

Volunteer for Brendoncare Chiltern View

You only have to see the smiles of residents to understand the significant role volunteers play in people’s lives. Volunteering can help residents feel important, special and valued. By giving your time to Brendoncare Chiltern View you can help people to engage with meaningful activities and try new opportunities. If you have a skill like art or music or some time to give, we’d love to hear from you! For information on volunteering please contact Rebecca Spicer – Volunteer and Activity Manager. Call: 01962 852133 or email: Brendoncare Chiltern View St John’s Drive, Stone, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8PP


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Curious world

Do you know what the mystery object below is? Email your answer to: and you could win a voucher for Antiques at Wendover. The Sept/Oct object was a candle snuffer.

Erotic Stanhope signet ring into everyday objects; needle cases, watch keys, signet rings and miniature binoculars. They were used for advertising, romance and a secret way of viewing the erotic. Erotic Stanhopes were typically built into objects expected to remain within a circle of male viewers such as smoking ephemera or penknives. If an erotic Stanhope is found in sewing items or a scent bottle it is often a sign that it isn’t authentic. There are many different types of Stanhope, great fun to collect.


Registered charity no. 326508

Nicky Gregory

l Nicky Gregory is the owner of Antiques@Wendover, The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU T: 01296 625335 E: W:

Mystery object

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

Edwardian Rosewood Needlework Table, £235 The Old Post Office, 25 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 625335 Email: Website:

Cymbeline, 3-5 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AE T: 01844 698224

Here at Cymbeline we are celebrating our 2nd year on the High Street in Princes Risborough. So if you’re looking for some Christmas inspiration, head this way - from cards to quirky decoration, bamboo reusable cups, candles, scarves, art, crafts, jigsaws, games and unique gifts, there’s something for you... Special late night shopping on Friday 8th November until 8.30pm! Open throughout December Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

Cymbeline - T: 01844 698224 E: W: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Aylesbury for everyone Recognised as a key area for growth, with more than 16,000 new homes planned, Aylesbury has been Awarded Garden Town status, bringing government funding to support new transport links, infrastructure and facilities as well as green spaces. Here Gerry McIlwaine, Communications and Marketing Lead at Aylesbury Garden Town Project Team tells us how things are shaping up so far...


t is nearly three years since Aylesbury was awarded Garden Town status and given a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the town. Since that time our team has been out and about listening and talking with the many different groups that make Aylesbury such a great place to live. From what you have told us we have shaped our Vision for 2050 and produced a draft Masterplan which builds on Aylesbury’s heritage and strengths and looks to its future opportunities as a Garden Town, over the next three decades. There are eight key themes that shape the Aylesbury Garden Town (AGT) Vision but at the heart is an ambition to create an Aylesbury that is designed for everyone. Aylesbury is the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement and this important legacy of inclusion is an essential part of the future for Aylesbury. It underpins the Vision and themes and will continue to influence the projects and initiatives we undertake. The Vision document can be found on our website ( and there is an opportunity to let us know if you agree with our aims and ambitions. In the next edition of Vale Life we will be telling you more about our draft Masterplan, each chapter of which deals with a different aspect of the Vision. A public consultation on the draft Masterplan will open to the public in January.

Pop-Up Parklet Kingsbury We will also be telling you about our aim to roll-out a number of parklets across Aylesbury and be looking to get you involved through a Design a Parklet Competition. You can keep up to date and get involved with all the exciting projects already happening, or planned for the town, by visiting: www. l Aylesbury Garden Town Email: Tel: 01296 585276 W: 20

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Aylesbury Garden Town Community Projects Funding Pot As part of our Vision for a green and healthy Garden Town, we are delighted to be launching a grant funding scheme to support community projects in Aylesbury. If you are a not for profit voluntary, or community sector organisation and have a project that will improve or enhance local green space, increase the delivery of biodiversity net gains, or that promotes/supports healthy living, you may be eligible to apply for a grant of up to ÂŁ3,000. We will also be expanding our community food growing programme, which launched earlier this year in partnership with Community GROW. If you would like to find out more about the Community Projects Funding Pot , or are interested in community food growing, drop an email to:

Community food growing comes to Aylesbury

s a m t s i r h C y r Mer Festive dates for your diary in Aylesbury Town Centre The Christmas Lights Switch On

Thursday 14 November

Market Square, 5.30pm–8pm Join in the fun in Aylesbury Town Centre to welcome the start of Christmas. The everpopular Christmas Light Switch On, hosted by Mix 96 and the Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership, will take place between 5:30pm and 8pm in Market Square, together with a funfair in Kingsbury until 8:30 pm. The lights will be switched on at 7pm and this will be followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

With a host of great live acts including the winner of Bucks Best School Choir, plus the amazing Eclectix, acoustic duo DoubleTone, Mix96 Discovers artist Lydia Singer and special guest appearances from the panto at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, and a vast range of street food available - there really is something for everyone!

Santa’s Sunday Sunday 24th November Town Centre, Parade 10.45am-3pm

A real family favourite! Start your Festive Season with this fantastic parade. Rub your eyes - is that two unicorns drawing an enchanted Cinderella carriage carrying both Cinderella and the Snow Queen!? Yes it is! The parade will include amazing stilt walkers dressed as Candy Canes and Christmas Trees, real

donkeys and a vibrant samba band along with a colourful array of music and dance groups. They will be singing and dancing their way through the town from 10:45am, starting from the High Street and making their way around to Market Square and then down to finish in The Exchange After the parade, there will be a range of entertainment including, a small funfair and donkey rides, accompanied by a delicious range of street food.

Christmas shopping hours Date Thursday 14 Nov Sunday 24 Nov Friday 29 Nov Thursday 5 Dec Thursday 12 Dec Monday 16 Dec Tuesday 17 Dec Wednesday 18 Dec Thursday 19 Dec Fri day 20 Dec Saturday 21 Dec Sunday 22 Dec Monday 23 Dec Tuesday 24 Dec Wednesday 25 Dec Thursday 26 Dec Friday 27 Dec Saturday 28 Dec Sunday 29 Dec Monday 30 Dec Tuesday 31 Dec Wednesday 1 Jan Thursday 2 Jan

Friars Square Hale Leys 9am - 8pm 9am - 8pm 9am - 5:30pm 8:30am - 5:30pm 9am - 8pm 9am – 7pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 7pm 9am - 7pm 8:30pm - 6pm 10:30am - 4:30pm 10:30am - 4:30pm 9am - 7pm 8:30am - 6pm 9am - 4:30pm 8:30am - 5pm Closed Closed 5am - 6pm Next Sale 10am - 5pm 10:30am - 4:30pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 5:30pm 10:30am - 4:30pm 10:30am - 4:30pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 5:30pm 9am - 4:00pm 9am - 5:30pm 10:30am - 4:30pm 10am - 5pm Normal hours resume Normal hours resume

AylesburyMarket Late night shopping event Thursday 19th December

9am - 6:30pm

Dec 9am - 4pm Closed Closed Closed 9am - 4pm Closed Normal hours resume


There will be a fabulous selection of stalls on Market Square if you are still looking to find that perfect gift or just to do some last minute shopping. Enjoy music, entertainment and street food whilst you browse the stalls. For more info see:

Sunday 2nd December 2018 Sunday 1st December 11am – 3pm Market Square, 11am-3pm Historic Market Square On Sunday 1st December, Aylesbury hosts the largest FREE entry Christmas Craft & Gift Fair in Buckinghamshire, boasting over 80 stalls, which will be lining the cobbles of the town’s beautiful and historic Market Square. The Christmas Craft and Gift Fair Spectacular is a free event that has grown rapidly over time. Between 11am and 3pm, it will be offering a huge assortment of items produced by local businesses. You can immerse yourself in an eclectic mix of stalls while enjoying live music. There will also be a delicious range of street food for you to enjoy. Many of the traders that have traded before at this event will be returning but there are also plenty of new traders. Christmas decorations, jewellery, soft furnishings, children’s gifts, soaps, cosmetics, candles, Italian delicacies, cheeses, children’s handcrafted clothing, classic car memorabilia, collectable toy cars, accessories, homeware, craft beer and gin and much more. Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership is delighted once again to welcome Young Enterprise representatives. The budding local entrepreneurs from Aylesbury schools have set up companies with the support of Young Enterprise and will be selling the products that they have created.

Be a trader at the event: if you would like further information on having a stall at The Christmas Craft and Gift Fair, please see: markets and click on the Christmas Gift Fair symbol. Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Funding for schools! Did you know that we have an amazing local lottery that supports great causes across the area, so when you enter it’s a win win situation! Not only are you in with the chance to win a £25,000 jackpot prize but your ticket money goes to help support great local charities, schools and organisations...


his summer, Vale Lottery celebrated raising over a quarter of a million pounds for local good causes and now, as Vale Lottery approaches its fourth anniversary, the £300,000 milestone is well within reach! Vale Lottery is an online council lottery helping to support good causes in Aylesbury Vale. The initiative was born and developed by Aylesbury Vale District Council partnering with Gatherwell. It helps to provide invaluable funds to a range of local good causes, including sports clubs, schools, animal charities, theatre groups, and disability charities – some raising thousands of pounds a year! The Vale Lottery model delivers a fantastic way to raise money in the community, for the community. And some of Vale Lottery’s most successful good causes are among our fantastic selection of Aylesbury Vale schools. More than 50 local schools and PTAs, including nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools, are already benefitting from the invaluable funds, raised through Vale Lottery, which can help to provide everything from toys and sporting equipment, to books and computers, proving it is an


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Help support local schools with Vale lottery effective way for parents, guardians and even grandparents to support their child’s school. And it’s not only the schools that win! To date, Vale Lottery has given away more than 26,000 free tickets and over £68,000 worth of cash prizes to its players – and there’s a fantastic £25,000 jackpot still to be won!

So, what are you waiting for? Tickets for Vale Lottery cost just £1 a week, with 60p from every ticket going directly to local good causes, and the balance going to running costs and prizes. Players can choose a cause and buy tickets at:, where organisations can also find out more about funding and how to register.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Exciting line up for fairs Sally Evans artist and makers fairs attract visitors from all over the area, especially at this time of year when the chance of finding those special somethings for near and dear ones is on all our minds...


on’t miss the chance of checking out some of the area’s most talented artists and makers this November and December when Sally Evans gathers together collections of gifted creatives at Thame Town Hall and Bradmoor Farm, Haddenham. The dates for your diary are November 16th and December 14th at Thame Town Hall and 30th November / 1st December at Bradmoor Farm. Bradmoor boasts a large farm shop, a popular café/restaurant and some very adaptable private function rooms, catering for all sorts of events from parties and weddings to the occasional Artists and Makers Fair! On Saturday, 30th November and Sunday, 1st December, from 10am to 4pm, Sally will bring together a unique mix of more than 35 artists and craftspeople at Bradmoor Farm, offering visitors the chance to see some gorgeous and fascinating handmade items and to meet the people who created them. Sally’s fairs showcase our best home grown talent and are always a delight to attend. “Bradmoor Farm Shop has a fabulous event space,” says Sally, “with lots of lovely natural light to show off the work of our talented artists. There’s a café on site too which does a great Sunday carvery lunch book ahead though as it is very popular!” Sally carefully handpicks talented artists and designer/makers whose work is interesting, different, high quality and reasonably priced. “In addition to my regular exhibitors,” says Sally, “I have some fabulous new artists for our November and December shows, which are ideally timed for Christmas shopping, especially if you are looking for inspiring, unusual and original gifts. I am pleased to welcome Stuff By The Bloke - quirky, vintage lighting created by upcycling copper piping, fire extinguishers and pretty much anything that can be wired up ready for your home! Also wood turner Rosemary Wright with her gorgeous coloured pinch pots, bowls, vases and more. Plus welcome back to David Shepherdson and Pens Unique - a favourite of Vale Life Magazine editor Charlie, who has purchased several of David’s fascinating and beautiful writing implements; also booked are mixed media and acrylic artist Sue Graham, and Aphrodite Rocks who designs copper and silver jewellery using semi-precious gemstones, tassels and found stones, to create

Aphrodite Rocks

Rosemary Wright

Sue Graham Pens Unique

statement and gloriously exotic and wearable, bespoke necklaces, earrings and bangles. l Sally Evans Artists & Makers Fairs Contact Sally on: 01844 273069 Email: Web: l Bradmoor Farm Shop & Cafe, Stanbridge Road, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8JX T: 01844 299387 W: l Thame Town Hall, High Street, Thame, OX9 3DP (10-4pm, free admission).

Stuff By The Bloke

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


The ink said

Ink Paintings and Micro Stories by Gabrielle Turner



t took a while for me to put together all the clues. Walking into walls. Double vision. Sleeping no more than two hours at a time. My bowels going at double speed. And something I didn’t even notice myself: the way I began to smell like oil. It was my husband who told me, but it had been our son who noticed first. ‘Mummy smells like a robot,’ he’d whispered, fearfully, in bed one night. ‘Is there metal inside her?’ Once I’d smelt it too, I couldn’t get it out of my nose. Fresh bread, toilet bleach, aftershave: whatever I sniffed, all I got was a dull metallic vapour; the smell of garages and the insides of clocks. 24

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

At the time, it was a shock. Less than a second and it was over. I wouldn’t even say that it was painful; just like a knock of your funny bone, or your knee giving way. What was odd was how I felt after: the tingles snaking through my fingertips and up to my shoulder. The energy that shot through me with any movement I made, inflaming every cell of me like a bolt of white-hot lightning earthing itself. After that moment, I was never the same. You wouldn’t be, if your world began to disappear. Hour by hour, I saw less of the things and the people I used to

know, and in their place, only a quivering kind of essence. Atoms. Fractals. Everything was made of this bright light, and it took me a few days to see clearly. Of course, when I tried to explain it, no doctor believed me. The way I saw things; they called them delusions; prescribed all sorts of pills that made me feel even more upside-down. For years, I pretended I was normal: it was easier that way. Until one day, I came across a creature who was not made out of fractals at all. I wish I could say she helped me escape, but she just pulled me deeper...

Gabrielle Turner

The ink said

l Gabrielle Turner is a writer and artist at the Phoenix Studio near Thame. As @theinksaid on Instagram she writes daily micro-stories inspired by her abstract ink paintings. Also at and

c l a s s i ca l l a s s

What’s on

with Nicola Lisle

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Christmas is coming!


ou can almost smell the mince pies and see the tinsel glittering as the Vale starts to gear up for Christmas. It may still only be November, but there are already quite a few festive goodies on the horizon. First, though, there are plenty of non-seasonal events if you prefer to save your Christmas treats for a bit nearer the time. The Aylesbury Lunchtime Music series continues every Thursday, starting on 7th November with pianist Anyssa Neumann performing Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. The Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra is at St Mary’s Church, Aylesbury, on 23rd November performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor (with soloist Alex Lomeiko), Elgar’s Froissart Overture and Brahms’ Symphony No.4 in E minor, conducted by Robert Hodge. The same evening,

attention on 7th December. Choose between Amersham Choral Society’s triple bill of Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Lord Williams’s Festival Chorus performing Hummel’s Mass in E flat and Karl Jenkins’ Gloria, or Wendover Choral Society in Vivaldi’s Gloria and The Four Princes Risborough Choral Seasons and Handel’s The King Society is performing a Haydn Shall Rejoice and Zadok the Priest. double bill, Mass in Time of War A difficult decision! and Insanae Et Vanae Curae, at St And so to those seasonal specials. Mary’s Church, Prince’s Risborough, Get into the festive spirit from 16th with conductor Chris Grant. November with Waddesdon Manor’s The following Saturday, sparkling Christmas displays, which Aylesbury Festival Choir continues this year have a music theme. its 60th anniversary celebrations Enjoy illuminated manuscripts, with an evening of choral classics, music-inspired decorations and a including Fauré’s sublime Cantique soundtrack of traditional carols as de Jean Rancine, Handel’s everyou stroll around the house – and popular Hallelujah chorus from don’t miss the winter light trail! Messiah and more, plus a new There are more carols on 7th composition by music director Nick December from Thame Choral Austin. Society, which will also perform Three choirs are vying for your Dvorak’s Mass in D major. On

Waddesdon Manor

o u r c r e at i v e va l e

Nicola Lisle

Classical Lass 14th December, you can hear Tring Choral Society performing Haydn’s Te Deum and Rouse’s Karolju before joining in with some popular carols, or catch Great Missenden Choral Society in Bach’s glorious Christmas Concerto. If you’re looking for something a bit different, head to Little Missenden on 13th December for The Carnival Band’s Carols and Capers at Christmas, a fun, lively evening of seasonal music spanning classical, baroque, folk and more. A good time is guaranteed! l Nicola Lisle is a freelance writer and author specialising in classical music, genealogy and social history. Follow her on Twitter @NicolaLisle1 and send her a tweet if you would like your event mentioned in this column.

with Sandra Smith

Wreaths for all seasons


reatives are lateral thinkers. They ignore the expected, refuse to be confined by the norm. Which is why, when Diane Harrison bought a ruffle scarf yarn at a time which coincided with plans to make something Christmassy, the result was a new style of wreath which would soon become her trademark. “I thicken the wool, make it more dense, by crocheting with a thick crochet hook and my fingers. Then I wind it around Styrofoam rings, usually 30cm diameter, attaching at eight secure points. I use variegated yarn and finish with a thin ribbon for hanging and wider ribbon for bows.” Diane makes the technique sound effortless. To be fair, the first one took four weeks to create. And nowadays? “About one hour. It’s become a process.” For anyone wondering about the authenticity of these wreaths, their texture and festive tones

Diane Harrison with woolly wreath make them as attractive as any foliage based decoration. In her Aylesbury home she shows me numerous examples in an array of greens with red or tartan ribbons. However, Diane also takes on commissions: “People can order them to match their own décor, I can turn them round quite quickly.

They can also be made in smaller sizes for use as table decorations and some people add battery LED lights. At other times of the year I create bespoke wreaths for occasions such as weddings and Valentine’s Day.” Unlike fir or holly wreaths which barely last the festive season, Diane’s wreaths can be displayed every year, just like the rest of your decorations. Ideally they should be kept indoors (“They look good on mirrors”) but if placed on an outside door, would need protection from the elements. Otherwise all they demand is an occasional shake to remove dust and storage in a box. “I encourage people to use them all year round,” she advises. “They are very well behaved and will last for many years if looked after. In this age we need things with longevity.” When the 57 year old isn’t making wreaths or hunting for new yarn and quality ribbons,

Creative Vale

Sandra Smith she produces scarves, fingerless gloves, boot cuffs, chair socks and Christmas dog coats. To see a selection go along to the PTA Art Fair at Aylesbury Grammar School 15th-16th November or Wendover’s Christmas on the Manor Waste from 4pm on 22nd November when you can either buy or place an order for your own, bespoke wreath. l Find out more about Sandra

Smith’s work as a freelance writer by following her on Twitter: @TheCurrentMrsS or visiting her website: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


What’s on Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Let’s get spooked! If you enjoy the kind of dramatic mystery and suspense that sends little chills up and down your spine and may even have your hair standing on end, then don’t miss The Woman in Black at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre this November. If you are more in the mood for a little festive fare then Nativity: The Musical and Beauty and the Beast should well and truly jingle your bells...


cclaimed ghost story The Woman in Black is coming to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th November). Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel tells the story of a lawyer (Robert Goodall) obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over his family by the spectre of a ‘Woman in Black’. He engages a young actor (Daniel Easton) to help him tell his story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It begins innocently enough, but as they delve further into his darkest memories, they find themselves caught up in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds. With a record breaking run of over 30 years in the West End under her black dress, Vale Life thought it time to quiz author of the original novel, Susan Hill, to find out how she came up with the spooky story and what it’s like seeing her work up on stage. Did you anticipate this longevity when the show first opened? Oh no, we thought it would run for six weeks! It opened in Scarborough in 1988, and it started because they had a pantomime on in the theatre and Alan Aykborn, who was the

Susan Hill


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Daniel Easton ‘The Actor’ and Robert Goodall ‘Mr Kipps’ (THE WOMAN IN BLACK UK Tour). Aylesbury Waterside Theatre: Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th November. Pic by Tristram Kenton Artistic Director, wanted to have something to put into the studio theatre alongside the pantomime. Stephen Mallatrat was then lying on a beach in Greece and thought he could make this work on the stage. When he wrote to me asking if he could adapt it I thought it was mad but it’s a truly remarkable piece of theatre.

House the way you envisioned it? I think the great thing about the show is that it really does use the theatre, the stage, and it makes the audience work. Stephen Mallatratt’s writing makes you use your imagination, and that’s the brilliance of it and also what makes some elements all the more scary!

Were you nervous about handing over your story to a new team when you were originally approached about adapting the novel to the stage? Not at all! The play is very true to the book and yet simultaneously very different by nature of being a piece of theatre. It works brilliantly in theatrical terms and it is still my book, but it is also not – and that is exciting.

Why do you think we as readers or audience members enjoy being scared? It’s a funny thing isn’t it? It’s a very primitive instinct, to be frightened. However, the joy of a ghost story is that it is just practice really, we are being frightened delightfully. Whilst we may jump and scream in the theatre, we know that we are safe and can allow ourselves to be scared which I think is essential! Perhaps it is our way of learning to manage our fears?

Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation utilises some very traditional theatrical techniques in very innovative ways. Does the play capture the atmosphere of Eel Marsh

For lots of young people, coming to see The Woman in Black will be their first

What’s on Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

experience of live theatre. What do you advise they look out for? Go into the theatre with an open mind and try to immerse yourself in the show. Allow yourself to imagine everything the show invites you to! Prepare to be gripped, book your tickets today for this haunting theatrical masterpiece. Tickets are available now. Call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee. Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge) or visit (bkg fee). Swap the spooks for sparkle and shine! There’s jingle bells and feel-good fun all the way from 6th to 10th November when Nativity! The Musical arrives with all your favourite the sing-a-long songs from the hit movies. Get ready for some mayhem in Bethlehem in this cracker of a musical! REMEMBER: More festive fun arrives in Beauty and the Beast – OH YES IT DOES! This year’s must-see family pantomime is booking fast, get ready for one Belle of a show from Friday 6th December to Sunday 5th January 2020. l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

Nativity! The Musical: Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th November

Coming up at Aylesbury Waterside Your at-a-glance guide to what’s on at Waterside... Whitney Queen of the Night That’ll Be The Day Christmas Show Show of Hands Santa’s New Sleigh Dennis & Gnasher

Moscow City Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake

Thur 21st Nov Sat 23rd Nov Sun 24th Nov Sat 14th Dec Thur 23rd to Sun 26th Jan Fri 31st Jan to Sun 2nd Feb

Beauty & The Beast: Friday 6th December to Sunday 5th January Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


What’s on

s h ow t i m e

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

with Shaun Nolan

Shakespeare in space!


he lead-up to Christmas can become a fraught time for theatres as they prepare for pantomime season, the busiest time of the year. But until then, we have a lot of hidden gems to sift through, from comedy, to drama, and even horror… Did you manage to catch my friends at Unbound Theatre in their Sketchbook comedy tour last month? If not, then you’ve got another chance to see them in Epic Tales, a night of improvised long-form stories presented at Queen’s Park’s Limelight Theatre, on Saturday Nov 16th. If they were funny then, after sharpening their wit on tour, they’ll (somehow) be even funnier now. If you’re looking for something a little more classic, there’s a double Shakespeare offering in Tring. First is Frayed Knot’s production of Macbeth, the story of witches, war and wonder.

Sam Tutty stars in the West End production of Dear Evan Hansen They’re a local company that are consistently fantastic and the show runs from Nov 20th to 23rd. For something a little more lighthearted, Berkhamstead Youth Theatre’s production of A Comedy of Errors follows from Nov 28th to 30th. This production sends Shakespeare into space with the main characters repurposed as aliens and sounds like a hilarious

The Witchert Chorale Directed by David


A New Beginning A concert including music by Bach, Chilcott, Gjeilo & Puccini

SATURDAY 30th NOVEMBER 2019 AT 7.30PM St MaryÕs Church, Haddenham Friends of St MaryÕs (Haddenham) Haddenham Village Society

In aid of and

Tickets £12.50, Concessions £10, U16 free From Blooming Fruity or from our website


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

night for all the family! If you’ve enjoyed Halloween and wish to maintain the vibe, why not try The Woman in Black, at Aylesbury Waterside from Nov 26th to 30th. I’ve seen it in London and it isn’t one for the faint hearted… I can’t wait to see it again at the Waterside this month. The London theatre scene has been quiet recently, but there are a few things this month that are worth a try. The Tony Award-winning smashhit musical Dear Evan Hansen is now in previews at the Noel Coward Theatre – I’m attending the first performance and I can’t wait. There’s also the return of Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre, which could make for a perfect Christmas treat, as well as the new stage adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at the Bridge Theatre from Nov 9th.

Shaun Nolan Showtime!

But if you’re looking for a play, why not try to get your hands on tickets to see James McAvoy in Jamie Lloyd’s new production of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre (from Nov 27th), or the UK première of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner Fairview at the Young Vic (from Nov 28th), my most anticipated play of the Autumn. l Shaun Nolan is a freelance writer

and producer who also writes his own fictional stories and scripts. You can find him at @shaunycat on Twitter and if you want your show mentioned in this column, tweet him and let him know!

Welcome to Coco Tamarind Fine Indian restaurant & takeaway at Askett, Princes Risborough

Coco Tamarind serves the finest modern and traditional Indian cuisine, in stylish, comfortable surroundings. The relaxed ambience and efficient service, plus our well stocked bar, will ensure your time with us is a most enjoyable experience, whatever the occasion.

Christmas Party bookings now being taken!! Large or small groups - call 01844 343111 for details.

New Year’s Eve party! from 8pm Neil Diamond tribute with Jason Searle

plus Elvis, Rat Pack, Cliff, Buddy & more...

5 course meal with glass of bubbly & entertainment only £54.95 Book today to avoid disappointment! Early sitting (no entertainment, 5-7.30pm)


l 10% discount on collected takeaways l Free home delivery within 5 mile radius (min order £15) Become a Coco Tamarind Member and enjoy discounts and special offers l Please book ahead, we are busy all week!

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




Box Office 0844 871 7607

Online: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

supported by

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Supporting total Hospice care for local families affected by life-limiting illness

01296 429975

This is a charity event raising funds for Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, Registered Charity Number: 1119499

Get in Santa’s good book! It’s a fine thing to be filled with the spirit of Christmas and as the festive season kicks in, how better to get in a jolly mood than by dressing as Santa and raising funds for a cracking local cause. All the family can join in and enjoy the warm glow that follows. Come on, Santa’s watching...


lorence Nightingale Hospice Charity is putting out a call for Santas of all ages to take to the streets of Haddenham, Great Missenden and Wendover this December. After the success of last year’s event in Wendover, which saw over 320 Santas run, walk and scoot 2km through the town, raising more than £2,000 for local hospice care, the Charity has added additional events this year in Haddenham and Great Missenden. “Last year’s Wendover Santa Dash was a really fun event with lots of community spirit and festive cheer,” says Vicky James, Events Manager at Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity. “We were delighted that so many people supported the event, and their enthusiasm and enjoyment of the Santa Dash made a lovely start to the festive season for all the spectators and Marshals, and for us in the Charity’s Fundraising team.” The Hospice’s Santa Dashes will take place in Haddenham on Sunday 1st December, Great Missenden on Sunday 8th December and in Wendover on Saturday 21st December.

The Santa Dashes are suitable for all the generations, making this a great Christmas event for all the family. All entrants will be provided with a Santa suit to make a splash of seasonal colour through the streets. A very special visitor (wears red, says “Ho ho ho!” a lot) will join the ever popular Florrie Bear to set the crowd of Santa Dashers on their way, cheer everyone on and say hello to all the children. Entry costs just £12 per adult and £7 per child and the Charity hopes that participants will raise at least £30 each in sponsorship towards hospice care in Buckinghamshire. You can register for the events online at the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity website at l Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC) Unit 2 Walton Lodge, Walton Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7QY T: 01296 429975 W: Twitter: @fnhospice Facebook: /florencenightingalehospice Registered Charity 1119499

Choose your Santa Dash! Haddenham Santa Dash

Sunday 1st December Registration: 10am. Run: 11am 3km starting at Haddenham Youth and Community Centre, Woodways

Great Missenden Santa Dash

Sunday 8th December Registration: 10am. Run: 11am 2km starting at Great Missenden Church of England Combined School, Church Street.

Wendover Santa Dash

Saturday 21st December Registration: 10am. Run: 11am 2.5km starting at Wendover Memorial Hall, Wharf Road Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Food & Drink

The Seasonal Table


Chocolate, Coconut & Mango Tartlets

his Autumn and winter is about entertaining in my book, long dark evening and shorter days only call for one thing, and that is baking. So If you have guests coming or if you fancy a day baking this is a great little recipe. Delicious chocolate and coconut tartlets with a choice of fillings, either ganache or mango - will you go for Ganache, Mango or like me both?


Step 1: To make your dough, mix the flour, coconut, cacao and baking powder. Make a well – add the butter, whisk your egg and add to your mixture. Mix by hand until it forms a ball – be aware the pastry will be very short and crumbly and might need quite a bit of mixing. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes. 32

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

by Virginie Bonvalet

Ingredients For the pastry 165 g Spelt 15 g Desiccated coconut 20g Cacao powder 1/4 Tsp. Baking powder 30 g Muscovado sugar

50 g Butter 1 Egg

1 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

Mango filling 1 Large mango 3 Passion fruit 15 g Coconut sugar 2 Cardamom pods blended to a powder 1 Pinch of salt 1 Tbsp. Cornflour

Step 2: In the meantime, make your fillings. For the mango filling, purée the mangoes, passion fruit, sugar, cardamom and salt in a blender. In a small bowl mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water. Pour the purée into a saucepan, add the cornflour and cook on medium heat for about 12-15 minutes until mixture thickens. Stir the mixture continuously with a wooden spoon while cooking to ensure a

Chocolate filling 250 ml Almond milk 3 Cardamom pods 2 Tbsp. Coconut sugar 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla paste 150 g Dark chocolate 1 Egg

smooth creamy result. The final texture should feel slightly firmer than thick yogurt. Leave it to cool. Once completely cooled, fold in the Greek yogurt. Step 3: For the chocolate filling. Into a heavy bottom saucepan add the milk, the lightly crushed cardamom and the vanilla paste. Cook gently on a medium heat for 4-6 minutes until the milk is warm enough to melt the chocolate. Cut the chocolate into pieces, take the pan off the heat

and melt the chocolate until you get a smooth consistency. Add the egg and cook very gently for a further 6 minutes. Keep aside to cool. Step 4: Now take your dough and roll out in between 2 sheet of parchment paper, to about 1/2 cm thick and divide into previously greased tartlet moulds. Step 5: Blind bake your tartlets for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool for 20 minutes. Step 6: To assemble your tartlets, pour the mango or chocolate filling into the crusts, sprinkle with cacao for the chocolate and coconut for the mango. Serve cool! Enjoy... Bon appetit! ♥♥♥ CHECK OUT MY SITE Photographs, recipes & words © Virginie W: E: Social: @virginie_bonvalet

The Christmas Barn

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Home grown, home made You have to be exceptional to win three stars at The Great Taste awards but Waterperry Farm Shop has done just that, with chef Annie’s superb Beef and Ale pie. It’s well worth a visit to sample the lovely local produce and amazing butchery and baking there, plus a pop up Christmas Barn...


aterperry Farm shop is a great Award-winning chef find. Hidden away off the Annie Sheehan exit track from Waterperry Gardens, the relatively new enterprise is housed in an old cattle shed, complete with cosy shop, butchery, commercial kitchen, a pop up Christmas barn and, during december, a Nativity with live animals! William and Lois Selmes have been farming at Waterperry for some 12 years and pride themselves on the quality of their Oxfordshire beef and lamb, reared and raised to the highest of standards at their family farm. “People were asking if we could supply our meat direct from the farm,” says Lois, “so we decided to set up a farm shop. “We have our own on-site butcher, Garry, and a kitchen where our chef Annie makes the most gorgeous meals from our home grown and local produce. They are all cooked here, from award-winning pies to delicious ready meals, such as: meatballs in tomato and basil sauce, lasagne, cottage pie, curries, Rachel’s macaroni cheese, soups, jams and chutneys. It’s all crosses, while the sheep made from scratch, Annie and the are Texels. team are amazing.”. In the farm shop a “Winning the three star Taste special dry ageing cabinet Award is incredible. They have helps maximise the 12,000 entries for Great Taste and flavour of the beef and only 200 products achieve a three lamb. It’s kept cold while star award - Annie’s pie was the only being dehumidified with pie in the country to get three stars Himalayan salt for from this year. The pies are gorgeous 30 to 60 days. William & Lois Selmes though and packed with huge The Farm Shop’s chunks of beef in a delicious gravy! chicken is free range and comes from Potash We also won a one star award for Garry’s Farm at Tring, while Christmas Turkeys will sirloin steak, which we are very proud of.” also be free range, from Potash and Starveall, Annie also makes Christmas cakes to order, so both high quality and very local. Orders are and mince pies plus at Christmas time there being taken now. will be ready made Christmas side dishes Free range pork comes from Woods Farm such as honey glazed carrots, roast cabbage at Watlington and is transformed by Garry and brussel sprouts, all ready to go, as an into prime cuts, sausages and bacon. alternative to buying the fresh products and “One of the main reasons we set up the doing it yourself. Farm Shop,” says Lois, “is we want customers The Selmes’ family farm at Waterperry to know where their food comes from and has lovely meadows which run down to the that it is of good provenance. We hold talks river, where their suckler herd graze. They are and events through the year, so people can mainly Simmental and Charolais/Limousin come and learn more about food and farming.

Award-winning Butcher Garry Heath

We’ve had an apple weekend and a farm supper recently and fun cooking and craft events for children at half term. “Our Christmas pop up barn is a chance for us to support local makers and crafters and new businesses and will be packed with lovely gift ideas - high quality, mostly handmade products, not available on the high street. It’s open all through November and December. “Then through December we have a Nativity display with real animals from the farm, which is lovely and free to see.” Waterperry Farm Shop is well worth a visit. You could easily do your weekly food shop there and treat yourself to some top quality local produce. Don’t miss the chance to sample Annie’s baking though, it really is fabulous! l Waterperry Farm Shop, off Waterperry Gardens exit road, Waterperry, Oxfordshire, OX33 1LB T: 01844 396351 W: Open: Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm

Waterperry Farm Shop

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Winning formula Risborough’s Radhuni Restaurant has an excellent reputation for Fine Indian Dining. Head chef, Shumon Uddin, was hailed as Chef of The Year in 2017’s Curry Life Magazine Awards and this year has won National Chef of The Year at the Asian Restaurant & Takeaway (ARTA) Awards 2019...


ing of curry. Shumon Uddin, has worked at the Radhuni Restaurant in Princes Risborough, since it opened in 2009 but has been cooking a lot longer than that. He started as a teenager washing up and peeling potatoes, until a chef noticed how interested he was in cooking and took him under his wing. Now an accomplished and dedicated chef himself, his favourite pastime is creating new dishes and at Radhuni he is encouraged by owner Akthoraz Miah who is keen to inspire innovation and excellence at his restaurants. 35-year-old Uddin collected his coveted award recently during a gala event at the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster, hosted by BBC News newsreader Samantha Simmonds, . “We’re all delighted for Shumon,” says Akthoraz Miah, owner of Radhuni. “He is a fantastic chef who consistently produces the most excellent food. It is truly an honour to be recognised as National Chef of the Year and Radhuni is proud to have a nationally recognised chef helping us serve the wonderful town of Princes Risborough. The event was an enjoyable evening and the award is a motivation for us to continue delivering the best Asian cuisine to our customers.” This is a prestigious national award and has been accompanied by a flurry of media interest including TV coverage and invitations

Akthoraz Miah and Shumon Uddin at the ARTA Awards 34

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Akthoraz Miah and Shumon Uddin with two of the chef’s dishes

for radio interviews, including a spot on Nick Coffer’s BBC Three Counties Weekend Kitchen show. “I enjoy creating new dishes,” says Shumon. “At Radhuni we are constantly seeking to improve and develop our menu, adding new recipes for those who wish to be adventurous and try something different, while maintaining

Shumon Uddin in the Radhuni kitchens

our popular range of traditional dishes. “We have been concentrating on the quality of ingredients and try to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients for enhanced flavour where possible. I am inspired by recipes from around the world though and enjoy adapting ideas from chefs in other countries and cultures, to combine with our Indian cuisine and local ingredients, to create something new. We are launching a new menu for the Autumn which has some exciting new dishes alongside the old favourites.” One of Shumon’s most delicious creations is Chatinadu - a spicy combination of ground coconut, curry leaves, fennel and sesame seeds; while a real show-stopper is his King Prawn Catalana - Jumbo King Prawns cooked with Roasted Star Anise, Fenugreek and Jovantry (an unusual spice which is dried and blended before being added to the curry to give a unique flavour). “I like the Punjabi Lazeez,” says Mr Miah, it’s chicken or lamb in a creamy butter and tomato sauce with ginger and crushed

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Miah helps out with presentation

Radhuni restaurant fenugreek leaves and very tasty!” “I am very pleased to have won this award,” says Shumon, “but I couldn’t cook without the help of my colleagues here at Radhuni, both in the kitchen and front of house and the support and organisation of Mr Miah, they have all played a part in winning this.” Radhuni is located in the Old Library on Church Street, Princes Risborough, a stunning 16th century wealden house, with black and white timbering to the left of a modern entrance. Inside is an impressive mix of contemporary style and old world charm - there’s a comfortable reception area with a funky modern bar, while the main restaurant is an impressive Elizabethan banqueting hall, where oak beams are complemented by huge brass chandeliers, metal pendant shades and

eastern wall plaques, for an exotic edge. It’s a spacious place with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and can seat up to 100 diners. “We are always updating and improving,” says Miah. “I like to keep things fresh and interesting for our customers. We introduce new dishes to the menu every few months and we keep the decor clean and updated.” The Radhuni menu offers many traditional Indian and Bangladeshi dishes that diners love, plus a variety of house specialities and new additions - dishes gathered from all over South East Asia and a delicious new dessert selection. “All the food here is fresh,” says Miah. “We do the preparation in the afternoon and cook to order in the evening. We have well-equipped modern kitchens and a special tandoori oven that cooks at a very high temperature. “We have regular training and staff development and strive to keep improving in all areas. It’s a big restaurant and we have five full-time front of house staff and six full-time kitchen staff plus additional part-timers at peak times as we want service to be friendly, attentive and efficient, even when it is very busy. Our chef is always developing his skills and has recently been coached by a top Indian chef who flew in from Delhi to share some of the latest ideas and techniques they are using at the best restaurants in India. “We put on occasional music nights and special evenings for occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Night. Set price Christmas party menus range from £20 to £30 per person and are now available for friends, families and businesses who would like to celebrate the festive season here. On New Year’s Eve we have a special New Year’s Eve dinner with glass of bubbly

In the Radhuni kitchens and an Elvis tribute for entertainment at £55 per head. This is from 8.30pm. There is an earlier sitting without music from 6-8.30pm.” The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 6-11pm Monday to Saturday and from 6pm to 10pm on Sundays and will deliver takeaway orders, over £15, for free, within a five mile radius. They also do gift vouchers and have discounts and benefits for Radhuni Spice Club members. l Radhuni, The Old Library, Church Street, Princes Risborough, BUCKS, HP27 9AA Tel: 01844 273741 / 273412 / 690446 Web: Facebook: \RadhuniPR Twitter: @RadhuniPR

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Food & Drink Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

s l ow c h i lt e r n s

by Neil Matthews

Where the words just flow


riters are as fond of good watering holes as the rest of us, and at least four local places boast connections with famous scribes… The Bell at Aston Clinton has been around for many a year. A decade or two ago, the restaurant was silver service; in the 1960s it welcomed guests from Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to the prosecution team in the Great Train Robbery trial. Back in 1925 one of its regular clientele was teaching English, history and art locally, while reworking his recent experiences at a Welsh school into a novel. The teacher was Evelyn Waugh, and the novel would be Decline and Fall, published three years later. A typical Waugh diary entry for October 1925 read: ‘Taught lunatics. Played rugby football. Drank at Bell.’ You might not spot any drunken aspiring novelists these days, but the food

World War I poet Rupert Brooke, who used to drink here when walking in the area. A third literary location is in the quintessential English village of Ivinghoe. We don’t know whether John Buchan (most famous for The Thirty-Nine Steps) was ever here, but it’s possible; he lived just outside Oxford for many years. Rupert Brooke memorabilia Buchan’s Thirty-Nine Steps hero in the snug at The Pink & Lily Richard Hannay visits Ivinghoe is excellent, with the sticky toffee in The Three Hostages, in the pudding an indulgent treat. company of villain Dominick A few miles south, just outside Medina, whose disciple he is Princes Risborough, sits the Pink pretending to be: ‘We walked all and Lily. The building is over day on the hills around Ivinghoe, 300 years old, and legend says it and had a late lunch in the village became a hostelry in 1800 when inn.’ The inn isn’t named, but is Mr Pink and Miss Lillie, a butler surely the King’s Head, a 16th and chambermaid from Hampden century Grade II-listed building House, fell in love and bought the and now a restaurant where you building, at the time a private can pre-order Aylesbury duckling. house. It’s now a friendly pub which Ivinghoe itself has one more welcomes ‘muddy boots, muddy literary claim to fame; Sir Walter families and muddy dogs’. On the Scott once stayed at Stocks wall in a corner is a portrait of House, in nearby Aldbury, and is

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said to have adapted Ivinghoe’s name for one of his greatest novels, Ivanhoe. Poet W. B. Yeats lived in Thame for a number of years at Cuttle Brook House on the Lower High Street, so would have enjoyed time spent at one or two of the town’s excellent hostelries, perhaps inspiring his lines, “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” l Slow Travel: the Chilterns and the Thames Valley, by Helen and Neil Matthews is available now via:

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Turkey or goose? Christmas dinner is at the centre of our seasonal festivities and for the tastiest, juciest, most delicious celebration it’s hard to beat a locally bred, free range, Starveall bird. But this year will it be turkey or goose on your festive table? Foodwriter Franky Cookson weighs up the options...


uring the last week, I’ve Delicious Starveall Farm, roast free range turkey. met so many friends who are approaching Christmas with dread. In some cases, they don’t even know, yet, the number of people who will be around their table for Christmas dinner. This year, the big day falls on a Wednesday, which makes it particularly difficult for those of us who are working. So here are a few tips that might help a little with the choices that face the chef. In my house, that’s me. The most important consideration is what will be the centrepiece of the Christmas table. It can be tempting, for those in a hurry, to just pop a supermarket bird into their trolley and hope for the best. But Christmas is so very special, that if you want to be sure of a memorable meal on the day, a little thought will make all the difference. Your first consideration is whether to choose turkey or goose. The case for Goose: Free range goose is absolutely delicious - and, for up to six people, it’s a rare treat. Its crispy skin and rich dark meat is mouth-wateringly delicious, and lends itself wonderfully to savoury stuffing Starveall Farm, free range goose. and sharp, fruity sauces, like apple. Just the smell of a cooking goose makes my Where to buy?: Having made the weighty mouth water. decision over which bird to choose, the next But even a large goose will struggle to question is where to find the best possible provide more than six or seven servings. So if quality. I know I’ve said it before, but I cannot you suspect that you might be feeding more over-emphasise the importance of quality. than six, my best advice is to choose turkey. Do try to place your order with a trusted The case for turkey: A slowly-reared independent butcher or farm shop. Talk to turkey, that has been dry-plucked, then hung, them about where they buy, or rear, their birds to bring out the flavour, is in a league of its and look out for the Golden Turkey poster, own. You can expect moist, succulent meat because it’s a sure sign of a quality purveyor. that goes wonderfully with chestnut stuffing, A local source of the most exceptional bread sauce, and all the trimmings. Weight for turkeys and geese is Starveall Farm, in weight, a turkey can feed almost double the Upton, between Thame and Aylesbury. Their number of people as can a goose. And for turkeys have won Great Taste Awards for smaller numbers there’s also the option of a succulence and flavour - and their geese have Crown. been receiving accolades ever since they were One of my favourite aspects of Christmas introduced, last year. is the prospect of a relaxing Boxing Day, All their poultry is slowly reared, to the when I can pick at the cold turkey in the highest standards of welfare. It’s a family fridge. There are nearly always delicious farm, with father and son, Patrick and Mike left-overs with turkey - and without the Lambert, taking a very personal interest in distractions of Christmas Day, you can really quality and welfare. savour the superior taste of a hand-reared “We have never had ambitions to be turkey, compared with a mass-produced bird. the biggest producers of Christmas and

Mike and Patrick Lambert with some of their Bronze Starveall Farm, free range turkeys.

Thanksgiving birds,” says Mike. “But we care a great deal about the quality and welfare of all our birds. My father has been in the business for over thirty years, so I have a great example to follow.” Starveall Farm’s turkeys and geese are oven ready and remarkably easy to cook. They come complete with instructions, so the only thing you are waiting for is the applause, when you serve your simply delicious Christmas lunch. See for information and online ordering, or call Starveall Farm on 01296 747549. l Starveall Farm, Oxford Road, Upton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8PZ Tel: 01296 747549 Email: Website: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Health & Beauty Vale Life : Nov/Oct 2019

B e au t y s p ot

by Amanda Trott

Bring on the Wow!

It’s that time of year where we really want to look our best. Our diaries are filling up with christmas parties and social gatherings and of course we all want to look good for Santa! Could be time to introduce a little WOW factor...


fter writing about the Profilo hand treatment experienced at Karma House in Stone in my last Beauty Spot column, Caron Vetter kindly invited me back again to sample the latest treatment they have on offer - the Wow Facial. Aesthetic nurse Kay, explained what to expect. The Wow facial is not a facial as you know it, this 75 minute results driven facial comprises of 6 steps, which can be tailored to each clients needs. These are: cleansing and resurfacing; dermaplaning; Wow fusion; light therapy; mask and finally; moisturise and sun protection. The beauty of this facial is that no down time is needed afterwards, so it’s the perfect preparation for a special occasion. The first step was to remove all traces of make up and dirt from my skin using a specially formulated AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) cleanser which starts the exfoliation process and prepares the skin for the resurfacing peel. There are 4 different peels to treat different skin types but with anti-ageing being my prime concern, Kay applied the one that best suited. She explained that I might feel some warmth or tingling and kept a watchful eye over me whilst the peel worked its magic. Although I felt a little warmth, it was more itchy than tingly. After a few minutes Kay removed the peel and talked me through the next step, dermaplaning. Quite simply this process uses a small scapel to gently remove dead skin-dulling cells and fluffy peach fuzz, leaving your skin much more able to absorb all the nutritious goodies from the Wow facial and helping to create a flawless base for make up lovers. It wasn’t the slightest bit uncomfortable but took Kay around 20 minutes to complete before we were ready for the WOW fusion. This is a needling device that allows the practitioner to create bespoke skincare cocktails in a little glass vial that is ideal for your skin care needs. The needle head contains 20 titanium and gold plated needles, each no bigger than a strand of hair, being so thin they are able to make a small trauma without any pain. They also have a small spiral groove on the outside of the needle that allows product to flow down and into the skin. Kay used hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Amanda Trott

Beauty Spot


Applying the AHA cleanser Wow fusion needling wand

Moisturising mask

times its own weight in water and a multiLED Light therapy mask vitamin serum. Although not painful in any way, this felt reminiscent of having a small cactus rolled over my face! A sheet mask infused with moisturising hyaluronic acid, collagen and plant stem cells gave soothing, cooling relief, before the LED light therapy mask was placed over my face for a few minutes to stimulate collagen production. Finally Kay smoothed some vitamin Applying my make up the infused serum over following day gave me an almost my face and a vitamin airbrushed look, due to the the C and hyaluronic removal of the dead skin cells and serum around my eyes, vellus hair and the super duper boost before applying some of hydration. all important SPF sun Christmas is a time to give, so why protection. not treat yourself to a little bit of After the Wow Facial She advised me to something that all the celebrities are avoid sun exposure and talking about and for good reason! continue using an SPF and if possible to avoid Karma House gift vouchers are available if make up for 24 hours. your nearest and dearest needs Christmas gift Although not the kind of relaxing facial that inspiration and they have some lovely gift sets allows you to drift off into a land of massage too! and exotic fragrance, the Wow Facial, really did l To contact Amanda please email: give wow results. My skin felt baby soft to the touch - no more peach fuzz for me - and had a Amanda is a Tropic Skincare Ambassador, see: radiant glow.

E m ot i o n a l h e a lt h

Health & Fitness

with Roo Davies

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

What are you waiting for?


here’s never a bad time to ask yourself this question but in these final months of 2019, it’s useful to pause and reflect. Did you have plans for this year that may not have come to life? Do you have goals that still feel out of reach? Try to be honest with yourself. Have you found yourself on the sidelines? Watching your life unfold around you? Maybe you have slipped into autopilot mode. We can find ourselves in this situation for a few reasons. It’s important to remember that the human brain is hard wired to keep us safe which can lead to us staying in our comfort zone. We start to go through the motions, play it safe and don’t challenge the status quo. Put simply... we choose to ‘settle’. We can create the most elaborate reasons (excuses) why we should wait and watch the world go by. Does any of this sound familiar? It’s not the right time...

Roo Davies Life Coach

l Roo Davies, award-winning Life

Time is ticking... I can’t afford it... I need someone to go with... What will people think... I’m not ready... I’m just too busy... I’m not sure what to do... This only serves to sabotage us. We can fall into a cycle of negative thinking; we can give our inner critic airtime in our heads and instead of having our own backs we create roadblocks stopping us moving forward, fulfilling our potential and achieving our goals.

It can slowly creep up on us, so I encourage you to consider if you’re playing a waiting game? Then ask yourself another question. What change can you make to start making progress? Why tread water when you could be moving forward? Often the only thing holding you back is yourself. Your mindset, your choices, your actions. Stop waiting. Stop watching. Choose to Thrive rather than simply Survive!

and Business Coach helps people to thrive rather than simply survive in both their personal and professional life. A member of the Association for Coaching, Roo offers one to one coaching either face to face or via video call. She provides a compassionate, safe and confidential space. She also works as a Business Coach assisting small business owners and delivering workshops to help employees thrive. Your Life Journey, The White House, 2 East Street, Thame, OX9 3JS T: 07753 756512 E: W:

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Helping to keep your feet in a healthy condition Based in Thame, I am also a fully qualified massage therapist offering holistic massage and reflexology REGISTERED MEMBER OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF FOOT HEALTH PRACTITIONERS

Hypnotherapy can and has helped many people in many ways

Gift Vouchers • Payot Products Scentered Therapy Balms & Candles please contact me for more details 07771 330366

A FREE initial chat, in total confidence, in a comfortable environment, with no obligation to undertake therapy, is the best way to find out how it might help you.

Angie Elbourn


Tel: 077756 77796 (CNHC are the only registering body for this therapy that is recognised by the Dept of Health)

For more info: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Health & Beauty

G o o d h e a lt h

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

with Sandra Smith

Dance yourself fit!


f your Saturday evenings currently generate a mixture of admiration, awe and envy – I’m referring, of course, to Strictly – then may I suggest a solution? I’m not implying I can flick through my contacts for Giovanni’s number, or access the BBC’s wardrobe and make up department, however, I can recommend a Fitsteps class run by dance enthusiast, Emily Walford. “The steps in Fitsteps are based on ballroom and Latin moves,” Emily says. “It’s a fitness workout. You don’t need to have had dance training, but some musicality and coordination helps!” Fitsteps is the brainchild of Strictly professionals Ian Waite (“He’s very tall and very charming”) and Natalie Lowe. Emily completed her training in 2014 and now runs an hour long class on Thursday evenings at Little Kimble’s Griffin House School. From Waltz to Cha Cha

Cha and Charleston, each move is broken down into a form that can be danced individually rather than with a partner. Her classes also have holistic benefits: “The aerobic workout in dances like the Jive are great for your heart but the Tango is also good because you have to hold your muscles


in a different way. Some of the slower dances are more intense. Fitsteps is a brain workout as well because you’re having to listen, follow instructions and remember steps. Dancing releases endorphins. At the end of a class I feel good in an emotional way. I’ve even come across people who are a bit depressed or anxious but this gives them a lift.” Each session, which costs £6, begins with a warm up. Emily includes a few props such as scarves or dance canes which enhance the feeling of playing a role. Special clothing is not required as long as you can move freely and trainers are acceptable, but if you have split sole dance shoes, then do wear them. Throughout the class, participants are encouraged to maintain good posture – shoulders back and tummy in – while new routines, or any tricky steps such as ‘drunken sailors’, are practised

Good Health

Sandra Smith methodically to ensure everyone feels comfortable. There is no competitive edge to these classes, the most important element is to have fun. Well, that’s a given because Fitsteps is not only an exercise class but one which genuinely feels like dancing. Okay, not on a BBC stage, but you can always use your imagination. Email Emily via: emilyheap l Sandra Smith is a freelance

writer, follow her on Twitter: @TheCurrentMrsS or visit her website:


Our clinical dental technician, Roy, is a master craftsman who creates the ultimate in aesthetics for removable dentures. The ‘True to Life’ technique incorporates tissue colour mapping using digital photography and individual tooth and gum characterisation. l

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T: 01494 569466

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

H e a lt h f o c u s

with Andy McCrea

Health & Fitness

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Strong-arm tactics I

f you suffer from chronic back pain, arthritis, joint pain, repetitive strain disorders (the list is exhaustive) the chances are... you’ll need to GET STRONGER Oversimplified I hear you say, well the research says not, so GET STRONGER !! There is a good reason and crucially an evidence based reason why all our clinics have a fully equipped gym facility, it’s because exercise is a miracle drug and strength training is one of the most efficient forms. Cast away the Instagram images of body builders and sculpted torsos, strength training is as relevant and appropriate for an 80 year who fears falling, as it is for a 14 year old with growing pains. Benefits of Strengthening More bang for your buck... Strength training is a very efficient means of losing weight, increasing bone density, improving mental health and creating a robustness to cope with daily activities. It can also partially replace “cardio”

and deep stability muscles are deactivated when sitting and unsurprisingly they get weak. Once we identify this weakness we can prescribe appropriate strengthening exercises to combat the decline and get these muscles stronger. Stronger muscles are better able to absorb load and reduce pressure on other anatomy such as discs and cartilage.

workouts, which are highly repetitive and time-consuming and are a risk for common repetitive strain injuries. Shockwave Therapy Extracorporeal

Measuring Strength At Elite part of our assessment is to measure the strength of muscles, using our Cybex machine, or a very clever device called a hand held dynamometer.We measure the strength of relevant muscles and can either compare it to your non injured side or compare it to normal values. It is a fantastic motivational tool when patients return after 6 weeks to re-test and their reduced symptoms correlate with increased strength scores.

Case in point – low back pain People often suffer with low back Diagnosis is King pain because they have become Before commencing a strength deconditioned when sitting for long periods. Gluteal muscles (buttocks) programme I would strongly

Andy McCrea Elite Physiotherapist recommend that you have a working diagnosis to ensure strengthening is appropriate and relevant to your condition. Random exercises plucked from Google may be counter intuitive and worsen symptoms. A diagnosis will enable your physio to prescribe a bespoke rehabilitation programme for either home or gym. Come and see us, we will give you the tools and we know from experience that you will reap what you sow. Good luck! l Elite Physical Medicine. Clinics

in Aylesbury, Haddenham and Tring T: 01296 437717 E: W: Facebook Instagram Twitter Check out our Google Reviews

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Health & Fitness

f o ot f o c u s

with Jenney Klose of Feet First,Thame

Looking after your feet


Come and see our stylish range of wider fit, ath-leisure and modern, casual footwear.

reating fungal nails has long been a challenge for podiatrists. This common condition causes nails to become unsightly, thick and uncomfortable. Many treatments are ineffective, because the active ingredients cannot penetrate deeply enough into the nail to get at the whole of the infection. Clinically proven Clearanail is an innovative new concept which uses Controlled Micro Penetration, to create micro pathways into the nail plate, allowing access to the areas of infection without damaging the nail bed. Tiny holes are made instantly, using an intelligent drill that senses when it is through the nail plate. It is rare for the procedure to be painful or uncomfortable. The topical treatment, which must be applied regularly, can then reach the infection and clear it up in a shorter time. Usually only one treatment is needed, so this

Micro penetration holes

Jenney Klose Podiatrist

quickly destroying all infected tissue within a predetermined path. In just seconds, the treatment is complete and the healing begins Swift is a revolutionary new treatment treated tissue is quickly replaced, for verrucae whereby microwave repaired and regenerated. energy generates heat via a probe Three or four, 15-minuteand targets the wart/verruca, rapidly treatments, at monthly intervals, elevating tissue temperature to create usually do the trick. precise, localised cell destruction. l Feet First, 13a Upper High Street, Infected tissue can exist several Thame, Oxfordshire, millimetres below the surface making OX9 3ER it difficult to treat with traditional Tel: 01844 261023 methods. Email: Swift delivers a precise, highly Web: controlled energy dose. As microwaves travel into the tissue, water molecules begin colliding and creating localised heat energy remedy is considerably cheaper than laser treatments.

01844 261754 | 42

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

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


Individual sessions, workplace yoga & golden yoga available. Suitable for all mixed abilities; beginners always welcome.

07931 419 933

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8 Hampden Square, Fairford Leys, Buckinghamshire, HP19 7HT Tel: 01296 398 180 : Fairford Leys Smile Centre : @FLSmileCentre Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Health & Fitness


with Samantha Haslam

Well again from toe to top


eflexology is a holistic therapy which works by applying pressure to specific points on the feet to influence the health of corresponding parts of the body. It is a gentle yet effective natural therapy and is suitable for all ages, from infants to the elderly. Through the stimulation of reflex points on the feet, the reflexologist sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system, which signals the body to adjust tension levels, restoring the body’s natural balance and rhythm, rebalancing energy levels and improving overall wellbeing. It is an effective and relaxing complementary therapy which can help with many issues in the body and mind. In living our busy modern lives, we often forget to take care of our health as well as we should do. Our bodies are constantly stressed and in fight or flight mode, which can take its toll. Having reflexology

Samantha Haslam Reflexologist

can make your mind feel clearer, your body lighter and increase your energy levels. It encourages the body to self heal and cleanses the body of toxins while revitalising depleted energy levels. Other benefits include: the easing of tension and anxiety; reducing sleep problems and insomnia; balancing hormones (PMT / Menopause - helping symptoms

For all your Family’s Ear and Hearing Concerns

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2016 & 2019

Amersham . Princes Risborough . Thame 01494 733840


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

such as hot flushes, mood swings, body aches, low moods and anxieties and stomach cramping, improving concentration levels and keeping hormones balanced); stopping migraines; improving respiratory complaints; helping sports injuries; improving the digestive system; easing stiff neck, shoulders and general aches within the body; healing bladder infections

and so much more. Whether you are coming to see me for a specific reason or simply for a well-deserved, relaxation treatment, I look forward to welcoming you to Reflexology by Sammy, which i practise in Wendover. I work from Haringtons’ lovely beauty rooms, where my main focus is to make sure you feel completely relaxed, comfortable, cared for and completely pampered. l Reflexology by Sammy Haringtons, The Town House, 2 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EA T: 07445 328227 FB: Reflexology by Sammy Insta: reflexology_by_sammy 1 hour treatment £40 Half hour taster session £20

New for 2019 Aston Hearing at The Grange Why not come and see us at our newest practice in the heart of The Grange Home of the chartiy Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Saunderton (just outside of Princes Risborough)

Parking, Restaurant & Gift Shop on-site appointment necessary - call 01494 733845 Boutique Audiology, Hearing Technology, Professional Ear and Hearing Care including Micro-suction Ear Wax Removal

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Buckingham Lodge care home has given me reassurance, peace of mind and brand new memories. My loved one has improved both emotionally and socially and they are now thriving in a fantastic care environment.

Buckingham Lodge care home Culpepper Close Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 9DU Call 0808 102 5210 Visit

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Homes & Gardens

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Step inside

by Polly Gibbs

Wonderlust Deliciously decadent an eclectic teaware collection inspired by the wonder of travel.

Aah chintz, relegated to charity shops and car boot sales for years, and yet, the humble teacup and saucer has found new favour since its embrace by the ‘mix and match’ crockery trend, particularly popular for weddings and afternoon teas...


he Great British staple Wedgwood has made the Great British cuppa a little more fancy.

Wonderlust is an eclectic and highly decorative collection capturing the exceptional beauty of exotic florals and plants from different continents. Each design is inspired by a variety of destinations, taking cues from culture and art in the spirit of the historic ‘Grand Tour’. Florals are at the heart of the 46

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

designs offering a narrative of Wedgwood’s long heritage, captured over the centuries in beautiful pattern books. Celebrating the popularity of the English tea Garden, traditional flowers such as primrose and apple blossom feature, alongside exotic peonies and chrysanthemums and beautifully delicate chinoiserie influences. Wedgwood successfully brings these elements together in a contemporary and colourful way. The teacups are brightly coloured from reds (Crimson

Jewel), blues (Blue Pagoda) and yellows (Yellow Tonquin), with additional gilding on some pieces and a variety of handle designs.The result is a visual feast, a riot of colour and mixed patterns that would make any festive table a pure delight. An exciting part of the range is the inclusion of highly unique, curated tea blends with extraordinary new flavours and aromas, sharing the same inspiration of travel, history and diverse cultures near and far in Continued on page 48

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.

Step inside

by Polly Gibbs

Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Wedgewood Peony Teacup Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Homes & Gardens

Step inside

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

by Polly Gibbs

Bernadine Tay Continued from page 46 the spirit of the historical Grand Tour of Europe. This bespoke tea collection has been specially curated for Wedgwood by Bernadine Tay, (pictured above) a biomedical science graduate, master tea blender and founder of the multi award-winning tea company Quinteassential. (Wonderlust Teas, £12).

Wedgewood Wonderlust - Grand Tour

The names of the blends are also captivating: Crimson Jewel, Camellia, Yellow Tonquin, Oriental Jewel, Rococo Flowers and Blue Pagoda. Continued on page 50

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

‘Mark’s attention to details, such as the plate rack and bespoke drawer dividers, make everything a pleasure to look at and use.’ Unit 23, Kemps Farm, Chapel Road, Ford, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8XG Tel: 01296 706030 Email: Website: 48

Vale Life : Nov/Oct 2019

tern Directories


Step inside


by Polly Gibbs

web. www.chiltern Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019



Wonderlust FREE W Wonderlust CH Loose Tea

Operate your garage door from anywhere the houseexpert Your local garageindoor Visit our showroom at: 6 Swan Walk, Thame, BIG BRAND Oxfordshire, OX9 3HN T: 01844 212152 E: NAMESW:

NEW SHOWROOM NOW OPEN Based in Thame, Oxfordshire we supply and and install a range From our base in Thame, we supply install a rangeofofgarage garagedoors. doors for residential, commercial and industrial premises. Whether Whether it’s a space saving Roller Garage Door, a Sectional Garage Door for Door for extra insulation, or a new Up and Over Garage Door, it’s a space saving Roller Garage Door, a Sectional Garage extra insulation or a new Upourandproducts Over Garage our products of come the in a wide choice of colours and materials. are ofDoor the highest qualityare and highest quality with a wide choice of colours and materials.

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PLEASE CHECK THIS PROOF CAREFULLY, 49 Based in Thame, Oxfordshire wePHONE supply and installNUMBERS a range of garage doors. AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRE ARTICULARLY Vale Life : Nov/Oct 2019

Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Step Stepinside insidebybyPolly PollyGibbs Gibbs

Wonderlust Wonderlust Teaset

Continued from page 48

From a harvest of red fruits to Oolong with notes of Asian mango, white tea infused with ylang ylang and green tea with sweet notes of Aloe Vera and rose petals, each tea blend captures a place, a moment, designed to transport you with each sip. The leaves, fruits, flowers and spices used are of the highest quality available, so they blend in beautifully to create tantalising tastes. The Wonderlust collection is an investment to be treasured. Pieces are presented in Wedgwood’s signature blue gift boxes, making delightful Christmas gifts that are also easy to wrap! Choose from teacups & saucers, mugs, picture frames, gift bowls, gift trays, keyrings and bespoke tea blends (Prices from £12). Get your fix of design inspo between magazines at and follow @thecuriouscoco Source List l Polly is an award-winning designer, Decorex100 interiors influencer & Amara Interiors Blog Award Finalist. If you’ve got a rockin’ interior or design dilemma, message her and it could feature in the next issue. E: W: Insta, Twitter, FB: @TheCuriousCoco

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

Waitrose Thame Supporting the community 50

Vale Life : Nov/Oct 2019




Mon to Sat 10am – 5pm Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted HP4 1EH 01442 874356 returnedtoglory

All profits to The Hospice of St Francis Vale Life : Nov/Oct 2019


Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2018

What lies beneath Quality flooring can make your home but what kind of flooring depends very much on your lifestyle - foot traffic, children, pets... all impact your decision, as does price, longevity and maintenance! Why not ask the expert? Pop down to Duck Farm Court where David Castellano will inspire and delight...


avid Castellano, owner of Charles Huntington Flooring, has been in the carpet business for more than 30 years and in that time he’s laid pretty well every type of flooring going. He loves what he does though and amid the stunning range of beautifully displayed carpet, sisal, seagrass, coir, jute, wood, vinyl and synthetic flooring in his Duck Farm Court showroom, he is happy to advise on the best flooring for any particular project and to show off his latest carpet samples. He also offers special discounts for new homes or if you are having several rooms or a whole house carpeted too, so don’t delay! “I love this,” says David, showing me some beautiful hand-woven carpet samples in undyed 100% natural wool by ITC. Part of their Connoisseur range, the carpet is very thick and soft to the touch and hardwearing too. There is an Eco-rib, an Eco-Loop and an Eco-velvet: “The rib is unusual,” says David, “as the line runs across the width rather than down the length. It’s all hand finished, excellent quality and very luxurious.” The colour range is surprising, considering the carpet is undyed and the shades are completely natural - muted natural tones which are very in at the moment. “At Charles Huntington we can supply pretty well anything a customer might request,” says David, “but we also like to inspire with designer carpets and flooring that is a little different and which you don’t find at larger suppliers. We offer a wide range of standard styles - something for all tastes and budgets - but we’ve made an effort to source

ITC Connoisseur Eco-Rib undyed 100% pure wool 52

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

David Castellano of Charles Huntington Flooring, showing carpet samples to Vale Life’s Amanda some interesting alternatives. I’ve got carpets here from great value budget weaves to tufted silk at over £200 a square metre!” David set up Charles Huntington Flooring in 2010: “I supply and advise on carpet and floorings,” says David, “but I still enjoy going out and personally ensuring the job is laid down correctly - ‘a carpet’s only as good as the person who fitted it’ they say in the trade!” David has embraced the trend for stair runners and striped carpet and has recently become an exclusive local supplier for Off The Loom stair runners, rugs and accessories. The company weaves lovely contemporary runners in bright bold colours, which come in a range of widths, or made to measure if

Off The Loom stair runner

required. David has some great discounts on Off The Loom at the moment, so get in touch and snap up a bargain! “We are experienced in templating stair runners with turns and half landings,” says David. “We offer a variety of finishes: binding tape, blind stitching, or whipping - we’ve also a good selection of stair rods and stair clips. “We stock quite a range of flooring here from brands such as: Cormar, Brockway Carpets, Victoria Carpets, Weston Hammer, Jacaranda, Crucial Trading, Karndean... something for all pockets and tastes. “We do a good range of sisal as well Crucial Trading have a great selection. It gives you a nice crisp clean look. Sometimes a customer will have wood flooring laid in the hall and then we’ll make a sisal rug with bound edges to go on top. Rugs can be made out of any carpet and to any size and then neatly finished with stitched edging.” David is happy to visit a customer at home, if they prefer, but I’d recommend going to have a browse around the showroom - so you can feel the samples! Take your paint swatches down and have a look. Get in touch and arrange to see David, he is happy to chat over the options and you’ll get good honest advice from someone who really knows what he’s talking about. l Charles Huntington Flooring, 23 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ. Tel: 01296 337181 Mob: 07767 370067 Email: Web: Open: Mon-Fri 10am-3pm, Sat 10am-4pm

Project vinyl flooring

Available with

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Homes & Interiors Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Your dream kitchen

Large or small, the kitchen is the hub of the home and a good kitchen is a great asset - one you will appreciate every day. Designing and installing a new kitchen is a big investment though and quite an undertaking, so having an expert on board to help you realise your dreams is absolutely crucial...


ayne Walker has been involved in design and construction for many years and has specialised in kitchens and extensions for much of that time. A local lad from Chilton, who attended Lord Williams’s School, he worked in the building trade and discovered a natural flair for kitchen design and installation, eventually joining a specialist company. “I wanted to set up on my own,” says Wayne, “and personally oversee projects for my clients. I’ve identified a selection of suppliers whose products are not only really beautiful, clever, state of the art kitchen ranges, but also high quality and exceptional value. “I now work with clients to design and deliver their ideal kitchen and this can be in a traditional or contemporary style. Modern storage options are ingenious and can make great use of every last inch of space, which is especially important on a smaller room there are so many storage solutions we can fit in behind those doors or in that drawer now. The problem is you can have anything you want and the choice is mindblowing, which is where my design experience comes

Kitchen design example Kitchen Home Interiors showroom in, as I can give a different perspective and keep things on budget, whilst ensuring you get the results you want. These kitchens will last decades so it is worth carefully considering

Grantham the purity & elegance of this shaker kitchen gives a feeling of calm, finished in Prentice pure grey

Wayne Walker 14

Kitchen design example


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

what you really need from yours.” Wayne also organises and oversees the installation of the kitchens and this can include flooring, lighting, plumbing and building works, whatever is required. Wayne’s new company - Kitchen Home Interiors has a delightful, rural showroom, located in converted stables at Parkwood Stud, near The Lambert Arms at Aston Rowant. It’s light and airy with parking right outside and shows off a selection of the products he recommends, so you can feel the quality and marvel at the latest innovations and

Homes & Interiors Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Kitchen design example finishes. There’s handleless, soft-close drawers, integrated appliances, sinks, taps, extractors, handles, worktop and flooring samples... anything is possible in this bespoke kitchen emporium and it doesn’t stop there. Kitchen Home Interiors also offers bedroom furniture and a bedroom design service. “Quality, service and cost are my drivers,” says Wayne. “That’s the beauty of running a smaller company, I can keep overheads to a

minimum and personally ensure that my clients get a top quality service. Each customer is important to me, whatever their requirements and delivering a high standard of service and levels of customer satisfaction are my main goals.” Wayne has the latest computer aided design software so that different colour schemes and worktop combinations can be demonstrated with a click of a mouse. “The design is the most important thing,” says Wayne, “The colours and finishes can come later but how the units and appliances

Kitchen Home Interiors showroom fit together and allow the kitchen to flow and really work for you is key. I’ve been designing kitchens for about 14 years, and installing them for even longer, everything from small galley kitchens to spacious kitchen diners for around the £100,000 mark, so I have a lot of helpful ideas and experience I can share, if requested. A kitchen is a big investment, so it’s important to get it right.” Wayne is available seven days a week, so

if you would like to see the new Kitchen Home Interiors showroom and discuss your requirements, please get in touch as below to arrange a mutually convenient time, when he can give you his undivided attention. l Kitchen Home Interiors, Parkwood Stud, Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire, OX49 5SP T: 01844 875 232 / 07751 855079 E: W:

Kitchen Home Interiors showroom

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


by Marie Westerman Roberts

What’s your favourite? Selling your home but got limited time or funds to spend on sprucing the place up, ready to wow potential purchasers? It seems that some rooms are more important than others to many people, so where do you start...


e all know that there are many things to be considered, when enticing potential buyers, if you are selling a property. And you may think that every bit of your home is equally important. Of course, the more you can do the better, but if you don’t have the time and the resources, research shows that certain rooms in a home, have more significance and so it would be worth directing more effort into those rooms. An extensive online study of 1,000 house hunters, to see which rooms and interior features can help sell your home, showed that potential buyers spend more time looking at the living room, in a three-bedroom house, than any other rooms. 1.5 times longer than the kitchen to be exact. In other words, if you can only afford to spruce up one room, the living room is the one to focus on. With one-bedroom properties, the lounge is just as important, but the next most attention56

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

worthy room is the bedroom, rather than the kitchen. One of the biggest surprises of the study was that the outside space or garden ranked higher in importance than the bathroom, no matter the size of the property! In other words, don’t forget to pay attention to what the outdoor space looks like, even in the Autumn and Winter seasons. Seasonal decorations like pumpkins and some beautiful lanterns look great and in December maybe some Christmas decorations (keep it simple though, if you know what I mean… we are not recreating Disney World here). If you need to update the furniture and accessories in the living room, the most important room according to the study, it is worthwhile to have a look at the latest trends. Try to implement something that fits in, that is trendy and of course, if you are selling, follow the golden rules of home staging De-clutter and De-personalise but keep some

Marie Westerman Roberts

individuality (you may have read about this in previous columns of mine. If not you can find past editions of Vale Life Magazine online at If you need ideas regarding the latest trends check out interior magazines such as Livingetc and Elle Decoration or search on Instagram and Pinterest and in local home interiors shops. Trending for Autumn/Winter 2019/20 is a lot of different textures, natural materials (think sustainability) and rounded shapes, wood, rattan, velvet and lovely fluted sofas. It’s all cosy, warm and very inviting. l Marie Westerman Roberts is an experienced home stager and the owner of Scandihome Home Staging Services. For more information visit: E: T: 01844 390017 Instagram @scandihomeuk

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Join the flush windows & doors revolution! Visit our Long Crendon showroom & see our selection of stunning, premium quality Residence flush windows & doors • Superior flush casement windows and doors • Premium grade finish • Stylish design • Built to last • Energy efficient • Enhanced security • Looks like timber • Low maintenance • Easy to clean • Choice of colours, glazing options and hardware • Intelligent, 7 chamber design for high levels of durability and performance • Traditional straight joins or welded

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Omega Homestyle has over 25 years’ experience of designing and fitting premium doors, windows and conservatories. We firmly believe that by keeping the entire process as stress free as possible, we are adding to your enjoyment of your new windows, doors and conservatories. For an individually tailored service and to find out exactly what we can do for you, please contact us or come and visit our newly refurbished showroom. Omega Homestyle, Woodway Farm Industrial Estate, Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 9EP Tel: 01844 201888, email: or visit:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Homes & Gardens

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

safe as houses

with Nigel Grace

Money, money, money


building project is one of the biggest investments you can make – after buying the house in the first place - and a number of builders I have spoken to recently, expressed frustration over potential clients who were not able to afford the projects they had priced. Think back to the last time you were looking to buy a car - I bet you did your research, considered what you were happy to spend and then looked at what you could buy for your budget. You probably went on the internet and read car magazines, to get an idea of how far your budget would stretch or how much you would need to spend to get the car you wanted. A building project might seem quite different but you still need to align your available budget and your expectations before you go too far, and effectively waste a builder’s time working out estimates for a project that you didn’t have enough funds for in the first place. It is a common problem - you

have your ideas drawn up and the plans look fantastic. Then you ask several builders to quote, wait 3-4 weeks, the prices come back, you open the first tender... and your heart sinks! The figure is substantially higher than you expected, and you can’t afford it. And then you realise the figure excludes VAT - you will need to add another 20%. and there is no way you can afford that. Where do you go from here? Speak to your designer, speak to the builder? What can you omit, what can you downgrade, what can you do yourself and maybe save some money and get back on budget? Do you get the project redrawn; do you need to go back to the local council for another planning application? All of this is costing time and money and not just yours. It can cost contractors hundreds if not thousands of pounds to price a project – and it is incredibly frustrating to then be told: “sorry, I can’t afford it!” So how can you avoid this

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

situation or minimise the risk? Well it is not that difficult; 1. Calculate how much you can afford or want to spend on your project – and make sure you include a healthy contingency – say 10%. So if your budget is £150,000, the actual sum available for the build would be £15,000 less 2. Make sure your designer is aware of your budget. Ask their opinion - can what you want be built for your budget? 3. Before you go too far, get some expert help – ideally at what they call, feasibility stage, i.e. before the detailed drawings are prepared for your planning application. Talk to a quantity surveyor or a local builder you can trust. Both will give you an independent view as to whether it is possible to build to your budget. Many designers are now recommending the appointment of a quantity surveyor to prepare a budget at feasibility stage to make sure that you, as client, are aware of the cost of what is drawn 4. If there are any doubts take

Nigel Grace

Safe as houses

a break and have discussions about amending designs to suit your budget 5. If you need to apply for planning permission, then don’t submit your application until you are confident that you can afford what is drawn 6. And don’t ask a builder to price your project until you know you can afford it! After all you don’t go into a car dealership looking to buy a brandnew Range Rover when your budget will only stretch to a Ford Kuga. And I speak with experience as I have owned both! l Nigel Grace MRICS is an experienced chartered quantity surveyor, who has built and redeveloped many houses himself. If you need help or advice on your building project contact him on:

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Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

I n t h e ga r d e n

with Naomi MacKay

Keep busy before C Late autumn can be a great season in the garden, so don’t neglect your outdoor space at this time of year. Use your time wisely to improve soil, introduce some autumn colour, and keep on growing in your greenhouse, says Naomi MacKay...


here are some fabulous colours to be had through the last months of the year, you just need to know where to look! Why not visit a local garden to see what shines there at this time of year, then pay a visit to your

the back of gardens that could be accessible to unwanted intruders. The berries cover the bushes – look out for ‘Orange Glow’, which offers fabulous mandarin-coloured fruits. The birds love these too, so you should enjoy some welcome wildlife in your garden. One of my personal favourites (because I love the colour purple) is the beauty berry shrub (Callicarpa bodinieri), which bears clusters of decadent-looking shiny purple berries in winter. A Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ has fabulous mandarin berries nice change from red and orange local garden centre to pick up of ‘Key Lime Pie’ and all shades berries. plants (and have a look round their in between. I particularly like Finally, for autumn and winter fabulous Christmas displays, while Heuchera ‘Sashay’ with its unusual colour, the easy-growing Cornus or you’re there!). ruffled dark green leaves that hide dogwood is a great choice, Once its Here’s a few ideas for some a burgundy pink on their underside. leaves drop, you can be left with plants that will add an interesting Berries are always on the lovely red, orange, lime green or hue to an autumn garden… autumn pyracanthaBusiness is a even white stems,ART.pdf depending on1 SO1113 - agenda Wayne –Wiseman Card FINAL 17/04 Heucheras – these come in all good grower that has the added the variety. A real no-fuss shrub colours from the regally purple benefit of thorns that make it ideal that offers plenty of interest year‘Plum Pudding’ to the lime green for placing under windows or at round.

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I n t h e ga r d e n

with Naomi MacKay

Homes & Gardens Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Christmas Keeping warm in the greenhouse Our friends at historic greenhouse and glasshouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic, have some useful tips for keeping your greenhouse in action during the colder months

Overwintering Keeping potted plants drier will protect roots, enhancing winter hardiness. Select plants for overwintering carefully, growing only (or grouping) those of similar temperature requirements. At the very least, invest in a propagator with electric bottom heat if you don’t have one already (those with thermostatic settings will give better temperature control.) Even if you provide no other heat source, this will help keep vulnerable plants frost-free.

Heating It is not possible to make a cold greenhouse completely safe from freezing if outside temperatures fall substantially below 0 degrees centigrade – tender plants will be at risk. As a rule of thumb, you can Insulation expect the difference between the You can reduce heat loss by minimum outdoor temperature installing winter insulation over and that within an average cold glazed areas. The most effective greenhouse to be approximately method is to use bubble wrap 2ºC. Each degree of temperature polythene, cut to size and fixed on near freezing is critical for plants, the inside of the greenhouse, close but good management will help andSURGEONS PROFESSIONAL TREE to the glass. This is a fiddly task, it needn’t be costly – to you or the • Tree since the Felling material has to be cut to environment.


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fit, and it may take more than one person to install the insulation. Furthermore, the insulation is best occasionally removed during the warmer months to admit more light and to facilitate cleaning. Suppliers of greenhouse accessories will

stock clips, designed to fix the insulating material to the glazing bars. You’ll need a pair of large sharp scissors to cut the polythene to shape. Partial insulation is also possible. Continued on page 62

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I n t h e ga r d e n

with Naomi MacKay

Continued from page 61 If you want to protect plants in part of the house, but don’t want the arduous task of cladding the whole interior with bubble-wrap, section off part of the structure. You can separate it from the remainder with a polythene sheet, or a bubblewrap curtain, and put vulnerable treasures inside the enclosure. Reduce heating Greenhouse heating systems range from providing background warmth against frost to constant heating. Remember that each degree rise in ambient temperature carries additional cost and with global concern about carbon footprint it makes sense to use as little artificial heat as possible. Here are some ways you can keep your heating use to a minimum: Take thermometer readings In a Hartley Botanic Wisley 8, six-pane greenhouse, a 2.5 kilowatt

Hartley Botanic Victorian Grand Lodge Greehouse, Hudson Valley electric fan heater can be set low, so that heat comes on only when the temperature falls dangerously low. You will need to take a few days to work out the ideal setting on the dial of the heater and to match this with overnight minimum temperature. To do this you will need a reliable ‘max and min’ thermometer placed among plants on the staging or fixed about a metre above the ground, well away from the heater. The comfortable minimum A night minimum of 4º or 5ºC is a safe temperature to maintain if you want to be safely buffered against severe snap frosts. If you want to run your heating on a tight

budget, have horticultural fleece available to spread over vulnerable plants during excessively cold spells. Soil warming One of the most economical heating systems is simply to warm soil, either in a bed, or propagation bench. Soil-warming cable provides heat where it is most needed, at the roots, so even if top-growth is colddamaged, the roots will survive. ‘Hartley’s Owner’s Guide to Greenhouse Gardening’ is very comprehensive and can be downloaded free of charge here: hartley-owners-guide-greenhousegardening/

Improve your soil This is a great time to improve your soil, ready for the next growing season. Do it now, and the work will be done for you over the winter months, leaving you with revived soil ready for planting and growing come spring. Adding organic matter does two things - it improves the structure of the soil, and it adds more nutrients to your growing areas, allowing your plants to thrive. If you have sandy soil you need to add in some organic matter, such as leaf mould, garden compost or manure. In the spring, you could then mulch the soil – adding a top layer of similar compounds – to help the soil to retain water. For clay soil, give it a rough dig and then add the organic matter to the soil, leaving it for the worms to pull it under the surface and allowing the frost to help break up the solid lumps. Try not to walk on clay soil once it is wet, as this will only add to the problems with compacted.

l Naomi MacKay is a Bucks-based freelance writer and editor who specialises in gardens. She also helps small businesses get their message to

potential clients using websites, blogs, social media and more traditional printed products. Email:

Ham-azing deli wins award!


mberto’s deli in Thame is to be crowned the UK Parma Ham Specialist Deli of 2019 at a celebration on November 22nd. Umberto’s deli is a popular destination, just a few doors from Waitrose, on Greyhound Walk in Thame, where customers can purchase a high quality selection of specialist Italian food and drink, not only Parma Ham, antioxidants and but also Italian pasta, easily digestible pastries, olives, wines proteins. Prosciutto and other delicacies. Umberto di Parma is The deli joined the produced in the Parma Ham Specialist hills surrounding the Italian town programme in 2012 and has since encouraged customers to use it in a of Parma. The unique taste of Parma Ham variety of different ways. is dependent on the traditional Parma Ham is a Protected production process passed down Designation of Origin (PDO) from Roman times, carefully product and is 100% natural. controlled by the Consorzio del The drying process that Parma Prosciutto di Parma. Ham goes through creates a ham Only hams that have passed that is very low in fat content, stringent curing regulations with many mineral salts, vitamins,


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

approved by the EU can be awarded the stamp of the Ducal crown – a five-pointed coronet logo with PARMA in the centre which is branded onto the ham’s skin. The Ducal Crown is now a certification trademark. In 2018, the production of Prosciutto di Parma saw a considerable growth of 4.8%, with a global production of 8.5 million legs of ham. This was not all down to Umberto’s, but he played his part! While there are many places all

over the world selling Prosciutto di Parma, some of these are particularly special, helping to cement Parma Ham’s position as a quality product. The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma acknowledges this and awards these establishments. They have now announced that Umberto’s deli will be crowned the UK Parma Ham Specialist Deli of 2019 as the best in the UK this year. The United Kingdom market for Prosciutto di Parma generated a €32 million revenue with 17,540,000 pre-sliced packs sold – this is the largest amount of presliced packs of ham sold anywhere in the world! There are 31 Parma Ham Specialist delis in the UK. You can find your local specialist here: l Umbertos, 9 Greyhound Walk, Thame, OX9 3DY T: 01844 214040 Umbertos/160758797268167

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

d ow n to b u s i n e s s

with Philippa Batting

Food shortage is biting


ere at Buckinghamshire Business First, we put an enormous amount of energy into supporting businesses to grow and be successful. We also encourage a sense of community where businesses support each other. Our business community can also be effective at supporting local communities and, in particular, those less fortunate. Businesses understand the benefits of making people their priority wherever they can. By people, we mean staff, families, friends, members of the community and those less fortunate than themselves. Readers may be aware that the use of food banks in the UK has risen over the last few years and that the number of food packages handed out is growing at an enormous rate. Food banks across Buckinghamshire are telling us that demand is significantly up (by as much as 38% at some banks)

because of the effect of Universal Credit, but donations to the food banks are well down compared to this time last year (one food bank reported needing 2.9 tonnes of donations in August but only receiving 1.3 tonnes). What part can we all play to help support our local food banks? Buckinghamshire is home to many, and they are facing challenges in providing the thousands of people that come to them each year with what they need. To put it in terms that business owners in particular will understand: demand is going

up but supply is going down. Food banks tend to be short of essential items such as tinned meats, fruit and potatoes, rice, cereal and longlife milk. This is not a pre-Christmas message to do something nice in the season of goodwill. This is a call to help now. Let’s not put off until another day what we can start now. Food banks should not be as common as they are in a country with the fifth largest economy in the world, but the reality is that they are part of our local community. It is by acting as a community that we can help support those less fortunate than ourselves, and the need is so great that we can’t wait until December to take action. From the OneCanTrust food bank serving South Bucks to those covering places like Aylesbury, Wendover (www.chiltern.foodbank. and Thame (www.,

Philippa Batting Down to business

there are plenty of places helping those in need. You can play your part by donating to food banks and encouraging your family, friends and work colleagues to get involved as well. To find the location of your nearest Buckinghamshire food bank, email me via: Philippa@bbf. or for foodbanks across the UK, see the Trussell Trust website at: find-a-foodbank for details of their national network. l Philippa Batting is MD of Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), working to support and facilitate success within the business community. Membership is free - visit:

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019



o u t a n d ab o u t

with Heather Jan Brunt

A lot that glitters is gold!


former maid’s bedroom at Waddesdpn Manor is now a treasury of sparkling jewels and stunning silver and gold boxes. Many of the objects are on public display for the first time, others were previously spread around the house, but what gives this exhibition its wow factor is having them all together in a small room, magnifying their opulence due to their close proximity. ‘A Rothschild Treasury’ is a new permanent gallery at Waddesdon, displaying more than 300 objects spanning two millennia, to celebrate the Rothschild family’s passion for collecting extraordinary objects. The room has been redesigned to look like a vault complete with round headed stone entrance and black gates, leading into a barrel shaped space with a two tiered showcase at the far end, and single shelves along the sides. The objects on display include three sets of stunning jewellery, including one particular tiara which has a removable line of jewels to enable the wearer to use

Jewells in the Rothschild Treasury it for less formal functions as well as grand occasions; items which were confiscated from the French Rothschilds by the Nazis during the Second World War and which are marked with Nazi inventory numbers; and pieces of glass from the Middle East, acquired by Baron Edmond in the late 19th century. There are no descriptive cards by the objects, not even numbers, to explain their history or purpose. Instead, there are leather bound catalogues at the entrance to the vault which visitors can use or, for those with a technical mind, an app called Smartify can be downloaded onto mobile phones. Visitors use

G o o d to g i v e

their phone to scan an object, click on the picture and read the information about it. They can also save the description to read again later at home. No one would tell me the value of the 300 plus objects in the treasury, but it’s fair to say the security must be top notch, especially as some of the gold boxes on display are those that remained after the infamous burglary at Waddesdon in 2003 – this is the first time these particular items have been on display since that time. Everything in the gallery has an intimate connection to the Rothschild family, including a silver gilt christening cup and set of cutlery, which is far too big for any baby or toddler to use and must have been given with a view to either being used when the child was older, or merely for decorative display purposes. Of course, the Rothschilds are Jewish, and christenings and godparents are a Christian tradition, so this gift is even more baffling, but the

Out and about

Heather Jan Brunt inscription on the leather case reads, ‘to our dear little god-son Fernand (sic) de Rothschild’. Pippa Shirley, Head of Collections and Gardens at Waddesdon, explained: “We don’t know who gave the set to him, and it is also odd that they misspelled his name. There is also no tradition of god-parents in the Jewish faith, so the inscription is puzzling. But it must have been given by close friends of the family and Ferdinand clearly treasured the gift. We did ask the Rothschild Archive what they thought and they were puzzled too.” Puzzling or not, this is a sparkling exhibition and well worth a visit. l Follow Heather Jan Brunt on

Twitter @HJBjournalist

by Katie Higginson

Does this include you?


ou may have heard people talk about the importance of ‘social inclusion’, whether it is in our workplaces, schools, or out and about in our communities. It is a phrase that encapsulates a range of issues but do we really know what it means? For some, it is an abstract concept; for others, it is central to improving the places that we live in by making sure that all individuals and groups are part of the community. It sums up all the ways which we can help people to have both the chance and the opportunity to join in. It is saying ‘everyone has the right to be seen as a valuable member of my community’. So how do we connect with our neighbours who do not feel, or face barriers to being, part of the places they live in? What does social inclusion look like? It may be a regular gathering such as a toddler group, coffee morning 66

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

or lunch club for the elderly, a youth group or exercise classes for all abilities. Or there may be talks offering advice to help local residents, for example on hearing loss, or a befriending scheme – all of which help people who may be cut off from the general bustle of local life. A great example of what can be done to help support and include everyone is the Winslow Big Society Group (WBSG). As Veronica Corben, WBSG’s Chair, explains: “We started to notice gaps in the general services and provision to the Winslow community, and a group of us looked to see if we could fill them. “After seven years, we now run a diverse programme - from weekly

Katie Higginson

Good to give

Parent and Carer coffee mornings, monthly walks designed specifically for those with walking difficulties, to friendship lunches which bring people together over a meal. We also run a community car scheme and befriending service, and other activities involving exercise, singing or playing games. There is something for everyone.” Have a look at what is happening in Winslow (www.; if you are inspired and would like to set up a group to address a need in your area, get in touch with Community Impact Bucks for free advice to help make your idea a reality. l Katie Higginson is CEO of

Community Impact Bucks: Tel: 0300 111 1250

by Cathy Soughton

Aston Clinton House (now demolished)


addesdon Manor is probably the best known country house in Buckinghamshire but did you know there also used to be a Rothschild mansion in Aston Clinton where the Green Park activity centre is now situated? The mansion was demolished in the 1950s but old photographs show a sprawling neo-Georgian/Italianate house. The original house was built in the late 18th century and by 1793 was owned by General Gerald Lake, an MP for Aylesbury and later 1st Viscount of Delhi, Leswarree and Aston Clinton. It remained with the Lake family until 1838 when it was purchased by the Duke of Buckingham. His son put it up for sale ten years later when it was described as a “most desirable brick-built and stuccoed sporting residence, suited for a family of respectability”. It was eventually purchased in 1851 by Anthony Nathan de Rothschild. His wife Louisa found the house too small, so architect

Aston Clinton House

George Henry Stokes, son-in-law of Sir Joseph Paxton (best known for designing the Crystal Palace), was employed to extend it and a ‘Billiard Room building’, a new dining room, new offices and a new conservatory were added. Architect George Devey who worked on a number of other Rothschild properties, including Ascott House near Wing, made further improvements. He also designed many estate cottages in the village, the school and the village hall, ‘Anthony Hall’ built as a memorial to Anthony by his widow Louisa following his death in 1876. After Louisa’s death in 1910 her daughters Constance and Annie maintained the estate, spending a few weeks there each summer, until the 1st World War, when it was lent to the War Office and became the

HQ of the 21st Infantry Division, who trained on the estate and the adjoining Halton estate, which was owned by Anthony’s nephew Alfred de Rothschild. After the war, executors for the Rothschilds sold the estate in 1923 for £15000. At the time it was advertised as a classical mansion with numerous reception rooms and bedrooms. It was purchased by Dr Crawford, a schoolmaster who used the house as a boys’ school. Evelyn Waugh was a teacher for a short period but he was not enamoured with the house, referring to it as “an unconceivably ugly house but a lovely park”. The school was not a success and following a brief period as the Aston Clinton Country Club it was once again put on the market and in 1933 opened as the Howard Park

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Hotel, ‘a first-class country hotel’ complete with a landing strip for aeroplanes. This too failed and it reemerged as the Green Park Hotel in 1938 under new management. During World War Two the stables were used by the EKCO Radio Company as offices for the development of radar, whilst the main house was used as a hospital for war wounded. Buckinghamshire County Council subsequently acquired the house and park in three lots from 1959 to 1967 with the proviso that it would be used for educational purposes. The house was demolished and Green Park Training Centre built in its place. Today the only remnants of its existence are the balustrading which once encircled the garden at the front of the house, the lodge in Stablebridge Road, the stables (used as part of the training centre) and the wooded parkland. l Cathy Soughton is a local professional genealogist and house historian providing family history and house history research:, T: 07787 185962

Sausage candy is super tasty


local farm has been nationally recognised for the unique quality and taste of its sausages. ​Orchard View Farm at Little Meadle, between Haddenham and Princes Rrisborough, has won the ‘Most Innovative Sausage’ title at this year’s National Sausage Awards for their delicious Toffee Apple Sausage. And the rare breed farm, which has its own on-site butcher, farm shop, restaurant and café was also highly commended for their ‘Marmite Special’, and runner up with their ‘Spanish Chorizo’. This is yet another feather in the cap for the family run farm whose emphasis is on great affordable local food. Their Butchery currently holds numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze British Sausage Week Awards, a ‘Best Sausage in London and the South East’ prize and Great Taste has awarded the farm one, two and three gold star ratings for products - the highest of praise. Owned by Jim Mackellar, the farm has been developed with his

Jim, centre, with butcher Lee, receiving their award from TV celebrity chef Lesley Waters

philosophy of encouraging access to high quality, reasonably priced local produce, both from the farm and selected producers. “We provide a unique Farm to Fork experience,” says Jim. “We have two full time butchers here who work closely with the farm chefs to come up with ever more innovative products to put in our butcher’s counter and on the menu.

All products are hand made on the farm, with an ever-increasing number being free from all Allergens and Sulphate free. “This amazing award is testament to the fantastic team at the farm and their dedication to providing the best food, I am so proud of them.” Orchard View Farm occupies some 27 acres at the foot of the

Chiltern Hills. Customers love the welcoming atmosphere, passionate staff and of course the amazing food. The farm is home to rare breed Large Black pigs, Jacob sheep and a herd of pure white fallow deer, as well as bees, turkeys and chickens. Archie and Isla (Jim’s children) own the chickens and sell their eggs in the farm shop to earn their pocket money. Orchard View Farm has also won a Best Rural Business award and awards for their pies. The farm doesn’t use pesticides and has an active bird of prey breeding program with nest boxes and habit areas for hunting. Currently customers are being urged to bring their own packaging to use at the butcher’s counter. l Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Lane, Little Meadle, Bucks, HP17 9UG

T: 01844 273387 E: W: Open Tue-Sat: 9.30am-5.30pm (Food 9.30am-3.30pm) Sun: 10am-4pm (food 10am-3pm). Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


Can I be Frank?

by Frances Momen

Box office boom T he Vale may be a long way from Hollywood, but despite the wide array of films now available to download, there’s a resurgence in popularity for cinema going. This summer saw larger players like Odeon and Cineworld celebrating rising takings, helped along by family-friendly hits such as The Lion King. Vue cinemas are also doing rather well, with much better controls of their pipeline of future blockbusters. It turns out that new technology is helping artificial intelligence now predicts audiences by cinema location, so choosing which films they are likely to want to watch has become a whole lot easier and profits reflect this. Around London a number of retro cinemas are flourishing as well as new specialised venues – even Selfridges is getting involved with a new cinema planned to open this November. But you don’t have to travel into London to find the bright lights. I recently joined a group of friends

shone above us and there was even a full moon! People of all ages were having a great time – whole families from children to grandparents. If you’re looking for an excuse to bring friends and family together in an unusual Outdoor cinema at Waddesdon setting, it’s a great idea and worth watching out for next year’s to watch Mamma Mia Here We programme. Go Again (and again) on the lawn Around Aylesbury Vale, we’re at Waddesdon Manor. It was lucky enough to have a couple of one of a series of pop-up cinema vintage cinemas as well as pop evenings earlier this Autumn. I up venues. If you’ve never visited was nervous about the weather, the Rex cinema in Berkhamsted, having previously spent a couple it’s well worth a trip. Seated in of evenings soaked and frozen on luxurious chairs, the surrounding the lawn at Waddesdon. However, this time it was a mild evening with 1938 art deco shouts opulence. There’s a variety of films, and bars a glorious sunset and I was well prepared for it to get chillier, armed so check the website for listings: with a woolly hat, a car rug and Thame also has an intimate, mulled wine! vintage theatre (complete with bar) To be frank, it did seem surreal which seats 132 at The Players huddled in a camping chair Theatre. Regular film showings watching scantily clad party-goers are run by Thame Cinema For All on a scorching Greek island. But on a not-for-profit basis; listings the quality of the sound and the for November’s films are available sheer size of the screen set in here: front of the Manor itself, created Besides the fixed venues, there an amazing atmosphere. The stars

Fran Momen Can I be Frank? are Film clubs available in so many villages around the Vale, it’s probably possible to see one every night of the week, should it take your fancy. At the start of November for example, you could see: A Private War at Haddenham Screen on Tuesday night; Sometimes Always Never at Chiltern Film Society in Chesham on Wednesday; visit The Village Picture House in Cuddington on Thursday to see Hansard live from the NT, and round it off on Friday in Long Crendon library with Free Solo. Fill in with the Odeon in Aylesbury if you’ve room for another over the weekend! l Fran Momen is a copywriter

and journalist. If you need help or advice on creating copy, please get in touch via email: momen.fran@ or fran-momen-copywriting

Win a bottle of Glen Moray Fired Oak!


len Moray is a quality Single Malt Whisky from Elgin, the capital of Speyside, Scotland’s most famous whisky region. The distillery has been producing fine malt whisky, distilled in traditional copper stills, on the banks of the River Lossie since 13th September 1897. I was fortunate to stumble on the Glen Moray stand at Countryfile Live last year and was extremely impressed by their products, especially the 10 and 12 year samples which were very smooth. Glen Moray has just launched a new Fired Oak 10-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky which is intensely sweet and smooth. Master Distiller, Graham Coull was inspired to create Glen Moray Fired Oak Single Malt Whisky by the increase in popularity of American Bourbon and the success of sweeter flavours within the drinks market. One of the key elements for producing American Bourbon is that the spirit has to be aged in a new charred (virgin) oak cask which imparts intense flavour to the spirit. Glen Moray Fired Oak is a Single Malt Whisky matured for 10 years


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Glen Moray is available from all good spirit retailers in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in heavily charred virgin American Oak casks, resulting in a whisky which is sublimely smooth with intense spice and toasted vanilla flavour. The distillery has sourced the finest new American Oak barrels for finishing and Graham then selects the precise firing regime to achieve exactly the right level of char to impart intense flavour and colour to the whisky.

As Glen Moray’s wood finished expressions are growing in popularity, Graham is working at least two years ahead to ensure that the distillery can satisfy the growth in demand. “Fired Oak is all about enhancing flavours,” says Graham, “rather than adding different character. The Virgin Oak intensifies the existing vanilla and spice flavours, which have come from the ex-Bourbon barrels.

Two elements are key – quality of cask and timing, both are crucial to obtaining just the right flavour infusion. To create a balance I have selected Virgin Oak casks with differing lengths of finish to ensure that the final whisky is consistent.” During the final maturation period, the spirit slowly changes, the colour deepens and the taste profile takes on intense notes of vanilla sweetness and smokiness from the oak. Only when it reaches its peak, is it ready to be bottled and enjoyed. “Developing this whisky was akin to blowing gently on the embers of a bonfire to bring the flames back to life” enthuses Graham. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a bottle of Glen Moray Fired Oak, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question, to: On which river is the Glen Moray distillery? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by Dec 4th, 2019. Must be 18 years or older to enter. l

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

Absolute bliss!

“A day spent luxuriating at Champneys Tring spa resort is a fabulous way to de-stress. There’s so much you can pack in though, an overnight stay is definitely a more relaxing option,” says Charlie Trott...


ny time spent at Champneys is a treat, but an overnight stay allows you to really make the most of the award-winning Health Spa. There’s a vast range of treatments and classes to try, exercise and relaxation to schedule in, plus lunch, dinner, the occasional smoothie or coffee and afternoon tea of course! An overnight stay it is then! Founded by eccentric Latvian naturopath Stanley Lief, Champneys Tring has been a wellness leader since 1925. The Rothschildbuilt mansion and estate is set in 170 acres of idyllic Hertfordshire countryside and the Spa’s lush, leafy grounds and tranquil setting will relax you the minute you turn through the impressive entrance gates, just outside the village of Wigginton. On arrival we were warmly greeted by the helpful reception team, given a refreshing fruit cocktail and a quick tour of the facilities and shown to our luxurious rooms. The spacious and stylishly decorated suite looked out across manicured lawns and verdant borders to the woodland beyond while just outside, accessed through sliding glass doors was our own private seating area. The Delightful bedrooms bedroom, sitting room and twin bathrooms were charming, stylish and opulant and very comfortable. On our tour we noted that in addition to the impressive variety of innovative and traditional spa treatments on offer, such as carefully-crafted massages, facials, wraps and scrubs, there is a Relaxation Hideaway to snooze in with double waterbeds and a jaccuzi area with comfy daybeds, plus a fabulous light and airy Manicure and Pedicure Salon, with great views of the gardens, a hair salon, and an amazing, first of its kind in the UK, Marine and Wellness Spa, in which - influenced by the French concept of treating the body with marine actives - Champneys have partnered with Thalgo, the French Marine spa beauty company, to offer seawater therapy and personalised marine wellbeing treatments, in a range of super cool, hi-tech treatment rooms. In the smartly refurbished Spa options range from face and body treatments

Champneys from rear lawn showing café extension, jaccuzzi umbrella and glass thelassotherapy pool house

by Champneys, Clarins, Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates through to wellbeing sessions in Reflexology, Reiki, Colon Hydrotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Deep Energy Healing and Life Coaching to mention but a few. In addition there are up to 20 daily activities on offer (mostly free of charge) including: Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Aquafit, Spinning, Streching, HIIT and Jumpga! In the spectacular grounds, there are tennis courts where you can try Pickleball or you can join an instructor and make the most of a Country Walk or even take out a bicycle. Meanwhile the spa has an air conditioned gym, a spinning room, a Yoga Shala and a large pool for guests to use. All this to fit in along with breakfast, lunch and dinner - are you beginning to see why an overnight stay was needed! I managed to ‘enjoy’ a revitalising Spa reception Elemis Freestyle Deep Tissue Massage from a slight but deceptively powerful Hungarian physiotherapist, an Executive Foot Treatment/Pedicure, a relaxing swim in the pool and tea and cake in the airy café. My wife Amanda, loved her relaxing Aromatherapy Associates Full Body Massage and Indian Head Massage.

Sadly we didn’t find time to languish in the warm, mineral rich Thelassotherapy pool or test the outdoor Jaccuzzi. We did enjoy the wonderful food in Champneys restaurant though. Lunch is an amazing buffet of delicious and appetising salads served alongside, tasty hot alternatives, dinner an appetising choice of three courses - again delicious, healthy and varied but this time served by the friendly waiting team and with the option of wine! Champneys at Tring is a wonderful place to get away from it all and enjoy some fantastic treatments. The rooms are very comfortable, the food is great and it is up to you to do as much or as little as you like. Our package included robe hire and flip flops; breakfast, lunch and dinner;; fitness classes plus use of the spa and relaxation facilities (check in from 2pm, depart by 4pm the following day). See Champneys website below, for latest offers, or to make a booking, you’ll be glad you did, they really set the standard for spa breaks here! From November 11th to December 21st Champneys are giving 20% extra for free when you purchase a Champneys Gift Card, which can be used at Champneys Resorts, City Spas and boutiques.

l Champneys, Chesham Road, Wigginton, Nr Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 6HX Reservations / booking: 0843 5611932 Email Website: Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019



Roa d to t h e f u t u r e

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

with Alan Candy

Cleaning up With electric cars and hybrids all the rage at the moment globally, Alan Candy takes a look at some of the most recent developments in a fast-growing market...

Mercedes Benz A-Class Hybrid (A250e)


AYS after revealing pricing for its all-electric city car, Uniti is now accepting deposits for the Uniti One from customers in Sweden and the UK. Tens of thousands have registered interest in the Swedish-designed three-seater EV, and more than 1,000 customers have been added to the waiting list. Having exceeded its initial expectations, the company has introduced online ordering, allowing customers to configure their perfect Uniti One and place a deposit via: With prices starting from £15,100, after UK Government subsidy, demand for the Uniti One has been far-reaching, confirming a substantial, global appetite for Uniti’s climate-neutral, digitalfirst urban EV. Uniti CEO, Lewis Horne, said: “We’re thrilled at the hugely positive response to our unique electric city car. We’ve been quiet over the past few months, while preparing for this moment, and are really excited to see the Uniti One on sale today.”

Alan Candy

Uniti 1 Those placing a fullyrefundable 50% deposit before 30th November, 2019 will be enrolled into Uniti’s Founders Club. Recognising their status as the company’s first patrons, Uniti Founders Club members will receive all future software applications, updates and enhancements completely free of charge for life and benefit from access to exclusive events, offers and services. Order now and join the waiting list - first deliveries are planned for mid-2020.

INTEREST in leasing electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles has increased dramatically over the past 12 months and is outperforming demand in the overall consumer new car market, new data from shows. During September 2019, there were 40,917 overall registrations of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hybrids and mild hybrids, up 54.8% from September 2018, according to the latest figures from the SMMT. And when it comes to personal leasing, enquiries on these vehicles were up 209% year on year in September 2019. A recent survey also found that 40% of drivers planning to lease a car in the next five years would choose an electric vehicle. The Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen e-Golf and Jaguar I-Pace were the most indemand all-electric models in the crucial plate-change month of September. Paul Harrison, Head of Strategic Partnerships at, said: “Leasing offers personal customers the

perfect way to transition into ever-cleaner models without the commitment of buying. “Interest in alternatively fuelled vehicles on has outstripped national levels so far in 2019 and accounted for 7% of all enquiries in the first half of the year. Average CO2 emissions across personal lease enquiries on have fallen for three consecutive years, and our data shows we’re on course for a reduction in emissions this year, too.” Overall in September, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class was the most popular personal lease car, followed by the Range Rover Evoque. The electric Tesla Model 3 continues to attract leasing consumers and was the fifth most-enquired vehicle. Top 10 personal lease enquiries for September 1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2. Range Rover Evoque 3. Volkswagen Golf 4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class 5. Tesla Model 3 6. BMW 2 Series 7. Volkswagen Tiguan 8. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class 9. Nissan Qashqai 10. Seat Leon

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019



o n t h e roa d

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

with Rob Auchterlonie

Topping the class! AUDI A1 Sportback


T’S a main road, a dictionary description of excellence, a naff teeny boy band from the past – and the smallest Audi of the modern era. Now revisited, reworked and relaunched, the latest Audi A1 Sportback proves that few technologies are made worse by being smaller, as this still manages to hang on to that prestige feel even though it’s been extensively remodelled. If you’re in the market for a small, cheap-to-run car but don’t want to compromise on quality, the A1 is well worth a look. It’s impressively roomy for a small car on the inside but doesn’t look like a blown-up city car or a boxy miniSUV on the outside. It’s a posh small car that is both comfortable, practical and easy to

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road drive. Lots of frontal grilles give it a sportier look than some of its rivals for your cash, and it looks even better if you plump for a top-spec car with big alloy wheels and an eye-catching two-tone paint job like the S-Line Style Edition sampled here. But you don’t have to shell out out for a range-topping car to get a nice interior. Every version gets a

AUDI A1 Sportback dual-screen infotainment and better quality plastics than is the norm, so it feels more upmarket than most small hatchbacks. It’s also a good deal more spacious than your average small family runabout - loads of headroom in the front, plenty of seat adjustment to help you get comfortable and there’s enough space in the back for two more adults.

Boot space is adequate enough for a couple of cases, and with the rear seats down its load capacity is suitably enhanced. Chances are that you won’t be using your Audi A1 Sportback for lugging heavy loads to and from the tip, though. Around town when it starts to get busy the A1’s small size, light controls and decent visibility make it an easy car to squeeze through gaps in traffic, more so with the smooth and

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

o n t h e roa d competent 1.5 litre four cylinder engine under the bonnet. There’s plenty of grip available when you get out onto twisty thoroughfares, but there is a lot of road noise in evidence when the surface is lacking in quality. Bigger and wider alloys don’t do the A1 any favours in that respect. Engine choice gives you a few options – the three cylinder 20 TFSI lines up alongside the 30, 35 and 40 four cylinder petrol models, but there is no diesel on offer and the A1 now only comes in five door configuration. On the S-Line Style Edition there’s a welcome degree of colour co-ordination between the alloys outside and various trim items inside, as well as black badging on the tailgate to show up on the eyecatching Chronos Grey body colour. And if you’ve ever left your mobile phone in a car before, well, you won’t with this. Among the standard kit is a central phone charging plate, and a spoken alert will inform you you’re about to leave it behind when you remove the ignition key. Nice touch. It’s a premium hatch true to

with Rob Auchterlonie

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019

AUDI A1 Sportback

AUDI A1 Sportback Audi’s core values and one that remains the cheapest way to get into new Audi ownership. It’s also ripe for personalisation. Because in Audiworld, there is no such thing as a standard car. Audi A1 Sportback 35 TFSI S-Line Style Edition Price: £24,805 (£28800 as tested) Engine: 1498cc, four cylinder, petrol Power: 150ps Torque: 250Nm Transmission: six speed manual Top speed: 137mph 0-62mph: 7.7 seconds Economy: 44.8-45/6mpg CO2 emissions: 120g/km

AUDI A1 Sportback

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019


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01296 488902 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2019






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