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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

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Vale Life

w art w music w people w places w homes w gardens w theatre w food w fashion w Beauty w health w travel w

Dec/Jan 13-14

Cover picture: Ruth Frost of Euphoria Fitness Photograph taken by G Mclean See page 22

Free local listings for events and businesses


On your marks!

Our special health & fitness feature will inspire & inform

Open all hours

New Aylesbury gym is 24-7

Menu delicioso

All in the kitchen is Cici-Coco

Warm, well & welcome

Beat the winter blues at Thame Therapy Practice New columns on music and motors and much, much more... w dinner for Two at the Boot, Bledlow ridge w Half a Tonne of Eco Fuel w w Family tickets for Oxford Castle unlocked w

For all your stone needs... Interior stone at our Gallery in Thame The Gallery Stoneworld, 43A Upper High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 2DW. Tel: 01844 261768 Email:

E st a

2 b lish e d 2 0 0

Exterior stone at Great Milton

Views Farm, Great Milton, Oxon, OX44 7NW. Tel: 01844 279274 Email:

Stoneworld is a family-run, independent company offering help and advice on all aspects of stone purchase and use See the new Scavolini Kitchen range at Gallery Stoneworld, Thame. Best sellers in Italy for 30 years

Our extensive range includes: l Over 30 different natural stone paving options l Variety of finishes including hand cut, tumbled, sawn and honed l Natural stone block paving l Cobbles and pebbles l Rockery stone l Over 50 different ornamental gravels l Swimming pool edging l Natural stone walling l Range of interior stone for floors, walls & worktops l Feature stones and water features l Bespoke fireplaces and hearths l Bespoke digital masonry service


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

Exceptional Elderly Care in Buckinghamshire



solutions campaigns

leaflets digital print adverts exhibition forms

cost effective rollers banners



web design



The best days of your life

Are you looking for professional, creative design and print solutions under one roof? Feel free to contact us to see what we can do for your business, whether it be a complete project or a re-vamp of your corporate stationery Swanbourne House is a place where: • High academic standards • Extensive sports coaching • A myriad of music and drama opportunities • Exciting activities programme

Next Open Morning Saturday 5th October For details contact Mrs C Hollowday

• Mud, smiles, friends and fun

All come as standard!

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

6073 Vale Life Ad_125x90.indd 1


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

29/10/2013 12:42

Come and visit; you can be assured of a warm welcome.

T: 01296 720264 E: W: Buckinghamshire MK17 0HZ

IAPS, Co-education, Boarding and Day, Prep School for children aged from three to thirteen years.

Audited, Vetted & Approved by Buckinghamshire County Council Trading Standards

t: 01296 655 774 m: 07850 499 795

We pride ourselves on being one of the best in the business. Expertise in wallpaper hanging with a full in-house carpentry and repairs service. Established for over 35 years No decorating sub-contractors used Trading Standards Approved We cover Aylesbury Vale, Chilterns, Home Counties and beyond ✔ Complete repair & refurbishment service ✔ We take care of the worrying, so you don't have to ✔ ‘No Quibble’ Full After Sales Service ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

✔ Residential ✔ Commercial ✔ Industrial

"Mick and the boys are fantastic, I would never have any other decorator." Mrs McKibbin, Nr Princes Risborough.

Read what our customers say about us on our website...

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Join one of our great value tours!

Luxury Coach Holidays

DayTrips,Theatres & Shows WarHors e


, New Lo

Dutch b .mottstrav w w w : e nlin Book o

ndon Th


Theatre trips, day trips and short breaks January 25: London Theatres (matinée) War Horse £82 Charlie & The Chocolate Factory £70 Matilda £65 Or Shopping £20

February 15: London Theatres (matinée) Phantom £70 Jersey Boys £75 1 17/1/11 11:12 Page 1 otts Ad 210mmx280mm:Layout Lion King £75 Or Shopping £20 March 5: London Theatre Package (matinée) Bodyguard & 2 Course Carvery Lunch at the Strand Palace £69 March 6: Camillia Festival at Chiswick House, London £24 March 10: Sussex Tea Dance, Lunch & Tea & Dance East Sussex National Hotel & Spa, Uckfield £39 March 15: Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia £29

EASTER 2014 See our unrivalled selection of Easter breaks! 4 Days departing April 18th 2014 - please see 2014 brochure for more details. Destinations: Eastbourne, Harrogate, Bournemouth, Isle of Wight, Weymouth, Weston Super Mare, Hythe, Warners Hayling Island, Swansea, Disneyland Paris, Ardennes & Luxembourg, Bulbfields, Rhine Valley, Snowdonia & Hampshire. Dutch Bulbfields 4 & 5 Days April 4, 11, 18, 25 from £339 - 4 Days March 30, April 7, 13 & 21 from £429 - 5 Days Early booking advised. 2014 Holiday Brochure Available now packed full of great value breaks... Cantabrian Coast & Mountains, Andorra & The Pyrenees, Costa Brava, Menton Lemon Festival, Italian Lakes, Tuscany, Rome & Amalfi Coast, Polish Discovery, Prague, Switzerland, Opatija, Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland, Channel Islands by Air, Warner Historic Hotels, Themed Breaks, plus many many more... request a brochure today!

Luxury Coach Holidays

March 15: Ideal Home Show, Earls Court, London £26 March 20 & 22: Sewing for Pleasure, NEC £26

DayTrips,Theatres & Shows Motts Holidays

ottstrave : www.m e n i l n o Book 6

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

BR NE O W Ri CH 20 ng U 14 fo RE HO r 01 yo OU LI 33 2 ur T DA 66 96 co NO Y py W 66 : !

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

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

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

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details

8 10 14 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Style file


Get in quick

New year, new website


Oxford Castle unlocked

Twinkle toes


Take to the floor

Reach for the sky


Dec the halls

On your marks


Win Eco Fuel briquettes

Off road racer


Tool up for New Year

Open all hours


Beddz create buzz

Core principle


Smashing the stereotype

It’s a real tonic


It’s steer delight

Warm, well and welcome


Menu delicioso

Feel the benefits


Nothing like a Sunday roast

Cycle Chilterns


Win a meal at The Boot

Time for action


Scoundrel alert

Katy’s New Year fashion tips

White Hart studio launches online sales Join the Gel-ebrations

Penny goes up a hill to climb a mountain Ten pages of health and fitness! Ruth Frost goes Tough Mudder New gym is 24-7

The gentle art of Pilates KaSo classes mix fitness with fun Are you ready to battle those Winter blues? Hartwell Spa goes the extra mile Ride the wild Chilterns 25 Years of Florence Nightingale Hospice

New blood... Two new columnists have joined the Vale Life fold this edition. Welcome to Stuart Robb, an award winning music-industry professional, who successfully ran his own record label, Jam Central for many years and is particularly well versed in the local music scene - he will be overseeing our new local music page ‘Turn it up!’ Get in touch if you are performing or promoting music locally and he’ll try and give it a plug. Equally adept in his field, or should I say, behind the wheel, is


ongratulations to the following Nov/Dec edition competition winners! Hopefully your prizes will have arrived by now, please let us know if not. Commiserations to those

Alan Candy. The man is a legend in the field of car reviewing and seems to have been writing about the latest models since you cranked them by hand. It’s probably not that long though. His ‘Altomobiles’ column will run alongside Rob Auchterlonie’s reviews - there’s too many new vehicles about these days for one man to cover them all! If there are any local dealerships who would like us to feature their latest models, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do. I am often complimented on the interesting articles in Vale Life and the quality of writing and our columnists must take a lot of the who weren’t so lucky - read on though for more competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: A meal for two at The Boot, Bledlow Ridge; Fifty bags of Eco Fuel courtesy of

Sign up for the Chiltern Cycle Challenge Win family tickets and go directly to jail Melanie’s guide to carpets and rugs Janice says, ‘make your own wreath’ Win 50 bags of Winter fuel

What’s on Naomi’s Christmas list? Remember the past, plan for the future Debunking the myths of social housing Heather’s chasing beefcake at the fat stock show All in the kitchen is Cici-Coco

Jacqui says Thatch is Foodie heaven Win dinner for two up on Bledlow Ridge New musical gets Waterside preview

credit for this. We have seen Matt Brown, now sadly retired from VL, gain a publishing deal, as has Penny Harper with her Grandad and Lollipop books, which are lovely tales for younger readers. She has a very engaging way of writing and never fails to amuse with her VL column - this edition in training for a trip up Mt Kilimanjaro! Heather Jan Brunt is now giving us an insight into life as a farmer’s wife in ‘This farming life’ and Janice Issitt recently became a contributor with her ‘Making the most of it’ column. She is mad keen on handcrafts, sewing, Premier Architectural Joinery Ltd; Family tickets to Oxford Castle Unlocked and Grubbies Woodland Adventure Kerchiefs. Last issue’s prizewinners were: A Champneys Relax Spa Day for two

stitching and making and has lots of nifty ‘upcycling’ ideas! Waste not want not, I say. Talking of which, we have a great competition on page 39 to win half a tonne of Eco Fuel briquettes. Joinery firm Premier recycles all sawdust and waste wood into fuel blocks which heat their workshops and you could win a free load. Happy reading!

Charlie Charlie Trott, Editor with free facials: Lisa Lloyd, Great Milton A Waitrose Christmas Hamper: Sheila Goggs Dinner for two at The Bell: Debbie Bean, Weedon

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

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2013

with Katy Dyer

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


ost-Christmas and into the New Year is traditionally the time to review the past twelve months and look to January with excited expectation. If one of your resolutions is to make more time for yourself this year, perhaps think about your image and how you feel about your own sense of style. Has it been lost over the years putting other people first or maybe you just fancy a bit of a re-vamp? Altered images: You never get a second chance to make a first impression – and it takes just seven seconds for someone to form that impression when you are introduced. So make those moments count and invest in yourself. Being well-dressed doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune on the latest trends, it’s about knowing what suits you - that includes your shape, personality and features as well as being lifestyleappropriate and current (shoes are a real giveaway!). The idea is to make the most of your best bits whilst concealing or camouflaging the areas you are not so keen on. And there are plenty of tricks to learn that

don’t involve airbrushing, extreme dieting or cosmetic surgery!

Left, Adidas smt jacket in pink/grey £55 (also available in: purple/grey - highly reflective) Below, Adidas Supernova running shoes £95 (also available for men) UP & RUNNING (AYLESBURY & NATIONWIDE)

Here are a few ideas to try: Always finish a garment on a narrow part of your body. This may be your waist, hips or just below your knees - take a look in the mirror and discover the difference this can make to your bodyline. Black is not the only slimming shade, but wearing darker colours either in full length or on the areas of your body you want to make smaller works brilliantly. Always wear a flattering colour near your face. Take a few items of clothing and hold them up to your face in front of a mirror. Which make your eyes shine and which emphasise under-eye circles? Be light, be bright and be seen If you are planning to embark on a new fitness regime looking good is a great way of staying motivated. And not all fitness wear has to be black! During the winter months, it’s important to be seen if you are exercising outdoors. Be sure the gear you choose is functional, warm and visible – there are some great fluoro jackets and accessories that look good and are super-practical too – check out your local fitness specialist store for professional advice. Sports shoes have really moved on a pace (sorry – couldn’t resist!) and come in a huge range of

Panache sports bras A-K cup £39 (various colours) GORGEOUS OF TRING

colours and styles for your chosen activity and design preferences. Don’t make do with an old kit bag – start as you mean to go on with a well-organised gym bag, with a place for everything leaving you no room for excuses! So come in out of the cold and plan time in 2014 for you to make the most of your style, your shape and your wardrobe.

WORKPLAY BAGS Goddess III Gym bag in purple twilight £84.99

l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant. From her home studio in Thame, she can help you discover the confidence to change or develop your personal or professional style and image. Visit or email katy@ Gift vouchers and experiences are available. l Katy’s popular Style Solutions e-course is starting on 6th January, places are limited so get on board to make the most of you in 2014.

Clothes Show Live - been there, seen it - be back next year to get the T-shirt!

Colour Me Beautiful

8 2

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

With a keen eye for fashion and what looks good, the Vale Life Style and Beauty Team set off early for the Clothes Show Live on Saturday 7th December. This year was the show’s 25th anniversary and featured new designers and dramatic runways shows alongside Britain’s largest fashion collection. We were soon in the NEC show halls checking out beauty brands including Clarins, Barry M, Elemis and Rimmel, with some great show deals and top tips, demonstrations

and techniques. There were opportunities to hear from some of fashion’s finest including Caryn Franklin and the founder of WIWT. com, Poppy Dinsey. Not to mention a bit of reality TV celeb spotting, with the stars of TOWIE and Made in Chelsea more or less in residence for the duration of the show. An eclectic selection offered something for everyone on the graduate catwalk, but the fashion theatre was the real showstopper,

featuring high street and designer brands, against a backdrop of Cliveden House. The catwalk was awash with glitz, glamour and dance and sumptuous fabrics such as velvet, leather, lace and jacquard. There was a real party atmosphere in the house and some inspirational ideas for Christmas and New Year outfits. A great day out with the girls and the ultimate in retail therapy with a great bit of theatre thrown in - already looking forward to 2014!


PANDORA Aylesbury Friars Square Shopping Centre, Aylesbury, HP20 2SP Be inspired at Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14



ew year is an exciting time. A new beginning, a time to make plans and resolutions, perhaps to embark on a bold new venture. It’s also a time for reflection, a time to think of what has been and to remember loved ones and toast absent friends. At The White Hart Studio it’s a very exciting time. Christmas is always busy but there’s a stylish new website being launched, with the help of Ben from PChelp4U and Adam and Steven at Photrain - it should be live by the time you read this. It has meant a lot of extra work, taking pictures and writing descriptions of items to buy online. The website is set out in rooms, just like the shop and will give newcomers a flavour of what is on offer in the store and everyone the option to purchase items online. There is also a blog which will keep us all updated with information about new stock, new suppliers, events, introduce staff members and any other snippets that might be of interest! There’s a New Year sale to organise (lots of reductions, don’t miss out - starts Dec 28th) and then there will be new season stock, fresh Spring fashions, delightful homeware, gorgeous jewellery and fabulous one-off pieces of antique furniture to display. And somehow there’s Christmas to fit in first as well!

l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm & Sun 11am-4pm Christmas opening: Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th & Tuesday 31st December. Website:


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Jane Davies, right, with her friend Jane Ray toasting the opening of The White Hart Studio back in 2003.

It is also a sad time for Jane and the studio, for they have recently lost a lovely friend. A lady without whose encouragement, support and ideas, the White Hart Studio might never have been. Here White Hart owner Jane Davies pays tribute to her dear friend Jane Ray, who died on the 18th November: “I met Jane in 2000 when I first moved to Haddenham and she brought a lot of fun to my world. She was a very glamorous and successful woman then and became a close friend. She was an inspiration to me and in 2003 helped me open The White Hart Studio. She always said she would like to open a glamorous shoe shop in Thame, with chandeliers and a chaise longue and serve the odd glass of bubbly. Sadly her dreams didn’t come to be. I deeply miss her.”


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

01296 423198

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

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


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

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

Tel: 01296 423198

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14



l Column:

Hero Brown

from your friends at

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

a n D Re W Le g ge T T




Quality, Affordable, Approachable


by Trollbeads for more information visit

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

Out of the Doghouse Dog Listening

Contact: Roselle 07989 947316 email: roselle@

Does your dog:

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

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

Hero Brown blogs about her life in the sticks at: Here’s a taste of what she’s been up to...


ow are we here again so soon? Life feels like some kind of surreal Home Counties time-travel these days; like Star Trek but with added cappuccino and 4 x 4 turbo power. I seem to zip from one season to the next; not counting days but chunks of time, weeks slipping by like precious memories. And now, I’m back in the tunnel towards Christmas turkey and January purging in 2014. Well, 2013, just back up, I haven’t finished with you yet! I’m consulting my New Year’s Resolutions here yes, yes, the same ones I write every year - and it says distinctly, with rather un-nerving punctuation, ‘This time make sure you follow them through!!!!!’. Um. Hmmm. Oh dear. Well, there’s no point in looking back at the year as a series of negatives (oh my god I’m a failure!!), so let’s look on the bright side: I did have one of the four house parties I promised I’d hold. I’ve become no fitter, slimmer or stylish due entirely to my work routine and weakness for chocolate Digestives. However I do seem to care less, which I’m taking as a positive. I’ve done more with my children - mostly put them in front of the telly or ipad - though in fairness I’ve also managed to drag them with me to the theatre, restaurants and pubs a couple of times. Sometimes they love it and sometimes they don’t. I took my oldest son to see Nigel Kennedy at the Aylesbury Waterside and watched aghast as he shuffled, rocked and rolled his eyes

in agony through the best concert of my entire life. Not enough rap in The Four Seasons apparently. Then again, my daughter loved watching the ballet and various musicals, and my smallest thinks panto the coolest thing ever. I confess it’s true that I haven’t saved enough money this year; that my work-life balance is hopeless; my bathroom needs doing; my hair needs cutting; and I still haven’t learnt to cook properly. But will I care this Christmas? No. I’ll have my family around me, friends to hang out with, a turkey to burn, wine to over-pour, sleep to catch up on, kids to cuddle. And come New Year, I’ll have a renewed purpose. With 2014 around the corner I’ll almost certainly be writing some new resolutions. And this time of course I’ll *ahem* , make sure I follow through. l Sign up for free email updates on the best things to do in Bucks & Oxon from Hero’s award-winning blog at

• have issues with food? Dog Listening uses a simple non-confrontational method, suitable for all dogs, regardless of size, age or breed, through which you can address all undesirable behaviours and build a rewarding relationship with your dog.

43b Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2NQ Roselle 07989 947316 or Tel: Contact: 01296 423233 / 0800 298 8514

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

or visit Email:

w Weddings w Corporate w Special Occasions w w Birthdays Parties w Sympathy w Gifts w w Soft Toys w Wines and Champagne w Innovative, contemporary and traditional designs 12

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

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

Tel: 07742 361711


Amanda Trott

l Column

They’re hidden away most days but come party season your toes go on display. Time for a Jessica toe treatment that’ll have you gel-ebrating into the new year...


ost of us tend to hide our feet away during the winter months but Christmas and New Year parties can often have us running around searching for that worn down nail file and sparkly nail polish only to find it’s dried up and gone sticky! All too often after all that hard work, once jammed back into boots and socks, toenails end up looking chipped and tatty. Quite a few of us have had hybrid gel varnishes on our fingers but have you ever thought about having them on your toes? Relaxation Spa at Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in Fairford Leys specialises in Jessica Geleration, a gel nail polish that delivers a long-lasting, high shine and chip free finish that dries in moments and protects your natural nail. On toes it can last, chip free, for up to 5 weeks. The salon is run by Kim Eastwood and Samantha Joss and has been offering a range of health

Each coat - base and then two layers of colour is cured under a UV lamp to set the gel

Beautifully smooth and shiny nails Samantha began by shaping my nails and sloughing off any dry skin and beauty treatments for some ten years now. Kim has over 25 years experience in beauty and has previously worked at some of the most luxurious spas in the world including Tring retreat Champneys and Chiva Som in Thailand. Samantha is highly experienced and has a Level 3 NVQ qualification in beauty therapy. She is also an expert in Elemis products and treatments (the main skin care range used in the salon).

Win a One Hour Sports Massage!

With some 30 years experience between them Relaxation Spa’s therapists, Kim and Samantha, offer a range of health and beauty treatments using the world’s top brands: Elemis Jessica and St Tropez. Services range from AntiAgeing Facials to Reflexology, Massage, Reiki, Hot Stone Massage, Body Scrubs and Wraps, Pedicures, Manicures, Waxing, Eyebrow Shaping and Tinting and Spray Tanning. Being located in the Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre the girls are often called upon to dispense Deep Tissue Massages to ease away sporting aches and pains, as well as gentler relaxation treatments. 14

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

A lovely massage with Elemis foot cream followed

If you would like the chance to win a one hour Sports Massage with Kim simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: editor@vale-life. What are the two therapists at relaxation Spa called? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by Jan 25th, 2014.

I went along to meet Samantha to get my nails and feet ready for the party season. My feet had been rather neglected for several weeks so Samantha decided a Jessica Geleration Pedicure was needed. She started by soaking my feet in a scented foot spa, carefully dried them off and then shaped my nails and cuticles and sloughed off any dry skin, to prepare for the gel polish. I chose a chocolatey bronze shade called Guilty Pleasures, which would tone well with all my party shoes. Once Samantha had applied the clear base coat, she cured my nails under a UV lamp to set the gel, she then applied two coats of the colour and one of the top coat curing each layer as she went. Finally she applied a gorgeously scented Elemis foot cream which she massaged into my feet and legs before wiping over my toes to reveal beautifully smooth and shiny nails, guaranteed to look just as fantastic for several weeks. Gelerations can be applied

Discussing nail colour selection

regularly without damaging the nail, so are fantastic for fuss-free, low maintenance nails, although they are of course not completely indestructible. It is recommended they are protected from harsh chemicals and allowed to ‘settle’ for a few minutes after coming into contact with very hot water or extreme heat. l Aylesbury Fitness & Wellbeing Centre, Trenchard Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 7AA Tel: 01296 487627 Twitter: @relaxationspaNH Facebook: Relaxation Spa l Amanda is a talented and experienced, Vidal Sassoon trained hair stylist. During her varied and creative career she has managed Charles Worthington’s Covent Garden salon and her own salon in Princes Risborough. If you would like your hair cut, styled or coloured by Amanda she is available in Thame from Monday through to Thursdays at Eclipse Hair Design. Call 01844 260062 to book or arrange a free consultation.

Body & Soul

20% OFF

all treatments and sunbed courses* *excludes DermaCo and Elemis courses

throughout January 2014 59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 7FW

01296 434216

Hate Shaving? Fed Up With Waxing? Want Soft Smooth Skin? Try Sugaring! The Ancient Arabic Method of Hair Removal. Natural product not tested on animals

Want longer, fuller, thicker eyelashes? Without using mascara or heavy false lashes?

Try individually applied Nouveau Lashes (Tinting & shaping also available) For further information or to make an appointment please contact Suzanne: Telephone: 07770 558849 Email: Web: Facebook: Smooth As Silk by Suzanne / Twitter: @smooth_As_Silk_

10% off all first bookings for Sugaring and Eyelash Extensions when you mention this advert Gift Vouchers & loyalty card available

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Providing the ultimate salon experience

What’s new at Win a free makeover

Have a fab Christmas!

f you would like to start the New Year with a fabulous new look, then enter The Eclipse Hair Design makeover competition and you could win a complete hair and makeup restyle and see the results featured here in Vale Life Magazine! Just send Eclipse a picture of yourself and a few lines explaining exactly why it should be you that is selected to win the free Eclipse make-over. Include your name address and contact details and post to the salon at: Eclipse Hair Design, 56 North Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3BH or email: by January 25th 2014. The winner will be notified by January 31st, 2014 and a mutually convenient date for the makeover arranged.

t’s time to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year from all of us here at Eclipse Hair Design. All our clients should receive a Christmas Card at their Christmas appointment, with some great offers enclosed for January and February, so make sure you don’t leave without it! We have some great gift ideas in the salon now, including Redken Christmas gift boxes with a shampoo, a conditioner and a free hairspray, plus we have an amazing GHD offer - large GHDs for only £105 while stocks last! For those who have yet to discover our Grand Charity Raffle in aid of Helen and Douglas House, here are several reasons to pop in and buy tickets! Prizes include: l An Eclipse Brazilian blow-dry (worth £165) l A £20 Muse Voucher l Two £15 vouchers for lovely nail care l £100 Facial at MBNS l £25 voucher for Freerange l A Rumseys Chocolate and Coffee Morning l A cuddly toy, (called Prickles), from Ella Jane Gifts l A facial from Essential Pampering l A Beautiful Slate Serving tray from All Wrapped Up l A starter dental Pack from Trafalgar House Dental Practice l A Make-up lesson with Personal Stylist Katy Dyer (value £39) l A 100ml Bottle of After the Rain Perfume from Wallace’s Home Boutique l A month’s free membership at Racquets l More Prizes to come! For those wishing to start a new career in 2014 we are looking to recruit a new Assistant. The job starts in January, so get in touch with your CV as soon as possible and register your interest. Eclipse is a fun, friendly place to work and offers great training and good prospects for the right applicant.



for beautifully smooth and silky hair

Banish frizz with Kebelo


or many of us unruly and hard to manage hair is the bane of our lives with frizz being a major concern, especially at this time of year. You want shiny, sexy hair but straighteners and keratin formulas can bring their own problems. At Eclipse Hair design we now recommend Kebelo - an innovative smoothing formula that fills out and strengthens damaged bonds deep inside each hair, healing from within and leaving it healthy and strong. You are left with beautifully smooth manageable hair and best of all - no frizz. Silky hair can be achieved in just one hour and lasts around 100 days! Ask at reception, or when you book, for more details on this incredible new treatment - you’ll be amazed!

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

STOP PRESS... Like us on Facebook for up to date information and promotions: Eclipse Hair Design 16 16 Vale Life Vale : Dec/Jan Life : Nov/Dec 2013/14 2013

Open Evening Monday 27th January 6pm - 8pm The Paddocks Clinic Princes Risborough

January detox for your skin Come along and learn how to improve the appearance of your skin

Learn more about good skincare

• anti-oxidants • dermaroller • EDS treatments • PRP Therapy • skin peels • injectables

See demonstrations

on dermaroller, skin peels and injectables

Get advice on skincare

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


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

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 13/14

Penny Harper


n 2014, I shall be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and what better way to prepare for travelling across Africa, from the Skeleton Coast in the west to Zanzibar in the east, at the height of summer, than camping in Wales. In December. Funnily enough, this teensy-weensy detail was somehow missed off the original itinerary. Aside from the fact that I am going to end up as a human popsicle, I’m not at all fazed by tackling the mountain. As that wise sage Miley Cyrus once said, ‘…ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side. It’s the climb’. Wise words indeed, although from what I’ve been reading, it’s also about altitude sickness, stroppy teenagers (I have to drag 14 of them up the hill with me) and not being able to shower for three days. Though, I’m sure I’ll get plenty of practice at being stinky in Wales. I like to think that I’m reasonably fit; I’m sure most people would like to think that. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true though and I have had to face the dreaded ‘bleep test’

Mount Kilimanjaro in order to find out for certain. If you don’t remember this particular torture device from school, you have to run between two points at timed intervals that get increasingly shorter; the dreaded ‘bleep’ thus instilling in you a kind of Pavlovian response to run at a wall whenever someone’s stopwatch goes off for decades afterwards. This I did, in my full PE kit, and just about managed to wait until all the kids had gone to get changed before collapsing in a sweaty, blubbering heap on the floor. The hiking and trekking (though I’m pretty sure those are actually the same thing) are an absolute gift to me as I can ‘get my Gump on’

Maria Bray

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and go the distance quite happily. It’s a bit harder when there are 14 adolescent whinge-bags, or ‘FifthFormers’ as they’re more commonly known, tagging along with you. I recently took a group hiking/ trekking in the Tatras in Poland. The countryside was beautiful, there were plenty of mountain goats, and if you were really, really lucky, then you would get to see the elusive and majestic back-packing nun. The first day was nothing like it had said it would be in the brochures. It brought us torrential rain and caused one of my group to complain, “Miss, even my pants are wet”, to which I could only reply, “My pants are wet too Luke, but sitting here on the ledge moaning about it isn’t going to get us any closer to the mountain hut”. I’ve never been known for my sensitivity. Anyway, we all made it up the Tatras in one piece and there were just the two incidents of mutiny so, all told, it was a textbook trip. As I run up and down the stairs (altitude training) I dream of African plains, Victoria Falls and

Small Town


the beaches of Zanzibar. I think of standing and watching the sunrise from the summit of Kilimanjaro, of the magnificent animals I’m going to encounter and the amazing faces and tales I will see and hear along the journey. Not that you’ll know I was ever there: the chap I’m paired with is about six foot seven, so there will only be the top of my head in the photographs. But rest assured, when you see the helicopter circling the summit, just after dawn breaks you will know….I was the one who had the asthma attack and had to be winched to safety.

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 13/14


Health & Fitness

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

New Year is a time for reflection, new beginnings and resolutions to look after yourself better. Being more active helps make you healthier and can also be a lot of fun! You’ll certainly enjoy the benefits of having more energy and feeling better about yourself. So what are you going to try first...


Learn to swim or improve your technique with Cathy Cavender Swimming


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

e’ve all heard that exercise is good for us, but why is that? Our everyday lives require less physical activity than in our grandparents’ day - we now rely on cars to get us around and spend hours sitting in front of computers. Some of us probably don’t do anything more physical than a stroll around the supermarket, but does it really matter? Well, actually it does! Physical inactivity increases your risk of coronary heart disease - in other words, if you don’t exercise you significantly increase your risk of dying from a heart attack. Exercising regularly means a healthier heart as it reduces cardiovascular risks, including high blood pressure. Being physically active can also bolster good mental health and help you to manage stress, anxiety and even depression - you will actually feel happier and have more energy as a result of exercising. Regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain an ideal weight, which can be important in managing many health conditions, or may just make you feel happier about your appearance. All exercise helps strengthen bones and muscles to some degree, but weight-bearing exercise, such as running, is especially good in promoting bone density and protecting against osteoporosis, which affects men as well as women. Regular exercise, as you age, keeps you strong, mobile and less dependent on others and different exercises help with all sorts of health niggles, such as digestion, poor posture and sleeplessness. Physical activity can be beneficial for a range of medical conditions, from diabetes to lower back pain. There’s lots of options locally if you are seeking to start

exercising and living a healthier life, from Aylesbury’s 24 hour gym Anytime Fitness to KaSo Studios’ community-based classes, to tennis clubs, swimming pools, cycling clubs... over the next few pages we have just a small selection of local clubs and activities to consider but a bit of googling or asking around will turn up plenty more. Look at your diet and aim to eat well too. There are lots of fad weight loss programmes about but for a healthy sustainable lifestyle you need a nutritionally balanced diet, preferably without those sweet, sticky, sugary items that we find so tempting! Get the facts and a plan - a nutritionist such as Maria Bray (Wendover), or Roz Bigland at Thame Therapy Clinic can really help put your life back on track if you have diet related health or weight problems. You need to burn off those calories you take on board though and you can have fun doing it, if you find a class and instrucor you like. There’s Jazzercise, Zumba, Boxercise and Ballet, Aerobics and Dance in community centres, schools and gyms. You can even join a boot camp and exercise outside! Popular at the moment are functional fitness classes, such as Kettlebells and suspension trainer systems as used by Personal Trainer Cat Booker, who has her own fitness studio and biomechanics clinic at the Belmore Centre in Stoke Mandeville. Suspension training is a great way to workout and burn a lot of calories in one-go and in a shorter space of time than you would at a standard fitness class. For those who enjoy being outside, Nordic Walking is proving to be a big-hit, while cycling has become more popular since the Olympics. Local clubs such as the Aylesbury Cycle Club and VC10,

Health & Fitness

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

Steve Ward Fishing Fly Fishing Days, Lessons & Tuition

Private or Group Sessions Corporate Days/Team Building Days Gift Vouchers Available

Phone: Office 01844 212390 Mobile 07889 185518 Email : Exercise can be fun! Racquets, Thame both have beginner groups as well as more elite packs. If you prefer to be indoors, try indoor cycling or spinning - a stationery cycle class to music which can motivate you to burn many hundreds of calories! If you used to enjoy athletics but havn’t done any for years, pop along to Aylesbury Athletic Club. They are looking for new members of all ages, (see page 22). You don’t have to compete, just go along and enjoy the training and activity. It’s not all fast and frantic though, Pilates and Yoga are popular workout options to improve core stability and flexibility and are great for rehabilitation after injury too. Pilates is good for building awareness of your own body and how to move better and improve posture. Swimming too can be a great way to workout without impacting your body. If you have aches, pains, stiffness, loss of strength or movement and are having difficulty working out, or even undertaking day to day activities, it is time to seek specialist advice. There are many, good, highly qualified practitioners supporting

our local fitness industry including: physiotherapists, sports massage therapists and osteopaths to whom you can turn for advice. It’s not all about exercise though. Sometimes we need to relax, de-stress, or just feel good about ourselves. Health and beauty treatments can provide a real boost if you are feeling down, complementary therapists can offer treatment, therapy and support for many ailments and just taking some time out on a regular basis to relax or follow an interest or hobby will provide some valuable recovery time from the hurley-burley of modern life. Make time for yourself this year, dust off your trainers, put away the sweet treats and concentrate on eating right and good hydration. Get active, be positive and find an exercise activity that appeals - make today the start of a new healthier you and you’ll find the world a becomes an even brighter place. l With thanks to Cat Booker Fitness Studio: for additional copy and advice.

We’ve gone Xmas crackers! Only £249 for 6 months membership PLUS you get one extra month free! Includes unlimited use of Gym, Studio and Courts, Kickstart Programme & Personal Training Session. PLUS FREE Junior Membership for your kids

Call today: 01844 261754

Cattle Market Car Park, North Street, Thame, OX9 3TH Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14



Column: Fitness Focus with Ruth Frost

Off road racer


o you know any Spartans? How about Mudders? If the answer’s currently “No...?”, it could be set to change in 2014. Obstacle course racing, of which Spartan and Tough Mudder are leading names, is booming. Suddenly, hauling oneself through pits of mud, climbing up ropes, vaulting over hay bales and leaping pits of fire - all in the course of a five, 10 or even 20 kilometre run seems like a great idea (rather than lunacy). These races appeal to those looking for fun along with a fitness boost, and runners looking for a fresh challenge. They are also a great bonding experience - you may not be able to scale that slippery wall alone, but with a leg-up from your best mate you can. I ran my first Spartan in 2013, and it was my best fitness experience so far – I was grinning for days. As a personal trainer, I highly recommend the all-over functional fitness, body awareness and mental sharpness training for

these races builds. How to prepare? Build your running distances up gradually. Get off-road , add sprints and short walks, and if there’s a gate or ditch, practise climbing and jumping. Find a gym with ropes, tyres and sandbags to practice for obstacles. Master your bodyweight - pressup, pull-ups, burpees, and sit-ups. Kettlebells are also a fabulous tool for developing the required strength, co-ordination and

endurance. Want to have a go? You don’t have to venture out of the Vale to find a race. The Chiltern Warrior (www.chilternwarrior. com), at the Chiltern Open Air Museum (COAM) at Chalfont St Giles, changed in 2013 from a run to an obstacle race. Sally McIver, Development Manager at COAM, says, “We designed the course to blend with our landscape, using natural materials found on site as much as possible. So think of our run in terms of a ‘wild running obstacle event’.” The next race (5k and 10k options) is on Sunday March 30th. I’m signed-up, and looking forward to getting muddy. Rugged Radnage, in the Chiltern Hills, features enough of nature’s obstacles to deserve a mention, with 10k of woods, fields (likely muddy) and challenging ascents and descents. The next race is on Sunday 16th November (www. The Swanbourne Endeavour meanwhile comprises water, hay bales, netting, and mud. There are 5 and 10k options and a kids’ race (dates to be announced on www. And whilst getting fit, you’re also supporting local charities. Rugged

Did you enjoy athletics at school and would like to go back to it, are you a sporty teenager with some spare time, or would you just like to improve your fitness? Vale of Aylesbury Athletic Club could be the place for you. Set up in 1893, our qualified coaches provide training across all athletic disciplines from the age of 8 with no upper age limit. We are a community Club based at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury and currently have vacancies for adults and children from the age of 11. Training is on Tuesday evenings from 7pm, and there are several satellite groups who also meet on other evenings. Visit our website to find out more about us and contact details: 22

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Health & Fitness

Ruth Frost

Fitness Focus Radnage raises funds for the local school, Chiltern Warrior for COAM and Swanbourne Endeavour for Armed Services charities in Bucks and local charity Medical Detection Dogs. Hopefully this has whetted your appetite to give obstacle course racing a try. If so, I have one final piece of advice: don’t wear your best trainers - did I mention the mud? l Ruth Frost is head trainer at Euphoria Fitness and runs a functional fitness training studio at The Workshop in Stewkley. See for details.

Health & Fitness

Join Aylesbury’s new Anytime Fitness club and you have access to a huge state of the art fitness facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! What’s more you can also use any of the chain’s other clubs too - and there are thousands, all over the world...

Rachel tries a little toning


Neil does his best Bradley Wiggins

ylesbury’s newest fitness club, owned and run by personal trainer Neil Hussey is an impressive sight. The third largest Anytime Fitness facility in the UK at just under 9,000sqr.ft. it is in a prime, town centre position, on Exchange Street, just opposite Waterside Theatre and boasts a spectacular collection of the latest, top notch, cuttingedge, strength training and cardio equipment. The USA based company came to the UK in 2011 and has a head office in Hemel Hempstead. They have 30 gyms across the country so far and another 50 are due to open over the next year on a franchise basis. “We offer 24 hour access to a secure gym facility that has every kind of high quality fitness equipment you could want,” says Neil. “There’s HD TVs, private changing and showering facilities, and a small dance/ exercise studio in which we aim to run classes in response to our members’ requests. It’s got its own Wifi linked sound system too, so you can stream your own tunes!” Neil has three partners in the venture but will be on site managing the club himself with a small team: “We aim to run it as a members club, so you will know the staff and they

The gym is huge and packed with the latest equipment

Tom gets a Kettlebell swinging will know you and what you are looking to achieve. All new members get a free personal training session and there will be qualified staff on hand to offer training and advice.” It’s taken seven weeks to fit out the ex furniture store but it’s a classy job, with the latest Signature Life Fitness cardio kit treadmills, bikes, cross trainers etc all on a system called LF Connect. You can download an app (Android or iPhone) on your mobile then set your goals and once at the gym you plug your mobile into a running machine and it will know who you are and set different programmes for you based on what you want to achieve and what you have been doing. It will take into account exercise you do outside the gym too - you can set it to monitor any walking or running you do by GPS tracker and it factors that in too! “We’ve got some great Functional Training equipment,” says Neil, “ battle ropes, suspension training, a medicine ball trampoline, kettlebells... I want people to have fun and enjoy their training.” There’s a huge selection of pin-loaded weight machines for toning different parts of your body and Hammer Strength free weights, such as dumbbells and barbells.

Rachel works her legs

Neil Hussey

The gym is staffed between 9.30am and 6.30pm but members have their own ‘smart’ keyfobs which will let them at anytime, day or night. It’s a clever system with CCTV cameras that check the person entering is the person who owns the keyfob and that only that one person goes in. Changing is in one of several private changing rooms, each with its own shower, basin and toilet. If you are thinking of joining get in quick as there’s a sliding scale of discounted memberships being offered. Since opening the first 100 memberships will be at £27.95 per month, the second 100 at £29.95 and so on up to an eventual £39.95 per month, which is still great value considering the quality of equipment and facilities on offer. Vale Life readers who would like a free three day trial pass to try out the facilities should call in at Anytime Fitness between 9.30am and 6.30pm, speak to a member of staff and mention this article. l Anytime Fitness, Unit 5, The Exchange, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UR Tel: 01296 340087 Website:

A balloon Neil on display for the Battle the official Ropes opening

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14



Column: Fitness Focus with Caroline Partner

Core principle


ilates is a well known term but how many actually understand what it involves and where it came from? Having recently started running physio-led Pilates classes in Thame, I have realised that many don’t fully appreciate what Pilates exercises have to offer and the benefits they can bring to the young and old, the fit - and the not quite so fit. In the early 1900s a young German, Joseph Pilates, (yes that is how it got its name!) developed a series of exercises to help himself recover from a childhood spent in bed fighting rickets, rheumatic fever and asthma. After making a full recovery, Joseph went on to be a boxer, a gymnast and then a hospital orderly at which point he started teaching exercise sequences to patients. His career expanded further when he travelled to New York and opened ‘The Pilates Studio’

with his wife, Clara. It was here that he taught Pilates to the New York Ballet School and passed on his principles to other ‘Pilates’ practitioners. Since then, the Pilates method has spread across

the world, evolving to benefit thousands of people. Pilates is an exercise system that focuses on stretching and



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Find a class near you... Find a class near you... Find a class near you... Now in Wendover / Thame / Chinnor / Aylesbury 7874 | 07889 905678 0118 959959 7874 | 07889 905678 0118 7874 | 07889 905678


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. It can be helpful in reducing or eliminating aches and pain such as low back pain, knee pain and shoulder pain, as well as improving body awareness to help you become stronger during regular day-to-day activities or sports. For example, strengthening the core muscles around your waist and hips can establish better knee and hip alignment, thereby putting less strain on joints and making the body a more efficient system. As a physiotherapist, I have seen the benefits that Pilates can give to people - which is why I now run beginner and intermediate classes in Thame. Alongside my physiotherapy degree and seven years of clinical experience, I have attended teaching through the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute - one of the largest training providers in the UK and Europe. My small classes, which run on Tuesday evenings, are mat-based and last an hour. They consist of both strength and flexibility work. A private one-to-one beforehand ensures participants have the basic technique and ascertains any health

Health & Fitness

Caroline Partner

Fitness Focus

issues or particular goals. Of course, other Pilates classes are available, but I’m always happy to have a chat with anyone that is interested in exploring how Pilates can help them or has any further questions. Please drop me an email if you’d like to know more: l Pilates Classes on Tuesday evenings: Beginners 7-8pm, Intermediate 8-9pm, at Lord Williams’s Lower School, Thame Contact Caroline Partner Bsc (Hons) MCSP: 01844 261741,

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

If boring repetition puts you off exercising, but you are feeling those festive excesses, or fancy being fitter this year, KaSo Studios runs sessions in local venues that will get you in shape and keep you motivated with specially tailored classes and individual attention...


aSoTonic is KaSo Studio’s most popular fitness class, with hundreds of people benefitting every week from the workout. KaSo feel variety is the key, both during class time and over time. As soon as your body gets used to exercises, those exercises become less effective. By changing the classes every 6-8 weeks, KaSo makes sure neither your brain nor your body gets bored. “For most of our clients, KaSoTonic has become a way of life,” says KaSo founder Kate. “This is because it’s not faddy. It is classic aerobics at its best with straight forward choreography designed to be effective and safe, yet fun. Coming to class means getting fit and then staying fit. “In a KaSoTonic class, our goal is for everyone to feel that they can go at their own pace while being challenged and cared for. We strive to emulate the level of service received at a personal training session so our clients get increased benefits for a fraction of the cost.” KaSo has three levels of carefully designed classes to choose from, so you can find the right one for you: KaSoTonic: The original and best full body workout: • Total body toning • Calorie burning • Great music • Work at your own pace KaSoTonic Light: gentler total body toning to help boost weight loss, strengthen joints and muscles, and improve your posture and agility - all in an easy and accessible way. You’ll start feeling the difference in no time.

KaSoTonic Gold: The gentlest class which proves that age is not a barrier to exercise. It is carefully designed for wonky backs, sore knees, funny hips & hearts of gold. The benefits can be quickly appreciated current KaSo clients are experiencing relief in difficulties caused by arthritis, obesity, replacement joints, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. KaSo consults doctors and movement specialists to make sure that all of the classes are right for their customers’ exercise needs. They have also engaged Lizzie Constantine, a qualified GP referral specialist, to advise them on a case by case basis. KaSo Adult Dance Whether your last dance class was as a child, or you have always wondered if you could dance and now watch ‘Strictly’ with just a hint of jealousy, this is your chance to step up. KaSo’s adult dance classes are some of the best available outside of London. You can learn to tap dance or improve your ballet moves, it’s all really great exercise and a whole lot of fun and KaSo take care that no one in the class feels left out or lacking in skill. Their aim is to help you learn and grow without judging and the classes just fly by in a flurry of giggles! KaSo Juniors KaSo has a growing reputation for providing innovative and fun classes for children too. Although grounded in the discipline needed to learn effectively, all of the classes are run in a stimulating and

inspirational way, helping children to come out of their shells and discover just what they can really do. Ballet, Modern and Tap classes are held at the superb new Berryfields Primary School on the outskirts of Aylesbury and an all new young dance company called Dance Arc (12+) is in development. Parent Jason Skyrme says: “As an experienced teacher myself I would rate the classes as nothing less than outstanding.” While parent Imogen Holbrook rated the classes as, ‘Superb value for money.’ KaSo’s Musical Theatre class arrives at Thame in January to give children of 7 to 12 years the opportunity to learn singing, dancing and acting, with an exceptionally experienced teacher and the emphasis on working as a team. It’s a class that gives children a real confidence boost. Spaces will be limited so try to book ahead. Founded and run by Kate and Sophie, KaSo is more than a fit club, it’s a lifestyle - a warm and supportive family with social events, theatre trips and fundraising activities, (in the last year alone KaSo and their clients have raised over £4000 for charity). Best of all, no group class is more than £5 and your first class is free! You can Pay As You Go and KaSo classes are happening all over Bucks, Herts and Oxfordshire. l Kaso Studios: For more info call Sophie on 07989 205498, or email: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Health & Fitness

As we head deeper into Winter the threat of coughs, colds, sore throats and undesirable viruses becomes more prominent. You don’t have to depend on flu remedies and tablets for protection though, there are a wealth of complementary treatments available at Thame Therapy Clinic...


ost of us know the common vegetables such as peppers, sweet sense rules of staying well potatoes and citrus fruits. in Winter - wear appropriate Make efforts to decrease your intake clothing, eat regular warm of refined sugar as sugar tends to meals, drink enough fluids, get proper rest, decrease the white blood cell count and don’t burn the candle at both ends! which weakens your body’s ability to But life’s stresses can derail the best fight infection. intentions and push our immune systems to Advice on this aspect can be given Selina Humphries the limit. In a depleted situation we are more by TTC’s Nutritional Therapist Roz susceptible to going down with a cold, or Bigland. Advice on Food Energetics worse. as understood in Acupuncture Thame Therapy Clinic (TTC) has theory can also be given by our had years of experience in helping people acupuncturists. strengthen their immune system: “We have “It’s what works best for you that Aromatherapy therapies which are attuned to addressing the counts,” says Andy. “That’s why at Massage with particular stresses that come with Winter,” Debbie Robertshaw TTC treatemnts are tailored to suit an Lara Roberts says practice partner Andy Roscoe. “We individual’s needs. The most effective believe there are more sensible ways of combination is often to mix the best of older up the strength of the immune system. staying well at this time of year than to rely on traditional remedies with newer modern Selina Humphries and Debbie Robertshaw paracetamol for example!” information on diets and immune systems.” are TTC’s Homeopaths. Here are TTC’s guidelines for staying well 3. Try some warming winter Massage. l Thame Therapy Clinic, 23 Upper High Street, this Winter: There is Hot Stones Massage (with Michele Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3EX 1. Try Acupuncture and/or Chinese Pethers), a lovely treatment during which hot Tel: 01844 215555 / 01844 261592 herbal remedies to boost your energy and stones are placed all over the body and then Email: minimise the winter blues, or Seasonal used to massage the soft tissue. Web: Affective Disorder (SAD) as it is labelled Or you might find Thai Massage these days. Acupuncture and herbal with Lara Roberts, which includes a remedies work on releasing viruses rather warming herbal compress, more suits Thai Massage than suppressing symptoms. Treatments with Lara your needs. Roberts are tailored to individual needs rather than Or Aromatherapy Massage, formulaic prescription. with Debbie Robertshaw, or Michele Andy, right, who is an Acupuncturist, says: Pethers or Lara Roberts, has many “SAD is not a new concept. Chinese medicine wonderfully warming oils which can Jill Roarty has always been aware how our energies be rubbed in to boost your defences, change from season to season. or push a cold out that is Acupuncture is wonderful for threatening to go deeper. keeping the fires burning and 4. Increase your intake of stopping colds and coughs from nutrients which are essential for doing deeper damage to our a healthy immune system. These bodies.” include Vitamin C, Vitamin A (not There are three acupuncturists if you are pregnant), Zinc, Selenium at TTC: Andy, Ross Barr and and Vitamin E. Recently many Debbie Robertshaw. have also been taking Vitamin D or 2. Try Homeopathy to boost Andy Roscoe ‘sunlight in a pill’ to compensate for your immune system and for quick response the lack of sunshine at this time of year. to first symptoms of colds and coughs. Like Try also to include immune boosting acupuncture, Homeopathy is a holistic foods in your diet such as garlic, onions, system of medicine so treatments are focused blueberries, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, on both the mind and body. This helps build and all the red and yellow fruits and Thame Therapy Practice has gift vouchers for all their therapies which make wonderful Christmas presents. As a special offer you may also claim a £10 discount on vouchers worth £40 or more if you are a new client in December 26

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


nd eat popular demand!

o course lunch in the spa Bar and a spa treatment from n of four for the special price of ilable from 1st september to .

Health & Fitness

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

THE HARTWELL SPA Thursday 20th September Clarins Coffee Morning from 10.30am join us for coffee in the library and view the latest skincare and make up tips from Clarins. £10.00 booking fee is redeemable on any Clarins products purchased on the day.

December Geleration file and Polish £25.00 a saving of £10.00. if you want fabulous nails over the festive season with this long lasting polish, then this offer is for you!

November Tuesday 27th November Clarins Pre-Christmas Coffee Morning ideal for that early Xmas present or to get some make up tips for the festive season, courtesy of Clarins. Coffee will be served in the library at 10.30am and there is a £10.00 fee redeemable on sePteMBer - feBruArY 2013 any Clarins products purchased2012 on the day

t’s ON At HArtWell

artwell House Hotel, restaurant & spa

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Anyone is welcome to give themselves a boost with a spa health or beauty treatment at Hartwell Spa but Spa Membership comes with a wealth of extras that’ll make you feel particularly good...


artwell Spa is located a few yards from the historic Jacobean/ Georgian mansion that is Hartwell House Hotel. Housed in a splendid orangery style building, with high arched windows, The Spa boasts a generously13 pool, spa bath, steam room, sized swimming fitness room, saunas and outdoor hot tub. There are four treatment rooms, where a wide range of beauty treatments, (including Aromatherapy Associates’ facials, massages, scrubs and wraps), and complementary therapies are administered by highly trained consultants. In the gallery overlooking the pool is the Spa Café and Bar, an informal restaurant serving drinks and light meals throughout the day. There are two all weather tennis courts in

Through November we will have our luxurious s. Christmas gift collection Dates for events to showcase these will be time available nearer the

the grounds and guests can also play croquet. The well equipped gymnasium is suitable for all ranges of fitness, from beginner to athlete. Fully trained staff are always on hand to give advice on using the equipment, and Club membership includes a fitness assessment and personalised exercise programme. Membership of Hartwell Spa offers full use of the fitness, health, beauty and recreation facilities and a host of other benefits including social events associated with Hartwell House and its restaurant. See below for details. l Hartwell Spa, Hartwell House, Oxford Road, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8NR Website: Hartwell Spa Tel: 01296 746500 Email: Hartwell House Tel: 01296 747444

Added Value for Hartwell Spa Club Members: On joining Hartwell Spa from 1st January 2014, and on renewal of subscription from 1st January 2015 Hartwell Spa Members (Annual Membership Only) will receive Vouchers for these Free Valuable Benefits: • A complimentary one night Bed and Breakfast stay in a double room at Hartwell House Hotel per membership and on joint membership. Sunday - Thursday (subject to availability), value £290 • One free night Bed and Breakfast on any one stay of two nights or more at Bodysgallen Hall or Middlethorpe Hall, per membership or joint membership, (subject to availability), value £199 • Your choice of either a free lunch for one in the Spa Café & Bar or afternoon tea for one at Hartwell House, when you bring a guest, value £25 • A £30 voucher towards a treatment of your

choice at the Hartwell Spa. • Two complimentary guest vouchers to the Hartwell Spa, value £32 • Two complimentary vouchers for tea or coffee in the Spa Café & Bar, value £5.20 • 15% discount on all beauty treatments at the Hartwell Spa • 15% discount on food, tea and coffee in the Spa Café & Bar • 15% discount on lunch and afternoon tea at Hartwell House Hotel from Monday to Thursday (maximum 6 people) • Preferential bookings for regular cultural events at Hartwell House such as wine dinners, concerts etc. • Honorary membership of our other Spas when visiting the area • Free Aqua Fit Classes N.B. These benefits may change in subsequent years. Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


s! d e bsite i R e © Makin Images

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Cycling for everyone – and that includes you!

Cycling is a great way to explore the beautiful Chiltern landscape. Cycle Chilterns wants to make bicycle rides in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty easy and fun. And that applies to all of you – experienced cyclists, sure, but we’re doing all we can to get all the ‘I’d love to cycle but I don’t know where to start’ people out on bikes; families, friends, young and old. And where to start? Well visit our website today and discover the Chilterns – by bike! Easy and fun.

Making cycling simple BREWERY RIDES Group rides for all abilities ✔ ✔ Commuting advice ✔ Bikeability training for children ✔ Free bike safety checks ✔ Places to visit by bike ✔ Where-to-ride Guides ✔ Routes on-road and off CONVERSATION BOARD ✔ Electric bike hire schemes AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY ✔ Off-road skills training ✔ Family cycling And something to think about! ✔ ‘Come and try it’ fun events Brewery Rides; 25th Jan, 15th Feb. See the website for full details. ✔ Cycle challenges and offers /cyclechilterns 32

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2013


25th January: Tring Brewery – start and finish loop ride 15th February: Lovibonds Brewery – also a ‘loop ride’

There’s nothing like an incentive to get you out riding on a cold day, and this winter we’re using the time honoured

tradition of Bikes and Beer to do just that. We’ll be organising a number rides throughout the Chilterns based around some of the traditional English breweries in the area, with the added reward of a pint of real ale when you get there.




Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Make 2014 a year to remember by taking on a challenge to help celebrate 25 years of Florence Nightingale Hospice caring for local families affected by life-limiting illness...


f you’ve ever found yourself wanting to take part in an exciting challenge event then 2014 could be the year to make it happen! In the Florence Nightingale Hospice’ 25th anniversary year Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC) is looking for volunteers to mark the milestone and participate in a number of fantastic new challenge events, as well as some old favourites.

received and are subject to availability. Milton Keynes Marathon Bank Holiday Monday 5th May This is the third year for this fantastic local event and gives runners, or those seeking a 26-mile challenge, a greener, flatter course, to test their endurance. FNHC has a limited number of places, so simply ‘Choose Florence Nightingale’ in its 25th year and give the team a call on 01296 429975. Places will be confirmed once deposit is received and subject to availability. London to Paris Cycle Ride Wednesday 2nd - Sunday 6th July Channel some pedal power on a trip across the water with the London to Paris cycle challenge. The five-day course covers over 500km, connecting two of the chicest cities on one of the best cycling routes. Visit www. for more information. h ’s C

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Do the Scootathon!



And for sporty kids... Get a scoot on!



Brighton Marathon Sunday 6th April - limited places! If you like a trip to the seaside, are a keen runner or fancy taking on the ultimate challenge for the Hospice in its 25th year, then get in touch with the Fundraising Team today on 01296 429975 or email karenshardlow@ The Charity has a limited number of Marathon places up for grabs. Places will be confirmed once deposit is

The Rt Hon John Bercow Speaker of The House of Commons taking part in the 2013 Swimathon

Flo r

Buckingham Swimathon Saturday 15th March: Swan Pool If you’re a real water baby then this could be the event for you. The 3rd annual swimming challenge, which takes place at Swan Pool in Buckingham, will have teams of six competing to swim the most laps, and is supported by a man who knows a thing or two about a swimming challenge, Olympic swimmer Craig Gibbons. Proceeds from the event, organised by Buckingham Rotary, supports various local causes including Florrie’s Children’s Team, so why not dive in and make a splash!

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Back for 2014, is Florrie’s Scootathlon, a fantastic sporty challenge for kids aged 4-11. You can take part in a scoot, cycle and run (children aged 4-8) or the Florrie’s Duathlon challenge (kids 8-11) a cycle, run, and further cycle, around the Stoke Mandeville Stadium track in aid of Florrie’s Children’s Team, who care and support sick children in their own homes. This SCOOTASTIC event takes place on Bank Holiday Monday 5th May, 10am. To find out more visit

London to Paris cycle ride Vietnam Trek Thursday 16th - Saturday 25th October Go the extra mile with our trek to Vietnam, a 10-day trip through beautiful countryside, visiting local villages and taking part in a community project. This life-changing challenge allows you to immerse yourself in another culture and make a real difference to lives of those both at home and on another continent. You’ll be supported every step of the way before and throughout the challenge in order that you can make the most of this fantastic experience. And don’t forget the Fifth Nightingale Gemstone Midnight Walk Saturday 12th July, Aylesbury Sleepy Cinderella’s will have to stay up a bit later to complete this ever-popular six or 13-mile ladies’ night-time walking challenge, which takes place around Aylesbury, and has so far raised over £200k for the Hospice. As more than 700 pairs of bunny ears light up the night sky, you’ll enjoy the warm atmosphere and sense of camaraderie that characterises this popular event. For more information visit For a full list of these challenge events and many more, visit, email or contact the team on 01296 429975 and show your support for the Florence Nightingale Hospice in its Silver Jubilee year. l The Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity Facebook: #florencenightingalehospice Twitter: @fnhospice Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Sign up now for a Spring cycle in aid of Rennie Grove Hospice Care and you’ll not only be helping to raise thousands of pounds while having a fabulous, fun day out, but you’ll also benefit from an early bird saver discount...


ennie Grove Hospice The popular event offers Care has opened everyone from the novice cyclist to the most committed enthusiast a registration for its fourth annual Chilterns suitable cycling challenge through the beautiful Chilterns countryside. Cycle Challenge on 23rd March 2014 - with a special discounted With a 10k, 35 mile or 75 mile route to choose from, early sign up will Early Bird offer for those who sign give a great incentive to everyone up before 31st December 2013. The hospice charity is hoping that to get off the sofa for a spot of training and keep active whenever regular participants as well as first the weather allows throughout the timers will take advantage of the offer to sign up and start fundraising winter months. Last year the Chilterns Cycle early. Entry to the challenge could Challenge attracted over 350 even make a great Christmas gift participants and raised over £35,000 for those active friends and family to support the charity’s specialist members who are difficult to buy for! nursing09:07 and support IR_CCC_ad_90x128:Layout 1 22/10/2013 Page 1 services for

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ay W e i n n e R Ride the

10k, 35 and 75 mile routes – from family fun to the ultimate Cycle Challenge

Sunday 23rd March 2014 Starts in Aylesbury Town Centre chilternscycle

01442 820740 Entry, adult – £17 child (5 to16) – £10 under 5’s free supported by Fern Britton


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

local patients with cancer and other life-limiting illness. In 2014, Rennie Grove is hoping that the event will raise over £40,000 to help it meet the increasing demand for its services from within the local community. This year popular TV presenter and Bucks resident Fern Britton will be taking part again and in the next issue we’ll talk to her about her love of cycling, her support for Rennie Grove and her belief in the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home nurses who provide 24/7 planned and responsive care for patients in their own homes. Gillian Barnett, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Rennie Grove, says: “We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from Fern and all the local people who have taken part in previous events. We rely on the public to fund over 85% of our annual £6.5 million running costs less than 15% of our funding comes from the NHS and we’re hoping that the local community get behind us again and sign up to take part. It’s a great atmosphere on the day with all routes starting and finishing in Aylesbury’s Kingsbury Square. Cycling through the stunning Chilterns countryside on the

challenge is a great way to celebrate the first signs of spring as the end of March approaches.” • The Early Bird Adult entry to the Chilterns Cycle Challenge costs £14.50 (normal cost £17) and the child entry is just £5 (normal cost £10) including a T-shirt, medal and water along the way. Registration is open now on chilternscycle • There’s also still time - until 13th January 2014 - to apply for Rennie Grove’s Biggest Loser initiative, which offers successful applicants an 18-week, lifestyle-changing programme with nutritional advice, access to personal trainers and dedicated classes at participating gyms including Nuffield Health - Aylesbury Fitness & Wellbeing Centre. Visit biggestloser to find out more. For more information on these fundraising events - or about the charity - call 01442 890222 or visit l Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Unit 3, Icknield Way Industrial Estate, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 4JX Tel: 01442 890222 Email: Website:

Win a family ticket to Oxford Castle Unlocked


xford Castle Unlocked is a 1,000-yearold castle, which for over 800 years, was also used as a place of incarceration. During a 40 minute guided tour with a costumed character guide, visitors can explore the Saxon stone-built St. George’s Tower, the atmospheric crypt, the preserved prison wing and the archaic man-made mound, offering breath-taking views of Oxford. Half term events during 2014 will have

Oxford Castle Unlocked following the life of a prisoner, through crimes and capture, trials and sentencing, hard labour and escapes before culminating in his execution in October! February half term, from 15th to 23rd February, will see families following an interactive trail through the castle, discovering the crimes that would have been worthy of imprisonment in centuries past. Explore the measures taken to capture criminals - man

hunts, bounty hunters and copious rewards! Did you know that stealing cheese or breaking and entering a henhouse would get you locked up? You soon will! Visit the Oxford Castle Unlocked website at for the full events programme and you can book online for a 15% discount. Vale Life Magazine has teamed up with Oxford Castle Unlocked to give Vale Life readers the chance of winning one of three family tickets to Oxford Castle Unlocked. Simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: How old is Oxford Castle Unlocked? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by January 31st, 2014. NB: Prize is not transferable and not for resale. Family ticket is valid for two adults and two children (aged under 16). Attraction is not suitable for under 5s.

l Oxford Castle Unlocked, 44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY Tel: 01865 260666 Website:

Your lives. Your decisions. Mediation is a cost-effective service recommended by Court and Solicitors, for you to make joint decisions about your future when separating or divorcing. Benefits of Mediation: l Avoid the stress of court l Reduce solicitor costs l Reach resolution rapidly l Achieve a realistic agreement l Time efficient. Introductory meeting ÂŁ65.

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w Book no - limited places! Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Our House by Melanie Parr

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

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

Mimosa rug by Brintons

Henley Prune by Roger Oates

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

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


•Professional Fitting Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Tel: 01296 337181 Mob: 07767370067 •Very Competitive Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment Web: Tel: 01296 Mob: 07767370067 for337181 Residential and 23 DUCK FARM COURT, STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ Web: Commercial work DUCK FARM COURT, STATIONvinyl, WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN ON QUALITY OR SERVICE l Independent, family run carpet l Carpet, sisal, coir, hardwood l Extensive range of23traditional Charles Huntington Flooring to suit all and flooring specialists l Exclusive suppliers of Roger Oates and contemporary flooring •Carpets Charles Huntington Flooring Charles Huntington Flooring WEcan WILL NOT BE BEATENyet ON hard-wearing QUALITY OR SERVICE •Expert Advice Charles Huntington Flooring beautiful runners l Expert fitting service at competitive prices - we Budgets and rugs in our local area l Domestic and commercial match or better your quote •Expert Advice Charles Huntington Flooring •Expert Advice •Expert Advice•Free •Professional Fitting Advice •Professional Fitting Quotes•Expert •Expert AdviceFitting •Professional •Professional Fitting •Professional Fitting •Very Competitive •No Obligation •Professional Fitting for Residential and •Very Competitive •Very Competitive •Very Competitive •Very Competitive Commercial work for Residential and Residential and for Residential•Free and •Very Competitive Parking for Commercial work for Residentialwork and Commercial Commercial work

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for Residential •Carpets to suit and all Commercial work •Carpets to suit all Budgets Opening Times: Monday to Friday •10am 5pm CARPETS VINYLSuntil • SISAL • STAIR RODS CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS CARPETS Saturday • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS CARPETS • VINYLS SISAL • Any STAIRother RODS SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES until•RODS 4pm. time•Free by appointment CARPETS • VINYLS • 10am SISAL • STAIR SAFETY FLOORING • WOODQuotes • BINDING TAPES SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES SAFETY FLOORINGTel: • WOOD • BINDING TAPES Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm 01296 337181 Mob: 07767370067 Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm •No Obligation Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Opening Times: Monday toWeb: Friday 10am until 5pm Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment Saturday 4pm. Any by appointment Saturday until time 4pm. Any other time Tel: by appointment 07767370067 Saturday10am 10amuntil until 4pm.10am Any other other time by appointment Tel:01296 01296 337181 337181 Mob: Mob: 07767370067 Tel: 337181 Mob:337181 07767370067 Tel: 01296 Mob: 07767370067 Web: •FreeHP20 Parking Tel:01296 0129623 337181 DUCK Mob: FARM07767370067 COURT, STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, 2SQ Commercial work •Carpets Budgetsto suit all •Carpets to suit all •Carpets to suit all Budgets •Carpets to suit all Budgets Budgets •Free Quotes CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS Budgets •Free Quotes •Free Quotes •Free Quotes •No Obligation •Free Quotes •No SAFETY FLOORING • •No WOOD • BINDING TAPES •No Obligation Obligation •FreeObligation Parking •No Obligation •Free Parking •Free Parking •Free Parking •Free Parking


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Our House by Melanie Parr

This year, make a real show of your floor with rugs and carpets in the latest bold colours and statement patterns…


t’s time to shake off the winter gloom and put something soft and bright underfoot. Carpet manufacturers have plenty of bold brights to welcome in the new year. from zingy striped runners to large-scale prints. Brintons is brimming with colourful designs, especially its rug collection. For the Matisse range it has raided the archives, resurrecting the famous French artist’s 1951 design, Mimosa, to create a true talking point to put in front of the fireplace. The firm has also teamed up with

Colour Unlimited carpet, John Lewis

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Where to get the look... Charles Huntington

23 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, HP20 2SQ; 01296 337181;;

Haddenham Carpets

Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8HA; 01844 291591;;

John Lewis

Brintons has raided its archive to resurrect Matisse’s Mimosa design and create a true talking point in front of the fireplace.

Holmers Farm Way, Cressex Centre, High Wycombe, HP12 4NW; 01494 462666; www.johnlewis. com

Scottish design duo Timorous Beasties for an innovative collection of designs depicting massive moths, wood grain and weaving vines. For futuristic fans, there are pixel-perfect designs from its collaboration with Cristian Zuzunaga. Closer to home, the fabulous Oxfordshirebased Coco Design combines heritage and

Boulevard rug by Coco Design

Cromptons Interiors

2 Kings Head Parade, High Street, Wendover, HP22 6DX; 01296 623938;;

Continued overleaf Left, Spiral staircase, Haddenham Carpets

Beaumont by Ulster Carpets

Coco Design

01869 278004;

Albany Carpets

7 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2LA; 01296 423593;;

Right, Bell Twist, Brintons Devine Moth Dusk, Timorous Beasties collection

Aylesbury Flooring Brintons; Charles Huntington

3 Jansel Square, Aylesbury, HP21 7ES; 01296 415038;

Gallery Wood Flooring & Carpets 85 High Street, Thame, OX9 3EH; 01844 214676;;

Airs House

4 Summerleys Road, Princes Risborough, HP27 9DT; 01844 342546; www.airs; sales@airshouse

Rack of Lamb rug by Coco Design

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Our House by Melanie Parr Stairs and stripes...

Harlequin rug by Brintons

Barbican, Haddenham Carpets

Continued from previous page

landing, or go for the full effect a more muted staircase, try Edel with stripes all the way. For full-on Telenzo’s Barbican or Brintons’ colour, Roger Oates does richly Stripes Collection. Alternatively, coloured runners Ulster Carpets has such as Henley Another way to make a lovely tartans, such Prune and statement is with stripes, as Beaumont and Chartres Jute, Glenmoy, in Scottish and no better place than heath hues. while Cavalier Carpets has If colour is what up a staircase deckchairyou crave, but you bright designs such as Strata. For can’t muster up the courage for

technology to create beautifully handmade pure-wool rugs, such as the cute and quirky Rack of Lamb design. Another way to make a statement is with stripes, and no better place than up a staircase. Team with a neutral or complementary pattern for the expanse of hallway or

Open Monday-Saturday 9am to 5pm

Stripes Collection, Brintons

Strata, Cavalier Carpets a bold pattern, how about John Lewis’s Colour Unlimited service, which promises to match any swatch in a range of carpet styles from velvet to shaggy? l Melanie Parr is an interiors journalist with many years’ experience on well-known homes magazines. If you have a features idea, email or follow on Twitter @melaniejparr.

Tel: 01296 415038

· Established Independent family run business · Specialist in carpets, Design flooring, Laminate, vinyl and wood · Over 20 years experience offering friendly expert advice · Free 2 hour parking · Free Sample loan service · Free Estimates · Suppliers of all leading manufactures

3 Jansel Square, Bedgrove, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 7ES Website: 34

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Your kitchen. Your space. Your way.

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

Visit our showroom near Thame. Call 01844 279900 to make an appointment.








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North Mill Road Bledlow Bucks HP27 9QP 01844 342400 Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Specialists in design, consultancy and installation of quality kitchens for 30 years


We look forward to welcoming you to our new Wendover showroom


For more information contact us at: 35 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DN Tel: 01296 625556 or 07530 932797 Email:

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Walk, Open Thame, VisitSwan our showroom. Mon-Sat. Oxon, OX9 2HN

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Dec the halls!


f you are reading this preChristmas then I really must recommend a few things. Firstly, if you want to ‘make the most’ of buying your tree then head on down to Claydon Christmas Tree Farm where they have real reindeer and a beautiful shop of decorations. They stock a few varieties of real trees including the Fraser Fir which has a wonderful smell. A way to get more enjoyment out of your decorations is to do them yourself! Make your own wreath at one of the workshops running at florists around the Vale - Rhubarb and Roses in Winslow and Wild Orchid in Leighton Buzzard have them weekly through December. The transition from December to January can be quite dreary, after all the twinkly lights and decorations are taken down. It seems strange to me. Not, that we go to so much trouble to decorate for the holiday (as this has been done since pagan times, and I fully embrace all that it has to offer), but that interior decor stays the same

Janice Issitt

Upcycle lights with braid and Annie Sloan paint

Making the most of it

Reindeer, Xmas trees and more at Claydon all year round. We change our wardrobes from season to season so why not change our homes too? A feature wall here, a cushion there, some different throws and lights can all transform a room at little cost and be enjoyable in the process. A hand knitted or crochet cushion is a great starter project for a beginner as there is no shaping. Once you get the knack for the basics, you can add simple fair isle, or fancier stitches, to add colour and texture. The thicker the wool the faster it will grow. Classes are

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

a great social way to learn but if you can’t find one look for tutorials online and check out ‘Ravelry’ a worldwide knitting and crochet community, sharing free patterns. A cheat’s way to wool cushions, which also involves some crafty upcycling, is to cut up old jumpers. Check that they are 100% wool and wash on a hot cycle to ‘felt’ the wool, this way when it’s cut, it won’t fray. Leftover parts like the sleeves can be made into mittens or hotwater bottle covers. With the daylight at its shortest extra lamps will give you a cosy

feel. I’ve transformed some charity shop lights by painting the wooden bases and adding ribbon and braid to the shade. I got these lights for under a fiver and used tester pots of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on the base. You can use this paint on the shade too as it works on fabrics and is also great for stencilling onto furniture to get that Scandinavian winter look. Happy making! l Read Janice’s blog at: http:// where she posts photo tutorials about things to make and lovely pictures of life in The Vale.

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home accessories Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


“Bringing you more than warmth”

JØtul “fighting the cold since 1853” Call in to see the range of JØtul stoves on display

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

Jøtul – logo

HETAS registered. Ample free parking. Boundary Business Park, Wheatley Road, Garsington, OX44 9EJ Showroom open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-1pm For technical advice it is advisable to make an appointment

01865 361505 Featured stoves from JØtul 38

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

Win 50 bags of Eco Fuel briquettes


remier Architectural Joinery Ltd have recently expanded into their new, purpose-built factory at Ladymead Farm, Quainton. Their sister company, Premier Eco Fuels, which converts Premier’s wood waste into briquettes, has decided to celebrate the move by offering Quainton-based pensioners free briquettes between now and the end of January. “We have produced a lot of briquettes over the summer and through the mild autumn,” says Managing Director Patrick Green, “and felt this was a good way to put something back into the village community. Despite the ever increasing cost of fuel we hope that this will help to keep our local pensioners warm this Winter.” Quainton pensioners wanting a supply of these slow-burning, hardwood briquettes can contact Premier Eco Fuels on: 01296 655555 (option 6), Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm, to place an order and it will be delivered free within a couple of days. There is a limit of 15 bags per delivery, but no limit to the number of deliveries, and they are available while stocks last. Please note that the last day for pre-Christmas orders will be 19th December. “Our briquettes are produced as a bi product of the joinery business,” says Patrick.

Above, Wood waste and sawdust is compressed and compacted into briquettes which drop from the tube into large bags Right, sizewise the briquettes are a bit bigger than a baked bean can “Before the sawdust used to go into landfill, but now it is compressed into briquettes, which we use to heat our workshop as well as to sell locally. They are very eco friendly as they produce about the same amount of CO2 as the tree absorbed within it’s life and we are no longer using landfill.” Vale Life Magazine has teamed up with Patrick to offer three lucky readers the chance to win 50 bags (1/2 tonne) of Eco Fuel briquettes, delivered to their home (you don’t have to live in Quainton for this either!) Simply email your name, address and

telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What are the briquettes made of? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by January 31st, 2014. l Premier Architectural Joinery Ltd Premier Group Plant No 2, Ladymead Farm Estate, Quainton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 4AN Tel: 01296 655555 Email: Web:

Bespoke Architectural Joinery for Period, Listed and Contemporary Buildings

Premier Architectural Joinery Limited Ladymead Farm Quainton Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP22 4AN T 01296 655555 Opt 6 E

Windows, Doors, Conservatories, Furniture, Roof Lanterns, Staircases, Bifold & French Doorsets, Gates, Wardrobes, Bookcases and Furniture. FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTATIONS

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14


l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Tool up for the new year


love the time after Christmas – it’s a whole new start and if you’ve got a bit of time off work it gives you the chance to have a clear out, and make some plans. And there’s nothing like planning your summer garden when the nights are dark and cold. Order some seed catalogues - or look online - and you can immerse yourself in a sunny world of bright summer blooms, and look forward to sampling some fresh, homegrown fruit and veg too. Here’s a few new varieties to look out for from seed supplier Thomson & Morgan: Poppy ‘Plum Pudding’ Poppies are so easy to grow and yet reward with fabulous large blooms that make a real impact. This new variety has tissue-like flowers in plum-pink that appear in June and may well offer a second display later in the summer. There is a bit of a purple theme here I realise, as my next choice is Sweet Pea ‘Purple Pimpernel’ This striking new combination for sweet peas has large, beautifully scented flowers in two shades of purple. They also make great cut

flowers for indoors. Dianthius are lovely scented flowers too - I like to pop them in pots that can sit on the garden table. And this new variety, called Dianthus ‘Rainbow Loveliness Improved Mixed’ has the most unusual, fringed flowers that really make you look twice. In pinks, lilacs and bicolours. Sow it in February and you will see flowers this year. In case you don’t like pink or purple, there’s Sunflower ‘Shocko-Lat’, which offers rich chocolatecoloured blooms Carrot ‘Atomic Red’ with gold-rimmed edges over a long eventually ripen to red. period in summer. Swiss chard is a versatile The flowers can vegetable – it can be eaten as be as big as 6in a salad leaf or used in stirfries in diameter - try or steamed or boiled when planting en masse more mature. Instead of the at the back of a more colourful variety try this Sweet Pea border. more elegant Swiss Chard ‘Purple Pimpernel’ ‘White Silver’ this year. For your veg plot, how about the And finally, you can add ‘ornamental edible’ Chilli Pepper another colour dimension to ‘Pot Black’ ? your dishes with Carrot ‘Atomic Its lush dark leaves and beautiful Red’, a striking coral red-skinned purple flowers are followed by and fleshed variety. The colour amazing black fruits, which intensifies and deepens on cooking,

Horsewyse CIC Come and saddle up for a fun time at Horsewyse · Pub rides (a fun hack over fields and bridleways to pub and back) 23rd Dec, 12noon, £35 per rider. · Children’s birthday parties from age 4 years Groups up to 12. Party activities for all abilities · Own a pony days 30th Dec and 3rd Jan · Return to riding adults - had a break and now ready to get back in the saddle? Riding stables based at Long Crendon

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

or how about grating raw into salads? Top tools for gardeners If Santa brought you some garden centre vouchers or cash, get something you can use throughout the year - good-quality tools for the garden. Here’s a few suggestions… Secateurs: you can’t beat a decent pair of secateurs. Hori hori knife: originally from Japan this Japanese Garden or digging knife is a sturdy serrated knife, with a wooden handle and great for digging weeds out of cracks in paving, harvesting vegetables, digging bulb holes etc. Scissors: invaluable, for deadheading flowers, snipping herbs, opening bags of compost and cutting garden twine. Tool belt or apron. - keep things such as scissors, string, plant labels, gardening gloves etc on you. It’s a real timesaver! Weeder: long and slim with a pronged end. Ladies spade and fork: useful for digging within borders and in any tight corners. l Naomi MacKay is a freelance

journalist who has worked on a number of gardening magazines and often works for the RHS. She has recently launched a website for parents of boys aged 4-11 at

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

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2014 marks 100 years since the First World War began. More than 65 million men from 30 countries fought. There were over 35 million civilian and soldier casualties, more than 15 million died and around 20 million were wounded. An exciting new initiative aims to remember and honour the millions who gave their lives and plant wildflowers to help bees ensure there is a future for us all...


r Bumble requests your support in uniting the country in remembrance of

the 1914/18 - 2014/18 centenary. This is not just about looking back though. The initiative is simple and effective - ‘Remember

the Past... Plant for the Future’ and invites all Schools, Colleges, Universities, Villages, Councils, Business, Hotels, Care Homes, Clubs, Groups, in fact anyone and everyone to plant their own Remembrance Bedzz. Remembrance Bedzz are patches of land sewn with Poppy and Wildflower seeds. Planting Poppies shows support for the fallen, no matter what year, war, race, creed, colour or occupation. Planting Wildflower seeds will support pollination insects which are needed to ensure the future of our food chain. Remembrancebedzz require very little maintenance. In Spring, after erecting your Remembrance Plaque (see website to download sign) turn over the soil and rake in your mixed seeds. Then during late Autumn/ Winter, cut down any storks and leave to compost over the winter months before starting your reseeding next year. The plaque will be a reminder, throughout the year, of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. This national project has three designated sets of D Days, or Dig Days. They are on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so at work,

school, rest or play you can be involved. The dates for 2014 are March 21st, 22nd, 23rd, April 25th, 26th, 27th, May 23rd, 24th, 25th. Join the Facebook page, upload and share pictures of your own Remembrancebedzz before, during and after, or send in your pictures and they will be uploaded to the www.remembrancebedzz. org website for all to see. Aylesbury Town Council, AVDC, lots of local Bucks businesses and many private individuals are already actively supporting ‘Remember the Past… Plant for the Future’. Remembrancebedzz has received interest and support from Blackpool to Devon and as far afield as South Africa. Why not get involved in this fun project tackling serious issues? For further information or to register your support and download your Remembrance Plaque and associated posters to print off at home or have professionally reproduced, visit: Remember the Past... Plant for the Future 1914/18-2014/18. l Contact Jim Webster: Tel: 07898 637810 Email: Facebook: plantforfuture Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Most of us do it - generalisations, stereotyping, jumping to conclusions, allowing our opinions to be influenced by TV dramas rather than fact. So what is the truth about social housing...


e can all be guilty of it sometimes; judging a book by its cover. Well, that’s exactly what Vale of Aylesbury Housing (the Trust) is trying to put a stop to. When it comes to social housing, many people assume that the characters represented by tabloid press and TV programmes, of people reliant on benefits and reluctant to work, is representative of social housing tenants as a whole. It couldn’t be further from the truth. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Trust owns one in every 11 houses across the Vale, which means that it is likely to own and manage a property in your street. That’s over 7,000 affordable homes - and a huge range of people that live in them. The Trust has been campaigning to put an end to damaging stereotyping which can affect the planning process and therefore its ability to build affordable homes - notably in rural areas. After holding a ‘Rural Housing Garden Party’ in September and supporting the Local Strategic Partnership’s (LSP) ‘Growing Together: Community Cohesion’ event in November - held at Aylesbury Vale District Council’s (AVDC) Gateway offices, the battle is set to continue into the new year with the full support of Trust Board member, David Briercliffe - who is himself one of their rural social housing tenants. David, who gave an awe-inspiring speech at the ‘Rural Housing Garden Party’ about the stereotypes behind social housing, is a perfect example of why social housing residents should not be negatively labelled. Now retired, David had a distinguished career in the Swiss Watch industry and was recently awarded the Silver Acorn for services to the Scout Movement. In his speech, he said: “No one can deny that there is a nationwide housing shortage with the lack of affordable housing reaching crisis point. So it is a puzzle to me why small, sympathetic developments are not always welcomed and that even people who have benefitted from social housing themselves


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Social housing tenant David Briercliffe speaking out against stereotyping of social housing tenants

would be amongst those denying others the same opportunity. “From some of the objections raised it would seem garaging vehicles or, more often than not, household junk, is preferred to housing people! “But what really concerns me is the stigmatising of those who will become future residents of an otherwise close knit, supportive rural community. “There is a pernicious stereotyping of ‘social housing residents’ that is damaging to the planning process and disruptive to the community - and which needs to be challenged, just as we would any other prejudice.” November’s ‘Growing Together’ event, at which local businesses and councillors were present, was backed by Aylesbury College and went down well with attendees. The aim of the event was for the Vale’s Local Strategic Partnership to make a positive difference to the lives of the people who live, work, play and study in Aylesbury Vale. The event included inspirational speeches from Ted Cantle, who set up the Institute

of Community Cohesion; and Clare Strange, a veteran of four Paralympic Games, who embarked on a career in Wheelchair Basketball after a horse riding accident in 1997. The Vale’s biggest housing association didn’t just speak about the negativity surrounding social housing - they created a visual representation of it too: ‘Who lives in a house like this?’ The Trust’s exhibition stand showcased a display of cut-outs, consisting of a variety of possible tenants and houses that they could potentially live in - visitors simply had to match the tenants to the houses. It was harder than it looked and the moral of the exercise was plain to see - don’t form an opinion on someone or something, (in this case, their house), based purely on what you see on the surface. Social housing residents come from a number of backgrounds and as was depicted on the exhibition stand, the Trust houses people who fit many identities. For example: employed and unemployed, disabled, vulnerable, people with care responsibilities

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

The Trust’s ‘Who lives in a house like this’ exhibition stand Matthew Applegate, Chief Executive, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust Right, Matthew’s question and every age from newborn to over 100 years old, the list is endless. Matthew Applegate, Chief Executive at the Trust, attended the event and held an open workshop. He opted to tackle the issue by asking the question: ‘Why is there so much opposition to new housing development within the Vale particularly in rural areas?’ He said: “We are continuing to work extremely hard to change the perception that some may have of the individuals who live in affordable housing - a perception which has been reinforced within the media and by popular television programmes. “The activity that we used at the recent Local Strategic Partnership event didn’t just strive to drive out such negative stereotyping; it openly engaged with and educated the audience too. “We provide homes for people from across the whole spectrum of society - homes that are built to a very high standard and ones that the Trust is proud to provide.” Ironic as it may seem, it isn’t just private residents who stigmatise social housing residents - sometimes it is the tenants themselves. The root cause, it seems, is that the value of rural properties has dramatically risen - which ultimately means that there is a demographic divide. Whilst the older, wealthier groups inhabit most rural areas, the younger generation are inadvertently driven to living

in the cheaper urban areas. The average wait for a three-bedroom property across the UK is 22 months, but for a rural property it is considerably longer. Add to that current rural social housing residents objecting to more properties being built in their area and it is clear that the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet within touching distance - which means that

the battle against pernicious stereotyping continues. If you have an account on Twitter or Facebook, why not keep an eye on the Trust’s campaign? You can find More images of the Trust’s ‘Who lives in a house like this?’ exhibition stand by visiting their Twitter (@ TrustVAHT) or Facebook (www.facebook. com/TrustVAHT) page. You can also join the campaign by using the hash tag ‘#SmashTheStereotype’. The full transcript of David Briercliffe’s speech can be found on the Trust’s website ( in the ‘News and Alerts’ category. l Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust, Fairfax House, 69 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2NJ Tel: 01296 732600 Email: Website:

The Trust’s Twitter feed during AVDC’s LSP event

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14



Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

It’s steer delight!


urkey may be a Christmas Day tradition here but increasingly beef is gracing our festive tables. At the annual Christmas Primestock Show in November, at Thame Farmers Auction Mart some impressive fat cattle filled the sale ring as buyers worked to outbid one another for the top animals. First in was Supreme Champion Beast, ‘Hands Down’ judged winner of the Vale of Aylesbury Cattle Challenge Cup. The 21-month-old Limousin steer weighed 635kg and fetched a premium price of 355p per kilo to the delight of his owners, beef and sheep farmers Mike Dickens and his daughter Emma Bishop from Parkhill Farm, Little Horwood. Emma said: “It’s a lovely start to Christmas for us. Hands Down won first prize in the steer class as well as Supreme Champion of the show. We were very pleased with the price we got for him. “We enter every year, and also do loads of summer shows. We were at

Emma Bishop with Hands Down

Foscote Market near Buckingham just a few days ago and got reserve champion with another animal there.” Emma was brought up showing cattle, following in the footsteps of her father Mike and his father before him: “Back then they showed in Thame High Street,” she recalled. “‘ve been showing since I was seven. You get addicted to it, it’s fun and very much a family affair, we all get involved, my sons James, 20, and Joshua, 12, my husband Andrew, my dad and my

mum Jean. “I love to see the pleasure that Joshua gets from it. He likes to lead the cattle, he’s not bothered whether he comes first or last in the show, he enjoys the day out and being in the ring in his white coat.” Preparing the cattle for showing is a time consuming hobby, and starts before they are even born. Pregnant cows and heifers who have been show cattle themselves are likely to throw the best calves, and so Emma takes a particular interest in their progeny, watching their calves carefully in the first weeks: “As they grow in the first two months they come long in the body and wide with muscle behind and nice round bottoms,” says Emma, “so we know they can make good show beasts.” Work with the youngsters begins at about six months. They are handled regularly, tied up, washed and learn to walk to a halter. When a show is coming up they get used to being groomed, blow dried and clipped. Emma explained: “I like breaking the cattle in as calves, and training them to the halter, it’s a great pleasure, but it is a time

This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

consuming hobby.” After their success at Thame the family has one more calf show before Christmas then there is a long break before the show season starts in earnest again in May, leaving them plenty of time to prepare next year’s winning show cattle. l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

and a farmer’s wife. You can follow her on Twitter @HJBjournalist. She and her husband sell their own award winning Terrick Beef* and other local produce from their small farm shop in Terrick near Kimble on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. Further details on *Terrick Beef won the Countryside Alliance Local Food award for the South East 2012.

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Maccabee Pets Hotel is very much a family business and is managed by Megan and Barry Cook. Megan is a member of The Kennel Club and has been showing breeding and judging for more than 40 years. She has judged at Crufts and International Dog Shows and enjoys a place in the Polish Kennel Club’s Hall of Fame, for introducing and breeding the first Polish Lowland Sheepdogs into the UK in 1990 and was featured on the Desmond Morris TV programme Animal Country. Barry is a Dangerous Dog Handler and his skill and expertise at handling difficult/agressive dogs is used by local and government agencies Suzanne Ray manages customer bookings and has worked at the kennels since she was an 11-year-old Saturday girl. 22 years later, she is still here making sure your pet’s every need is catered for.

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Ruby Rasa ‘Tomayto Tomaaahto’

l Column:


unny story about chestnuts. (It’s hard to say (Serves 8. Recipe by Pierre Coquillon) ‘chestnuts’ without adding ‘roasting on an open fire...’ What You Need: in your best impression of Nat King 1 kg fresh chestnuts or 750g Cole, isn’t it? Especially at this time frozen/vacuum packed of year. So take a minute to sing 125g dark chocolate it out of your system. I’ll wait. All 125g sugar done? OK, let’s continue). 125g butter As I was saying, I have a funny What You Do: chestnut story to tell you. One 1. If using fresh chestnuts, pierce the Christmas, many years ago, I had shells then boil until soft (test with a ‘that’ song stuck in my head when

Chestnut Yule Log

knife). Let cool then peel.

I chanced to look out the window and spy a carpet of chestnuts on the grass. Of course I’d seen them there before, but never in this context. Why, I wondered, had no one else had the bright idea to gather and roast them? More for me! So I ran out and filled my bag quickly, before anyone could realise I was getting away with all the bounty. I ducked back into the house and turned on the oven (alas,

2. Place the peeled (or frozen/ vacuum packed) chestnuts in a food processor and blitz until smooth. 3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, add sugar and mix well, then stir in the butter. 4. When the mixture is homogenous, pour it into the food processor with the chestnuts and blend until smooth. 5. Roll the ‘dough’ in tin foil to form a log then chill in fridge for several hours (overnight is best). 6. Carefully unroll then drag a fork over the surface to create ‘bark’. Decorate with holly and pinecones. Sprinkle with icing sugar for ‘snow’.

l Ruby is a freelance writer and photographer. Please contact her via her website:

7. Enjoy and ‘Merry Christmas to you...’

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we didn’t have an open fire at the time). You can imagine how excited I was to taste them when they were finally done. And then how revolted I was at the bitterness I had to blast out of my mouth and all over the kitchen! Yes you, dear reader, will already have guessed what I was too ignorant at the time to realise: I had roasted conkers! Lesson learnt, I now buy my chestnuts sealed in vacuum packs at the supermarket. And, each Christmas, this is what I do with them.

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

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Cici-Coco means ‘perfect together’ and is a pretty good description for the way award-winning cook, Giuliana Cortese, combines her ingredients. Vale Life’s Amanda Trott joins a Cici-Coco cooking class to learn how to recreate Giuliana’s Italian inspired dishes and then eat them...


ast edition we wrote about Cici-Coco Kitchen, the Cuddington-based makers of delicious Italian lasagnas and sauces and were excitedly awaiting an opportunity to try a cookery course with Mrs Cici-Coco herself, Giuliana Cortese, in the spacious country kitchens at Dadbrook Gallery. Giuliana and husband Simon have developed Cici-Coco, from an artisan producer of food to cook at home, into an awardwinning, speciality food kitchen and cookery school, where Giuliana shares her recipes, knowledge and passion for local, seasonal ingredients and inspires her students with gorgeous, regional Italian dishes. A cook, who learnt her skills helping her mother and grandmother in the kitchen, rather than a chef, Giuliana aims to give an insight into how really good home-cooked Italian food is prepared. The courses are hosted in a variety of beautiful, local locations including Sandy Lane Organic Farm at Tiddington and Cuddington’s Dadbrook Gallery, a beautiful house with an amazing kitchen garden. There are day courses (10am-3pm) during which you will enjoy eating your endeavours, and morning courses (10am-1pm) after which you take the food you have prepared home. Prices range from £65 to £115 and include all equipment and ingredients. I joined Giuliana and four others at Dadbrook Gallery one beautifully crisp and sunny November morning to learn how to cook for a ‘A Northern Italian Christmas’. We started by enjoying fresh coffee and a slice of Giuliana’s home made Lemon and Almond Giuliana cake. Giuliana’s assistant Roberto was also there to lend a hand and the menu was to be prepared using fresh local ingredients, cooked simply for maximum flavour. The first course was to be Tortelli di Zucca: Heritage spelt and rivet ravioli with pumpkin, amaretti and home made Mostarda Mantovana (quince relish). Giuliana had pre-roasted Crown Price Squash and we mashed this with crushed amaretti, Parmesan, grated lemon

Giuliana sets up

Class in full swing zest and Mostarda Mantovana. We then made pasta and cut it into shapes before filling it with the squash mixture. Making the pasta was great fun and something which is done by the whole family when cooking in Italy. The taste of freshly made pasta is so worth the time it takes to make it - shop brought pasta doesn’t even come close! Once we had briefly cooked the ravioli in boiling water we tossed them into a pan of sizzling butter and sage leaves and served them with grated Parmesan. Wow, amazing! The main course was Wild Local Guinea Fowl with Italian sausage meat, Chestnut Stuffing and pomegranate sauce, served with polenta and braised Cavolo Nero. After blotting the bird inside and out we seasoned it well, filled it with the sausage meat and then stitched it together with cocktail sticks and lightly oiled the skin. It was then covered with streaky bacon, tied up with string to keep it all together and then placed in a roasting dish on a bed of onion wedges. The juice was extracted from the pomegranates, sugar added and the mixture reduced by half to make the sauce. All absolutely delicious!

Amanda, left, preparing the Chestnut stuffing Finally the dessert was Zuccotto with Panettone and homemade Ricotta, made by lining a pudding basin with the Panettone and then filling the centre with a chocolate sauce and a white sauce. It was then sealed up and placed in the fridge to set, before finally being dusted with cocoa powder. Yum! When ready we all sat down together to enjoy this amazing meal served with Barbaresco Corsini 2010, Storie Di Vite Pinot Grigio and Prosecco Brut Italia. Dadbrook Gallery is a wonderful location and cooking in the fabulous kitchen there was perfect. Giuliana is a great teacher who inspires you to go home and create all that she has taught you. I can’t wait to take my friends back and do some more. For details of future Cici-Coco Cooking Classes, see their website: Gift vouchers are available (phone or email to order) and would make a great Christmas gift for anyone remotely interested in food and cooking. l Cici-Coco Kitchen, Beam Cottage, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0AS Tel: 07939 032834 Email: Website: Twitter @cicicocokitchen Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14


Welcome in 2014 with Ian, Elle & the team at

The George & Dragon Princes Risborough

Ian & Elle would like to thank all of their loyal customers and their hard working staff who have supported them and the George and Dragon over the past 9 months and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Great New Year!

2014 promises to be another exciting year for the George and Dragon, with the launch of our new restaurant menu and pub classic early bird menu, in the new year. Also watch out for a certain Channel 4 program to see what Ian & Elle got up to in ‘Four In A Bed’ when it airs on Channel 4 early in 2014!

New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner and Party book now - limited places available - ticket only event • Welcome Drink • Four Course Gala Dinner • Glass of Bubbly at Midnight. • Fantastic live entertainment with The Tiny Tina Band (above) through to 1.30am • Midnight celebrations to welcome in 2014 Only £44.99 per person!

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a 4 Star Rating by the AA Guide for our Guest Accommodation

Come and see what everyone is talking about! The George & Dragon, 74 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AX Tel: 01844 343087 Email:

07925 363 657


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14



br V in M ale g a ag L c az ife op y in o e


10 yo


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l Column: Jacqui

Nothing like a Sunday roast

Thorndyke ‘Foodie On Tour’


t’s that time of year again the chill in the air, the pretty autumn leaves, heating goes on and winter coats come out. Don’t worry though, I have the perfect solution - get yourself down the pub, grab a table near a roaring fire and tuck into a glorious Sunday Roast! I’m all for salads in summer, but you can’t fail to get excited by the promise of giant Yorkshire puddings, crispy roast potatoes and blushing beef, all smothered in delicious gravy and topped off with a dollop of horseradish. Makes me drool just thinking about it. This winter, I’m on the hunt for the best local Sunday lunch. But what goes into making the ultimate roast? Well, let’s be clear, the star of the show HAS to be the meat; wellseasoned, great quality and cooked to perfection (if lamb or beef, it had better be pink). Second in the pecking order are golden, crunchyon-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside,

The Thatch, Thame

roast potatoes. No ready-made, cook from frozen rubbish; proper, homemade roasties. Next up is the yorkie (and yes, size DOES matter), closely followed by decent homemade gravy. The Foodie household do like a generous serving of gravy, so no scrimping! Last but not least, a nice selection of veggies and condiments; I can’t eat a roast without its accompanying sauce. Well I can, but I’ll moan about it. So, where better to go to start my search than The Thatch in Thame, recent runner up for Best Sunday Lunch in the South, in the Observer Food Monthly Awards (along with Best Restaurant and Best Place to Drink). It’s always

great to hear of a local business earning recognition, so MrF and I popped along to check it out for ourselves. With its higgledy piggledy beams and thatched roof, The Thatch looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale - pop inside though and you’ll find a modern but cosy gastro pub. I’m pleased to say I can vouch for the quality of their roasts - the pork and beef were tender, delicious and perfectly cooked; the roasties some of the nicest I’ve tasted for a while (bar my own, obviously); the gravy ample and flavoursome, and yes, they had condiments. Wait, did I forget to mention the Yorkies…? They were GIANTS! With just enough room for dessert, we topped off the meal by stuffing our faces with a selection of fabulous puds - the crème brulée and chocolate torte were especially good, leading to a battle of the dessert spoons. The Thatch is now serving its new autumn menu, featuring steak supplied by butchers Aubrey Allen (holders of a Royal Warrant), plus salad and veg from locally based Bucksum Salads, who also picked up a recent award for Best Local

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2013

Jacqui Thorndyke

Farmer. Go check it out for yourself if you get the chance… just make sure you leave room for one of those delicious puddings. So, the search continues and I’d love to hear your recommendations. Do get in touch with your favourite place for a spot of Sunday Roast! l For local food and restaurant reviews and recommendations, visit, or follow Jacqui on Twitter @FoodieOnTour. To contact Jacqui directly, please email: l The Thatch, 29-10 Lower High Street, Thame OX9 2AA. Tel 01844 214340.

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Column: Emma Ward‘Country Girl’

Country Xmas


t is easy in the 21st Century to become overwhelmed by our heavily commercialised version of Christmas - cue piles of sickly sweet treats, metres of flashing lights and bundles of plastic novelties from China. However, old traditions still survive, especially in rural areas. The British countryside is full of curious customs and many are in action at Christmas, even if they are now only remnants of days gone by. For me, the traditions I have experienced over the years, mainly through my grandparents, are the most poignant part of Christmas and it is heart-warming to see those customs alive. As I sit and type Christmas decorations are going up around me, and it is only early December. In days gone by, no one would dream of putting their decorations up until Christmas Eve. When the day came, the men of the family would bring in a freshly felled fir and it would then be festooned with baubles and real candles (no health and safety then!).

The rest of the house would be decorated with evergreens, cut from the surrounding countryside. Evergreens were favoured by the Pagans for decoration; the red berries of the holly were said to ward off witches if put inside the home and ivy was mistrusted as there were claims it could bring on madness and intoxication. As time went by the custom of decorating with evergreens was sanctified by the church although it is still considered unlucky to display ivy without the holly. Holly was traditionally hung in cattle sheds at Christmas time, as it was thought to bring good luck to the farmer and his herd in the coming year, whilst also protecting you from being struck by lightning! To prevent bad luck, all the evergreen decorations had to be burnt, usually by the Twelfth Night. If you don’t fancy collecting your own evergreens, many farm shops in Buckinghamshire now sell them. Claydon Christmas Tree Farm, just outside Steeple Claydon has a fantastic range of

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

fresh-cut trees, wreaths, mistletoe and a Christmas Barn filled with traditional decorations. You can also meet their team of real reindeer! Check them out at www. After considerable deliberation we picked our perfect tree, but mum prefers the old fashioned approach when it comes to evergreens and usually attacks my gran’s garden in search of festive decoration! Christmas would be nothing without the food of course. In modern Britain, we usually sit down to a celebratory lunch on the 25th but this was not always the case. Until the 18th Century the main occasion for excessive feasting was 6th January, the last day of the twelve day holiday, and gifts were exchanged on New Year’s Day. The turkey is the main staple of our Christmas dinner now. This probably stems from the fact that in the days before commercial rearing, both domestic and wild fowl were at their very best at this turning point of the year. Feed, particularly in the wild, was much scarcer in Jan and Feb so it made sense to eat fowl when they were fat and succulent. After all that feasting it was

Emma Ward

Country Girl traditional to burn off the extra calories with a spot of sport on Boxing Day, (St Stephen’s Day). St Stephen is the patron saint of horses, and this day has long been associated with sports such as horse racing and hunting. In Buckinghamshire this is as popular as ever and the hunt meet at Winslow is a great place for us locals to catch up with friends and family. It is open to anyone who likes to witness this regal spectacle and my advice is to get to Winslow early if you want a parking space! I wish you all a very merry country Christmas! Keep those traditions going, and farmers don’t forget to hang your sprig of holly in the cowshed! There might just be some truth in it...

Win dinner for 2 at The Boot, Bledlow Ridge


mma and Andy Goddard, took over The Boot at Bledlow Ridge earlier this year. The couple have orchestrated a fabulous refurb and have been packing diners in with a reasonably priced menu of traditional pub food with a modern twist. The restaurant has been busy from day one and it’s now a good idea to book ahead if you want to be sure of a table at peak times! The Boot is a stylish modern village pub and eating house. It’s still pubby enough for a beer at the bar, while there’s comfortable seating areas with leather sofas and tub chairs, a long walnut bar and an airy restaurant area: “Whether you fancy joining us for a casual drink, a delicious evening meal or a leisurely Sunday lunch, you will always be greeted with a friendly smile and attentive service,” says Emma. Head Chef, Andy Hipgrave, who previously worked in Cookham, and Sous Chef, Shane Healy, preside over a mouthwatering menu that ranges from lunchtime snacks to pub classics and gastro fare. How about a Meat or Fish Sharing Platter, or from the starters: Bubble & Squeak, Crispy Smoked Bacon, Poached Egg, Hollandaise; or Seared Scallops with

Black Pudding and Bacon on Baby Leaves with Honey and Mustard Dressing; Main dishes include: Salads, The Boot Steak Burger (homemade with locally sourced fillet and sirloin) with Toasted Bap, Salad, Mayonnaise, Onion Rings & Hand Cut Chips; Fillet of Salmon, Crushed New Potatoes,

Asparagus, Crispy Pancetta and Hollandaise Sauce; or Slow Roast Pork Belly, Braised Cabbage, Black Pudding, Crackling, Apple & Ginger Purée, Dauphinoise Potatoes and Cider Jus; or Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto Cakes with Tomato Provencal, Rocket, Parmesan and Red Pepper Salad.

Desserts include: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream; and Baileys Crème Brûlée with shortbread biscuit. There is also a children’s menu with dishes for just £5 and at lunchtime a choice of daily specials or a Sandwich Selection served with Salad Garnish and Crisps. See the website for full menu listings. At the bar there’s a good choice of popular ales, lagers and ciders and a selection of excellent quality, reasonably priced wines from £15 to £49. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning dinner for two, with a bottle of house wine, at The Boot, Bledlow Ridge, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Who is The Boot’s head chef? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by Jan 31st, 2014 . l The Boot, Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge,Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 Email: Website: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

Family favourite Robert Lindsay stars in a brand new musical version of comedy classic, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The show is destined for the West End but will enjoy a few days preview at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre first, in February - a not to be missed opportunity...


repare to be transported to the luxurious lap of the French Riviera, where the decadent world of sophisticated conman Lawrence Jameson is set to come crashing down with the arrival of larger-than-life Freddy Benson - a conman of an entirely different order. Soon realising the town ain’t big enough for the both of them, the two find themselves going head to head in the con of their lives, pulling out all of the stops in a bid for the affections of millionaire soap heiress Christine Colgate. Little do they know what they’ve let themselves in for! Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a co-production between the Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Mitchell Productions and Tulchin/ Bartner Productions and is based on the legendary 1988 film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels story has has been reconceived and reimagined for the UK stage and now stars Olivier, Tony and BAFTA award winning actor Robert Lindsay (Me And My Girl, Becket, Oliver! and My Family - although the more mature among us will remember him fondly as Citizen ‘Wolfie’ Smith) and legendary comedian Rufus Hound (One Man Two Guvnors, Celebrity Juice) as the comedy duo Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson. The show’s UK premiere will include a short run at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from February 26th to March 1st, 2014. Katherine Kingsley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Singin’ in the Rain) joins the pair as Christine Colgate. The new musical has some big guns involved, it is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winning Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots - currently Broadway’s biggest Tony Award winning hit, Legally Blonde) in his debut production for Jerry Mitchell Productions. Music and lyrics are by Drama Desk Award winner David Yazbek (The Full Monty) and book by the Golden Globe and Emmy-Award winning Jeffery Lane (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Mad About You).


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

Robert Lindsay, Katherine Kingsley and Rufus Hound are in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 26th Feb to Mar 1st Set and costume design are by Olivier Award winning Peter McKintosh. Robert Lindsay says: “I went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway last week and was so blown away by the euphoria in the theatre that I was even more thrilled to be working with Jerry Mitchell. I have been waiting for the right musical to cross my path and feel like I have finally found it with Dirty Rotten

Scoundrels. When I met the writers, they were so excited to be re-working the show for a UK audience, especially as there is a real sense of classic English humour in this production!” Rufus Hound says: “I am absolutely thrilled to be part of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Having spent much of the last year playing Francis Henshall in the National

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

Theatre Box Office: 0844 871 7607, or visit Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Performances: 26th February to 1st March, 2014 Wed-Sat: 7.30pm Thursday & Saturday: Matinée 2.30pm Box Office: 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) Groups Hotline: 0844 871 7614 Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)

Anton Du Beke Wed 22nd Jan Tonight’s the Night: Mar 3rd-5th

The Two Worlds of Charlie F: Mar 13-15th

Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors, I know what a theatre full of people having the time of their lives sounds like and now I’ll get to hear it all over again. Yazbek’s score is both laugh-out-loud funny and heart-dancingly tuneful, whilst Jeffrey Lane’s book is faithful enough for fans of the movie, but anchored in good, old-fashioned comedy with smart and brilliant gags. I can’t wait to get started!” Jerry Mitchell, Director and Choreographer says,:“With a sensational score and the incredible comic gift of Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley, it will be an honour to bring this fabulous story to the West End. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will steal your heart.” Tickets are already on sale so don’t delay, book your tickets at Aylesbury Waterside


he Waterside’s Spring programme has been announced and is packed full with something for everyone - keep an eye out for the new programme brochure in the theatre foyer. Aside from the ‘dirty rotten secret’ being out that they’re hosting Dirty Rotten Scoundrels prior to the West End, there are plenty of other shows that are well worth seeing, in a season that appears to be bursting at the scenes with everything from comedy to drama, dance to children’s entertainment and some of the most popular musical theatre around. Don’t miss Tonight’s the Night, written by Ben Elton and including all the hits of Rod Stewart, then slip off those leopard skin tights and don your leg warmers for a brand new production of Fame, before limbering up for some good old fashioned rock’n’roll to celebrate the 25th Anniversary Tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Aside from this the Waterside is proud to be opening the tour of The Two Worlds of Charlie F, featuring ex-service military personnel, now trained actors, telling their stories from the front line. The play is an authentic, uplifting tale of survival, not to be missed. Watch out too for an eclectic line up of one nighters, from the worldfamous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, to the nation’s favourite (apart from local hero Brendan Cole that is) ballroom dancer Anton Du Beke, to super cute puppets with Peppa Pig and super cool moves with Tap Factory. Pick up a brochure from the theatre or look online at for full listings

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

Fri 13th Dec to Sun 5th Jan

Winter White New Year’s Eve Party SOLD OUT

Tue 31st Dec

Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Sun 12th Jan

Johann Strauss Gala – A Viennese Party

Thu 16th Jan

Anton Du Beke

Wed 22nd Jan

Ultimate Rhythm and Blues

Thu 23rd Jan

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular

Sat 25th Jan

Big Band Dance Night

Sat 1st Feb

Comedy Club

Fri 7th Feb

West Side Story

Tue 11th to Sat 15th Feb

Some Girl I Used To Know

Mon 17th - Wed 19th Feb

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac

Thu 20th Feb

Classical Concert Chamber Orchestra

Fri 21st Feb

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Wed 26th Feb Sat 1st Mar

Denise Van Outen is in ‘Some Girl I Used To Know’ Feb 17-19th

l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14



Music Column:

Turn it up! with Stuart Robb

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

Powder reunion


Stuart Robb

Turn it up! Stuart Robb has been involved in the local music scene for more than 15 years. He ran his own successful record label, has organised countless gigs and festivals (including the Hobble on the Cobbles’ revival) and is now involved with Friars Aylesbury and the British Guitar Academy. Contact Stuart with gig & music news: Add gigs to our website: click ‘What’s on, add an event’

Live Music Friday 3 January: Engine Room Shoot Pool, Aylesbury, 10.30pm Friday 10 January: Los Zeppelinos (Tribute Band) Shoot Pool, Aylesbury, 10.30pm Friday 10 January: Ostinato, The Black Horse, Tring, 8.45pm Saturday 11 January: Irie White The Britannia, Aylesbury, 8pm Sunday 12 January: Acoustic Evening, The Aristocrat, Aylesbury, 6pm Saturday 18 January: The Underdogs (Rock), The Black Horse, Tring, 9pm Saturday 18 January: 2Tone, The Bell, Tring, 9pm Friday 24 January: Leech, Shoot Pool, Aylesbury, 10.30pm Saturday 25 January: Engine Room, Black Horse, Tring, 9pm Saturday 25 January: Replica Band UK (Covers), The Weavers, Aylesbury, 9pm Saturday 25 January: Haggis, The Britannia, Aylesbury, 8pm Saturday 25 January: The Enid, Pendley Court Theatre, Tring, 8pm Saturday 25 January: Ben McKelvey (Original), The Bell, Princes Risborough 9pm Saturday 25 January: Restless Wilf (Rock Covers), The Rising Sun, Haddenham, 9pm Sunday 26 January: Jam Night, The Queen’s Head, Aylesbury, 8pm Friday 31 January: Nevermind, Shoot Pool, Aylesbury, 10pm Friday 31 January: Tiny Tina Rock & Blues Band, The Black Horse, Tring, 9pm 54

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

ylesbury indie band The Powders played their last public gig at The Britannia (Aylesbury) in January 2009, eight months after the release of their second album ‘Warm’. Nearly five years later they decided to do a one-off reunion at The Harrow on December 14th. Vale-Life managed to catch up with singer Andy Strong: So what brought about the reunion? Andy: “We’ve stayed friends since the band split and catch up with each other now and then. I bumped into Pete (Lumley, Drums) and he suggested it. I called Kev (Lucas, guitar) and he spoke to Joel (Newell, bass) and it just happened to be the right time. We’ve played a couple of times for friends and family since 2009, but thought this might be fun. People sometimes hassle me about The Powders when I’m out and about, so I thought, why not?” What have you all been up to? A: “Kev’s been playing with various bands in Thame, and is busy with his guitar teaching. Pete & Joel have been working with a

The Powders talented rapper as Tayong & The Maintrees. Pete’s also been playing with a swing band, and Joel’s joined the brilliant ska band, The Riffs. “Trouble is, Joel’s a sax player, so hasn’t picked up the bass for ages, and I’ve barely touched a guitar whilst I’ve been working in my design business. “We’ve been rehearsing for six weeks (at the time of writing) and my hands hurt!” Apart from your hands, how are rehearsals going? A: “Really good fun! We wanted to rehearse properly, as we’re all a bit rusty with the songs, (and

In the news

for two of us, with our instruments), but we’re getting up to speed again now. Most importantly we’re really enjoying playing together again. The guys are great blokes and great musicians, and we’re still really proud of the songs we wrote together and the range of covers we’ve picked.” Is the reunion permanent? A: “No - just a one-off. We stopped the band as we didn’t want to commit to doing it all the time, and we still feel that way. It’s really enjoyable to do it once in a while though, so maybe a while down the road…” and filmed as a collaborative project between the teams at Compass Studios and Mediocre Management. For all Glyn’s latest news visit:


ocal singer-songwriter Ben Mckelvey will be releasing his brand new EP Everything You Were Meant To Be in February 2014. The six-track EP features the single Stay Young, which was released as a music video on 7th November. For more information visit:

Skasouls UK and single It’s Christmas Time Again


kasouls UK (the popular ska band from Princes Risborough) have released a Christmas single entitled It’s Christmas Time Again, which is available via iTunes. Last month they performed in front of a packed crowd at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.


raham Iddon AKA Raving Wild has produced his debut EP entitled Derelict, which is a fusion of Indie and Blues and is about a recurring dream he had of a dilapidated ghost town a few months ago. It’s likely the album will follow the same theme, it was released on 30th November. For more details



ylesbury singer-songwriter/ guitarist Glyn Devey has to be one of the hardest working local musicians around at the moment. Having recently launched his latest video She’s The One at new Aylesbury venue The Oak House (formerly Stars Bar), he also regularly performs in his covers band Devestation, and organises and hosts a variety of gigs and jam nights in various local bars and pubs across the area. The video was directed by Glyn Devey and Andy Lewington


ithout Reason, a funk/soul/grunge-rock band from Aylesbury/Milton Keynes have recently recorded their latest single, which is due for release through their label Animal Farm. Entitled “Weakest Defence”, this ‘massive-sounding’ track will be released early 2014. www.


ocal singer/songwriter, and founder member of Dreamchaser Entertainment, Paul Adams has released a Christmas single Don’t Feel Like Christmas, which is available to download via iTunes now.

by Cathy Soughton

John Hampden Aylesbury


ou’ve probably walked past his impressive statue at the top of the Market Square in Aylesbury, may well recognise his name from the several local schools named after him and know he was involved in the English Civil War but do you know exactly who John Hampden was and why he is so commemorated? The Hampden family had lived at Great Hampden near Princes Risborough since before the Norman Conquest in 1066. By the 17th century the family were wealthy Puritan landowners and had already produced several MPs and royal courtiers. John Hampden was born in 1595 the elder son of William Hampden and his wife Elizabeth, an aunt of the future Oliver Cromwell. John attended Lord Williams’s Grammar school in Thame before studying at Magdalen College Oxford and later being admitted to the Inner Temple, one of the Inns of Court to train as a barrister. Whilst still in his 20s he became MP for Grampound in Cornwall in 1621, before becoming MP for the newly re-enfranchised borough of Wendover in 1624. As an MP John

became associated with the opposition

his Buckinghamshire lands, maintaining that the tax was illegal as it had not been approved by Parliament. As a result, a prominent test case was brought before 12 judges and although the Crown won the case by a narrow majority of 7 to 5 it was regarded as a moral victory against an autocratic monarch and John’s eminence as a leading statesman was assured. In 1640 Charles 1 was forced to recall Parliament, primarily as he needed to raise more money to finance a war with Scotland. John Hampden played a leading role in this Parliament and in 1641 he was one of 5 members who drafted the ‘Grand Remonstrance’ John Hampden statue, listing their grievances against the King’s Brill Windmill Market Square, Aylesbury (1912) government. The 5 members were accused unconstitutionally of treason Parliamentarians to King Charles 1 and but they escaped arrest. The King in 1627 at Aylesbury he refused to pay withdrew to Hampton Court and the a forced loan demanded by the King, 5 returned victorious to Westminster. stating that the loans were illegal and Civil War was inevitable and John was a violation of Magna Carta. He was appointed to the Committee of Safety, imprisoned as a result for nearly a year. formed to direct Parliament’s war After his release he spent the next few strategy. At the same time he raised years generally out of the limelight a regiment in Buckinghamshire, ‘the but this all changed in 1637 when Greencoats’ which were involved in the King (who ruled from 1629 until several engagements with the Royalists 1640 without recourse to Parliament) including the battle of Edgehill and the attempted to extend the Ship Money tax siege of Reading. to all counties of England. The tax, used On 17 June, 1643, during a skirmish to pay for naval defences, had previously at Chalgrove, John was badly wounded just been imposed on coastal towns. and died 6 days later at a house in John refused to pay the full amount on Thame, which later became the (now

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Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14

closed) Greyhound Inn. John was buried at Great Hampden church, close to his ancestral home, Hampden House. Although John Hampden was a key figure in the events leading to the Civil War which resulted in the beheading of the King and the rule of Oliver Cromwell, he is not seen as a revolutionary but as a skilled politician much admired as a patriot and a gentleman of honour, whose main objective was to see the monarchy adapted to the needs of the nation, within the framework of the law. His accomplishments have been remembered ever since; in 1912 hundreds of people packed the Market Place in Aylesbury to see his statue unveiled - now also the logo of Aylesbury Vale District Council. Many places and establishments have been named after him including, rather ironically, Hampden Park, the Scottish National Stadium. For those interested in finding out more, the John Hampden Society provides further details: l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and house history research in Buckinghamshire and adjacent counties:, email, Tel 01296624845

Win a Grubbies

Woodland Kerchief


rubbies, known for their British made, denim dungarees for children, has teamed-up with celebrated British children’s book illustrator, Marion Lindsay, to create two exclusive new designs - Toadstools and Owl - for their versatile and coveted range of children’s Kerchiefs. The whimsical designs celebrate traditional woodland themes with hints of enchantment and adventure, delivered in Marion Lindsay’s distinctive and quirky style. Made from 100% cotton voile, illustrated, printed and handsewn in Great Britain, These latest additions to Grubbies kerchief range which also include: Coyote, Wild Horses, Lugworm and Seahorses, are soon to be available in a new large size 95cm square - an ideal nursing cover-up, or beautiful enough for mums to wear even without a baby in tow’!

The new Toadstools and Owl designs are priced at: Small - £14 / Large - £28 each and are available to purchase online at: If you would like the chance to win a Woodland Kerchief, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which illustrator created the new designs? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by January 31st, 2014. l Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Get a grip

Tyres l Exhausts l Brakes l Servicing MOT Testing (class 4 & 7) l Air-Con Regas l Latest 4 Wheel Alignment Technology l l

Tyred and Exhausted is an independent, family-run garage, doing much more than tyres and exhausts! We are expert mechanics and have solid knowledge in all areas of vehicle repairs, servicing and MOT testing and provide a first-class service at competitive prices. 2a & 3a Broadfields Court (opposite Tesco), Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8BU Tel: 01296 432552 Web:

Tyres l Brakes l Batteries l Servicing l Exhausts l MOTs

Keeping You on the Move

Independent autocentre

offering dealership style service Fully equipped workshop using the latest diagnostic equipment l Comfortable waiting area with free hot drinks, tv, wifi and newspapers l Warranty safe servicing on all makes and models l Tyres, tyres, tyres all makes at guaranteed unbeatable prices l MOT testing on class 4, 5 and 7 l All repairs undertaken from clutches to total engine rebuilds l

Motologic Autocentre Unit 7, The Point, Gatehouse Way Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8DB Tel: 01296 422226 Tyres l Brakes l Batteries l Servicing l Exhausts l MOTs 56

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross


he Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is the way to keep on the move when the worst of weather strikes - and there’s been plenty of that recently. This, Suzuki’s first ever crossover, is compact and stylish, won’t break the bank and strikes just the right balance for both town and country needs - perfect for those whose lifestyle straddles the two. The S-Cross comes with a choice of petrol or diesel engines and with two- or four-wheel drive, thanks to Suzuki’s new ALLGRIP 4WD, with four simple grades of comfort and the availability of the world’s first ever double sliding panoramic sunroof, on the SZ5 models. Put it all together and it’s quite a package - next generation four-wheel drive technology at the flick of a switch combined with the acclaimed handling of the Swift, plus impressive CO2 emissions and excellent economy figures. What is there not to like? I have been driving the flagship 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 at £23,549, although prices for the range start at a reasonable £14,999. This, powered by the 1.6-litre diesel engine, that would be my choice, given that it offers decent performance and a combined 64.2mpg figure, with only 114g/km of CO2 emissions. The Hungarian-built SX4 is a spirited, tidy and versatile compact vehicle. Bearing in mind the weather that our country is now experiencing and what horrors

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES are to come in the months ahead, it’s highly reassuring to know that this is one car that can cut it when the going gets tough. It offers the drivers four driver-selectable modes - auto, sport, snow and lock - which are pretty self explanatory. All the driver has to do is to pick a mode, using a simple push and turn dial on the centre console. Auto prioritises fuel economy and defaults to 2WD, switching to 4WD if wheelspin is detected. Sport puts the skates on when you want to get moving and is best suited to twisty roads, getting the most in performance and cornering. Snow mode defaults to 4WD and opts for maximum traction in snowy, unpaved or slippery conditions, while lock is the belt and braces choice used to extricate the car from snow, mud or sand – the system distributes high torque to the rear wheels continually. The good thing about all this is that the S-Cross is a fine handling car in its own right, with decently involving steering, good cornering grip and comfortable suspension. The engine is obviously a diesel on start-up but quickly settles down once progress is made. Performance is adequate at 0-62mph in 13 seconds but I’m

l Column: Jonathan Vernon-Smith

Consumer Affairs

happy to trade a little extra zip for the excellent economy figures it churns out. The no-nonsense interior is typically Suzuki with panels and surfaces designed to last the test of time but the pleasant surprise is that there is plenty of tactile soft-touch that features here, too. That giant double sunroof makes for a light and airy interior and will really prove its worth come summer, as it stretches over both the front and rear seats. Deceptively large cabin space and good maximum loading room are an added bonus in an

eye-catching car designed to get you safely from A to B, whatever the weather. Factfile: Model: Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5. Cost: £23,549 (range starts at £14,999). Power: Four-cylinder diesel engine of 1,598cc developing 120PS @ 3,750rpm and max torque of 236 lb/ft @ 1,750rpm. Performance: 0-62mph in 13 seconds; top speed of 108mph. Emissions: CO2 114g/km. Economy: combined 64.2mpg.

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


obile phones, internet connections and cars are the three products I receive the most calls about on my consumer radio show. In the latter case, buying a good, reliable car rather than a nightmare vehicle that will eat into your wallet is a good way to start. Firstly, unless you buy a car from a proper retailer, you have no comeback if the car develops a fault. The minute you drive a new car away from a private seller, you’re on your own if it breaks down. I always suggest buying cars from good, reputable garages, and if you can stretch to it, main dealers. They, generally (and I use that word with caution - some are awful!), offer the best after sales service. Secondly, do your research. Use the internet to find the most suitable car for you. Look at reliability scores, running costs and insurance. Don’t rush into buying a car you know nothing about on the forecourt, just because you think you’ll look good in it. Find something that’s the right size, has a good reputation for reliability and isn’t going to cost the earth to run. Thirdly, buy locally. Please don’t make the mistake that so many people do these days. They go to a search website, enter the car of their dreams, find that the only independent garage that has one available in the colour they like is 300 miles away and travel up by train to buy it. If you have a problem with that vehicle it will be your responsibility to get it back to them to repair. That’ll be a very expensive journey by recovery vehicle all the way to Manchester! Use the internet to research garages and the people that run them. Fourthly, if you don’t know anything about cars, then for goodness sake, take someone with you who does! A friendly mechanic is best. If you don’t know anyone who is an expert, then I

would strongly advise having an independent check on the vehicle by an organisation such as the RAC. It may cost a couple of hundred quid, but it’s worth every penny if it prevents you from buying a complete lemon. A car is normally the second most expensive thing you purchase after a house, I lose track of the number of people who spend £15,000+ on something they know and understand absolutely nothing about and then wonder why they have problems. When you find a car you like, do not put a deposit down unless you really intend to buy it. When you pay a deposit, you normally enter into a legally binding contract to purchase the product. If you change your mind, you not only risk losing the deposit, you could be forced by the garage to take the car and pay the full amount owing on it. Salesmen and women often suggest the deposit in a relaxed manner. Don’t be fooled - when you change your mind, the relaxed manner will probably fly right out of the window. Never pay the full amount requested for a vehicle. The garage will price a vehicle up with some room for negotiation. If you pay the price on the windscreen, you’re probably paying over the odds. Remember car salesmen and women are employed partly because of their ability to get as much money out of you as possible to boost their company’s profits. Bear this in mind at all times when agreeing a price. If you’re hopeless at doing a deal, then take someone with you who is good at it! If you follow all my advice and still have a problem with a car or garage, then contact me at BBC Three Counties Radio and I’ll do my best to try and help you. l Listen to The JVS Show weekday mornings from 9am on BBC Three Counties Radio: threecountiesradio Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


l Column:

On The Road

No ‘numbers game’ Audi A3 saloon Sport 1.4 TFSI

Tyres l Exhausts l Brakes l Servicing MOT Testing (class 4 & 7) l Air-Con Regas l Latest 4 Wheel Alignment Technology l l

Tyred and Exhausted is an independent, family-run garage, doing much more than tyres and exhausts! We are expert mechanics and have solid knowledge in all areas of vehicle repairs, servicing and MOT testing and provide a first-class service at competitive prices. 2a & 3a Broadfields Court (opposite Tesco), Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8BU Tel: 01296 432552 Web:


OU could never accuse Audi of not giving you a wide choice – and now they’ve unveiled their 47th model range. The latest variant is the A3 saloon - a car with that obvious Audi family look, but also a car that’s pretty well new from the ground up. Certainly, all the body panels are unique, and no way is it just a hatchback with a boot tagged on the rear. With prices starting at £24,275, the accent is firmly on premium but then that’s what you get with any model bearing the four rings on its grille. And it’s another option alongside the A3 hatch, A3 cabriolet, and A1 range - for anyone looking to dip into the Audi range for the first time. And while it might be considered a small car, the build quality and standard of fit and finish is every bit as good as you’ll find further up

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road the Audi range. It’s beautifully crafted - the lines are distinctive, and the detail is all there, right down to the neat lower lip at the bottom of the grille. The flared arches can take up to 19 inch wheels, hinting at some hot versions still to reach these shores, and the short overhangs front and rear help keep the compact appearance. Trim levels are Sport or S line, with a choice of suspension available. You can opt for a slightly

K.M. Commercials

Your Mercedes Technician

Car & commercial vehicle repairs (all makes) Servicing l Inspections l MOT preparation l Breakdowns l Recovery service l Class 4/7 MOTs l Truck & Van repairer l Mobile on-site servicing l

Open Monday to Saturday: Unit 7A, Smeaton Close, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8SU Tel: 01296 488898 / 07720 706918 58

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

with Rob Auchterlonie

higher ride height (at no extra cost) to cope with our UK road system. But if you’re OK with a firm ride, I can vouch for the quality of the package. It has that typical Audi firmness but still remains a comfortable mode of transport. Prices start at £24,275 (2.0 TDI 150ps) - £30 more gets you a 1.4 TFSI engine with cylinder on demand technology,

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

and a seven speed S tronic transmission. But this ‘small’ engine option is no makeweight, delivering 140ps, 250Nm of torque, a 135mph top speed and 60.1 to the gallon. Oh, and a low CO2 figure of 109g/km to boot. ‘Cylinder on demand’ deactivates two cylinders at low load to cut fuel consumption and minimise the mechanical effort needed to run

‘Cylinder on demand de-activates two cylinders’


01844 353388

A ll makes serviced & R epaired

BMW & MINI specialist

40 Oakley Road, Chinnor, Oxfordshire, OX394ES (to rear of Claremont Automatics) Email:

Telephone: 01844 353388 l Bosch Car Service Centre l MOTs including Class VII (3.5 tonnes) l Servicing, repairs, tyres, exhausts and air

conditioning for cars and light commercials l Diagnostics: we have the most up to date work

shops and equipment in the area

l High ceilings and long ramps enable us to service

long wheelbase vans, campers and trucks

T ired of Ma i n Dealer P ri ces? We can service your car and m aint ain your warranty by using genuin e par ts and oil and working to your m anufacturer’s guidelin es. l l l l l l

Labour rate more than 50% less than m ain dealers Quality service and repairs Adv anced diagnostics Local collection and deliver y / Loan car av ailable MOTs/Windscreens/AirCon Recover y av ailable ProTechCars Ltd, Unit 20 Fleet Marston Farm, Fleet Marston, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0PZ Tel: 01296 655799 / Mobile: 07774 604149 Email: Website: Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

On The Road cont’d

Tel: 01296 658257

Fri & t s Fa Yo

Bucks leading Jaguar and Car Performance Spe Japanese car Specialists

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

Courtesy car av

Fast & Friendly Service

Performance andfacilities Prestige car specialists Full workshop 24 Hour recover the unit. Also on offer at launch are a 1.8 TFSI (180ps) and the latest 150ps 2.0 litre TDI, and transmission options are a six speed manual or S tronic dual clutch. User friendly touches? You can dial up a thin or wide jet of air from the A3’s unique and highly efficient air vents, it comes with Google Earth mapping among many other premium attributes and later in the year it will have 4G technology at your fingertips. Throw in a Bang and Olufsen sound system for a bit of music

while you work and the job’s a good ‘un… FASTFACTS: Audi A3 saloon Sport 1.4 TFSI; £24,305; four cylinder 1395cc TFSI, 140ps, 250Nm; 7 speed S tronic gearbox; top speed 135mph, 0-62mph 8.4 secs; fuel (50 litre tank) - urban 47.9, extra urban 68.9, combined 60.1; CO2 109g/km; emission standard – EU6 compliant. l Follow Rob Auchterlonie Twitter: @robauchy

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

Tel: 01296 658257

Tel: 01844 274652

Email: Chinnor Road, Bledlow, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PH Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 0QJ

Call today for a free and no obligation quote email:

For specialist advice and quotes call: 01296 770546





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Risborough Train Station


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60 Vale Lifead.indd : Dec/Jan 2013-14 RSC 190x125 1

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and all other makes

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Aston Martin • Jaguar • Subaru • Landrover Mercedes • BMW • V W • Audi

2.5 miles from station

A41 29 LO NG W IC


Independent Specialists covering

Petrol Station


• Servicing & repairs all makes and models • MOT testing • • Brakes, batteries & exhausts • Specialists in 4 x 4 vehicles • • Full electronic diagnostics • Engine rebuilds & remapping • • Air conditioning (re-gas & servicing) • Tyre centre •

03/11/2012 09:32

Telephone: 07817 826659

Wishing all our customers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Les Liney

Vehicle Hire Providing peace of mind l Automatic Gates, barriers & bollards Access control systems l Intruder alarms Fire alarms l CCTV systems l Perimeter security l Man guarding & patrol Services l Integrated solutions l Key holding l


Matrix Fire & Security Fleet Marston Farm, Fleet Marston, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0PZ T: Freephone 0800 0806804 E: W:

Expert fitting into awkward spaces sssincluding under sloping ceilings Call for a brochure or to arrange a sssfree no obligation survey 01525 854142

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

Tel: 01844 292783 Mobile: 07860 795236

Old Farm Workshops Haddenham Road Kingsey, HP17 8LS “ We Work, You Watch!� Registered and Insured. Call Abbey

Freephone: 0800 511 8018 Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14


J.T. RecoveRy SeRviceS Debt recovery for small businesses Chasing overdue accounts can be frustrating and time consuming. Cash flow is crucial though, so let us worry about your overdue accounts, while you concentrate on running your business

F no ina ti l ce

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

No wiN - No fee

Tel: 01844 260337 Mobile: 07590 573419

Tel: 0781 4398284 Email:

Windmill Services Property Maintenance

For all your property maintenance needs

Tel: 01844 279519


Decorating And Property Maintenance 26 Witham Way, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 9RR Tel: 07921 183784

Chris Charman

Email: Website:

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




K Collins Felt & Flat Roofing Specialist Local business, Roofmaster approved Established 1969

Glass Splashbacks Property Maintenance (Handyman jobs)

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

Call today for a free estimate 01296 655526 / 07831 465501

Please contact me for a free, no obligation quote Email:

Telephone: 07718 529190 Email: Ad 1


9:48 am

Page 1

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

01844 345859


Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Cleaning Services Window Cleaning Deodorising

Carpet Cleaning Upholstery

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

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

For free quotations, or to book call: 01296 350205 / 07739 047413 We don’t cut corners, we clean them!


Adams Travel

Quote ‘Val e Life

azine’ Ever feel like throwing your computer out of the window?Mag for 10% discount Fed up with it going slow, crashing or freezing? Strange messages popping up? Or would you just like to upgrade it?

Using a computer can be frustrating at times, so why not let me help. I am a qualified IT Technician and can assist with all your computer needs at very competitive rates. Call Pete: 0800 3118385 Mob: 07881 555482 Email: 70 Place Farm Way, Monks Risborough, HP27 9JY

Your Local Independent Travel Agent

11 Market Square, Aylesbury Tel. 01296 873017

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

spread the word…

01296 423769

Vehicles Fascia signs Safety & traffic Exhibition graphics Banners Anti Vandal Engraving

All aspects of sign making and design undertaken Banners


Shop signage

Vehicle signage

All aspects of sign making 01442 826846 & design undertaken Our professional team have

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

You want... Great Prices... we guarantee it

All this...

Expert Advice... est.1994 Great Products... guaranteed quality

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

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013/14


Watermark, Worminghall Road, Oakley, HP18 9UL Family run business designing, supplying and installing kitchens and bathrooms for over 25 years Our extensive showrooms are open to the public - do drop in Bring us your measurements for your Free kitchen or bathroom design

Handmade Bespoke Kitchens now on display

Valelife dec jan 2013 14 internet edition  

Vale Life Magazine Dec/Jan 2013/14 edition. Local lifestyle title for Aylesbury vale area of UK

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