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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home

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

Nov/Dec 2012 See our website at:

Free local listings for events and businesses


Quite a collection

Lovely stuff FROM round here

Welcome to Wendover

Did you know it’s the place to go?

Don’t flap, wrap!

Swan into Tetsworth for vintage gifts

Simply Simon

Are you a sharp dressed man?

Penny, Ruby, Hero, Matt, Naomi, Amanda and much, much more... w dinner for Two at the pointer w Tickets to the boat show w w The Bluffer’s Guide to Bond w James Wong Book & Seeds w Murano necklace w

from design to build The Loggia Conservatory Modern Glass Extensions Cross Over Extensions Traditional Conservatories

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1 2 A5_2pp_leaflet_Jan11.indd Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

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3/2/11 17:33:15


Come and visit the ercol showroom and ercol factory outlet to see the full range of ercol furniture. ercol factory outlet and showroom are at:

Ercol Furniture Ltd Summerleys Road Princes Risborough Buckinghamshire HP27 9PX. 01844 271830 Open 9.00 - 5.00 Mon -Fri 9.30 - 4.00 Sat.

Luxury Coach Holidays

DayTrips,Theatres & Shows Join one of our great value tours! Leeds Ca

stle .mottstrav w w w : e n nli Book o Day Trips:November


Wed 14th Ladies Lunch Club & Scenic Drive Stoke Bruerne (2 Course Lunch): £20 Sat 17th German Christmas Market Birmingham: £19 Sat 17th Medieval Brugge: £35 Wed 21st Cité Europe & Belgium: £35 Fri 23rd Harrods Christmas Shopping & Illuminated London: £19 Sat 24th Leeds Castle & Xmas Fayre: £34 Sat 24th Festive Gift Fair NEC: £25 Sun 25th Bury St Edmunds Xmas Fayre: £19

Turkey & Tinsel Breaks

Get Away to recharge before the Festive season starts! Nov 12th: Hotel De La Mer, Babbacombe 5 Days HB + Excursions: £269 Nov 26th: Warner Historic Hotel, Thoresby Hall, Dickensian Themed Break 5 Days HB: £349 Nov 19th: Warners Sinah Warren Character Hotel 5 Days HB £319

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

Dec 15th: This spectacular festival of fun is definitely one for the big kid in you. With circus, ice rink, rides and a giant wheel for starters there is plenty to entertain: £19 (No admission or ride fares included).

RING NOW FOR YOUR COPY OF OUR 2013 HOLIDAY BROCHURE! See our 2013 brochure for many more holidays... British Seaside Resorts - Special Event Breaks - Garden Weekends - Scotland, Ireland & Isle of Man - Bulbfields - Spain - Battlefield Tours - Italy - Switzerland & Portugal

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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012



ting 10 Ye ra a r

eb l


2 - 2012

For all your stone needs... Internal stone at our Gallery in Thame The Gallery Stoneworld, 43A Upper High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 2DW. Tel: 01844 279307 Email:

External 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

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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

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

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details


Quite a collection


Don’t flap, wrap!


Beauty call

Top of the shops


Looking good

VIP style





Our house

Something’s cookin’


Many happy returns

Simply Simon


Spot the difference

Wardrobe wonderings


Homegrown revolution

Glowing report


Natural habitat

High street chic


Tomayto Tomaaahto

Undercover lover


Talking turkey

Festive and feminine



Bringing in the sheaves


Russell’s hooked

Beautiful creations FROM round here

10 Welcome to Wendover 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 25 26 27 28

Our guide to what’s hot

The Prime Minister’s choice! Get the celebrity treatment Try a slice of foodie heaven New chef in town

Style for gentlemen

Alex Iszatt’s in party mode

The heat is on in Haddenham Get on trend at Isabella’s Penny confesses all!

Chocolate has the sweetest things New columnist Emma is a Country Girl

Monet or Manet?


t’s been hard to tell where you are this year. I don’t mean geographically, I mean seasonally. Winter is breathing down our necks and I’m still waiting for Summer to arrive. Autumn is a blur, one minute the leaves were beginning to turn, now they’re gone. Without clearly defined seasons life seems to whizz by even quicker than usual, the bounderies are blurred and I don’t like it. A few weeks ago I was in Thame chuckling at Will Gompertz, the BBC’s arts editor. He was giving a talk on how to understand modern art as part of the Thame Arts and Literary Festival. He explains it all in more


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

Relaxed shopping vintage style Time to get out the powder ‘Clinic gave my confidence back’ Who’s a little Minx then? Colour’s in for Christmas

Jenna’s dishing the birthday treats Wood or vinyl, can you tell?

Win a James Wong book and tea plant Win a copy of Chiltern Landscapes Ruby’s Summer lingers on How to pick a prize bird Christmas at Hartwell House Panto crew are ready to fly

detail in his new book: What Are You Looking At? It was early afternoon and the sun had come out briefly which was unfortunate because Will’s talk relies heavily on showing the audience slides of the paintings he is discussing. The flimsy town hall curtains did little to dim the powerful rays flooding in and most of Will’s pictures were completely invisible. Fortunately he had a back-up laptop which stalwarts from the Book House were able to hold up, a little like those girls who stride into

competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: Tickets to the London Boat Show; a copy of Chiltern Landscapes; Dinner for Two at The Pointer, Brill; A copy of the Bluffer’s Guide to Bond, a Murano Glass Heart pendant and £100 of Caudalie products from Powder!

the boxing ring when the bell goes, holding up the round number. It was fine of course, Will is very entertaining with or without slides. He looks like a cross between Michael Foot and Professor Pat Pending from the Wacky Races and gave us a thoroughly amusing rough guide to the history of art, which should stand me in good stead for a trip to the massive art fair at Aylesbury Grammar towards the end of November, (see page 56 for details). Enjoy the magazine and happy reading,


Charlie Trott:

Last issue’s prizewinners were: A Collapsible Cooking Pot: Lesley Yearly, Winslow A Mental Suit: James Fitzpatrick, Stokenchurch A copy of the Good Beer Guide: Mark Page, Aylesbury; Jim Robinson,

Haddenham; Colin Harris, Fairford Leys Dinner for two at The Six Bells: Catherine Heller, Princes Risborough Rhubarb & Roses Floral Design Course: Carole Natella, Tring Oriflame Skincare: Julie Bidmead, Wigginton Bottom

Front cover picture: Waterside Peter Pan cast including Russell Grant and Matt Brown preparing for panto season, see page 60. Vale Life Magazine is designed and published by House of Mouse, 23 Glenham Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3WD Telephone: 01844 261579 Mobile: 07702 006218 Website: Email: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of Vale Life. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or late changes. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the publishers. Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


l FROM, 16 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BW Tel: 01844 217998 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

A year old and FROM has proved a popular addition to Thame’s shopping scene. The constantly changing mix of brilliant and beautiful, locally made art and produce is always fascinating to browse and the ideal place to find something lovely for the home or a unique gift...


ROM has been open a year now. The innovative store on Thame’s Cornmarket is a truly local shop, which only features work from local artists and artisans. Pieces are all produced within a 20 mile radius of the shop and range from fine art, through to textiles and local produce, FROM’s maxim being: ‘You don’t need to look far to find something beautiful’. Provenance is important and interesting and each item is tagged with a ‘FROM round here’ label telling the story behind it’s creation. The shop, which is next to The Spread Eagle Hotel, looks every bit as gorgeous now as when it first opened and is packed with beautiful, handmade pieces, ideal for gifts or the home. Local couple Stephen and Sarah Stretton founded the business with friend and retail expert, Marcus Hardman and have been thrilled with the amount of positive feedback and support for the locally made art and produce they are championing. “The product mix has quadrupled since we began a year ago,” says Marcus. “We are constantly surprised and delighted with the quality items being crafted locally. You really don’t need to look far to find something beautiful! Whether it’s designer dishcloths from Wheatley, or original watercolours from Oakley, we make it our mission to showcase the best local talent. “We have the most wonderful team in the shop who share our passion for promoting and celebrating local artists. Every team member knows exactly who has made each

FROM decorated for Christmas shortly after last year’s launch item, how they are made and where. This level of knowledge comes from having a close working relationship with the artists and producers and helps make FROM a unique and special shopping experience.” When the shop launched last year a promise was made to return a percentage of the year’s profit to Lord Williams’s School art department, to help encourage and nurture the next generation of talent ‘from round here’ and Steve is pleased to announce that they will soon be doing this. “We are grateful for a presence in Thame,” says Sarah, “and in a time of uncertainty for the British high street, we hope that FROM feels like an established and valued concept store where we can all feel proud to shop.” Stephen and Sarah have successful careers in marketing and have been able to utilise their talents to raise the FROM profile over the last year: “We’ve had some fun with marketing ideas this year,” says Sarah, “including our ambient money-off vouchers which were dotted around the local area for people to find whilst out and about! “We also put up ‘Have you seen this dog?’ posters to promote artist Cate Wise’s ‘Lost Dog Collection’. This brought in customers Ali Cockrean took her easel and paints along and demonstrated her skills in the shop


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

You may have spotted these wacky FROM ad campaigns in the local area from further afield than normal and made people smile. We also had the brilliant Ali Cockrean set up her easel in the window, earlier this year, demonstrating her talents and chatting to customers about her work.” FROM has to be one of the prettiest stores to shop in. It is always beautifully set out and

Cate is also a we don’t know prolific with h

l FROM, 16 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BW Tel: 01844 217998 Email: Website:

Cate is also a busy mother of four and we don’t know how she manages to be so prolific with her brilliant artwork!

mainly in silver, gold, and semi-precious stones’ she says. ‘My designs have an organic tactile feel, and share a sense of delicacy and movement’.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

you can tell that pride is taken in the branding and merchandising and to really show the pieces at their best. To give you a taste of the amazing range of talented local artists with work on display at FROM we have profiled a small selection here. You can find more on the FROM website at: or Smith pop into theFenella shop for a browse.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Fenella Smith

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

l FROM, 16 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BW Tel: 01844 217998 Email: Website:

Artist profile: Fenella Smith FROM Henley On Thames Fenella is a potter. She works from home in Henley on Thames where she lives with her family and much loved Labrador, FROM Henley On Thames Bear.from Fenella is a potter. She works home in Henley on ThamesHer where she livesare inspired by memories designs with her family and muchand loved Labrador, of childhood dreams. tell-tales Bear. Her designs are inspired by memoFenella’s ries and tell-tales of childhood dreams.handmade tableware combines good old fashioned quality Fenella’s handmade tableware combines good old fashioned withquality modern practicality. with modern practicality. ‘I worked on the Animals collection with Hanna Francis brother, ‘I worked on the Animalsmy collection withGreg, he’s an animator and recently won a BAFTA.’ my brother, Greg, he’s an animator and recently won a BAFTA.’ Ahem, some families are too talented Artist Profile don’t you think? Hanna Francis Ahem, some families are too talented Artist profile: Fenella Smith

Artist Profile: Cate Wise from Oakley

Hanna Francis

don’t you think?

FROM Thame

Artist Profile: Cate Wise

Scandinavian simplicity meets English charm in Hannah Francis Designs’ furniture and interior products. Artist

Cate has been a freelance artist, author FROM Oakley and book illustrator now for almost 20 Cate has been a freelance artist, author years. and book illustrator now for almost 20 She works in many mediums, years. from watercolour paintings to hand-cut works as in many mediums, from watercollages, cards and posters,She relying colour paintings to hand-cut much as possible on recycled papers collages, cards and posters, relying as and materials to create an much antique as possible on recycled papers vintage or comic retro feel.and materials to create an antique vintage or comic retro feel. Her latest Her latest work is hand-stamped letters work is hand-stamped letters and words in and words in heritage inks heritage that create inks that create original quotes, original quotes, stories, messages, poems poems or lyrics of othstories, messages, ers’. or lyrics of others’. FROM, 16 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, 9 2BW Cate is also a busy mother of four and Cate is also a busy mother of four and : 01844 217998 we don’t know how she manages be how so she manages to be so we don’tto know mail: prolific with her brilliant artwork! ebsite: prolific with her brilliant artwork!

Profile Hanna Francis

‘Good quality, long-lasting, sustainable designs define us,’ says Hannah. FROM Thame

Scandinavian simplicity meets ‘We believe strongly in beautifully crafted pieces, inspired by nature.’ English charm in Hannah Francis

Designs’ furniture and interior products. ‘Good quality, long-lasting, sustainable FROM Haddenham designs define us,’ says Hannah. Anna has been designing and making ‘We believe strongly in beautifully crafted jewellery for nearly 10 years from her pieces, inspired by nature.’ Haddenham studio. Hannah’s work is 100% pure gorgeousness. ‘I make all my jewellery by hand, working Artist Profile Anna K Baldwin

mainly in silver, gold, and semi-precious stones’ she says. ‘My designs have an organic tactile feel, and share a sense of delicacy and movement’.

Artist Profile Anna K Baldwin FROM Haddenham

Anna has been designing and making jewellery for nearly 10 years from her Haddenham studio. ‘I make all my jewellery by hand, work9 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012 ing mainly in silver, gold, and semi-precious stones’ she says. ‘My designs have an organic tactile feel, and share a sense of delicacy and movement’.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Whether it’s for a spot of shopping in one of many delightful independent stores and galleries, for a coffee, or to lunch at one of the excellent cafés, pubs or restaurants, Wendover is well worth a visit...


Wendover: Picture by Stan McCartin

Personal Training & Fitness Classes Keeping Þt and healthy should be fun and an enjoyable part of life. Enjoy the local countryside with our Wendover based exercise classes.

“I couldn’t recommend JPR Fitness more, they have set me back on the straight & narrow and so much more” Nordic Walking is one of the fastest growing forms of exercise in the UK, giving you a full body workout. An all weather outdoor Þtness class in our local countryside.

More information and class times can be found on our website or call for a no obligation chat. 10

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

endover is a pretty market town that has grown up in a handy gap in the Chiltern Hills at the head of the valley of the River Misbourne. Already locals will be tutting, for many inhabitants prefer to refer to Wendover as a village, although its market charter, size and status might imply otherwise. It has long been a borough and was for a many centuries under the tight control of the local manor. There is evidence of a local dyeing and fulling industry and a couple of local mills here in the early 13th century. The borough is mentioned in the historic records around 1227, when it made presentments at the assizes separately from the rest of Aylesbury Hundred. The church and manor-house stand nearly half a mile from the centre and possibly mark the site of the original settlement, which then migrated to the road when it became a market town after Edward IV granted a charter in 1464. Wendover Church was of considerable local importance in the middle ages, The Rood Cross of Wendover being a place of pilgrimage. Amongst the punishments meted out in 1506 to certain people at Chesham, who had spoken against idolatry and superstition, was an obligatory pilgrimage to the Rood Cross of Wendover! There are several theories as to the origins of the name Wendover. In Celtic times it may have been called Gwaen-Y-Diffryn. Which means ‘marsh in the glen’, however, in heavy storms, water gushing down from the surrounding hills is white from the chalk. The Welsh for Whitewater is Gwynddwfr, which pronounced correctly, sounds like Wendover.

Above and right, David Cameron in Wendover: pictures by Gordon Findlay Wendover is well linked transport wise. You can travel by car or train but many dropping by will be walking The Ridgeway and enjoying the fresh air and fabulous scenery which surrounds the area. In recent years the rail connection to London Marylebone drew people to the area and raised properties values, while the green belt protected the local countryside from development. Unfortunately a possible route for the proposed High Speed Rail Link would run right through the area and has left the town and its inhabitants in a state of flux, with many actively campaigning against the scheme. Prime Minister David Cameron was recently collared by protesters while shopping in the town, (his official country residence, Chequers, is nearby). They were able to voice their concerns directly to him. A local photographer captured these


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Wendover High Street: Picture by Stan McCartin images on the day. Apparently David had been buying a presen t for his mother from Number One, the gift and homeware store at the bottom of the High Street.

It is not surprising Mr Cameron likes to pop into Wendover to do his shopping, Wendover has a lovely selection of independent stores, salons, pubs, cafés and restaurants. It is a great destination for a relaxed day’s shopping and over the

What’s on in Wendover

Pamper Evening: Friday, Nov 23, 6-9pm Chilterns MS Centre

£17.50. St Mary’s or the Clock Tower.

Enjoy taster treatments such as reflexology, Indian head massage, manicures, facials and hair styling. Raffle, stalls with handmade cards, gifts, clothes, bags, candles, cosmetics, fragrances and more. £5. New MS Centre, Oakwood Close, HP22 5LX.

Barn Courtyard Christmas Fayre: Sat & Sun, November 24 & 25, 10am-4pm

Let The Chilterns Sing: Hooray for Heroes: Sat, Nov 17, 7pm, St Mary’s Church, Wendover The Rotary Club of Wendover and District invite you to sing your hearts out along with the Central Band of The Royal Air Force. Similar to the Last Night Of The Proms. Refreshments/ licensed bar available before concert and at interval. Raiign fund for Help for Heroes, Chilterns MS Centre and St Mary’s Church, Wendover. Tickets

next few pages we hope to give you a taste of what is on offer. There is a market each Thursday in the town centre, which is known as ‘The Manor Waste’ and every third Saturday a Farmers’ market. The next being Saturday, November 17 and Saturday, December 15,

from 9am - 1pm. On Saturday, November 24th from 9am-1pm there’s a Christmas Market and on Wednesday, December 5th, the Christmas Lights Switch On festival takes place with a mini-music festival and late night shopping.

Our friendly team of professional experts are happy to advise on any aspect of either selling, or letting your property, whether it is located in the village of Wendover or any of the surrounding villages. To speak to Nicky Stottor, Tony Defriez, Susan Taylor or Amanda Hillier, please call 01296 621177, email :, or call into our office at: 4 Back Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EP

In the lovely barn gallery courtyard behind Antiques at Wendover. Wide variety of stalls with unusual and festive gifts. Carols around the Christmas Tree: Friday, Dec 21st at 6.15pm on the Manor Waste with the Ellesborough Silver Band. Wendover Choral Society: Christmas in Venice: Sat, Dec 1, 7.30pm Tickets £12 from Clock Tower, or Tel: 01296 696759. Includes music by Gabrieli, Monteverdi & Giovanni Bassano, cornetti, sackbuts and theorbo.

Sales & Lettings: 01296 621177 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Family show


he catering business is a tough game and when a family restaurant has been going 28 years and still has regulars enthusing about the fabulous food and charming, efficient service, you know they are doing more than something right. Visit Wendover’s Le Bistro today and you will likely be greeted by Ben or Ameneh (Amy) Gattlin. Amy’s parents came to Wendover more than 30 years ago to set up a small café. It became popular and the family took on their current site, an old bakery at the top of the High Street in 1984. The business developed from tea shop to restaurant incorporating the family’s Persian/Iranian roots and French influences: “I describe it as European Continental,” says Ben. “Le Bistro used to focus more on French cuisine, hence the name, but now it’s quite a range, from our ever popular Beef Stroganoff and Straw

Chips, to Middle Eastern dishes, Steaks and our house burger, all freshly prepared and cooked on the premises. We also do a great Sunday lunch!” Ben grew up in Wendover and went to John Colet School. He had a part-time job at Le Bistro which developed from working in the kitchen to waiter, barman and floor manager. He got to know Amy when she returned from university with a degree in computer studies and started helping out on the admin and marketing side. They began dating, romance blossomed and much to the delight of the family, staff and customers, the couple were married last August, a celebration many Le Bistro regulars joined. There is a lovely relaxed, feel to Le Bistro, a hint of parisienne brasserie glamour in the chandeliers and heavy gilt framed mirrors tempered by the homely quarry tiles and comfortable modern furniture.

Ben and Amy Gattlin There’s live jazz every fortnight and quite a buzz at weekends when the restaurant gets really busy, often seating up to 80 diners at once. At lunchtimes you can dine à la carte or choose from the light lunch menu but if all you fancy is coffee and cake, you won’t be disappointed. There is a small function room upstairs which can be used for meetings, private dining or small parties. Christmas and the New Year is celebrated in style with special events and party menus running all through December. The Jazz Band is jazzing up carols, on Christmas Eve, which is great family fun and

on New Year’s Eve there’s a lovely set menu with glass of bubbly to bring in the New Year and a Disco into the early hours. Details and menus can be seen on the website. l Le Bistro, 4 Pound Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EJ Tel: 01296 622092 Email: Website: Open: 12noon to 3.30pm Mon-Sat, 12 noon to 5.30pm Sunday and evenings: 6pm-11pm Tue-Sat.

Your local Wendover Travel Agent Registered Australian & South African Expert


l Personalised Itineraries l Flights Escorted Tours l Worldwide Villas l Cruises l Rail l Hotels l UK Breaks l

“Anything is possible,” says Trudi Goss. With over 30 years experience in the travel industry our local expert is lucky enough to have visited numerous destinations and has arranged trips to many more - she has the knowledge and expertise to make your holiday dreams come true: “I can help you with all your travel requests, by phone, email, or in person,” she says. “For a nominal fee I can even help you with your low cost airline reservations.” Why not sign up to Trudi’s newsletter for details of special offers and Trudi’s own small group holidays? Trudi Loves Travel, Back Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EB Open: Mon-Fri: 09.30 - 17.00 Saturday by appointment Telephone: 01296 624048 Email: 12

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Fine Handmade Chocolates • Luxury Hot Chocolate Crema Coffee & Specialist Teas Freshly Baked Croissants • Pastries and Cakes A wonderful selection of light savouries for lunch

All at our Chocolateries in Thame and Wendover

Buy chocolates online at: Hold a meeting or a party at our Thame shop Learn the Art of the Chocolatier Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @rumseyschoc

Thame 01844 260303 | Wendover 01296 625060


Gallery is a real tweet


little bird told me gallery is the kind of hidden delight we are hoping to find while nosing around the Vale’s ancient nooks, crannies, and cobbled courtyards. Established in October 2009 by sculptor, jewellery-maker and picture framer Melanie Bird, the gallery has grown out of its original unit and now utilises two floors of a delightful old barn to display a range of beautiful and sometimes unique works of art and craft, which includes items of vintage clothing and handmade children’s wear. Melanie studied sculpture at art college in Brighton but afterwards found work as a sculptor hard to come by. She trained in picture framing at a gallery in Beaconsfield and worked there for 12 years, learning all about fine art retail and framing, before setting up her own gallery near her home in Wendover. She is an experience framer with

an artistic eye and is able to offer good advice on the kind of mounts and frames which best suit a particular item. Item is the word here for although much of her work may be framing pictures and photographs she is also adept at framing objects such as sporting memorabilia, baby shoes, or even stuffed animals! She is an authorised dealer in work from artists such as Quentin Blake (famous illustrator for Roald Dahl’s stories), Beatrix Potter, Anita Jeram (from the beloved ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ book) and Dick Bruna (the creator of Miffy). She has some great prints of comic characters such as Minnie The Minx and Desperate Dan from The Beano and The Dandy and also specialise in new contemporary illustrators such as Sam Toft and Clinton Banbury. “We also have locally sourced handmade textile work, ceramics, jewellery and woodturning,” says

Melanie. “Many of the artists rent the space to show their work here, so the stock is constantly changing. “The Quentin Blake prints are very popular. Often a relative will buy one as a gift for a new baby in their family, they are a reminder of their own childhood and nice to pass on. They will increase in value too as most are limited edition.” The gallery houses a delightful selection of gift items for all pockets from pretty jewellery to beautiful bowls and vases. Why not visit on Sat 24th and Sun 25th November when the Barn Courtyard gift fair will take place from 10am-4pm.

Melanie Bird

l a little bird told me gallery, The Barn Courtyard, 25 The High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 620428 Mobile: 07854 787733 E: W: Open 10am-5pm, seven days a week. Off High Street, next to ‘Antiques at Wendover’.

Ring her bell ! S Join us for an evening of pure pleasure... ...and enjoy a glass of mulled wine, some festive nibbles and perhaps a little Christmas shopping Free gift bags with miniature Mini manicures with hair and beauty products nail analysis: £10 redeemable against Great Christmas Gift packs purchases of £30 or more for Hair, Nails and St. Tropez Mini Mii Makeover: £10 against Professional make-up artist to redeemable purchases of two or more make-up items answer all your make-up questions & give you a touch GHD curling lesson: £10 redeemable against of colour for Christmas purchases of two or more hair products Free hair consultations Please book in advance to avoid disappointment

16 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EA Tel: 01296 622043 Festive nibbles will be provided by Debbie Tolput - Taste

ally Turner Antiques has two barns and six showrooms full of interesting and diverse antiques and jewellery from the roman period to the the present day. It is not often that you find a sole owner these days buying and selling such a large range of quality items in their shop. Don’t be put off pressing the entry bell to be let in, as once inside you will find a warm and friendly welcome. Happily not all items are priced in the hundreds or thousands, there is a good range for all pockets and sale shelves at the back of the shop with antiques priced from as little as £5! This 17th Century shop is on two floors with additional barns to the rear. The six showrooms display ceramics, glass, furniture, paintings, clocks antique and modern silver and beautiful cases full of contemporary and antique jewellery - items to suit any budget. Sally herself has over 40 years experience in the antiques trade and jewellery business and her eye for beautiful pieces is evident here. She grew up in Cheltenham, where her parents ran an antique shop and moved to London to set up her own shop in Chelsea in 1979. She later moved into the Wendover shop

where she has built up a dedicated, friendly and knowledgable team who offer a range of services,from valuations to jewellery cleaning and furniture restoration.There is an onsite goldsmith who can repair or rework old jewellery or design and make new pieces to your specifications. Scrap gold and silver is also bought. Take time to look around and you could find the perfect wedding, birthday or Christmas present, a unique engagement or wedding ring and the most beautiful antique furniture - it’s a fascinating place with lots to tempt you! Take this copy of Vale Life to Sally’s on the evening of Dec 5th and receive 10% off any purchase. l Sally Turner antiques, Hogarth House, High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 624402 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


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33692_MMS_Wendover_SV PRESSAD_Landscape_160mmx259mm_AW_SOP_V2.indd 1


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

14/06/2012 17:44


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Stuck for gift ideas? Don’t panic, take a deep breath and count to One - for you’ll be sure to find something to inspire and delight in this Wendover Winter One-derland... Vicky Langdon


t’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas one could surmise, especially standing in a shop like Number One which sparkles and glitters with a stunning selection of baubles, garlands, cards, wrapping and decoration, not to mention huge, bright red, hanging lanterns and balls! Santa would love it here and not just because of the tasteful trimmings, it is a large store and stocked to the rafters - the kind of shop in which you could find a fabulous gift for pretty well anyone. Vicky Langdon, left, has been running Number One at the bottom of Wendover High Streeet for some five years now. She previously worked as PR manager for The Body Shop, so knows a little about life on the high street. An ex Dr Challoner’s High School girl who grew up in Little Chalfont, Vicky now lives in Kimble. She took a career break from the Body Shop to have a family and when the children became more independent decided that running the store would give her the flexibility to be a mum and have her own business (her two children are currently both at university). “Wendover is a really, really great high street,” says Vicky. “It has such a high percentage of independent retailers, lots of unusual, different, unique shops - coffee shops, clothes shops, gift shops - it’s a really nice high street for a mooch around and a refreshing change from the same old shopping centre chain stores - a place where you can find some truly different presents.” At Number One Vicky stocks a range of unique gifts, quirky items and lovely home accessories, such as cushions, throws, glassware and crockery. “Items range from £3 up to a couple of hundred pounds,” says Vicky, “there’s something to suit all pockets. “Emma Bridgewater’s pottery is very popular and Fenella Smith is a rising star with her slip-cast tableware collections inspired by childhood memories. It’s made in Stoke-on-

Trent from best Cornish clay and combines good old-fashioned quality with modern practicality. It’s pretty, fun and very collectable. She’s been featured recently in several homes and interiors magazines. “We also have a popular glass range designed by Monika Lubkowska-Jonas and produced by her UK company LSA in Poland. “We operate a free complimentary gift wrapping service all year round, which we’ve noticed is particularly popular with our male customers! There is paper and ribbons though if you prefer to do your own thing. “We aim to offer a good, personal service and know most of our regular customers by name. We have a loyal, local clientelle but more and more people are coming from outside, from Berkhamsted, Tring, Amersham and even further afield.” Vicky sources her products from trade fairs craft fairs, magazines and by recommendation and is proud of her range: “I adore the illuminated tree we have in the window at the moment and at the other end of the scale I love the little packs of Christmas stickers we’ve just got in. There’s 80 stickers in each for £4 and they are so cute!” Vicky has a quartet of friendly, knowledgable helpers: Becky, who works full-time and two part-time members of staff. The store is open seven days a week through November and December, 9am5pm Monday-Saturdays and 10.30am-4pm on Sundays: “We have gift vouchers and can also keep a wishlist for customers who would like their partner, friend or relative to know exactly what to choose for them!” she says. Here at Vale Life we are listing the luxurious faux fur throws, cushions (square and heart shaped) and hot water bottles, with the furry hats, boot cuffs and matching scarves held in reserve - well you never know, the weather could take a turn for the worse... l No1, 1 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 623150

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


If you like to feel bit special, one Wendover salon has the red carpet out permanently and will treat you like a celebrity...


ollowing a fabulous refurbishment in June, Wendover’s Red Carpet Hairdressing now has the most stylish and luxurious of salons where clients can experience their high quality ‘red carpet’ treatment. Situated at the bottom end of Wendover High Street on Aylesbury Road, in a former hair salon, Red Carpet is a dream come true, and the result of months of hard work and planning, for Angela Smith, who established her new business there in February 2008. Angela is originally from Aylesbury and has always wanted to be a hairdresser: “I started when I was 13 at Tramps,” she says. “I was there for many years and then went freelance while bringing up my children.” She later worked at a salon in Tring before setting up her own business. “I love Wendover,” she says. “it’s a lovely village with lots of nice shops and restaurants. People come in from quite a wide area. It’s an up-market place which suits the style of the salon I wanted to create.” Red Carpet is stylishly decorated and kitted out with some very cool furniture from Italy, designed by Nicola Andrea Frignani. A special relaxation zone has been added at the back, where clients can enjoy a luxury Moroccanoil


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Angela Smith, owner with Sara Brookes manageress, educator and artistic director conditioning treatment, or just relax, while their colour takes. Nail Technician Helen is available Fridays and Saturdays offering Gelish nails, luxury manicures and pedicures, or a quick ‘shape and paint’. Brow shaping and tinting and spray tans are also available. Angela now has ten staff and offers a tiered styling range with prices dependant on the level of stylist. Model night appointments are occasionally available too. “The name Red Carpet is so people will know they are going somewhere special and will be getting extra special treatment, ‘the red carpet treatment’ we call it,” says Angela. “I have a lovely team, they are very friendly and keen to give the best customer service. We have a fantastic Schwarzkopf colour range and lovely, luxury Pureology shampoos, treatments and conditioners, which is great for colour retention. We also retail TIGI, Pureology, Schwarzkopf, Moroccanoil and GHD products and the girls go on regular courses to be updated on new products, trends and techniques. “ Service is what we concentrate on though. It’s about the whole experience,” says Angela. “You might be able to get a good haircut elsewhere but here you will find a friendly greeting, a great haircut, a good consultation, a lovely head massage, up to date magazines,

(including Vale Life!), luxury products, trained, knowledgable staff and beauty treatments. “We are open later, until 8pm, from Wednesday to Friday and can send text confirmations and appointment reminders.” Angela operates an in-house training system, with external examiners, for her staff and has already, seen one of her girls, Cat, move up through the ranks from trainee to graduate stylist to become a fully qualified stylist. She is currently on the lookout for an additional nail technician to expand on the beauty side: “We do Bridal Hair, Wedding Packages and Hen Parties/Ladies afternoons,” says Angela, “and Gift Vouchers are available for anything from hair services to products. There are some great Christmas gift packs in now too, GHD have some especially good deals.” Red Carpet Hairdressing was recently awarded a maximum five stars by The Good Salon Guide. If you’d like to experience the Red Carpet treatment, book in for a free consultation to discuss what you would like to achieve. See the website, email, phone, or pop in and get to feel like a V.I.P. ! l Red Carpet Hairdressing 8 Aylesbury Road, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6JQ. Tel: 01296 625511 Website: Open Wed-Fri: 9am-8pm, Tue/Sat: 9am-5.30pm



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Clip from recent Location, Location, Location series

Cheese counter

There’s more than fabulous mugs of Monmouth coffee on offer at Wendover’s Whitewaters Café Deli, the friendly oasis is a treasure trove of fine quality foodie delights and the most delicious, freshly-made pizza you can take home and bake too...


t may be tucked away on the corner of Back Street, but Whitewaters Deli Café is a popular spot. There’s usually a handful of shoppers, cyclists or walkers on the sheltered front terrace, even when chilly, (blankets are available) and the cosy interior is the perfect spot for a reviving cuppa, light lunch, or coffee and cake, while perusing the shelves of delicacies and deli counter displays. You may even have spotted it on the Location, Manageress Alison Rosner Location, Location TV show recently, see above. Monmouth way! We sell packets of Named after the chalky local water, Monmouth Coffee too, beans and ground. (Wendover is Celtic for ‘white water’) “We have a relaxed atmosphere here. We Whitewaters Deli Café is owned by Lib offer the highest quality products from an Charlesworth. Her family has been in the area amazing range of top artisan producers, but for at least 300 years and Lib grew up in like to do it in an unpretentious, friendly, Wendover. After some years away, building everyday way. You’ll find our products in a career in marketing, she Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges, returned to the village 10 years the high quality is assured, but we ago with her own family and aim to be approachable, friendly although still enjoying a sucand accessible to all. You will find a cessful career, decided to start warm welcome whether you’d like a up a local business as well, to coffee or a Christmas hamper.” contribute to the community. Lib opened Whitewaters as a “I wanted to put something freshly made pizza shop in 2007, back into the village,” she says, knowing there would be a chance “to be a part of it, and I really Lib Charlesworth to expand and take on the small deli love a great coffee! We serve next door at some point. “I thought Monmouth Coffee which is just fantastic it was a great idea,” she says, “We sold handand we’ve all been on their barista course made gourmet ‘bakeaway’ pizzas, made on the so we know how to make great coffee the premises ready for you to take home and bake. Hamper selection

Lianne Cooper

Pizza chef Maria

They have proved very popular and are still available on a Fridays and Saturdays. “About three years ago we took on the neighbouring unit as well and knocked through, which has given us the space to develop the café and our deli side. “We are becoming known for our lunches,” says manageress Alison Rosner. “You can eat in or take away: soup, chilli, lasagne, tartlets, paninis, cheese platters, paté platters, ciabattas, baps and sandwiches, quiches... all our fresh food is made locally. It changes from day to day. There is a daily special too, today’s is Greek Bean Casserole.” The cheese selection attracts particular attention and locals are already ordering their Christmas supplies - don’t leave it too late! With a mouth-watering choice that includes hand-ladled Colston Bassett Stilton, Sharpham Brie, Lancashire Bombs, 18 month matured Montgomery Cheddar, Spanish Drunken Goat and Smoked Cumberland, amongst others, it’s not surprising - the deli even runs a cheese loyalty card scheme! The charcuterie section is no less impressive: Fennel Salami, King’s Farm Ham, Pastrami, Serrano and Parma Ham, Chorizo, Pancetta, Truffle Salami, Wild Boar Salami, Patés, Snowdonia Cheddar Paté, Antipasta, Olives, Seggiano flavoured oils, a selection of ready meals from Cuddington based Cici Coco Kitchen and for Christmas, seasonal goodies such as Panetonne, hampers and Christmas puddings, plus food-related gift ideas such as ceramic brie bakers and a cookware range. Why not pop down for the late shopping evening on Dec 5th when Whitewaters will be cooking fresh mini pizzas on their wood stove and serving mulled wine. l Whitewaters Deli Café, 5 Chiltern Court, Back Street, Wendover, HP22 6EP Tel: 01296 623331 Email: Website: Deli & Café open: Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm (Fri 6.30pm) Bakeaway Pizzas: Fri 12pm7pm (last orders 6.30pm) Sat: 12pm - 6pm (last orders 5.30pm) Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

It takes a lot to get the people of Wendover excited but a new restaurant that promises top quality food at extremely reasonable prices has got the whole town talking...


e’re aiming to give you one of the best meals you’ve ever had,” says David Howard, head chef and partner in Wendover’s new eaterie, Robina’s Restaurant. “We’re using local produce where possible, venison from Ashridge, local meat and game from The Chilterns. I want to use the best ingredients but keep prices reasonable. All our dishes will be freshly prepared, made and cooked on the premises, our own chocolate, our own breads...” Fine words you might think but David has the training and experience to put his food where his mouth is, so to speak and he grew up in Hemel Hempstead, so taking on the 500 year old high street premises that formerly housed Rossini, with his wife Nicola and brother-in-law Paul, he is virtually on home turf. “My nan got me into cooking when I was a young lad,” he says. “She was called Robina, and we’ve named the restaurant after her. It’s my daughter Maisie’s middle name too. Dave is an accomplished chef and if initial reports and a glimpse of his menu is anything to go by, he has some mouthwatering ideas for dishes. He studied Food Preparation and Service at Cassio College, Watford for three years and then got a training job working for Compass in London. They gave him valuable experience in different aspects of catering, from cafés to private dining and banquets and through their connection with Roux Fine


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Paul Lovell, Nicola Howard, baby Olivia, David and Maisie Robina Howard Dining he also experienced life in some of the top Michelin starred kitchens such as Le Gavroche where celebrity chefs like Marcus Waring and Gordon Ramsey were building their reputations. After four years he took a break to go travelling but couldn’t keep out of the kitchen and was soon working as a sous chef at Manly Ocean Beach House in Australia. Returning home Dave got a post as head chef and manager at The White Hart in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town and steered the pub to win the Punch Shine Pub Award, recognising their food as the best of their 7,500 pubs. Jobs followed at the two AA Rosette Royal Chase in Enfield and at The Noke Thistle in St Albans which gained three AA Rosettes and a Michelin star. “At Robina’s we’re aiming to give people good value. A great meal at a reasonable price. A three course meal for around £30 a head and a selection of good wines priced between £12.50 to £25 a bottle. Our lunchtime ‘Market Menu’ is two courses for £12.95, three for £15.95. Our dishes are served with vegetables included, so you don’t have to spend extra on side orders, although there will be side dishes available for those who want something extra. “We’re aiming for the experience here to be a bit more up market than dining in the local pub, the service will be good and the food even better. It, will be quite different to Rossini with a predominantly English menu.” Starters include dishes such as: Parsnip and Bacon Soup, parsnip crisps and warm English

truffle oil; Pan fried wood pigeon, warm potato and spinach salad; Pan fried scallops, cauliflower purée, smoked black pudding and dressed pea shoots; and Roasted pumpkin and cream cheese risotto, with sage oil Main course examples include: Pork platter of pan fried pork fillet, slow cooked pork belly, smoked black pudding, fondant potato, fine beans and apple and sage jus; or a Herb crusted loin of cod, with chorizo and smoked bacon puy lentils and red wine jus; Pan fried potato gnocchi, sautéed spinach and wild cep mushrooms. Desserts sound equally delicious: Warm chocolate and nut torte with vanilla mascapone; Lemon posset, raspberry compote and homemade shortbread or Poached pear, warm chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Robina’s is already up and running and reports from early diners are already confirming that the food is really excellent. It’s open lunchtime and evening, with a lighter ‘Market Menu’ also available in the day. “Wendover’s a lovely town, the building is fantastic and full of atmosphere, dining at Robina’s will be a lovely experience. I’m aiming to get a Michelin star here eventually,” smiles David. He’s not kidding either! l Robina’s Restaurant, 20 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EA Tel: 01296 707442 Opening times: Mon-Thur: 12noon to 3pm and 6pm to 9.30pm Fri and Sat: 12noon to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm, Sun: 12noon to 4pm Website:


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Pub is ready to party


Apple Sauce with Toasted Almonds: n a gloomy Winter’s day, what could be “Truly delicious,” says Andrea, “the more comforting than flavours worked really well together. Enjoying the cosy surroundings a hearty meal, amid and contemplating the dessert menu, the warm, friendly atmosphere, open fires and ancient, oak-beamed, Andrea found herself rather spoilt character of Wendover’s Shoulder for choice. Luckily Shoulder of Mutton manager, Adam, was on of Mutton. Once the Railway Hotel this size- hand and nudged her towards the able hostelry stands near the station Eton Mess cheesecake “which”, she enthuses, “was just on Pound Street, at the gorgeous. top end of the pretty village high street “Adam took great pride in telling me all offering an extensive that is on offer at the range of delicious, Shoulder of Mutton,” seasonal fayre in a says Andrea. “He has traditional pub setting. Shoulder of been manager for two On her recent and a half years now visit Vale Life reporter, Mutton manager and feels very much a Andrea, was invited to Adam Szczypior part of the village community. choose from the Autumn/ “The pub restaurant serves Winter menu. Her Pork, Chicken freshly cooked dishes utilising and Mulled Cider Paté with Ale seasonal produce plus a traditional Chutney and Crusty Bread starter selection was followed by Aromatic roast on Sundays, which is available from 12pm to 9.30pm. There are a Duck with Calvados and Bramley

range of great value deals available lunchtimes and evenings too. “At the moment they are having a Game Festival, which means, until 19th November, dishes such as Partridge, Pheasant and Venison feature. Coming up are fabulous Festive Fayre menus for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve and a great value Christmas Party Menu, available from 20th November until 2nd January. Your Christmas party organiser can eat for free too, when parties of six or more diners are booked - a welldeserved treat if you are the one with the task! For more details find the pub on the Chef and Brewer website, call 01296 623223, or just pop in. It is open every day from 11.30am.

l The Shoulder of Mutton, 20 Pound Street, Wendover, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EJ Telephone: 01296 623223 Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012



Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

The appearance of an elegant new menswear store in the village of Wendover has surprised some, but owners James and Fah are keen to prove that local shoppers love quality too...


entlemen who like their clothes just so will no doubt have heard of Simon Carter. The quirky but quintessentially English brand made a name first with cufflinks, brooches and men’s accessories but now sports a full range of extremely stylish, beautifully designed and well made clothing that is traditional, with a funky, at times whimsical edge and excellent value for money. Simon Carter can be found in department stores such as Harvey Nichols and John Lewis and he has his own shops in Mayfair and Bloomsbury. This year though Simon Carter boutiques have opened in Great Missenden and now Wendover. This is not just down to the fact that these two relatively small local settlements are a hot bed of sartorial male elegance but due to Wendover businessman James Mickleburgh and his wife Fah. James has a background in textiles and has known Simon Carter for over ten years. He was commercial director of a company that helped start the clothing range some six years ago, developing it to be sold all over the world in an extensive customer base of stores and concessions worldwide, from Australia to India and Tokyo to Canada. James left the company a year ago but loves the brand he had helped build and thought it would be fun to trial running a standalone Simon Carter store as a franchise. A shop unit in Great Missenden was duly chosen and Fah, who is from Thailand and has an MBA in Marketing, took charge of the


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

James and Fah

day to day running of the store. The business has gone well and the couple decided to open another store in the former ‘Le Petit Café’ premises at the top of Wendover High Street. “The Simon Carter brand is unique,” says James, “It’s very English but quite quirky, and very distinct. Materials and prints are exclusive to the Simon Carter Collection, even the Liberty print shirts have had the original 1960s prints re-coloured specially. Bags, cufflinks, watches, gloves, they are all exclusive designs.” The Wendover store has some fabulous suits, stylish sports jackets, gorgeous shirts

and a whole host of very desirable accessories that would make rather lovely and quite reasonable Christmas gifts. Particularly eyecatching are the 25th anniversary Union Jack cufflinks, faced in mother of pearl with an edging of Swarovski crystals. The West End range has cufflinks from £20, watches from £65 and suits from £225, which compares well with standard high street prices, especially when you consider the quality and individuality you are getting. Suits can be purchased with an extra pair of trousers for those businessmen who find their breeches get more wear than their jackets and for those who like their suits made to measure, a bespoke service is offered. You can mix and match materials and styling details from the range and have a unique suit made up just for you, for around £500. “When we opened in Great Missenden it was partly to see how such a store would integrate within a community,” says James. “We’ve been concerned about the lack of investment in local high streets, with less and less quality shopping available. It’s gone well, which shows that people like to shop locally if given the chance. It is our goal to open in towns and villages across the country and similarly support other local communities.” The new Wendover branch is looking good, Scottish knitwear and Winter coats are just in and if you are seeking Christmas gifts, even socks will be acceptable if Simon Carter! l Simon Carter, 6 South Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6EB Tel: 01296 625277 Web: Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-6.30pm Sun: 11am-4pm

l Column: Hero Brown

The urban guide

Are you aways tired... ... of not getting a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone. In fact you’d be amazed how common it is - and how simple the solution can be. It is a bed which you’ve probably never seen nor tried but which has been around for hundreds of years and is proven to help aid sleep and reduce stress.

Our beds...

Hero Brown has swapped the bright lights of the big city for fresh air and farmers markets. The ex-glossy magazine editor now blogs about life in the sticks at and is here to share her urban take on country living with Vale Life Magazine


know Christmas has become a marketer’s dream, a branding event that’s flogged to us from September onwards, but even so, I remain a staunch Yuletide romantic. I adore Christmas and everything to do with it (except carol singers at my door - don’t you find them strangely embarrassing?). Now that I’ve swapped my beamed cottage for a house with ceilings above 4ft, I buy a huge tree - BECAUSE I CAN! - and spend hours decorating it with the children with Bing Crosby on in the background. Then once I have sent the kids to their bedrooms for breaking my favourite baubles and fighting over my musical choices (Bing Crosby not being known for his rap), I get quietly, determinedly sozzled, while I ponder how, yet again, I’ve failed to buy my Christmas presents in time. This year will be different. My challenge is not to just go on Amazon, sort Christmas in one ugly corporate swoop and kill the local shops while I’m at it. Like me, your heart is probably in buying local when you have the time, so with that in mind, here are some ideas for Christmassy bits to help you in your search over the next month or so. If you need Christmas decorations, check out The Swan at Tetsworth Antiques Centre where I picked up over a dozen stunning vintage

Baubles from The Swan, Tetsworth baubles last year (warning: put in your request now as they go fast) or the super-popular Christmas Fayre at Haddenham’s Tythe Barn from Nov 7th. For cute one-offs and stocking fillers, Moreton company Hen and Hammock (www. are ethical and lovely. FROM concept store in Thame remains the epicentre for all things local and effortlessly cool. Can’t be bothered to cook a Christmas lunch? Hartwell House will take the strain for you, as will The Angel in Long Crendon and The Clifden Arms in Worminghall. If you’re escaping the horrendous weather over Christmas and New Year for a sunny holiday (cue *wracking sobs* of jealousy - I’m sorry, I just don’t like you any more) get your cruisewear from Wendover company Hibiscus ( Happy shopping! Follow Hero’s free blogazine Muddy Stilettos for the very best unmissable bits of Bucks and Oxfordshire.

l Can be made firmer or softer in without changing the mattress l Are hygenic beyond all expectations l Contour to every curve of your body, whatever your size, shape or weight l Are adjustable to your preferred temperature (try that with memory foam!) l Maintain your posture, whether you sleep on your front, side or back l Can look modern, traditional, retro, unassuming or even bespoke

Please feel free to come and peek in... we’re happy to show you around, even if you are just curious, or want to try our beds out for fun! Discover the truth about lying. You’ll be pleasantly surprised... and those 3am wake-ups might just become a thing of the past! Open your eyes and your mind to a new sleep.

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10A Bessemer Cres, (off Rabans Lane), 10A Bessemer Cres, (off Rabans Aylesbury, HP19 8TF Lane), Aylesbury, HP19 8TF Tel: 01296 488154 Tel: 01296 488154Sat 9am-4pm Open: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Open: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-4pm Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Wardrobe wonderings... Alex Iszatt’s

Alex Iszatt

Style guru, Alex Iszatt’s tips and tricks for looking your best, plus the latest news on our high street trends...


ress to impress this season. When the weather gets cold we automatically reach for the layers, adding a jumper, thermals and tights to our outfits – but don’t hide away those gorgeous curves girls, it is party time – channel your inner siren and prepare to celebrate. With a diary no doubt full to the brim with festive occasions, now is the time to choose those new wardrobe pieces that will make you the belle of the ball. The 1920s are bang on trend – shimmy across the dance floor in a flapper dress and all eyes will be on you – if girly girl just doesn’t appeal, why not choose a straight cut cigarette pant and team with a fitted blazer? The style will flatter all shapes as it elongates and slims the figure. Brocade is back! Dust off old favourites and upcycle new life into them - embrace eco-friendy, recessionista fashion! Nearly every store has a 20s range at the moment, check out your local Monsoon, Warehouse and House of Fraser. Nothing makes an impact like a body con dress, but don’t be down-heartened if you’ve missed the gym this month or have become addicted to mince pies - slim wear has evolved! There are no more embarrassing girdles, clothing that holds you in can be quite glamorous. If you don’t fancy a latex squeeze you could take a peek at Gok Wan’s inspiring dresses. designed to enhance the silhouette. Gok says: “This collection is different to anything I’ve designed before. Opulent and sophisticated, a collection that offers a touch of elegance for any occasion.” The collection can be found at Sainsbury’s in the TU range and screams grown-up glamour, boasting luxe lace, vintage inspired prints and pretty peplums. Dressing up is fun, whether for an office party or a show-stopping festive bash, but you don’t have to try too hard - team skinny jeans with shoe boots, an ethereal shirt and killer clutch for a lesson in understated chic. Of course, if you choose glitter and sequins - and why wouldn’t you? Don’t overdo the accessories, a contrasting clutch or an on-trend hair accessory will complement your outfit simply and perfectly. At this chilly time of year the icing on your 22

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Simpson Scarf £35 Monsoon

Jacket £28. F&F Tesco

Blue glitter star clutch £39 Therapy, House Of Fraser

Women’s Gold Sequin Hotpants, £17.99, Blue Inc Lavinia flapper dress £109 Available from Monsoon outfit is your coat - it’s cold out there, and no one looks good blue! A faux fur jacket or wrap will assist that inside to outside look, while a fitted coat will give you clean lines and you can enhance your shape with a belt to give you even more WOW. Whatever you do this festive season, do it with flare and style and have fun.

Shoe Boots £25 Matalan

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s it Autumn or Winter we are wondering? It’s hard to tell at this time of year. There’s still a few leaves left on the trees but the nights are drawing in and at Haddenham’s White Hart Studio the wood burning stove has once again taken pride of place in centre of the garden room. There’s a festive tingle in the air too now for the glow of the fire is casting its cosy light onto a twinkling Santa’s Grotto of glittering Christmas trimmings, beautiful seasonal decorations and the most fabulous baubles, wreaths and garlands. They are lovely, high quality decs at very reasonable prices like Shoeless Joe’s lovely tin Santas and robins. In the gift department Orla Kiely candles and diffusers are flying out while, Nordal picture frames and parrot cushions have a popular vintage vibe. Scarves are always in demand as the mercury drops but the must have for your junior pals is an Air Puppy! The cuddley toy range is only available in Selfridges, Harrods and WHS and they are lovely, cute and fun with characters such as Squizzel Mouse, Dangle Bear, Flopsy Bunny and Woofles Puppy, how can you resist... l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun: 11am-4pm Website:

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Christmas Late Night Shopping From 15th November, every Thursday until 8pm Monday 10th to Saturday 15th December, 9am to 6pm Monday 17th to Friday 21st December, 9am to 8pm Saturday 22nd December, 9am to 6pm Free parking after 4.30pm on late nights

Find out more at Follow us on Facebook – Friars Square Shopping Centre Follow us on Twitter – @FriarsSquare

The Tythe Barn at Christmas

Find something different this Christmas

Opening Wednesday to Saturday 9.30am - 5pm, November 7th through to December 22nd

We are decking the beautiful 15thC Tythe Barn with stunning Christmas decorations, gorgeous gifts and unusual stocking fillers. The Tythe Barn, Manor Farm, Church End, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8AH web: 24

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

A mixture of excitement and relief swept through the young ladies of Thame earlier this year with the opening of a new boutique full of trendy, affordable, desirable fashionwear...



hen Isabella’s Closet first opened on Thame’s High Street in May this year, the excitement was palpable. The town has some cracking ladies clothes shops, but none that cater for teenagers with the affordable, on trend selection that owner Marie Crawley has put together. Marie has gone for up and coming brands like Brighton based Sugarhill Boutique whose outfits often feature on TV show Towie, celebrity favourite Ruby Rocks and exclusive to Isabella’s Closet, Irish label Maisy, which Marie discovered and loves so much, that she has bought the distribution rights. Marie is from Towcester. She gained a degree in textiles at Birmingham University and has enjoyed successful businesses both as a stylist and as an interior designer. At one point she had her own interior design business with a huge showroom in Weedon, Northamptonshire and clients that included West Ham United Football Club (she designed the interiors for the new Bobby Moore Stand). A car accident three years ago, meant time out to reconsider her career and she decided to focus on her first love, textiles and clothing once more: “I’ve always been interested in fashion, essentially, unique and quirky clothes,” says Marie, “to me the fashion and the design industry go hand in hand. I’ve done interior design jobs for clients and then ended up being their personal stylist too. “I was ready for a new challenge. I have

Emma and Marie friends in Thame and often come shopping here. It’s a lovely town with lots of nice stores, all doing well in their own niches, but I noticed there wasn’t much clothes-wise for youngsters, none of the usual high street chains, a definite gap in the market. “Clothing crosses over from teen to adult wear quite easily these days and at Isabella’s we stock fashionable clothing for girls and ladies at middle to low prices. “Our clothes generally range from around £18 up to about £70 and we have just introduced shoes and boots from £40 to £60. “I order in small quantities, so items turn around quite quickly and we are constantly getting new stock in, which is more interesting for regular customers.” Isabella’s Closet is named after Marie’s son’s daughter, who was born last January on Marie’s birthday. Marie has two sons and the other, Josh, 19, helps out at the shop as does Emma Morgan, who is from Long Crendon. “It’s going really well,” says Marie. “I took the unit on in March, we renovated and opened in April. Josh is a great help and Emma is becoming a major part of the team. I feel that we are getting established now and already have a lovely regular clientelle. “We keep prices affordable to make our range accessible to all. I aim to have stock that allows you to put a whole outfit together for under £100; say a pair of jeans for £30, a jacket for £35, a nice top for £20 and a necklace for £10. A young lady came into the

shop the other day needing something for that night, on a fixed budget and she left extremely happy, with a whole new outfit. “I’m always on the look out for new things though. Our Irish brand Maisy has been very popular, they are very on trend but also unique and exclusive to us and we have some lovely new party pieces arriving from them in time for the festive season. There’s a lot of new jeans coming in, quite a range of colours, leather look leggings and some lovely tailored blouses by Japanese company Naomi T. Jumpers are popular this season too - dressed up for going out and shorts are still in, we’ve got lots of glitzy, glam, sparkly items, some vintage style and lots of accessories: bags, hats, scarves, jewellery, it’s a real mixture.” Isabella’s Closet has gift vouchers and is looking at setting up a wish book, so you can list items you might like to be given for Christmas and then point your friends and family towards the store. There is also a special ladies night planned for November 28th with a fashion show at the James Figg, Thame in partnership with Thame lingerie shop, Elegance. Ask in store for details. l Isabella’s Closet, 13 High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BZ Tel: 01844 218258 Follow on Twitter @closetisabellas Open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday and 9.30am5pm on Saturdays. Ask in store for details of our extended December opening hours.

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

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Penny Harper


am deeply embroiled in a heady love affair. It’s been going on for about four weeks and it’s beginning to impact on every aspect of my life. The lying and the deceit have already become a part of my daily existence. I live in constant fear of being discovered; finding myself nothing short of exhausted by the double life I am leading. Yes, I am ashamed to admit that I am having an illicit relationship... with my bed. I’m not talking some trampy Tracey-Emin-style relationship either, I’m talking full-on, can’t live without you, love. It began one Saturday in September, when, I have to confess, I’d had a little too much to drink and took solace in the enveloping arms of my eiderdown. I never intended for it to go as far as it did. As the nights drew in I found myself driven to distraction; consumed by thoughts of returning home early and diving straight into bed. Increasingly, I

found myself lying to Mr P. over my whereabouts; convincing him I was at work, or out running, or helping the homeless. I was in the bed-love haze and there was no way I was snapping out of it until… March. How could I have believed that my irrational and now somewhat lethargic behaviour would go unnoticed? It was only really a matter of time before my sordid secret was uncovered. I had ditched the flannel jim-jams and started to dress for bed. I wanted to look and feel nice. I even went to La Senza. I started watching what I ate. I turned down the oranges and the tea that would stain. Instead, I drank sparkling water I kept by my bedside in a small carafe. I started using words like ‘carafe’. I was in too deep but I could not entangle myself from the web I had woven. Yes, I had made my bed and by God was I going to lie in it, as often as possible.

It could only end in tears, and end it did, last Saturday afternoon. Returning home early from work, Mr P discovered me, up to my elbows in Egyptian cotton sheets, my face a tell-tale map of pillow creases, the telly tuned to Come Dine With Me, and various home and lifestyle magazines scattered across the floor. I was like the proverbial rabbit with the juggernaut bearing down on it. Mr P. screamed ‘You’ve not left bed all day!’ I cried ‘we have a rented house without a bath. Is it too much to ask for a little snuggly time?’ The begging was my final humiliation… and then came the ultimatum: ‘It’s the 200 tog or me’. A hush fell in the bedroom, during which I may have taken just a smidge too long to contemplate my future without Mr P. You see, when you come between a woman and her quilt in November, you’re going to

Small Town


get hurt. Of course, I decided to stay with him in the end, and allowed myself to be dragged out and marched up a hill in the sunshine. Who knew November could be quite so pleasant. I do still dream of my undercover lover. We had some good times and I’m sure there could be plenty more in the future. I just need to plan my duvet days with a little more stealth.

Special Open Days at The Gallery Friday 30th Nov Saturday 1st Dec 10am – 3pm Join us for refreshments while you shop for Glass, Gifts and Decorative Accessories Special Offers and Sample Sale will be available on these days

The Gallery Stoneworld 43a Upper High Street, Thame OX9 2DW Mon-Fri 9-5 Sat 10-4 26

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Bespoke soft furnishings, curtains and blinds

For more information or quotation 01844 220035

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

No matter how bleak the coming Winter, keep things warm and colourful this Christmas with a hot Chocolate selection...


hocolate Boutique will soon be enjoying its second Christmas in Princes Risborough and is approaching the yuletide season packed with a fabulous array of festive and feminine winter clothing by top designer labels including Anna Scott, Noa Noa and Desigual. The popular store displays a constantly changing range of affordable, quality brands and unique, specially selected items and has built a loyal customer base since it opened early last year. “We are delighted with the support and custom we have had over the last 18 months,” says owner of Chocolate, Jo Louis. “We have been able to expand our range of labels

Peppercorn and products giving a greater choice to our customers. We are also looking forward to introducing more exciting brands such as Sandwich and Byoung in the New Year.” Desigual has been a Chocolate staple since the early days and is a good example of the kind of clothing that underpins the store’s success. It’s a leading contemporary brand producing stunning coats, beautiful dresses and fabulously colourful tops - unique, standout designs for that key wardrobe piece. With Christmas in mind, Chocolate is well stocked with great gift ideas, from fine hand creams, perfumes and soaps to cosy, winter knits, scarves and gloves, warm winter layers, or that special outfit. There is a fabulous range of jewellery, which now includes a beautiful selection of sterling silver necklaces, rings and earrings. As with all gift purchases in the lead up to Christmas, these can be beautifully gift wrapped for that special touch. Gift vouchers can also be purchased and the boutique can hold your wish list, so that anyone wanting to get you the perfect gift can do so from your own personal selection. Customers old and new are invited to a Ladies evening at the boutique on Thursday 29th November. The doors will re-open from 6pm to 9pm and there will be a glass of bubbly on arrival, colour and image advice from a professional colour consultant and lots of gift ideas on offer. Throughout December, in addition to the normal 9.30am-5pm opening hours, the boutique will stay open for late night shopping on Thursdays until 7.30pm. Whether it is for the Christmas season or Christmas presents, Chocolate Boutique has something for you! And you can expect a warm welcome and help on hand to make your shopping experience a merry one! l 19 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. HP27 0AE. Tel: 01844 346688 Website: Open 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Saturday. Thursdays in December 9.30am-7.30pm

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Column: Emma Ward‘Country Girl’

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Bringing in the sheaves


hey say you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl, which I like to think rings true with me. I was born and raised in the Buckinghamshire village of Whitchurch and now, at the age of 24, I still find myself reluctant to leave, even after being exposed to the delights of ‘townie’ life whilst at university. I remember long conversations with my university peers battling out the pros and cons of city life, with me ferociously defending my countryside corner, eventually earning the nickname ‘country hoyden’... all affectionate of course. This led me to wonder; why do I love the country life so much, when

all my other friends are desperate to get a job in the City and aspire to buy an urban penthouse, 54 floors up? Since the age of 15 I have been heavily involved with my local young farmers club, based in the small market town of Winslow. Every year we have a harvest festival which consists of a church service, during which each club in Buckinghamshire donates a ‘produce box’ for charity. Then we all convene in a nearby village hall for a hearty harvest supper. Now, I know what you’re thinking - It’s not your average 24 year old’s idea of fun. Yes, going to church isn’t considered cool. It’s usually rather cold, you have to sit

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Emma Ward

Country Girl However, most of all, it’s the sense of community, tradition, and simplicity, which I find most appealing. The same thing has been done for generations, not just among young farmers clubs, but in villages all over the country and with the same simple routine. The experience really does ground you. It is times like these that make the countryside such a wonderful place to live. So, you can keep your flashy town house and your Michelin starred restaurant - I’m going back for seconds on the homemade beef stew!



Tel: 07742 361711

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

on uncomfortable wooden pews, sing hymns and listen to a vicar talk about harvest for half an hour. Then you go to a village hall which is usually just as cold as the church and eat stew off plastic plates with plastic cutlery that snaps at the merest hint of a tough piece of meat... Why do I bother going I hear you ask! Well, because singing hymns can be quite fun... especially when you’re next to someone who’s struggling with the high pitched parts. Secondly, the vicar sometimes, believe it or not, talks sense - in our fast-paced, high-tech world (yes, even in the countryside) we sometimes forget to be thankful for the things essential to human existence, for example, food. Thirdly, I can safely say the harvest supper is nearly always as good as any pub grub, costs just a fiver and you can go back for seconds... what’s not to like?!

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Cats are territorial animals and when forcibly removed from familiar surroundings and made to travel to a strange environment, they suffer high levels of stress and sometimes stop eating for days at a time. Regardless of whether you wish to take a holiday or weekend break, make a business trip, go into hospital, or travel away for any other reason, WE OFFER THE BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO A CATTERY. We visit your cat in its home and replenish food/water, service litter trays, fuss and play with your cat, and check that it is well. We have years of cat experience and you can be sure that you are entrusting your cat and home to totally reliable, trustworthy and caring professionals who truly adore cats.

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Set within the beautiful Swanbourne Estate, Home Farm Day Nursery is a small and homely Nursery. Our aim is to provide the highest quality of care and education within a calm and secure atmosphere, allowing the children to flourish. Come and visit; you can be assured of a warm welcome!

Special features of Home Farm Day Nursery include: • Beautiful countryside location • Home cooked food • Baby sign • New Sensory Room • Convenient location for commuters • Close to Swanbourne House and many village schools For details call 01296 720 835, email or visit 15 minutes from: Milton Keynes, Buckingham, Leighton Buzzard, Aylesbury

The professional home cat service for discerning owners Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Is it possible to enjoy Christmas shopping? If only the hunt for a gift was as fun as the giving. The Swan in Tetsworth is a delight at any time of year though and offers a huge range of interesting and inspiring antique gifts, which might just solve all your giving problems in one swoop...


hristmas shopping can be a chore or a delight. Many things will make it the former: the crowds, the queues, grumpy shoppers, rude staff and a lack of choice, but there really is nothing more delightful than finding the perfect gift for someone special and just knowing that they will love it. Considering that most of us are shopping for several gifts at Christmas you might be forgiven for thinking that getting it absolutely right every time is just not possible. Well you need to think again! At The Swan in Tetsworth, near Thame, it is not just possible that you will find the perfect gift for each and every family member and friend under one roof, it is in fact, highly likely. With 40 rooms full of antiques supplied by over 80 different dealers, including silver, jewellery, clocks, watches, porcelain, glassware, fine art, textiles, kitchenalia and gardenalia,

30 30 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

and with prices ranging from £5 to £5000, there is potentially something for every personality and pocket. There’s even scrummy hand-made chocolates - new, not antique! Even better - when you do find the perfect gift it will also be unique, it will come with impeccable ecological credentials, (recycling is in!) and it will be totally personal and so much more special for that. And what of those other things that make Christmas shopping a chore? The Swan has them covered as well - the atmosphere is relaxed, there is plenty of off-road parking, there are experienced, friendly staff on hand to offer any help you might need and best of all, there is a lovely restaurant serving brunches, lunches and afternoon teas should you need a break. If you haven’t visited The Swan before the Antiques Centre is open daily from 10am until 6pm. There will also be a special Christmas

Shopping Evening from 6-8pm on Thursday 6th December. The restaurant will be serving dinner (booking is recommended) and in addition to whittling down your gift-list you will be able to sample and buy/order an exclusive range of wines, cheeses, Christmas cakes and *wreaths. You may, if you are lucky, even manage to wrap up most of your Christmas shopping in one enjoyable and stress-free night! Now wouldn’t that be delightful? * There is a Christmas wreath-making day at The Swan, is on Dec 7th, see: for full details. l The Swan at Tetsworth, High Street, Tetsworth, Nr Thame, OX9 7AB Telephone 01844 281777 Email Website Restaurant Telephone 01844 281182

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Tokyo Milk

It can be a struggle finding that perfect present but at Powder in Thame there is the most luxurious selection of premium beauty, skincare and bathing products and they giftwrap too...


owder has been open on Thame’s Buttermarket for over two years now. The independent beauty store specialises in quality, products luxury niche brands that are a little different. Ideal if you’d like to spoil yourself, or find a lovely gift for someone special. “It’s been going really well,” says owner Karen Moore. “People have gradually discovered us, our base of regular customers has grown and we’ve responded to demand by introducing some new lines. “Our new perfume range, Tokyo Milk is a bit different, it’s by American perfumier Margot Elena who created the Love & Toast brand. It’s quirky and very modern, with scents like ‘Sea & Sky’ ‘French Kiss’ and ‘Dead Sexy’. “Crabtree and Evelyn is very popular, we do their bath and shower gels and also home fragrance diffusers and candles. It’s great for gifts as there’s a range of fragrances and people love to have their handwash and lotion sets on display. It’s really nicely packaged - they do little vanity cases and washbags with products inside that start at around £10, they are one of our best sellers. We also stock English luxury brand, Miller Harris which has a Assistant Becky lovely range of is happy to help perfumes and with tips and candles that advice, or a bit are popular all of wrapping year too.

“We try and ensure we have a good range of inexpensive items that are handy for little gifts and ‘Secret Santa’ presents, there’s bath bombs and compact mirrors, lip balms, soaps, ideal gifts at under £5. “Rosy Rings is a new range of luxury scented candles. They are handmade from soya wax and have lovely natural fragrances. Each candle is actually two candles, one inside the other so the inside burns down leaving the outside shell and creating lovely effects. “Bomb Cosmetics have a gorgeous range of essential oil bath blasters, brulees, mallows and creamers, which look good enough to eat but actually melt in the bath. They look stunning and make great stocking fillers. They can be bought individually for just £2.09 or in gift packs. “Dr Hauschka, Caudalie and Medik8 are our main skincare ranges. They are extremely good quality and very popular and we have just taken on ‘thisworks’ - a natural British skincare range. Dr Hauschka has some great little tin travel kits which is a nice way try out

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their products and good for presents too. We stock the Dr Hauschka and Susan Posnick mineral makeup ranges and also the ARTDECO range which is used on many of the TV soaps - come in and see why the celebs love it! We have a huge range of Mavala’s high quality nail polish shades too.” Powder has a fabulous range of potential presents and offers a friendly, personal service, so if you’d like advice on a range or to try a product they are happy to help. They also gift, so whether it’s one item, or a little gift selection, they will make sure it looks lovely and if you really can’t choose, Powder gift vouchers are always a nice surprise! See the Powder website for details of products or to buy online. l Powder, 17a Buttermarket Thame, Oxon, OX9 3EP Tel: 01844 214816 Email: Website:

Rosy Ring candle

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

‘People live longer and feel healthier in later life,’ says surgeon Adrian Richards, “and they want that to reflect in their faces.”


ast issue our Beauty Spot column focused on microdermabrasion and the skin scanner at Aurora Skin Clinic in Princes Risborough. Aurora caters for a wide range of treatments and procedures though and combines the talents of a highly skilled and dedicated group of plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and aesthetic practitioners. Consultant plastic and cosmetic surgeon Adrian Richards, is Clinical Director and the man behind Aurora. Originally from Maidenhead he trained in Oxford and London and following further specialist training in Australia and America came to the Vale in 2001 to work as A&E consultant at the Regional Plastic Surgery Centre in Stoke Mandeville. He set up Aurora in 2006 The company has three strands, Aurora which offers plastic surgery, Aurora Skin Clinic, which caters for non-surgical treatments and procedures such as peels and fillers and a training arm, Cosmetic Courses. “Our ethos is to give high quality plastic surgery and advice to people in the local area,” says Adrian. “We deal with everything from hand surgery to skin cancer, dermal fillers, broken veins, Botox, plastic surgery and advice on sun cream and skincare products.” “We have a range of specialist surgeons and nurses with expertise in different fields: skin worries, breast enlargement or reduction, facelifts, tummy tucks, you can see the range on our website and even watch a video of the procedure or have a DVD supplied to see what is involved. “People are living longer today and feeling fitter and healthier in later life. They may feel that the way they look, their face in particular, doesn’t reflect that. “Facial ageing is due to four main factors: your skin; active lines caused by muscle activity; volume loss; and gravity. Muscle relaxing injections such as Botox smooth active lines like frown lines, whereas fillers can be used to restore lost volume. The treatments mostly take around 30 minutes and the effects will last between six months and a year. “Minor operations and beauty treatments can be done at our Princes Risborough base, while surgery is undertaken by us at the 32

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Above, Caroline having a dermal filler at Aurora Clinic in Princes Risborough Shelburne Hospital in Wycombe.” Caroline Pammant, pictured above, is a member of Adrian’s admin team. She started working in cosmetic surgery having discovered for herself the benefits, both physical and emotional of being treated. Caroline had been through a tough time. Her partner passed away after suffering a brain tumour and the strain took a severe toll: “I must have looked bad,” says Caroline. “as my mother suggested having a Botox treatment, and said she would pay! “I took a good look in the mirror and didn’t recognise myself, I seemed to have aged over night. It was really upsetting, I just thought that was it, I’d be on a downward spiral from now on, but I was wrong. “I was living in Northampton and went to a local clinic for a Botox treatment. I got on really well with the people there and ended up working for the company. I learnt just what the treatments could do and had further procedures: filler in my nose to mouth lines, in my lips and my cheeks, as well as Botox to my forehead and around and between my eyes. Because the filler contains hyaluronic acid I

Adrian Richards

Above, Caroline as she is today. Right, at a low, before she started treatments have found that the texture of my skin has improved immensely since. The treatments are complemented by using the right aftercare products for your skin too. “Now I meet people in the street and they remark how well I look and ask why I am not ageing as they are. Some I tell and others I don’t! My confidence has improved enormously and I feel I can face the world again and not feel embarrassed. I now work at Aurora and have had further treatments from our fabulous nurses, Libby and Ruth. It has been a lovely experience. They are very caring and take the time to talk through everything first, which puts you at your ease, especially if it is a treatment you have not experienced before. “I have been in the aesthetic profession for five years now and have seen it improve peoples lives so much, giving them a new confidence with which to face the world. l Aurora Skin Clinics, BMI The Paddocks Clinic, Aylesbury Road, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0JS Tel: 0800 328 5743 / 01844 390110 Website:

Anti-wrinkle Treatment Dermal Fillers Mesotherapy Dermaroller Skin Peels Skin Consultations Microdermabrasion Hyperhidrosis Treatment

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The Gatehouse Clinic

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82 Billing Road, Northampton NN1 5DF

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Telephone: 01604 875040

Tel: 01844 211777

Complimentary Scalp Massage, Hand Massage and Make-up Refresh

BrothersThame Brothers - Oxford Brothers - Thame 16 Buttermarket, Thame, OX9 3EP Tel: 01844 217365

16 Buttermarket, Thame, OX9 3EP 57 The High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AS Brothers - Oxford 57 The High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AS Tel: 01865 250696 Tel: 01844 217365 Tel: 01865 250696 Brothers - Marlow 58 West Street, Marlow, SL7 2BP Tel: 01628 484717

Sept/Oct2012 2012 Vale Life : Nov/Dec

Amanda Trott

A girl likes to look her best when party time rolls around, so take a leaf out of Cleopatra’s book and make your mark with some simple but stunning nail transfers from Monera, Thame...


he history of nail painting dates back as early as 3000BC when Chinese royalty used a variety of substances including petals, beeswax, egg whites, silver and gold, to colour their nails. In Egypt both men and women would paint their nails to indicate social status. The royals used deeper colours, while the lower classes used paler tones. Modern nail painting first became fashionable in Europe and the US in the 1920s with the introduction of automobile paint! By 1925, women painting their nails could use a rosy red colour which was normally applied only to the centre of the nail and not to the moons. By the 1930s, the Revson brothers introduced a range of nail colours and founded Revlon. Shortly after, Max Factor created several dark colours designed to cover the entire nail, although right up to the 1950s traditional manicures involved polish that did not cover the moon or the tip of the nail. Nail decoration has come a long way since then. Most salons will tell you that ‘nails’ are one of their most popular services. Acrylics, gels and now Gelerations (a type of semi permanent nail varnish) are extremely popular and can be used to create anything from a natural French manicure through to sexy, glossy coloured nails. But, with fashion never one to stand still, there’s now a new contender on the scene, Minx. I went along to Monera on North Street, Thame to find out what all the fuss is about. I was introduced to my therapist, Danielle, who led me into one of the salon’s pedicure rooms where I was offered magazines and a variety of refreshments. After shaping my toenails, tidying my cuticles and sloughing off any rough skin with an electric foot file, my feet were gently exfoliated using Jessica’s Zen Spa Enzyme Scrub, before a soak in a soothing foot spa. One at a time Danielle removed my feet from the bath, patted them dry and proceeded with a soothing foot massage using another Jessica product, Zen Spa Citrus Soufflé, which left my feet feeling wonderfully refreshed and revived and me, blissfully relaxed. Then came the fun bit! Danielle showed me a huge selection of foil transfers, some 36

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Danielle works on Amanda’s feet trimming toenails, sloughing dead skin and tidying cuticles

Applying the Minx transfers

Smoothing down

Trimming off

Filing edges

metallic, some patterned, and in all sorts of in the day to day running of the salon by two colours and designs ranging from a subtle managers: Gemma, who is a nail specialist and silver lace pattern through to leopard skin and Laura whose speciality is skincare. neon yellow! I chose a design called Japanese Monera offers a wide selection of beauty Blossom. Danielle then carefully peeled the treatments, from a simple eyebrow shape, nail shaped transfers off the sheet and with to a selection of facials, massage, eyelash the use of a UV Infrared light, gently warmed extensions, thread vein therapy and much my nails and the transfers, to help them more (see their website: become more adhesive, before applying them for a full list of treatments and prices). to my toes using tweezers and a ‘hoof ’ to Karen is proud of the fact that she and smooth them across the entire nail. her well established team offer the highest Once she had completed both feet, she let standard of treatments and have built a loyal them cool down for a minute or two to enable following of clients who return on a regular the adhesive to set and then very carefully basis. trimmed off and filed away any excess. The salon is open from 9am-8pm, MonThe result - amazing Thur, 9am-6pm on party nails that on feet Twinkly toes: Minx, Japanese Blossom Fridays and 9am-4pm on can last up to 8 weeks Saturdays. Throughout and on hands, a week or December, the salon will two - so perfect for the also open on Sundays, Christmas party! I chose ideal for pre-Christmas the full Minx pedicure treatments and a little (£43) but if you prefer shopping too. Monera you can just book for a has a large selection Minx application (£25). of skincare and make up available to purchase Owner, Karen Case, founded Monera and gift vouchers can be made up for any Beauty Clinic over 20 years ago and has been amount - perfect gifts for us ladies this in her current North Street location for the Christmas! last twelve. Her team of three receptionl Monera Beauty Clinic, 62-63 North Street, ists and 12 therapists are highly trained and Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3BH continue to add to their skills with additional Tel: 01844 260454 training throughout the year. Karen is assisted Website:

Providing the ultimate salon experience

Add a little Autumn colour... What’s new at Eclipse by Vicki This is Sandy, the lucky winner of our Vale Life Magazine Win a Makeover competition. Readers wrote stating why they should be picked and we just had to choose Sandy when we heard her amazing story... Sandy has lost 9 stone over the last 2 years for health reasons and has gone from a size 30 to a size 10, which is an incredible achievement in itself! When she came to us Sandy had very short hair, which fell forward and looked a little lifeless. Her existing hair colour wasn’t complimenting her skin tone either. We discussed a change of colour and a change of style to give Sandy a fresher,

Sandy with Ashleigh and Vicki of Eclipse Hair Design younger look. We decided to leave the length on the top and take the sides and the back a little shorter to add some style and definition. We picked a new colour to warm up her complexion, a gold red tone from our new Chromatics range, keeping to the same level and placing a few flashes of contrasting darker, copper tone at the front, to add texture and warmth

to her hair. We finished the look by using a Philip Kingsley thickening spray and Redken’s wax blast and hairspray to complete the look. Sandy’s hair looked fabulous, so to complete her makeover and give her the pampering she deserved, we called upon Annie at MBNS to apply some subtle but stunning makeup by Bare Essentials (a very big thankyou Annie).

The pictures above show the transformation and most important of all Sandy was thrilled with her new look: “I’ve loved my experience at Eclipse today,” she said. “This is the first competition I’ve ever won and I feel like I’ve had a celebrity makeover. Thanks for giving me my confidence back!” Thanks to all of you who wrote in to apply for the makeover, I’m sorry you weren’t lucky this time, but we will do this again, so keep your eyes peeled! l Other news at Eclipse... Christmas is creeping up on us and we have some great gift ideas from Redken and Philip Kingsley and the new GHD’s too, so pop in and have a look, our Christmas gifts will soon be on display.

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... visit our website for up to date information and promotions... Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov 2012

Our House by Melanie Parr


ight... Take a deep breath... Christmas is coming! This year, why not brighten up the festive season with an eye-popping display of brightly coloured decorations and homeware? Take inspiration from our selection, available in local stores, or if you’re not feeling quite so brave, don’t worry - there’s plenty of brilliant items on offer to help create a more muted theme. Cargo (18 Cornmarket, Thame and 19-20 High Street, Aylesbury; is leading the way this season with neon-bright decorations. Prancing reindeer come in lime, cerise, purple or turquoise and make a fun addition to the festive mantelpiece - play safe with one colour, or mix and match for the full effect. Tillynilly (The Stoneworld Gallery, 43a Upper High Street, Thame; www. has equally dazzling brights for the Christmas table that Oval co-ordinate perfectly. enamelJohn Lewis (Holmers Farm coated Way, High Wycombe; www. bowls, has lots of from Origami kitschy bits and bobs, Tillynilly including Japanese Doll Kimono tree decorations, Egg baubles, and, for every John Lewis fashionista, cute Origami Kimono decorations to hang on the tree. Its Livingly paper decorations are fun and eco-cool, and will have your tree zinging with primary colours, perfect against a white interiors palette. Team with New Japan John Lewis has the cosy snow chalet look (left); wooden tree, Ginger Interiors


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Fed up with dragging tired old decs out of the loft? Make this Christmas all about fun, and the more colourful the better...

table linen for a beautifully different but nonetheless festive table. Meanwhile, over at The Lighting Bug (26 Upper High Street, Thame; www.the, Emma Stanford is excitedly Japanese looking forward to Doll Egg Christmas with some lovely bauble (left), chains of lights, such as the Cabana John Lewis; Chic, the Kasbah and the sparkly and springy Whirly Twirly. As well as Whirly the shop in Thame, you can also catch her at the Twirly lights Waddesdon Christmas Fair on November 8-11 (right), The (10.30am-4.30pm daily). Lighting Bug


f all the bright stuff is just... well... a little too bright for you, glowing angels. the ice-cool Lapland cabin look Scandi-lovers might be more your thing. will find plenty of whiteThe shops are filled to the brim washed wooden treats at with snowy delights. John Lewis’s Ginger Interiors, while white look is all about texture Origami Stars, FROM’s sleek, wooden and style, with snow-capped The Lighting Bug snowflakes and hearts fake trees, lovely faux-fur rugs, can be painted to create owl-shaped candles, glass and felt your perfect white Christmas. decs, and even a knitted reindeer head thrown in for good measure. White baubles (top) and knitted Meanwhile, The Lighting Bug has reindeer, John Lewis ethereal chains of origami stars and

Felt So Good advent calendar, John Lewis

Vale Life : Nov 2012


Prancing reindeers (above and left), Cargo; Livingly decorations and New Japan table linen (right), John Lewis l Melanie Parr is a home interiors journalist with many years’ experience on a range of well-known homes magazines. If you have a features idea, or would like your business featured, please email

rom the berries on the holly bush to Rudolph’s nose, red is the very epitome of Christmas, and is the perfect choice if you want to pull off a more traditional look. But red doesn’t have to be old-fashioned as there is plenty out there to put the interiors fun into the festive season. Head to FROM for illuminated Christmas canvases (left), Ginger Interiors (www.ginger for brilliantly tongue-in-cheek wooden plaques (above), or John Lewis (top) for quirky baubles.


North Mill  Road,   Bledlow,  Bucks   HP27  9QP     (Showroom  by  Appointment)  

01844 342400    

Charnwood C-­‐Seven    

Vale Vale Life : Life Nov/Dec : Nov 2012

3 39

Many happy returns! Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012



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stock too, which are like bean bags for dogs, they love them!” “We offer free local delivery,” says Jenna. “Our customers are coming from many of the surrounding villages now as well as Winslow itself. “We cater for all types of animal, mostly it’s dogs, cats, chickens, reptiles, small mammals such as rats, mice, chinchillas and rabbits, but I’m happy to order in if someone has an unusual pet or particular requirements. I always prefer to stock, healthy foods with clearly labelled natural ingredients though.” It’s an exciting time in Winslow, on November 29th the Christmas lights are being switched on and all the shops are open until 9pm, then it’s the Christmas Farmers’ Market on Sunday, December 2nd. All the shops will be open and there should be quite a festive buzz in the air. “Val of Dogsbody Design Canine Grooming Salon (www.dogsbody in Winslow has been

al items from all

ove r

open a year too,” says Jenna. She’s lovely and very good with dogs, she has a Diploma in Dog Behaviour as well as Canine Grooming and a Canine First Aid qualification.” Jenna knows a fair bit about animals. She’s owned quite a few over the years and studied for a Diploma in Animal Care and Husbandry at St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. Unique Pets has a good-sized garden out back, and Jenna has had a lot of fun organising puppy socialising events this year with dog behaviourist Jez Rose along to give owners helpful tips. “I just love animals,” says Jenna. “People are welcome to come in for a browse and a chat and to tell me about their pets!”

l Unique Pet Boutique, 61 High Street, Winslow, Bucks, MK18 3DG Tel: 01296 715697 Email: Website:

www. the


Tel: 01296 415035


ld or

8 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ

Be au

Jenna Tomlins and Gus

enna Tomlins, pictured, runs Unique Pets on Winslow High Street. Her business is celebrating its first birthday on December 1st and she has ordered a special consignment of delicious Deli Estrella mince pies for the occasion - these are treats for her customers, not their pets! Jenna’s pet store is already proving incredibly popular with pet owners from across the area. Jenna loves animals and takes great care to ensure that any products she stocks are good, healthy ones, that will enhance the welfare of her customers’ pets. “We’ve got the new treats in from Billy & Margot, as seen on Dragons Den,” say Jenna, “and I’ve got handmade-in-Winslow Christmas stockings for cats and dogs - they’re lovely, all individual and unique, you can choose your stocking and then select five items to put in it and you get 10% off - Happy Christmas! “I’ve now got cuddle cube beds in


w Wall art w Clocks w Candles w Lamps w Mirrors w Vases w Ornaments w Homeware w Prints w w Fireplace sets w Signs w Furniture w Kitchen & Dining w Gifts w Cards w Mats w Handcrafted Fairtrade Products w 40

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Top Prices In Cash Forprecious Your Top Prices PaidPaid In Cash For Your Scrap Precious Metals Including scrap metals including unwanted jewellery, Unwanted Jewellery, Coins & Watches. coins &Part watches. Part Exchange Available Exchange Available


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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Wood and stone flooring can look fantastic in the home, but a Floor can beHuntington more practical andFlooring look every bit as good... ProjectCharles


Project floors are hard wearing and ideal for inyl flooring has really come on in recent years and there are now areas•Expert that may need cleaning regular, get wet, Advice or suffer a lot of traffic: kitchens, bathrooms, several companies that produce •Professional Fitting tiles and planks that hallways, dining rooms... being •Very Competitive resistant to moisture and hudo amazing impressions of midity they won’t floorboards and flagstones. for Residential and swell, crack or David Castellano of Charles break even if there are spillages, Commercial work or they need mopping and they Huntington Flooring has been •Carpets all over under-floor particularly impressed by the canto be suit installed heating. Project Flooring range, which Budgets “Some of the wood effect incorporates carefully selected •Free Quotes planks even come textured with surface textures and micro•No Obligation ‘saw marks’,” says David. “They bevelled edges to deliver a are very durable, but if you do truly realistic appearance. •Free Parking have an accident and somehow “They really do look authentic,” says David, “not just at first glance but on damage the flooring, it is quite easy to replace a section. We lay it onto a screed on your closer scrutiny. The sound underfoot is very CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS subfloor, or put ply down to make a flat natural too. Project Floors is great value for SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • base BINDING on suspendedTAPES floors as you would money too, as it’s not yet a particularly well CARPETS with most tiling.” known brand.”

We have a selection of Project Floors in our showroom at Duck Farm Court inAdvice Aylesbury •Expert and individual •Professional Fitting samples can be sent •Very Competitive to your home. The tilesResidential are 2mm thickand for with a range of work Commercial wear layers from .22mm to .8mm which is one •Carpets to suit all of the thickest on the market.” With various installationBudgets options, different design combinations and•Free the useQuotes of texture and feature strips, the Project Floors range •No Obligation offers endless possibilities for interior design.

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l Charles Huntington Flooring, 23 Duck farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, HP20 2SQ Tel: 01296 337181 • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS Website:

•Expert Advice Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES •Professional Fitting Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment 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, STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN ON QUALITY OR SERVICE l Independent, family run carpet l Exclusive suppliers of Roger Oates’ l Extensive range of23traditional Charles Huntington Flooring to all beautiful yetsuit hard-wearing runners and flooring specialists. and contemporary flooring •Carpets Charles Huntington Flooring Charles Huntington Flooring NOT BE BEATEN QUALITY OR SERVICE •Expert Advice and rugs inON our local area Charles Huntington Flooring l Expert fitting service. at competitive prices. WE WILL Budgets •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 Parkingvinyl, •Free l Carpet, sisal,Parking coir, hardwood •Free Parking l Domestic and commercial

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Trilogy Interiors of Risborough

Supplying quality and affordable kitchens, bedrooms and home studies to Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire & beyond l Complete project management & kitchen design service l Creating individual kitchens at prices that don’t cost the earth l Local company supplying & installing kitchens for over 15 years l Vast range of styles - traditional to contemporary, character oaks to modern vinyls. l Replacement door and worktop service l All

major brands of appliances

l See website for details of bespoke fitted wardrobes, bedrooms & home studies

Also suppliers and installers of Home Studies & Beautifully crafted bedrooms

Trilogy Interiors, 38 Bell Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 0AD Tel/Fax: 01844 344387 Website:

Amazing offers from

Great deals on solid pine bedroom furniture

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Package 1 - Save £150 ! Now only £729.99 Viewing by appointment Tel: 01844 202418

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5ft Bedstead 2 Door Wardrobe 4 Drawer Chest 2 x 3 Drawer Bedside Chests 3 Drawer Dressing Table Stool & Swivel Mirror

Crendon Furniture Outlet, Unit 4C, Drakes Drive, Long Crendon Industrial Estate, Long Crendon, Bucks, HP18 9BA 44

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Christmas Shop Milton Common, OX9 2JL

Gifts, decorations, wreaths, flowers, cards, local produce, hand-painted furniture, curiosities!


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Pinefinders Old Pine Furniture Warehouse Tel: 01844 291231

Win tickets to every film at Thame Cinema this season


ince 2001 Thame Cinema has been screening interesting and unusual films at the Thame Players Theatre in Thame. Films have included popular British blockbusters such as Ralph Fiennes’ powerful adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus; Calender Girls, The Kings Speech and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy through to delights like Moonrise Kingdom, My Week with Marilyn and Nostalgia for the Light - a recent film of heart-stopping beauty and devastating horror. Details of forthcoming films can be found on their website: Based in the delightful Thame Players Theatre on Nelson Street, with around 100 seats, this ‘boutique’ cinema is intimate and exudes a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. At £5 a ticket, a price that has remained the same for nearly a decade, it is great value too. It is run as a ‘not for profit’ venture by a team of local people with a love of good films, who continually invest in improved projection and sound equipment. 2013 sees the centenary of the Players Theatre and to celebrate

The new ultimate collection gives you the best of all worlds

Thame Cinema is offering one lucky person a voucher for a pair of tickets to every film they screen in 2013 (there’ll probably be about 15) worth £150. To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, simply email your name, address and tel number, along with the answer to the following question to: . You can’t lose, as every person who enters will be emailed a voucher to any one film screening - valid until March 31, 2013. All entrants will be emailed details of the films as they are scheduled. Vouchers cannot be exchanged for other shows at Thame Players Theatre and have a monetary value of £0.001p. The film Coriolanus is based on a play of the same name written by a famous English playwright. Who is he? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by Dec 4th, 2012. l Thame Cinema 4 All at The Players Theatre, Nelson Street, Thame. For more information call Tony Harrison on 01844 214372, email or visit our website:


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Pinefinders Old Pine Furniture Warehouse is situated between Oxford and Aylesbury in the small village of Haddenham, just outside the market town of Thame. Probably the largest old pine shop in the region, we sell beautifully restored genuine antique pine furniture, which we import from all over Europe. All of our furniture can be seen in our warehouse and on our website. We are committed to keeping our website up to date, our prices as low as possible, and can deliver anywhere in the UK. We are open Fridays 10am - 4pm, Saturdays 10am - 5pm, and any other time by appointment.

Pinefinders Old Pine Furniture Warehouse, Unit 7 Alexander House, Thame Rd Industrial Est, Haddenham, Aylesbury, Bucks HP17 8BZ Tel: 01844 291231 Website:


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All areas covered, Call now for a free no obligation quotatio Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012 45 Tel 01844 351294 Mob 07724 283312

l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Join the homegrown revolution


llotments - once the preserve of old chaps in caps who knew how to grow giant onions - have undergone an evolution in recent years. And one man who wants to turn that evolution into revolution is James Wong, presenter of Grow Your Own Drugs, self-confessed obsessive foodie and Kew-trained botanist. Naomi has been chatting to James about his book Homegrown Revolution: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Win James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution book! James has teamed up with seed giants Suttons to produce a range of 30 Homegrown Revolution seeds including Cucamelons, Radish Mooli, Goji Berries and Wild White Strawberry. To be in with a chance of winning James’ latest book, or the second prize of 10 packets of seeds from the Suttons Homegrown Revolution range, simply answer the following question and send with your name, address and telephone number to: Question: At which London botanic gardens did James train? Winners to be drawn at random and notified by email by Dec 4th.

Q: How is your book different to the other grow-and-cook books out there? A: With precious few exceptions all the hundreds of ‘grow your own’ textbooks out there only focus on a maximum of, say, 20 crops. Yet with far more than 2,000 delicious, easy-to-grow and super-productive crops thriving perfectly well here, this means that pretty much all gardening books are ignoring 99.9% of potato in the yield what we could be and flavour stakes. growing! My book aims to Q: Is there make a start at resomething in your dressing this balance homegrown revoluby explaining how to tion book that you’d grow, cook and eat recommend for a huge collection of children to grow? weird and wonderful edible treats. I have A: Yes! Lots of also personally tested Wild white strawberries things! Check out all of these to ensure the section on Natural ‘Artificial’ that every plant is both easier to grow than a spud in the UK, yet far Sweeteners, for super sugarymore exciting to eat and expensive flavoured crops that won’t rot your teeth or make you fat. to buy. Alternatively why not grow your Q: What’s your favourite plant to own popcorn, which can be popped in the microwave whole, where grow and to eat? A: At the moment it has to be the the cobs will somersault in the air Chilean guava (Ugni mollinae). Re- to spit out little white clouds of deliciousness. No kidding! putedly Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit, they combine the flavour of Q: Do you have a favourite recipe pink guavas, wild strawberries and in the book? candy floss – all on a super easyA: I think it has to be Dahlia to-grow, ornamental plant with Yam Rosti - made from the roots of stunning scented flowers. the exact same dahlias that adorn Q: If you could persuade us all to suburban front gardens all over the UK. Believe it or not, these plants grow just one ‘different’ vegetable were introduced to the UK as a what would it be and why? promising new root veg, while runA: Three words: New Zealand ner beans (not to mention tomatoes Yams (Oxalis tuberosum). They’re and potatoes) originally came to far easier to grow than a potato, our shores as ornamental plants. coming in every colour of the rainbow and with an iron-clad blight Q) Which of the plants in your resistance. If we have another book has the most interesting, or summer like this past one, where surprising properties blight has decimated spuds, these I am a huge fan of Peruvian delicious multi-coloured yams will Ground Apples, which produce easily outshine the boring old enormous, sugary tubers that taste Tomatillo like a cross between pears and water chestnuts. Their roots can be eaten both as a dessert ‘fruit’ - like a pear - or as an exotic vegetable – 46

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2012

Make your own

Green Tea!

James Wong

Cucamelon like water chestnuts. Run ‘em through a juicer and simmer the resultant liquid down in a saucepan and you will get a thick, caramel-coloured, maple-like syrup

Tea Plant Camellia sinensis is an attractive evergreen shrub, which grows well in Europe with a little frost protection. As a special offer for Vale Life readers Suttons are offering: 1 x 10cm pot plus three packets of seed (Chop Suey Greens, Goji Berry, and Chinese Chives) for just £10.99, saving more than £7 Buy from their website: or telephone: 0844 922 0606 quoting: VL112

that is delicious on waffles and pancakes. The best thing? The sugars they contain are not absorbed by the human body - creating a super low-calorie sweet treat.

Telephone: 01844 208401 Mobile: 07732 329118 Email: Website:

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 Competitive pricing throughout the year  An extensive range of luxury German kitchens

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It’s cool to care


leather bracelet. Each of the beads is handmade with a sterling silver core (prices start from £16.95). Some of the beads are dedicated to young people who have inspired Young Pioneers, some to a core programme and if all seven are collected, together they represent the values and vision of Young Pioneers - Leading Change, Overcoming Adversity, Being Successful, Global Change, Community Action, Training Others, Be Healthy. The Have a Heart necklace and earrings are available in pink or blue glass and prices start from £14.95. If you’d like a chance to win a fabulous Have A Heart pink necklace, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Who created Young Pioneers? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by Dec 4th.

50th Anniversary Concert of Benjamin Britten's

WAR REQUIEM CHARLOTTE NEWSTEAD, Soprano PETER WILLIS, Tenor QUENTIN HAYES, Baritone   The Newman Singers and  the Newman Chamber Ensemble with  Oxford Sinfonia Wantage Parish Church trebles and  members of Wood Green School Witney  Junior choir conducted by Jonathan Cox  Organist Sarah Lister

SALLY MEARS, Conductor

l For more information visit www. or

Tickets £25  (£20 concessions, £10 students) from the Town Hall Box Office, or at  Tels: 01235 550232, 01235 521412 Refreshments included 

All proceeds go to the Kianda Foundation, Kenya

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nspired by the charity Young Pioneers which has helped over 6,000 vulnerable British children, Wild Ivy Jewellery has created a beautiful collection of Italian Murano Glass jewellery and the sale of each piece helps to support a young person to overcome adversity. Four years ago, after being hospitalised by an attack from school bullies, twelve year old Luke Lancaster decided to make it ‘cool to care’ and created Young Pioneers - a new kind of charity and youth movement. Young Pioneers enables young people with the skills they need to overcome adversity, be successful and lead change. The charity provides educational programmes and support services that motivate vulnerable young people to progress in life and these programmes are delivered by children and young adults. The Young Pioneers Bead Collection is a bespoke bead collection to be worn on either a silver or

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Doug Kennedy loves The Chilterns. For years he has been walking, running and photographing their natural beauty and has now published a book of his favourite images, Chiltern Landscapes... Doug Kennedy


oug Kennedy is a complex soul, an accomplished guitarist and guitar teacher, poet, writer, composer, biology teacher, computer buff, bespoke database wizard, blogger, environmentalist, nature lover and keen photographer - he flits from the arts to the sciences and back like one of his favourite Chalkhill Blue butterflys. “I’ve always loved the Chilterns,” says Doug, who lives in Cuddington. “The landscape is a very gentle but very varied and has a huge amount of natural beauty. The beech woods in particular are wonderful. I photograph the wildlife, flowers and fungi, as well as the landscape. I trained as a biologist and it still interests me. I spend a lot of time walking, running and taking photographs up at Aston Rowant nature reserve but my book is a compilation of images taken over the last few years at various spots in The Chilterns. “Generally it’s a warm landscape speckled with woods and fields, a very lived in landscape. The beech woods have a unique feel - you could be in olde England but abutting modern England too. Parts, like Turville where they filmed the Vicar of Dibley, is a beautiful village, very peaceful. You could be miles from anywhere and yet there are major roads and towns all around. You can get away from it in The Chilterns and there’s lovely views, especially West from the chalk scarp.” Doug Kennedy has been an amateur

photographer for most of his life. “I started when I was about 11,” he says. “I have had pictures published from time to time, a couple by Bucks County Council in tourist guides and brochures.” Doug bought a new Panasonic camera in 2009 for a walk from Land’s End to John O’ Groats and was pleased with the results. “I’ve got a website where the images are displayed,” says Doug, “but I wanted to print some out so tried one of those photobooks. The results weren’t quite as you see them on screen and it got me thinking about having a proper book of photographs reproduced with good quality printing and binding.” Doug did some market research and was pleased with the positive response to his idea for a book of Chiltern Landscape photographs: “Brian Pattinson at the Book House in Thame was very encouraging,” says Doug, “he liked my idea of the book being available in two sizes, an A4 and a smaller pocket version. The company which supplies the National Trust with books was interested and Henley Books too.” With a ready market for his book Doug set about finding a top quality printer and binder capable of producing his 40 page hardbacks. The book is due out this month, in a high quality silk finish, both as an A4 book and a smaller pocket version. Pricewise the pocket book should be around £5.99 and the larger £14.99. You can buy copies direct from Doug via his website, from The Book House,

Thame and in the New Year from National Trust shops and garden centres. If you’d like the chance to Win a signed copy of Chiltern Landscapes, please answer the following question and email your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number to Which Chilterns national nature reserve is bisected by the M40? A winner will be drawn at random from the correct entries and informed by Dec 4th, 2012. l Doug Kennedy, Vulcan House Holly Tree Lane, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0BA Tel 01844 290602 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


l Column:


Ruby Moukli ‘Tomayto Tomaaahto’

pending the summer in the States reminded me of how mad Americans are for everything English. Downton Abbey is the current craze and many of my friends imagine my life here, as an American expat, to be similar to Lady Grantham’s. If only. The most obvious difference is that our beloved ‘Moukli Manor’ is no Highclere Castle. And while we do have a cook, maid and chauffeur, they are all the same person - me. Finally, despite my new haircut freakishly resembling that of the ill-fated Lady Sybil, my wardrobe of blue jeans and baggy cardigans is no match. So no, Lady Grantham I ain’t. My social life does, however, ebb and flow like the Society Season. While the traditional Season runs from April to August, just as I’m off camping with the kids, my ‘season’ begins when school starts and gains momentum through the madness of Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Orange and Almond Cake (serves 8) Adapted from

And instead of attending debutante balls, we mums collapse in each other’s kitchens, nurse cups of tea and stare, frazzled, as we contemplate the demands of the coming term. Usually these commiserations happen over a plate of storebought biscuits, because seriously, who has time to bake? But if you’re Lady Grantham, you might want to pop downstairs and hand the following recipe to Mrs. Patmore, the cook. It’ll do you proud next time the society ladies pop in for a cuppa.

What You Need: 3 eggs 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 cup sugar Zest and juice (1/2 cup) of 1 orange 1 Tbsp orange blossom water (or vanilla extract) 1 cup plain flour 1/2 cup ground almonds 1 1/2 tsps baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup sliced almonds 2 Tbsps icing sugar (for dusting) What You Do: 1. Preheat oven to 180 C. 2. Grease and line (or flour) a 9-inch cake tin 3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, then add olive oil, sugar, orange zest and juice and orange blossom water and beat until frothy. 4. Add in flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt and mix well. 5. Pour into prepared tin and gently layer flaked almonds over the top. 6. Bake for 40 minutes or until a

skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 7. Cool for 20 minutes before carefully turning out. 8. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

l Ruby Moukli blogs at

Win dinner for two at The Pointer, Brill


here has been a pub located on the site of The Pointer at Brill since the 1700s. The historic red brick hostelry was originally known by the name, but then changed to the Red Lion, probably when King James insisted that all public buildings should bear his arms. It is currently a freehouse, purchased by new village owners from Greene King, in May 2011 with the aim of making it a quality village pub. In January this year it was closed

for a complete refurbishment and what a job they have done, rescuing

43b Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2NQ Tel: 01296 423233 / 0800 298 8514 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 50

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

ancient walls and old stonework and restoring the buildings, some of which date back to the days of Agincourt, to their former glory. There is a large, stylish and comfortable bar and a brand new open-plan kitchen. The elegant restaurant space, with vaulted ceilings open to the eaves and antique Ercol chairs, is warm, light and carefully sophisticated. The kitchens are committed to using seasonal ingredients and if possible to growing, harvesting and rearing their own produce locally well they do have a farm too! The food is excellent, we know, we’ve tried it... twice! There is a sample menu of their website but you really need to turn up on the day and

see what’s on offer - there will be much to tempt you. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning dinner for two, with a bottle of house wine, at The Pointer, Brill, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What sort of animal is a pointer? And don’t say a rude one... Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by Dec 4th. l The Pointer, 27 Church St, Brill, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9RT Tel: 01844 238339 Website: Email: reservations@thepointer

l Column: Matt

Brown ‘One Hungry Gent’

‘Do you expect me to talk?!’

Matt Brown


ONE Hungry Gent

t is the curse of the modern columnist that the world that one writes about is so very different from the world that you, my gorgeous reader, inhabit right now. For example, the cultural references that I draw upon may be hotter than a Habanero chili wearing a revealing négligée but when you come to read them those same references could be as out of l Listen to Matt Brown on Heart date as last night’s boil in the bag Breakfast With Matt and Michelle (weekdays 6-9am 102.6FM). cod in parsley sauce. Tweet Matt at If that is the case with this ing then I apologise but I have to easily the greatest Bond movie of write it like I sees it. all time. Over the last few weeks I have In between the chases and the been indulging in rather more seduction and the gadgets and Bond than is strictly healthy. the pomp and the knives A new 007 TV chan‘I have been and the kisses and the nel has appeared on my EPG and I indulging in rather jumps and the zingers and the suits and the have been filling more Bond than Walter PPKs I thought every spare moment is healthy’ about food. It’s rather with as much Moore, pathetic, I realise, but just think Dalton and Connery as a yourself lucky you’re not married middle-aged man can handle. I’ve to me! also seen Skyfall, the newest and

You may or may not be surprised to know that the link between spy fiction and food is very strong. Len Deighton not only wrote The IPCRESS File but also produced a number of cookery books and an Observer food column. In a rather lovely twist on the old joke of ‘how do you like your eggs in the morning?’ Deighton had his hero Harry Palmer seduce a woman with his omelette making skills. Ian Fleming also drew upon food to help flesh out 007’s well educated character. Bond’s near OCD obsession with how his Martini is prepared and the temperature of his ’69 Bollinger is well documented but in the novels he is never very far away from his favourite morsels of deliciousness. Breakfast at home would be eggs from Maran chickens and toast with Tiptree ‘Little Scarlet’ strawberry jam, Cooper’s vintage Oxford marmalade or Fortnum’s

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Norwegian heather honey. In From Russia With Love, Bond goes native in Istanbul with a breakfast of yoghurt, figs “bursting with ripeness” and bitter Turkish coffee. In Moonraker Bond dines at M’s club and enjoys asparagus and hollandaise sauce, lamb cutlets with peas and new potatoes and finishes with a slice of pineapple. The novel of a favourite Bond film of men my age (probably because of Bond girl Jane Seymour) Live And Let Die, allowed Bond to feast on some rather scrummily monikered, Little Neck clams and Fried Chicken Maryland in Harlem. As for the latest movie, it won’t have escaped some of your keener brains that the theme tune, as sung by Adele, makes great mention of a delicious sounding pudding known only as Skyfall Crumble. Yum yum. l Hear Matt’s Creepy Valley tales at

WIN a copy of The

Bluffer’s Guide to Bond

Farm shop and tea rooms specialising in home produced and locally sourced produce Avoid the hassle of shopping for Christmas fruit and veg by ordering in advance - we’ll have it boxed and ready for pick up. Local turkeys available too plus a great selection of seasonal speciality foods. We stock a wide variety of local produce including our own beef and lamb, local sausages and cured bacon. Local pickles and preserves and quality fresh fruit and vegetables are always popular as is our Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil which cooks the best roast potatoes ever! We sell pre-packed coal, kindling and seasoned logs, prepared on the farm, plus pet food and Heygates Animal Feeds for all farm livestock including: poultry, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep & horses Tea room and gift shop: Enjoy a tea, coffee or juice with a light lunch, homemade cake, or pastries PE Mead & Sons Farm Shop, Wilstone Green, Wilstone, Nr Tring, Herts, HP23 4PA Tel: 01442 828478 We Are Located On The B489 Just Outside Of Wilstone

Website: Open from 9am-5.30pm Mon-Sat and Sundays: 9.30am-4.30pm


ond, as they say with each new film, is back. Nonsense. Bond never went away. And what’s more, he never will, because James Bond is more than just a man, more even than a secret agent. James Bond is an eternal truth. To quote The Sunday Times book review of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, ‘Bond is what every man would like to be, and what every woman would like between her sheets.’ As Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, himself said: ‘“The target of my books lay somewhere between the solar plexus and the upper thigh.’ Bond is always in the collective consciousness, whether or not he’s gracing the screen (silver or small), and whether or not we know what he’ll look like next time. Each time a man approaches a bar to order a pint of beer, a tiny fragment of him fights the urge to make

it a vodka martini. Each time a woman sitting at that bar senses the man turning to her, she dreams he will open with: ‘The name’s Bond, James Bond.’ Bond is back, and so are The Bluffer’s Guides Celebrating 50 years of Bond - Bluffer’s is paying homage to the ultimate spy by making The Bluffer’s Guide to Bond the first title in the new series. The new downloadable version, available from Amazon, is packed full of everything you could ever need or want to know about the man himself - Bond, James Bond. If you’d like a chance to win a copy of The Bluffers Guide to Bond, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Did Bond like his Martini stirred or shaken? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by Dec 4th. l Website: 51 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

The con

Love ‘em or hate them a roast turkey is, for many, the main event when it comes to a celebratory Christmas dinner. At Vale Life we are big fans, but have to admit, over the years our bird has occasionally failed to live up to expectations. But is this down to the cook, or the turkey? ‘Don’t get in a flap’, says reporter Franky Cookson ‘I might just have the answer’...


an’t stand turkey…!” my friend, Alan, used to say. “…it’s tasteless and dry - and I far prefer goose anyway. And I hate sprouts!” It was clear that the only turkeys Alan had ever eaten were not up to scratch. He shops at the cheapest supermarket available and his turkey purchases would no doubt have been from their budget range... “a turkey’s a turkey,” Alan argues, but is he right? Perhaps it was time for a little professional advice... I started by visiting my own turkey supplier, Patrick Lambert, at Starveall Farm in Upton. He’s been farming turkeys for over twentytwo years, so he should know a thing or two by now. “The first thing about turkeys,” says Patrick, “is that if you try to speed up their growth by feeding them all kinds of nasty additives, you’ll get meat that’s soft and bland. “And secondly, turkeys need to be dry plucked and hand-finished, so they can be game hung. This is important. Turkey is a game bird, so if you skip this stage, you’ll get meat that’s completely tasteless. “Because of the numbers they deal with supermarket turkeys, have to be ‘wet-plucked’, so they can’t be game hung or they’d go off!”


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

I asked Patrick how he got into turkey farming in the first place. “I started in the seventies,” he says, “with about a hundred birds and it developed from there. I have a mixed farm, just off the Oxford Road, near Aylesbury, with arable as well as about eighty beef cattle, and I discovered that turkeys fitted nicely into the natural rhythm of the seasons. “With turkeys, the busiest time is December, by which time the grain harvest is over and the cattle have been brought in for the winter. “That gives me time to really look after my turkeys. I have barn-reared white and free-range bronze turkeys, and they all need the shelter of a barn at night. I make sure that they all have plenty of fresh straw every day - with a few bales dotted about, to keep them amused. We even hang a few CDs from the ceiling, so that they have ‘toys’ to play with. Turkeys don’t like to be bored.” Bored? As we chatted, the turkeys were clucking around our ankles, pecking curiously at my boots. I was surprised Patrick wasn’t playing musical requests to them! I’ve experienced, first hand, the result of all this pampering and it is the most succulent

and of delicious turkeys. They are reliably superb on Christmas Day, then last for days producing delicious cold meat for sandwiches and all kinds of left-over treats, like pies and curries. But there was one more thing I wanted to know. Why the name ‘Starveall’? “I inherited the name,” says Patrick, “but it’s not as unusual as you might think. There are quite a few ‘Starveall Farms’ dotted about the country. I once looked the name up – and found that ‘starveall’ is a Saxon word, meaning ‘remote’, so maybe this farm was once pretty isolated. I’m glad that’s no longer the case.” Armed with my answers, I have since cooked Christmas dinner for Alan. The Starveall turkey we enjoyed turned out to be something of a revelation to him. He cleaned his plate and actually wanted seconds. He now freely admits to being a convert - to turkey, that is - the sprouts are another story! Starveall turkeys can be ordered now, by calling 01296 747 549. The farm is just down the Oxford Road, opposite the Upton turning. l Starveall Farm, Oxford Road, Upton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8PZ (opposite the Upton turning). Tel: 01296 747 549 Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

There was a time when the chances of finding a traditional village pub that served really good food were much akin to those of running into a unicorn! In Cublington you can now do both...

Tim Harwood in the snug


he legendary unicorn is a symbol of purity and grace with the power to make poisoned water drinkable. They were often featured on coats of arms and consequently on pub signs. The Unicorn at Cublington, near Aylesbury, is a cosy 17th Century Freehouse, with a welcoming atmosphere. Although very much the village pub, The Unicorn has an excellent kitchen and has been awarded 2 AA Rosettes for the last three years now, a reflection on their hard working and creative chefs! “The Unicorn is essentially a community pub with a focus on what we believe is great food,” says general manager Tim Harwood, who has managed The Unicorn since its refurbishment in 2009. “It is very well supported by local customers and also now draws people from neighbouring villages and towns.” As part of the renovations a brand new purpose built kitchen and expanded restaurant area was constructed which has given Head Chef Christopher George and his team the facilities to create and build a reputation for good quality, innovative cooking at reasonable prices. “The food is fresh and locally sourced where possible,” says Chris. “Our meat comes

from Parrott Brothers, just up the road in the second Tuesday we have a folk evening. Whitchurch. With regular events such as Call My Bluff “We serve traditional British food with a wine evenings, Come Dine with Me, (where French influence and a modern twist. locals take over the kitchen for an evening) “At this time of year our menu gets more and even a Sloe Gin competition, there’s hearty, gamey and slow-cooked,” Chris adds always something happening.” with enthusiasm. The festive menu sounds lovely and is The dinner menu, served from 6.30-9pm, priced at £19.50 for two courses, £24.50 for (8.30pm on Sundays) boasts three courses and £29.50 for ‘Roast Pork belly with crackling, four, again details are online. black pudding, mashed potatoes, The Unicorn is open from cabbage and cider pork jus’ 10.30am every day for coffee and ‘Pan fried duck breast with and cake (£3), and earlier on braised sweet potato, crispy Saturdays when they serve kale, orange and ginger sauce’ breakfasts from 9-11am. You among the mouthwatering fare can have afternoon tea from on offer, while at lunchtimes 3-5pm, cream teas and finger there are lighter dishes such as sandwiches, or just pop in for a ‘Steak sandwich with horseradhot chocolate. ish cream, caramelized onions, There is a good selection of home cut chips and mixed ales and lagers, the local XT Sous Chef Aaron Daniell leaves’, or ‘Grilled Gammon steak, free-range brew is a regular and a selection of reasonably egg and home cut chips’. Desserts such as priced wines. Bar snacks include homemade ‘Half baked dark chocolate pudding with scotch eggs, sausage rolls and pork pies. white chocolate ice cream’ are far too The Unicorn was voted Aylesbury Vale tempting! You can see menus in more Best Community Pub in 2011 and it has just detail online at: been announced that The Unicorn has won “We’ll have a festive menu running alongthe Best Overall Village Pub award this year, side our à la carte from the end of November for the second time in five years. It’s an until Christmas Day for groups and parties,” impressive feat, the stuff legends are made of. says Tim. “Christmas day is already fully booked. On New Year’s Eve we’re having a l The Unicorn, High Street, Cublington, Buckdinner party with a bit of a sing-song round inghamshire, LU7 0LQ the piano afterwards! We have dinner with Tel: 01296 681261 jazz on the last Friday of each month and on Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Each year the Christmas decorations at Waddesdon Manor have a different theme. For 2012 a journey through the five European countries in which the founding sons of the Rothschild dynasty made their fortunes, reaches our green and pleasant land, it’s to be an English Christmas...


raditional Christmas wreaths at the front door, a walk through an arch with bowler hats and pin striped material, rolled up copies of the Times and umbrellas, will leave you in no doubt that the decorations throughout the East and Bachelors’ wing this year are to feature all the things that we love about English culture. Some of London’s great sights are outlined in the Oval Hall. The London underground sign for Bank station is a nod to Mayer Amschel Rothschild who opened the first branch of the bank in London in 1809. Magnificent Nordic pine Christmas trees will be decorated with decorations using this theme of classic English things, while great English writers Dickens and Shakespeare are to be celebrated and a Christmas feast fit for Victoria and Albert will be laid out in the White Drawing Room. The Blue Dining Room celebrates English tea time with cake stands, beautiful china and blue and pink flowers. Union jacks and bulldogs adorn the Armoury Corridor, the Smoking Room will feature pearly kings and queens, the Billiard Room a train set and the kitchen corridor, leading from the restaurant to the shop, will be decorated to look like Covent Garden market. For children the characters from Alice in Wonderland - the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat - will be in the Pantry Corridor and the Coach House will be transformed into a scene from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. You will enter through the cupboard to the White Witch’s palace and see Aslan. Children can write letters to Father Christmas in Mr Tumnus’s room accompanied by beavers! Artist and lighting designer Bruce Munro, will be creating two striking light installations in the gardens; “Angel of Light” on the North Front and “Blue Moon on a Platter” at the


Christmas opening times 2012 14th Nov-1st Jan, Wed-Sun, plus 17th, 18th and 31st Dec & 1st Jan. Closed 24th, 25th and 26th Dec: The gardens, aviary, woodland playground, shops and restaurants are open from 10am-5pm. The house and wine cellars are open between 12noon and 4pm Wed to Fri and 11am-4pm at weekends.

amphitheatre, where the Willow Reindeer Trail starts on its way down to the Coach house. At weekends only from 1st to 16th December inclusive, the Siberian Husky Welfare Association will be bringing along some of their beautiful huskies to meet visitors– a perfect picture opportunity! Waddesdon Plant Centre The Plant Centre will provide a natural celebration of Christmas with hand made wreaths, ready planted pots, beautiful decorations and a botanically inspired selection of gifts for those of you who love plants and gardens. Don’t forget to order your Britishgrown Christmas tree! l Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH Tel: 01296 653226 Website:

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Floodlit Evening Openings Fri 30th Nov and Sat 1st Dec: House opens at 6pm, last entry 7.30pm. Experience the magic and splendour of the Manor on a winter’s evening. Enjoy the Bachelor’s Wing and East Wing, beautifully decorated for an English Christmas. Entry to the event will be with a timed ticket: Adults £17, Children £10. Also Manor Restaurant open for a special afternoon tea and Christmas dinner. During dinner Cameo Opera perform in the restaurant. Christmas afternoon tea at 4.30pm, £23.50, (NT member £15.50). Set three course dinner at 7.30pm, £35. Christmas Food Festival Sat 8th-Sun 16th Dec (not open Mon 10th or Tue 11th) 10.30am-4.30pm: Delicious produce including specialist cheeses, fresh ducks, oak smoked chickens, jellies and marmalades, fishcakes and pork pies. Normal gardens admission charges apply. Christmas Carols and Fire Display Sat 8th Dec: Grounds open 5.30-7.30pm Outdoors in front of the Manor, a special evening of Christmas carols, fire performers and costumed stilt walkers, to get the whole family in the seasonal spirit! Local choirs, a selection of festive food available to purchase, house open for you to book timed entry tickets to see the Christmas display (last entry 6.30pm, closes at 7pm). Adults £8, Children £4, Under 5s free, family ticket £20. Normal house admission charges apply in addition. Photographs by Mike Fear & Stuart Bebb © National Trust

Hartwell House is worth visiting for its architecture and history alone. Add a fabulous restaurant and a most relaxing spa and it’s true, you don’t want to leave...


hy wouldst thou leave calm Hartwell’s green abode,” said Lord Byron in 1814 to France’s exiled King Louis VIII, who was reluctantly checking out of Hartwell, his English refuge of five years, to reclaim the French throne. Why indeed? Hartwell House, just off the Oxford Road on the western edge of Aylesbury, is still a haven of peace and tranquillity, an historic stately home with Jacobean and Georgian features, outstanding decorative ceilings, huge fire places and some 90 acres of picturesque parkland and gardens. It’s an impressive four star Grade I listed hotel combining stunning rooms, antique furniture and gorgeous paintings, with the kind of creature comforts and contemporary luxury a modern guest dreams of. Outstanding service and fine dining is on offer at the two AA Rosette Dining Room where head chef Daniel Richardson proves that locally sourced and homegrown food is the best to serve. Working closely with local farmers he collects the finest fresh, reliably grown and reared ingredients for his menus whenever possible. Through December Hartwell has some superb value for money lunch and dinner offers - a fabulous opportunity

to treat family, colleagues or clients during the countdown to Christmas. You can meet in the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the magnificent drawing rooms with a glass of Prosecco, before enjoying the delicious menu below for only £36 per person (£29 without the Prosecco). This is available daily from Saturday 1st December to Sunday 23rd December, excluding Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch. There are of course special events planned for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, a luxurious programme of dining and relaxation to satisfy all tastes from a black tie reception on Christmas Eve with Christmas Carols and a splendid four-course dinner with selected wines to dinner and a fun Casino evening on Boxing Day plus a New Year’s house party with Champagne reception, fireworks, a magnificent five course, black-tie, candlelit dinner with fine wines and dancing until the early hours. You can of course dip a toe into the Hartwell experience by way of the spa. Located in the elegant Spa, with parts that resemble an orangery, it contains an attractive romanesque

swimming pool with spa bath, steam room, saunas, four treatment rooms and a gym and is open to non-residents. The staff of friendly, experienced therapists offer a wide range of relaxing, restorative, rejuvenating, beautifying, and downright pleasurable treatments that can do just about everything from tidying your cuticles to revitalising your sense of humour. They use a range of Aromatherapy Associates, Clarins, Jessica and St Tropez products with the option of Hartwell Spa Health and Beauty Days, Half Days, Lifestyle Days and individual treatments available to guests staying in the hotel and to non-resident guests. Between treatments you can relax by the pool, in the steam room, sauna and bubbling waters of the whirlpool bath or retire to the Spa Café and Bar for a drink or snack. Whether it’s a day in the Spa or a stay at the House - you’re in for an unforgettable treat... l Hartwell House, Oxford Road, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8NR Website: Tel: 01296 747444 Email: Hartwell Spa Tel: 01296 746500 Email:

Hartwell House Gift Vouchers

The perfect present, Hartwell Gift Vouchers are available not only for treatments and products but also for afternoon tea, luncheon, dinner and FESTIVE SEASON a range of Hartwell memorabilia. Hartwell’s December Purchase online, by telephone or in person Lunch orat Dinner the House or Spa Reception - available Counting down the weeks to Christmas, allouryear then celebrate with superbround, value for a great last minute gift!

or Dinner December Lunch and canapés A glass of Prosecco xxx ree, radish n with avocado pu Citrus cured salmo ad sal er mb cu and cu xxx ant with iltern Valley pheas roasted breast of Ch bles, rosti eta veg t roo d ste Hartwell honey roa d a thyme sauce potato, curly kale an xxx it with and Marnier parfa Clementine and Gr wafer p sna y nd and bra poached raspberries xxx pie Coffee and mince

money lunch and dinner, treat family, colleagues or clients at Hartwell House. Meet in the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of one of our magnificent drawing rooms with a glass of Prosecco, before enjoying this delicious menu. £29.00 without a glass of Prosecco and £36.00 per person with a glass of Prosecco, inclusive of VAt This menu is available daily from Saturday 1st December to Sunday 23rd December 2012 excluding Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch

Sunday 16th December 2012 Christmas Recital with Paul Harris We are pleased to welcome back Paul Harris and friends who will perform a selection of Christmas songs and carols for you to listen and of course join in. Hartwell’s Christmas afternoon tea will be served at 5.00pm, followed by the recital, then a glass of mulled wine and mince pies all Life for £42.00 per person.Vale if you just: Nov/Dec wish to 2012 listen and join in with the recital have a glass of mulled wine and mince pies, then


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Aylesbury Grammar School’s annual Art Show and Christmas Fair is always well worth a look and this year there’s even more to see with additional work by established, local artists on display and for sale, plus craft stalls and lots of Christmas gift ideas and decorations...


ylesbury Grammar School’s (AGS) 19th Annual Art Show and Christmas Craft Fair will be held at the school on 24th November 2012, 10am -5pm and all are welcome. This year, for the first time in the 19 year history of the fair the school will be exhibiting and selling some of their senior boys’ works of art. 2011 was an outstanding year for A level Art at AGS, with nearly 80% of students achieving A*- B grades. It is work produced by these talented pupils along with AS level work that will be available to view and purchase. Louise Tangi, Head of Art believes the Art Show provides an opportunity for the talented boys to interact with and be evaluated by the wider artistic community, which will help them to make the transition from being taught art as a subject to joining the commercial art world. All of the boys exhibiting have showed a genuine curiosity to know what the public and other artists will think of their work. Joshua Mallalieu, (whose work, Fabric Of Reality is pictured right) says, “I am very interested to know what the response will be to my art and look forward to seeing other work displayed at the AGS Art and Craft Fair.”

Fabric Of Reality by Joshua Mallalieu, left

Stephen Lehec, Headmaster of Aylesbury There will also be 27 Craft stalls in the Grammar School said: “Art and Craft rooms ranging from creativity artisan semi-precious enables our boys to express jewellery made from recycled themselves, metals to homemade prewhich is important and helps serves, textile art from vintage them to achieve success in and upcycled fabrics, organic later life. We are proud of our pampering products, floristry achievements in this area - the and Christmas wreaths and corridors at Aylesbury GramChristmas cards and gifts. mar School are alive with Renowned local artist amazing work created by all Stewart Clough is to have work year groups and this repreon show: “I’m thrilled to be sents just a small snapshot of exhibiting amongst some very the exciting work that is being talented local artists and some produced overall.” aspiring A-level students,” he The work on show has said. “I’m sure the show will Artist Stewart Clough been described as breathbe a great success.” taking, so who knows, the Art The PTA Art and Craft Fair and Craft Fair may give you the opportunity committee look forward to welcoming you to to invest in the early work of a future Hockthe Show. ney or Emin! l Aylesbury Grammar School, In addition to the boys art, a wide variety Walton Road Aylesbury,HP21 7RP of media from 72 local artists will also be 24 November 2012 10am – 5pm showcased: large outdoor and indoor sculpEntrance £2, ample parking on site. ture, photography, wood, glass, ceramics, For more information visit: collage, encaustic wax, contemporary basketry, and mosaics to list a few.

Amy Winehouse Rubik Cubes, by James Patraiko


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

When Duncan Lee told us about his scary brush with a bizarre, dancing drum robot, we didn’t believe him. Now we’ve seen the video though and have to admit, Drummertron is the real deal...


n our August edition we featured drum tutor Duncan Lee and his amazing drum school near Waddesdon. Duncan tells us that pupil numbers have soared since the article appeared and the school has doubled in size over the last two months, not surprising since he is a great teacher, his lessons are at very reasonable rates and he can arrange for students to be picked up and dropped off around the local area. Also he runs some great offers like a free trial session for beginners to see how they get on. Parents can bring youngsters along and have a go too, if they like! All ages are welcome. Don’t take our word for it though, Daniel Hearn, pictured below, is 15, he has been playing the drums for about four years and has been having lessons with Duncan for three and a half. Incredibly he has just passed his Grade 8 drum exam. So what’s it like drumming with Dunx? “I enjoy lessons with Duncan,” says Daniel. “I always learn something, whether it’s to do with drumming or music in general. Duncan is very professional in the way he teaches and organises

the lessons.” Daniel has found that drumming has helped his confidence away from the kit as much as on it: “I feel more confident generally now,” he says, “not just as a player. I find it much easier to stand up in front of an audience too, because I’ve had experience of performing in front of crowds. “Having finished my Grade 8, I am now developing my skills and learning different styles of drumming. In the future I would like to play drums for a living, either as a live drummer or as a teacher.” Things are also developing at Dunx Drum School. The recent Rock Band Workshop over half-term attracted a total of 47 drummers, guitarists, pianists and vocalists and was a brilliant success. The students learnt a well known song and then formed bands to perform their songs while being filmed and recorded. The videos will appear on the drum school website shortly and there is another workshop planned for students to look forward to in the Easter holidays. Duncan is now also running lessons for keyboard/piano, guitar, saxophone, flute,

Drummertron clarinet and vocals. See his website for details or give him a call. If you’d like to see the kind of thing Duncan gets up to at his drum school, type DRUMMERTRON into google and click on his YouTube video. Using a little digital trickery, drumming and editing skills Duncan shows how some of his drums seem to have a life of their own! l Dunx Drum School, Unit 407, Westcott Venture Park, Wescott, Nr Aylesbury, HP18 0PH Tel: 07708 733288 Email: Website:

Perfect Xmas Pressies from Dunx Drum School

Basic Starter Pack: £80 6 group drum lessons, Pair of drumsticks, Ear plugs Premium Starter Pack: £99 6 group drum lessons, Dunx Drum School Book One Pair of drumsticks, Ear plugs, Lesson folder, Practice Pad

Daniel Hearn

Duncan Lee

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Sponsored by The Lucas Guitar School

Forget The X Factor, the true test of talent in these parts is TGT, that’s Thame’s Got Talent to you sir. Now in it’s fourth year the competition is an eagerly anticipated annual event and next takes place on... February 10th! Dancers Raw Diva

Pic courtesy of Frank Millar Photography:


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


here else can you watch a magician, cheerleaders, amazing singers, bands, dancers and gymnasts all competing for fab prizes and a foot on the first rung of that ladder to success? The popular Thame’s Got Talent event returns to the Spread Eagle Hotel once again on Sunday 10th February in aid of the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC) - and already looks to be shaping up as an awesome showcase for talented locals. Event organisers are aiming to build on the success of the last three years by encouraging more

acts from across Thame and the surrounding area to take part and this time, there are some new categories including ‘Best School Act’. “Thame’s Got Talent is a fantastic event for the town which really shows off the array of talent on our doorstep,” said Michele Pethers, Owner of Crash Records, Chinnor. “We had a wonderful mix of acts taking part last year; providing first-class entertainment for the judges and crowd on the day. “This year we’re hoping the introduction of exciting new categories like ‘Best School Act’ will encourage local schools, music schools and dance schools to get involved. A local school could register a choir, musicians or soloists - the door is open to everyone!” Other categories include: l Overall Winner l 2nd Prize l Best Band l Best under 15’s Category l Best over 35’s Category Since it started, the event has helped to raise nearly £3,000 for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, which provides comprehensive support through in-patient and at-home services for local families affected by life-limiting illness. The funds raised by TGT are the equivalent of funding 30 home visits by the Florrie’s Children’s Team. Around 20 acts took part last year, from singers and rock bands to gymnasts and dancers, including overall winner 16-year-old street dancer Sam Hemmings performing as ‘Boogaloo’. Dance group Raw Diva scooped a special prize of afternoon tea at the Spread Eagle with their spectacular military style dance routine and youthful vocalist, 12-year-old Georgina Bishop from Moreton, took the Under 15s prize of a Cookies & Milkshake party at Thame’s Time Out Café and went on to sing at the Hospice’s Carols@ Christmas Concert at Waterside Theatre.

Dancer Sam Hemmings

Pic courtesy of Frank Millar Photography: “TGT was a brilliant event. All the girls from the group had a great day,” said Jenni Middleton of Raw Diva. “We spent the day together and danced in aid of a charity we all believe in and would encourage others to support. There was a great atmosphere - everyone was so friendly and supported each other, despite the fact that it was a competition. It was an experience we definitely won’t forget!” There’s fantastic prizes up for grabs and the winner and runnersup also go on to perform at Music in the Park and the Thame Christmas Lights switch-on. If you are a local business or school and would like to find out how you can get involved with Thame’s Got Talent 2013, take part, or even lend a hand on the day, please contact Karen Shardlow on 01296 429975 or email: Companies already signed up for Thame’s Got Talent 2013 include Orsum Events, Kismet Jewellers, Crash Records, Frank Millar Photography, Black Frog Studios and The Spread Eagle Hotel. To find out more about Thame’s Got Talent or to register visit: For more information about the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, see: l Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, Unit 4, Aylesbury Business Centre, Chamberlain Rd, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8DY Tel. 01296 429975

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Christmas is a time for giving - and receiving, hopefully! It’s a time to show you care and IRGH Hospice Care has some great gift ideas that will both please your loved ones and give you a bit of a warm glow too...


hristmas is a time for doing special things for our loved ones. Whether it’s a treat for the children or grandchildren, a thoughtful gift for friends or family or the chance to cherish memories, Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care (IRGH) can help create those special moments this Christmas. Bringing Christmas Joy Enjoy watching the excited faces of the children in your life when they open the gift of an IRGH Letter from Father Christmas. Choose from the Baby’s 1st Jingle bell Jog 10:23 IRGH_BL_a6_ad:Layout 1 10/10/2012 Page 1 letter or the new-look Christmas

ge your life in Chan t local hospic2013 por & sup

e care

IRGH BIGGEST get healthy – get happy – for life Apply for a place in our brand new health & wellbeing programme – designed by experts to help you achieve the best ever you!

Get the free mobile app at

http:/ /

Web: Tel: 01442 820720

options for children between 1 and 4 or the over 4s. Each letter is personalised and arrives in an envelope via Robin Mail. The suggested minimum donation is £5 per child. See: or call the Santa Helpline on 01442 820734 to order. Gifts that care IRGH also offers virtual gifts that could be the perfect choice for friends and family who are difficult to buy for at Christmas. Choose from a selection of gifts costing from £10 to £1,000 including options to fund patient travel to our Day Hospice, a complementary therapy, a family support session or even a syringe driver to control pain. IRGH will send you a card that you can personalise and send as a gift. Visit their online shop to see the full range. Take a look at the Christmas cards too: Remembering a loved one Friends and family members who are no longer with us are often in our thoughts at Christmas. In return for a small donation to IRGH, you can dedicate a light on one of their Light Up a Life trees to your loved one and write a special message that will be placed on a dedication card and sent to you either to keep or send as a keepsake to family and friends. You might also choose to attend a Light Up a Life Service where you will light a candle and have time for memories and reflection. The trees will be lit during the service and will shine throughout the Christmas period. This year’s services will be held between 17th November and 20th December at the following locations: Flackwell Heath, Tring, Princes Risborough, Beaconsfield, Prestwood, High Wycombe, St Albans, Tylers Green, and Hemel

Hempstead. For further information and to download a leaflet, please visit Get Active to support local patients IRGH is holding a sponsored 5km Jingle Bell Jog and a 1.5km Reindeer Run in St Albans on 9th December. See: jinglebelljog for further information. Keeping families together By supporting IRGH you will be helping to keep families facing the challenges of life-limiting illness together this Christmas. IRGH hospice at home nurses care for patients 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year allowing patients the choice to be cared for at home surrounded by the people and things that they love. What more precious gift could you give? l Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care, 52a Western Road , Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 4BB Tel: 01442 890222 Email: Website: Facebook: iainrenniegrovehouse Twitter: @irghh

Light Up A Life

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

The croc is ticking so hook your tickets now for this year’s fabulous family Christmas pantomime adventure at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre. The venue has set the bar high in recent years with cracking versions of Cinderella and Dick Whittington but this year they are aiming for the stars...


ou know the drill, take the second star to the right and straight on til’ morning for an adventure in Neverland with Peter Pan! You’ll be in good company as the star-studded Aylesbury show is to feature everyone’s favourite Strictly Come Dancing star Russell Grant and a glittering cast, all swashbuckled up for this classic adventure. Direct from playing the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of Oz, TV, film and theatre star Russell is set to entertain in fabulously, flamboyant panto style and stopped by to tell us how much he is looking forward to the experience! Buckinghamshire singer, actress and Milton Kenyes Top Talent winner Holly Brewer returns to the Waterside stage as Wendy, after wowing audiences at the Best of Bucks Talent Show, while local comedy hero Andy Collins will feel right at home in the cast of this year’s pantomime, having caused much merriment and mirth in the Waterside’s debut panto, Cinderella, alongside superstar Cilla Black two years ago. Heart Thames Valley Breakfast presenter and Vale Life columnist Matt Brown, consummate baddy Steven Serlin, (the brilliant King Rat in last year’s Dick Whittington at Waterside) and West End star Adam Pettigrew, who plays Peter Pan, will also be joining this year’s all-star cast for a

Smee: Andy Collins, Captain Hook: Steve Serlin, Starkey: Matt Brown, Wendy: Holly Brewer and Roger the Cabin Boy: Russell Grant pantomime to remember! With Russell checking all is aligned astrologically we’ll soon all be able to fly away on a spectacular journey of wonder and

Oh no! Those dastardly pirates have Wendy in their clutches


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

excitement to the magical world of Neverland this festive season. “It’s such a fabulous, gorgeous, beautiful theatre,” says Russell Grant, gazing up at Waterside’s magnificent timber clad auditorium. “I bumped into Cilla the other day and she was telling me how much she’d enjoyed performing here and what a wonderful theatre she thinks it is. I really can’t wait for the panto to start.” Although many will know Russell first for his astrology he actually started out as an actor and singer, many moons ago - astrology was just a hobby! “Strictly Come Dancing took me back into showbiz which is where I started,” says Russell. “I was acting and singing before astrology took over. After appearing on Strictly I went back to theatre, which is what I really love and performed in Aladdin last year at Milton Keynes. I was then offered the part of the wizzard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of Oz, but I wasn’t sure at first. The role was adapted though, so I could fit in

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

Peter Pan is played by Adam Pettigrew fresh from the West End and his role as Boq in Wicked

Russell loosens up with a few stretches some fabulous dance sequences and I gave it a go. We got lovely reviews, the public came along to watch and I realised there was a whole new generation of young people, who didn’t even know I am an astrologer!” Russell went on to appear in Grease, working with Arlene Phillips and once again showcased his dancing talents. More recently he has been filming some special dance sequences with Flavia for Strictly and sifting through piles of invitations to appear in various pantomimes! “I picked this panto because I had such a wonderful experience with production

company, First Family Entertainment last year,” says Russell. “The costumes, the production values, they are very good, they put on a great show. I’ve never played Aylesbury before but I come from just up the road in Uxbridge originally and my dad was from South Bucks, so it seemed a good choice.” Russell lives in Snowdonia, North Wales now and pops back regularly for a bit of peace and quiet and to work on his astrology. “My website gets 500 million hits a month, so I have to keep it up to date!” says Russell “The Strictly experience has put me into a happier place, there’s so much going on, I’m releasing a single, a version of ‘The Clapping Song’, I’m hosting a big carol concert at The Royal Albert Hall and also doing Strictly TV spin off, ‘It Takes Two’ with host Zoe Ball. I made so many really good close friends on Strictly. I’ll always be grateful to the British public who kept me in with their voting. People have said they loved the way I had a go, even though I was 60 years old and had just lost 11 stone!” Russell can’t wait to get started, he’s even looking forward to rehearsals. It’s not surprising though he’s got a great cast to work with: Andy Collins is back by popular demand as Smee. He’s a succesful comedian and TV warm up man who happens to live in the Bedgrove area of Aylesbury. He works on shows like Alan Titchmarsh, Alan Carr and Jonathan Ross, whizzing from studio to studio on his motorcycle! Star of TV, radio and magazine, Matt Brown, who is currently the popular host of our local Heart FM Breakfast Show, plays Starkey. It is his first panto role and a dream come true: “I’ve always loved panto and wanted to be on stage with the gang joining in the fun and I’m particularly excited to be making my debut at the Waterside,” he says. “I was there at the opening of the theatre as I live locally, so it feels really special to be doing something I have always wanted to do, somewhere which is important to me. The cast is fantastic and I just know we’re going to have a real laugh, I can’t wait!” You can join Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys in their thrilling adventure to save Tinkerbell from the villainous Captain Hook and his crew of dastardly pirates. With stunning special effects (including amazing flying), sumptuous costumes, superb sets and a good helping of fairydust, Peter Pan is the perfect treat for the whole family and for those who never want to grow up! Tickets are on sale now, book today at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office 0844 871 7607 (booking fee) or visit (booking fee).

Winter at The Waterside Your at-a-glance guide to what’s on... Halfway To Paradise: The Billy Fury Story

November 9th

Sing-a-long-a Grease

November 10th

David Essex

November 11th

Beauty and the Beast Show of Hands 42nd Street

November 13th-17th November 18th November 20th-24th

The Bootleg Sixties

November 26th

The Glenn Miller Orchestra Swing into Christmas

November 28th


November 29th

The Drifters

November 30th

Oxford Philomusica and Tasmin Little Comedy Club Peter Pan

December 1st December 7th December 8th-30th

Anyone fancy some cold steel? Matt Brown makes a mean looking Starkey

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

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

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Aylesbury Town

Christmas Lights Switch On


Thursday, November 15th, Market Square: from 5.30pm The Exciting family event providing THU Christmas Lights free entertainment from 5.30pm Toy 17musicSwitch with and fun with the Mix 96 On Thro NOV will road show. Entertainment continues from 5.30pm disa Popular event free family through theproviding evening with entertainment local ag from 5.30pm with festive music and fun with ho bands and great firework display. the Mix 96 roadshow. This year’s entertainment The lights will be switched onAguilar at includes the The Choice Band, Gemma and members Aylesbury Gleefrom Club. The 6.50pm byofcharacters thislights a will be switched on at 6.50pm by Jonathan Santq year’s panto PeterinPan. There Wilkes, who is appearing this year’s Panto Dick S s r ia Fr Whittington, followed by more music and will also be a small funfair andfireworks. the ove 20 N – There is also a small funfair and the opportunity to opportunity to do some late night 11am e do some late night shopping until 8pm. Visit th shopping until 8pm.

Aylesbury Town

SAT 24 NOV: Winter Craft Fair - St Mary’s Church, 10.30am - 2pm. Cards, craft stalls, cakes, games, children’s activities, tombola and lots more for all the family. SUN 25 NOV: Christmas Speciality Market - Market Square, 11am - 3pm. An ideal opportunity to buy that extra special gift from the wide selection of different crafts and gifts on offer. TUE 27 NOV: Farmers’ Market - Market Square, 9am - 2pm. Come along toFREECHRISTMASEVENTS2012 the Farmers Market to buy some fabulous local produce. SUN 2 DEC: Christmas Speciality Market - Market Square, 11am - 3pm. An ideal opportunity to buy that extra special gift from the wide selection of different crafts and gifts on offer. SUN 2 DEC: Mayor’s Carol Service and Lantern Procession - Town Centre & St Mary’s Church, Parade 5.30pm, Service 6pm. The Mayoral parade leaves the Town Hall to walk to The King’s Head Courtyard for Carols, then to Kingsbury and on to St Mary’s Church for the Service. THU 13 DEC: Town Centre Carolfest Market Square, 6.30pm. The audience are the stars of the show accompanied by a band and local choir. Free family entertainment to get you in the Christmas spirit. FRI 14 DEC: Bounce and Rhyme / Teddy Bears Christmas Picnic - Aylesbury Library, 10.30am - 12pm. Bring a teddy, a drink and a biscuit to join the fun. Call 0845 2303232 or visit www. SAT 15 DEC TO SAT 12 JAN: Christmas Toy Box Exhibition - Bucks Museum Call: 01296 331441 or visit www. SUN 16 DEC: Christmas Fair - Market Square, 11am - 4pm. With Mr Alexander’s Travelling Show, Christmas crafts, face painting and free gift wrapping. SUN 16 DEC: Traditional Candlelight Service For All - St Mary’s Church, 6pm.

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THU 20 DEC: Christmas Storytime and Craft – Aylesbury Library from 10am. Call 0845 2303232 or visit www. MON 24 DEC: Special Christmas Farmers’ Market - Market Square, 9am - 2pm. Come to the festive market and buy all those luxury items that make your Christmas dinner stand out from the rest! MON 24 DEC: Crib Service - St Mary’s Church, 4pm. A special service for the whole family - younger people are invited to come dressed as their favourite character from the Christmas story. TUE 25 DEC: Free Community Christmas Lunch - St Mary’s Church, 12pm. Especially for those who would normally spend the day alone. Places limited and must be booked in advance. THU 27 DEC: Christmas Holiday Fun - Market Square, 11am - 3pm. Have a kick around in Market Square with a difference, and challenge your friends to a game of human table football! THU 3 JAN: New Year Laser Quest – Kingsbury, 11am - 3pm. Celebrate the New Year with your friends and a free game of Laser Quest!

Christmas Shopping Hours For Aylesbury Town Centre


Free live music events Shoot Pool: from 15th Nov Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday 24th & 31st December Broad Leys: Every last Friday of month Green Man: Every Weds, Fri & Sat

• Sunday trading: 10.30am-4.30pm • Late night shopping until 8pm every Thursday from 15th November up to Christmas • Free Parking after 4.30pm on Thursdays from 15th November until 20th December in AVDC Town Centre Car Parks and Friars Square Shoppers’ Car Park Changes to Shopping hours Thu 15 Nov: 9am-8pm Thu 22 Nov: 9am-8pm Thu 29 Nov: 9am-8pm Thu 6 Dec: 9am-8pm Thu 13 Dec: 9am-8pm Mon 10 to Sat 15 Dec: 9am-6pm Sun 16 Dec: 10.30am-4.30pm Mon 17 - Fri 21 Dec: 9am-8pm Sat 22 Dec: 9am-6pm Sun 23 Dec: 10.30am-4.30pm Mon 24 Dec (Xmas Eve): 9am4.30pm Tue 25 Dec: CLOSED Wed 26 Dec (Boxing Day): 10am5pm Thu 27 to Sat 29 Dec: 9am-5.30pm Sun 30 Dec: 10.30am-4.30pm Mon 31 Dec: 9am-5.30pm Tue 1 Jan 2013 (New Year’s Day): 10am-5pm



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ic Mus nd Santa’s ka SUN Santa’sParade Parade in r D tm Sunday, 18th, TownNovember Centre and Friars 20

Square, 10.30am start with NOV Town Centre & Friars activities 11am – 3pm

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Square: 10.30am start with activities 11am-3pm A firm family favourite. Santa and Band all his friends parade through the yag Enjo ve li town from the High Street, around with ov d Wen e Market Square and into Friars ov N 25 Square. Children can visit Santa’s Grotto after the parade and right up until Christmas Eve (open 11am – 4pm Wednesday to Sunday plus Christmas Eve). There will also be craft stalls and free children’s activities including animal petting and free face painting after the parade until 3pm. A firm family favourite. Santa and all his friends parade through the town from the High Street, around Market Square and into Friars Square. Children can visit Santa’s Grotto after the parade and right up until Christmas Eve (except Mondays). There will also be animal petting and free face painting after the parade.

Thursday Late Night Christmas Shopping From Thursday, November 15th Why not come to Aylesbury to do your late night shopping until 8pm. There is free car parking in Aylesbury Vale District Council town centre car parks and Friars Square shoppers’ car park from 4.30pm. Come and enjoy traditional Christmas shopping in this friendly market town with a wide range of independent cafés, pubs and restaurants to relax in after your Christmas shopping. And from 6th December, enjoy the street entertainment in Market Square.

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

win tickets to The London Boat Show 2013

Boating & Watersports start here!


or millions of people across the UK, boating and watersports provide a base around which they organise their leisure time providing excitement and relaxation, discovery and learning whilst also keeping active and healthy. Many have been inspired by the recent Olympic and Paralympic events featuring on-water athletes and are now looking to get involved themselves. The British Marine Federation’s (BMF) On The Water initiative aims to make getting into boating and watersports easier for everyone. Their website:

technology, expert advice and the best equipment to kick start a season of adventures! For your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to the London Boat Show please answer the following question and email your answers, along with your name, address and telephone number to editor@ What is an RIB? A winner will be drawn at random from the correct entries and informed by Dec 4th, 2012. provides expert advice, regional information and plenty of inspiration to get started. You’ll find details on a variety of activities from canoeing, yachting, wakeboarding and windsurfing to getting started with narrowboats, powerboats and RIBs. There are also guides to buying a boat, boating holidays and destination information to inspire you. On The Water will be exhibiting at the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show at ExCeL London from 12th20th January, 2013. This exciting event will showcase everything you need to go boating with the latest craft,

NB If you are a lucky winner you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire after attending the show, advising what you thought of the event.

Tel: 01844 274652

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





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Risborough Train Station


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and all other makes

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

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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 •

61 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012 09:32 03/11/2012

What’s on at Bucks County Museum


his November don’t miss a wonderful exhibition of prints by the Beds, Bucks & Herts Print Society. All work is for sale and you may find the perfect Christmas present. Over Christmas drop into the toys exhibition with the family and visit the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery too (please check opening times). Looking for unusual gifts and stocking fillers - try our Museum Shop.

Making an Impression Print Exhibition 17 November to 1 December 2012 Selling show of stunning and affordable hand pulled prints created by Beds, Bucks & Herts Print Society. Techniques used include woodblock, linocut, screenprint, collograph, etching and more. Free entry Events run as part of Beds, Bucks & Herts Print Society exhibition Meet the Artists Demonstrations Saturday 24 November & Saturday 1 December 11am-3pm Meet BBH Print Society artists

Drypoint Printing Drop-in Workshops Saturday 24 November 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm Have a go at drypoint printing - no mess, quick and fun. Run by artists from BBH Print Society. Suitable for adults and families. £2.50 per person per print. No need to book. Introduction to Collagraph Printing Wednesday 28 November 1.30pm-3.30pm Discover the fascinating technique of hand pulled textured printing known as collagraph with printmaker/artist Kim Major-George. No printing experience needed. £15 per person including materials, bring apron and rubber gloves. Book in advance. Free Gallery Talks: Wednesdays 12.30pm-12.50pm

Chance to learn a little horse sense


earning with and about horses can open up a whole new world for young and old alike. At their base in Long Crendon Horsewyse provides equine facilitated learning and unique opportunities for riding. If you’d like to find out more about Horsewyse, email or call for details of these forthcoming activities: Horsewyse Activity Days Do your kids have plenty of energy to burn? Do they like horses and the great outdoors? Are you looking for something different and fun for them to do? Horsewyse will be holding four more of its very popular Activity Days for children aged 6–12 on the following dates: · Monday 24th December · Thursday 27th December · Wednesday 2nd January · Thursday 3rd January Each Day has a maximum of 20 youngsters and involves, horse-riding, shooting, and games. The Day runs from 10am–3pm and costs £25; email: for a booking form. 64 Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

1.30pm-3.30pm Learn how to identify coins from the earliest Iron Age to the Tudor period, including what inscriptions and images can tell us. Museum Resource Centre at Halton. £10 per person. Book in advance.

and find out about their hand pulled printing techniques. Free. No need to book.

Young Riders Club From January 10th, the first of a 6-week Young Riders Club will be starting on a Thursday evening. Running from 4–5.30pm, the course will focus on teaching the basics about caring for a horse, riding and team-work, while at the same time having fun. The 6-week course costs £105 per child with a maximum of eight children per course. To enrol for the course, please email: horsewyse@ for a booking form Horsewyse Demonstration Evening Come and see what we do at the Horsewyse Demonstration Evening on Friday 11th January, 2013 from 6.30–9pm. Featuring an interactive demonstration with Patrick, our famous voice-trained horse, two guest speakers (including Yogi Breisner, Chef d-Equipe of the British Eventing Team) and a masterclass in re-training the ex-racehorse. £25 per ticket; refreshments available; dress for the weather! To buy a ticket, please contact Karen Smith on 01844 202966 or email l Website:

Christmas Toy Box exhibition 15 December 2012 to 12 January 2013 Take a nostalgic trip back to childhood with a selection of toys, games and children’s books from the Museum’s collections. 21 November: Printmaker Bernie Grist 28 November: Collagraph printmaker Kim Major-George A Lasting Impression Exhibition 17 November 2012 to February 2013 Original prints from the Museum’s collections featuring a range of manual printmaking techniques. Identifying Archaeological Coins Workshop Wednesday 12 December

County Museum open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm (closed 25, 26 Dec and 1 Jan) For Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery opening times and ticket prices contact the Museum or visit website. For further information and to book events please call 01296 331441 or email: l Buckinghamshire County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2QP Tel: 01296 331441

Horsewyse CIC

Horsewyse CIC is a not-for-profit company that provides equine facilitated learning for children and young people with learning and behavioural difficulties. For further information please contact Angela Ristow on 01844 202966 or email: or visit our website at:

Telephone: 01844 353388

Going away?

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Get a flying start with Falcon! Luton Airport Heathrow Airport Stansted Airport Gatwick Airport

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Cars, Estate Cars, MPV’s and Minibuses up to 16 seats Webbooker: book and track your taxi in real time

l Servicing, repairs, tyres, exhausts and air conditioning for cars and light commercials l Diagnostics: we have the most up to date workshops and equipment in the area l High ceilings and long ramps enable us to service long wheelbase vans, campers and trucks


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Fast & Friendlyfacilities Service Full workshop Full workshop facilities

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DENT REMOVAL SPECIALISTS REMOVAL SPECIALISTS • DENT High Quality Cost Effective Repairs Unit 9Effective Weston Way Ind. Estate, Lower Road • High Quality Repairs • FreeCost Estimates Stoke Mandeville, Bucks. HP22 5XB • Free Estimates • Fully Trained Technicians • Fully Trained Technicians Taking Away Life’s Little Knocks... ® • •Master Craftsmen Master Craftsmen • Mobile Service Workshop Facilities • Mobile Service & & Workshop Facilities Tel/Fax: 0800 977 5347

Tel/Fax: 0800 977 5347 Email: Email: Unit 9 Weston Way Ind. Estate, Lower Road

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...but not far, come and see us at our spacious new premises in Westcott, nr Aylesbury. You’ll love our comfortable new waiting area Still the same great service & value though.

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Auto Torque, Unit 9, UBF Industrial Park,

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For specialist advice and quotes call: 01296 770546 For specialist advice and quotes call: 01296 770546

Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Your Local Mobility Shop You Talk, We Listen - Since 1998

Bucks Camping Trailers trailers, parts and accessories Based Near Aylesbury, sales stockist for Maypole Trailers, Streetwize Camel Trailers and accessories

Adjustable Bed & Comfort Chair Specialists

Call us 0845 6011933

Pete Johnson Office Tel: 01296 641323 Mobile Tel: 07814 287090 Email:

Visit us - Woodway, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0NN Shop online @

Andrews of Thame Painting & Decorating Property Maintenance

Tel: 01844 260337 Mobile: 07590 573419

For all your vehicle needs 3B Hire & Servicing, Townsend Garage, Thame Road, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8BY Tel: 01844 291430

w car, van, mpv & minibus hire w vehicle servicing - all makes & models w car valeting w tyres, exhausts, batteries

Les Liney

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


Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012

w Decorating w Carpentry

Phill Pearce

Domestic & Commercial Call now for free estimates

Tel: 01844 292783 Mobile: 07860 795236

w Painting

Old Farm Workshops Haddenham Road Kingsey, HP17 8LS

Established in Thame for 18 years Tel: 01844 218091 Mobile: 07816 264231 26 Hamilton Road, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3XZ

OILSERV Oil Boiler Servicing and Repairs at a reasonable price.

Service £75

Contact Ian on: 01844 281256 07745 405453 Email:

Contact Ian on:

Dewani Shah’s Indian & Bangladeshi cuisine

01844 281256 07745 405453

8 Swan Walk, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3HN (behind The Swan)

Call: 01844 260066

for Dewani Shah’s delicious, authentic, Indian cooking & friendly, takeaway service Open: 7 days a week (including bank holidays) Sun-Thur: 5pm-10pm, Fri & Sat: 5pm-11pm Free local delivery service (minimum order £20 within 5 miles or £28 within 5 to 8 miles) 10% discount on collected orders

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Wedding & Portrait Photographer


Frank Millar


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or call us on 01296 330126


Lazertech Sound & Light

Cats Protection

The Mobile Disco Company

We always have lots of gorgeous cats and sometimes kittens, in need of loving homes

Free Neutering Vouchers available for eligible households*

‘Because not everyone has your good taste in music’

(*households on a low income, senior citizens, students & those in receipt of income-related benefits)

We are also in urgent need of volunteer fosterers and fundraisers

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Vale Life : Nov/Dec 2012


Vale Life Magazine Nov-Dec 2012  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK

Vale Life Magazine Nov-Dec 2012  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK