Local Events this December

This month there’s a plethora of festive local events and activities happening in the  area. We’ve picked our six of the best:


Bucklebury Christmas on the Farm
1st December to 23rd December
Opening times: 09:30 – 17:00
Call: 0118 971 4002
Ticket prices apply
A magical place at Christmas, Bucklebury Farm is stunning: the holly is chock-full with berries, the tree is up in the barn and the fairy lights are shining bright. All this and Santa is here! He is dropping in every day to meet the children and check up on his reindeer who are right next door to his grotto and busy getting fed ready for the busy time ahead. With home-cooked Christmas lunches up to 23rd December booking is essential and as we are now licensed you can enjoy a small alcoholic beverage with your food.
With a deer park, farm animals, indoor play, pedal go-cart track, tractor rides refreshments, adventure playground, a wild walk, Be a Farmer Club and den building, this is a fantastic day out for everyone, whatever the weather.

Watermill Book Club – The Story of Alice
Tuesday 1st December
Opening time: 7pm
Call: 01635 46044
Ticket prices apply

A good part of our cultural heritage is based on wonderland, and artists, poets, writers and many others have used this theme for over a century. Among this heritage sits the complex history of the author Charles Dodgson, the quiet academic, and his better-known counterpart, Lewis Carroll – storyteller and innovator. This author dreamed up Alice Liddell’s fictional alter ego in the seminal storybook that has spanned generations.
In this evening, Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst uses previously unpublished material to bring the timeless legend of ‘Alice’ to light.

Wine School at The Vineyard – Christmas Wines
Wednesday 2nd December
Opening time: 630pm to 8pm
£30 per person

This evening is quite simple. A collection of bottles suitable for the festive lunch and some tips on what to match with, serving ideas, plus a host of tips on making the most important lunch of the year stress-free!

Champagne Jazz Lunch at The Vineyard
Sunday 13th December
Opening time: 12pm to 4pm
£55 per person

The perfect way to begin the festive celebrations;live jazz, great food and unlimited Champagne! Sit back, relax and listen to the soulful sounds of jazz whilst enjoying a three course lunch and unlimited** Champagne with friends and family.
**Unlimited Champagne will only be served during lunch from starter to dessert.

Dick Whittington At The Corn Exchange
27th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016
Call: 0845 5218 218
Ticket prices apply

The 2015 Corn Exchange Christmas Pantomime is full of adventure, danger and magic. Joined by his cat and Sarah the Cook, Dick Whittington is trying to seek his fortune. Will he defeat the devilish King Rat, or save his love, Alice? Sure to be lots of fun and laughter, some performances are sold out already so book your tickets quickly!

A Merry Christmas At Basildon Park
28th November 2015 to 5th January 2016
Opening Times: 10:00 – 15:00
Call: 01491 672382
Ticket prices apply

This Georgian Mansion, surrounded by parkland, will be beautifully decorated for Christmas. Explore the wintery gardens with their trail and see the lovingly restored mansion with fine paintings, fabrics and furniture which you can still see today. Make the most of your visit by treating yourself to cream tea, explore the refined house, or breathe in the fresh air by taking one of their marked trails through the 400 acres of historic parkland.

Christmas Golf Gifts!

Welcome to our 12 days of Christmas! Each day this Advent from 1st to 12th December we are bringing to you offers you won’t find anywhere else. These offers are on stock items and for One Day ONLY!

Christmas Golf

Tuesday 1st December – Ping Price Drop

G30 Drivers, Fairway Woods and Rescues all at a lower than ever before price

Wednesday 2nd December – Vokey Spectacular

Vokey wedges at an all time low price

Thursday 3rd December – The Gloves Are Off

Special Offer on Bundles of Gloves

Friday 4th December – Friday Is The New Shoes Day

Selected models of shoes, including Footjoy DryJoys, at crazy low prices

Saturday 5th December – Bag Phenomenon

Motocaddy Pro Series Bags at a price never seen before

Sunday 6th December – Gadget Day

SkyCaddie GPS Systems all at internet busting low

Monday 7th December – Ball of the Season

Srixon AD333 Tour Balls at shelf clearing prices

Tuesday 8th December – Iron Price Crunch

Sets of irons at eye watering prices

Wednesday 9th December – Ladies Day

Ladies Clothing at amazing prices

Thursday 10th December – Ecco Never To Be Repeated

Ecco Golf Shoes teasingly good price

Friday 11th December – Taylormade Price Crash

R15 Drivers, Fairway Woods and Rescues at Budget prices

Saturday 12th December – The Final Countdown

Lots of offers in store including clothing
Every day we will email the special Christmas offer to our loyalty members. This email will also state the stock levels/specs at the beginning of the day and where they are.

You can come into the shop or pay for products over the phone and collect later. This will be done on a first come first served basis.Payments must be made that day for the product to be reserved for you.

If you spend £20 or more in our 12 days of Christmas promotion you will receive a little book of vouchers which you can use from 13th to 24th. (see vouchers for individual expiry dates).

Remember the offers are for their specific day only and for stock items only. Payments can be made over the phone or in-store. Payment must be made to reserve a product.

On Behalf of myself and the team We would like to wish you

A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Baubles and Berries

Spa-rkle for Christmas – Prepare for Party Season

We are now entering the party season, the time when going out on “a school night” is actually acceptable, whether it be a night out with friends or the annual Christmas work do. Often it means treating ourselves to a new party outfit or two and a pre party pamper treat. Hannah our Spa Director offers top tips to prepare.


To prepare your skin for the festive season, ensure you drink a lot of water, 2 litres a day is the recommended intake. If over indulging is on the cards your water intake should be increased. There are ways to help the skin feel more hydrated and therefore be refreshed, glowing and allow make up to have a flawless finish. At home you can exfoliate your skin once or twice a week to remove any dead skin cells and use a hydrating mask once or twice a week to combat dehydration and infuse the skin with much needed nutrients. In the spa treat yourself to the collagen smoothing facial which will give your skin a collagen boost and correct the signs of ageing as they appear. The collagen mask smoothes fine lines and has a plumping effect, after the treatment your skin will be radiant and its collagen reserves restored.

To prepare for the LBD at home, skin brushing and a good body exfoliation will help to increase the circulation and leave the skin looking radiant and feeling smooth. In the spa the Thalgo slim and sculpt treatment is perfect for targeting stubborn unwanted curves and cellulite. You can combine this treatment with a full body exfoliation to save having to worry about how to reach your back or those difficult-to-reach areas. If you want to add a nice shimmer to the skin use the Polynesia Sacred Oil which gives a lovely gold shimmer as well as hydrating and nourishing. The other alternative is to have a spray tan or apply self tan at home. In the spa we use the Vita Liberata spray tan, an organic luxury anti ageing brand, with three different strengths of tan. You can choose from a touch of colour, a week away or even a two week holiday tan.

On-trend colours for make up this festive season are very much plums and purples and shimmers are back. A smoky eye is sultry and seductive, apply a shimmering, mid tone eye shadow to the moving part of the eyelid, use a brush to blend from lash line to socket line, use a darker shade on the outside corner of the eye, sweeping along the lash line and slightly into the socket line, add a little under the lower lashes, working inwards. Line the eyes with eyeliner to the lash line, for a more dramatic look apply to the lower line as well. Finish the look with mascara on the upper and lower lashes.

For nails, add sparkle to the ring finger or a touch of glitter to all nails.

How To Stay Healthy Over The Festive Season

Christmas is a time traditionally given to overindulge as Christmas drinks, office parties and family get-togethers fill our December calendar. Our Fitness team offer their tips to make sure you stay feeling healthy and great over the festive period.


Plan your workouts
Set a goal and get yourself organised. Look at your schedule for the busy time and plan your workouts around any events you might have. If you leave it until the day you are most likely going to think of an excuse and not go to the gym, remember that any workout is more healthy than no workout. If you have time try to fit some exercise before or after your party/event. Work hard and keep motivated towards your goals.

Over the festive season there will be a gym challenge to help motivate you and push you to work harder in your gym workout; this in turn will help you towards your overall goal.

Set limits
If you know you have a busy week try and control what you have to eat i.e. portion sizes, controlled carbs and eating until you are completely full. You don’t need to have three courses each time. Volunteer to be the driver one evening you’ll cut out lots of calories by skipping alcohol or have a non-alcoholic drink every other drink. Again go back to planning, plan what you will have to eat throughout the day and take it with you, this will help cut out the snacking and help you remain healthy. Set a limit of how many times you’d like to use the gym and try to integrate that with your schedule.

Christmas is also a time to relax so even if you haven’t got a busy schedule still try and get to the gym, drink plenty of water and keep to your goals.

Stick to it
As difficult as it’s going to be, stick to your plan and remember what your goals are. You can always come and speak to the Fitness Instructors for advice and if you want to change up your programme, to make your workouts more challenging and enjoyable over the festive season we can arrange that for you. Ask your friends and family to keep you motivated as well with all aspects of your workouts and healthy diet.

Most importantly, enjoy yourselves this festive season. Being in control will help you do this and maintain your healthy regime!

How To Make The Perfect Roast Potatoes

Much taken-for-granted, the potato is often overlooked or rushed when creating the Sunday Roast. Here, our kitchen provide a quick yet foolproof recipe to ensure you get them just right. Plenty of time to perfect them for Christmas!

PotatoesGather a selection of large potatoes, peal and place in pot of cold water.

Prepare a roasting tray by spreading goose fat around the edges and placing in the oven on a medium high heat.

Cut potatoes up in to around the size of 2 to 3 inches in circumference, place back into the pot and bring up to the boil, in till slightly soft.

Once ready, drain into colander and rumble the potatoes around in the colander until fluffy.

Carefully removing the roasting tray from the oven, evenly place the fluffy roast potatoes in the hot goose fat and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Using a spatula toss the potatoes to ensure they are evenly covered with oil.

Place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, keeping a regular eye on them and regularly turning the potatoes over with a spatula. Voila!

All Hallow’s Eve

The origins of the Hallowe’en are well established, but not always well known. Our Bar Manager Iain Hewitt sheds some light on this ever popular occasion, and offers some tasty beverages to go!


Based on a Pict/Scots Celtic tradition and adopted by the Catholic Church and renamed All Hallow’s Eve in an attempt to ease the transition of the barbarian hordes to the new Christian sect; it has become one of the most popular holidays, especially in America, where the adopted tradition of trick and treating has become one of the most popular excitements for children and adults alike. This is slowly making its way over here, as kids look to supplement their sweet intake without having to wait the extra few days to go door to door with a stuffed Guido Fawkes.
Of course, more interesting to people of my mind-set are the parties that go on into the early hours, where the drink flows steady and the guests slowly slip into gentle inebriation. In that vein, of course there are a few interesting things you can do with the drinks to help the atmosphere of the party. Simple things like the addition of Blue Curaçao (a slightly tart orange liqueur) to orange or pineapple juice will turn things a nice sickly green; drop in some grenadine or a red liqueur such as Cherry Brandy or Campari and suddenly things start to look rather ghoulish (much like our special Hallowe’en Cocktail this year – the delightfully named Ectoplasm!). Of course you can mix those flavours up with the addition of whatever takes your fancy – a whisky adds a great smoky finish, while Fruity liqueurs can subtly amend the flavour in other ways – experimentation is the key. In the same way, you can mix things up long or short; in a classic martini glass, dropping things through can look particularly effective.
For alternatives, thick red liqueurs mixed with apple juice or even lemonade can look fantastic. Mixing Campari into a classic Collins is easy and interesting, but do look out for that sharp edge!
As I always say – experiment, find your own mixes, and what works for you works for you, but be wary of drinking too many before the kids have gone to bed!

A Professional’s Top Tips For Winter Golf

Golf Director Peter Smith has a wealth of experience playing in all weathers and seasons. Here are a few of his top tips to help you continue practice and improvement over the fothcoming months.
Winter Golf

Playing golf over the winter months has its challenges, therefore ‘Winter Rules’ are introduced at golf clubs. Below are the main details of how they affect the game and what you are allowed to do.

Winter Rules

During the winter months most golf clubs bring in ‘Winter Rules’ for golf for two main reasons:
1. The ground conditions are much wetter either through rain or by dew.
2. The ground due to its softness, make the ball collect mud and dirt. Therefore the ‘winter rules’ help a golfer rather than penalize a golfer, so that they can play their best golf when playing on a much wetter playing surface.

The two main benefits to these rules are as follows:

A Ball lying on a closely-mown area through the green (fairway, approach or collar to the green) may, without penalty, be marked, moved or lifted, cleaned and placed within six inches of where it originally lay, but not nearer to the hole and not in a hazard or on a putting green.

A player may move or place his ball once and after the ball has been moved or placed, it is in play. Relief from embedded ball (Appendix 1, Part 2, Point 3) ‘Through the green’, (not just closely-mown areas) a ball that is embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground, other than sand, may be marked, lifted without penalty, cleaned and dropped as near as possible to where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must strike a part of the course through the green.

Other considerations for golf in the winter months

In the autumn period, many leaves fall on the golf course, which makes finding a golf ball quite difficult at times, therefore if you hit your golf ball to an area where it may not be found, play a ‘provisional’ ball.

If you do not find your first ball but you find the second ball ‘the provisional ball’ you can then play that ball, but you must add on an extra two shot for that hole. I.e. tee off (1 shot), play a provisional ball (1 shot) and the next time you hot the provisional ball that is then your third shot. Make sure you ‘mark’ your golf ball, to make it easier to identify and prevents hitting somebody else’s golf ball my mistake. You can mark your ball in many ways, put coloured spots in a few dimples, add your initials etc. If you are playing when the course is frosty or frozen and everything appears white, then it is often a good idea to play a ball with a different colour than white, to make it easier to find. Many people play with yellow or orange golf balls in these conditions.

Wine Tasting and Cocktail Making

Are you are looking for something a little different to reward your delegates with after a hard day’s work? Why not test our experts and try a wine tasting session before dinner? Julie Weston, our Events Manager, explains more.


Blind tasting is always a fun way to challenge your taste buds, (don’t worry, no blindfolds are used). The wine is poured before you arrive to ensure there will be no cheating.

Throughout the session, our knowledgeable sommelier will give you a lesson in how to taste wine, and pass on lots of interesting facts about grape varieties and regions to wet your appetite for the tasting. And possibly help you determine their origin.

If you fancy yourself as a budding Tom Cruise, we could arrange a cocktail making master class, with plenty of testing and even the opportunity to mix your own creation!

Don’t have too much fun, in case there is a second day of concentration required!

Ask our conference experts about adding on something different to your residential conference, or for their team building ideas.

Change Your Routine to Keep Seeing Results

You’ve set yourself a hard gym routine to help get you through the summer season, now it’s time to make a change to keep on seeing those results. Phoebe McCully, a Senior Fitness Instructor at our Health Club, gives us some top tips.

 Matrix gym cardio suite at Donnington Valley

Sticking to the same routine can be very easy and comfortable, but at some point, your routine may not give you the results you want, so you need to shake things up. Changing your workout routine can be a motivator and may make things more interesting for you.

You work hard in the gym trying to find the routine that suits you. You start the routine and you notice that it is helping you make the changes that you want, so you stick with it. However, after a few months you may notice that the changes you liked to see have stopped appearing. The reason this happens is because repetition means the body can adapt. It will know what to expect and will then use less energy.

So here aresome signs that you can look for when deciding if you should change up your routine.

Do you get bored in the gym? Are you noticing fewer results? You find the workout less challenging? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you need to mix things up!

Instead of just spending your amount of time on the treadmill, or cross trainer at a constant speed, I recommend our clients try our new ‘Sprint 8’ software. It is designed to help improve fitness levels, and burn away fat. It will be hard and will kick-start your body into making those changes again.

Mix up your strength routine by adding in a super set, to challenge your muscles even more. Finish the reps on the exercise that you are doing and then go straight into another one for the same muscle group. Super sets will help improve your endurance and build muscle.

If you make changes you will keep seeing results, and you will stay motivated. Try to make a change every four to six weeks. To help you make the right changes, why not book in for a review with the Fitness team? We would be only too happy to help and you never know how it will change the way you feel about your routine fore the better.

Upcoming Events this September

With summer drawing to a close and early signs of the Autumn onset starting to show, Newbury continues to maintain its calendar of ever- buzzing activity to get us out in the Autumn sunshine!


Royal Country of Berkshire Show

19th September – 20th September   

This annual family event is a highlight in Newbury’s social calendar. It’s a fun filled weekend for all the family to enjoy. Don the wellies and wrap up warm – it is sure to be a wonderful weekend with something to keep everyone happy. From furry farm animals to a selection of Britain’s finest foods, this is one for all the family.

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Newbury Real Ale Festival

12th September 

Live bands and beer… just what Saturday dreams are made of. With over 150 real ales, ciders and perrys for everyone to try and also a range of food options, including multiple hog roasts. Newbury’s annual Real Ale Festival is back and with a growing cult following, this year is bound to be better than before. Join and support local bands and breweries – and enjoy yourself very much! Opening Hours from 12 noon.

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Music in Victoria Park Bandstand

6th September      City of Oxford Silver Band

13th September    Hannington Silver Band

20th September    Cholsey Silver Band

27th September    Reading Spring Gardens Band

This September, take time for yourself and get lost in our local talent playing at the bandstand at Victoria Park in Newbury. Wrap up warm and join for a couple of hours of relaxation alongside the Kennet & Avon canal. Pack the picnic rugs and refreshments and pick from a selection of dates to suit you.

Playing between 15:00 – 17:00

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Burgundy Grand Cru Dinner

Wednesday 9th September

7pm arrival for 7.30pm

Grand Cru – The best of the best. There are 32 Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy, accounting for less than 2 percent of all Burgundy wine production.  Esteemed by wine experts and cellar aficionados alike, this region also makes wines that match superbly with foods. Join our hosts for the night, including our wine expert James Hocking to learn more – and to enjoy imbibing! This is a unique event at The Vineyard; the first time that we have raided our cellar to show off some of our very best wines. Often referred to as “the holy grail” of wine producing regions, this is a dinner not to be missed!

Five course dinner with matching wines £150 per person

Stay the night with breakfast from £173.50 per person*

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