Trim up for holiday, hit those target areas

The sunny weather and social season is upon us and in the back of your mind you will have that niggling wish you’d done those extra couple of minutes in the gym, attended that spin class or lifted a heavier weight. Phoebe McCully our Senior Fitness Instructor helps you make that change.

Trim up for holiday

If you always do the same routine in the gym, your body won’t make the changes you want to see. Yes you might have seen some positive developments in the beginning but as you go on, your body adapts to what you are doing and will plateau. So make a change and get the results you want.

Try a different cardio machine that will work you harder. For example if you always tend to use the treadmill switch to the Stair Climber, you’ll feel your heart rate pick up, helping to push those fitness levels higher. The Stair Climber will also help add some toning work to your legs.

Try a different exercise for the muscle you want to train. By changing your routine around, you will find that you will be bringing other muscles in to play that you wouldn’t have used before, helping you get that shape and toned look you have been fighting for. There are many different exercises you can use to tone and strengthen each body part. For example, if you always do squats to help train your lower body, why not try a walking lunge? It still trains your lower body as well as hitting different areas.

Try swimming; this is also a great form of all-round exercise. It’s ideal if you want to be more active and stay healthy, whatever your age or ability. Swimming can help tone muscles, correct posture and improve core stability. Try to vary your strokes to eliminate boredom and ensure every muscle group gets a workout.

Try a class

If the thought of pushing weights or different exercises bores you, then classes are surprisingly easy and addictive alternative – and prove results.

If your target area is to train and strengthen your core, then come along to one of our abs classes; you will come away with new ideas. Aimed at giving you an intense workout to strengthen the core abdominal and lower back muscles, it will help you get over that plateau. Or for better body tone and shape, Body Toning class will sculpt the entire body, helping you burn fat, gain strength and produce lean muscle.

This month why don’t you try and get yourself out of your comfort zone and make the changes, so you get to see the results you want?

Local Events this July

Summer is upon us and the British Social Season is here with plenty to do in West Berkshire: why not plan a couple of days out to enjoy the great British weather with the family.


Summer Street Party
Saturday 4th July
Kick start your Saturday shopping trip and join Parkway’s incredible summer street party. The Street Party will include a whole host of entertainment for all the family from Covent Garden performers, live music, and free face-painting. There are also some fantastic offers to be used in Parkway stores on the day.

Newbury Balloon Festival
Friday 17th July – Saturday 19th July
Although balloon weather is not always guaranteed, this event is a weekend packed with activities and entertainment for everyone. Enjoy live music every day from local bands and performers, a giant funfair and various ‘have-a-go’ activities. There is plenty to see and do for all ages.

Champagne Summer Jazz lunch
Sunday 19 July
Our sister hotel The Vineyard at Stockcross offers the perfect Summer Sunday; 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.

Donnington Valley Hotel Wedding Open Evening
Monday 20th July
Needing a bit of inspiration for the big day, come along and join Donnington Valley Hotel for our wedding open evening. Discuss your plans for your special day and book a guided tour with our dedicated wedding coordinator. We’d love to show you around and spend time with you to completely understand your wedding day wishes.
Whether you prefer a small and intimate gathering or a larger event, the flexible design of our elegant spaces offers you a wide choice of size, layout and entertainment. To make sure that everything goes exactly to plan.

West Berkshire Brewery Tours
Saturday 25th July
Why not support a local brewery come on a tour and gain first hand insight into all parts of the brewing process from the arrival of the raw ingredients to the finished article and, of course, there’s always plenty to sample. Get your friends together to join for a guided tour a few pints of beer and take a glass home for the goodies you can purchase in the shop open on the day.

Uncomplicated British Beauty: delilah

Every woman wants to feel special every day with minimal make-up fuss. Last Monday, the delightful Rupert Kingston introduced delilah, his luxury beauty brand, to our product range.

Delilah Cosmetics
Uncomplicated British beauty from Delilah Cosmetics

Remember that understated glamour you feel every time you don a new colourful lipstick or every time you wear your favourite perfume? That’s how luxury and select make-up range delilah made us feel last night.

And as we learned, there’s no reason why we can’t feel that way all (or most!) of time with the right products. Borne of twenty years international experience in beauty buying and make-up artistry, delilah was carefully formulated in Italy from the finest ingredients. This capsule collection offers women a touch of understated luxury that they can enjoy everyday.

Importantly, delilah does not contain parabens, those modern-day nasties which recent research attests is no good for our skin at all. Instead, the products feel great, lightweight, and let your skin breathe.

Rupert offered a host of excellent tips and tricks as well, such as always to wear an SPF (I’m so guilty of forgetting but skin will be grateful in the long-run), that a brow pencil can so easily enhance your look, and that your choice of make-up brushes can dramatically enhance the application. Invest – or choose wisely initially – for long term gain.

Touching and feeling the products really brought this to life – the packaging is gorgeous and feels on a par with YSL or Chanel – very important in making a product feel extra special. With a host of pretty corals, daring poppies for the lips, warm browns, peacock greens and sultry purpose for the eyes, Rupert also aided our decision on choosing colours. Essentially, while the ‘barely-there’ is great, if you feel daring, don’t be afraid to wear colour!

The main takeaway was that make-up should be fun, easy, and make your skin look good (rather than being obvious). And delilah products very much did the job. I’m placing my order right now.

Great British Summer Cocktails

The British Social Calendar is upon us – something that drink and food go hand in hand with. Whether making them at home or choosing from the bar menu, fresh, fruity cocktails needn’t be tricky yet will enhance the fun, attests Iain Hewitt, our Bar Manager.

Festive cocktails


Our Great British Summer is the season for cocktails. Whether you’re entertaining friends at home or out on the social scene (Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley to name a few) the fresh and varied flavours lend themselves to balmy summer evenings and picnics out on the lawn.

A personal favourite is the classic Tom Collins: homemade lemonade with a good shot of old fashioned Old Tom style gin. You can mix the same recipe up with a range of different bases, but somehow I always come back to Christian Jensen’s self-named 1830’s recipe Jensen’s Old Tom Gin. Naturally, adding summer fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into the mix before we shake makes for another experience altogether.

The same can be said for the Mojito or the Caipirihna: fresh fruit makes all the difference in these rum-based cocktails and when you throw in something extra into the concoction, you can tease your palate with a wholly different experience. Mixing things up like that is the mark of a true cocktail bar – somewhere you can trust the bar tender to adjust the recipes to your needs and desires at a moment’s notice (assuming they have a fully-stocked kitchen to help out with the ingredients!).

Champagne is a versatile drink on a warm summer’s evening, whether as an aperitif, alongside food or as a digestif afterwards. Simple additions like fruit purée for a Bellini (traditionally peach, though raspberry, strawberry or even mango purées are delicious too) is a longer, fresher drink that will keep you going for a while.

That said, alcohol, fun as it is, isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to cocktails, especially with kids present, being the designated driver, or if you just don’t fancy it. A good Florida Cocktail, Mockito or Cranberry Crush will refresh and hydrate wonderfully while keeping you sober to enjoy your days and evenings in the sun.

So now onto the making!

Five benefits of ‘Green Exercise’

Everyone likes to feel healthy – and fresh air and light exercise can make our feel-good hormones ‘endorphins’ skyrocket. That’s not the only benefit of golf, attests Peter Smith, Director of Golf.

The health benefits of golf are numerous
The many health benefits of golf

Golf is not only a great sport to play and one in which different abilities can play against each other fairly due to the handicap system, but it is also a great benefit for health and well-being. Although some say I might be biased (!), whether you’re in retirement or a young person starting their golf career, the benefits are numerous.

The sport itself is played outdoors, so instantly you are improving your health by being outside in the fresh air, and exposure to the elements (the air throughout the year can be wet, cold, frosty and windy!) can also be health-promoting.

It gets your active: golf burns at least 900 calories
Golf burns more calories than you’d think: playing an 18-hole game of golf burns at least 900 calories. Golf also combines all the known weight-loss benefits of walking, combined with the toning and muscle strengthening benefits of swinging the clubs and carrying or pulling your golf bag (that is, unless you have a caddy!). During the average game of golf you can walk around five to six miles.

It brings people closer together
I’m constantly pleased at the amount of friendships fostered over the years on the gof courses that I’ve worked on. Golf a great way to meet new people – especially if you have recently moved into a new area or town or are travelling abroad. Wherever there’s a golf course, a host of rewarding new friendships await, not only due to the ready-made social life at the clubhouse afterwards.

It helps combat stress
“Golf really does tick all the boxes for things you need for optimal wellbeing,” says psychologist and coach Miriam Akhtar from positivepsychologytraining. “It offers some important feel-good factors, such as an active social life and regular physical activity of the best kind – what we call ‘green exercise’ outside in nature.”

It’s good for your heart
Not only due to that five mile walk, but the powerful combination of stress-busting exercise, fresh air and camaraderie can help reduce blood pressure and raised cholesterol, cutting your risk of stroke and diabetes – especially if combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

It can help you live longer
Golf’s unique combination of outdoor exercise and social interaction can help you live longer (by up to five years) – and make those extra years healthier. Regular walking, such as the four hours it typically takes to play a round of golf, can also help ward off dementia.

Need we say more? It is never too late to start!


Berkshire Events this June

Patio at Donnington ValleyHalf term is all over, and we now look forward to the long, hopefully sunny, period of Summer. With the 21st of the month marking the longest day of the year, whether you’re planning to celebrate Summer Solstice at Stonehenge or not, here are a few ideas to make the most of the daylight hours this June.


Wine School – Argentina and Beef

Wednesday 3rd June – 630 to 8pm
Argentina has probably seen the biggest growth area in the world of fine wine in recent years. It is with the current excitement around steakhouses in the restaurant world that the noble Malbec grape has found to be one of the perfect matches to bef. We will explore the range of wines that Argentina produces, featuring Malbec as their pinnacle of achievement. Daniel Galmiche will also prepare a couple of beef cuts for us to pair to the wines being opened.
Read more


Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show 2015

Friday 5th to Sunday 7th June
Thinking of trying – or buying – a boat? Or do you just enjoy being on or around the water? Then look no further…a family day out with lots to do and see around the lake. There are even activities taking place in the lake!! Outdoor pursuits, live jazz, boat rides for young and old alike and so much more……
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Evening Falconry Experience

Tuesday 9th June
Join expert falconer Ray Prior and learn about his birds of prey then practise your skills. You will learn all about how his birds fly and hunt and are brilliantly adapted for their individual habitats. There will be plenty of time to practice your newly acquired falconry skills and knowledge and, of course, some wonderful photo opportunities.
Read More


Father’s Day Lunch

Sunday 21st June

This Father’s day, treat dad to special time with the family at our ever-popular father’s day barbecue in the surrounds of the rolling hills of West Berkshire.

Whether you are a keen meat eater or prefer fish and salads, our Head Chef Kelvin and his team will prepare a first-class spread for all the family. Enjoy barbecue favourites along with a selection of summer salads and vegetables and a dessert buffet plus a little gift from us for Dad. Space on the patio is limited so book early.

£25 per person for 3 courses.

Children up to 16 years, £15 per person.

Under 5’s eat free.

Call us to book on 01635 551199

View the menu


Guided Walks of Newbury

21st June
Did you know that Newbury dates back to Mesolithic times after which it was formally founded in 11th Century following the Norman Conquest. To find out more about the secrets and little known facts about this historic town and its royal connections. Stretch the legs and take some fresh air after a delicious luncheon with your family, why not combine your Father’s day meal at The Vineyard with a one hour walk around historic Newbury with all the family. A local historian will talk you through the secrets and little known facts about this historic town.
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Music for a Summer’s Evening

27th June
In the height of summer, what better than spending a beautiful summer’s evening outside listening to great music, picnicking on the lawn. This is possible at Shaw House where you can explore the building and grounds. And fantasic value at £7.50 for adults and children under 16 £2.50.
Gates open at 6pm, the concert will commence at 7.30pm
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Delilah Make-Up at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa

Delilah Cosmetics

Inspired by a multitude of quintessentially English influences and driven by the lack of boutique British brands Delilah is the creation of three strong team, Rupert Kingston, Hannah Nicholson and Juliet White.

Each of the team brings their own passion and expertise to the brand. Rupert spent many years as a make-up artist and creative director developing numerous award winning cosmetics. Hannah has had a long career as a beauty buyer specializing in product development and working with the worlds most prestigious cosmetics manufacturers. Juliet, a photographer whose work has featured in the New York Times and Rolling Stone brings her expertise in imagery, graphics and design to Delilah.

Rupert will be joining us on Monday 22nd June at 6pm to launch the Delilah range at Donnington Valley Spa. Join him and us for a glass of fizz where Rupert will be demonstrating some make-up tips and techniques to get the most professional result from this fantastic range of cosmetics.

Please call the spa to book on 01635 551188

Tickets are £5 per person which may be redeemed against purchase of Delilah cosmetics on the night.

Bored of the treadmill?

Donnington Valley Health Club

Donnington Valley Running Club

With the summer approaching and the weather, on the whole, becoming more favourable and improving running conditions its no surprise that more and more is us decide to take up running over the summer months.

Our running club takes full advantage of the improving conditions as we take in the beautiful surroundings on a variety of terrains. The running club is suitable for all levels of running ability and represents an ideal opportunity to try out something new. The routes we take can be adapted to suit your current ability with our more experienced participants able to try out longer or more challenging routes if they wish. Don’t let the term “running” put you off either, you can jog at your own pace, if you want to be pushed then the instructor can do this; however if your just looking for some general exercise then this class is perfect for you.

The class consists of a light warm up followed by a gentle jog, once you are completely warmed up the option is there to increase speed or stay at the pace, the instructor will run between groups and navigate the route. Once the run has finished, a cool down is completed followed by stretches.

If you are interested in running and you’re bored of the treadmill, want a change or fancy seeing the sights of the surrounding area then please do book into our running club class every Tuesday morning at 9.30am.

Take a look at our current class timetable on our website and also browse our membership options.

James Beldam

Senior fitness instructor

May Events in Berkshire

Wine Festival at The VineyardNewbury Open Studios 2015

2nd to 25th May

Set up in 1988, Newbury Open Studios is up and running for two weeks again this May. It is an ideal opportunity for you to visit the studios of the regions most prominent artists, see their latest works, talk to them about their processes and generally get your creative juices flowing.

Kick off the event with the flagship exhibition at the complimentary New Greenham Arts exhibition which features works from 115 artists, including 17 new artists. From glass to silk painting, jewellery to painting and drawing, the festival runs the gamut of artistic talent.

For more information, we recommend you visit the website.

Californian Wine School at The Vineyard

6th May

California wine is our specialist subject, and this event in perfect timing as our latest shipment will be on the water from the 2015 Spring releases. Join us for a vinous trip around Napa, Sonoma & Mendocino Counties, plus a trip down South to Arroyo Grande. We are a bit biased but it is one of the best events in Berkshire this May! We will explore the classic grape varieties and compare hillside and coastal fruit. Many of the wines being opened will be totally new and exclusive to The Vineyard which we are excited about.

£30 per person

Discover more about our wine schools.

Wolf Keeper Experience

7th May

Take advantage of this unique one-day experience to get up close and personal with wolves, including the new Arctic wolves.

On 7th May, the UK Wolf Conservation Trust has arranged for members of the public to learn more about these beautiful creatures. You will be able to help with aspects of care, shadow the keepers, see behind the scenes into the everyday life of wolves and their keepers, and see how the trainers encourage natural foraging behaviours. It is certainly one of the most unusual events in Berkshire this May. There will be plenty of opportunity for photographs, as well as added bonus of watching resident birds of prey such as kestrels, buzzards and kites.

For more information, we recommend you visit the website.

Peter Michael Winery Dinner

8th May

Hosted by Sir Peter Michael and family, we welcome you to the annual Peter Michael Winery dinner where you will be treated to five course dinner matched with exquisite wines from the Peter Michael Winery. Five course dinner with matching wines.

£120 per person

View menu.

Newbury Spring Festival

9th to 23rd May

Guaranteed to be the biggest and best yet, for two weeks from 9th May to 23rd May, the annual Newbury Spring Festival is taking place around the various prestigious local venues. One of the UK’s most prestigious Arts festivals, this year showcases international talent from all areas of the artistic spectrum: music, theatre, dance, literature and cabaret. Sopecifically, the large programme of work is aimed at young people and families, including the young stars award.

For more information, we recommend you visit the website.

Annual Pelican charity Golf Day

13th May

Held at the Donnington Valley Hotel and Golf Course, this annual event on 13th May is sure to be a fantastic day of sporting fun, followed by a delicious three course gourmet lunch. After a delicious breakfast of bacon baps, the starting gun is at 9am, and is all for the worthy cause of Pelican Cancer Foundation, driving innovation and development in bowel (colorectal), bladder, prostate and liver cancer treatment.

For more information, we recommend you visit the website or email

Award-nominated music in Newbury this May

14th May

The breathtaking and wickedly inventive music of Paul Hutchinson and Paul Sartin comes to Acespace in Newbury this 14th May. Playing like no-one else, the two have been nominated for Best Duo in the Radio 2 Folk Awards. Who else can you think of who are equally at home on 6 Radio (Cerys Matthews) and Radio 3 (In Tune). £10 in advance, £12 on the door, this is a great value evening, not to be missed.

We recommend you email or visit the website for more details.

Highclere Game and Country Fair

24th to 25th May

Set in the picturesque surrounds of the Highclere Castle, for 20 years Highclere Game and Country Fair has provided one of the UK’s finest showcases of country life. From 24th to 25th May, with world-class championship hunting and shooting events as well as the Highclere food festival, there’s something to suit all tastes, from competitive field sportsmen to those who want to relax.

Plus, for those new to country sports, you will find expert tuition and advice on how to get involved. The Highclere Game and Country Fair is also a great family day out, with live music and children’s entertainment too.

For more information, we recommend you email or visit the website.

Bucklebury Bushcraft and Barbecue

25th May

Set in a stunning 77-acre site, Bucklebury Farm Park has a host of attractions including 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. Join in this May Bank Holiday for some free bushcraft activities and a barbecue for a great value day out that will appeal to the whole family, school groups, senior citizens’ clubs, or just a couple of friends.

For more information, we recommend you email or visit the website.

Australian Wines

Wines at Donnington ValleyMost people will have tried an Australian wine at some point I’m sure. This country has the reputation for producing exclusively large chardonnays and big bodied shiraz. Some may even be surprised to learn there are many different styles of wine available for you to enjoy from this wine producing country.

For example I have found one producer that I particularly like who are creating wines in a range of styles. That producer is Larry Cherubino.

Larry Cherubino’s wines have set a new style benchmark for Australian wines. These elegant, beautifully crafted, serious, yet amazingly drinkable wines are the pinnacle of cooler climate Western Australia.

James Halliday, the undisputed authority on Australian wine, has inundated the winery with honours since its inception in 2005. He named the winery as one of the country’s ‘Ten Best New Wineries’ in the 2010 Australian Wine Companion, and awarded it the prestigious ‘Winery of the Year’ title in 2011. Also in the 2013 edition Cherubino is the highest rated producer since the inception of Halliday’s annual review in 1986. All 31 wines submitted were award more than 90 points while 19 scored over 94 points – an unprecedented achievement in a country of stellar wineries!

Larry’s philosophy is simple. By spending most of the year focussing on the vineyards and in paying close attention to the management of the vines and of course picking at the right time he can ensure that only the best grapes make it to the bottle.
Allowing him to create everything from delicate whites to big reds of exceptional class and finesse.

Larry Cherubino wines available at Donnington Valley:


Larry Cherubino, Ad Hoc, Hen & Chicken, Chardonnay, Pemberton, W.Australia – £36

This wine shows delicious notes of melon, citrus and apple fruit enhanced by a refreshing streak of minerality. A generous palate with a creamy texture is balanced by a vibrant acidity, giving this wine a long, lingering finish. The Hen and Chicken refers to a natural unevenness in ripeness of the grapes called millerandage and gives this wine its fabulous balance.

Larry Cherubino, Ad Hoc, Wallflower, Riesling, Westerern Australia – £37

Vibrant lemon and lime fruit flavours with subtle notes of minerality. The wine is softly textured with a refreshing acidity and a long, persistent finish. An excellent accompaniment to shellfish or as an aperitif. A wine that marries the heady aromas of Australia with a delicacy and balance from this cool climate region.

Larry Cherubino, Cherubino, Sauvignon Blanc, Pemberton, W.Australia – £65

A complex, fruity wine with a hint of oak adding great texture to the fruit. A good intensity and balance of ripe citrus and tropical notes in the wine. It has a delicate acidity and good length. Intriguing and restrained, not your typical Sauvignon Blanc.


Larry Cherubino, Cruel Mistress, Pinot Noir, Westerern Australia – £37

A wine with a pale ruby hue and sweet clove and black cherry aromas. A light Pinot with sweet spice, smoky, leather and black plum flavours on the palate, all beautifully balanced. A delicious and superbly balanced wine- the name Cruel Mistress refers to Pinot Noir’s temperamental nature!

Larry Cherubino, The Yard, Acacia Vineyard, Shiraz, Frakland River, W.Australia – £47

A complex wine which displays all of the hallmarks of the Great Southern region of WA and in particular the Frankland River region. Aromatic spice and blueberry fruit notes carry through to the softly textured palate which has ample, soft tannins. The balance and structure of this wine make it an excellent choice with lamb and even spicy dishes.

Larry Cherubino, Margaret River, Cabernet Sauvignon, Westerern Australia – £91

Dark and inky in the glass, which leads to a lifted aromatic nose of cassis and cigar box cedar. Gentle oak support allows the fully ripe dark fruit to shine on the palate, and powerful. There is great persistence of flavour, complexity and ample fine tannins for structure. The wine – although medium bodied, has depth, power and gentleness. The finish is long and persistent.

I look forward to welcoming you this summer and hope you take the opportunity to sample one or maybe even two of these exceptional wines.

Chris Neeves

Beverages Manager