Christmas Cocktail Recipe: Chrimbo Cosmo

The Christmas season is here and this calls from some relaxation and perhaps a tipple or two. Lovingly crafted, you can either try these at home or pop in to Donnington Valley Hotel and our bar team would be delighted to make these for you.

tumblr_mj6oxiqXuW1rb1u9do1_r1_1280Here is the first in three of our Seasonal cocktails from Iain our Bar Manager. Called the Chrimbo Cosmo, it is fresh, warm and fruity with flavours of citrus, cranberry and ginger in there, adding a little winter spice. Go on, try it!

Chrimbo Cosmo

Ingredients:

  • 25ml Citrus Vodka
    25ml Cointreau
    25ml Ginger Wine
    25ml Cranberry Juice
    Lime Rind to garnish
    half of a Lime

Method of making

  1. Fill a shaker with ice and add all the ingredients.
  2. Shake well and strain into a chilled Martini Glass.
  3. Garnish with lime zest and serve.

Delicious!

Play Golf To Relieve Stress

In this modern time, where people work longer hours and with tight deadlines plus longer commuting times, we all need some way to relieve the stress of our working lives and sometimes our personal time, so how does golf help? Our Golf Diretor Peter Smith tells us more.

Golf

Playing golf for stress relief is even suggested by some doctors. Many club golfers would argue that the four or so hours spent each weekend out on their favourite course is their way of putting themselves back together again for the week ahead. For some others golf causes stress!
If you don’t get too wound up with not always playing the perfect shot every time (even the golf professionals don’t play every shot perfectly) then golf is very good for you as a whole.
You are out in the fresh air, even though that fresh air may include some moisture here in England, for four and a bit hours once or twice a week, you are exercising by walking the course (even if you take a trolley and don’t carry your clubs) and by swinging the golf club while playing each shot. Some players however get more exercise as they play more shots, which is not the aim of golf, as less is more from a scoring point of view!
You are also surrounded by nature, there are different birds, insects and often deer to look at while you play the course and depending on the course you play, the views across the valleys or even from tee to green can be magnificent and enjoyable.
The interaction and communication between playing partners coupled with the banter and laughter is also excellent for relieving stress, though laughing at a colleagues bad shots may not help their stress levels.
So to keep you sane, improve your cardio vascular activity and to have a good laugh, get yourself out on the fairways and play some golf.

Mum-To-Be with Little Butterfly

Little Butterfly London is Britain’s first organic-certified luxury skincare range for “babies” only. Our Spa offers the products to take away and treatments to enjoy here. Hannah, our Spa Director, tells us more.

Mum-To-Be

Dewdrops at Dawn, Bubbles in the Breeze and Fall into Dreams are some of newest products we have introduced to the Spa this month. These names are just an insight into the beautiful new range that is “Little Butterfly”.  The most precious natural and organic ingredients are generously blended to delight the senses and nurture delicate skin. Created in London and manufactured in England, Little Butterfly London has an air of elegance, with chalky pastel hues, fine wooden closures and luxurious cartons. Delicate skins deserve the kindest, safest skin care. All products are suitable for newborn and eczema-prone skin and are free from mineral oil, paraffin, parabens, SLS, silicones, DEA, TEA, PEGs and artificial fragrances.

The products in the range are:

Dewdrops at Dawn (Body Lotion)

Bubbles in the Breeze ( Top to Toe Wash)

Soft as Moonlight (Nappy Change Cream)

Floating on Clouds (Bedtime Bath Milk)

Fall into Dreams (Mother and Baby Massage Oil)

For the “Mum To Be” there is the Dreamy Pregnancy Massage available as a 55 minute or 80 minute option and suitable after the 14th week of pregnancy. This heavenly treatment incorporates the Mother and Baby oil with a full body massage which has been designed to soothe, calm and relieve the strains of pregnancy. For the mum to be that is experiencing disturbed sleep, aches, pains and puffiness, this dreamy massage will give you a moment to rest and restore. A new, “Fall into Dreams Mother and Baby Massage Oil” will be opened and used for your treatment, allowing you to take the rest of the product home with you; to nourish, soften and promote peaceful sleep for both you and baby.

For more information please contact the spa on 01635 551188.

Anti-ageing with M Ceutic

Almost every woman wants to know the secret to anti-ageing and promoting healthy looking skin. Here, our Spa Director Hannah sheds the light on a very on-trend MediSpa practice: Mesotherapy.

anti-ageing

One of the latest buzz words in the medispa industry is “Mesotherapy” (meso from Greek word ‘mesos’, meaning “middle”, and therapy from Greek ‘therapeia’, meaning “to treat medically”), a non-surgical cosmetic medicine treatment. Mesotherapy employs multiple injections of pharmaceutical and homeopathic medications, plant extracts, vitamins and other ingredients into subcutaneous fat.

Personally this sounds a little frightening, so I was very pleased to hear Thalgo has branched out into the medispa world with MCeutic. Thalgo has developed a medically inspired, professional, cosmeceutical brand to help combat the signs of ageing and target skin imperfections. MCeutic has been designed to mimic mesotherapy, but non invasively, thanks to its patented Mésolift Marin ingredient. Mésolift Marin blends vitamins, minerals, amino acids, hyaluronic acid and an anti-ageing nucleoside to “break away from traditional cosmetics, delivers a rigorous cosmetic treatment capable of producing visible effects on the skin.” Also key is Néo-skin, a patented complex formulation to treat deep blemishes and skin irregularities. These ingredients underpin MCeutic’s Rénovation Radicale products – including an intensive peel, a ‘detox regenerator’ and resurfacing cream serums – and a diagnostic treatment. This facial targets the causes of blemishes and irregularities to restore smooth and radiant skin quality

The Renovation Radical facial is now available as a 55minute treatment or a 25minute express option. This facial targets the causes of blemishes and irregularities to restore smooth and radiant skin quality, best results will be seen if the treatment is taken as part of a course of 4 treatments. Treatments from £50.00 for the 25 minute express Facial.

Book a course of four treatments for £270.00 Monday to Thursday or £290.00 Friday to Sunday and you will receive the M Ceutics product starter gift set complimentary to get you started.

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:

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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.

Spa

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.

Healthy

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!

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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!