Tag Archives: Donnington Valley Health Club and Spa

Tips and Tricks for Winter Golf

It has been incredibly mild recently, and ideal for value Winter golf practice as you benefit from the Winter Green Fee prices. Peter Smith our Golf Director has some additional tips to make the most this season.

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Playing golf in the Winter is a completely different game, as the cold air means that the golf ball does not travel through the air as far and with wet fairways, when the ball lands it hardly runs, so you need to think about your club selection a lot more to compensate for the conditions. Here are my top considerations for golf in the winter months.

Because the ball does not travel as far as in the warmer Summer months, it may be necessary to club up by one or two, for example, if you normally hit an eight iron 130 yards in the Summer, you may need to hit a seven or even a six iron to cover the same distance as your eight iron in the Summer.

When chipping on to the greens again you may need to adopt a chip and run approach, as when you hit a high chip onto a green in Winter, the ball makes more of a pitch mark and will come to rest much quicker, leaving your ball much further from the hole than you wanted.

If you are playing golf when the course is frosty or frozen (which looks unlikely to ahppen at the moment!) 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.

and then there is the consideration of seaonal ‘rules’. During the Winter months most golf clubs bring in ‘Winter Rules’ for golf for two main reasons. Firstly, the ground conditions are much wetter either through rain or by dew. Secondly, 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.

Check out our Green Fee tariffs and book today.

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!

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!

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!

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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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Summer Holiday Essential Tips

Feeling your best before going on a Summer holiday is essential. Here are three major tips from our Spa Manager Hannah Henley-Thrift to ensure you are ready for anything!

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With such busy lifestyles, getting body-ready for sunny climes before we go away often seems like a lot of effort. However, the results really are worth it! Envision yourself feeling great on holiday and follow these following tips for tanning, tinting and slimming.

Firstly, a healthy radiant glow will set the tone. A perfect tan comes with precision preparation. It might sound an effort but it will pay off! Exfoliating the body 24 hours before your tan is essential. For the best results apply your chosen body scrub to dry skin before showering, pay particular attention to dry areas, for example the elbows, knees, ankles and knuckles. Don’t forget any hair removal should also be done 24 hours before a tan but can be done after your exfoliation. Products containing oils should be avoided as the oil can remain on the skin resulting in a not so even tan.

If you are new to tanning, try a gradual tan which builds up as applied or get it applied professionally. For a long lasting tan, we treasure the Vita Liberata range – their pHenomenal (two to three week) tan is a tinted mousse making application very easy and giving you an instant glow.

For a flawless look throughout the summer tinting your eye lashes is a simple solution, rather than worrying about your mascara smudging. (IT is also great for swimmers and gym goers for the same reason! Eyelashes and eyebrows can be tinted and will last four to six weeks. A vegetable-based dye is used by your beauty therapist and applied to the desired area. A variety of colours is available and this will be discussed at the consultation stage. A patch test is required at least 24 hours prior to your appointment, so don’t forget to plan this into your pre-holiday calendar. (Another one for the list!)

Slimming
We are a massive fan of Thalgo’s Ocea Draine detoxifying products. Recommended before starting an intensive slimming regime, it triggers the elimination and weight loss process. This ten day intensive course will help you reach your goal – or just feel less bloated and trim.

Happy holidays!

Wedding Tips at Donnington Valley

When planning for your wedding day, catering will be one of the biggest decisions you will make. The food is one of the main things your guests will remember from the day, what they had, was there enough, was there too little and how did the food reflect you as a couple? Here are our best tips.

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When it comes to deciding on catering for your big day there are a number of choices: a traditional three course wedding breakfast; a relaxed summer barbecue or even a Champagne afternoon tea. Try and be different – and think about the best bits from previous weddings you would have attended. Make it more about you and your partner.

Upon arrival following your ceremony, guests might be a little peckish; the perfect little appetiser would be individually handmade canapés. Time of year is key as to what this might entail – hot, cold, heavy or fresh. You might want the freedom to choose, some venues are more flexible here than others.

Drinks are also a very important part of the day and not everyone wants to drink, though some do! A range of beverages for your reception depending on the time of year including a Summer Pimms or hot winter cider toddy will go down well and don’t have to break the bank.

The main meal, often called the wedding breakfast, can come in a variety of guises – and our Head Chef, Kelvin Johnson, is happy to design a menu for our guests’ wedding day. Kelvin’s menus are influenced by the seasons, using the freshest ingredients from our local suppliers. Importantly for many, wines to compliment your menu sounds like a minefield but needn’t – our award winning wine sommelier, Chris Neeves would assist on selecting exactly what went with your chosen dish. Whatever you choose though, again consider what you and your partner like.

It is also nice to cater for others for example the vegetarians and children who might need something different to the rest. At Donnington we create ‘Little Meals’ – mini fish & chip cones or mini burgers and chips . If you have a large number of evening guests attending or have a family with a large appetite, a finger buffet is perfect, and we are able to customise to suit any dietary requirements. If you fancy something simple; a bacon, egg or sausage roll will go down a treat too and once the party starts can often be the saving grace!

And throughout the evening, something fun will keep everyone entertained and energy levels high! How about going for your favourite retro sweets, a popcorn machine or even candy floss! A great Summer treat is a slush machine which you can make alcoholic, adults only or even an ice cream stand- everyone loves ice cream!

It can be overwhelming trying to accommodate all of your family and friends’ needs. But most importantly remember the day is your day, and if you choose to have it at Donnington, we are here to make your day as special and memorable for you as possible.

Wedding Tips at Donnington Valley

Choosing a wedding venue is a source of great enjoyment – but also can be one of the most stressful and difficult decisions of the occasion. Our Special events co-ordinator Katie Foulds gives a few tips – her first in a series of top wedding tips – to help you plan the perfect day.

 Weddings at Donnington Valley.

When it comes to choosing a wedding reception venue there are of course a lot of factors which need to be taken into consideration. This can be very overwhelming to a couple and I often speak to brides who simply don’t know where to start.

The best place to start is for you to sit down and work out what type of reception venue you are drawn to. Are you interested in historical properties such as a country manor, castle, period hotel, or stately home? Maybe you’d prefer a barn style venue or even a marquee. I advise writing a list between you and your partner of what you’re looking for from a venue, such as: high ceilings, natural light, outside space, traditional features etc. By starting at this point you can easily eliminate the types of venues which don’t appeal to you both. This will instantly make the venue finding process easier and a lot less time consuming.

The next thing to do (if you haven’t already) is to plan your guest list. Knowing how many guests are attending your wedding reception will help eliminate down the venues that are too small or even too large for your needs. Having a number in mind also helps the venue quote for your wedding.

If you plan to hold your wedding ceremony at a different location from your wedding reception try to look for venues within a radius of a thirty minute drive from your chosen location.

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a list of approximately ten, get in touch with the venues and organise a show round with the wedding co-ordinator.

When making your first enquiry always give the venue the following details:

  •  You and your fiancé/e’s full name
  •  The number of guests you’re interested in having attend your ceremony and/ or reception
  •   A date if you have one (if you don’t have a date, a rough month and year will always help give you an accurate quote)

Giving these details will mean the wedding co-ordinator at your venue can give you a quote as accurately as possible to your requirements and budget.

 

 

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.

July

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.