nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: March 2017

Ladies Pamper Evening at The Bridge Hotel in Thrapston

athene 230Athene Spa is situated in The Bridge Hotel – the event opens at 6pm, so just come up!  It’s THIS Tuesday so don’t miss out! The stairs are by where the old swimming pool used to be if you are a local you will know!  If not just ask at reception.

Lots of stalls that have never been to the Spa here before, so new things to see, try out and buy…

We have Doterra Essential Oils presenting their fabulous diffusers, oils and other assocaited products.


Arbonne are sending their nutritional expert to talk to you about diet, weightloss, and detoxing.


While on the subject of weightloss, we have a consultant for Valentus, who make nutrionally sound coffee that helps with weightloss, mood, health and focus, plus it tastes amazing so we are told – we cn’t wait to try some – there is a sample here for you too.


The FM stall will offer some amazing fragrances, not available on the High Street, but using the same base and top oils as the big brands, all at wonderful prices to suit your purses….


Captain Tortue will be there, the French designer label with the High Street price tag, the new summer collection is now out and you will be the first to see it.


Cleopatra oved her bathing and the Cleopatra Cosmetic Boutique wll be showing you how to host a party where you make your own bath bombs – how cool is that?!


FREE refreshments, FREE entry so come on down, see what offers we have for you, let us pamper you with some mini treatments, and try one some clothes to see what suits, plus you get to look round the Athene Spa and maybe book in for a massage or Reiki treatment later in the week…..


If you’d like any further information you can call Helen on 07799 627789 who will be happy to help.

We not get hubby to drive you and leave hi in the man creche for the night?  (Also known as the bar at the hotel..)



Elizabeth Toogood Critical Friend – A Thought for March

Business advice from Elizabeth Toogood – local business mentor.

Thank goodness it is March. There may still be winds and chilly nights but the daffodils are out and the crocus and snowdrops are wonderful. Easter eggs are in the shops (but some of us have given up treats like chocolate for Lent so we are trying not to notice). Spring is just around the corner and so is the new tax year and for many of us the end of our financial year. It is a good time for reflection before we start the whole process again.

So how do you intend to reflect on 2016/17? The figures are a great place to start but they only tell so much of the story. We need to be honest with ourselves about:

The revenue – did we do enough? Charge enough?

The costs – are they about right or did we get tempted and buy things we should not have done or pay too much for a de-luxe version? Do we question our ongoing costs regularly? I have a client who has a spreadsheet dedicated to each of her marketing activities right down to each event she attends to analyse whether it was worth the cost and time investment – good for her.

The profit – are your margins right and are you making enough money?

Every question generates an answer that will pose more questions. All the answers add up to doing it again or changing to be more effective. Great information.

Then the next big question is how are you doing? What a nasty question! I am inviting you to do some self appraisal. I think this is the best sort: it is done with the best possible motives, there is no conflict about the facts backing the comments and the boss is gentle! Or should be! This is also a wonderful opportunity to praise your successes and affirm all the things that you are doing correctly.

Thank goodness form based appraisal systems are going out of fashion but we need to look at our own performance systematically (then we can move on to those who work with us). I love the old-fashioned approach which looks at knowledge skills and attitudes. So, let’s look at you.

How is your knowledge?
You probably need a whole range of technical, managerial, business and legal knowledge. What is the list? Do you have everything on it? Is it broad enough? Is it deep enough? Are you up to date?

If any answer is “No” how do you plan to train yourself?

Are you using your knowledge creatively to look for new angles and generate new ideas?

How are your skills?
Again, you need a whole range. Which skill sets must you have? Which would be useful? Do you have any gaps? And of course, we all need great communication skills especially verbally – how are yours? Knowing you need a skill is only half the story you need to be able to practice it effortlessly. So how good are you at doing the things you must? And is this good enough?

And how is your attitude?
Are you positive, inspirational, flexible, “can do”, good at prioritising, focused on important issues, warm and all the other things you need to be? Would you employ you or do you cause yourself difficulty?

So, draw up the template for your job and then examine how you are doing in each category. You will be great at lots of things, mediocre at some and poor in others. Create a plan to develop yourself.


Getting outside feedback
It maybe that you can do the analysis of how you are doing but would it be more effective if you get some feedback from others.

Uber boss Travis Kalanick was videoed recently swearing at one of his drivers and had to apologise. He says “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it”. Sounds like he had nowhere to go partly because his behaviour was videoed and partly because of the public outcry it exacted. His diagnosis was a lack in knowledge and skill and his attitude ….. the whole nine yards. Now he knows and can do something about it.

Hopefully you are not caught on camera so, how do you find out what the effect of your skills and attitudes might be? If you genuinely want to improve you need good information from people you trust who are good at analysis. The important elements are:

  • Be sure you are in the right frame of mind to receive it
  • Ask someone you trust and respect for honest feedback. Be specific about what you want to know so they can focus.
  • Listen gratefully to their information. DO NOT react.
  • Think it over and consider where you can improve.

Then plan. You do not need to tackle everything at once. Pick the important areas or those where you can make a quick change. Then just work through the plan. Simples!

There is an old management spectrum that goes like this:


You may now be consciously incompetent in a few areas which is great because you can do something about them. The aim is to improve and so expect to become consciously competent before you become unconsciously competent. It is a gradual process.

All the way through this process I hope you have been noticing all the things you are doing right, unconsciously competently and well. Please make sure you have acknowledged them, celebrated them and afirmed them. Enjoy the good things!

None of this is original.  We all know we need to pause and reflect sometimes and think about where we need to change or improve. It is hard to find the time but the benefits can be enormous. You are an asset that will appreciate if you invest in your own training and development. Sometimes it is hard to do alone, if you need someone to support you then you could consider a mentor.

If this has been interesting, please share it. If you are thinking of working with a mentor, please chat with me about what you are hoping to achieve. I might be the right person for you or I can help you find someone who is. In the meantime, life is good; let’s live it to the full and be the best we can be.

Elizabeth Toogood Critical Friend

Telephone: 01234 273644






Osier Way – Access to the Fields and River Nene


We walked down Osier Way to find a kissing gate at the bottom (an conveniently placed doggy poo bin) we went through the gate and discovered a lovely walk along the River Nene to Nine Arches Bridge, it’s a very short stroll, ideal if doggy or you just needs a bit of fresh air.



Are you a Cricket Supporter? Do you find the match difficult to follow due to poor Eyesight?

The Northamptonshire Association for the Blind will be providing Ball by Ball commentary on all four day and one day 50 over games to be played at Wantage Road in 2017.  Twenty/20 commentary is provided by Radio Northampton but conveyed to partially sighted spectators via the headsets. The first game is on Friday April 7th and the visitors are Glamorgan.  The game will commence at 11.00am and continue until Monday April 10th.

The commentary is designed to bring as much information to partially sighted spectators and a description of the ground and the atmosphere is provided to make the spectator more aware of the game as it develops and draws to its conclusion.   A list of the opening games is attached. The commentary is enhanced by information derived from ESPN crikinfo, and reference books  and details of visiting players and lesser known county players is conveyed to the listener by the commentary team.  Further information, such as record scores and partnerships, is available via the scorers and local press who are situated adjacent to the commentary box. The description of the game is delivered in an informal style by the volunteer commentators who have a wide experience of many aspects of cricket.  Knowledge of first class and local cricket is available with an interpretation of laws from qualified umpires within the team.  Gaps in play are punctuated by informal chat and discussion on the events taking place, about cricketing matters as they develop, in the test and first class arenas.

The Mobile Unit will of course be travelling around the county and details are shown below of the locations and dates of visits within Northamptonshire.


BRACKLEY  Town Centre  Piazza Town Hall , Market Place  Wednesday April 5th 10.00am – 12.30pm


TOWCESTER. Waitrose Car park. Water lane,  Wednesday April 5th 1.30pm – 3.30pm


RAUNDS Town Centre, the Square car park, off the High Street.  Wednesday April 12th.  12.30pm – 2.15 pm


BURTON LATIMER.  The Library, High Street.   Wednesday April 12th.  10.00am- 11.45pm


WELLINGBOROUGH Town Centre, opposite the Hind Hotel.  THURSDAY April 13th and 27th.   10.00am – 1.00pm


EARLS BARTON Medical Centre car park, Aggate Way,  Thursday April 13th 2017.  1.45pm – 3.00pm


DEANSHANGER.  Memorial Community Centre / Library.     Wednesday April 19th.  10.30am – 12.00.


POTTERSBURY.  Outside the Post Office, High Street.  Wednesday April 19th.  12.30pm – 1.30pm


CORBY   Town Centre,  Close to Corby Cube Friday April 21st.  10.00am – 1.00pm


LONG BUCKBY Surgery car park, Station Road,  Wednesday April 26th.  1.00pm – 3.00pm.


DAVENTRY Town Centre, Near Shopmobility New Street,   Wednesday April 26th  10.00am – 1.00pm


NORTHAMPTON  Abington Street, Close to Central Library, Friday April  28th.  9.30am – 1.00pm


For more information visit or


Call NAB’s Helpline: 01604 719193




J&P Fruit and Veg Open on Higham High Street!

Ran out of parsnips or spuds for the Sunday roast? Need a few fresh scrumptious apples for the kids’ school pack up? Or fancy some goose or duck eggs for a change? Then you need to pop into J&P Fruit and Veg , conveniently located on Higham Ferrers High Street, next to the Griffin Pub.


The proprietors are local couple Julian and Penny Line, who between them have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to top-notch fruit and veg. They have successfully run a fruit and veg stall on Wellingborough market for the past 14 years and are well established in the area.


Julian has been working with fruit and veg his entire career, starting out on the markets at 16 year old and then progressing to the role of Buying Manager at White’s Nursery for over 20 years. When the opportunity came up to go independent on the market in Wellingborough he jumped at the chance. As it happened his wife Penny had just been made redundant from Weetabix after 17 years, so this was their opportunity to run their own business and they have been doing so since 2013.


Having a shop in Higham had been on their minds for a number of years when finally it all fell into place thanks to a chance conversation with a neighbour.

Penny said: “We both had been thinking about it for a while. We have the experience to do it, we know people and being a local couple it feels like the right thing to do. So when our neighbour just happened to say the shop by the Griffin is available, I rang the landlord and that was it. Time to bite the bullet.”


The shop is awash with bright, vibrant colours and fits perfectly into Higham’s quaint high street, with an array of fresh flowers out the front, wicker baskets for your shopping and good old brown paper bags it is like stepping back in time. The fresh produce is all locally sourced and very well priced.


Keen to appeal to all audiences Julian and Penny have made the shop dog friendly too, so you can drop in with your well behaved pooch, who can have a drink from the dog bowl outside.


Penny said: “We wanted the shop to be a bit oldie worldie in keeping with Higham. We also want it to be very welcoming so people can come in and have a chat. Older people, who are on their own and only need a few little bits, are more than welcome and if they need help we are happy to assist.”


J&P Fruit and Veg is open seven days a week Monday to Saturday 8am-5pm and Sunday 8am-2pm.


Penny and Julian are more than happy to hear suggestions from their customers so feel free to get in touch.


Transitions by Roland Burt

Roland Burt (Djibo Art) is hosting an art exhibition at Raunds, Saxon Hall on May 6th.  The mayor will open the exhibition and various charities will have stalls including the Air Ambulance and Transitions UK.

Transitions UK is a registered charity working to support a “lost generation” of young people aged 15-25 yrs. Working across Herts, Beds and Bucks, they work especially with young people with learning disabilities, mental health and emotional needs, those leaving care and those at risk of offending or exclusion.
They rely entirely on donations to support their work, which is why Djibo Art is supporting them at the exhibition.

Roland has a painting on display called Transitions and so here is his story for this particular art work.



Between day and night, all species on this planet, feed off something or someone. Here we see it’s nearly time for them to feed someone tonight. The real story is what is happening in the background, Night and day. Day and night the point between both is where the real story lies. Look and absorb the story that is unfolding. What is the story in your opinion?

Look at the middle of the painting. What do you see? What emotions are currently flowing through you? What story is unfolding in that space? Relate it to a moment in your life now and before. Close your eyes count to seven and open and really look again at the whole picture. How many stories can you now see?

Here is an idea look at the young in your lives today. Look at your child look at their yesterday their today and think of what may be.

I created Transitions because I lived through so many changes in my life and this was one of the ways to explain it in colour and shapes. The animal kingdom is so close to my heart, in that they live and feel many of the issues we experience.

For me it is about the rise and fall it is about the beginning and the end. It is about the journey we all take in life. It is about who is top of the ladder and those trying and failing to get there. It is about family it is about the many paths we take and the many choices we have in life and the impacts of decisions made. It is about helping each other to reach and be the best we can to live the best we can it is about aspirations. It is about transitions at different parts of our lives. It is about looking and really seeing what is and what we think we see.

My vision within Transitions isn’t just a painting it’s a snapshot of what was and what is today. It is also a window into what could be.

What is your story and is it in here?

My hope is that this most valuable offering inspires you to rise above what difficulties you have in life and as this simple vision shows there are many stories that can give your life new meaning.

You can find more details on the event here

Follow Roland on Facebook

News of the schools competition running during May and the exhibiton time will follow…

The River Nene… viewed from Barnwell/Polebrook area


Impressive Show Home now Open at Butterfields

Leading developer Westleigh has opened the doors to an elegant new show home at its Butterfields development in Northampton, which will give potential buyers a chance to envisage how their new home could look.

There has already been high demand at the development off Booth Lane South, with 14 of the 18 homes initially made available in the first phase having now been reserved.

Westleigh-1992 - inside the show home at Butterfields

Westleigh-1957 inside the show home at Butterfields

The show home, a four bedroom Buttermere style property, showcases the best in modern family living. A ground floor entrance hall leads on to a sizeable dual aspect living room, with French doors leading into the garden. A spacious, open-plan kitchen-diner offers the perfect setting for getting the family together, and the ground floor also offers an additional sitting room, alongside a separate utility room and cloakroom.

Upstairs, four generously proportioned bedrooms, three of which are doubles, ensure everyone has ample personal space in which to unwind. The master bedroom has an en-suite shower room, and a separate family bathroom is also included.

Robert Orr, Sales & Marketing Manager at Westleigh Homes, said: “The Buttermere truly is an outstanding property, the kind of home that really captures the imagination.

Westleigh-1932 - Butterfields

Westleigh-1932 – Butterfields

“We had a successful weekend launch at the end of February and the show home is now open for viewings, so we’d encourage any potential buyers looking for some inspiration for their home search to come down to Butterfields.

“The marketing suite, where buyers can speak to our friendly sales advisers, discuss their home search and book a tour of the show home, is open daily. Currently available are three stylish four-bedroom family homes, on the market from £304,950.

“All three homes are also available through the Government’s Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, which allows buyers to secure their new home with a 5% deposit and mortgages from just 75%.”

Westleigh-1957 inside the show home at Butterfields

Westleigh-1992 – inside the show home at Butterfields

Butterfields is a fresh, contemporary collection of two, three and four-bedroom homes. With the shops, bars and restaurants of Northampton town centre just a 10 minute drive away, it offers all the advantages of urban living from the comfort of a quiet, suburban setting.

The development is perfectly located for growing families, with primary and secondary schools just a stone’s throw away, and charming Eastfield Park within a five minute walk.

The brand new development is conveniently located close to a number of schools and benefits from excellent transport links via the A43 and the A45.

Westleigh Homes builds contemporary new homes across the region and designs homes and specifications with modern lifestyles in mind. It ensures its new homes embrace existing buildings, styles and materials, whilst also ensuring the build has minimal impact on its local environment.

To keep up to date with the latest developments and availability from Westleigh Homes visit the website at you can also follow Westleigh Homes on Twitter @WestleighHomes or search Westleigh on Facebook.

Council Bureaucrats ‘Jeopardise the Future’ of Wellingborough Town Centre

Council bureaucrats have been accused of “jeopardising the future” of Wellingborough town centre in a “catastrophic” move to ban the Continental Market.


Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID) has joined forces with Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce and the Town Centre Partnership to demand the council re-think its move to ban the Continental Market from operating in March in Market Street – the same location it has used since launching five years ago.


The BID is paid for by businesses and stages events and activities aimed at encouraging people into the town centre through its Discover Wellingborough campaign.


The move could mean all other one-off markets, craft events and community stalls are also banned in a “lockdown” of the town centre and comes after ignored attempts at a compromise made by the BID.


John Cable, executive director of Wellingborough BID, received the blow after applying to the hold the market in its usual place on March 20. In a reply, the council quoted its self-regulated Market Rights Policy, which states no market can be authorised within 6.6 miles of Wellingborough’s regular market.


He said: “The decision to ban the Continental Market, which has been happily running in the same location for the past five years is catastrophic, a move which will jeopardise the future of the town centre.


“At a time when Wellingborough is facing one of the toughest trading times in its history, with the opening of the multi-million pound Rushden Lakes development on the horizon we can only see this ludicrous decision as a non-reversible loss to the town.”


Mr Cable along with BID chairman Chris Bailey met with the council’s three most senior heads of department, including Julie Thomas, head of planning and development, earlier this month to plead the council to retract its decision. However, the decision was upheld with members of the council also rejecting the move.


The business community says the Continental Market is a speciality short-term market, which cannot be seen to compromise the traditional market in any way.


In fact, a study commissioned by Wellingborough Borough Council confirmed footfall increased when special functions took place in the town centre.


Figures show that last year’s Italian Market held on April 14 generated a footfall increase of more than 30 per cent, resulting in over 3,000 extra visitors compared to the previous year.


Mr Bailey added: “We are calling on the council to do the right thing for the whole of Wellingborough.


“Our concerns about the Markets future are at a critical level. Our suggestion to help by re-locating the Continental Market to Pebble Lane, which would actually increase footfall to the Market Place even more has also fallen on deaf ears. It’s like the council is trying to lockdown the town centre.”



City Fan David is Busy Preparing for Spring Panto at The Deco

City fan David is busy preparing for Spring Panto at The Deco – with one eye on the Champions League!

Panto star David McClelland enjoyed his stint in Panto at The Deco so much last December, he jumped at the chance for a swift return to appear in the Northampton theatre’s Spring spectacular, ‘Aladdin’ next month (April 7-9).

Deco David McClelland
“I had a fantastic time in Northampton in ‘Snow White’ at The Deco last Christmas, working with, and for, a great group of people, and performing to fantastic audiences,” he said.
“Asked if I’d come back for ‘Aladdin’ I had no hesitation, and am looking forward to teaming up again with Nick (Cochrane), Colin (Ridgewell), Clive (Fletcher) and Naomi (Wilkins), great entertainers, all, and some new faces too.
“We’ve got another great show lined up, and I’m really looking forward to being back in Northampton, and back at the lovely Deco, which is a terrific theatre; very homely, with a lovely, friendly atmosphere.”
As well as being an accomplished performer and director, David is also a respected technology journalist and TV consumer champion.

Indeed, since finishing the run of ‘Snow White’, he has been busy working in that role, and has just returned home after a busy schedule filming for the BBC consumer TV show ‘#RipOffBritain‘ which he presents with Angela Rippon, Julia Somerville, and Gloria Hunniford.

Deco David and Rip Off Britain friends
And as a welcome distraction, David is also very excited that his football team, Leicester City, has reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. “Absolutely delighted,” he said. “It’s been a bumpy ride recently, after the amazing experience of winning the Premier League.

“I was very sorry that Claudio Ranieri was sacked, but our form since has been back to that of last season, and to reach the last eight of the Champions League is immense, so still lots to look forward to this season!”