nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: October 2017

Shopping Event at St James Hall – This Saturday!

Shopping Event at St James Hall

 Saturday 4th  November at 10:00–13:00

…. same day as Thrapston Farmer’s Market so do both!!

St James Church Hall will be hosting a Shopping Event.  Featuring; Gifts, Toys, Skincare, Perfumes, candles, sweets, bags, scarves, jewellery and more!  All ready for Christmas!

Come and do all your Christmas Shopping here.

IMG_2969 (002)

Refreshments being sold in aid of Operation Christmas Child, plus a fabulous raffle on the day.

All event proceeds going to OCC.

Free admission, come and have a cuppa and a browse!


Who Will be There?

Click on the images to visit their pages on Facebook…

  1. AmbaScarlett Aloe Vera Products

22789152_2010988899185330_2098493227577411037_n2. HerScents – Scentsy Wax Melts and Gifts

22281982_1976634415885851_5964113451654975550_n3. Peter’s Toy Shop

Rendering of simple children's toys. Wooden alphabet cubes spelling word toys, wooden pyramid puzzle and a colorful ball.

4. Esther’s Usborne Books


5. Idyllic Scents – Partylitepartylite

6. Edwinas Jewellery IMG_0412

7. Karen’s Arbonne


8. Debbie Cards and Gift Boxes


9. Karen Accessories


10. Elaine – Childrens Bows



Splash Leisure Pool Unveils Brand new Gym and Reopens the Flume

Splash Leisure Pool unveils brand new gym and reopens the much-loved flume in time for open weekend and half term.

Freedom Leisure which operates three centres in East Northamptonshire on behalf of East Northamptonshire Council was delighted that on Friday 20 October Cllr Colin Wright, Chairman of east Northamptonshire Council formally cut the ribbon to the brand new gym and reinstated flume at Splash Leisure Pool after Freedom Leisure’s £180,000 investment into the centre.

To mark the completion of the final set of improvements made to the trio of sites, including a new climbing wall at The Nene Centre and improved fitness facilities and new kit at The Pemberton and Nene Centres, all three centres; Splash Leisure Pool, The Nene Centre and The Pemberton Centre will be having an open weekend on 21 and 22 October, where swimming will be available for just £1, and climbing for FREE, while people can all three gyms will be offering free inductions and trials.

Chris Tye, Freedom Leisure Area Manager, says: “We are pleased that after Freedom Leisure commencing operation of these three sites in April, the majority of the planned improvements works are now completed – culminating with the opening of the brand new gym and reinstatement of the flume at Splash.Splash pool reopens flume

“The flume is hugely important to local families who have anticipated its reopening for some time now after being closed for over five years! Plus the addition of a brand new gym at the centre means that members get so much more for their money – The Splash is more than just a leisure pool now, it’s a fitness centre.”

Tye concludes: “We cannot wait to welcome residents of East Northamptonshire to all three centres over the weekend, to tour the three wonderful gyms and check out the other improvements too, and we are most excited for the children on half term next week to finally enjoy having their flume back!”

The much-loved bright orange and blue flume, standing 5.29m high and offering a 40m water ride, has been out of action due to corroded steps for over five years but was a priority for Freedom Leisure upon commencing the management of the contract, seeing them invest over £30,000 into reinstating it. In total the leisure trust has invested £470,000 for improvements across the three sites to date in a bid to support East Northamptonshire Council provide its residents with great leisure and fitness facilities.

Councillor Steven North, East Northamptonshire Council Leader, said: “Our aspiration for East Northamptonshire is to build a healthier and more active community through increased participation in sport, physical activity and active recreation. Through the Healthy and Active Lifestyles Strategy, working in partnership with Freedom Leisure and other organisations, we want to inspire people to make active choices, increase engagement with sport, encourage people to use their local facilities, such as Splash Leisure Pool, and grow local talent.”

For further details about the facilities at all three centres visit

The Two Biggest Gyms in East Northamptonshire just got even Better!

The Nene Centre in Thrapston and The Pemberton Centre in Rushden, both operated by Freedom Leisure on behalf of East Northamptonshire Council, have received a total investment of £394,000 to improve their fitness suites.

These gym improvements, along with upgrades to their indoor cycling facilities are the latest in a string of developments being made by Freedom Leisure to the three centres in the district which it began operating in April.

Both gyms have received state-of-the-art functional kit in the investment, which is designed to allow users to exercise while replicating day-to-day movements thus improving strength, fitness and flexibility, greatly benefiting daily life as well as achieving weight loss and muscle building goals. Just a few of the new pieces include; competition standard  kettle bells, titan bags, slam balls, boxing gloves and new TRX suspension bodyweight training bands, born in the Navy SEALs to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability.

In addition the gym at The Nene Centre has received 30 pieces of cardiovascular (cardio) kit and the gym at The Pemberton Centre has received 37 pieces of cardio kit, with perhaps the most exciting news for customers being that; both gyms now have the SKILLMILL™ and CLIMBER™. thrapston gym

These two pieces of cardio kit by TechnoGym are the latest must-haves in any top gym – and Nene and Pemberton are the only two centres in the whole of East Northamptonshire to have them!

Both centres also received brand new indoor cycling bikes (also known as spin bikes), with Pemberton’s studio being upgraded to take a capacity of 20 customers, and Nene 24, while four additional bikes in the gym at Nene have personal MyRide on them, meaning that even if you are there when there isn’t a scheduled class, you can do your own private MyRide workout on the screen.

Finally, to vastly improve the instructor led offering, both centres will be launching ‘Ignite’ classes on their group exercise timetables – small, action-packed, group training session based in the gym using the latest gym equipment to transform your workout forever, designed by and exclusive to Freedom Leisure gyms.

Chris Tye, Freedom Leisure Area Manager says: “These improvements now mean that these two gyms are extremely high class facilities for East Northamptonshire and we are delighted to be working in partnership with East Northamptonshire Council to make it happen for local resident. Some of this kit is really new and unique setting us aside from others, and we are very lucky to have ‘Ignite’ available here too. It is an amazing fitness offering which gives participants real results! It gives the taste of a personal training session and is free with membership.”

Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, adds: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to providing first class facilities for our residents. We encourage people to head to the Nene Centre or the Pemberton and check out the high quality equipment available to help them get fit and healthy.”

To find out more visit and find the centre nearest to you, or pop in to either centre to speak with the team about the great membership deals currently on offer.

The Emotional Power of our Clothes

Many of us wouldn’t be seen leaving the house without make-up, it’s our mask of confidence, enabling us to stride out with self assurance to face the world and what it throws at us – do your clothes do the same?


I often hear people saying that they don’t like to wear colourful clothes because they don’t want to stand out, which is one of the reasons why so many of us revert to a uniform of neutral bland colours. And I’d be the first to say that your wardrobe should be built around these staples – the basic clothes in neutral colours you need to suit your everyday lifestyle. But then that’s where ‘style’ needs comes in – you want to build on this to make it yours and express your personality. You don’t have to be as flambouant as Iris Apfel but add a splash of colour or an interesting piece of jewellery can speak volumes.

lesley clarke stle advisor

Whether you’re someone who likes to play it safe and go for a minimal look, French chic sophisticated, or be a bit more adventurous and bolder in your colour statements, the one thing you must remember is – attention to detail! Whether this is in the fit of your garments or how you’ve accessorized them, it’s the difference between being noticed for the right reasons. Don’t ever compromise on fit! You might find it a struggle at times, especially when you’re trying to find the ‘perfect jeans’ but I can assure you they are out there, it’s just how you look for them!


In self-adornment lies self-expression. Even Churchill recognized the power of ‘retail therapy’ – during the war he ensured supplies of lipstick and flowers remained forthcoming to fuel moral. And when the Nazi death camps were liberated, observers noticed that the mood became more optimistic not with the arrival of food but lipstick and sanitary towels, which were apparently used as shoulder pads!


Do you remember what you were wearing at significant times in your life – your first date, that all important job interview, when your partner proposed to you? These are often the clothes that you struggle to part with. Well of course you don’t have to, but what I would suggest is that they are packed away in a ‘sentimental box’ and not in your ‘everyday’ wardrobe, clogging up valuable space and making it harder for you to find an outfit to wear.


Oh yes, and talking of clogging up space…do you have clothes in your wardrobe that are not really worn or that may still have their original tags on? I’m guessing you do because most wardrobes I see have at least the odd one or two garments that haven’t been worn.


Ok, so I’m going to give you some advice – when you purchase a new garment and get it home, first check it still looks the same on as it did in the shop (it’s surprising how this can change – it’s true mirrors can lie!!).

lesley clarke stle advisor

Secondly, make sure it goes with existing clothes in your wardrobe and then cut off the tags and wear it – make it part of your life. It will only become ‘valuable’ to you when you start wearing it. And the more frequently you do, the quicker you’ll develop an emotional attachment, it will increase in value for you and you’ll feel less need to go out and buy something new.


Test out this idea of possession rituals – think of one of your favourite garments – has it got a ‘story ‘ to tell, was it what you wore on a special occasion in your life that you remember clearly? The clothes that generate this emotional power for you are the ones that work and that’s what you want to be replicating!



For more information:

 Lesley Clarke Style Advisor

m: 07969516390


Instagram: lesleyclarkestyleadvisor

Aloe Vera and Bee Essentials for Animals

Aloe Vera and Bee Essentials for Animals

Forever Living are the world’s largest grower of Aloe Vera and the largest producer of Aloe Vera products.  Yesterday I went on a workshop to find out how aloe vera and bee based products can help animals.

Did you know? There are 75 nutrients in Aloe Vera and workshop attendees learned about each one from Vitamins A, B & C, along with minerals such as Calcium and Zinc – too many useful things to mention here!

I found out which products are safe for animals such as horse, dogs, cats and chickens, and how Aloe Vera can support a healthy immune function, calm and sooth digestive and urinary systems and support mobility by aiding joints and the skeletal system.  Our Aloe drinking gel is safe and recommended for all animals (and humans too!) I have a chart so I can advise you how much for each species – from mouse to elephant!

aloe vera gel


Top Doggy Tips

As some of you know I have a dog and have discovered a few helpful things for her.  She is currently suffering a little with poorly ears. The Veterinary Formula can be dribbled in as drops, followed by Aloe Gelly. Then a gentle clean out after an hour or so with a tissue on your finger, then for continued ear support then a little Aloe Propolis Cream (which is antimicrobial) rubbed in weekly…aloe vera veterinary formula

She also has tartar on her canine teeth too, and I’ve been using Forever Bright Toothgel.  I’m now advised to use Aloe Gelly for 2 weeks, daily which should remove the staining, and then Toothgel as a maintenance tooth cleaning treatment.

Chicken Health

Just 2ml of our Aloe Gel, which is 96% pure Aloe Vera inner leaf gel will help support your chicken’s health and also sooth and calm their digestion or any mucous membranes.  It might even promote a healthier plumage.

Best for Horsesaloe vera talking horse

Our MSM Gel can be rubbed on horse’s legs after they’ve had a good run, its calming and cooling. If you compete we can offer HFL certification on products that have been thoroughly tested for banned substances if you compete with your horse.

Just look at the brown tartar on his teeth……  Let me see what I can do..

Cools for Cats

Aloe Vera Gelly or Gel is safe for cats and a great trick to get them used to the taste if to put a bit on their paw, they won’t be able to not lick it off and get the goodness inside them!


I have so much more to tell you!!


What’s more, do you work with animals?

Maybe you’re a veterinary nurse or dog walker, you might be a pet sitter, groomer or horse trainer?

Would you like to earn an extra income?  If you become part of my team you can do the animal training I’ve just completed so you know exactly what you can and can’t recommend – then use your new knowledge to use the products yourself and also to recommend them to any owners you meet on a daily basis – just ‘as and when’ the issues come up in conversation it’s easy!


Find out More

I have pages of notes and if you own animals and would like to meet up for a chat then you can contact me on and I can talk you through how Aloe Vera or bee products can help your animal.

Helen Dawson or

If you’d like to find out more about how you can add some extra income to what you do already, then give me a shout and we can talk. Call: 07799 627789

Halloween Contact Lenses – Sight Risk Warning

Halloween Contact Lenses – Sight Risk Warning

Do not let Halloween turn into a “real horror story” by wearing themed contact lenses without professional advice – that’s the message from a Northamptonshire eye expert.


The alert comes in response to a growing trend of people buying these novelty items from market stalls or over the internet and potentially putting their eye health at risk.


The lenses, which alter eye colour and have been made popular by smash hit TV series and films including Guardians of the Galaxy, are often shared around amongst friends –  increasing the risk of corneal ulcers and infections.


Kim Durden, a Director Optometrist at Davis Optometrists, which has three branches across Northamptonshire, says people need to respect contact lenses.

Halloween - Kim Durden, Director Optometrist | nene local

Kim Durden, Director Optometrist

She said: “People can do significant damage, including losing their eye sight, by using novelty lenses. If you do want to wear these items then please remember contact lenses are medical devices, they must be properly fitted and prescribed by an eye care professional. It is also very important the correct disinfecting solutions are used too.


“Please take care this Halloween and, if you do want to wear themed contact lenses, please seek professional guidance. Do not let your night turn into a real horror story.”

Take care of your eyes

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has also advised that people should speak to their registered practitioner if they want to add ‘spooky’ contact lenses to their fancy dress outfits.


BCLA President Keith Tempany said: “Wearing fancy lenses might make you look cool for one night on Halloween but losing your sight could be a lifelong horror story.


“Cosmetic coloured lenses are a medical device and should be prescribed by an eye care professional. These lenses should only be purchased from – and fitted by – a registered practitioner.


“By sharing coloured contact lenses young people are playing Russian roulette and chancing it with their eye health and putting their sight at risk.”


Davis Optometrists has branches in Kettering, Rothwell and Thrapston.





Taste of Nepal in Thrapston – a Tasty Delight

Taste of Nepal really is just that – A taste of Nepal right here in Thrapston.

Situated in The Bridge Hotel, the Taste of Nepal has recently reopened.  A kitchen refurbishment was required for chef, Khadak Singh Khatrichetri, to create his authentic Nepalese dishes.

As most Thrapston residents will already be aware, The Bridge Hotel is under new ownership.  We were delighted to meet Mandy Chagger the new owner and to hear that the staff, including the owners all ate in the restaurant – which is always a good assessment of any eatery!

We began our evening with drinks in the bar, again all fully refurbished.  A few jobs still to do but they are well on their way and if you’ve not been to The Bridge in a while we strongly suggest you take a look!  Gone are the threadbare chairs, weird paintings and dark panelling, replaced with cream walls, new carpets and silvery, mink coloured sofas.


Leon then showed us to our table where Mandy is front of house.  We love a business, large or small, where the owner is really hands on, I think it ensures you get a fabulous service.

Taste of Nepal has some classic, recognisable dishes such as Chicken Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala, for those less adventurous.  There is a classic taste of Nepal and we questioned Mandy about each dish we weren’t sure on and got her recommendations.

Also on the menu there is a Clean Eating Option for those that are watching their waistlines!

While we decided what to order we had Poppadoms with Chutneys

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal

The dishes we ate, plus our honest opinions are;


Onion Bhaji – Really crispy, not at all oily, really tasty.

Momo’s –  Traditional Nepalese steamed lamb dumplings, really lovely!

Prawn Puree – Very nice indeed.

Shikh Kebab –  Our friends decided that this was their favourite starter, again very tasty, not too spicy and not oily at all.

Overall our starters were truly exceptional.

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal


bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal

Gurkha Lamb Curry – Very tasty indeed, certainly no left overs!

Chicken Karai – This was my dish and I really enjoyed it, nicely spiced but you get flavour rather than heat, no oil sitting on the top like in some Indian restaurants.

Chicken Tikka Masala – A classic English/Indian dish but with chef Khadak’s twist

Naan Breads –  I ordered Peshwari Naan and I would say this was nice but not amazing. (Just to add – We went to the Diwali Celebration on Wednesday where I thoroughly enjoyed the plain naan)

Pilau Rice –  A nice rice, with a subtle flavour to go with all the dishes.bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal

Chilli Paneer – Indian paneer cheese with a spicy chilli sauce, this was one of the nicest side dishes I have ever tasted!

Overall, main courses were excellent!

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal




Lemon Tart –  The lemon tart was OK but a little disappointing after such an excellent meal.

Indian rice pudding with Gulab Jamun – If someone had suggested I’d be eating cold rice pudding and wanting to go back again for more I’d have thought they were mad…. My dish of rice pudding was flavoured with cardamom, almonds and sultanas and served with Gulab Jamun which is like a syrupy ball of almond cake (for want of a better description).  I would be happy to eat this dessert every day – it was superb!  I’m now thinking about it all over again!!

bridge hotel thrapston taste of nepal


Our desserts were the mini version, whereby you can have coffee and a dessert for £5.95, as we did want to try them but didn’t have much room left!  The mini dessert with coffee is a great idea for those that want a sweet ‘something’ after a meal.

When I said I was going to the Taste of Nepal a few of my friends asked me to tell them how much I enjoyed it and would I recommend it, well yes. Yes! I definitely would both for the food and the service and also for the knowledge.  Our evening was enjoyable – good friends, good food, finding out more about Nepalese cuisine and really lovely surroundings.

It’s great to have such a lovely restaurant within walking distance of our home!

Special Reader Offer

To celebrate the reopening, Nene Local has secured a voucher code so all our readers can try Taste of Nepal’s lovely menu with a 10% discount!

Quote NENE10 at the time of booking to claim your 10% discount off your entire food bill.


Taste of Nepal Thrapston


Facebook Page:

Telephone: 01832 732320 to book.

Store First – Best Storage Facility in Northamptonshire

Store First – Best Storage Facility in Northamptonshire? Nene Local’s guided tour.


“It’s like buying a Mercedes for the price of a Hyundai.”

This analogy certainly has some weight behind it, but after seeing the  facilities at Store First first-hand I can’t really argue with it. I was invited by Victor Petrescu, manager of the Northampton branch, to have a look round the warehouse and its various functions. He was a very kind and welcoming host (as were all the other staff I ran into) and I really enjoyed my visit there.


When you first think of a warehouse, you picture dirty floors, cold rooms and grumpy workers day dreaming of their breaks. So, you can imagine my surprise when I first stepped into the reception. All the staff looked like they wanted to be there, the place was immaculate with white walls and spotless floors. Store First offers much more than just storage containers. Victor showed me the new boardroom and office space, and for a moment I forgot I was in a place where its primary function is storage. So much effort had gone into these extra facilities to make them as impressive as possible, and they certainly achieved what they were going for.

store first | nene local

New boardroom at  Store First


Value for money

Store First brags to have the best value in the UK, and these claims are well founded. They offer a variety of storage spaces from, 25 to 100 square feet. To put that in perspective, that’s the size of four fridge freezers to the size of a double garage. They have over 1500 units varying in size, and all with very cheap prices. Deals and offers are also very generous. 50% off for first time customers, topped with loyalty bonuses for long term customers. On top of that, free pick up via the company van, free access 24/7, free WIFI and free access to the kitchen makes Store First a very friendly and flexible facility.

store first | nene local

Some of the many units available

“The place is in mint condition”

As with all businesses, one of the hardest thigs to stay on top of is the competition. But I would be very impressed if I see another storage facility with the quality of Store First. You only have to look at the reviews online to see how good this place really is. Victor explained to me that most of their customers come from recommendations. Customer satisfaction is extremely high, with 5-star reviews being in abundance. All sorts of customers are welcome, whether it be a business with too much stock or for domestic reasons, like moving to a new house or going on holiday. Store First really is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Security is not an issue, with other 150 cameras watching the property and a private security company hired overnight, so all is protected.

About the Manager

Victor started working for Store First two weeks after the Northampton branch opened, on the 15th October 2015. He has a lot of experience in storage companies beforehand and is very welcoming and friendly. Victor told me that he was “very proud” of his staff’s customer service and the options he provides for customers. He believes that customer service should be his number one priority, and is happy that this idea has brought his branch so many positive reviews.



How to contact Store First

Brindley Close
Rushden Business Park
NN10 6DB

01933 425000

Santa Specials at the Nene Valley Railway

Santa Specials at the Nene Valley Railway

Nene Valley Railway

The Nene Valley Railway say “It’s a bit odd to be be considering Christmas before we have even had Halloween or bonfire night but for the Nene Valley Railway Christmas is not only the most wonderful time of the year it’s their busiest time of the year

Nene Valley Railway

Nene Valley Railway

In 2016 the NVR welcomed 20,0000 wonderful visitors on their Santa Specials and had to close bookings early as they had filled all the trains!


This year an extra carriage has been laid on to give extra capacity  but the railway are still urging customers to book early as they are expecting that 2017 will see their most popular and most magical Christmas to date


The railway’s recently revised online booking system now makes it even easier for a potential guest to view all the possible times and dates on offer between 25th November when they start and 24th December when the last Santa trains runs.


NVR Santa specials facts

Nene Valley Railway

Nene Valley Railway

NVR have been making Christmas memories for 40 years


Each year:


25,000 mince pies..


2,500 mini bottles of Baileys


8,000 chocolate bars.


Nene Valley Railway






Nene Valley Railway

Wansford Station





T: 01780 784444

F: 01780 784440

Pride of Wellingborough Finalists Announced

The finalists in a town centre retail competition have been announced.


People are being urged to vote for their favourite business from the top five as voted for in the Pride of Wellingborough awards.

nene local

John Cable (left) from Wellingborough BID with a previous Pride of Wellingborough winner Captain Neil’s Toy Chest

The scheme is organised by the Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID) – which is paid for by town centre businesses – through its Discover Wellingborough campaign.


Omnia gift shop, Lunar Tree, Laser Maze, Sun Angels and The Sweet Jar have been unveiled as the people’s choices. The overall winner will be announced at the Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday, November 25.


John Cable, BID manager, said: “This is about showcasing the best of our great town centre, reminding people about all of the businesses we have on our doorstep.


“We are now calling on members of the public to vote for their number one business. There’s more to Wellingborough than meets the eye – and that’s what we are trying to demonstrate with the Pride of Wellingborough awards.


“There are some fabulous, quirky and unique goods on sale, tasty places to eat and drink in our town centre and we feel it’s time to start celebrating them. We must also remember the major advantage of free parking we have in the town centre as well.”


Each week a short review of a shop, pub and restaurant, health and beauty salon or professional services business has been published on the Discover Wellingborough website and promoted on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.


Members of the public have been encouraged to give the business a star rating for categories, including customer service, atmosphere, quality of offering and overall.


The reviews were successfully introduced in summer 2013 as a way of promoting independent town centre businesses.


To vote for your favourite business, visit: