Dear Reader

At the time of writing we are indulging in an unseasonably warm autumn but there’s no denying that the festive season will soon be upon us and this year more than ever there is so much to enjoy with family and friends as we head towards the winter months.

Where better to give into the Christmas spirit than at one of our beautiful stately homes; the stunning Christmas Fair at Burghley House (page 10), wreath making at Kelmarsh Hall (page 36), discovering your perfect Christmas tree at Boughton House (page 6) and meeting real reindeer at Lamport Hall (page 18). There really is something for everyone.

There’s even more festive shopping at Oundle Christmas Market (page 22) which boasts over 90 stalls, along with Santa and real life reindeer while Spanhoe Lodge (page 30) is once again a must visit destination on weekends throughout December with its captivating Christmas lights display.

With all the festivities it’s easy to forget that it’s not always such fun for the four-legged members of the family so Animal Focused gives us some essential top tips on how to keep our pets safe and happy when the house is invaded with lights, noise and visitors (page 26).

We’re also featuring a number of independent businesses in this edition that really stand out as must visit retailers; from the magic of Jollys Toy Shop (page 12), the fantastic range of local artists and makers at The Artful Duck (page 32) to the splendidly unique furniture at Auburn Fox (page 42), we are truly blessed to have such dynamic and dedicated businesses in our area. Speaking of which, we also hear the inside story of life after Dragons’ Den from Barking Bags (page 48).

Finally, we couldn’t sign off without mentioning ex West End star, Graham Fletcher, who is bringing Strictly style fitness classes to our area with FitSteps FAB (page 38). Now that’s definitely one for the to-do list.

Very warm wishes for a fantastic festive season!

Jo Abraham 

Village Connect

Jo Abraham

M: 07920 200626