Shop for vintage and pre-loved fashion

Karen Neville

Worth the Weight returns to Oxford Town Hall Saturday, 18th November, from 11am to 5pm

Stay cosy and shop with a clear conscience this November as Worth the Weight returns to Oxford Town Hall on Saturday, 18th November with nine tonnes of handpicked vintage and pre-owned stock to have a rummage through, including a great range of autumn coats and jackets to keep you cosy this season.

There will be 60 rails of clothing, where shoppers can pick and mix from the best denim, sports, ladies fashion, men’s fashion, outerwear and accessories and pay on the scales at the end. It costs £20 per kilo, with prices starting from as little as £1. It’s a cost-effective way of getting bulk sustainable clothing and helping the environment at the same time. Heavier items will be capped at £20. Even if it weighs over a kilo, you’ll never pay more than £20 for 1 item! Make sure to point out heavy items to your server at the till to redeem the discount.

Based in Sheffield, Worth the Weight was founded in 2018 as a way of fighting fast fashion. Since its inception, the company has taken the UK by storm travelling the length and breadth of the country with tonnes of amazing vintage stock every weekend.

Chris Davies, Worth the Weight organiser, said: “Oxford is always a great place to come this time of year, knitwear is always very popular, so we’ve made sure to stock up for all the sustainable fashion pioneers.”
Entry is £3 for early bird and £2 after.

For more details of future events follow the official Worth the Weight Facebook page on

Oxfordshire fen restored to snails’ delight

Karen Neville

National Trust restores Pea Pits in West Oxfordshire, potential home to the Newbury bypass snail

A team of rangers and volunteers have been scything reeds in a plan to restore an area of alkaline fen at Pea Pits in West Oxfordshire.

Fenland is one of Britain’s most threatened and precious homes for rare plants and wildlife. The National Trust is working with Freshwater Habitats Trust who provided the tools and scythe training to protect this internationally important habitat. 

Most people associate fenland with the lowlands of East Anglia and are unaware that alkaline fens are also a special feature of the Oxfordshire countryside. The fens in Oxfordshire are fed by springs emerging from chalk or limestone in valleys and on hill slopes.

Alkaline fens support many wetland plants that are rare or endangered nationally or in the county such as the carnivorous butterwort, grass-of-Parnassus, marsh helleborine and marsh lousewort.

Endangered insects include species of soldier-fly, horsefly and damselfly, while molluscs include the Desmoulin’s whorl-snail. This is the tiny rare snail the size of a pinhead that almost stopped the Newbury Bypass being built in 1996 when the construction was set to destroy its habitat.

The work party cleared back trees and reeds at Pea Pits to give the rare plants some light. The cuttings were used to create dams to slow down water flow and create pools. The team also planted marsh lousewort to stop the dominant reeds taking up the majority of light. Marsh lousewort does this by finding another plant’s roots underground and extracting water and nutrients from the ‘host’ plant. This parasitic action weakens the reeds, allowing a diversity of other, more delicate plants to come through.

Whilst the marsh lousewort is establishing, the National Trust will continue to cut the reeds and scrub in late summer and, if funding and a suitable grazier can be found, may eventually fence the area and graze it with cattle. Rest assured, if the vanishingly rare Newbury bypass snail makes an appearance at Pea Pits, it will have a safe home.

Richard Watson, Countryside Manager, West Oxfordshire said: “It is great to see this quiet corner of the estate being brought back to life. It is the only fen site we look after in West Oxfordshire, so it’s a really important habitat. It’s been great to work with the Freshwater Habitats Trust on expertise and training for our staff and volunteers to take on the management of the site.”

Paola Perez, Fen Conservation Officer at Freshwater Habitats Trust said: “Along with other small freshwater habitats, alkaline fens have traditionally been overlooked, but they support a unique community of plant and animal species.

“Restoring and protecting these rare alkaline fen habitats is a vital part of our work to reverse the decline in freshwater biodiversity. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with the National Trust to restore the alkaline fen at Coleshill and are very grateful to their volunteers for all their hard work.”

Join Launchpad’s Carols by Candlelight

Karen Neville

Homelessness charity’s festive evening at Reading Town Hall on December 5th will mix music, readings and tales of Launchpad’s work

Get ready to sing your heart out for a fabulous cause on Tuesday, 5th December when this year’s Carols by Candlelight takes place at Reading Town Hall from 6pm.

The festive evening will be hosted by Launchpad patron, Danyl Johnson and broadcast journalist and presenter at BBC Radio Berkshire, Bridgitte Tetteh.

Launchpad will be joined by the English Martyrs Primary School choir and Take Note Community choir. As well as seasonal songs there will be readings and inspiring stories about Launchpad’s work with people in housing crisis.

Every ticket sale for this unmissable evening will help Launchpad continue to provide homes for Reading’s most vulnerable this winter. Launchpad’s supported housing offers warm, clean, and safe accommodation for over 100 people in need – which are a lifeline to the many individuals, couples, and families at risk of, or who have already lost their homes.

Fiona Keyte, Fundraising Manager at Launchpad, said: “Every year people tell us that Carols by Candlelight marks the start of their Christmas celebrations. I’m really looking forward to hearing some great singing this year, while knowing that we’ll be helping people across Reading too.”

Tickets are £12 per person and under 3s can attend for free. There is unreserved seating but accessible seating can be requested at the point of booking. For more information and to buy your ticket, visit

There will also be some incredible prizes to be won in our raffle on the night – including a £50 voucher for Bill’s restaurant, dinner for two in the Reading Room at The Roseate and a tour of the Double-Barrelled Brewery. Please bring cash or card with you to enter the raffle!

For anyone that is unable to attend, you can still support our work with a donation so we can help ensure local people have a roof over their head and a place to call home. Simply visit

Tom Kerridge’s luxury box is back

Karen Neville

Take the stress out of the festive period and treat yourself to the Michelin-starred chef’s Beef Wellington

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge’s luxury Beef Wellington box is back this Christmas, so why treat yourself to “the ultimate festive feast”.

The Tom Kerridge Beef Wellington Box is available to order now at for £215 (including delivery). The majority of chilled courier deliveries will be made on December 23rd, with some being delivered on the 22nd, subject to location.

The Beef Wellington Box, generously serves four and includes a luxury 30-day aged fillet of British Hereford beef from family-owned Stokes Marsh Farm, handmade with a Duxelle and herb crepe, wrapped in an all-butter golden puff pastry, alongside a rich red wine sauce and Cumberland pigs in blankets. 

All you need to do is add your own roast potatoes and vegetables. For dessert, enjoy a traditional sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and Christmas spiced brandy butter alongside cubes of salted caramel fudge for the perfect sweet finish.  

What’s more, delivery is included and there are even a couple of recipes for suggested veggie side dishes and every order will receive a free foodie gift from Marks & Spencer.

Tom Kerridge says: “Carve into a luxury beef wellington this Christmas, it’s a fantastic foodie centrepiece for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or even Boxing Day. Our Beef Wellington Box has been designed to make your life easier without compromising on flavour, it’s the ultimate festive feast!” The last date for online orders is December 15th.

Stunning installations at Christmas at Kew

Karen Neville

Seven new displays as the UK’s original festive lights trail returns to Kew Gardens, November 15th to January 7th

Brand-new installations will showcase Kew Gardens in a whole new light, as the UK’s original festive light trail returns to the world-famous botanic gardens in London this November.

Since the inaugural Christmas at Kew trail in 2013, this unique event has paved the way for festive displays across the country. This year’s trail is a celebration of nature by night, bringing Kew’s incredible natural architecture to life. Visitors can expect the return of seasonal favourites alongside immersive new installations, seven of which are making their UK debut. Not to be missed, Christmas at Kew is enchanting seasonal experience for everyone to enjoy.

New installations for 2023

Bespoke new installations include Lili by TILT, a series of abstract, illuminated flowers that stand at almost three metres tall, towering over visitors. ArtAV return with Trapezoid, one of the longest light tunnels to ever feature at Christmas at Kew, and along Camellia Walk over 400 cascading lights are suspended from the tree canopy, set against an assortment of neon backdrops.

Elsewhere, the Hive – a stunning piece of contemporary artwork at Kew that recreates life inside a beehive – will feature in the trail for the first time. With its 1,000 LED lights aglow and an accompanying musical score, see this unique structure like never before as twilight descends across Kew Gardens.

Creative studio Pitaya return to Kew with Spark Ballet, 24 lanterns filled with subtly sparkling lights that appear to ‘dance’, and candles. This brand-new commission sees one hundred candles suspended in the air, magically appearing to float above visitors’ heads. The flickering flames will illuminate tree-lined passageways to create an enchanting festive atmosphere.

Festive favourites

With many of Kew’s 12,000 trees and other botanical treasures being accentuated along the route, visitors can wander beneath colourful canopies and bushes draped in seasonal sparkle, experiencing nature from a new perspective whilst treasuring the essential role that plants play in all our lives.

Other returning favourites include Kew’s famous Christmas Cathedral, a twinkling tunnel of light inspired by arched church windows, and a newly designed Fire Garden. Over 300 candles will line the path to the Temperate House, the oldest Victorian glasshouse in the world, as flame bulbs create the illusion that this cathedral of glass is glowing from within.

Elsewhere, visitors will be entranced as a series of breath-taking light displays dance across the surface of Kew’s iconic Palm House, and LED lights ‘float’ on the surface of the adjacent lake. This grand finale is set to a memorable playlist of much-loved Christmas classics, guaranteed to stir sentimental memories or provide a soundtrack for new traditions.

To add an extra touch of magic to the Christmas at Kew experience, visitors can book a delicious traditional Christmas dinner at The Botanical Brasserie. Indulge in celeriac and truffle soup, Caramelized shallot, beetroot and mushroom wellington or turkey ballotine stuffed with sausage meat, washed down by a warming glass of mulled wine. Kids favourites can be found at the Family Kitchen & Shop, and tasty treats from a selection of independent street food vendors are available along the route. Treat yourself to loaded hash browns, spiced cider, waffles or hot chocolate.

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: “Christmas at Kew is a magical celebration of Kew’s natural landscape, offering sparkle and festivities during the winter months. With an incredible range of brand-new installations and some returning favourites, this year’s trail is guaranteed to be a seasonal spectacle like no other.”

At Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, Glow Wild celebrates a milestone 10 years. Bringing festive magic and wonder to the South East with 10 new installations and myriad hand-crafted lanterns, this winter lantern trail is not to be missed.

Tickets for Christmas at Kew and Glow Wild are available to purchase now at: Royal Botanic Gardens

Remembrance Day film in Chipping Norton

Karen Neville

Watch screening of The Great Escaper and join Q&A at The Living Room Cinema

On Sunday 12th November, join The Living Room Cinema, Chipping Norton, for their next ‘In Conversation With’ screening

They’ll be welcoming producers Douglas Rae and Robert Bernstein to introduce, and speak about, their new film The Great Escaper, starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson.

This films tells the story of WWII veteran Bernie Jordan, who ‘escaped’ his Hove care home to attend the 70th Anniversary D-Day landing ceremony in Normandy, commemorating his fallen comrades.

Douglas and Robert will share what it’s like to adapt a film from a true story, bringing Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson back together after almost 50 years, and their reflections on the film’s poignance in light of Remembrance Sunday.

Douglas has worked on productions including Mrs Brown starring Judi Dench, Charlotte Gray starring Cate Blanchett, Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy, and the BAFTA-nominated Nowhere Boy.

Robert has an equally impressive body of work, including producing alongside Douglas on Nowhere Boy and Becoming Jane, as well as producing Brideshead Revisited, The Water Horse, and many more fantastic films and television shows. 

Join this screening and fascinating Q&A on Remembrance Sunday at 12.30pm, and help to mark the occasion and remember those who sacrificed for us. 

Book tickets here.

 Celebrate at The Shed this November

Karen Neville

There’s plenty to celebrate at The Shed this November, with a fireworks bonanza, a cosy comedy club and a Remembrance Day afternoon, plus Saturday Markets and Christmas Wreath workshops

The Shed has a sparkling selection lined up with some real fireworks throughout November with the return of the Cube Comedy Club as well as live music, quiz nights and the ever popular markets.

The venue offers the perfect backdrop for evenings of laughs and fantastic community events.

The Cube Comedy Club, 2nd November, 8pm

We’re back with a bang this November and continue to bring you the best of the best from the UK comedy circuit. This month features Matt Price, Eva Bindeman and Joey Page.

Eva Bindeman is a Bristol based, North East Comic bringing a warm, conversational sense of humour with a twist of the unexpected and named Funny Women “one to watch” in 2022.

Joey Page has been hailed as the future of stand up and is storming the circuit with his trail blazing brand of ‘Indie Comedy’ that’s surreal and inventive and has gained a big following during his time as support act for Noel Fielding on tour.

‘Conversations with Criminals’ podcast host Matt Price interacts with a crowd in a way that makes everyone in the room feel good. Matt’s stories are from the wilder side of life but surprisingly easy to relate to.

Firework Extravaganza, November 4th, 5-9pm

Get ready to light up the night sky with a FREE Firework Display on November 4th, with a night of dazzling lights, delicious treats, and fairground rides.

Head to Parade Square for a spectacular night of jaw-dropping fireworks at Whitehill and Bordon, with gates opening at 5pm and the breath-taking display commencing at 7pm, this event is not to be missed.

There will also be an array of exciting fairground rides for all ages. And when hunger strikes, indulge in mouth-watering meals from a selection of food trucks, offering sizzling burgers, hot dogs, delicious hog roasts, and a variety of sweet treats including donuts, waffles, and crepes.

Remembrance Sunday with Stephanie Bell, November 12th, 12-2pm

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies of the 1940s as Stephanie Bell takes the stage gracing us with not one, but two captivating sets of music, each lasting 45 minutes. Absolutely free with no need to book, this is the perfect way to get the family together for an afternoon of remembrance and celebration.

Throughout November there are also the popular Saturday Markets on 11th and 25th November, as well as a Christmas Wreath Workshop at Bud Hut, where guests can learn how to create a stunning moss-based wreath adorned with seasonal natural accessories.

You can find the full line-up of all upcoming events at The Shed here:

Help train life-changing hearing dogs

Karen Neville

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People trains clever dogs to alert deaf people to important and life-saving sounds, including smoke alarms, intruder alarms, oven timers, alarm clocks and even baby monitors.

Its dogs also provide constant emotional support and companionship – helping deaf people to leave loneliness behind.

Deafness is on the rise in the UK; by 2035, it is estimated that one in five British people (over 15 million) will experience hearing loss, and the increase the charity is seeing in the number of people coming to it for help, reflects this.

The charity receives no government funding but is very fortunate to have the support of a network of committed volunteers.

There are two types of volunteer roles the charity urgently needs to fill: permanent puppy trainers, who will look after a puppy for the duration of its training (usually between 18 months and two years), and short-term trainers to cover times when other trainers are on holiday.

Linda Foster, who lives near High Wycombe, became a volunteer puppy trainer last year after retiring from her job as a personal assistant at an architectural practice.

“I started off by doing short-term cover when the other puppy trainers were on holiday. I also went along to puppy training sessions at The Grange, Hearing Dogs’ southern training centre. Then in April, I started looking after Lola, a gorgeous 13-month-old black Labrador puppy, on a long-term basis.  

“I’d actually never had a dog before, so it was quite a steep learning curve, but I had a lot of help from the charity’s trainers, and advice from other volunteers.  The whole experience has been very rewarding, and I’ve met some lovely people (and dogs) over the last year.”

Without volunteers like Linda, the charity would not be able to help anywhere near as many people with hearing loss reconnect with life.

Sixteen-year-old Zach Allen, from Chalfont St Peter, was diagnosed as deaf when he was just three years old. His mum Kirsty said: “Although we got support for Zach to attend a mainstream school, he still had challenges. He didn’t play along with other children’s games in case he misheard the rules and got them wrong. I saw him lose confidence as he got older. He was overlooked for games. He wasn’t invited to birthday parties. It was a very difficult thing for a parent to see.

“Then, when Zach was eight years old, everything changed because Echo the hearing dog came into our lives. Soon after Echo arrived, we took him into school so that Zach’s year group could meet him. As a teacher was about to tell the school about him, Zach stood up instead, and introduced Echo to everyone. He explained how Echo alerts him to sounds by nudging him with his nose. We all stood there open-mouthed at this confident child who had appeared from nowhere.”

Victoria Leedham, Head of Volunteering at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, said: “Our dogs do so much to help deaf people – from alerting them to life-saving sounds, to providing emotional support and making sure they never feel alone – and the hard work put in by our wonderful volunteers is absolutely integral to that.

“Anyone who volunteers for us can expect to feel like part of our family. No previous experience is necessary, and volunteers will receive lots of support and training to ensure they feel fully equipped to care for one of our dogs.

“The charity will also cover all costs involved, from the moment the volunteer takes the puppy home, to when it is handed over to one of our deaf partners after its training is complete”, she added.

“These roles would be perfect for local dog lovers living in a home with a secure garden, and plenty of time to spare every day. We can really only consider applications from working people if they work just a few hours from home each week.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People can visit The volunteering team can be reached directly at [email protected] or on 01844 348129.

Psycho Path pub trail in Newbury

Karen Neville

Newbury Business Improvement (BID), the organisation behind Visit Newbury, has unveiled the Psycho Path Pub Trail, a unique Halloween experience for adults only! On Friday 27th October, this immersive event will transform five central Newbury pubs into realms of fright and delight

Newbury’s answer to the famous Fright Night is free to attend and includes some of the town’s most popular watering holes, including Slug & Lettuce, The Newbury, The Catherine Wheel, The Old Waggon & Horses, and The Lock Stock & Barrel.

Expect a thrilling and eerie experience as you’re captivated by skilled actors portraying beloved characters such as Snow White, Belle, Jack and Sally, Alice in Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter. These performers will immerse you in a world filled with dramatic flair, spine-tingling moments, and much more.

Each pub will be home to spooktakular scenes from infamous horror movies which will provide a fantastic different selfie opportunity in each participating venue, including the iconic Psycho shower scene by Alfred Hitchcock, a meticulously handcrafted electric chair reminiscent of The Green Mile, and a macabre assortment of likelike human body parts the butcher Sweeny Todd would be proud of.

These haunting locations are the perfect backdrop for visitor selfies, so be sure to dress to impress in your finest Halloween attire!

The Psycho Path Pub Trail is your local, cost-effective for a Halloween night out. There will be free shots available for those who sign up early on the Visit Newbury website. (1 x free shot per participant per venue)

Pub trail participants should make their way to Newbury town centre on 27th October, where the event kicks off at 7pm. Participating venues will be marked, so you can plot your spooky route with ease.

Visit Newbury’s Halloween events include the Ghost Town Shop Trail, a Halloween themed fright-night Psycho Path Pub Trail, and a Spooktakular Window Competition where town-centre businesses are encouraged to dress up their windows as part of the Halloween festivities.

Alison Drummond, Operations Manager at Newbury BID said: ” Halloween seems to be getting bigger every year, and we want to live up to expectations with our latest Psycho Path Pub Trail which we first launched last year and was a huge success. Alongside the Ghost Town Shop Trail for the little ones, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Newbury this October. Dust off your costumes, gather your friends, and prepare for a night of screams and laughs at the Psycho Path Pub Trail!

“If you’re planning to host your own Halloween gathering, why not bring the festivities to the town centre instead? With a line-up of live performers, the Psycho Path Pub Trail is the perfect place to celebrate with friends and fellow Halloween enthusiasts.”

To find out more about the free Psycho Path Pub Trail and sign up for your free shots, head to the Visit Newbury website: Visit Newbury.

Newbury’s free ghost town shop trail

Karen Neville

Newbury Business Improvement District (BID), the organisation behind Visit Newbury, has a thrilling free experience for families this October half term: the Ghost Town Shop Trail

Newbury, a town steeped in history, is home to many eerie tales. In the Market Place, the ghost of Thomas Barrie forever moans, punished for treason by having his ears removed. Nearby, The Catherine Wheel pub harbours a mischievous poltergeist who likes to pull hair and throw glasses.

From 25th to 28th October, some of Newbury’s most beloved shops around Bartholomew Street will embrace this spooky past, being transformed into hauntingly delightful destinations for children to trick or treat as they hunt for Halloween posters in shop window.

The trail features 10 fantastic local independent businesses, including The Goan Caff, The Freakshow, The Dolphin, Willow & Blooms, Salon 46, Hethertons Bakery, La La Vintage, TaxAssist Accountants, The Ugly Duckling, and The Rufus Coffee House.

Kick off at the Kennet Centre with each shop offering chocolates and sweets to celebrate the spooky season. Costumes are encouraged! Throughout the day free Halloween spooky makeovers will be offered at a face painting station in the Kennet Centre between 10am and 2pm. The event will also boast a number of offers and prizes including Lego Star Wars sets – did you know Star Wars has filmed just up the road at Greenham Common? Other spine-chillingly good prizes up for grabs include Vue Cinema family vouchers and a Nando’s family meal voucher, so be sure not to miss out!

This event aims to provide a safe and enjoyable trick-or-treating experience for families seeking accessible and engaging activities for their children over the half-term break.

The Ghost Town Shop Trail offers a comfortable alternative for families looking to experience the joy of trick-or-treating without worrying about knocking on unfamiliar doors.

Alison Drummond, Operations Manager at Newbury BID, said: “We can’t wait for the Ghost Town Shop Trail in October. With some fantastic local businesses involved, fun prizes and, of course, chocolate up for grabs, the four-day event promises to be great and provide a great showcase for our much-loved Independents down in Bartholomew Street – otherwise unofficially known as the Southern Quarter!”

Visit Newbury’s Halloween events include the Ghost Town Shop Trail, a Halloween themed fright-night Psycho Path Pub Trail, and a Spooktakular Window Competition where town-centre businesses are encouraged to dress up their windows as part of the Halloween festivities.

Families wanting to get involved should stroll down Bartholomew Street and the surrounding areas between October 25th and 28th. The participating shops will be visibly marked, making it easy for families to plot their Halloween adventure.

To find out more about the free Ghost Town Shop Trail, sign up for your trail card and read the Terms & Conditions, head to the Visit Newbury website: Visit Newbury