Boswells Blog - April 2015

27th April 2015

What's On Around Oxford This May Bank Holiday

What's On Around Oxford This May Bank Holiday

Let's hope the marvellous April weather lasts through the May Bank Holiday weekend, but there's lots of fun to have indoors and out. Let us give you a guide. We just have to start the Bank Holiday a little early with...


The Famous May Day Morning

Mrris Dancers on May Morning 2007This is an experience every Oxfordian should have at least once even with bleary eyes. As the City Council states "May Morning in Oxford is a traditional celebration of the coming of Spring and brings together Oxford's communities to enjoy dancing, singing and revelry from around the city."

You could make a claim that the party starts the night before as some just don't go to bed, but the traditional start is the Magdalen College choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower at day break. This year that is a 6am.  Then see a morris dance, hear a concert or have a fry up breakfast.

We recommend the following websites for up to date information and what to do where and when.

http://www.oxford.gov.uk/maymorning

http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/mayday

The official social media hashtag is #maymorning. 

 

The Dorchester-on-Thames Festival 

The biennial Dorchester-on-Thames Festival is one of Oxfordshire’s leading Festivals based in the stunning location of Dorchester Abbey. Fun for all the family. It starts on on Friday 1st and ends on Sunday May 10th.

Find out more at http://dorchesterfestival.com/

 

British St Food LogoThe British Street Food Festival

From Friday 1st to Monday 4th the Oxford Castle quarter is hosting the British Street Food Awards Regional Final. That means food of the quality we are used to at the Bitten Oxford Events but for 4 days rather than just one PLUS music and all round fun. Performances are ticketed.

Find out more at http://britishstreetfood.co.uk/

 

Oxford Artweeks

Oxford Artweeks starts on Saturday! The opportunity for Oxford's artists to show off and hopefull get some sales. A great chance for us to meet the artist, get inspired or buy a piece of art we will always remember. Last but not least a good way to tour the county.

Artweeks 2015 runs for three weeks in May, each with a different regional focus: North Oxfordshire 2nd-10th May, Oxford City 9th-17th May, and South Oxfordshire 16th-25th May. 

Find out more and including a handy interactive map at http://www.artweeks.org/festival

 

The Oxford May Music Festival

Music, Science and the Arts meet in creative harmony - April 29th to May 4th 2015. An extraordnary opportunity to delve into science with the experts and be transported by beautiful music at the same festival. Events are ticketed.

 Find out more at http://www.oxfordmaymusic.co.uk/2015-festival-programme/ 

 

Love Oxford Banner

Love Oxford

This Sunday sees an outdoor Christian service on Broad St at 11am. Previous years have seen over 2000 people gather from over 30 churches. So if you are looking for a spiritual way to spend this Sunday this seems like a prime opportunity. After the service drop into Boswells and by showing your programme get a one off 20% discount in the store!  

As the organisers at St Aldates church say "We will be coming together on Sunday 3rd May at 11am for an outdoor church service. This is an amazing opportunity for the churches of Oxford to come together and for their witness of worship and prayer to be seen in the very centre of Oxford. We are praying that this would be a valuable time of unity between Christians but more than this we pray that there will be fruit and ‘great joy in the city’ (Acts 8:8)."

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1545119742417049/ or watch a video at https://vimeo.com/121494063


Outdoors with the kids and nature

This isn't meant to be a complete list of everything around Oxford but the following are great activities for a good weather day if you are prepared to venture into the countryside and are looking for some creature interaction.

Millets Falconry Centre

Near Abingdon - Millets Farm Falconry Centre is home to over 80 birds of prey from tiny Owls to huge Eagles. It is the largest attraction of its kind in Oxfordshire. There is something for everyone, here you will not only be able to admire a wide and deserve range of birds of prey but also see what they are capable of and learn how they live in the wild.

This is a ticketed attraction. Find out more at http://milletsfarmfalconry.co.uk/

CrocodileCrocodiles of The World

Near Witney - We've listed this before on guides, because, well its crocodiles silly!  A conservation and education centre that can provide a safe sometimes even hands up experience with these ancient and remarkable creatures.

This is a ticketed attraction. Find out more at http://www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk/

Cogges Manor Farm 

Near Witney - A working farm now run as a heritage centre there are pigs, goats, shetland ponies, chickens and smaller animals like rabbits & guinea pigs for supervised handling. Also has a popular cafe and child friendly climbing frames.

This is a ticketed attraction. Find out more at http://www.cogges.org.uk/

 

What's on at the Museums?

We have a great range of museums and exhibition spaces in Oxford nearly all free so we've gathered up what on this weekend in one place.

The Weston library (formally the New Bodleian) 

Marks Of Genius LogoThis magnificent building on Broad St re-opened with a smashing exhibition called The Marks of Genius showcasing the treasures of the Bodleian Library. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see original works by famous writers such as Shakespeare alongside scientists such as Copernicus, music by Mendelssohn, massively important documents such as the Magna Carta and more. Certainly too many to list here. The exhibition last until September 20th this year, but why wait?

Find out more at http://genius.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

The Museum of the History of Science

Staying on Broad St, as well as the normal exhibition on Alchemy and the Laboratory a collection of painting, prints and manuscripts illuminating the history of science in art there is a special event this weekend called My Memories of Science. Starts Saturday and finishes Sunday.

Come to the museum to learn about amateur science in the past, and to listen to fond memories of science in our everyday lives. Bring along your favourite scientific object, and share your memories with us as we attempt to give life to the long history of amateur science. Led by students from the University of Oxford’s MSc in History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Find out more at http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/events/

The Ashmolean Museum

Ashmolean MuseumJust north of Boswells on Beaumont St. Nothing special planned for the Bank Holiday weekend but we can highly recommend the regular Live Friday evening event. This is when the doors are opened between 7pm to 10.30pm for a after hours view of the exhibits with interactive events, workshops and talks. The dining room and cafe are also open.

Find out more at http://www.ashmolean.org/livefriday/

The current exhibition is Great British Drawings as the Ashmolan says "See the very best of British drawings and watercolours exhibited together for the first time. Great British Drawings showcases more than one hundred works by some of Britain's greatest artists." As the Times says "A treaure chest of gorgeous surprises".

This exhibition finishes on August 31st 2015 and is a ticketed exhibit, standard price £10. http://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions/greatbritishdrawings/

Oxford University Museum of Natural History & The Pitt Rivers Museum

Boyle & HobbesAlso just round the corner from us on Parks Road are the double whammy of amazing and odd items at these complimentary museums. Both provide great entertainment for all ages. The Natural History Museum has a special event admittedly aimed at the adults called Leviathan and the Air-Pump: thirty years on on Friday May 1st 5pm, about the clash of two 17th century intellectual giants, Robert Boyle who was investigating the vacuum and Thomas Hobbes who had some concerns about the whole thing. The event consists of a lecture, discussion and drinks reception. The event is free but registration is recommended.

Find out more at http://torch.ox.ac.uk/airpump

Not technically on over the Bank Holiday, but of interest to young & old is the Lets' go fly a kite event on Thursday morning & afternoon. Make your own fish kite and test it out on the Museum lawn. No news about whether singing the song from Mary poppins is compulsory. For under 5s, drop-in.

Thursday 7 May, 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm Find out more at http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/visiting/whatson.htm

Like the Ashmolean the Pitt Rivers does After Hours Tours on some Fridays, although these are ticketed standard ticket £10. The next tour is this Friday the 1st and the 22nd of May.

Find out more at http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/specialevents.html

Museum of Oxford

In the Town Hall building on St Aldates the museum is working with Artweeks to show with Poseytude Gallery an exhibition of emerging artists and finalists of “Change the World” art competition displaying original contemporary art. Original paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and mixed media art will be available to view and buy.

Find out More at http://www.oxford.gov.uk/museumofoxford

The Story Museum

Part of the May Morning celebrations May Morning Munchies is a chance to sample celebrity chef Sophie Grigson's breakfast treats. This is a ticketed event. Standard Price £4.

Find out more at http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/may-morning-munchies/

Although the museum does have the Pheonix Children's Comic Festival 2015 on for the weekend General Entry Tickets are now sold out, just in case you were wondering. Standard exhibits are closed for the weekend too!

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17th April 2015

Everyday Essentials for The Young Gent

Everyday Essentials for The Young Gent

Whether you’re a young professional who’s just started his first proper job or you’re still living the student life at university, we think there are some essential every young gent needs. Check them out:

Shaving Cream and Brush

Kent Shaving Brush

There’s no denying that a good razor is key to a close shave, but a proper shaving brush and a high quality shaving cream are in a close second and third place. Using a shaving brush and cream gently exfoliates the skin while getting the cream underneath the hairs for the smoothest possible shave. Some of our favourite cream and brushes come from Kent and Truefitt & Hill, two brands that are very well known and respected in male skin care.

Aftershave

Once you’ve put the effort into looking good it’s time to smell good. Aftershave is a very personal purchase - only you know which smells the best for you - so we’ve got a different ranges in store for you to try, from the fruity scent of the West Indian Limes to the more hearty scents of Sandalwood aftershave balm.

Tablet Case

You’ve finished all of your personal grooming so now it’s time to pack your bags ready for a busy day.

Lots of people take a tablet wherever they go. If you’re one of these people you’ll know how important it is to protect it: a smashed screen can come with a hefty price tag. A case or sleeve will not only protect your tablet but make it a stylish accessory as well. One of our favourites is this Ted Baker Canoe sleeve because of its fashionable tartan design and superb protection.Teb Baker Tablet Case

Shirt Case

If you’re heading away for a few days there’s nothing worse than having to use a tiny hotel iron to get the creases out of your shirt. Skip the hassle and put up to three of your shirts in this stylish shirt case from Gentlemen’s Hardware, the perfect way to transport shirts, crease free.

Wallet

So you’re ready to leave the house, but don’t forget your wallet, - you probably won’t get far without it! There are many things you need to consider when buying a wallet apart from style: how many card slots does it have? Has it got a change pocket? Is there space for anything else you may need? We think a good all-round wallet is this nice simple Samsonite Attack Billfold Wallet, or if you need lots of internal space the Secrid Twinwallet wallet has plenty of room but is half the size of a normal wallet on the outside.

Water Bottle

Our final item is one that is often forgotten but should never be over looked: the humble water bottle. For a busy young gent, keeping hydrated can help keep skin clear (we’ve talked about the importance of skin hydration in one of our previous blog posts) , can help you stay focused, and can allow you to exercise for longer. Far more environmentally friendly - and cheaper - than regularly buying bottled water, this Wild and Wolf water bottle should always be at your side.Wild and Wolf Bottle

Conclusion

You’re now ready to face the world and you’re looking dapper as you do it! If you want enjoyed this, be sure to check out our Everyday Essentials for the Commuter post, which will give you ideas for making your commute more comfortable.

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13th April 2015

Introducing Headway Oxfordshire Our Charity for 2015

Introducing Headway Oxfordshire Our Charity for 2015

Boswells chooses a charity each year via a staff vote and are visited by several charities so we can understand what they do and what support we can give. Naturally the choice is always difficult and this year we were very impressed by Headway Oxfordshire and voted for this worthy cause for April 2015 to April 2016 as our charity. We will be sharing any events or fundraising opportunities with you throughout the year but donation boxes are on all our tills now.

To those of us who do not know anyone with a brain injury or who aren't living with this ourselves Headway Oxfordshire is probably a bit of a mysterious name. To those that have suffered a brain trauma Headway Oxfordshire is hopefully both familiar and a vital lifeline to recovery and adapting to a new life and challenges. So here is some information about their amazing work. Read more about them and find out how you can help at their website www.headwayoxford.org.uk


What is a Brain Injury?

Brain injury strikes people of all ages, from all walks of life and in a variety of situations. Damage may be caused through trauma – road, domestic, industrial, sporting accidents, or assaults - or through stroke, tumour, haemorrhage, infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis, or other conditions.

Although it seems obvious, the brain controls everything about us, from breathing to the smallest personality trait … it makes us who and what we are. The consequences of a brain injury are as individual and varied as we are as people.

Brain Injury Diagram

Any combination of the affects (as in the diagram above) can have a profound impact on the lives of the individual, their family and carers. With early intervention and rehabilitation it is possible for individuals to maximise their recovery. However, many will live with the consequences of their injuries for the rest of their lives.

So how does Headway Oxfordshire help?

Headway Oxfordshire provides support to those with Brain Injuries to help both the physical and psychological recovery. Support is provided both immediately after the injury and long term. Long term care often falls to to those closest to the injured party and Headway Oxfordshire also provides support and guidance to carers and vital relief via a Breaks for Carers.

Information

“…92% of all hospitals in the UK fail to provide adequate information following minor head injury. Just 21 of 254 A&E departments across the UK provide the key information as recommended by both the NICE1 and SIGN2 guidelines.” The Health Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick

Headway Oxfordshire's Community Workers work closely with the JR Hospitals Trust Neuro Science and Neuro ICU wards and the Oxford Centre for Enablement. Visiting injured persons and their family in hospital and in their homes afterwards. Providing clear information and allowing those affected to frame their expectations and hanle sometimes enormous life changes.

“You can’t comprehend how confused and traumatised you are after such a terrible thing happens to your family, and how relieved you are that someone is there to offer you support, hold your hand and guide you through the difficult bits.” 

Rehabilitation

Headway Oxfordshire provides an Activity and Rehabilitation Centre at Kennington Oxford, under the guidance of professional staff and therapists. Regular activities are aimed at reskilling and up-skilling, improving memory, mobility, co-ordination and social skills. Physio suite

Therapies and activities may include:
• Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy
• Brain gym and memory workshops
• IT
• Art and craft therapy
• Music workshops
• Games and quizzes
• Tai chi and Yoga
• Gardening and basic cooking
• Other Practical Tasks 

Support

“The doctors and surgeons saved me but Headway has made me who I am today and I am happy with the person I am now because I am lovely"

The Headway Oxfordshire Community Workers provide advise and support about all areas of adjustment to a sometimes radically altered life or personality. 

• Support to engage with community and leisure activities
• Advice and direct support to engage with other organisations around complex issues (eg housing, money management, lifestyle etc).
• Advice and direct support to utilise transport options to reduce isolation and increase community integration.
• Advice and direct support to prepare for, and engage with, vocational opportunities.
• Ongoing information to assist in adjusting to change, accessing services and opportunities that improve levels of independence and reduce isolation
• The Vocational Community Support Worker provides help and support, at the appropriate time, for individuals wishing to return to work.

Carers Support

“Every time the Headway woman was at the hospital she would come and see me. At that point I was in denial; why is this woman coming to see me – he’s going to go home and everything is going to be alright. Reality doesn’t come into your head, not in that place. Headway really kicked in when he came home and I realised things were not alright at all’

Carers Trip To London 2012The Carers Support Group was set up in 2010 within the Oxford centre, providing peer support, practical information and advice. Community Workers provide outreach support to the whole family: helping the carer access other support and benefits, and helping the family understand the affects of brain injury and come to terms with the changes in their lives.

Through Headway Oxfordshire’s Activity and Rehabilitation Centre, carers are provided with regular breaks throughout the week. In addition, one day a week is specifically for those with a higher level of dependency/profound disability. The “Breaks for Carers” service provides respite opportunities, including day excursions and short holidays for Carers with or without their dependant.

This image shows a group of carers on a trip to London.


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