Boswells Blog

14th September 2018

Flu Vaccination - What you need to know

Flu Vaccination - What you need to know

Winter is well on it's way and so we're pleased to say that we are now offering flu vaccinations in our Pharmacy, to help you make the  ost of the season. The flu vaccination is one of the best ways of protecting your health over the Autumn and Winter months and of preventing the spread of infection between familes, friends and colleagues.The jab itself only takes a few seconds and there are qualified staff available whilst the store is open.

Updated for Autumn 2018 (Available from October 2018):

Adult flu vaccine £12.99

Child flu vaccine £18

Boswells Student Club members & Business or Institution bookings £9.50

So here's what we think you need to know to make a decision on whether it's right for you.

What does the flu vaccine do?

As with all vaccines the injection includes a tiny amount of the flu virus to get your anti-bodies ready to fight off a larger dose. Vaccines have proved the most effective way of fighting viruses. This vaccine helps protect against the viruses most likely to be responsible for causing most cases of flu this winter including the H1N1 virus (swine flu).

What possible side effects are there?

Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?

Can I get the flu vaccination for free at Boswells?

Can children get a flu vaccine?

Who shouldn't get a flu vaccine?

 

What possible side effects are there?

All medicines can have potential side effects. For the flu vaccine most of the potential side effects are not serious and should disappear on their own in a day or two. Most people have no side effects at all.

The most frequently reported side effects include: Fever, Feeling unwell, Shivering, Headache, Sweating, Muscle and joint pain, Skin reactions such as redness, pain, bruising and hardening of the skin at the injection site.

Rare reactions include: Nerve pain and inflammation, Numbness, Tingling, Fits, Thromboctyopaenia (a blood disorder), Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), Rare nerve disorders. On rare occasions anaphylaxis may occur (we have procedures in place to deal with this). You should get medical advice straight away if you experience any of these reactions.

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Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?

No. Although the side effects (if you get some of them) can seem similar you don't have the flu itself.

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Can I get the flu vaccination for free at Boswells?

Yes if you meet the following criteria. Don't worry if you aren't sure. Tell our pharmacy staff & they can advise you before treatment.

1) You are registered with a GP in the Clinical Commissioning Groups of; Aylesbury Vale, Bracknell & Ascot, Chilterns, Oxfordshire, Newbury & District, Reading, Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead or Wokingham AND

2) You are between 18 and 65 years at the time of vaccination AND

3) You have one of the following medical conditions and have a medical exemption certificate. See how to apply for these at the NHS Website.

  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • Carers in receipt of carers allowance
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Respiratory disease
  • Chronic Heart Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Chronic Neurological Disease
  • Imunosuppression due to disease or treatment.

If you aged over 65 see your GP for a free flu vaccine as this can't be administered in a pharmacy.

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Can children get a flu vaccine?

Yes, between 18 months and 18 years there is a different vaccine. For young children there is also an alternative delivery method than the needle. If necessary raise this with our pharmacy staff. Prices vary based on the type of vaccine and the number of children being treated at one time so speak to our Pharmacist to find out more. 

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Who shouldn't get a flu vaccine?

Our pharmacy staff will go through a short questionnaire to check suitability before treatment but here is a guide on when NOT to take the flu vaccine.

  • If you have a known hypersensitivity to egg products
  • If you are acutely ill on the day of vaccination
  • If you have a history of anaphylactic (allergic) reactions to vaccines. Any allergy should be checked against the specific ingrediants of the flu vaccine.
  • Anyone who has already received the flu vaccine within 12 months.

In addition anyone with the following medical conditions should see their GP before having a flu vaccine. Cerebal Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, any hereditory or degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles, an allergy to latex, bleeding disorders or those receiving anticoagulant treatments.

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10th January 2018

5 Ways To Add Value To Your Home

5 Ways To Add Value To Your Home

With Christmas well and truly over, many of us will be looking to get the year ahead off to a great start - be it healthy New Year's resolutions or a spot of home improvement. If your intentions steer towards the latter, read on, as we share our top 5 tips for adding value and style to your home over the next 12 months.

From simple kitchen makeovers and clever bathroom updates to money-earning extensions, we’ve got 5 fantastic ways to achieve impactful updates that you’ll love - and better yet, they’ll up the value of your property in the process.

1. Kickstart your kitchen

As the heart of the home, kitchens are typically a great place to add value as they’re used daily and are often a big selling point for potential buyers, too. But you don’t need to go through the hassle and expense of a full refit to give your kitchen a new look this year - as simple updates and a little elbow grease can go a long way, whatever your budget.

From a fresh coat of paint and new worktops to swapping out old kitchen accessories and appliances, these small changes could make a big impact on your interior - giving your kitchen a new and striking look.Kitchen example

2. Create more living space

If you want to significantly increase your property value in the long run, consider creating more living space. You can make best use of existing space by de-cluttering or using cunning storage solutions, built in or free standing to keep floors and surfaces clear.

In terms of building work, one of the least disruptive ways to do this would be converting an existing loft - which offers the ideal space for more bedrooms. However, if you have the room and planning permission, a single-storey extension could add even more value - especially if you have an eye on sustainability. Opting for the latest innovations in modular construction - with room modules built offsite - will ensure your extension boasts excellent energy efficiency. More than that, it provides additional appeal for potential buyers in the future and means your property will stand out from the crowd when it goes onto the market.

3. Add a bathroom

As with living space, adding a second bathroom or en-suite could be a great money-earning update for you home. Whether you reconfigure existing wall positioning, convert unused storage space or go for a completely new extension, adding a new bathroom will positively impact on your property price. Again, new construction innovations allow you to do this with relative ease, with modular bathroom pods now making additions easier than ever. If your budget is tight, even adding a small downstairs toilet or wetroom can make a huge difference. Below is an example of a bathroom pod and even we can't tell the difference between one built on site!

According to Nationwide Building Society, although converting an unused attic into an en-suite bathroom can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks to complete, it has the potential to add approximately 21% to your property’s value – making this a highly worthwhile investment. Similarly, a second bathroom can up its value by a welcome 5%, as long as it isn’t in place of a double bedroom.Elements Europe Bathroom Pod example

4. Brilliant bathrooms

If installing a second bathroom is out of your reach, don’t fret. Providing your bathroom suite is in good condition, you can still add value to your home without spending big or starting from scratch. You can create the appearance of a completely new bathroom using new tiles or decorative features on the walls. It’s the perfect opportunity to embrace the latest interior trends to achieve an enviable aesthetic - leaving your bathroom looking good as new and guests impressed with your on-trend decor.

An even simpler, more budget-friendly option is to update this space with bathroom accessories. From creating a stylish new colour scheme with bath linens and accessories to improving storage solutions to organise and declutter, even the small details can make a big difference to the overall look and feel of a bathroom.

5. Spruce up the outside

While a lot of the focus for adding value lies within your home, it’s still important not to forget the outside areas, too. As the first thing visitors see when they arrive, sprucing up the exterior is undoubtedly beneficial - increasing both kerb appeal and value. From keeping plants and lawns well-trimmed to adding decorative ornaments and stylish garden furniture, you can use this area to make an instant style statement with your home.

However, valuing the benefit of regular outdoor maintenance - such as painting external walls, repairing guttering and ensuring roofs are fully weather-proofed - will also ensure you don’t lose value by allowing them to fall into disrepair.

Whether you’re planning to sell your house soon or you’re just looking to make some value-adding updates, follow the tips in today’s post for the essential insights on adding value and style to your home - ready for whenever the time comes to sell.

Example Garden

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4th May 2016

Charity News

Charity News

Boswells Charity Of The Year 2016-17

After a highly contested vote our staff have chosen Sobell House as our Charity for 2016-17. So look out for ways that Boswells' staff and customers can raise money for this great local charity. 

We will be reporting back on a visit to Sobell House but in the meantime here's a quick reminder of what Sobell House is all about. You can read more on their website.

"Founded in 1976, Sobell House was one of the earliest NHS hospices to be established, following in the footsteps of Dame Cicely Saunders, considered by many to be the founder of the modern hospice movement in UK. Since then, we have been providing specialist palliative care to patients and their families at home, in the Oxford hospitals, and in our purpose-built hospice on the Churchill Hospital site." 

Jonathan Pearson, our Managing Director said:  “I am so pleased that our store team has chosen Sobell House Hospice as our Corporate charity for the coming 12 months. I’m sure that together with our customers we can work our hardest to raise funds through in store activities and exciting colleague events to support this truly local charity at the heart of the Oxford community”.   


In other Charity News - Radio Cherwell Toys Donation

Although we normally restrict our donations to our chosen annual charity we just couldn't resist helping Radio Cherwell Oxford's awarding winning hospital radio station with their need for toys as prizes in their "Wicked Weekday Show". After a donation for one week of prizes in March we contacted our lovely suppliers and they came through with enough toys for a year's prizes. Well done them.


Radio Cherwell Toys Presentation May 3rd 2016Here are Naomi Simons the show's presenter and Nick Saunders the producer alongside Rosie and Anne from our Toys department handing over the prizes although not all of them could fit in shot!

Many thanks to the following suppliers, in no particular order; Hasbro, Interplay, Ty, The Green Board Game Company, James Galt, Orchard Toys, VTech, DKL, Gibsons, Ravensburger, Character Options, John Adams, Peterkin, Big Jigs Toys and Keel Toys.

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9th December 2015

Lego® Ideas & Dr Who the perfect combination?

Lego® Ideas & Dr Who the perfect combination?

James from our Toys department writes about the latest in the Lego® Ideas range and it's new Entry Dr Who!

Being a passionate fan of both Lego and Doctor Who I have been following the progress of this Ideas set since its birth on the Lego Ideas website (Lego Cusoo at the time). Lego Ideas is a way for people to design their favourite set and have the chance for Lego to produce it, if it culminates 10,000 supporters. The few sets that reach this target are then reviewed and if Lego see’s it fit for mass production, it is finally made into a set. So far we have been treated to such sets as 21301 Birds and 21303 Wall-e which are both amazing to builds but Doctor who for me tops them both. So let’s allon-sy with the review!

Lego birdsWall E Lego

Minifigures

For starters the set includes many minifigures, all of which are exclusive. We are treated to not one, but two Doctors, the eleventh and current twelfth doctors, complete with sonic screwdriver and fez. Clara is indeed present, although she has just departed the series and features a double sided head with a perfect quizzical look.

12th Doctor 11th Doctor Clara

As for the Villains the set includes three. The weeping angel has large wings and a brilliant double sided head to represent both the calm weeping and the horrendous shrieking face that makes them so chilling. And what doctor who set is complete without the daleks, two of which are present, both the same gold design and brick built. You are also able to move the eye stalk which is an added bonus giving them crucial articulation.

Dalek Left  Dalek RightWeeping Angel

 The Console room


Tardis Console Room

The centrepiece of the set which will use up most of the bricks is the console room, a large room with railings and the striking console column. The column is outstanding thanks to the unusual use of transparent blue light-sabre bars which create the slanted effect of the column. Two monitors are attached near the bottom featuring Galiffreyan text and each sector of the hexagonal console is highly detailed with the dematerialisation/re-materialisation lever present and even a printed purple plate to represent… well the purple round bit on the console.

Blue Box

Last and certainly not least is the Tardis that we all recognise (thanks to a broken chameleon circuit). As you can see above the blue box is able to open and attach to the console room, revealing ‘those round things’ to be on the inside as represented by blue and orange pieces. The piece when finished is highly satisfying and with the ability to place a minifigure inside, you can fly the doctor wherever you want.

Tardis outsideTardis inside

Final word

11th Doctor with FezOverall I think this is a fantastic set. You’ll get a lot of build value (It took me close to four hours!), the minifigures are great and you can really see the dedication and fan service the designers at Lego have put into the set. From including a fez to something as simple as being able to open the Tardis up, this is a fun build and is sure to bring a smile to any whovians face. In the words of the ninth doctor: Fantastic.

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28th July 2015

Keeping The Kids Entertained This Summer

Keeping The Kids Entertained This Summer

It’s week 2 of the summer holidays (or 1 if you only broke up last week) and the weather has been somewhat changeable so far. How to entertain the kids for the rest of the summer as it stretches ahead of us? Well although we would always encourage kids to use their imagination with a good book or playing outside making up their own games, and we have a plethora of toys to help that along,  we also know that organised activities, particularly those that are for the whole family are very welcome. So here’s a bit of a guide to what is happening around Oxford that you might find useful.

Art & Craft Activities

You probably have a range of art & craft materials at home but sometimes there's nothing like being taught a new skill or playing with others to spark inspiration.

Unique Creations

Based on Banbury Road Unique Creations are a pottery company that allows you and your family to hand paint their ceramics and you get to keep them too. They also have a craft area for those more interested in fabric and sewing or decopatch. Open 7 days a week 10am - 5.30pm.

Read more here

Modern Art Oxford entrance

Modern Art Oxford

Although the exhibitions and Modern Art Oxford are aimed at adults they always provide activities for children, often related to the exhibits making it a great stop in Oxford for the whole family. Parents need stimulation too you know. Yet again our insatiable need for caffiene is covered with a family friendly cafe.

Read more here

 

Reading & Story Activities

Books aren't just for when it's raining, although admittedly they are a great way to get outside at least in our imagination. We have great bookshops and Museums in Oxford catering for our literary needs at whatever age.

BlackwellsBlackwells

Our venerable neighbour up the road has a whole season of activities this summer from theme days, story telling & games.

Read more here 

Barefoot Books

Barefoot Books in Summertown are running a lot of activity events that would fit as neatly into our other categories as here. Particularly arts & music. In addition they are running a Summer Reading Program. As they say "According to research, reading just 6 books with your child over the summer can help prevent Summer “Brain Drain” and preserve learning from the preceding year."

Read more here

The Story Museum

As you would expect the Story Museum keeps up its aleady healthy events schedule during the summer. We particularly like the emphasis on creative writing. The Thursday book club about teenage fiction is open to adults as well as children.

Read more here

Oxford Central Library

Every Wednesday & Thursday at 10.30am the library runs Rhymtime a fun session for the under 5s singing & rhyming away.

Read more here

 

Science & Nature Activities

The Pitt Rivers Museum & Natural History Museum. 

On the itinery for many a family over the summer, especially if you have visitors. Two of Oxford's must see attractions in the same place, with the marvels of nature and mankind on display in engaging & fascinatiing ways. There are always child activity sheets available & this summer there is a Summer Holiday trail to follow.

Read More at http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/events/Oxford/1043782.Event.Trail__All_going_on_a_Summer_Holiday/?s=c39aabf8437fbd5cfb0029c498ed2aad&i=9

Museum of The History of Science

With a focus on communication technology the kids and parents can have lots of fun in the Signals & Semaphores workshops and learn a new life skill with morse code.

Read more here 

Science OxfordScience Oxford

Creative science workshops, summer spy & science schools! What's not too like. Well perhaps the kids learning how to bug the living room....but sounds like a lot of fun.

Read more here

 

 

Performance & Music Activities

Oxford’s Creation Theatre & Inspiring Drama courses

For anyone looking for a longer term activitiy for the whole family (and admittedly a bit of money to spend) try the;

"Put On A Play Workshop" by Oxford's Creation Theatre Hurry though as it is on next week. Workshops run 10am - 4.30pm, drop off anytime 9am - 10am and pick up 4.30 - 5pm. The play is performed for family & friends at the end of the course.

Read More Here

Or the "Summer Comedy Course" by Inspiring Drama based in Summertown. For ages 10-16 years. Students form production teams and can be in front or behind the camera for this short film course by professional crew.

Read more here

Room on the BroomThe Oxford Playhouse

Each summer the Playhouse ensure they have a child friendly play on & this year's is the magical, musical adaptation of Room on the Broom, based on the bestselling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Olivier Award-nominated, it has songs, laughs and scary fun for young children and their grown-ups – the perfect summer holiday treat!

Read more here 

Nick Cope's Early Years Music Sessions 

Based in different Oxford locations on different days of the week Nick provides entertaining music sessions singing his own songs that are as much fun for adults as the kids and importantly original. We all know how difficult the 1000th rendition of the "Wheels on the bus" can be...

Read more here


Physical Activities

Running around in the park or garden is all very well but an organised activity can be educational, have the proper equipment and let the adults join in too.

The Ice Rink

Oxford's ice rink deliberately run their "Skate Basics Course"  over the summer so you can start from scratch and be more than competent after a few sessions. Particular good if the weather heats up again. Suitable for ages 5 to 16. The fees include skate hire.

Read more here      

Youth Zone

This is Oxford City Council's website timetable listing of sports activities in Oxford. Including information on the Bungee app which gices up to date information right to your phone. The site covers all our leisure centres, swimming pools including the free swimming lessons.

Read more here

Lasergaming & High Ropes

Based in Culham Adventure park you can get 2 adventures in one with Summer Adventure Days. The full day combines the Lasergaming Battlefield Live experience with the Tree Top, High Ropes Tarzan Assault course. Suitable for 10 years old and up with a height requirement.

Read more here

Build a bikeTrax

Trax is a charity that helps young people develop skills and improve education where the youngsters have struggled in the standard school environment. As a result they run a great range of practical and adventure activities that are also suitable for younger children. We think the bike maintenance and restoration is particularly useful!

Read more here

 

Exploring Oxford

Oxford is a great city to walk around but the younger audience may need something more than the nice buildings to keep them engaged so here goes.

Oxford Castle Unlocked

Kids go free until September 2nd so this summer is the perfect time to discover more about what used to be a prison and somewhat less recently was at the heart of England's medieval civil war. Let the actors in historical dress enchant the younger ones and inform everyone.

Read more here

The Oxford Visitor Information Centre

Not just for tourists! This is where many of the various walking tours in the city start & end as well as a great way to get up to date information on attactions in one place. The family walking tour which includes a free activity sheet can be booked here.

Read more here

Treasure Trails logoTreasure Trails

If you'd prefer a walk around Oxford without the guide then the Treasure trails company provides trails of various lengths & themed on Spies, Murder Mystery & Treasure Hunt. The trails are charged for but once you have them can be used multiple times and double as a map.

Read more here

Science Bubble Set

 

Not Going Out

Whether it's a rainy day and you can't face it or everyone is tired from having such a good time it can be great to have time at home. We have plenty of great gizmo's, puzzles, art and experiments that you can do indoors. 

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3rd July 2015

Our visit to Headway Oxfordshire

Our visit to Headway Oxfordshire

In June myself and a colleague had a morning out to visit our 2015 charity Headway Oxfordshire. Although we had a lovely time the main reason was to find out for ourselves what Headway Oxfordshire do and meeet some of the staff and most importantly the users of their services. As a reminder Headway Oxfordshire specialises in providing support and rehabilitation services for those recovering from brain injury and to their helpers. You can read more about this previous blog.

Outside Headway officeWhen we arrived at Headway Oxfordshire's office we were slightly surprised because it is actually a Church part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Turns out that they are in the process of buying the building from the Diocese with church services to continue as before. This initiative is just part of Headway Oxfordshire's expansion plans, more of which later. So after Victoria on the left of the picture greeted us we went straight into the building for a tour.

"My Favourite Day"

There were already service users inside havng a chat and a catch up in preparation for the first of the day's activities, a chair yoga session with a cooking session in the afternoon. Yesterday there had been a picnic at the Botanical Gardens and quizzes, games and trips to the cinema are also favourites. As we discovered when speaking to Sheila and her husband Harry who had a stroke 3 years ago, the interaction with other carers and those in recovery is absolutely vital to them. Harry said it was "my favourite day" and said that it until starting at Headway Oxfordshire 18 months ago he had "felt very isolated". He went on to say that "seeing the improvement of others was vital to me to understand was was possble and inspire me to continue my own hard work". Sheila who is caring for Harry spoke of the ability to have a little time off during the activities in a "perfectly safe" environment and how much that break is needed. Having been married for 31 years the devotion to each other was very clear, but they acknowledged the challenge of dealing with Harry's changed circumstances. His impressive wheelchair had to be privately bought and Headway Oxfordshire was their ONLY opportunity for support after leaving hospital.

Activity BoardLeaving the users to their yoga we chatted to some of the volunteers. Jill has been an unpaid volunteer from its beginnings in 1982. At the time her own son had suffered a traumatic brain injury falling down stairs at home when he was 16 and has needed 24 hours a day supervision ever since. That is a huge adjustment and although her son now lives in a community in Cornwall where he is looked after Jill spent the first 10 years completely on her own looking after her son without a break. So it's not a surprising that she is a warm and passionate advocate of the charity.

 "Can Never Go Back To What They Were Before"

We were particularly taken by Jill's points that the impact of brain injury can be hidden by a superficial glance. Her own son being " a fine figure of a man in his forties and you don't know until you start speaking to him that this is someone who needs special help". Also that Jill has seen "more lives being saved by advances in surgery, resulting in people living for normal lifespans but no plan to help them do so". Which is of course where Headway Oxfordshire and their fund-raisers come in!

Patrick is a long term staff member who apart from arranging the extremely popular quizzes (Harry is a fan) visits a specific person twice a week. He noted that both volunteers and carers have to handle the frustration and even anger of people affected by brain injury who "can never go back to what they were before". There are sometimes actual changes of personality or missing memory as well as the understandable emotional rollercoaster of surviving, but being changed. Naturally this is nearly as traumatic for the carer often a partner or child who knew the person before. As a professional visitor this isn't an issue, but handling emotional outbursts is still very much part of the job. In the case of his client he can work with them on building skills that they just can't do unsupervised, but did every day for 40 years before their injury, helping their self-worth and confidence in the process.  

Headway Oxfordshire are careful to involve carers as much in activities as they want to be involved. The carers weekends away are a blessing for many but a complicated arrangement for the charity as some wouldn't enjoy it without those they care for, whilst others really need a complete break. So the staff are always "trying to find a balance" and "get feedback each time and act on it". They've just had their annual weekend break away, this time in Winchester.

"Headway Oxfordshire Is A Small Charity That Always Needs More Funding"

Physio areaWe moved on to see some of the permanent facilities available to users including some quite sophisticated physiotherapy equipment in a divided area from the main room. This area is naturally always supervised, but is used particularly intensively on Wednesdays when the high dependancy users visit.  Whilst we were there some users were making use of the co-ordination therapy items and having a chat at the same time.

The facility also has a quiet room for private conversations and some offices. In the first office we met Charlotte, Claire and Jamie the CEO of Headway Oxfordshire. So we were able to get a real look at the challenges facing them as well as the opportunities. Jamie noted that "Headway Oxfordshire is a small charity that always needs more funding" and also that "the longer term funding streams tend to come with very specific rules on how they can be spent. This makes the funding raised by companies like Boswells and individual contributions hughly valuable as the money can go as and where needed at that time. Which is why every donation is particularly appreciated."

outreach works in cabinA dependency on grants means that plans can only be made for the length of a grant and often there is a tendering process which can be time consuming. Jamie says "The increased tendering and subsequent monitoring processes have changed charities a lot in recent years. Now charities are more professional, with increased plan quality, but you have to ensure that you stick to the original ethos and provide the needed services rather than be all about meeting funding rules". That rang a bell with us as at Boswells we try to keep close to our customers and keep our identity whilst keeping pace with the modern world.

Part of the challenge to the original Headway Oxfordshire ethos is that although they provide their services for free the number of people who have a brain injury receiving funding has decreased a lot. This is because only those who undergo an assessment and are classified as having a critical or substantial need will now get funding. Many people don't even know about the assessment.

"More Lives Being Saved By Advances In Surgery, Resulting In People Living For Normal Lifespans But No Plan To Help Them Do So". 

Jamie and ambulenceAnother challenge is transport. Most users can't drive and require transport to Headway Oxfordshire. Thus their own ambulance, but this will soon need replacing. However the biggest need is drivers and co-ordinating the journeys across the whole of Oxfordshire to get to Kennington. If you are interested in helping, volunteering as a driver is definitely a good solution. They can even pay your transport costs if you are using your own car.

Another way they have reacted is to open satellite groups around Oxfordhire where users, volunteers and outreach workers can meet. Although the physiotherapy kit is missing at least that vital social interaction, confidence building and peer support can continue.

Even with the funding challenges this is an exciting time for Headway Oxfordshire. The aim of buying the building is the first stage to expand the building and its facilities, including a fully functioning kitchen. At the moment only cold preparation can be done and this isn't just about feeding users, but kitchen re-training for users to look after themselves. The outreach workers who currently share a portakabin may even get room to swing their arms when they walk around the office! The planning permission is already done.

My colleague and I were very moved by our visit and we are delighted that Boswells and its customers can help improve people's lives in this way. It is a sobering thought that accidents that result in brain injury as well as illness can strike anyone at any time. Although Headway Oxfordshire currently supports around 400 people there are actually over 3000 registered people suffering from traumatic brain injury in Oxfordshire. That is a lot of people potentially isolated and with overworked carers who more money can help reach.

If you are interested in helping Headway Oxfordshire then you can donate via Boswells in store or at http://www.headwayoxford.org.uk/ or by text HWOX01 plus your amount to 70070. Or contact Headway Oxfordshire to become a driver, volunteer for the centre, be a handyman or help with the admin. See what a difference you can make and you won't regret it.



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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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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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2nd March 2015

Everyday Essentials for the Commuter

Everyday Essentials for the Commuter

Most of us have some sort of commute to work by bus, train, car or bicycle and there are a number of everyday essentials that make our lives easier and able to handle problems that arise. So here's our suggesions for a comfortable life in todays hustle & bustle.

A Good Office Bag

Office BagMale or female we need to carry a number of electronic gadgets these days as well as those handy essentials below. We have often taken a great deal of care in our appearance to look neat & professional so don't let your office bag let you down. A carrier bag or party girl/boy bag is probably not the look you are going for.

An efficient bag that can contain your work & personal essentials shouldn't be too cumbersome to carry every day. There are many smart shoulder bags & backpacks. It needs to provide security, particularly if you use crowded public transport, but still allow you to access key compartments without fuss. A comfortable handle or shoulder strap is also important. Always try a bag out by walking around & adding a weight to simulate weight. Don't be afraid to adjust the straps!

Tablet CaseA Tablet Case

For business or pleasure many of us carry a tablet around and even though a good office bag will have a compartment for a laptop or tablet protecting the tablet as we carry it around (which is the point of them after all) is essential. Anyone who has cracked a screen will recommend one.

notebookPen and Paper

pen and pencilYes we are all gadgeted up but having good old pen & paper to hand can be a lifesaver when you can't make a note and be on the phone at the same time or the charge has run out on those marvellous pieces of kit. It's also easy to pass on a note or scribble a thought. A smart looking notebook and pen will still look professional and rather classic. If you prefer pencil then an automatic pencil will protect the lead whilst being carried around better than a manual & look smart too.

 An Umbrella

umbrellaWhether using public transport or a car you are likely to be exposed to the elements at some point or just want to pop out at lunchtime. Having a bag sized umbrella for emergencies that can withstand the more extreme winds etc that we encounter these days will keep you dry and presentable. You can even be the saviour of a less prepared colleague... 

A Multi-Tool

multi-toolOnly recommended to contain blades for those who can control access to their bag (we don't want any little hands getting hold of even a small blade), but very useful to have for clothing, biking or other mechnical emergencies or even a lunch time picnic. As well as the famous Victorinox brand with all the handy variations of the tools you might want to consider a small torch multi-tool.  

Earphones

If you travel by some form of public transport or you walk you may enjoy listening to music or an audiobook as you go. If you are a sensory mult-tasker you may even be a reader & listener at the same time. So a pair of earphones are essential for your listening pleasure and to keep your fellow commuters happy.

bicycle repair kitFor bicycle commuters

You will have a whole other set of essentials including waterproofs that you like to carry but if we can recommend; 

If you travel in your business clothes then a smart set of bicycle clips are a must and be ready for mechanical emergencies with a bicycle repair kit and if we can suggest a Travel First Aid kit for bumps and scrapes.

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21st January 2015

How a Haberdashery Window Comes to Life

How a Haberdashery Window Comes to Life

To celebrate our rather wonderful Haberdashery section we've created a magical window, but how to create a window out of the rather small buttons, ribbons, scissors, wool, needles and zips etc that make up every good sewers or knitters kit bag? Chrissie our visual merchandiser has the answer. Make rather bigger and even more fun examples!

Cotton reel So we started off with same rather outsize cotton reels bought from an helpful Christmas elf, well not really but one does seem to have helped drop it off - see picture.



Haberdashery Preparation

Then Chrissie got busy with polystyrene and printed designs to create some fabulous buttons and used bottles to create the impressions of thousands of buttons. Then combine with some balls of wool...




What's any good dress maker without their trusty mannequin and scissors?

Don't go looking for any giant scissors in store though, as these are a flimsy plastic, useless to cut with but good for health and safety purposes. We have some rather more helpful real scissors.


Then to put them all together in our window, which is where the designer's eye comes in. Add a "dash" of hearts on the window, and there you go. We hope you love, sewing, knitting and habby as much as we do and don't forget we have new fabric ranges and a cutting table too.

Completed Haberdashery windowClose up Haberdashery window

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