Cocktail of the Month – Firecracker

This month, we bring you a fiery, lively cocktail that will brighten up any grey autumn day!

This particular cocktail is made using Wild Turkey Whisky, Midori and peach purée shaken and poured over ice, topped up with lemonade and a hint of grenadine, giving it that red fiery colour.

Why not come and enjoy this cocktail at Donnington Valley Hotel’s Bacchus Bar this weekend?


Up and Coming Events October

Beerfest at Bucklebury – 6th October
The fourth annual Bucklebury Beerfest is a fun event for the whole family – with great live music, a combination of games and activities for children, and numerous stands (including a local farmer’s market). And of course not to forget: some great food to accompany the large variety of beer and cider available throughout the day! Starting around 1pm on the Recreation Ground in the Bucklebury Village, there is parking available around the area. Come and enjoy a great day out in the autumn sunshine! Call 01635 867186 for any enquiries or visit the website for more details.

Thatcham Festival of Arts & Leisure – 13th– 21st October
The 12th annual festival has over 60 events in store again this year – and looks to turn out a success! In the new town centre venue, The Hub, this will be the home to various workshops leading up to the final Sunday on the grounds that will host Thatcham’s first Apple Day. The majority of events continue to be free, while a few will charge a small entry fee. For the list of events on each day, visit their page.

The Vineyard Wine Festival
If wine’s your thing, you’ll love The Vineyard Wine Festival. We kick off with a fantastic wine dinner on Friday 26th where we’ve invited well known suppliers to each match one of their great wines to one of the delicious four courses. Get ready for a wine tasting extravaganza on Saturday 27th with 10 suppliers including the Peter Michael Winery, Moreson Estate, and Danebury Vineyards. What’s more, there’ll be over 100 different wines and seven wine masterclasses to enjoy! Call 01635 528770 to book your ticket or visit the site.

Newbury Racecourse: Worthington’s Armed Forces Day – 27th October
The famous annual Armed Forces Day is a Flat Season climax and promises to be a great success again this year – providing free entry for Armed Forces & RBL members. Free entry is also provided for all under 18s, and this year the aviation theme with a flypast by the Army Air Corps, flight simulators, helicopter displays promises many highlights throughout. To book tickets or other enquiries, call 01635 40015 or click here.

Halloween Hullabaloo at Newbury – 28th October
This 4th annual free event is for all those little monsters out there who love to get dressed up for the spooky night. Get your costumes ready and head for the Newbury Market Place for a terrific time complete with a Halloween extravaganza for the whole family! With last year’s attendees adding up to over 5,000 people, the
programme is expanding every year! Visit the website for more information.

Circuits classes at the Donnington Valley Health Club & Spa


What’s involved in a circuits class?

Each circuits class is an hour long and starts with a spinning warm-up . Then, each person picks their first station performing the exercise for 30-45 seconds. There’s just enough time to have a breather (15 seconds) before moving to the next station. Once you’ve completed a whole round, it’s time for another 5 minutes of spinning before the second round of the circuit begins. The class ends with a short abdominal workout and some stretching.

Benefits of circuits classes

  • Works all parts of the body
  • Exercising as a group – increasing motivation and team spirit
  • Personalised advice from an instructor on how to avoid past bad habits
  • High intensity interval training makes you burn calories up to 48 hours after the workout

Why not join us for one of our circuits classes are currently taking place from 6 -7pm on Mondays and from 10 -11am on Sundays?

To enquire about Health Club memberships at the Donnington Valley Health Club & Spa, call 01635 551188 or send an email to

Beauty Tips for the End of Summer

This year, we have been graced with another one of those summers, where if you blinked, you may have missed it. Hopefully some of you are looking for those post-summer holiday tips, so here are a few that will certainly help.

Painted Nails – One of our Favorite Accessories
Witchy Wisteria, Dased Dahlia and Hotter than Hibiscus by Jessica Cosmetics are fantastic nail colours from this season to help you to keep the feeling of summer going for a little longer.

If you struggle to keep your nail varnish in one piece, geleration is a fantastic option. GELeration from Jessica is the next generation of soak-off gel nail systems. Created with the health of natural nails in mind, this evolution in technology protects nails, offering weak, bitten or problem nails the opportunity to grow. They make for perfect nails for 2-3 weeks with long-lasting high gloss shine, giving a durable yet flexible non-chip finish which is instantly dry. For more information, visit

Relieving Your Muscles – the Right Way
Most of us got into the Olympic spirit in some way or another – some have tried a new sport, some have set new fitness goals and others have found that watching sport on TV is just as addictive and enjoyable. Therefore, take some time out and give your body some me time and pamper yourself with the Espa Fitness Bath Oil, a warming sore muscle bath oil to ease aches and pains. A powerfully soothing essential oil bath blend to ease tired muscles and aching joints before and after exercise. Restorative Indian Bay and clove bud oils deeply warm and relax the body to relieve muscles, aches and pains. Lavender helps ease the mind, while sweet almond oil deeply nourishes for softer, supple skin.

ESPA is a line of products ranging from mud therapy to skin moisturisers both available to purchase or in form of treatments at the spa. An unusual combination of aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy and phytotherapy create a philosophy focused on enhancing an individual’s lifestyle in a way that is both holistic and versatile. Visit for the full list of treatments and products offered.

Keeping Some Sun All Year Round
If you are feeling like the summer sun has not given you that glow you need, try topping up your tan with a self tan. If you are a confident home tanner, then a self tan milk or cream is perfect. Alternatively there are tanning sprays on the market which make the application a lot quicker and easier, if the colour is the concern and you do not want to go too dark, try a gradual tanning product. It allows you to top it up when you want. If attempting to tan yourself is still giving you doubt, then book a Spray Tan at our spa:

How to Prepare Duck Breast Fillet

This week, our Sous-Chef Mesut Sen from the Donnington Valley Hotel is going to show you how to perfectly prepare a duck breast to cook in the frying pan.

The main tips given are:

  • Cut excess skin slighty off the sides so the fat does not overlap the flesh
  • Cut squares into duck skin in a diagonal manner from both sides to create a crispy surface
  • Cuts into skin can be made in several directions and forms, as they are also done in order to create an aesthetically pleasing piece of art on the place

Up and Coming Events in September

Saturday 8th September – Ascot Food and Wine Festival
If you’re planning a visit to the Ascot races, this weekend is the ideal one to go. The Ascot Food and Wine Festival offers visitors a day filled with races, food demonstrations, numerous stalls with local products, and of course, wine tastings. Renowned Chef Valentine Warner as seen on BBC2 and ITV, will be at the racecourse throughout the day, doing demonstrations such as ‘Trout with Chanterelles and Artichokes’. Moreover, the Shop ‘n Drop service allows you to buy products at the stands throughout the day, and pick them up at the end of the event so as to avoid carrying around your wares all day. For more information, click here.

Monday 10th September – Ladies Lunch – Life as a Race Horse Trainer
Richard Philips, who was an assistant trainer to Henry Candy, set up in his own right almost twenty years ago and has been extremely successful on the flat and over jumps during this time. He is acquainted with a great many influential characters in the racing world, and will be speaking about the life, encounters and experiences of a trainer. The lunch is £60 per person, and can be booked by calling 01635 528770.


Monday 10th September – Ladies Wine Club: Wine and Fashion, How Does it Work?
Wine, women and Yohann. If that sounds like a good time, then we’d strongly recommend you join our Ladies Wine Club. Ideal for those who enjoy wine and would like to learn more about it in a friendly and informal atmosphere, this is also a great way to meet other like-minded ladies.
3pm-5pm. £30 per person. Please call 01635 528770 to reserve your place.

15th & 16th September – Royal County of Berkshire Show 2012
Undoubtedly one of the largest events in the County of Berkshire, one can see everything from chickens to llamas, horse driving to pig-showings. Some of Britain’s best foods will be available at numerous stands, complete with cookery demonstrations and tastings. Impressive performances in show jumping and the great spectacle of Livestock Grand Parade finally round up the day. Celebrate some of the proudest agriculture the countryside has to offer! For more information or to purchase advance tickets, visit their website.

Saturday 22nd September – Dubai Duty Free International & Party in the Paddock with Lionel Richie
Global superstar Lionel Richie will bring the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend to a close with a live Party in the Paddock concert following the last race. With seven races including three group races this raceday promises to be a cracker! For tickets and more information, click here

Friday 28th September – Piedmont Wine Dinner at The Vineyard
This month at The Vineyard, we celebrate Piedmont, one of the most renowned wine regions of Italy where wine quality hits a unique high. Join us for a fabulous evening of food and wine pairing featuring two of the best local Piedmont winery estates: Poderi Colla with its famous Barolo ‘Dardi le Rose’ and Marchesi di Gresy will present its exquisite Barbaresco called ‘Martinenga’. We will be joined by Master Sommelier, Nigel Wilkinson, will guide us through the wines during this unforgettable evening.
Tickets are at £95 per person and can be booked by calling 01635 528770.
Please click here for a preview of the menu.

Interview with Abraham Padmanaban, Head Pastry Chef

The artist in his element

1. How would you describe your style of cooking?
I believe my style of cooking can be categorized as being modern as well as adopting an occasional take on French and British classic cuisine. But over the years it has evolved into an undefined area – I mix and combine what I feel complements the final result until I am proud of what I have created.

2. Did you always dream of becoming a pastry chef?
I did. When I first started as a chef in the main kitchen, I didn’t feel quite complete. When I moved to the pastry kitchen, I then felt that this was the job made for me. I felt 100% in my element and loved every minute of it. Even from a young age I was unstoppable in my creations – as a child I used to play with clay all the time. The best part of it is, now I get to do the same with chocolate!

3. What’s your signature dish?
My signature dish varies periodically, and I have a new one approximately every three months. I do however, have two dishes that stand out of my collection. The first one is called the Ice Cream Fiesta, which is composed of 5 timeless, traditional English desserts which I then transformed into ice cream. These desserts included apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding with brandy snaps and butternut sauce, as well as a lemon, basil and lemongrass crisp. Another few of the classics I mix up into the five different varieties are chocolate cheesecake, crispy base and banana, and Baileys crème brulee with caramelised banana.
The second one is a shocker – sausage and mash! I do realize that at first impression this sounds strange for a dessert but it’s been widely popular. I make the sausages out of chocolate sponge cake on a hazelnut base, top it with a chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of Frangelico. The mash is made up of condensed milk, and for the sauce I use regular beef jus with chocolate liquor and thinly sliced plums on top.

4. What do you enjoy cooking at home?
I absolutely love cooking at home, it’s my life. Cooking for family and friends is an inexplicable pleasure and remains a constant reminder why I love my profession so much. In terms of what I cook, I enjoy all types of cuisine depending on my mood and occasion, as well as how much time I can afford to invest in the cook-out. I have an especially weak spot for Italian and French cuisine, but I also love to branch out into all types of international specialty dishes.

5. What’s the best piece of cooking advice you could give our readers?
I always tell people to cook only if they love it. When it is someone’s passion to cook, it is always important to cook straight from the heart, and follow your own creative path. At all times, you should be cooking for yourself with a vision to cook for an audience that shares the same passion for fine cuisine as you. This makes the experience infinitely more rewarding.

Why join Donnington Valley Golf Club as a junior member?

We’re really keen to get more junior golf members to join Donnington Valley Golf Club to help strengthen our team here. Donnington Valley Golf Club is an excellent club for juniors with great facilities, and known by many as the friendliest club in the area.

The short game practice area is ideal for golfers of all abilities to perfect their short game skills. We also have a 150 yard range, which is great for lessons and for all abilities to come and practice.

The golf professionals here are also really friendly and will willingly hand out advice and ideas to try and improve your game. If you are interested in a lesson either on the practice areas or on the course itself, give the Pro shop a call on 01635 568 142.

Weekly medal competitions take place every week (on weekdays), and a larger monthly medal competition happens each month. If you know of any juniors that would be interested in coming along for a practice, to see the facilities and meet fellow junior members, we’d love to hear from them, please just ask them to get in touch – a full junior 7 day annual membership is £225.

As a junior member, I have first hand experience of how brilliant it is to be a junior member here at ‘valley’, as we call it, and I would recommend it to any young golfer in the area.

Follow the golf club on twitter @DVGOLF and also follow the Pro Shop @mbgolfshop to keep up to date with any updates and deals the club has to offer.

Will Wright
Junior Captain 2010 – 2012

Up and Coming Events in August

Saturday 11th August – Burgundy Wine Dinner at The Vineyard

Join Yohann Jousselin MS, Head Sommelier at The Vineyard and UK Sommelier of the Year 2011 and Gearoid Devaney MS and UK Sommelier of the Year 2008, who will guide you through Burgundy from North to South with wines from prestigious areas including Meursault and Nuits St Georges.

Gearoid Devaney currently works for Flint Wines, a London based wine company who specialises in fine wines from Burgundy. Please click here to view the menu.
£95 per person. Reserve your place online or call us on 01635 528770 to book.

Sunday 12th August – Classic Vehicle Show at Newbury Racecourse

This is the 20th Annual Classic Vehicle Show in support of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. The show attracts a variety of classic cars, commercial vehicles, motorbikes and other unusual classic vehicles. Refreshments are also available.
Entry forms can be downloaded from

2nd Aug-22nd Sept – Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Watermill Theatre

From Thursday the 2nd of August running through until Saturday the 22nd of September, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ will be playing at the Watermill Theatre. With high-energy, great music numbers throughout, this romantic comedy took Broadway by storm, winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Performances start at 7:30pm. Please click here for further information.

Friday 24th August – The Rainforest show with Martin Rapley at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre
Get close up and hands on with the creatures of the rainforest. Martin Rapley returns with a fantastic selection of creatures from the rainforest. A great opportunity to meet his animals up close. Usually including a rainbow boa, green iguana, chameleon, tree frog, leaf insect, stick insect, praying mantis, tarantula, forest scorpion and cockroaches.

Sessions throughout the day at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Please click here for further information.