The Knowledge: Turn back the clock

It's Friday – and our experts are here to tell you how to get the most out of your weekend. Jayne Dawson talks to them

Visit it

IT is often said that the Victorians invented Christmas. They certainly gave us some of our most cherished traditians, like the dressing of a Christmas tree. And author Charles Dickens described what we still see as a perfect Christmas in his book A Christmas Carol.

You can experience a Victorian Christmas this weekend at Temple Newsam House and Park in Leeds on Saturday. Visitors can experience the living nativity and Santa's grotto in Home Farm, take part in the audience participation story telling and enjoy Victorian dancing in the house.

There will be warming mulled wine on offer and all the glitter and sparkle of festive decorations.

From 5.30pm – 8pm. Adults 5.75, child (ages 1 to 16) 3.50, family (2 adults and up to 3 children) 14.50.


Read it


Nora Roberts

(Piatkus Books, 12.99)

With more than 190 novels to her name, best-selling American author Nora Roberts is a firm favourite with lovers of the romantic story.

And they certainly won't be disappointed with her latest offering.

Happy Ever After is part four of Roberts's Bride Quartet, but newcomers to the series need not fear – this book easily holds its own as a stand-alone novel.

It features Parker, Mackensie, Emmaline and Laurel, four childhood friends who run a successful wedding planner business together.

Love is in the air as three of the girls prepare for their own wedding days, but is Parker destined to ever find the man of her dreams?

In true Nora Roberts style the answer is 'yes'. So get those tissues ready, because you'll be laughing and crying in equal measure before the final page is turned.

Listen to it

OCS 21

Ocean Colour Scene


It was, recalls guitarist Steve Cradock in the sleeve notes to this box set, the Stone Roses who were pivotal in the formation of Ocean Colour Scene. "We all went to see them at the Irish Centre and everything changed overnight. The next day I was wearing flares and had a guitar-playing role model in John Squire."

By the time the Brummie band finally got round to releasing their debut album in 1992, however, 'baggy' was out and grunge was in – and Yesterday Today duly tanked.

But Messrs Fowler, Cradock, Harrison and Minchella persevered and, under the patronage of Paul Weller, developed a rawer and far more commercial guitar sound that owed more to 60s blues, psychedelia and Mod pop than indie-dance. By 1997's Marchin' Already they were knocking Oasis off the top of the UK album charts.

Their fortunes have fluctuated in the last decade but singer Simon Fowler's increasing interest in folk has actually made them artistically stronger. In 2010 they celebrated their 21st anniversary.

This, then, is their history, compiled over four CDs and expanded with a raft of previously unreleased material. For OCS devotees, it's a real festive treasure-trove.

Get fit

Each week, trainer Richard Hill, of Iveridge Health Club in Rothwell, Leeds, is recommending one lifestyle change to help you become healthier without much effort. Your aim is to adopt the changes week on week until Christmas.

Here is the final tip of this 12-week programme: Enjoy your Christmas. Hopefully, you have implemented a few healthy tips on the run up to Christmas so now enjoy your festive treats and be merry. If you can't let your hair down at Christmas, then when can you? Don't overdo the alcohol though – and remember to get back on track in the New Year.

See you in January. Have a healthy one!

Recommended by Richard Hill of For details, call 01132 887 666 or visit the website for guaranteed results!

Nest building

If you are expecting a house full of guests this Christmas and could do with some extra seating, why not go for a bench?

They offer a less formal seating option, perfect for get togethers and parties – at any time of the year.

The Zeno range from Barker and Stonehouse includes some fun, rustic designs in 250-year-old solid oak –these will last you a lifetime.

If that's a bit too casual for your taste, try the Galicia bench, which is part of a Walnut marble dining range. Its sleek design in leather offers a more laid-back approach to a glamorous style.

Eat it

Duck Breast with Candied Clementine and Elderflower sauce

Serves 4

Ready in 40 minutes


4 duck breasts

3 clementines

6tbsps Bottlegreen elderflower cordial

1 tbsp cornflour

50ml chicken stock or water


Pre-heat oven to 200c, gas mark 6. Heat a dry frying pan, cook the duck breasts skin side down for 5-6 minutes until the skin is golden, turn them over and cook for a few more minutes until sealed. Place on a baking tray and continue to cook in the oven for 10 minutes, a little longer if you want them well done. Leave to rest.

Drain off all but 2tbsps of the meat juices, place in a saucepan, mix in the cornflour to a smooth paste, gradually add the chicken stock or water and the rind and juice of 1 clementine.

Gently heat, stirring until smooth and thickened, season to taste.

Thinly slice the remaining clementines, place in a shallow pan with the cordial. Bring to a simmer, cook gently until the cordial is syrupy and the clementine slices softened and candied.

Slice the duck, serve with the orange sauce and candied oranges, accompanied by new potatoes and a watercress salad or green vegetable.

Tip: Make the candied oranges ahead of time, keep chilled and simply warm through.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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