Well here we are at the end of the year – I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this one has passed by super-quickly.

This is the last issue for 2015 – in fact it takes you all the way to the end of January 2016 – with the next issue coming out at the beginning of February.

Back by popular request is our ‘Spot the Ads’ competition with a whopping £300 up for grabs. All you have to do is to look through this issue of TheBAY and identify the advert depicted in the relevant space. It might keep the children quiet for an hour in the school holiday and think of the special day out you could have with £300! You’ll find it at the very back of this magazine. It isn’t only about having a bit of fun – it’s about looking for the adverts – because without our advertisers, we wouldn’t be able to produce TheBAY. So if you have an opportunity to ‘shop local’ and use one of our advertised businesses, please do mention that you saw them in TheBAY.

In our Lifestyle & Leisure section I have some suggestions of where to go to find Christmas gifts for all the family. They are all small independent shops that have that little extra something to offer. Too often it seems easier to sit at your computer and buy at the click of a mouse, but of course if this continues we will lose those small businesses that offer a personal service. Once this happens the on-line retailers will have carte-blanche to increase their prices and we’ll be left with no choice but to use them. Besides, I think there is something rather exciting about personally selecting gifts and actually holding them in your hands before buying.

We have some new contributors this month as well as our regular ones. Sarla Langdon has some suggestions for those looking for Christmas gift ideas in the book department. Publishing genius Pushkin has some rather lovely books for children this year. I am rather taken with Meet at the Ark at Eight! by Ulrich Hub which is a rather sweet retelling of the story of Noah involving three penguins – yes that’s right – three. Christmas was also on Chantele Cross-Jones’ mind when she was compiling her fashion article for this month. If comedy jumpers are your thing, you should find something to suit.

Tatiana Bento might have you in tears this month if you follow her recipe for French onion soup. I have never found a solution to onion tears but have read that putting the onion in the freezer for 15 minutes before chopping may help. We welcome new contributor Chris Whelan to the kitchen this month. Chris runs a chalet company in France along with his Swansea born partner Bethan Holland. Chris has devised a three- course Christmas lunch which might push your culinary boundaries.

If you need some help in getting into the Christmas spirit I suggest going to the pantomime – this year it’s Jack and the Beanstalk starring actor and dancer Louie Spence. I met up with Louie and Swansea’s resident Dame, Kevin Johns last month. Pantomime has a great tradition in the Grand Theatre and this is the 103rd production – so they must be doing something right!

Caroline Thomas Melling’s article on garden design is all about making your garden an interesting outdoor space. My little postage stamp sized garden leaves little opportunity for any grand designs, but I do enjoy reading Caroline’s suggestions for planting and hard landscaping. Fulke Andel is reaping the fruits of his labours and has a seasonal recipe for that love it or hate it vegetable, the sprout.

Continuing the gardening theme Father Andrew Pearce continues his journey through the Holy Land and visits some of the most well-known gardens in the bible but questions if they really are the right location.

Swansea Cats Protection is always looking for new homes for their ever growing number of cats and kittens. If you have considered adopting a cat but have been concerned about the cost of keeping a kitty, you’ll find some hints on how to keep the cost down. Please remember that cats, like dogs aren’t just for Christmas – they are a full time commitment – but the love, companionship and enjoyment that they give more than makes up for that.

You’ll find details of how to buy our 2016 calendar featuring some of the best surfing shots from Chris Guts Griffiths. They will make a great Christmas gift and come complete with sturdy envelope for sending through the post. 

I apologise for the unwieldy size of the magazine this month and hope that no small dogs or cats were harmed during its delivery.

That’s it until next year. It just leaves me enough space to wish you a very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year.


     With very best wishes