The Urban Guide to the Countryside

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Muddy Reviews: Ghost – The Musical

14 Feb 2017

The musical version of Ghost – the classic story of love overcoming the ultimate barrier – is on at The Hawth in Crawley this Valentine’s week and my husband couldn’t wait to take me along. Yeah right. The first hint of an actor breaking into song and he’d be running for the fire exit so I went with my sister-in-law instead.

This is the touring stage version of the blockbuster 1990 film that starred Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg.

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Would you give away your wedding dress?

12 Feb 2017

Your wedding dress is the most important item of clothing you’ll wear. It’s probably the most expensive too, but it’ll fit like a glove, make you feel a million bucks. It’s the sort of feeling you want to bottle. So it’s a shame you only get to wear once (although I confess I occasionally pop on my veil for fun – come on, we all do it).

Choosing your gown is exhausting, but generally fuelled with giddy excitement and bubbles before midday. 

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Book this: Festival No6 at TATE

9 Feb 2017

Fancy zipping down to London for a little cultural soiree next month do we? If so, here’s an idea from Catherine, the immensely funky (*sniff)  and very switched on editor of the brand new Muddy Warwickshire. North Wales’ fab award-winning Festival No 6 at TATE is going south-side for an afterhours collaboration with TATE Britain at the David Hockney Retrospective (the gallery’s fastest selling exhibition ever fyi). Here’s what you need to know.

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How to do London Fashion Week (if you’re not Anna Wintour)

9 Feb 2017

London Fashion Week used to be a case of ‘if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in’ but these days the biannual round of fashion shows are a much more democratic affair. While you’re still unlikely to find yourself snuggled up front row next to the editor of French Vogue (wearing sunglasses indoors and a ‘whatever’ expression mandatory), there are plenty of other ways to get involved. With the AW17 collections being showcased in the capital from 17-21 February, Muddy’s Kerry Potter – a glossy mag journo escapee and veteran LFW attendee – has some ideas for soaking up the fashion vibes, even if your FROW ticket got (*cough*) lost in the post.

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Native Feasts new pop up – stampeeeeeede!

9 Feb 2017

I’m a massive fan of Native Feasts, the pop-up supper-club run by Chris Godfrey, the Michelin-starred chef previously of the Sir Charles Napier in Chinnor. I scoffed his incredible food at the Native Feasts event at LASSCO last year and loved it so much that I’ve already got my ticket booked for his next run. Which is – drum roll – March weekends at the riverside Coopers & Co restaurant, (formerly Riverlight) in Bourne End Marina.

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Muddy best schools guide: Elstree School

9 Feb 2017

ELSTREE SCHOOL, WOOLHAMPTON, NR NEWBURY

What? Where? Elstree’s location is a cracker, situated in the West Berkshire village of Woolhampton, it is close to Newbury and within easy reach of Reading (about 30mins). If you live in London, the school’s five minutes from Midgham station with a GWR route into London Paddington. The School’s focal point is a gorgeous Georgian mansion surrounded by 150 acres of parkland and playing fields.

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Running a half? Race day tips

8 Feb 2017

Buy me a drink some time and I’ll tell you my tales as a marathon veteran. The nights training in the snow with a head torch… the black toenails… the grim need for Canestan cream and Imodium… hitting the wall. Oh yes, I’ve been there.

It wasn’t actually me doing the running of course. Despite years living within walking distance of the start of the London Marathon and always hankering after soaking in that amazing atmosphere while running to glory, I never actually did.

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Muddy Best Schools Guide: Millfield Prep, Glastonbury

6 Feb 2017

‘There is no question there is magic here and all kinds of magic,’ wrote John Steinbeck about Glastonbury (he was obsessed by the place and even rented a house in nearby Bruton for while). I wondered whether any of that magic would be in the air at Millfield Prep School, the second school to go under the microscope in the Muddy Somerset Best Schools Guide…

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Things you never knew about… Midge Ure

3 Feb 2017

We love an ’80s rockstar here at Muddy. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they enjoy reminiscing about their worst ever haircuts (and neckerchiefs) and they always have great yarns about that time they got hammered back in 1984. Midge Ure,  Ultravox singer, Band Aid co-founder and genial Glaswegian, is no exception. He’s playing ace local festival Chilfest in Tring on 8 July so Muddy’s Kerry Potter gave him a buzz to talk music, mullets and more.

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California Dreaming

3 Feb 2017

If you’re anything like me you’ll have spent your twenties seeing yourself as a groovy, bohemian, independent traveller, floating around far-flung spots and believing that having an itinerary was ‘cheating’. Well, those carefree days are long gone, girlfriend. With three children to herd, a business to run, and barely enough time to indulge in an afternoon swing on the chandelier or – frankly – brush my hair, I actively welcome having someone else sort out my summer holiday.

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BLISSFUL SPA BREAK: St Moritz Hotel

2 Feb 2017

A properly stylish yet child-friendly hotel is like the holy grail of family holidays and the St Moritz on Cornwall’s north coast strikes the perfect balance. A hotel with a pedigree, it opened its doors in the 1940s and has offered a blissful bolthole to everyone from politicians to poets to er, Muddy Editors since – even The Queen has visited, so I’m in very good company.

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Where you going, Clover?

1 Feb 2017

When horse-mad Clover Stroud was just 16, her mother suffered a deadly riding accident, an event that detonated family life as Clover knew it. The Times and Telegraph journalist recounts her extraordinary story in The Wild Other, the most moving memoir you’ll read this year. (Warning: do not read it in public while wearing non-waterproof mascara – it’s a proper weepie). She’s lived all over the world, but is now firmly rooted back in her home county of Oxfordshire, in the tiny village of Baulking, near Uffington, so we’ve tapped her up for her excellent local recommendations.

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The Bull on Bell Street, Henley

31 Jan 2017

Is there anything more fun than an image overhaul? The Bull on Bell Street in Henley, above, has just had quite the facelift, and so who better than the wrinkle-free and fragrant Sarah Prior, ex Berkshire Muddy editor, Henley resident and all round oinking foodie to report on its shiny new look?

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12 cosy Northants Pubs

29 Jan 2017

I wrote this post just before Christmas 2016 but we have at least another month of freakin’ cold weather, so this is a reminder of some lovely welcoming pubs to try out.

We asked you for your recommendations for the finest pubs to snuggle up in and you didnt let us down. I’m more of a chestnuts roasting on an open fire kind a gal, rather than jack frost nipping at my toes.

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Need a laugh? Best comedy haunts in Sussex & beyond

26 Jan 2017

I see comedy in some form every few weeks, be that a big name, a mixed bill with some regulars on the circuit, or a one-off fringe show I just fancied the sound of. It’s not just about having a good laugh; I love the cleverness of the best acts, the way they can pull the humour out of an anecdote or observation and pace their material just right. You’ll recognise Sussex’s Romesh Ranganathan, Zoe Lyons and Simon Evans from TV and Radio but there are heaps of other acts on the circuit I really rate and I saw the likes of Bill Bailey and Man Down’s Greg Davies before they were famous.

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Midlife movie alert! ‘T2 Trainspotting’ arrives Friday

25 Jan 2017

Where were you in 1996? Bursting with enthusiasm for your nascent career? Thrilling at the bright lights of the big city? Tearing up any dancefloor, festival field and gig moshpit you stumbled across? Whatever you were doing, you can’t fail to have clocked the vast cultural impact of Trainspotting. Danny Boyle’s iconic Brit flick of that year introduced a motley Edinburgh crew of strangely lovable rogues, druggies and psychopaths, led by Ewan McGregor as skinny jean-ed heroin addict, Renton.

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Try one of 8 great Norfolk spas

17 Jan 2017

Spas… what’s not to love? Whether it’s an hour at a day spa or a week-long relaxing retreat, having your troubles massaged away before sitting in a bubbly bath is the stuff of nectar. Why, then, do so few women factor it into their lives like they do a trip to the hygienist or a spot of retail therapy? Research suggests that time constraints and feelings of guilt (“I don’t deserve to be pampered”) are two of the main reasons cited.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside