The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Berkshire Edition

Chop! Chop! Muddy tries a fab salon – Indigo Rye, Caversham

15 Aug 2016

I’ve spent a bit of time behind the scenes on Muddy recently checking out local salons, as I figured like me, you might be coming to the end of a frazzled summer with equally frazzled hair and looking for a chop and a change before school starts so you can swing up at the school gates in September looking fab-u-LOUS!

Obviously, I’ll only feature the ones I really think are of interest or value to readers, and given that I find a visit to the hair salon about as stressful as a root canal, I am very very choosy. 

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Are they off to university? 5 student survival cookery courses

10 Aug 2016
Stressed cook

My nephew’s been staying with us for a few days, and as he’s off to university in September we were chatting about how he’s going to survive on the cooking front. It occurred to me that it’s probably a subject cropping up in households across the county as young adults fly the nest *sob*. What will you do when they leave, taking their big clompy feet and wet towels with them? Uhh, turn their bedroom into a gym, reclaim my laptop charger and rejoice in not being Mum-Le-Taxi for a change? 

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Stay here: The Castle Hotel, Windsor

7 Aug 2016

And so it came to pass that the mudlets were gently but firmly pushed into the loving arms of their doting Auntie while Mr Muddy B and I hopped into the car and floored it. Yes, we had escaped to Windsor for 24 hours… no kids to harrass us, nothing to do but browse in shops (yes, browse!! Remember that?), knock back a few drinky-poos at 4pm just because we could, and read the papers – all of them, at leisure – in bed at The Castle Hotel where we stayed.

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What’s On: Thurs 28 July – Weds 3 August

28 Jul 2016
The Shires by Pip for Decca Records

Throughout the Summer don’t forget to check back into Muddy as I’ll regularly be updating and adding to the weekly Muddy Guides, and if you know of anything utterly amazing that you think I’ve omitted, feel free to let me know: or just leave a comment below.

Right, shall we do this people? Let this week’s Muddy Guide begin!

Bracknell Festival 2016, South Hill Park, Sat 30 July, 12pm to 9pm

Who needs Nashville when you’ve got South Hill Park and an absolutely cracking line up for this year’s Bracknell Festival with awesome country duo The Shires headlining!

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The Muddy must-have summer festival buys

25 Jul 2016
Ali's Festival Guide Image

Ok, so everybody needs things like water, money for the bar and your ticket, obvs. Oh, and maybe wet wipes. But here are the other 15 things that should be on ever festival goer’s packing list.

1. Coastal Wool Picnic Rug, John Lewis, £55

2. Aviators, Ray-Bans, Sunglasses Hut, £143

3. The Paradiso Beach Towel, You Me and the Dream, £75

4. SPF 30 Face Moisturizer, Malin + Goetz, Space NK, £28


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Kelly O’Brien: My favourite places

25 Jul 2016

Ok, so maybe the picturesque village of Aldbury, with its duck pond and its stocks, doesn’t immediately seem to have much in common with Nashville, Tennessee.  But I bet you didn’t know that as well as the ducks it’s also home to the national winner of this year’s Best Dolly Parton Tribute Act?  Kelly O’Brien — singer, dancer, actress, Scout leader (I know, right?) and yes, part-time Parton — is still smiling, country-style, after her recent win.

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Watch this: The best Olympics ad *EVER*

19 Jul 2016

She’s on fire this morning! Thanks Muddy Bucks & Oxon for sharing this little gem of a promo… With Wimbledon and Euros out the way and bad news all the way on TV at the mo, I’m starting to itch for the feelgood of the Olympics, all those tales of sacrifice, the sobs on the podium, that wonderful feeling of being British and proud of it, that feeling from London if we can replicate it  of ‘oh-my-god-we’re-actually-winning!’

There will no doubt be gazillions of Olympics ads coming through in the next few weeks but you will absolutely, definitely, categorically want to see this one, made to advertise the UK Paralympians but massively uplifting and challenging to anyone whose perceptions of disabled people in general are stuck in the Seventies.

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Make this: Peach & lentil salad with warm pork tenderloin

19 Jul 2016

I saw this recipe over on Hero’s site this morning and totally pinched it because it looks so summery and delicious, and dead easy to make. Plus, tinned lentils means super quick and super healthy. That’s supper sorted for tonight. Tuck in Mudsters!

You are going to love this cook book. I can say that with confidence as usually every time I buy one I look at the pictures, try one or two recipes, give up and default to Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Berkshire Edition