The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Berkshire Edition

Wouldn't you though?

This little beauty, Vanderohe No. 1 Nourishing Face Serum (£88), is absolutely brand spanking new - you're literally the first to know about this indie beauty brand that launches on 1 Feb...

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New films you need to see with your gals pals

20 Jan 2017

A trip to the flicks with girlfriends is one of life’s little pleasures: gossip, popcorn, a soupçon of culture, and a night out that doesn’t involve a hangover. What’s not to like? And right now is an excellent time to get a big screen jaunt booked in, given the slew of female-friendly movies coming up. So bench the man in your life, grab a girlfriend and go.

 

Jackie (out 20 Jan)

A hotly tipped Oscar contender, this biopic stars Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy and homes in on the bleak days following JFK’s assassination.

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Fancy escaping to the coast?

17 Jan 2017

Dreary, freezing January evenings are made for summer holiday planning – I can’t be the only one already dreaming of cocktails al fresco, snoozing on sun-loungers and those days when the sun soars up beyond eye level, can I?

This year I’m planning to take the Muddy tribe to Devon or Cornwall (to avoid airport-based faffing) so have been browsing luxury self-catering letting agency Perfect Stay‘s gorgeous website, perving over their super-stylish collection of properties.

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Downton the movie is on! But when?

16 Jan 2017

I say it loud, I say it proud. I LOVE costume dramas! Pass me my knitting and slippers, it’s my not-so guilty pleasure. A void was left when the final credits rolled on 25 Dec 2015, and Carson turned out the lights for the last time at Downton. Mr Selfridge briefly filed the void, War & Peace and Victoria certainly hit the spot and The Crown (OK not a bodice ripper, but retro) is so good I watched it twice.

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Eat here: Alpine apres ski in Bray

16 Jan 2017

Whoopee! It’s ski season. Like the Bisto kids I’m a sucker for hot wine and melted cheese. But forget the alps (well for now at least) head to the snow covered slopes of *ahem* Bray. Ok, you may need to use your imagination on the scenery, but you definitely won’t on the food.

Spend an evening of Alpine aprés ski dining at Caldesi in Campagna’s pop-up event on Thurs 19 Jan.

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Glazebrook House: A West Country Wonderland

16 Jan 2017

Beat the January blues and head west to stay at one the UK’s hottest hotels. Our brand spanking new Muddy Devon editor, Sharon, managed to have her arm twisted (just this once) to spend the night at Glazebrook House – with a bags of curio cool. Perfect for a romantic break, here is Sharon’s review…   

I’m going to have to learn to get a grip when I blog about hotels.  

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See this: A Judgement in Stone, Theatre Royal Windsor

14 Jan 2017

For children of the 80s, the Ruth Rendell Mysteries were all over the telly box and Chief Inspector Wexford’s investigations were a must-watch in our household. So when I spotted the Theatre Royal Windsor was kicking off 2017 with the theatrical thriller A Judgement in Stone, I thought I’d head out to see a classic whodunit…

Bill Kenwright’s Classic Thriller Company production sees an experienced cast including: Corrie villain Andrew Lancet, Mark Wynter a pop star in a former life who gets to sing in this play, Bergerac’s Deborah Grant, old school Hollywood icon Shirley-Ann Field, film and TV star Sophie Ward… and Antony Costa from the boy band Bluec.

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Is this the new Girl On The Train?

14 Jan 2017

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life‘ so begins The Girl Before, a psychological thriller by J.P. Delaney, out this month and already destined for the silver screen in a film directed by Ron Howard

I was given an advance copy by Nash at the lovely Much Ado Books which has a shelf full of such things for members of its friends’ club. 

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Muddy Eats: Perfect pizzas at the Henry VI in Eton

13 Jan 2017

Sharing your name with England’s youngest ever king (who, by the way, also founded Eton College) puts a ton of royal expectation on a pub. One doesn’t want to let the side down – or ‘orf with their heads’.  The Henry VI is back after a full refurb, creating a warm, unpretentious, family-centric experience – and I have to say they’ve nailed it. He’s a stunner, right?

Situated on the High Street in the shadow of Windsor Castle and short walk away from Eton College, this handsome establishment really stands out – demanding an audience.

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13 things to do or book this weekend (12-18 Jan)

12 Jan 2017

Awards season has kicked off and like a spinning disco ball this week’s Muddy Guide has a liberal sprinkling of glitz and glamour. It’s a good time to get out of your PJs, the red carpet has been rolled out – a weekend of wonder (and a massive wine) awaits.

La La Land, general release in UK cinemas, Thurs 12 Jan

Yes, this is a gratuitous shot of Ryan Gosling.

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Is your child superhuman?

10 Jan 2017

Nicola Dick-Cleland (above), Head of The Junior School at the prestigious Abbey School in Reading is a trained psychotherapist, so who better to ask about the ever-increasing pressures on children and the gnarly subject of extra-curricular activities than her? Read her thoughts below and please feel free to comment underneath the feature – it’s a fascinating subject and I’d love to know what you think.

1. Extra curricular shouldn’t be extra

Adults tend to think about school life in two parts – academic and extra-curricular – but if you think about it in terms of developing a child’s breadth of character they’re not separate at all.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Berkshire Edition