The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Berkshire Edition


Wouldn't you though?

I know, I know, it’s waaaay to early to mention the C-word (or is it?!). But apparently these Diptique advent calendars are already selling out, and how could they not, at only *cough* £250?

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Eat here: The Milk Shed, nr Bicester Village

19 Oct 2016

You probably don’t need another excuse to break for the border and head to Bicester (Bicester Village for a bit of early Christmas present shopping anyone?!) but I’m feeling generous so I’ll give you one anyway.

I had a meeting at Bicester Village last week (by which I mean coffee with my friend Jude at Villandry) and we then zipped over to The Milk Shed at Weston-on-the-Green to meet another friend, Kirsty, for *cough* a meeting (ok, ok, lunch) as it’s only 10 mins from the Village.

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We have a winner!

17 Oct 2016

Wow, that was a hard-fought competition! Loads of you wanted to win the Thornbury Castle competition, and no wonder – a luxe 2-night stay worth £1000 from those lovely folk at Luxury Family Hotels, in the castle where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn honeymooned? A chance to ditch the kids, ramp up the romance and make your escape – it’s almost enough to make you lose your head in all the excitement!

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10 ways to make your life more Hygge

15 Oct 2016

Muddy Norfolk editor, the lovely Jo, has been embracing the cosy Danish concept of Hygge, said to make homes happier and people nicer. Cuddle up and read on…

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today so am posting this from my cosy bed (don’t worry, I’m wearing PJs) and – while typing – am reminded of a word that I have been hearing a lot recently: hygge.

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Eat here: The Michelin Star winners in Berks

8 Oct 2016

Woop woop! If ever there was a call for pants of Bridget Jones-esque dimensions – this is it. our county has done us proud with TWO Berkshire restaurants receiving new Michelin stars in the revered 2017 guide – strap me in and pass me my golden fork… it’s time to EAT!

Yes folks, The Michelin Guide got very funky this year as results were live tweeted from the ceremony in London, and our fab county nabbed a very respectable handful of them!

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Why it’s totally ok (and good for you!) to be *lazy*

4 Oct 2016

Laurence Shorter is an author, leadership coach and stand-up comedian and his latest book, The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life (Orion Books, £14.99) is a charming and lighthearted look at a serious problem. We are all on the hamster wheel and it seems to be getting faster, so how do we stop? Is it really possible to achieve more by doing less, and be happier for it? Before Laurence appears at the Hungerford Literary Festival on Sat 22 October to answer these questions and more, I had a chat with him and he gave me these tips.

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5 smart ways to boost your child’s self-esteem

28 Sep 2016

Huge thanks and a free cappuccino and slab of cake to Ms Muddy herself, Hero at Muddy Bucks & Oxon for posting this brilliant piece on boosting your child’s self-esteem. Notepads and pens at the ready folks – there are some awesome tips here from the Head of Winchester House, Emma Goldsmith…

If you’re a regular Muddy reader you’ll know that I love to scoot along having fun and looking for the best things in life (happily they’re free – just ask Janet).

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Cool interiors alert! Epoch3 in Reading

28 Sep 2016

Wonderful though it is living in these ‘ere countrified parts, the one area that can be under-represented is the cooler end of contemporary interiors. Thank goodness then for one of the grooviest couples I’ve ever met, Russ and Tessa Turner, whose quirky shop Epoch3, selling refurbished period furniture, local artwork and stylish gifts has been like a breath of minty freshness amidst Reading’s otherwise chain-heavy streets.

In this wonderful treasure trove on the Caversham Road (just before the Mothercare roundabout, I managed to park quite easily on Brigham Road, there are a smattering of 2-hour free parking bays in the neighbouring streets) you’ll find some fabulous mid-century furniture (stuff like G-Plan, Ercol, Vanson) with life breathed into it by Russ who lovingly restores and hand-paints the pieces the couple finds at auction, like these Ercol chairs…

They also sell lots of local, original art.

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Try this: Stress therapy at Haven Wellbeing Hub

23 Sep 2016

Katie Palmer is a hugger. When I turned up for my first session at her holistic therapy centre, Haven Wellbeing Hub in Wokingham, she ignored my outstretched hand and gave me a lovely hug as if we were lifelong old friends. Which, if anyone else had done on a first meeting would have freaked me out, but coming from her, seemed the most natural thing in the world.

I wondered whether my treatment had already begun..

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Berkshire Edition