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Have you heard the hot gossip?

Read all about it! We may be in lockdown but there's still plenty to shout about in Berkshire right now, from exciting new openings and gold medals to Hollywood on our doorstep.

In with the new

Nick, Sarah and Izzy Hart H'Artisan cafe wargrave

Need your coffee fix, Wargrave? Just as well as a new café has just arrived. Sarah and Nick Hart have just opened H’Artisan on the High Street and not only is it dog-friendly, stocks a range of naughty and nice snacks, but it also has a dedicated bike cafe (with 40 cycle spaces). It’s open for takeaway right now, but we’ve got our eye on the sun terrace when lockdown is lifted. I’ll take a double shot Americano and all the flaky pastries you have. We may need to cycle to justify our greed..

Going for gold

Olympic Rower Helen Glover comeback with three children by the river Thames

She’s baaaaaack! Double Olympic champion Helen Glover has announced she is attempting a comeback at this summer’s Tokyo games. She’ll be the first woman to make a Team GB rowing team after children. Since winning gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in the coxless pairs, Helen has had three children – Logan (two), and twins Bo and Kit (one)- with TV hottie and adventurer Steve Backshall. “When I first mentioned to him that I was thinking of coming back he said, ‘Helen, most people take up crocheting as a lockdown project, they don’t decide to try to go to the Olympics. This is a little full on even for you!'” The family live in Cookham so expect to see this lycra-clad superwoman gliding up and down the Thames. We’ll be cheering you all the way to Tokyo, Helen.

Reading’s the new Hollywood

Welcome to Hollywood! Roll out the red carpet, Reading’s Thames Valley Science Park is to be transformed into film studio and creative media hub at a cost of £200m. It will open in 2022 (subject to planning) – then we can stalk the hedges of Shinfield to spot the great and the good of La La Land as they shoot their next major movie. We’re ready for our close up, Mr Spielberg.

Time to shop…

Victoria and Co Shop Twyford Zebra on wall

We’ve been under house arrest for so long that we’re all slapping paint on the walls and plotting change. Well, Muddy favourite Victoria Willson Interiors – a woman with an eye for detail and elegant decor – has just opened her first bricks and mortar shop – Victoria & Co on Twyford’s High Street and online. The boutique is a cool, curated collection of unique homeware with antique furniture and art coming soon.

The good life

Working from home is the new normal and many people may never go back into an office full time now that we’ve all got used to remote working and Zoom meetings. But it can be a bit dull. Good news for West Berkshire peeps, a new co-working space in a stunning barn in the centre of Hampstead Norreys. The Good Life Hub will be opening on 1 Apr and it’s all about community, connection and collaboration. There will be permanent desk, monthly membership and daily drop ins, meeting rooms, private pods for Zoom calls and super speedy wifi. But there’s running club, SUP yoga on the lake and workshops. Great for a change of scene, place to bounce ideas around and get fit too.

137 Gin Navy Royal

It’s awards season! And while we’re waiting for frocks and shocks of the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Oscars, we have plenty to celebrate on our doorstep. Berkshire’s Lumber Bartholomew Navy Royal 137 gin won gold as well as a ‘Best in Class’ medal having received top marks among all the entrants globally.

Rosebourne Aldermaston Farm Shop

Just up the road in Aldermaston, Rosebourne has made been shortlisted for the Farm Shop and Deli Awards 2021. These national awards celebrate specialist retailers from across the UK in recognition of their commitment to their customers, community, staff, and suppliers over the past year. There’s rumours of an IRL fancy award do in July, so keep your finger rolls crossed.

And finally…

The 2021 collab you didn’t know you needed. Michelin-starred chef and Marlow local Tom Kerridge has joined forces with British Airways for an in-flight menu on short haul trips. The menu, which must be pre-ordered 12 hours before your flight, features a selection of sandwiches, wraps and pies made with ingredients sourced in Britain. We’ll be ordering the Ham Hock & Smoked Cheddar on our flight to somewhere sunny as soon as restrictions are lifted.

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