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MAY 2019


EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Wed 1 May – Sun 10 Nov 2019

Anthony Caro Cliveden National Trust red industrial sculpture on woodland walk

If you loved Cliveden’s Lynn Chadwick sculptures last year, then the new installation Anthony Caro exhibition might get you sitting up like a meerkat. This English modernist artist, who assisted Henry Moore in the 1950s, is most famous for his abstract industrial pieces but briefly created figurative artworks too. You’ll find his pieces doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill.


THEATRE: American Idiot, The Hexagon Reading, Wed 1 – Sat 4 May

GREEN DAY musical American Idiot man on stage in spotlight looking up to retro tV screen

Like Green Day? Love musicals? If so, American Idiot is a dead cert. The double Tony award winning show returns to mark its 10th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the Grammy Award winning original album. Luke Friend (X-Factor), Tom Milner (The Voice, Waterloo Road) and newcomer Sam Lavery star.


THEATRE: Rain Man, Theatre Royal Windsor, Wed 1 – Sat 4 May

I really want to see this one. Based on the Oscar winning blockbuster, the brilliant Paul Nicholls (Eastenders, The C-Word, Death in Paradise, Bridget Jones 2) and Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks) star as the road-tripping brothers in this touring show.


WELLBEING: Women’s Self-Care Evening, B The Lifestyle Shop Newbury, Thu 2 May, 6pm-8.30pm

Grafitti on side of house with two women

Gin and tonic, bubbles and boobs. The lovely Emma at B The Lifestyle Shop is getting the guys and gals together for an evening of indulgent me time in aid of breast cancer charity CoppaFeel. Try on some new togs, find a new look  or just go for the for the free drink, there are giveaways, goodie bags and good vibes to be had.


FILM: Being Frank – The Chris Sievey Story, UK cinema release, Thu 2 May

Black and white image of Frank Sidebottom

Ever wondered who lurked beneath the giant papier-mâché head of frank Sidebottom? You’re about to find out in this absorbing, tender documentary about the life of eccentric Mancunian comedian. The film was came to be thanks to a crowd funding campaign organised by his fans. Frank achieved cult status in the 80s, after the man behind the mask, Chris Sievey, failed to make it in the record business. He turned to performance art, created his fake-headed pop-star alter ego and the rest is history. But his true identity remained a secret until he died.


COMEDY: The Adam Riches Experience, South Street Arts Reading, Thu 2 May 

Adam Riches comedian white vest and

Adam Riches’ act is wet-you-pants funny. In fact every ticket sold comes with a pair of Tena pants (joke). The Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner’s show is off the wall, absurd and with edge of your seat audience participation.


THEATRE: A Belly Full, Mill at Sonning, Thu 2 May – Sat 15 Jun

It’s a world premiere of a brand new show that could be as funny and heart-warming as Calendar Girls. A Belly Full follows the lives of seven women who join a local belly dancing class. Friendships, bellies will wobble, crop tops will be revisited and we’re expecting Turkish Delight during the interval.


COMEDY: John-Luke Roberts – All I Wanna Do (FX Gunshots), Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 3 May

John Luke comedian in green and ornage headband surrounded by fruit

The longest and most obscure title ever, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from one of the Edinburgh Fringe’s most celebrated talents. John-Luke Roberts’ show was one of the most talked about shows of the Edinburgh Festival: a dizzying avant-garde ride through the mind of a gifted comic-philosopher. One with a blue moustache. Who thinks far more about the Spice Girls than anyone should. A masterclass in prop, clown, costume and Mel C-themed comedy.


KIDS; Duckie, South Street Arts Reading, Sat 4 May


The Ugly Duckling just gotta makeover – applying all the glitter and adopting a swagger and strut never seen before. I think Hans Christian Andersen would approve. Underneath the grease paint, it’s still a classic tale of identity and belonging, but with a dollop of cabaret glamour. Don’t miss the chance to see Le Gateau Chocolat break out of his shell as Duckie, in his first work for children.


DANCE: Free Dance Workshop With Becky  Namgauds, 101 Outdoor Arts Newbury, Sat 4 May

three women dance and throwing into a sandpit

With Christina Aguilera’s Dirty ringing in my ears, you’re invited to get your groove on and play in the set of touring outdoor dance work Rodadoras (Spanish for tumbleweed). It’s free, fun and absolutely filthy. You don’t need any dance experience, just a good imagination and a willingness to get a dirty!


THEATRE: Amélie, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 18 May

Amelie muscial Watermill Newbury man and woman either side of wall

It has been a Broadway smash hit and now it will make its UK premiere at The Watermill Theatre. Amelie is a musical based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, tells the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her imagination. A feel good musical filled to the brim with colourful observations and whimsical wonderings. A must see.


ART: Open Studios 2019, The Base Greenham Common, Sat 4 – Sat 27 May

Julie Parker artist hairy stilettos made fro human hair

From Muddy Stilettos to, er, hairy ones. We haven’t lost our minds and our luscious locks, this is the sculptural creation of Julie Parker who is taking part in Open Studios. It’s an opportunity to drop in and see artists across West Berkshire and North Hampshire throughout May – and it’s totally free Simply go to the Open Studios website, find an artist and pop along for a nose. The main exhibition is INSIGHT will be held The Base at Greenham Common.


MUSIC: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, Arlington Arts Newbury, Sat 4 May

Kathyrn Roberts and Sean Lakeman folk group woman red hair yellow dress with man in blue shhirt and suit with guitar in dark blue panelled room
Folk music has rippd off its jute shirt and there’s whiff of cool about. So if you’re thinking of dipping your toe into new musical waters, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman are not to be missed. This husband and wife duo have twice won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award and consistently deliver assured, distinctive performances whether live or recorded.


FESTIVAL: Mapledurham Food Festival, Sat 4 –Mon 6 May

Grab your biggest pair of pants and head of to the 16th Century Mapledurham House for its much-loved food festival. I cannot think of a more beautiful place to stuff my face than on the banks of the River Thames. Enjoy the street food avenue, producers’ market, celebrity and local chef demonstrations, master classes and more. Plus there’s a new health and wellbeing element for those less greedy than me.


DRINKIES: Reading Beer and Cider Festival, Christchurch Meadows Caversham, Thu 2– Sun 5 May

bottles craft beer in ice

If you’d rather hit the May Bank Holiday with more liquid refreshment, this weekend is the 24th Reading Beer and Cider Festival. There’s more than 550 craft beers and ciders to sample, food to soak it up and music. Tickets are from £21.40 in advance and include priority access, drinks vouchers and a souvenir glass. Taxiiiiiii!


COMEDY: Al Murray – Preview Show, Theatre Royal Windsor, Sun 5 May

Al Murray pub landlord comedian burgundy blazer shirt stripy tie bald head

Al Murray (aka The Pub Landlord) is trying out his new material at Stand Up By Royal Appointment. With Brexit, Trump, Corbyn, the NHS and Royal baby mania, sweeping the nation, who knows who or what will be in the firing line? One thing’s for certain, Al Murray, the nation’s critically-acclaimed bar-based bravehear, will have a lot to say on all of it. There are a few tickets left, snap them up while you can.


THEATRE: Electrolyte, The Watermill Newbury, Sun 5 May 

This multi-award-winning piece of gig theatre explores mental health through spoken word poetry, underscored by original music. The show is performed by six talented multi-instrumentalists and won (*deep breath*) the Mental Health Fringe Award, The Stepladder Award, The LET Award, The Voice Mag Pick of The Fringe Award and the Pleasance Best Newcomer Award in 2018. 14+


May Fayres, various locations, Mon 6 May

Ah the brilliantly bonkers May fayre. Where else can you enjoy men dancing with bells and handkerchiefs, pig racing, brass bands, a slightly dodgy Punch and Judy show with copious amounts of cider in an afternoon of rural madness. There are a few to enjoy on Monday. The Wokingham May Fayre (10am-5pm) is one of the biggest street fairs in the South East with fairground rides, belly dancers and the Rock Choir. Over in Winkfield Row, nr Bracknell, the fun starts at 12pm-4pm with Maypole dancing, stalls, kids rides and a loads of food and drink. Bradfield May Fayre (12.30pm-4.30pm) also has Maypole dancing, skittles, hay bale throwing, sheep shearing and loads of local food and drink (Tutts Clump Cider, West Berkshire Brewery beers and Vicars Game BBQ).


THEATRE: Napoli, Brooklyn, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 6 –Sat 11 May

Broadway production of Napoli, Brooklyn

A new play on me, but it’s got my attention as Napoli, Brooklyn makes a flying visit to Windsor straight from Broadway and before it opens in London. Meghan Kennedy’s drama concerns the lives of an Italian family struggling to deal with their abusive patriarch. The Muscolinos have raised three passionate daughters, each of them bonded by a fierce love for one another and harbouring a secret longing that could tear the family apart. More drama than an episode of Corrie.


EVENT: Family Fun Day, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 6 May

big wheel lights up the night sky at a vintage fun fair

No ned to bankrupt yourself over the bank holiday weekend keeping the rug rats enterained, Windsor Racecourse to the rescue. Its annual Family Fun Day is back and for the first time ever the rides are all free as a bean. Yup, they’ll cost nada. There’s an inflatable assault course, dodgems, ferris wheel, pony rides, dragon coaster and loads more. Grown ups have to pay to get in, but under 18s are FREE.


COMEDY: The Big Comedy Bash, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 7 May

comedians Jo Brand Rob Brydon and Rory Bremner The Big Comedy Bash READING

Did you hear the one about the Englishwoman, Scotsman and Welshman who walked into a bar with a magician and an impressionist? No? You can watch it unfold live as Jo Brand and Rory Bremner join host Rob Brydon for the Big Comedy Bash with John Archer and Luke Kempner.
With the award-winning Dana Alexander now added to the bill, we guarantee your sides will ache.


SPORT: Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor,  Wed 8 – Wed 15 May

Show jumper Carl Hester jumping Big Ben fence Royal Windsor Horse Show

Image: Kent Farrington

Giddiup! The Royal Windsor Horse Show’s one of the hottest horsey events in the UK. Her Maj and Prince Philip are almost guaranteed to make an appearance (well, it is in their backyard), and the many of the Royal famalam drop in. Expect to see top flight show jumping, dressage, fun kids events, with a bit of pomp and ceremony from the Household Cavalry. It’s a fun, family affair, so trot on and grab a ticket.


EXHIBITION: Light in the Lens, Forbury Place Reading, Wed 8 – Sun 12 May

Life in the lend exhibition illuminated arc de triumph paris

Photo: Chris Dorney

If you’re looking to up your game on Insta in 2019, then check out how the pros do it. Light In The Lens – a brilliant exhibition from The Photographic Angle – let’s you into a little secret. It’s all about light. Know light and you’ll nail photography. Now if I could just take a selfie without gurning that would be magic.


TALK: Women In Power Lunch with Anne Widdicombe, Cliveden House Taplow, Fri 10 May

Politician Anne Widdecombe grey short hair surrounded by books on shelf

Image by Poppy Berry

Anne Widdecombe and Nigel Farage are unlikely bedfellows, but then we are in unchartered political waters. While Anne and Nige admire their new matching Brexit Party PJs and slippers, we get to hear from the great lady herself at Cliveden’s new Women In Power lunches, celebrating the centenary of Nancy Astor being the first female MP. Never without an opinion, we get all the goss from Parliament to Strictly. Not to be missed.


ART: Contemporary Art Fair, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 11 –Sun 12 May

London underground geometric tile iconic Mind The Gap words on floor Rebecca Coleman artist

Sick of looking at blank walls? For the first time ever, the Contemporary Art Fair will be bringing more than 160 artists, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and independent galleries from all over the UK and Europe to Newbury Racecourse. Have a mooch, chat to artists and, if you find something you love, prices start at just 40 quid. Phew. You can read about the five artists on my lust list here..


WEDDINGS: Wedfest, Forest Edge Tipis Hampstead Marshall, Sat 11 and Sun 12 May

FOREST EDGE TIPIS woodland wedding venue

Getting hitched? Before you say ‘I Do’ to a wedding venue, head to Wedfest. Not a festival for a mass wedding ceremony, but Forest Edge Tipis’ wedding fair with a difference. This brand new wedding venue is for brides who want to take it outside. Surrounded by woodland, permanent tipi for the reception and all the boring stuff taken care of like electricity, loos, and stuff. See the location, mets the guys who can make the magic happen – it’s guaranteed to be love at first sight.


CULTURE: Newbury Spring Festival, various locations, Sat 11 – Sat 25 May

Ballet Central dancers in tights leap and standing with full leg extensions

This whopping festival has grown over the last 41 years to now attract the very best in classical, jazz and world music acts. The events will take place this year from Sat 11 to Sat 25 May in some glorious venues, including The Base, Englefield House, Highclere Castle, Shaw House and the Corn Exchange Newbury where you can catch the elegant Ballet Central (above), the BBC Big Band, musical farce Lucky Stiff and a talk on Queen Victoria by AN Wilson.


WELLBEING: Earth Living Festival, Caversham Court Gardens, Sat 11 May

Swap you daisy dukes and pear cider for a pair of yoga pants and wheatgrass shot, the Earth Living Festival is the antithesis of hedonistic oblivion. This fest is al relaxing, recharging, and feeding your mind, body and soul. What can you expect? Yoga, bootcamps, Bollywood dancing, essential oils, talks,, wild workouts, live music and so much more. It says family friendly, but leave them at home and max out on me time.


EVENT: Smartworks Fundraising Brunch, Badgemore Park Golf Club Henley, Thu 16 May

Smartworks Reading Fundraiser event with Ginnie Chadwyck Healey Nayna McIntosh and Donna Ida

An awesome charity, supporting women back into work, with the Duchess of Sussex as patron. Meghan’s a bit busy to attend right now with the arrival of the Royal baby but, fear not, while you’re tucking into a two-course brunch, Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey (Daily Telegraph columnist and consulting stylist to the Duchess of Cambridge); Nayna McIntosh, Founder of Hope Fashion and Denim Queen Donna Ida will be speaking about the world of fashion. Great cause plus food and fashion – £55pp.


EVENT: Ladies Day –Al Shaqab Lockinge Day, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 18 May

Ladies Day flooral arch and parkway garden deckchairs Newbury racecourse 2018

Sound the klaxon. The summer social season starts here. Newbury Races’s Ladies Day (traditionally in August) has moved to Al Shaqab Lockinge Day on Sat 18 May. It’s first out of the fashion blocks, with Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot and Henley following –and they’re going BIG. Garden party vibes, pop up bars, an abundance of flroa and fauna, cocktails and Sophie Ellis Bextor and her hubby Richard Jones on the decks for the after party floor fillers. Go go go.


EVENT: Supercar Sunday, Stonor Henley On Thames, Sun 19 May 

red sports car outside historic Stonor House Supercar Sunday event

Supercar Sunday returns to Stonor House’s pristine front lawn, with race cars, super-sleek sports cars (I’ll take two please) and ultra modern hypercars. Throughout the day there’ll also be interviews with the owners, judging, prize giving and street food stalls. Heaps for kids too, including an adventure playground and treasure hunt in the Wonder Woods, traditional fair rides, laser tag and laser clay pigeon shooting.


EAT OUT: An Evening with Michel Roux, Roux at Skindles Maidenhead, Wed 22 May

Chef Michel Roux senior with Brian Turner special evening in conversation in aid of Hospitality in Action

For one night only, not one but two culinary giants in the same room. The legendary Michel Roux OBE with be chatting to Brian Turner CBE for an old school evening of food, wine and live jazz (you’ll find their gongs on a bar stool near you). It’s all in aid of Hospitality In Action, so book up and witness them spill the beans. They’ve cooked for everyone, met everyone and NEVER hold back.


EVENT: Supercar Sunday, Stonor Henley On Thames,  Sun 19 May 

red sports car outside historic Stonor House Supercar Sunday event

Supercar Sunday returns to Stonor House’s pristine front lawn, with race cars, super-sleek sports cars (I’ll take two please) and ultra modern hypercars. Throughout the day there’ll also be interviews with the owners, judging, prize giving and street food stalls. Heaps for kids too, including an adventure playground and treasure hunt in the Wonder Woods, traditional fair rides, laser tag and laser clay pigeon shooting.


ARTS: Caversham Arts Trail, various locations, Sat 11 – Sun 12 and Sat 18 – Sun 19 May

Caroline Streatfield image man with arm around woman under a house window

Image: Caroline Streatfield

Hot on the heels of the Henley Arts Trail is this one based around Caversham and Emmer Green, north of Reading. Visit the studios, workshops, homes and gardens of 27 talented local artists (including Julie Simmonds & David Pope Ceramics, above). See their latest projects, ask questions, buy their art and be inspired! 37 artists in 17 venues the trail runs across two weekends: Sat 11and Sun 12 May and Fri 18 and  Sat 19 May, 11am – 5pm.


THEATRE: Menopause The Musical, The Hexagon Reading, Sun 19 May

four middle age women sing and dance in Menopause the Musical

A cult American show celebrating the change, Menopause the Musical is packed full of one-liners about night sweats, hot flushes and memory loss, backed by an instantly recognisable soundtrack of innuendo-laden versions of 60s, 70s and 80s pop classics. Cultural nirvana this is not, but it’ll be a giggle with the girls.


DANCE: Kevin Clifton – Burn The Floor, The Hexagon Reading, Mon 20 May

Put the fire brigade on standby because Kev Clifton is hot stuff right now! Will he be fired by Strictly? Will Stacey Dooley make a guest appearance on stage? Has Kevin from Grimsby fallen from the public’s gilded pedestal? And is the giant Strictly Glitter Ball trophy in his downstairs loo? So many questions, but let’s get ready to rumba, cha-cha, foxtrot and tango, when he takes to the Reading stage. If you hear any goss, DM me.


TALK: Lucy Worsley – Celebrating  Queen Victoria,  Windsor Castle, Tue 21 May

Historian Lucy Worsley blonde bobbed hair and red top

The celebration of a Royal bIrth. Not Harry and Meghan’s sproglet, but Queen Vic – who would’ve been 200! For anyone watching Jenna Coleman in Victoria, she’s never looked better. To mark this moment, historian Lucy Worsley will be talking at Windsor Castle (Queen Vic’s favourite royal residence) about the life and colourful age of this extraordinary woman – with fresh insights into this complex and often misunderstood figure.


FESTIVAL: Pub in the Park, Marlow, Thu 17 – Sun 19 May

Pub in the park Tom Kerridge Giant PITP letters

Tom Kerridge has Marlow residents eating out of the palm of his hand (not literally, that would be disgusting). Pub In the Park is back with bells on. The food and music festival will see performances from the likes of Jake Bugg, Kaiser Chiefs, Scouting For Girls, David Grey and All Saints, alongside kitchen kings Pete Gray from The Hind’s Head in Bray, Dominic Chapman at The Beehive and Dom Robinson from The Blackbird in Bagnor serving up the top nosh ((and that’s just the Berkshire ones) . Saturday is sold out, but there are still some tickets available on other days.




FAMILY FUN: Tree Climbing, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Mon 27 and Tue 28 May  The Big Tree Climbing Company will help kids scale the Cliveden canopies over Easter – an hour activity for 6+, bookable here and promising gorgeous views with a zip line back down to the bottom. Wheeee! The Highclere Country Show, Highclere Castle, Sun 26 – Mon 27 MayHighclere Castle Downton Abbey Lord and Lady Carnarvon Hampshire Estate Near NewburyThe usual dog shows, bouncy castle, birds of prey and ferret racing and a new Countryside Arena, but I’m particularly liking the look of the gold panning in the hope that Lord Carnarvon might have mislaid an Eqyptian treasure. Under 16s go free – result!


COMEDY: Lucy Porter – Pass It On, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 31 May

Lucy Porter brunette comedian in blue sparkly top show Pass It On

What has been ,lovingly passed down to you from the family old guard? For me, it’s a love of gin, shoes and dodgy knees. Thank you Granny (Two out of three ain’t bad). in a brand new stand up show, the utterly brilliant Lucy Porter’s muses on what we receive from our ancestors and what we pass on to our own kids. Can she do better?



FAMILY FUN: Spring Jousting Tournament, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Sat 4 – Mon 6 May

knights on horseback charging in joust contest Blenheim Palace

Charrrrrrge! The annual Blenheim Palace ye olde joustingy thingy on the South Lawn featuring ‘The Knights of Royal England’. Falconry displays, archery, puppet shows, jesters and knights on horseback charging in the traditional tilt, and battling on foot with the mighty mace and quarter staff. Are you yawning? Well cheer up, lift your visor and head for the Champagne and Pimms tent!



Image by Varana

In need of some home inspo? Award winning event, Grand Designs Live, lands at London’s ExCeL (Sat 4 – Sun 12) with loads of exhibitors, product launches and expert advice on how to pimp your pad whether you’re planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches. Kevin McCloud will be on hand for a natter, too. Or, there’s Clerkenwell Design Week (I’ve been a few times, it’s well worth the trip)- home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, this will be the 10th annual festival, which attracts some of the best of designers in the world, including a huge range of home-grown talent (Tue 21 – Thurs 23). Finally, feeling crafty? London Craft Week (Wed 8 – Sun 12) showcases exceptional craftsmanship in London with a programme of workshops by both unknown makers and celebrated masters held in famous studios, galleries and shops. This year London’s hippest new hangout Coal Drops Yard is getting involved for the first time with loads of cool workshops and installations.



Mary quant exhibition V&A Mary Quant clothes on white mannequins in front of black and white 1960s images

Must see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include the V&A’s retrospective on iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). The exhibit is sold out (*boo*) but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). Also worth checking out is the new major Van Gough exhibit at Tate Britain- over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).


Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, now – Sun 2 Jun 

More Lego! New for Easter, Whipsnade Zoo introduces its Brick Safari- there’ll be loads of LEGO brick beasts and animals around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know) made from over one million bricks, as well as hands-on family activities. Included in entry price.


ART: Chihuly Trail, Kew Gardens, from Sat 13 Apr 

spiky blue Glass flower surrounded by trees kew chihuly festival

Run free my pretties but watch out for the delicate glass sculptures. Iconic artist Dale Chihuly’s stunning pieces are on display at Kew Gardens from Easter weekend, but I fear it’s an accident waiting to happen. Kids smashing the place up, children skewered on a giant flower. A true test of your parenting skills… but an  Insta winner.

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