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FRI 14 – SUN 16 JUNE


MUSIC: Nate Simpson – A Night With Marvin, Prince of Soul, Sat 15 Jun

RnB soul singerNate Simpson in check jacket and hat

Nate Simpson made it all the way to Judges’Houses on the X Factor in 2016, before being given the boot by Nicole Sherzinger (Booooooo). But a little set back like that hasn’t gonna stopped him. He has since performed alongside the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae, Beverly Knight, Jamie Cullen and many more and played Marvin and Berry Gordy in the hit West End musical Motown. You heard on the grapevine, Nate’s at Norden Farm paying tribute to international Motown icon Martin Gaye.


THEATRE: Three Musketeers, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 15 Jun

Three musketeers blue tunics hanging from rope, fighting with a sword and drinking with tankard

En guarde! Four actors, 30 characters, armed only with a baguette and a questionable steed, what could possibly go wrong? Le Navet Bete (award-winning creators of Dracula: The Bloody Truth and Dick Tracy) are back, with The Three Musketeers telling the chaotic tale of hot-headed D’Artagnan desire to become a Musketeer.


FOOD:  Festival, Forbury Gardens Reading,  Fri 14 – Sun 16 Jun

street food sandwich with seafood and salad wrapped in paper and served in a wire basket

Feastival‘ is like catnip to a greedy gal like me. The elasticated trews are definitely going to be feeling the stretch this weekend. Blue Collar Street Food is behind Reading’s street food festival which will be taking over Forbury Gardens for the four days this week, as part of Waterfest.


FESTIVAL: Stonor Park Food Festival, Stonor, Henley, Sat 15 – Sun 16 June

Garlic bulbs stonor food festival HENLEY

The beautiful grounds at Stonor will be groaning with food and drink stalls over the Father’s Day weekend (dads go free before midday on the Saturday) for the first everStonor Food Festival. Keep dad happy with the crafts beers and BBQ plus there’s talks, tastings and demos along with the large selection of local and specialist produce. Guests include French fancy Jean Christoph Novelli and Michelin twinkling Ashton Kutcher. Tickets are £10 for adults and £6.50 for kids (under 2s go free) and include entrance to the house, gardens and Wonder Woods Adventure playground.


EXHIBITION: Matisse – Drawing With Scissors, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 30 Jun

A Hayward Gallery touring exhibition from London’s Southbank Centre, 35 lithographic reproductions of Henri Matisse’s famous cut-outs have gone on display at this year’s Muddy Award-winning Art Gallery, The Base in Greenham Common. A brilliant opportunity to see the French painter, sculptor and designer’s vibrant works. I had a sneak preview last week, you can read the review here.

Frank Woodgate, a lecturer at Tate and for the Arts Society, will also talk about the work of this incredible artist on Wed 15 Jun at 2pm.


THEATRE: The Importance of Being Earnest, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 29 Jun

CAst of The Importance of being Earnest Watermill Theatre Newbury

Credit: Philip Tull

Kate Budgen’s production of Oscar Wilde’s social satire The Importance Of Being Earnest is a play about (Victorian) 24-hour party people with loose morals, bad manners and a rather low opinion of marriage. Take two bachelors, add two love interests and watch the car crash as they struggle to keep up with their lies. God only knows what these boys would have said and done if they had Tinder in their lives?


EVENT: Water Fest, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 15 Jun

Reading Abbey Ruins with blade in the background
Celebrating its 30th year, WaterFest will stretch from Reading’s Abbey Ruins, Forbury Gardens and Blake’s Lock. Expect a party atmosphere in Reading that day with entertainment, fun for the kids, waters activities, boats and more more more. The watch this space because the Abbey Ruins will be the backdrop for outdoor theatre and pop up cinema in the summer months.


BOOK NOW: Ladies Night feat. Art Dodger, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 17 Jun

Love a fashion, fizz and the chance to see party on a school night? Hell yes! Windsor Racecourse’s legendary Ladies Night is back. Travel in style and arrive by boat whilst popping a prosecco or two. There’s racing, a Royal Ascot fashion preview, the Best Dressed competition and Artful Dodger will be tearing up the paddock with a floor-filling DJ set. Book now.


EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, now – 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.



EVENT: Marlow Town RegattaMarlow, Sat 15 – Sun 16 Jun

We all love a good excuse to get out of jeans and a t-shirt, or (*ahem*) pyjamas and Marlow Town Regatta is a goodie- a weekend of eyeing up the muscle, I mean messing about on the river, with competitive rowing on the Saturday and family fun with the Dragon Boat Festival, live entertainment, food, drink and craft stalls on the Sunday. Pass the Pimms!


EAT: Eat Food FestHenley, Sat 15 – Sat 29 Jun

A fortnight of foodie activities showcasing local producers, eateries, distilleries and more with a series of pop-ups, supper clubs, demos, films and activities. Highlights include the festival’s opening event The Big Feast (Sun 16), the Riverside Fiesta (Sat 29) and chef demonstrations at Kenton Theatre throughout the festival (Sat 15 – Sat 29).


FESTIVAL: Love Marlow, Marlow, until Sun 16 Jun

church spire boats ducks on river

Love Marlow is a two week community festival with over 60 events including music, sport, workshops and kids activities across the town. Highlights this week include canoeing, a teddy bear’s picnic, kayaking, workshops and Marlow Town Regatta.


OPERA: Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, until Sun 30 Jun

The Bartered Bride

Good news for opera fans as Garsington Opera Season is in full swing. The bucolic Wormsley Estate is the setting every year for a spot of warbling of the highest form and this week you can see The Bartered Bride (Tues 11, Sat 15), Don Giovanni (Thurs 13) and Fantasio (Fri 14, Sun 16).


NEW EXHIBITION: Manolo Blahnik, The Wallace Collection, London, Mon 10 Jun – Sun 1 Sept

This new exhibit contrasts paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement with Spanish fashion designer Manolo Blahnik’s designs. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives and these gorgeous candy pink shoes designed for Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film, Marie Antoinette. There are also a few accompanying talks, Fashion or Art?, Fashion and Power, The Collector, The Interior World, but if you want to go get a ticket quick as they’re selling out fast. This exhibit is free.


NEW EXHIBITION:  Keith Haring, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, Fri 14 Jun – Sun 10 Nov

Spot the little guys! A cool exhibit to check out that’s not over in the Big Smoke is this retrospective of Keith Haring, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene.  The exhibit will feature 85 artworks including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.



If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). If you’re heading to Covent Garden, it’s your last chance to check out Covent Garden in Bloom (until Sat 15 Jun), with floral artists Fleurs de Villes returning Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. All the retailers and restaurants muck in with botanical window displays, it’s super pretty.



Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include Beasts of London, above, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals. Or you can check out the V&A‘s retrospective of 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). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. 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).



THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Oxford Playhouse, Mon 15 – Sat 20 Jul

I read Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train a few summers ago when it came out and was hooked (it’s the sort of novel you binge-read) but was less enamoured with the film (Emily Blunt was its only saving grace), so I’m excited to see how the thriller plays out on stage. The show stars Samantha Womack, who plays Ronnie Mitchell in Eastenders and Oliver Farnworth (Hollyoaks, Coronation Street) – looks like a goodie.


The Hidden Garden, Henley Royal Regatta, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul

If you’re heading down to Henley Regatta this July and want to escape the riff raff (not that Henley does real riff raff, of course) book now for The Hidden Garden. New to the Regatta this year, the luxe but laid-back riverside venue on the Berkshire bank offers brilliant views, VIP hospitality, musical entertainment, gourmet food and – most importantly – lashings of booze (chilled Henriot champagne and local favourite, Mr Hobbs gin to be precise). Pre-booking is a must so grab your other half, bezzies or workies and get organised pronto!


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