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The 2019 Muddy Stilettos Awards Finals are live!

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Fizz, fun and frolics! The Muddy Awards drinkies


I’m not sure Basildon Park quite knew what hit it on Thursday as we staged a Muddy Takeover of the stunning Garden Room and rose garden for the Muddy Stilettos Awards Winners’ Party! All I know is that everyone seemed to have a great time, enjoyed delicious fizz and nibbles, and made some new friends. And most importantly, amidst all the doomy, gloomy, oh-so-rainy weather reports I’d agonised over for days… the SUN SHONE! HURRAH!

Nearly all the winning businesses made it to the party (for those of you who were off on glamorous buying trips abroad, or busy dressing people for Ascot, we missed you!) and once we’d all got over the gob-smacking gorgeousness of the venue, we relaxed and had a really fun couple of hours.


Everyone thought photographer Simon Kemp was fantastic (which he is – just check out his pics!) and the fizz was deeeeelish! Jo from Perfect Friday Wine just kept pouring (uh, despite it being only 10am!). Given she was a very worthy runner-up for Best Wine Shop (and had to serve the winner Jack from The Tasting House!) Jo was a brilliant sport to do the drinks for us.

We also ate some amazing canapés from the incredibly calm and collected Jane of Jane Staunton Catering – if you’re having a party, you definitely want Jane around, nothing seems to phase her! When I asked if she’d like to do a few nibbles for the party I never imagined she would do such a sophisticated spread. Brioche with Chicken Liver Parfait and Sauternes Jelly; Feta and Watermelon Skewers with Basil and Parmesan and Rosemary Shortbreads with Goats’ Cheese and Sun Blushed Tomates… to name just a few! All this, while quaffing fizz and standing in the beautiful gardens with the sun out… I almost forgot I had to actually do a bit of work and throw a speech together!


Jo from Perfect Friday Wine and Jane from Jane Staunton Catering. Simon Kemp is (obviously!) behind the camera!

So, all in all a whole heap of fun. Best props of the day I think had to go to the girls from Best Theatre winners Norden Farm with their clapper boards, microphones and all manner of things being pulled from Sally’s bag of tricks! But we also had yoga mats, pineapples, and Tim from Tutts Clump Cider (Best Local Producer food & drink) was handing out bottles of free cider – get in! And Alison’s bag of goodies from her award-winning Best Deli, The Local Larder, didn’t last long either!


The photos were a hoot, with the winners of Best Family Attraction, the boys from the Reading Climbing Centre being asked to scale a plinth (‘just to make the shot more interesting…’ according to Simon) I had visions of a quick trip to the Royal Berks A&E, but I guess if you’re going to ask anyone to climb something… Jo from Best Hair Salon, Gilded Hair, whizzed in with minutes to spare just in time to get her photo snapped – with amazingly, not a hair out of place! How does she do that?!


We were in the presence of restaurant royalty when Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi arrived to accept their Best Restaurant Award for Caldesi in Campagna (apart from all the foodie chat, I did manage to have a quick natter with Katie about our metallic shoes!) and Heston even gave the boys from the Crown at Bray (Best Destination Pub) Matt and David a day off to join the party.


In case you missed it, here is the full list of ALL our wonderful winners. Please make sure you pay them a visit and use their services over the coming months. I know they’d be delighted to see you, and they are winners for a reason! That goes for all our finalists actually, because there were some brilliant last minute tussles for first place and it was really gutting for some of them to have missed out by just a couple of votes in some cases. Show them your support by knocking on their doors!

So that’s it, the first Muddy Stilettos Berkshire Awards are over! Thanks to Basildon Park for letting us host the event in such a glorious setting, and to all our wonderful Berkshire businesses who took part, and to the thousands of you who voted for them. It really has been a true testament to how much you value our wonderful independents by making the first Muddy Stilettos Berkshire Awards such a success. Here’s a little video montage of all our winners lovingly put together by our fab snapper Simon…

Same again in 2017? Just let me have a little lie down first… *clonk*.

Sarah x


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