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The Muddy guide: Thurs 18 – Weds 24 Feb

Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London, 11 Feb – 22 May


Wow. I’m probably not what you’d call a dedicated follower of fashion (my friends are doubled-up at this point) but I am fizzing with excitement about this exhibition. I heard about it on the radio driving home the other day and I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. Having been at the forefront of fashion, beauty and portrait photography since its launch in 1916, British Vogue has an enviable and unrivalled archive of outstanding imagery. The exhibition features nearly 300 prints from their collection, with images from some of the best photographers in the business including rarely seen photos of The Beatles, Kate Moss and Jude Law. 100 years of glamour, style and celebrity icons in one room – cannot wait to spend an afternoon immersed in that! Tickets £17 and booking is recommended.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE. Tel: 020 7306 0055.

The Hollywood Special Effects Show, Corn Exchange, Newbury, Sat 20 Feb at 7pm


This should satisfy your budding Spielbergs, and most children (and adults) I know quite frankly. Join a team of trained professional as they share special effects secrets straight from Hollywood with a revealing insight into the world of special effects. You can feel the heat from an onstage inferno, get up close with gruesome sci-fi monsters, be blown away by apocalyptic weather and hold on tight through huge explosions. Described as ‘an interactive and explosive family show’ you are taken behind the scenes of your favourite films to discover the science and secrets of creating movie magic. Sounds like a total blast! Age guide is 6+, tickets £17; concessions £14.

Corn Exchange, 113 Lindenmuth Way, Greenham Business Park, Newbury, Berks RG19 6HN. Box Office: 0845 5218 218.

CUT in the Country pop-up at Coworth Park, Ascot, 19 Feb – 6 Mar

CUT at 45 Park Lane - Cobb salad (landscape) crop

David McIntyre, executive chef of Wolfgang Puck’s London restaurant, CUT at 45 Park Lane is joining the team at Restaurant Coworth Park from 19 Feb-6 Mar. Given that Puck is reputed to be Barack Obama’s favourite chef, this is a pretty heady mix to have cooking just down the road! The team has created an exclusive brunch, lunch and dinner menu inspired by Wolfgang’s signature dishes from his various restaurants. Menu highlights include the classic Lobster Cobb Salad (pictured above. I mean, hello. I’d eat salad three times a day if it looked like that!) Organic Chicken & Black Truffle Pot Pie and Grilled Marinated Szechuan Steak with Stir Fried Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms. Guests will also be able to choose from a selection of Californian wines to accompany their meal. Menus start from £32, to make a reservation call the hotel on the number below.

Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE. Tel: 01344 876 600.

The Perfect Murder, The Mill at Sonning, Sonning Eye, until 12 March


‘My wife? I could kill her! …and no one would know.’ 
‘My husband?’ I could kill him! …and no one would know.’
Peter James’ novel spend 15 weeks at number 1, and now The Perfect Murder has been adapted for stage. Victor and Joan have been married for twenty years. Too long. Victor would rather be with his mistress Kamilla. Joan wants to escape with her new love, Don. Only one answer to this marital problem, the perfect murder! This dark comedy thriller has been touring the country and reviews have been excellent. There’s been high praise for James as one of our most fiendisly clever crime fiction plotters. Should be a fun night, as you glance nervously at your significant other wishing you’d not nagged him quite so much to put the bins out.

The Mill at Sonning, Sonning Eye, Reading RG4 6TY. Box office: 0118 969 8000.

Food Glorious Food at the Living Rainforest, Hampstead Norreys, nr Newbury, until Sun 21 Feb

Explore food, glorious food at the Living Rainforest this half term. The team will introduce you to a variety of foods from tropical rainforests, such as chocolate, coffee and bananas, and also show you what eats what in rainforests! Other half term events include rainforest tours, animal feed sessions, children’s workshops and face painting. Check the website for details.

The Living Rainforest, Hampstead Norreys, nr Newbury, Berkshire RG18 0TN.

Mothering Sunday Rosie Llewellyn pop-up lunch, Wasing Park, Aldermaston, 6 March


Our good county has gone pop-up mad this month! I say bring it ON. Rosie Llewelyn of A Little Lusciousness is coming to the gorgeous Wasing Park and opening a pop-up restaurant serving lunch on Mothering Sunday at 2pm. Rosie’s pop-ups are normally on her home turf in West London so it’s a real coup for Wasing to lure her away from the big bad city. Rosie hosts fun, friendly, casual events and her cooking is seasonally focused and exciting. As well as her pop-ups (which have had over 120 five-star reviews on pop-up website Grub Club, her food blog is listed in the UK’s top 100 food blogs. With wines paired specially for the meal from Berry Bros & Rudd available to buy, this sounds like a really special and very different way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Wasing Park, Wasing Lane, Aldermaston, Berks RG7 4NG. Tel: 0118 9070199.

Beale Park, Half Term Trail, Reading, until Sun 21 Feb

Head to Beale Park, which I think is especially good for younger children, where they have a half term trail set up around the park. For just 50p (including normal park admissions charges) you can enter the ‘UK birds’ themed trail and prize draw and be in with a chance to win some fantastic goodies (uh, no, I don’t think they get to take a fallow deer home – you’ll need to manage expectations). Just look for the clues which are dotted around the park. It runs all day until 21st Feb.

Beale Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire RG8 9NW. Tel: 0118 9767480.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Berkshire