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The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Bucks & Oxon Edition

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Wouldn't you though?

If you're looking to create something special for Christmas, India Mahon is your woman. The Stow-on-the-Wold-based jeweller is one of the most talented designers I've come across.

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Muddy eats: The Angel at Burford

30 Nov 2016
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Burford is one of those gorgeous Cotswold towns where you can spend hours gawping at the beauty of every shop and house you pass. Historically and aesthetically it’s stunning, but the flipside is that, certainly on the high street, many of the eating options cater to the tourist trade. So let’s take you off that thoroughfare by a few minutes, pop you in the huge free carpark next to Burford’s beautiful church – an absolute corker as you can see….

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*The* Christmas present to buy your bloke (or blokesses)

28 Nov 2016
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As someone not particularly excited by racing/sports cars – seriously, it’s hard for me not to stifle a yawn when horsepower is mentioned – it’s with a kind of wonderment that I can report I did a test drive in an Aston Martin around Silverstone and had a turbo-charged blast. I mean, it was soooooo much fun, a real thrill. I totally surprised myself, and if I enjoyed it, anyone who enjoys cars will be virtually apolpletic with excitement.

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See this: Christmas at Blenheim

27 Nov 2016
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I think it’s fair to say that when Blenheim Palace decides to do something, it does it with bells, whistles, fanfares and a whole lot of style.  This is the first year that the estate has created an illuminated walkway, picking up on a trend that’s been happening for some time at the likes of Waddesdon Manor and Westonbirt Arboretum, and they’ve done a fantastic job of it.

Your intrepid correspondent (me, in case you’re wondering) was one of the first to walk the hour-long path that takes guests down the back of the palace, over to the boating lake, up through the Capability Brown-designed grounds and finally to the lakeside lodge where Father Christmas is hamming it up until 2 Jan, and even though I did it solo, it was massively enjoyable. 

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Cool little beauty room in Jericho, Oxford

25 Nov 2016
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Karolina Lipinska, beauty therapist and owner The Beauty Studio, is clearly a woman doing something very right. Her therapy space is behind an anonymous door, next to a chemist and entirely hidden to the world in Jericho  (just around the corner from St Giles in central Oxford)…

… yet a steady stream of clients come for her skincare and waxing services. Karolina, let it be said, specialises in Brazilian and Hollywood waxing and is apparently a total whizz at it.

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Win a £2850 diamond pendant!

25 Nov 2016
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I have a delectable competition in December to warm your winter cockles – no, I’m not telling you, you’ll just have to wait and see! Until then though I thought I’d warm you up with a fantastic giveaway I’ve come across at the brilliant Biagio the Jeweller in Thame and Bicester involving nearly £3k of diamond cocktail necklace.

Check out this bad boy! It’s a 18ct white gold, green quartz and diamond necklace designed personally by Biagio, perfect for knocking your costume jewellery into touch as you chic up your Christmas party outfit, or for all those Ferrero Rochet ‘ambassador’ soirées you simply must attend.

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Muddy Herts eats: The Bell, Stoke Mandeville

23 Nov 2016
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It’s been ages since I reviewed The Bell in Stoke Mandeville but it’s been on my mind recently as I drive past it on the way to my daughter’s swimming lessons twice a week and it twinkles at me with its candlight and cosy fires, whispering ‘Come in! Who cares about dolphin kicks anyway?’

Pippa in Muddy Herts has clearly had the same idea as she’s just gone and reviewed it!

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The Muddy Ultimate Panto Guide 2016 – Oxon, Bucks and beyond!

23 Nov 2016
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Usually I bring my panto guide out at the beginning of December, but this year some pantos have actually started – yeah, in mid November, people!

So I’ve forced Widow Twanky to sit me down well in advance and tell me exactly what’s going on the world of Dick double-entredres, thigh-slapping and he’s-behind-yous. This is a definitive list for Bucks & Oxon with a smattering of the best from neighbouring counties and into London because, if you’re like me, one panto might not be enough!

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Muddy deal: 12 Xmas fine wines for your delectation

22 Nov 2016
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I’ve written before about indie wine merchants Watlington Fine Wines (confusingly still called Peter Osborne wines on the website!) whom I’ve used for the last few years for wine for dinner parties and other special occasions.

Many of us still have the perception that indie wine shops are expensive but the reality is that the ones still in business are super competitive in price, quality and curation – with the proliferation of supermarket wines they have to be.

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Ready to party?

22 Nov 2016
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There are some things that I thought I’d nail by middle age.

Number one, it was part of my plan to have performed a daring, sexy image haul by now (nope).

Number two, I’m supposed to be fluent in at least one language other than English (er, nope).

And thirdly, I really expected myself to be an assured, relaxed part-thrower by now, able to knock out an effortless dinner soiree and a stylish round up of friends for glamorous, chinky-glassed, giggly get togethers.

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Muddy eats: Canaletto, Kingswood

20 Nov 2016
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When disaster hits and I can’t make a food review, my first call is always my fellow mucker Kerry Potter, journo extraordinaire for Elle, Grazia, The Pool and the broadsheets, who lives in Thame and happens to be nearly as gluttonous as me. She slipped into something a little more roomy – the venue was an Italian restaurant after all – and zipped off with her family to Canaletto in Kingswood, in Buckinghamshire.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Bucks & Oxon Edition