It’s been such a crazy year so far that I somehow forgot to tell you some really amazing news from *cough* last month. Oops!
So it’s a massive and heartfelt thank you for those of you who suggested Muddy Stilettos as the UK’s Best Arts & Culture Blog before Christmas, because guess what? We’ve only gone and made the Finals, one of only eight companies in the whole of the UK.
We love an ’80s rockstar here at Muddy. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they enjoy reminiscing about their worst ever haircuts (and neckerchiefs) and they always have great yarns about that time they got hammered back in 1984. Midge Ure, Ultravox singer, Band Aid co-founder and genial Glaswegian, is no exception. He’s playing ace local festival Chilfest in Tring on 8 July so Muddy’s Kerry Potter gave him a buzz to talk music, mullets and more.
The music festival season feels a long, long way off right now (although we wouldn’t say no to a pear cider if you’re offering) but these days you’ve got to book mega early if you want to be happy campers come summer. Many of the biggies sell out in a flash – we haven’t managed to score Glastonbury tickets for years – but the good news is lots of the local events still have availability and most of them are family friendly.
Interesting times afoot at Stonor Park, one of the few privately owned stately homes in the area. It’s probably not been at the top of your must-see venues – Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon are the big beasts of the area – but it’s worth knowing about Stonor because they’re massively upping their offering this summer.
The manor house dates back more than 850 years and incredibly still in the same Catholic family, despite a turbulent Tudor history that saw its lands reduced as the family sought to survive.
Holy crap! It’s just reached my shell-like via my lovely editorial assistant Georgina that this Saturday (12 July) Tinchy Stryder is headlining at Astonbury (geddit?), a small fundraising festival for the local Aston Rowant cricket club. I’m not kidding! The Ministry of Sound will also be rocking up, along with a whole load of smaller local bands, making it a bizarre and quite possibly compelling evening in rural Oxfordshire. It’s only £20 for a ticket which is the cheapest you’ll see Mr Stryder ever.
Did you make it to Pull-brew-melt at Waddesdon Manor’s Plant Centre yesterday?
This coffee/tea/chocolate festival, now in its second year, was my first ever event with an official presence (a banner and some hastily gathered props no less!) and it was sooooo nice to meet lots of Muddy readers, plus a lot of new ones too who seemed uncannily interested in signing up to the blog after eyeing my diamond necklace prize donated by Biagio the Jewellers…
Apparently Saturday was a bit quiet at Pull-brew-melt, no doubt because of the massive success of the Thame Food Festival which seems to be growing at a phenomenal rate.
The Thame Food Festival, Sat 28 Sept
Over 150 stalls, celebrity chefs (Tom Kerridge of The Hand & Flowers, Adam Simmonds of Danesfield House, some bloke called Raymond Blanc), kids cookery and loads more, this food festival has grown into a local powerhouse in just a few years. New for 2013 is a free park and ride service into central Thame from the Showground (Kingsey Road, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3JL) with London routemaster buses, running every few minutes.
I’ve been watching with interest as Thame, my nearest Oxfordshire town, has pumped new life into its streets over the last few years with its well-regarded food festival and the Thame Arts & Literature Festival, now in its fourth year.
Cargo Homeshop, which has its HQ in Thame, is helping sponsor it this year (*sigh*, we so love that at Muddy), a reflection of how popular this little festival has become.
Waddesdon Christmas Food Fair, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 8 – Sun 9 Dec
You name it, you’ll find it here. The very best Christmas cakes, meats, chutneys, cheeses, biscuits, pies, puddings and chocolates in the Plant Centre. Head up to the house (you’ll have to book beforehand) to see the Christmas decorations in the Manor itself (11am-4pm Sat/Sun), or Hug a Husky at 10am on a Saturday.
Village Hall sale, Toast, Central Oxford, Thursday 4 – Friday 5 October
Oh joy! Muddy Stilettos loves nothing more than a designer bargain and here comes Toast with a whopper 70% off its gorgeous range of clothes and homeware on this two day stop-off in Oxford.
If you’re not familiar with Toast, it’s all about comfort, individualism and quirky style. Loads of cool knitwear, slouchy PJs and cashmere socks, lovely bedlinens and country style (but more log cabin than tally ho if you get my drift).