The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Bucks & Oxon Edition

Category: Wellbeing

Aquarius Spa at Whatley Manor

23 Apr 2017

Why do The Cotwolds have so many amazing spa hotels? (Answers on a postcard if you can be bothered to write to me between your massage and poolside jacussi). I have great designs on doing a kind of spa crawl one of these days but for now my lucky ducky Muddy Gloucestershire editor Sarah has reviewed Whatley Manor spa, one of the best pamper parlours in the whole country. Here’s her verdict.

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Deep tissue issue? Say hi to David Lucas

21 Mar 2017

Firstly, what a cute puppy! And no, he’s not totally extraneous to the feature (*tut*).

But let’s start at the beginning.

My body has been falling apart for the best part of 20 years, and now that I sit down at a desk/at a restaurant/in a theatre/in the car for 12 hours a day I’m seizing up in places I didn’t even know existed.

From time to time I decide I’m going to battle the problem head-on –  I’ll start exercising regularly, stretch my body, get in shape and generally – PING!

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A beauty first with BIOEFFECT at Hartwell House Spa

17 Mar 2017

I’m as keen on a facial as the next wrinkly middle-aged woman (no botox ever having perked up the Muddy visage). Even keener when it’s a new brand. And now I’m adding mustard (metaphorically, becuase that’s how keen I am) because rather than trudging into London or off to the sticks to try it, it can be found mere miles from Muddy HQ at Hartwell House Spa, near Aylesbury.

I’ve written about Hartwell House in the past, the gorgeous National Trust heritage hotel where I held an extraordinarily boozy 40th birthday (btw, the Octagon Room is one of the most stunnning private spaces you’ll ever come across for a dinner if you’re on the search).

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Head to toe health check – do you have the nerve for it?

12 Mar 2017

With the NHS buckling under pressure, GP surgeries rammed and seemingly a different doctor working every time you manage to rugby tackle a receptionist for an appointment, it’s no wonder that private doctor surgeries are stepping into the gap.

The idea being that, for a monthly or annual fee, you can call up and get an appointment at your convenience, see the same doctor each time, talk through your issues without being rushed or dismissed with a ‘come back if it’s not cleared up in 4 weeks’ and feel so happy you’ll do star jumps on any beach you come across in your itty bitty shorts.

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Move over Bieber! Muddy tries cupping

20 Feb 2017

I’m always on the look out for the stuff that’s slightly new, different or quirky in the area, and blow me down if I haven’t found it! The brilliant Thame Therapy Clinic, which I’ve used on personal level for everything for osteos and acupuncture (my never ending bad back), to some cranial work on my first born when he headbutted my womb wall for 12 hours flat, run the whole gamut of complementary treatments, and they’ve added cupping to their offering since my last visit in 2015.

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Integrate me, baby! The Bagnall Centre

7 Feb 2017

It’s interesting how ‘wellness’ has become an accepted concept over the last year, isn’t it? It feels like our health is finally viewed as more than a pill popped or ten minutes offloading at the harrassed doctor’s surgery, with complementary therapies increasingly part of our lives, whether it’s acupuncture to help fertility or reflexology to help with migraines.

There are quite a few large complementary health centres around these parts, but I think former Muddy Award winners The Bagnall Centre for Integrated Healthcare in Chesham really puts its money where its mouth is.

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On my soapbox

18 Jan 2017

OK, it’s time to clamber back onto my soapbox. Actually, can you just bear with me while I do three sets of tricep dips off it first? As is the drill in January, I’m using this relatively quiet time of year, undistracted by mulled wine and stilton, to ramp up my health and fitness. Eating a bit less, moving a bit more, trying to jiggle into my lycra leggings that I’m sure didn’t feel like tighter than clingfilm this time last year.

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Let’s get physical! (um, not like that)

5 Jan 2017


Really need to do something to counteract those 8,000 mince pies? Us too. But breaking out that neglected Lycra (or in Hillary Swank’s case, that itty bitty bikini) is flippin’ hard, especially when it’s cold and dark outside and Netflix is emiting its siren call. But look people, there are ways of eassssing yourself, Muddy style, into a non-terrifying new year fitness regime. Steve Carvey,  triathlete and superstar PT at the awesome  David Lloyd Oxford gym, has some properly helpful, insightful tips for Muddy readers whether we’re gym bunnies,  freeformers, or morning-dodgers (hit the snooze button, I’ll get up when I’m good and ready). 

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Muddy tries: Clinic on the Green

10 Nov 2016

If I were to start a competition to find the cutest, quirkiest alternative therapy centre in rural England, I think the Clinic on the Green would have a good stab at winning it. Sitting on the green (well, what did you expect?) in Bletchington, a sleepy, pretty village 2 miles north of Kidlington, 5 miles east of Woodstock and 6 miles south of Bicester is a small, stone building, warm and welcoming in the sunlight, that offers a range of treatments from osteopathy, podiatry and sports massage to the more unusual offerings like Reiki, Maya Abdominal Massage and Emotional Freedom Techniques.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Bucks & Oxon Edition