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The Muddy Guide: What’s On – Thurs 3 – Weds 9 March

Into the final straight for this week and galloping towards some fun. Giddy-up!

Flower workshop, The Quince Tree, Sat 5 March


Show your mum how much you appreciate her at this floral workshop, where you’ll create a beautiful floral display in a vintage container to take home as a gift (no gentlemen – crysanthyms from Esso aren’t going to cut it). Kids are welcome, but under 13s need to be accompanied by an adult. Tea, coffee, breakfast pastries, vintage containers and flowers all provided plus xpert advice on-hand from Sam How, founder of Willow & Bloom, as well as from professional visual merchandiser Frances Coe.

£35 per person (over 16 years old); £15 per person (under 16 years old). 9am – 12pm.

Bitten Street Food Market, Oxford Castle, Sat 5 March


Bitten Street outdoor food market returns this Saturday for the first of its monthly visits to the Oxford castle Quarter. Bitten rotate their traders to keep things intesting for foodies and this year there’s a new outdoor Bitten bar selling local craft beers. The Telegraph proclaim it ‘one of the UK’s Best Street Food Markets’ but make your own mind up.

From 11am – 3pm, Oxford Castle Quarter.


The Sir Robert Mayer Annual Children’s Concert, St Hilda’s College, Sun 6 March

The regular Cushion Concerts at St Hilda’s introduce kids to individual musical instruments, and this does the same sweet  concert performed by The Millford Ensemble for chamber music. They promise rows of standard seating in the hall, plus some space for younger children to sit with their family on cushions at the front so feel free to bring your own soft furnishings.

3pm for under 5s; 4:30pm for over 5s. £5 for parents and children (babies under 1 year free) £16 family ticket (4 spaces). St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford,


La Boheme, Chipping Norton Theatre, Weds 2 March 

merry opera

Tra-la-laaaaaa! The well-regarded Merry Opera, acclaimed for their ‘charm, energy and wit’ (Opera Now) return to the Chippy Theatre with Puccini’s La Bohème. You know the story *cough* of course – one of the greatest love stories in opera, Rodolfo and Mimi embark on an exuberant and despairing love affair  among the cafés and student lodgings of the Latin Quarter in Paris. Cue heaving bosoms and vibrato everwhere.

The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring St, Chipping Norton,

Goodnight Mister Tom, Milton Keynes Theatre, Tues 1 – Sat 5 March

mister tom
The Olivier award-winning Chichester Festival Theatre production of Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom comes to the MK theatre. Set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom follows young William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and forges a remarkable and heart warming friendship with the elderly recluse, Tom Oakley. All is perfect until William is suddenly summoned by his mother back to London. A real hankie blower.

Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Bucks,

Scary Little Girls present Dracula: The Kisses, Chipping Norton Theatre,Thurs 3 March


This sounds a bit bonkers, so I’ll include it! Scary Little Girls theatre group present Dracula: The Kisses, an an adaptation of the gothic classic performed by an all female cast. They promise ‘steampunk design’, and ‘daft, dark fun’.What’s the betting Dracula sneaks a bit of cake to accompany all that neck biting?

The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring St, Chipping Norton,

D’un Matin de Printemps: A Concert in Celebration of International Women’s Day, Oxford, Mon 7 March


It’s International Womens Day next week (rock on girlies!) so to celebrate, this concert shines a light on the  achievements of women composers over the past 100 years. A mixture of small and larger ensemble pieces by the likes of Lutyens, LeFanu, Boulanger and Ustvolskaya will be performend by internationally renowned muscians including pianist Daniel Grimwood and violinist Madeline Easton, violin.Holywell Music Room, Oxford, Boogie, Kidz Dancin’ & Now Dance, Pegasus, Oxford, Sun 6 March


A whole day of dancing for kids at Pegasus on Sunday as part of the 10th Dancin’ Oxford festival. Nothing new with Baby Boogie , but Kidz Dancin’ sounds cool, is a family event for children aged 6-10 years that includes a chance to learn some urban/street moves, followed by Now Dance, exclusively for 11-14 year olds and includes a demo of moves to put your back out from the guest street dance posse.

Baby Boogie, from 10.30 – 12.30, Kids Dancin’ 1.30-3.30pm, Now Dance 4.30-6.30pm. Pegasus, Magdalen Rd, Oxford,

Michael Rosen’s The Big Write, The Discover Centre, London, Sat 5 – Fri 11 March


Obviously a bit of a schlep getting over to East London, but I thought this was well worth a mention if you fancied a day out because there are just so many stars from the world of children’s literature turning up for this nine day event. Michael Rosen has curated an extraordinary line up for The Big Write which kicks off on World Book Day, Thurs 3 March and runs until Fri 11 March at Discover Children’s Story Centre and venues around Stratford. He’ll be joined by some of our most exciting children’s authors, illustrators, poets, musicians and artists in a packed programme of events, performances and workshops. Authors taking part include Chris Riddell (A Great Big Cuddle) A.F. Harrold (Fizzlebert Stump) and Sam Lloyd (Calm Down Boris) plus loads more. There’s lots of things for the littlies too, including meet the picture book characters Maisy and Kipper.

The Big Write is based at the Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, E15 4QZ. For tickets and more information, visit the Discover Centre’s website

Family explorers: Spot the Signs of Spring, Stowe, from 1 March


A sweet idea from the stunning Stowe Landscape Gardens to get families out into the grounds. They are providing ‘spring spotting guides’ for kids so they can look out for everything from flowers to new cygnets.  Head to The New Inn Pick up the guide, and give yourself a good morning – it’s absolutely beautiful up there and you won’t want to leave.

Stowe, Buckingham,

An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Contemporary Art, Modern Art Oxford, Sat 5 March

I love contemporary art but really have no idea what I’m buying half the time. This one-day course by Paul Hobson, Director of Modern Art, aims to help navigate the art world and art market and understand how art is given value culturally and financially so you feel confident when you next bid for a Damien Hirst spot painting.

Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke St, Oxford,

Colour in the Home, Cliveden House, Thurs 3 March


It feels a bit Stepford Wives to include this but actually it’s flippin tough trying to decide on wall colours isn’t it? This Colour in the Home talk is hosted by a Farrow & Ball International Colour Consultant (yes, apparently they exist) and includes a drinks reception, three course meal with wine, and plenty of advice on how to zsush up your colour schemes,
£58per person for Cliveden Club Members / £65 per guest. Cliveden House & Pavilion Spa, Taplow, Berkshire,,


Mother’s Day!

I’m planning to lie in state all day and be fed, watered and generally treated like the goddam queen I am. But if you want go out, there are flash afternoon and champagne teas at Missenden Abbey near Great Missenden, Waddesdon Manor and Cliveden (where there is free wine tasting and chocolate tasting too). For the less flash, there’s a lovely Mother’s Day option at the Wild Strawberry Cafe on Peterley Manor Farm. Or if you want to be fancy pants and go into London, Sketch in Conduit St is putting on jaw-dropper  – afternoon tea with a glass of Moussé Fils rosé Champagne (£68 per person) or a bottle of Bollinger rosé (£220 for two), plus a Dyptique scented candle gift for the special lady.

Shakespeare Lumiere, Guildhall Yard, London, 4-5 March

shakespeare lumiere

I have no idea what a Shakespeare-themed cocktail would contain, but I’m intrigued at the promise of one – especially when it’s combined with a whole load of modern interpretations in light, sound and performance.  This free event promises a 3D light projection onto the façade of the Guildhall, with specially-composed music.  The Guildhall Art Gallery and the City of London Heritage Gallery, both open until 9pm, will have all sorts of Shakespeariana (is that a word? it should be), including his actual signature and a copy of the First Folio, as well contemporary art work inspired by the Bard, and Shakespeare-themed cocktails at a pop-up bar.

6.45-8.45pm. Shakespeare son-et-lumiere

Orchids 2016, Kew Gardens, until 6 March


There’s just time to catch this annual orchid display at Kew Gardens this weekend (did someone say Mother’s Day excursion?). Isn’t it gorgeous? An enchanted forest of Brazilian beauties, before you pass through a tunnel of tropical plants. Look out two enormous Rainforest Tree sculptures covered in orchids and bromeliads, plus this pond display with an explosion of Brazilian colour. Part of the regular ticket price into Kew.

Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey,

Magical Lantern Festival, Chiswick House and Gardens, until 6 March


Just a few days left to catch The Magical Lantern Festival (it finishes on Sunday) making its UK Premiere at Chiswick House & Gardens. An outdoor event (so be warned!) it’s festival of light and illumination celebrating Chinese New Year 2016 and the Year of the Monkey with a 66n long dragon centerpiece and a 10m tall lantern recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven. You’re given 75 minutes to explore the picturesque garden trail through Corridors of Light leading to vividly themed zones in the stunning grounds of Chiswick House.

Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 2QN,





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