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The Muddy Guide 29 Nov – 5 Dec

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Christmas is kicking off, various, Oxfordshire and Bucks

Dickens Festival

You have to hand it to the local towns, they’ve really upped their game in recent years, recognising that to compete with out of town retail parks and online giants they  have to actively attract footfall. This weekend we make it into December so there is masses going everywhere. Highlights include:

Thame Christmas Lights and Dickensian Christmas (6 Dec)

This sounds amazing, with horse drawn carriages going up and down the Upper High St, live music, market stalls, miniature steam railway and late night shopping. Like, wow. And to top it off, Anita Dobson (Angeeeeeee!) will be turning on the lights.

Abingdon Christmas Extravaganza (30 Nov)

abingdon town hallAn all day event with a parade (at 11.45am), Cinderella theme and reindeers, plus fireworks at 6pm.

The Wallingford Christmas Festival, 1 Dec (11 am – 5 pm): a fab event where the  town closes to traffic and opens late, featuring an outdoor market, two live stages for music and entertainment and free children’s facepainting

Great Missenden has its Dickensian Eve (30 Nov). Carina Haslam art is having a special  viewing, Oasis beauty is offering some amazing deals on treatments, and a whole raft of other local businesses are pushing the boat out on the night.

Woodstock’s A Night of a Thousand Candles (6pm, 30 Nov) where the town switches on the Christmas lights and brings out the big guns of mulled wine, chestnuts and market stalls.

Tring Together Traditional Christmas Festival (today, 29 Nov, 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm): just over the border into Herts, so perfect for East Bucks residents, there are over 60 festive stalls, Father Christmas in the Victoria Halls, and street food.

And *breathe*. That lot should keep you busy for a while.

Tickets for Simon Russell Beale in Same Mendes’ ‘King Lear’, on sale from 8.30am today

King_LearBook this, like, NOW! Muddy super-fave Simon Russell Beale is starring in Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear at the National Theatre from 14 Jan, but tickets go on sale this morning (29 Nov) at 8.30am. The supporting cast includes Anna Maxwell Martin (Regan), Kate Fleetwood (Goneril), and Adrian Scarborough (Fool). Bound to be a total sell out so get cracking if you fancy a spot of tragedy in January that doesn’t include the fact you’ve already failed in your New Year’s Resolutions.

14 Jan – 25 March 2014 at 7pm. Matinees on Weds, Sats & Suns (selected dates) at 2pmNational Theatre, South Bank. Tickets. £12 – £50.

Mini Bite Festival Weekend, Chipping Norton, 4 – 7 Dec

The Bite Weekend

After success of October weekends, get set for a celebration of culinary excellence and superb wines throughout the Cotswolds: masterclasses and tasting events, and artisan food markets and tastings in Market Hall, Chipping Campden with live music, live reindeer and Christmas stalls.

Programme and info at

A canine Christmas Wonderland, London, 28 Nov – 21 Dec

Christmas Dogs

Do you love your dog like it’s your child? Prove it by taking your pooch to London’s first ever Special Santa Paws Grotto by Lily’s Kitchen, a dog food company, where they get to enjoy a doggy dinner with all the trimmings. You couldn’t make it up.

Mon – Sat (10 am – 5 pm). Santa Paws Grotto, 67 Pimlico Road, London.

New film releases this week…


After months of not going to the cinema, Mr Muddy and I are back on a roll. We saw Captain Phillips earlier this week starring Tom Hanks (amazing – go see it), Philomena with Steve Coogan and Judi Dench (lovely, heartwarming, shocking) and Gravity (incredible visuals, gravity-defying little bottom on Sandra Bullock too).

New releases out this week that I have my eye on for various reasons are…

Saving Mr. Banks (out today 29 Nov at Odeon Oxford and Aylesbury). Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in the story of the making of Mary Poppins movie by Walt Disney.

Casablanca, 70th anniversary, Phoenix Picture House, Oxford (30 Nov), 13.30 pm. For incurable romantics everywhere *sigh*. Tickets £9 available at Phoenix Picture House.

Frozen: the brand new Walt Disney Christmas fairy tale (6 Dec), perfect for a family trip to the cinema so you can catch up on some zzzzzs in the dark.


The British Turkey Hotline, 1 – 24 Dec

Turkey Hotline

Panicking about your turkey already? Hey, pick up the phone and have a chat about it! The British Turkey hotline (0800 783 9994)  is open weekdays, right up until 5pm on Christmas Eve, or you can go to for recipes, cooking, carving advice etc. Alternatively do as I do. Get half cut by 11.30am and then giggle your way through your dried out Christmas lunch.

Additional research: Sara Pinotti

Find more ideas here

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