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WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide 22- 29 Jan, 2015

Couch veggie or social animal? I can feel myself coming out of hibernation now. My diary starting to look a bit more fruity and exciting on an evening (oh Mr Muddy!), and the cataclysmic shock of working again after being in a blissful haze of champagne and Quality St all Christmas has finally worn off. Start plotting your next 7 days of fun here – all work and no play is officially banned on this blog!

Top Hat, New Theatre Oxford, from Weds 28 Jan

Top Hat 2

Just what I fancy this month – a smoochy, slick, visually jaw-dropping piece of utter escapism. Top Hat brings the magic of the Fred n Ginger movie to the stage, continuing its West End tour and packed with the classics that my mum used to sing to (that might be an exaggeration, she can’t hit a note), like Cheek to Cheek and Puttin on the Ritz. The The show’s won Olivier awards for Best New Musical, Best Choreography and Best Costumes plus the Evening Standard Award for Best Night Out. There’s also a behind the scenes tour you can take on Sat 31 Jan if you want to see how a big musical  production looks off-stage, whilst surreptiously running your fingers across over 200 silky, feathery costumes. *sigh*

Top Hat, New Theatre, Oxford, runs until 7 Feb 2015.  Book here.

Beaconsfield Young Cinema, from Sat 24 Jan


A new cinema club for Beaconsfield kids sounds like a great idea. It kicks off with ET this Saturday at 3pm, then Babe on 14 Feb, Matilda on 28 Feb, and ends with – argh, what else?! – the Frozen Singalong Special on 28 March. All films are rated ‘U’ or ‘PG’ and suitable for all aged 7 and over with their parents/carers.

Beaconsfield Young Cinema at Station Road, Beaconsfield. Films start at 3pm and seats are £5.  Turn up, or to be sure buy tickets here.

The Quince Tree, detox and fitness specials, Stonor, running now


You have to hand it to The Quince Tree. What do you do in the early part of the year when no-one wants to stuff their faces and all the money is going on new gym memberships? You introduce a Detox or Retox menu! It started just last week, and for ‘Detoxers’ offers fresh raw juices, superfood meals like pickled grilled mackerel or quinoa & pomegranate salad so you can nibble without feeling guilty. The retox menu is for those who can’t be bothered to remove all pleasure from January and want the winter warmers like pheasant kiev or steak and kidney pudding. While we’re at it, it’s worth mentioning too that Olympic rower turned PT Toby Corbett (a former Muddy award finalist) will be starting pilates and interval training classes at  The Quince Tree from next Thursday (29 Jan). Blimey, pass me my towelling headband, I’m perspiring just writing this.

For more details see the website.

Zane Lowe at O2 Academy, Oxford, Sat 24 Jan

Zane Lowr 2

Come on, you know you want to go! I am about to perform a collosal name drop *THUD*. For tis true, I actually worked with Mr Lowe when I lived in New Zealand (I was a hopeless TV presenter and he was frankly amazing on the same channel), but he was a super-lovely bloke and really tried to help me. Did you know, fact fans, that Zane was in hiphop group Urban Disturbance before he was a presenter? He was a famous musician in NZ and obviously still loves to tour, so if  you’re a closet rapping afficionado here’s your opportunity to put your cap on backwards and make awkward hand signals.

Alternatively,  if you’re feeling a bit sweaty and fleecy- slipper-and-nightgown about going to his gig, just stay at home namedrop his Oxford gig to your slack-jawed children. Holy crap, mum’s cool after all!

O2 Academy, Cowley Road, Oxford. Doors open 10:30pm. Booking info here

Heaven and Hell – LiveFriday at The Ashmolean, Fri 30 Jan

Live Friday

An early *WARP WARP* heads up on the fabulous Live Friday, returning to the Ashmolean not this Friday but next. Inspired by the current William Blake exhibition and his revolutionary text The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, there are free performances, workshops, talks, live music and general creative things going on, all for free and after hours from 7 -10.30pm, giving you the chance to experience the Museum and see the collections after hours. The William Blake: Apprentice & Master exhibition will be open late (last entry 9pm), and the Rooftop Dining Room and Crypt Café will be open all evening. Sounds fab.

Free entry. More info

 Tim Whitehead, Spin Jazz, The Wheatsheaf, Oxford, Thurs 22 Jan 

Tim Whitehead

Tim Whitehead’s first public performance was playing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Simon Rattle as a teenager. Since this pretty impressive start, Tim’s gone from strength to strength to become one of the most distinguished saxophonists playing in the UK and Europe, and he’s rocking up at the lovely grungey jazz hole The Wheatsheaf tonight only.

The Wheatsheaf, 129 High Street, Oxford OX1 4DF. Tel – 01865 721156. Doors open 8.30pm. 

The Cat In the Hat, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, from Thurs 29 Jan

cat in the hat

The fun for younger kids will really kick in over half term (and let me tell you, I am preparing quite the Guide for you!), but this will tide you over. Based on the much loved book by Dr Seuss, The Cat in the Hat promises towering hats, mischief and an imagination recharge. It’s for 3+ but based on that description it has Muddy written all over it!

Thurs 29 Jan – Sat 31 Jan. Booking details and link to the website here.

Vintage Fair, Hatfield House, 25 Jan, 10am

mg 21-01 vintage

Across into Herts for those who like a good old rummage for some vintage treasures – there’s a Vintage Fair this weekend in the Stable Yard at Hatfield House will be right up your street.  The North London Vintage Market is venturing into Herts for the very first time — you’d normally have to head to Crouch End to see what they have.  Entrance and parking are free, leaving you more to spend on that beautiful whatever-it-is that you simply have to take home with you.

After Hours Guided Tours, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Fri 23 Jan 

pitt rivers

An exclusive after hours guided tour of this fab and slightly spooky Museum, where you’ll be taken around by one of the expert guides in groups no bigger than 15, and then be free to browse the collections away from the daily crowds. Tricky time of day to make it unless you live or work in central Oxford, but worth making the effort for if you’re in the ‘hood. It’s also available the same time the following week on 30 Jan.

Pitt Rivers Museum, 5.30 – 7pm, Price £10. Limited tickets – all children under 16 to be accompanied by an adult.

Huia Vineyards (Malborough NZ) come to Wendover, Weds 28 Jan

2 Pound Street-2135[1]

New Zealand sauvignon-blanc must be the most reliable tipple in the world – come on, can you remember a bad bottle? –  and Claire Allan, owner and winemaker from Huia Vineyards (Marlborough, NZ) is the woman to explain why. Huia is one of New Zealand’s leading wineries, producing exceptional wines, using organic, Biodynamic and sustainable practices. She’s brought some of her new stuff for you to try too…

The tasting is at No2 Pound St, Wendover, and starts 7.30pm. Tickets £10 per person (£5 for Wine Club members) and must be booked in advance. Tel: 01296 585022 or book online

Learn to Draw Winnie the Witch, Story Museum, Oxford, Sun 25 Jan


Oxford’s The Story Museum continues to pull in massive names in children’s story telling. This weekend your kids can learn to draw Winnie the Witch with fab children’s book illustrator Korky Paul. Apparently there’ll be a special appearance from Winnie herself, though there’s no word on Wilbur.

Suitable for families and children aged 5+. 2-3pm, Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP

Light, Theatre Ad Infinitum

theatre ad infinatum

Well this will be different. An immersive theatrical experience taking place in total darkness at Oxford’s North Wall theatre, this production of ‘Light’ by Theatre Ad Infinitum blends anime-style storytelling with pulsating music. It’s described as a ‘nightmarish tale of love, betrayal and technological power’ which admittedly doesn’t sound very jolly but if you’re in the mood for a battering of the senses it could be right up your street. Recommended for over 12s Time Out describe the production as ‘a jaw-dropping technical achievement’. Dare you.

Weds 28-Thurs 29 Jan. North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford.

Last chance! Hogwarts in the Snow at Harry Potter Studios, ends Sun 1 Feb

hogwarts snow 2

Calling Harry Potter fans. Just over a week to go to see Hogwarts castle with its festival decorations, and under snowfall. For the first time at the Studio Tour, the film series’ Special Effects Department have used coloured lights and a special vapour that flickers and dances to create ‘fire’ in the Great Hall and Gryffindor common room fireplaces.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour,Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR. Book here




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