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What’s on this week: 27 Nov – 4 Dec 2014

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‘William Blake: Apprentice & Master’, The Ashmolean, Oxford, starts 4 Dec


The Ashmolean’s major winter exhibition focuses on the extraordinary life and work of William Blake (1757–1827), print-maker, painter and revolutionary poet of the prophetic books. I’m off to the preview early next week so I’ll report back asap, but as with most exhibitions at the Ashmolean its’ the nearest thing to a dead cert.

Runs until 1 March 2015.. Tickets £9 adults, £7 concessions, £4.50 12-17 yr olds.

Stratton Audley Christmas Barn, trees arrive!, Nr Bicester, Sat 28 Nov


Been up to this Christmas Mecca yet? Aside from the fab gift shop, where I managed to sort pressies for all my kids, the ‘happy’ trees arrive at Stratton Audley Christmas Barn (nr Bicester) from this weekend. If your previous purchases have been a bit wilty and piney underfoot after a week or two, talk to these guys, then grab a coffee and pressies while you’re there!

Living Advent Calendar, Henley, daily throughout December


Totally loving this idea. Like a children’s Advent Calendar, a different window or door opens at 6.15pm each evening and a 30-minute performance kicks off – anything from songs, carols, music, poetry or dance, all with a Christmas or winter theme. The idea brings nearly 100 local businesses together over the 24 days before Crimbo. For details about what’s happening and when, go to the website

Huskies at Waddesdon Manor, every weekend until 4 Jan


If you love dogs you’ll go mad for this. For the third year, child-friendly huskies will be up at Waddesdon Manor every weekend from today (28 Nov) to help you and yours get into the Xmas spirit. For little ones there’s also letting writing to Father Christmas and a sleigh to take a selfie in (say no more, I’m totally there). You can also have a hot choc on the terrace sat in sheepskins though *sigh* I understand you’ll have to bring your own hipflask… By the way, the lovely Waddesdon Manor Christmas Fayre is on until Sunday 30 Nov (1oam-5pm, 7pm on Fri, Sat, Sun), with 55 exhibitors in lovely wooden chalets selling the usual festive gifts and gorgeousness on the South Lawn, and comes back again Wednesday 3 to Sunday 7 December 2014. Really you should just bring your sleeping bag and toothbrush and live at Wadddesdon for the next month.

Do You Love Food, Gerrard’s Cross, 29-30 Nov


A slight re-branding of Love Food festival by the look of it, but it does sound fab – free masterclasses in everything from pasta making to canapes, a kids cookery school and food lab, crafts and gifts, 70 or so exhibitors and a street food fair if you can bear to look at anything edible by the end of the day.

10am – 5pm Saturday & Sunday. Memorial Centre, East Common, Gerrards Cross, SL9 7AD. Tickets £6.75 family, £3 adult/£2.50 concessions/£0.75 kids

Flash in the Pan is back with a pop-up shop just in time for Christmas. Opening this weekend, why not pay a trip here and have a bit of fun while you do some Christmas shopping. If it’s a completely original Christmas present you’re after, this is your starting point.

Flash in the Pan, Oxford, 29 Nov – 23 Dec

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Flash in the Pan ‘pops up’ annually in various places around Oxford selling a variety of art, jewellery, ceramics and an eclectic mix of gifts, food and objects. This year you’ll find it at 109 Walton Street in Jericho, in what used to be Posh Fish. Lots of local artists are supported, with prices ranging from £1 – £2000, so there should be something to suit most budgets. There’s a special opening evening tonight, or just rock up any time until 23 December. You’re bang in the middle of Jericho so it’s easy to combine with an indie film at the Phoenix Picturehouse, dins at The Rickety Press, The Anchor or Brancho, a trip with the kids around the corner to The Ashmolean to see the William Blake exhibition, or a jaunt with friends to shopshopshop.

Open daily 10am-6pm; Thurs/Fri – 10am-7pm; Sun 11-4pm.

Christmas Craft Fair, The Barn Courtyard, Wendover, 27-28 Nov; Reindeers on 3 Dec


Every year the lovely Mel from a little bird told me gallery hosts a Christmas Craft Fair in The Barn Courtyard in Wendover, a chance to buy cools stuff from the likes of  Liberty Rose, Liveluxe, The Dandy Kid and Antiques at Wendover. This year the Craft Fair takes place on 28-29 Nov 10-4pm, with Christmas decoration making for little ones and mulled wine for frazzled grown-ups. Plus, those clever Dandy girls have persuaded the fabulous Oglee Poglee to run a free kids craft making session all day in store the Sunday from 10-4, plus showcasing some of their new craft kits (I’ve tried them, they’re great).

Also, on Wed 3 Dec, between 5-7pm, Santa’s reindeers will trotting up to Wendover Wonderland to the Barn Courtyard, so little ones can feed them a carrot or two and ask them about Santa. £2 entry. See website for more details.

Ice Skating frenzy


The season of sore bums and cut fingers begins! The main outdoor rinks open this weekend. Check out the main rinks here, both local and further afield and make like Torvill & Dean with your other half.

Great Missenden Christmas Festival, 29 Nov


The narrow High Street of Roald Dahl’s beloved village closes this afternoon between 3-8 for the annual Christmas Festival. Sounds fun actually with a hog roast, paella, live jazz, Victorian fairground and petting zoo, shopping market, Willy Wonka and free entry to the Roald Dahl Museum.






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