Your social life sorted: The Muddy Guide 3 – 9 Aug
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Crazy Bear Champagne Lunch, throughout August & September
They had me at ‘champagne’. Those lovely Crazy Bear chaps have come up with an ingenious way to entice us into their establishments over the next two months. From Monday to Friday in August and September, go for lunch at one of the Crazy Bear restaurants (Stadhampton, Beaconsfield, Covent Garden or Fitsrovia, pictured above) and you’ll get free champagne throughout the meal, as long as you drink ‘responsibly’ (I’m guessing this means not falling off your chair). I don’t know about you but I can do some serious damage to a magnum of champers over a couple of hours, so my advice is to choose your venue, select your poison (rose vintage or non vintage cuvee premium champagne) and get yourself absolutely, gloriously piddled.
National Trust Kids-Go-Free month. Nationwide, throughout August.
Does what it says on the tin, but if you enjoy the glorious NT castles, stately homes and beaches such as Pembrokeshire’s Broad Haven (above), now’s the time for all the family to enjoy Britain’s national treasures at a knockdown price.
Oxford Playhouse Plays Out, Castle Street Square, Oxford 2-3 August
The Oxford Playhouse continues its community tour by setting up their tent in Castle Street Square. Inside they promise brilliant shows for children, along with workshops, crafts and games, plus somewhere for frazzled parents to relax with a cuppa – all for free. If you can’t get to Oxford, fear not, it moves to Berinsford Village Fete on 4 Aug, then Millets Farm Centre Frilford 5-6 Aug, Kidlington on 8 Aug, and then Wilderness Festival from the 10-12 Aug. A dead cert.
Cartoon Science show, at Science Live Oxford, 6 August
I’ve written briefly about Science Live before, but if you missed it, it’s a fantastic, modern, fun facility in central Oxford that manages to enthuse kids of all ages (as well as adults if that’s your bag) about practical science. Usually you can rock up there and just let the kids loose on the soft play and simple experiments, but you can also book for special interractive shows – my oldest son has raved about the two he’s previously been to. The Cartoon Science show explores the weird and wonderful laws of physics that exist in the cartoon world, so it’s perfectly pitched at 8+ kids while the littlies barge about the main area. Booking essential.
Arthouse film delights, on general release 3 August
The Dark Knight Rises is all very well, and I love Hollywood as much as the next girl, but I like a bit of arthouse too. With this in mind, there are a couple of cool films you may be interested in (or if you’re not, I am, haha!). Design fans will love Eames: The Architect and the Painter, a brilliant documentary narrated by James Franco, exploring the creative and personal relationship between husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, still regarded as one of America’s most important design partnerships. I can’t find a local cinema brave enough to run that one so it may be a London visit (or if anyone knows different, please let me know). Also worth checking out is Searching for Sugar Man (playing at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse next week) a much-admired documentary that tells a gripping story of two music fans who go in search of early 1970s American singer-songwriter Rodriguez, discovering him in a rundown area of Detroit. They eventually persuade him to go on a comeback tour in South Africa where he’s now a national treasure. OK, that’s enough culture for one night, I’m off to read Hello! in the bath.