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This weekend

FRI 9 - SUN 11 MAR 2018

Michelangelo, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 6 Mar – 2 Apr

Nice earring! And, er, the drawing’s not bad either. Your chance to explore a remarkable group of drawings by Michelangelo, recently returned from New York where they were a central feature of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They’re only on show for four weeks so don’t miss your chance.


Sudeley Castle & Grounds Opens, Winchcombe, 5 Mar

I love it when the castles and manor houses start to rouse themselves from their winter slumber and visiting Sudeley Castle is at the top of my list this month. The rooms and exhibits are stunning, but outside the castle is surrounded by a breathtaking 1,200 acre estate and 10 award-winning gardens including the Queens Garden, where Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I all walked upon the original Tudor Parterre.


The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park, 7 – 11 Mar

What to do if you’re art mad but can’t afford to splurge? The Affordable Art Fair is back this month to tempt you with work from over 100 galleries, including former Muddy Award winning best gallery Carina Haslam (go check out the Great Missenden-based gallery at E5 and Craig Mooney’s work, featured above). Carina has some free tickets too if you’re quick off the mark – call the gallery on 07973 322397.


MK Handmade and Vintage Fair, outside John Lewis, The Centre: MK, 10 – 11 Mar

Milton Keynes is known for its high street shopping and mega brands so it’s brilliant to hear there’s something a little different on offer this weekend for shoppers who veer towards quirkier buys. This mammoth craft and vintage fair has 128 stalls selling fashion, homewares, furniture, gifts, art and vinyl (there’s a vinyl revival doncha know – my daughter caught sight of some of my records last weekend and asked, “What are those giant CDs?” Young people, eh.) Some of the designers will be available for bespoke commissions too. You’ll find it all in that cavernous 1800 sq m space outside of John Lewis.


Oxford International Women’s Festival, Oxford, 24 Feb – 11 Mar

It’s the 29th year of this festival and the pressure’s on to make it really count in the 100th year of women’s suffrage and with International Women’s Day on 8 March. It kicked off last weekend but there’s still plenty to do including Suffragette walks around Oxford, talks on everything from Sylvia Pankhurst to gender diversity, housing to, er, the menopause (I’m not even joking!) plus music and art in the mix.


Oxford Vegan Festival, Kassam Stadium, Oxford, 10 Mar

Go the vegans! It feels forever ago when vegans were the weirdy beardies of society – now they’re hip, happening and with excellent digestive tracts. To celebrate the victory of the vegetable, head to the Kassam Stadium for this festival with over 100 stalls, demos and children’s entertainment.


Coffee Concerts, Holywell Music Room, Oxford, 4, 11 & 18 Mar

I’m always mentioning them in the hope that someone will try them out! I have very fond memories of sitting with my lovely dad, giggling through one of these concerts when the music turned out a bit more experimental and screechy than we were expecting. No such problems for you though – the Marmen Sring Quartet plays Schubert and Beethoven on the Sun 11 and the brillaint Fionacci Sequence Piano Trio let rip with some more Schubert and Tchaikovsky on Sun 18. As always head to The Vaults for a free coffee with every ticket to shake away Saturday night’s hangover.


Opera Anywhere: The Magic Flute, St Hilda’s College, 10 Mar & Steeple Aston Village Hall, 24 Mar 

You have to admire Opera Anywhere – they really do move around and bring the arias to the people! The Magic Flute is one of my favourite operas, probably because I studied it for my A levels so kind of know what’s going on and also I’m more inclined to comedy (I figure it’s as easy to laugh as cry). This production celebrates the birth of ‘teen culture’ in this coming-of-age story and explores the other-worldliness that glamorous Hollywood brought to post ‘Blitz’ London.


Dancin’ Oxford, Various dates and venues in Oxford 

Dancin’ Oxford seems to have cranked up a gear – though it offers its festival every year, now there’s an ongoing programme of grooving, moving, locking and popping across the theatre space and public spaces in the city. This month choose from taster classes in Zumba, Charlston or African dance, watch Tango Moderno with Flavia and Vincent or Theatre ad Infinitum at The North Wall. Full listings here.


New Natural Play Equipment at Boarstall Duck Decoy, From 10 Mar

I rather the small, unusual, slightly eccentric National Trust pleasures and this one, in mid Buckinghamshire, houses one of only four existing duck decoys in the country, a way to trap ducks without shooting them invented in the 17th century (not as altruistic as it sounds – no-one wanted to remove lead pellets before munching). This decoy is still in working order, surrounded by 13 acres of natural woodland, and this month there’s new natural play equipment for kids to play on too. A sweet diversion for an hour or so. Quacktastic.


Alexandra Buckle Exhibit, The Stables at Claydon Estate Courtyard, Bucks  10 – 25 Mar

Alexandra buckle forest painting big tree

Bicester-based Alexandra Buckle is the first artist of 2018 to exhibit at The Stables in the beautiful Claydon Estate near Buckingham, and what a fab choice. Even better this is the linocut artist’s first major solo exhibition so snap up a classic while you can.


Teacup Floristry for Mothers, Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, 10 Mar

Your mum will love – a hands on floristy workshop with a  “picked from the garden” approach, using  fresh flowers, blossoms, foliages and buds in vintage tea cups. The workshop includes Wild Strawberry Cafe Refreshments, tuition, all equipment and flowers.

Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, 9 Feb – 3 June

I love Barbara Hepworth’s work – if you’re ever in St Ives, be sure to visit her gorgeous house/studio, with its striking sculptures dotted all around the pretty garden. So I’m very excited about this – and what a coup for Henley’s little museum. This retrospective covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see.


Legoland Opens, Windsor, 9 Mar

OMG. Protect your credit card, it’s gonna get a hammering. 2018 marks 60 years of the brick and to celebrate there are a horde of new attractions including ‘Mini Land’ replicating world-famous landmarks and LEGO® Reef where you can build your very own digital fish. Watch out for the gift shop at the end – it’s a killer.


Penguin, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, 11 Mar

One of my favourite children’s books. There’s something fabulous and subversive about a penguin that bites a lion on the nose and a child who shoots a penguin into space in a fit of pique. Long Nose Puppets have taken Polly Dunbar’s classic Penguin and turned it into a classic stage puppet show for 2-8 years old at the excellent Cornerstone Theatre in Didcot.



Justin’s Band, New Theatre Oxford, 3 Apr

Is this the most famous man in the UK? There can’t be a parent in the land who hasn’t weeped in gratitude to Justin Fletcher and his children’s TV shows over years. Fletcher is a dab hand at live performance too – he was in Reading over Christmas for the panto – and he’s rocking up at the New Theatre Oxford with a brand new show, Musical Adventure. Expect lots of singing and learning about musical instruments along the way, and possibly some requests to play the tuba. Tickets 



Peckham Salvage Yard, Copeland Park, 10-11 Mar

Banish thoughts of Only Fools and Horses, Peckham is the hottest of hotspots in London right now. Like, really! (In fact Muddy’s Kerry is just back from a weekend mini-break there.) And if you love decking out your pad with vintage finds, this market is definitely worth whizzing down to South London for of a weekend. This indoor vintage market hosts over 40 traders, a mix of veteran sellers from Spitalfields and Bermondsey markets and locals having a clear out (head to them for your bargains). From mid-century modern furniture to antique luggage, there’s something for every vintage fiend.  Afterwards go grab a bite at buzzy Vietnamese street food joint Banh Banh or eggs-cellent brunch specialists Pedler, both a short stroll away on Peckham Rye.


The Glamour Beauty Festival, Saatchi Gallery, London, 9-11 Mar

The original incarnation of Glamour magazine folded last year but it’s back as a biannual beauty magazine and site, aimed squarely at millennials and teens. That said, beauty junkies of any age will find lots to entertain them at this Saatchi Gallery event (and if you’ve got a teenage girl in your life, it’d make a sweet day trip this Mothering Sunday weekend). Nars, Elizabeth Arden, Laura Mercier, Revlon, Guerlain, Pixi, GHD and others will have stalls offering complimentary treatments and advice, plus there’s a programme of talks from celebrities (Scarlett Moffatt’s confidence masterclass sounds fun), influencers and make-up artists. Ticket prices include a free goodie bag worth £180.


Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V&A, London, until 17 Jun

v and a museum ocean liners exhibit empress of Britain poster white ship

These days the nearest I get to ocean-faring is a packed P&O ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg but in the early 20th century travelling by sea was fabulously glamorous and romantic. The V&A’s major Spring exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style celebrates the golden age of the big boats, looking at their design and cultural impact. Exhibits include Goyard luggage once owned by the Duke of Windsor, 1920s bathing suits and a door panel from the first class lounge of the Titanic.


Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1 Mar until 20 May

A major new exhibition brings together, for the first time, the works of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). These four artists would come to embody the very best in photography of the Victorian era and have influenced photographers ever since. Featuring striking portraits of sitters such as Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Thomas Carlyle, George Frederick Watts, Ellen Terry and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, 7 – 11 Mar

The Southbank’s 8th WOW Women of the World festival is, as you’d expect, thought-provoking, eclectic and celebratory in turns. Loads of events to choose from including a panel on equality in the creative industries, a portrait project supporting those against genital mutilation, Joan (drag king comedy last seen locally at Cornerstone Arts) and Yap Yap Yap, a hilariously irreverent and teary recreation of women’s speeches throughout history.

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