I'm sniffing around the latest news and gossip in Bucks and Oxon like Columbo on a murder case. Although my mac is less filthy (marginally).
What’s going on? Marvin Gaye once asked. Well, Marv, plenty thanks for asking!
I’ve never met a pop-up supper club I didn’t like so am excited to hear that Muddy favourites Native Feasts are back with their most intriguing venue yet. They’ll be cooking up a, well, feast at St John’s Church in Stadhampton, Oxon in the run-up to Christmas, on 15, 21 and 22 Dec. Good news – this is a church with that rarest of things – underfloor heating. Even better news – the delicious menus. I’ll have the confit duck leg, ta. It’s £45 per head including mulled grog on arrival. Over in Watlington, you can live la dolce vita The Granary Deli on 2 Nov with an Italian-themed supper-club. It’s £25 per head – drop in to buy tickets or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, a designer sample sale is making a fleeting visit to Thame Town Hall on 12 Nov 6.30pm – 9.30pm offering some mighty fine clobber from Essentiel Atwerp, Charlotte Sparre, Intropia and many more. Head down there for a cashmere fix. Finally, we’re big fans of talented local ceramicist Fleur Enser‘s gorgeous bowls, dishes, vases and lamps. She’s opening a pop-up shop for one day only in her rural studio (Old Rickyard, Church Lane, Lower Heyford) on 17 Nov, 11am-5pm.
A spot of retail therapy?
New openings galore in Oxford so credit cards at the ready! Cult beauty brand Too Faced has arrived in the Westgate – don’t be put off by the cutesy packaging and product names, this stuff may be catnip to teenage girls but the products are pretty good for grown-ups too (the excellent Better Than Sex mascara is a case in point). The new store is highly Instagrammable (naturally) and there are loads of discounts and gifts with purchases for early bird customers. Meanwhile, Mango also arrives on 10 Nov and is definitely worth a peek. When it comes to Spanish high street fashion, Zara gets all the kudos but Mango is brilliant this season (there’s a ’70s-style brown leather dress with my name on it so hands off!). And do make time to pop into the historic Covered Market too, with its quirky selection of indie shops. Newcomer The Oxford Soap Company opens its doors there on 13 Nov, with its range of handmade soaps and beauty products. They’re all-natural, local, have quite the pedigree (they’ve created soaps for Raymond Blanc’s restaurants and are sold at Blenheim Palace) and make pretty Christmas gifts. What more could you ask for?
Bad news first – we’re sorry to hear that the brilliant Goring riverside restaurant The Leatherne Bottel has closed just months after reopening under new management. Details are here – the owners are looking for outside investment or crowd-funding to get up and running again. Muddy fingers are firmly crossed. In happier news, we’ve heard a rumour that chichi French fine dining spot The Swan at Tetsworth has nabbed a new chef with experience of Michelin-starred restaurants. Ooh la la, watch this space! And finally, Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew has a new exec chef, Jason “Tank” Loy (he’s a big lad). He was previously head chef Dean Street Townhouse in W1, a key Muddy hangout, so we can very much vouch for his culinary skillz. Worth noting: yes, Farmhouse is la-di-da members’ club so you can’t just rock up for lunch on a whim but anyone can book an overnight stay and eat themselves to a standstill that way.
A day out at Waddesdon Manor used to mean Rover had to stay home but dog owners note – your four-legged friends are now allowed all around the National Trust property’s grounds, free to roam everywhere except The Parterre formal garden, the aviary (obvs) and children’s playground. Woof!