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Your resident gossip here with all the juicy happenings across Bucks & Oxon including funky art in Amersham and The Ivy Oxford opening date!

Art in Amersham 
How totally cool is this handbag art by Central St Martins alumni Debra Franses Bean? Her quirky creations have featured in NY fashion week, serval international galleries and even on the Christmas tree at super-luxe The Kempinski Hotel in Marbella. You can check out more of Debra’s handbags at a new artist showroom opening on Old Amersham High Street. The soft launch is this Fri on 1 Nov , where you’ll get the chance to commission a personalised bag with the artist.
Panto season incoming! 
Chippy Theatre always puts on a fantastic panto (oh yes it does!), and this year it’s going to be Puss in Boots. To kick off ticket sales, on 2 Nov , the cast in full costume,will be on a big red vintage London double decker bus outside Chippy Boots (boots, geddit?) with fete games and prizes including four freebie tickets up for grabs.


New openings!

Big news on the block is that The Ivy Oxford, on High Street, finally has an opening date! The elegant brasserie and prime spot for a cocktail-fuelled girly brunch is now taking bookings from it’s opening date on Tues 5 Nov. Also brand new and taking bookings is the sister outpost of casual fine dining restaurant Crockers Tring, Crockers Henley, which is opening in spring 2020. Crockers Tring mailing list subscribers can book an Early Bird stay and dinner package between 20 April and 30 Sept at a special introductory rate.

Also in Henley, Shaun Dickens at the Boathouse will be relaunching on 31 Oct. Run by Acorn Award-winner and Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons alumni Shaun Dickens, the restaurant is switching from à la carte, fine-dining to a more casual dining concept with dishes including 12-hour braised beef, pork belly and the Boathouse burger.

Meanwhile, in Marlow, Strawberry Grove café has recently opened on High Street, near Higginson Park. The café will be the third Strawberry Grove in Bucks, with other branches in Maidenhead and Lane End. Milton Keynes is also getting a new opening with luxe Japanese-inspired bar The Blossom Room set to open in The Hub Milton Keynes on 15 Nov. It’s set to be Insta-catnip with a canopy of cherry blossom, flower wall and artisan cocktails.

And finally, speaking of groovy Oxford-based hangouts, the Dodo Pub Co family, which own pubs across our locale including The Rusty Bicycle, nr Iffley, and The Up in Arms in Marston, is branching out into Berks with the opening of new hipster hangout The Last Crumb in Caversham.
Don’t leave us…

Clinton Pugh, owner of super-cool Kazbar, Café Tarifa and Café CoCo and father of actress Florence Pugh, is selling the trio of Cowley Road restaurants and bars, some of which have been serving for nearly 30 years. Fingers crossed the new owners leave them all exactly as they are.

Oxfam superstore 

Looking to bump up your eco points? Oxfam’s absolutely mega superstore is now open in Oxford Business Park North, with a selection of second-hand goods as well as handcrafted gifts, homeware and more sourced from both donations and the Oxfam range. The 18,500sq ft store also has a cool cafè inside a water tank (above), plus a drive through for dropping off donations.


Daunt Books opening in Summertown

This is fantastic news for Oxford! Independent booksellers Daunt Books (which also owns Muddy Award-winning The Marlow Bookshop) will open its 10th bookshop in Summertown in the new year. The new store will bring indie bookselling back to the area after the sad closure of The Book House in June last year. The 1800sq ft lot on Banbury Road will have a strong fiction, history, biography, travel and poetry section, a large children’s area and will also have a programme of events and activities.


And finally…

Need something to get your through the last slog of half term? Well, have I got news for you! Over in High Wycombe a huge soft-play centre, Ruby and Red’s (see above), has recently opened at Rush trampoline park for younger children. The new £150,000 astronaut-themed attraction has capacity for 100 kids as well as a café for parents.

And if all that playing makes ’em hungry, until 3 Nov, Prezzo restaurants are offering kids a three course meal + drink for just £1 – should keep them quiet too. Lots of locations in Bucks & Oxon to choose from including Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Bicester and Oxford. Buen appetito!

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