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The Muddy Guide

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Now this is dedication to the cause. Propped up at my desk, head full of codeine, back in spasms, but still I’m writing the Muddy Guide.

The world seems to be waking up from its January stupor so there’s much more fun in the offing this week. Never mind that I’m confined and crippled, you go and have a good time!

Childish Things 9: Music and Comedy Night, New Theatre Oxford, 5-6 February

I’ve had a couple of so-so experiences with big name comedian gigs. Harry Hill, Ardel O’Hanlon and Chris Rock all struggled to keep the momentum up for an entire show, so now I prefer nights like Childish Things 9, where there’s more variety and comedians use their best material in 6 rather than 60 minutes.

So this is an early heads up on these two shows, supporting the Helen & Douglas House charity, as I think they’ll sell out quite quickly. On the 5th, Rob Brydon (above), Newton Faulkner and Josh Widdicombe are the bigger names, while the 6th boasts Paul Foot, Al Murray, Charlie Baker, KT Tunstall, and Marcus Brigstocke.

£25-55. New Theatre, George St, Oxford. Ox1 2AG. Tel: 01865 320760. Book tickets

H&M opens, Aylesbury, 31 January.

H&M's spring 2013 key looks

H&M’s spring 2013 key looks

Yes, yes, you lot in High Wycombe, Milton Keynes and Witney – I know you already have an H&M! But this is big news for Aylesbury, the spiritual home of the charity shop,  pawnbroker’s and Gregg’s bakery.

It’s hard work turning a downtrodden town around, but the Waterside Theatre has been inspired, Waitrose is opening soon, and H&M is a good fashion beginning. But this is my call out to other more fashion forward, trendy or higher end brands to say that Aylesbury needs you and there is definitely a market for you in this neck of the woods. And we consumers need to support H&M too – because if they do well, others will follow. There endeth the sermon. Happy shopping!

H&M, 1 Friars Square Shopping Centre, 5HP20 2QF.

Big RSPB Garden Birdwatch, River & Rowing Museum, Henley. 27 Jan

river and rowing museum
If you’ve had enough of sledging and snowballs, this is a sweet alternative for the kids this weekend. The RSBC are running this bird-watch event, with loads of wildlife-themed activities for children – making animal masks and birdfeeders, creating dragonflies, learning about river birds on a bird-watching tour. If you haven’t been before, I really recommend the River & Rowing Museum – a lovely building in a gorgeous river-side setting, just a stone’s throw from the main town too if you want to make a day of it, or take the kids to the cinema later on.

River &  Rowing Museum, Mill Lane, Henley, Oxfordshire, RG9 1BF. 01491 415600.


Stephen Biddulph talk on ‘Raising Girls’, Aylesbury Girls School, 28 Jan.

girls whispering
This talk by renowned psychologist and author Stephen Biddulph is the hottest ticket in town. Biddulph made his name with ‘Raising Boys’ and after five years of research  he’s now written ‘Raising Girls’ , designed to help girls grow up ‘wise warm and strong’.

If you can’t get tickets for the Aylesbury event (they were nearly sold out at time of typing), tomorrow he is speaking at the Mumsnet Academy in London, and on 31 Jan he’s appearing at South Hampstead High School. Take a seat and find out where you’re going wrong!

Live Friday, An Evening with the Gods, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 25 Jan.

ashmolean late nights 2

I love the idea of this night. I haven’t managed to make it yet, but on the last Friday of each month between 7pm – 10.30pm you can wander around this gorgeous museum seeing the collections and major exhibitions after hours to the backdrop of theatrical performances, creative workshops, dancing and music. Then head up to the rooftop Dining Room for drinkies. Tonight’s theme is An Evening With the Gods, where the Ashmolean will be miraculously transformed into Mount Olympus. Trippy! 

Photo credit: Alice at 



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