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The Muddy Winners Drinkies!


Hosting Winners Drinks at my house every year is a bit of a nightmare – ain’t no-one but me cleaning those loos and hoovering at ungodly hours of the morning! But when the Muddy Awards victors arrive ready to party and the music cranks up and the corks start to pop, I absolutely love it.

Wild Rose, wonderful Best Florist finalist who I booked in advance to create an amazing floral urn for the day.

The Awards are the hardest but most rewarding time of the year for me – the time when new exciting businesses emerge into the spotlight, everyone pats the back of hard-working local indies, and I remember why I started Muddy Stilettos in the first place. I love meeting interesting people, finding out what they do, and telling others about them, so this post is pretty much the easiest thing to write because here they are!

Fun Manchester couple move from London to Bicester and the rest is a winning bar called Thirteen – lucky for some!

We had a brilliant turn-out at this year’s drinkies, and just as well as we pretty much threw everything we had at the party this year – a converted airstream mobile cocktail van from Tipsy Flamingo who invented a special ‘Muddy’ martini cocktail for the day…

Tipsy Flamingo – danger, cocktails at large

… the brilliant photographer Ellie Walpole who took the images you’re seeing now (she’s so relaxed and funny but really nails the perfect shot – seriously, book this woman for portraits);

Muddy’s Sophie and Sascha

… sparkling red wine as a fun alternative to champers, just because (and how great it’s called Syn);

It’s a Syn: Muddy’s Sarah pouring the sparkling red for Black Swan’s Chloe

And everything caught on camera by the brilliant Emma Spellman of  Oojamaflick. Check out her film at the top of this feature – she did an amazing job. I’ll definitely use her for another party or Muddy event.

Robin from The Granary in Watlington photobombing Emma from Oojamaflick

PLUS what had been torrential rain decided to stop for my entire party and we even had sunshine and frankly the whole thing was a blast from beginning to end.

Drifters – coolest beard and Best Café

Stiletto biscuits by last year’s winner Bluebelle Biscuiterie –  laudably untouched by Olympian and winning PT Zac Purchase

Ali from Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – amazed at winning!

The Muddy team. Posers? Drunk? Frankly my dear, BOTH!

But there would be no party with no Awards, and no Awards with no readers to vote for their most loved indie businesses, so it’s a big heartfelt THANK YOU from me to you for taking the time to give your local favourites a pat on the back and showing your support for the Muddies. See you in 2019 for the seventh year (can you believe it?!!) of the Awards , but until then, give a virtual round of applause to …


Best Art Gallery: Dantzig Gallery (Woodstock)

Best Bar: Thirteen (Bicester)

Best Beauty Salon: Mirror Image Beauty (Wallingford)

Best Bookshop: The Book House (Thame)

Best Boutique Stay: The Bay Tree Hotel (Burford)

Best Café: Drifters (Henley)

Best Children’s Store: Angel & Rocket (Marlow)

Best Day Spa: Stoke Park Spa (Stoke Poges)

Best Destination Pub: The Greyhound Inn (Letcombe Regis)

Best Family Attraction: Cotswold Wildlife Park (Burford)

Best Farmshop/Deli: The Granary (Watlington)

Best Fitness Instructor: Zac Purchase (Marlow)

Best Local Food/Drink Producer: Bumble Bee Cider (Goring)

Best Florist: Bicycle Blooms (Oxford)

Best Gift Shop: FROM (Thame)

Best Hair Salon: Zaneta Lichnova (Oxford)

Best Interiors Store: Harriet Holgate (Watlington)

Best Jewellery Store: Libby Rak (Woodstock)

Best Photographer: Deb Porter Photography (Thame)

Best Restaurant: The Artichoke (Amersham)

Best Theatre/Arts Venue: Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (Aylesbury)

Best Wine Merchant: Eynsham Wine Cellars (Eynsham)

Best Women’s Store: Black Swan Bridal Studio (Wallingford)

Best Yoga/Pilates Studio: Nubodi Pilates (Henley)



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