The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Hampshire Edition

Wouldn't you though?

The striking designs and primary colours of Benoit Tardif's Metropolis engross everyone from tiny people to pensioners. #WorldBookDay

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Easy-Breezy Brunch in the Countryside

28 Feb 2017

To most of us — raised on Friends and Central Perk and Rachel-Ross’ will they won’t they-ing — brunch culture holds a special appeal: an easy amble to your neighbourhood cafe for flat-whites, poached eggs and papers.

All this disappears in a puff of petrol fumes, when you motor your life and worldly possessions from SW1 into deepest Hampshire.

It’s not that this fine county lacks cafe culture: Winchester, Alresford, Southsea… shrines to the bean one and all, but a short, easy amble?

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Ten Books for Small People

28 Feb 2017

Something for the mini-bookworms amongst us.  To celebrate World Book Day, Clare Maltby, Children’s Manager of Winchester’s P&G Wells has chosen her very favourite books for small people. If you haven’t popped into this wonderful indy bookshop tucked away in Kingsgate Village, read my review then trot down next time you get a moment. The children’s section is chokka with beautifully illustrated tomes, plus there are story sessions on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

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Austen and Keats’ Favourite Bookseller?

28 Feb 2017

Like a wood-pannelled, Edwardian curiosity shop, the UK’s oldest booksellers P&G Wells hides in the higgledy streets of Winchester’s Kingsgate village.

This quiet Cathedral of the mind has tended to the intellect and imagination of the city’s great, good (and let’s hope slightly wicked) people for over 250 years: it is one of Wykham’s very best kept secrets. The children’s section is particularly special — more on this later.

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5 Unmissable Oscar Moments

27 Feb 2017

As you might just have noticed, last night was the 89th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The movie industry’s finest got glammed up, came, saw and conquered… or, at least, thought they’d conquered but then realized someone had a made a humdinger of a boo-boo (more of which shortly). No time to read up extensively on the finer detail of the biggest, glitziest night on the showbiz calendar? Ta-da – here’s Muddy’s two-minute Oscars digest…

Someone had a very bad day at the office.

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Pimp My Pancake

25 Feb 2017

Saucepans at the ready — Shrove Tuesday beckons, time for one last hurrah before we behave ourselves during lent (*cough* except for my birthday, and my husband’s… not forgetting the dog). Pimp your pancakes with these naughty twists on the fillings we know and love.

 

1/ Lime with chilli-infused warm maple syrup and dark chocolate shavings

(To replace… lemon and sugar)

  • Infuse dried chilli flakes in maple syrup over a very low heat (taking care not to burn the syrup).
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The 16 Best Riverside Cottages

25 Feb 2017

Beach holidays in Britain always come with that anxious niggle – will it tank down for the whole week? Well, how about an inland lake or river holiday as an alternative? The landlocked Muddy editors (*sob*) have scoured their counties for some stonking rental properties with their own little piece of liquid heaven to tempt you through spring and summer.

STAY IN… BERKSHIRE

River Arts Club, Maidenhead

Who needs the coast when you can have the mighty Thames?

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Chic Sleeps at Rathfinny Wine Estate

22 Feb 2017

It’s been a long winter so let’s be honest, a short-break would not go amiss.  The brilliant Debbie, aka. Ms Muddy Sussex, found this stunning winery across the Hants/Sussex borders in the sprawling South Downs. Have you popped over to Muddy Sussex yet? Oh, but you must! Over to you Debbie…

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Ever keeled over on a settee hugging a bottle of Pinot Noir? No, me neither <cough>.

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New! Muddy’s Best Reads

21 Feb 2017

Need a new book to get stuck into? Muddy, as ever, is here to help. Taking being a bookworm to a whole new level is Muddy’s Kerry Potter. She gets 300 – yes, THREE HUNDRED shiny new tomes delivered to her house every month as she’s also books editor at a glossy mag (won’t somebody think of her postman and his lumbago?). So who better to do a monthly round-up of her favourite new releases?

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Top Five Things to Do in Hants

21 Feb 2017

Half-term planning’s done and dusted, no time to draw breath though Muddy Readers things to do, things to see…

 

Gangsta Granny, Anvil Arts, Basingstoke, Thur 23 – Sun 26 Feb

Friday nights with Granny means only one thing for Ben: cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake. Boring! But, oh how very wrong he is. David Walliams’ best-selling children’s book (yes, he of Little Britain fame)  has been adapted for stage to huge acclaim.

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Muddy Walks: The Mill Trail, Whitchurch

18 Feb 2017

Finally, spring is doing its things: there’s warmth in the sun, carpets of snowdrops, and children in the park after school.

Time for a good leg-stretch then.  The Mill Trail in Whitchurch, North Hampshire, is an easy, circular hour-and-a-half. Flat, push-chair friendly with kissing gates all the way and a rope-swing en-route, it hugs the River Test — Hampshire’s most famous chalk-stream — then flattens out through rolling farmland ending in Bere Mill.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Hampshire Edition