The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Herts Edition

Muddy meets James Mayhew

17 Feb 2017

James Mayhew is the illustrator of the best-selling children’s books Katie and Ella Bella. He studied illustration at Maidstone College of Art and his first book, Katie’s Picture Show, was published in 1989 and is still in print. There is a wonderful display of his books at the equally wonderful David’s Bookshop in Letchworth. On Sunday 5 March, James is performing with Realm of Music at the new Broadway Theatre.

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HOW TO DO LONDON FASHION WEEK (IF YOU’RE NOT ANNA WINTOUR)

14 Feb 2017

London Fashion Week used to be a case of ‘if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in’ but these days the biannual round of fashion shows are a much more democratic affair. While you’re still unlikely to find yourself snuggled up front row next to the editor of French Vogue (wearing sunglasses indoors and a ‘whatever’ expression mandatory), there are plenty of other ways to get involved. With the AW17 collections being showcased in the capital from 17-21 February, Muddy’s Kerry Potter – a glossy mag journo escapee and veteran LFW attendee – has some ideas for soaking up the fashion vibes, even if your FROW ticket got (*cough*) lost in the post.

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Muddying about this week

14 Feb 2017

The sun is out, we’re shucking off our winter colds, things are looking up. Time to boot up and get out.

James Mayhew paints to the Four Seasons, Broadway Theatre, Letchworth, Sun 5 March

Performance illustration classical music mash up in the drop dead gorgeous new Broadway theatre. Get in! And be quick, James Mayhew tells me that tickets are selling faster than you can say Vivaldi backwards.

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Things you never knew about…Midge Ure

6 Feb 2017

We love an ’80s rockstar here at Muddy. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they enjoy reminiscing about their worst ever haircuts (and neckerchiefs) and they always have great yarns about that time they got hammered back in 1984. Midge Ure, Ultravox singer, Band Aid co-founder and genial Glaswegian, is no exception. He’s playing ace local festival Chilfest in Tring on 8 July so Kerry Potter at Muddy HQ gave him a buzz to talk music, mullets and more.

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Hitchin hosts with the most, and farewell sloe Ginuary

6 Feb 2017

I mopped up January with two stellar awards’ events, both hosted in Herts. On Monday I headed off to Hitchin, where Hermitage Road bar and restaurant was hosting the Top 50 Gastropubs awards. And on Tuesday, in Frithsden, the idyllic hidden pocket in the west of the county, it was the sloe gin competition at the Alford Arms where I was one of the judges. It’s hard work, believe me, tasting over 20 gins in one evening, but I bore it bravely.

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Be a safety-net parent, not a helicopter

1 Feb 2017

Feeling stressed? What’s your solution? Mindfulness or double espresso? You can’t stop worrying? Do you bring wine o’clock forward or dip into downward dog? All of us experience stress, and it can be overwhelming. But if you’re a parent of a teenager, well, that’s a whole other barrel of bananas. Nicola Morgan is an expert in adolescence and teenage stress as well as being an award-winning teenage novelist. She’s going to be at the Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature on Weds 8 Feb, talking to families about The Teenage Guide to Stress and all her other work on the subject.

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Hope springs. The best places to see snowdrops

28 Jan 2017

Snowdrops spark hope. The mere sight of them can make the spirits soar. Here are the best places to see snowdrops in the county, and for those of you who don’t mind crossing borders, I’ve included Cambridgeshire and Essex and even – fasten your seatbelts – Suffolk. Get out and enjoy them while they’re here.

Benington Lordship Gardens, near Stevenage, Weds 8 Feb – Sun 5 March

The Big One.

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Review: Aylesbury Grammar School Sixth Form

26 Jan 2017

In my day, back when mullets were the vogue and Simon Le Bon was plastered across the common room, it was rare to move schools for Sixth Form – it was never offered as an option to me. But parents these days are much more willing to chop and change schools to suit their children’s needs, and actually schools themselves are often eager to bring in some new blood for the Sixth Form.

So with this in mind this is the first in a series of Sixth Form reviews to help you make informed decisions about potential next steps.

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Tring’s cake artist

24 Jan 2017

Whether you’re into medieval fantasy or naked sponge with whipped buttercream, Sherry Hostler is your woman. There are bakers and there are artists. Sherry is a well swirled mixture of both.

With a degree in sports science, Sherry eschewed a career in marketing and a ‘beige’ office in order to bring some colour into her life. And now she makes cakes that win her awards.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Herts Edition