The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Hertfordshire Edition

Wouldn't you though?

Given up wine for Lent? Probably unlikely, but whichever way you flop, you can enjoy the heady aroma of the sweet stuff from this recycled wine bottle candle. Glass of Sauvignon wax, anyone?

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cool camping

24 Mar 2017

Have you given a thought to summer camping yet? Those yurts, lodges and cool glampy sites get booked up waaaaay in advance, so to give you the early heads up, here are the 25 best places to start your search, as chosen by the people in the know –  the regional Muddy editors.


Hollington Park Clamping ,Woollen Hill, nr Newbury

If you love the idea of getting back to basics, but can’t quite bring yourself to sleep on a deflating air mattress, pitch up at Hollington Park Glamping near Newbury.

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9 fun things for this weekend, Thurs 23 March

23 Mar 2017

We’re about to start the gentle slide into the weekend, and if you’re still thinking about what to give your mum on Sunday, here’s my gift guide with suggestions from some of the local and independent retailers in the Muddy Little Black Book. And if you look at my Mother’s Day guide, there are some ideas here for things to do. And here are yet more ideas for this weekend and next week.

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Happy glampers

20 Mar 2017

I’ve only just discovered Home Farm Glamping, which is so far south in the county, it’s practically in London. Yet just look at the location. It’s got Aldenham Country Park on one side and its very own river for fishing on the other. Designed with a nod to those of us who panic when our iPhone is running out of juice, this is the kind of glamping where those minor details have been thought through.

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Yomp, slurp and chomp through the glorious Chilterns

20 Mar 2017

At last! The Chilterns Food and Drink Festival! What took them so long? As with all the best ideas, you wonder why nobody had the idea before. It’s an area that has rich pickings, so much so that back in the day, the Chilterns were known as the larder of London. So, where to start? The festival opens this Saturday and runs from 25 March until Sunday 2 April. You are invited to celebrate the bounty of Bucks, Herts and Beds in a series of deliciously greedy events.

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18 Mar 2017

Have you joined the campaign yet? No? What’s stopping you? I’m a recent convert and have found myself being positively evangelical about #wreathgoals2017. It’s a campaign that’s being championed by Alice Calcasola van der List, the Dutch floral designer who founded All In One Season in Letchworth. The campaign is gaining momentum, and Alice is on the cusp of transforming Hertfordshire into a county where a wreath is not just for Christmas.

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Deliciously Ella recipe: pistachio and orange truffle bites

12 Mar 2017

Here is the first of three recipes I’ll be sharing with you from Ella Mills‘s new book, Deliciously Ella With Friends. I was lucky enough to meet Ella when she was in Hertfordshire for an event organised by Chorleywood Bookshop. She invited me to visit one of her cafes, MaE Deli, and I have recently had lunch at her cafe in Weighhouse Street – review to follow.

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Blade runner: the man on a mission in Hitchin

10 Mar 2017

What do your kitchen knives say about you? I have learned something valuable about myself, and it’s nothing to shout about. My kitchen knives were pronounced ‘Entirely average’ by Tim Hitchin Sharpening Keegan, when I rocked up at his workshop with a car load of embarrassingly blunt knives. Leaving your house carrying a knife is illegal by the way, just to be clear. The reason I score ‘average’, is because, according to Tim, ‘Every blasted knife in this country is blunt.’

Tim looks rather marvellous when he is angry.

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Your guide to colourful fun in Herts and further afield

9 Mar 2017

WOWzers. Literally. Women of the World unite, with an explosion of creativity and colour. In this week’s guide there is fun to be had with paintings and flowers and loads of good things to inspire you to get out and celebrate life and spring. Now is the time. Give yourself permission to have a ball.

WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, South Bank Centre, Fri 10 March

Hello, look who it is.

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She Inspires Me, St Francis’ College

8 Mar 2017

To celebrate International Women’s Day, St Francis’ College Letchworth invited three inspiring women to talk to the students, parents and teachers at the school. The event was also open to the good people of Letchworth, and the house was full.

Speak. Do not remain silent.

First up was Dr Preti Taneja, who went to school at St Francis’. Preti is a writer, journalist, broadcaster and human rights advocate.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Hertfordshire Edition