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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 12-19 Feb 2015

Yes, there’s a lot of loved-up Valentines shenanigans going on this weekend – but there are lots of other things to keep you busy, too. Afternoon tea with a stylish twist? Ballroom magic? Or a spot of hands-on culture with the kids? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Matthew Williamson Afternoon Tea at Balthazar, Russell Street, 6 Feb-1 May

mg-12-02 tea

Fashion designer Matthew Williamson has turned his attention to cake, rather than couture, and created a delicious-looking afternoon tea for Balthazar on Russell Street in London. Don’t know about you, but a pistachio and kirsch macaroon sounds pretty tempting to me, as does the Chasing Rainbows cocktail that the bar manager there has created to accompany your afternoon delights – Pinky vodka, Lillet Blanc, yellow Chartreuse, crystallised rose petals and Brut Champagne. Don’t mind if I do. You’ll need to make a reservation by calling 0203 301 1155. Tea is available every afternoon between 3 and 5, and is just £25 (unless you want the cocktail, too, in which case it’s £35). Sounds like a stylish treat to me.

Duende Pop-Up Restaurant, Hastoe, Fri 6, Sat 7, Fri 27 & Sat 28 Mar

duende 1

Fancy something different for dinner?  Chef Tim Zekki – aka The Lop Eared Pig – is bringing his Duende pop-up restaurant to Hastoe next month.  There are just a handful of tickets left for Saturday 7 Feb (the Friday is fully booked), so it’s definitely worth booking in advance for the two dates in March (Fri 27, Sat 28).  The menus are amazing – think, Moorish confit of duck, prunes and saffron, or wild boar terrine with quince jelly, or salted caramel Eton mess – which sounds like an absolute steal at £30 a head for three courses and an amuse bouche.  Bring your own cheeky little vintage with you, and there’s not even any corkage.  Read my review here.

Singles Cocktail Class, The Snug, Hitchin, 14 Feb, 7.30pm

 mg 12 02 cocktail

If you’re at a loose end this Saturday night, head over to the The Snug Bar in Hitchin for a cocktail class — learn to shake cocktails, try some different ones, and meet lots of lovely new people.  Spaces are limited, so you’ll need to get line now for your spot at the bar. You can tweet @thesnugbar with #snugsingles or email [email protected] and they’ll let you know if you’re in.  Sounds like a laugh, and I’m sure learning to shake cocktails counts as self-development, right?

The Snug Bar, 24 Sun Street, Hitchin, SG5 1AH,

Sir Jacob Epstein: Babies and Bloomsbury, Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London, until 10 May

 mg 12 02 jacob epstein

Sir Jacob Epstein’s portrait sculptures are stunning, and the recently-opened exhibition, Babies and Bloomsbury, at London’s Foundling Museum features Epstein’s work depicting children and babies in particular, including members of his own family, his children and grandchildren.  As a young man, Epstein worked in a house that overlooked the Foundling Hospital, so the setting of the Foundling Museum seems beautifully fitting.  The exhibition includes his distinctive bronzes, drawings and archive photographs, and documents Epstein’s bohemian Bloomsbury life.  On 18 Feb, there’s a free family workshop, Super Sculpture,  where you and yours can create clay sculptures inspired by the portraits in the exhibition – or by the children you’ve taken with you, I suppose.

Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ,

Casablanca, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 14 Feb

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If you’re after a spot of old-fashioned romance, Hemel’s Old Town Hall is showing ‘Casablanca’ – the 1940s classic that’s just awash with self-sacrifice, lost love and smoky bars. Bogart and Bergman smoulder all over the place, and it’s… oh… it’s just lovely, isn’t it?

Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead,, £3.

February Frolics Lambing Event, Willows Farm, London Colney, 14-22 Feb

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It’s lambing time at Willows Farm and so there’s lots of sheepy fun to be had at their February Frolics Lambing Event. Watch the lambing, bottle-feed the little blighters, do some woolly arts and crafts, all that sort of thing. There are also family shows and lots of indoor play if the weather’s not so great.

Willows Activity Farm, London Colney, AL4 0PF,

Brendan Cole: A Night to Remember, Watford Colosseum, 20 Febb

 mg 12 02 brendan cole

Are you missing Strictly? Worry not – Brendan Cole, he of the impossibly wriggly hips – will be strutting his stuff at Watford Colosseum next week in his new show, ‘A Night to Remember.’ There’ll be ballroom, there’ll be Latin, and there’ll be lots of sparkly bits. I imagine he might be flashing his pecs once or twice, too. Not a bad night out, if you like that sort of thing.

Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, WD17 3JN,

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