The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Northamptonshire Edition

Top 10 picture books for kids

2 Apr 2016

It’s International Children’s Book Day and we’re continuing with the best books for kids; and in part 2, Emily Adsett-Raggett gives us her choice of the top 10 picture books. My teen and 11 year old, are too old for these books, but I remember a few of these gems like it was yesterday.

Over to Emily…

What the Ladybird Heard Julia Donaldson (author) and Lydia Monks (illustrator)

A storytime favourite.

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Top 10 chapter books for kids

2 Apr 2016

As a prolific reader, I’m always on the lookout for good books that the two mini muds will enjoy reading. It can be a bit of a struggle sometimes though (the eternal battle for book time from screen time), and although our bookshelves are lined with books, some of which have become family favourites (the entire Harry Potter series comes to mind, as does anything with Roald Dahl’s name on it the cover), others have barely a crease in the spine (the classics).

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Muddy meets: Devine Betty’s & Rockabilly Rose

1 Apr 2016

The greatest wonder of the them all is that the stars of your dinner party could ever align.  Why would the melee of choosing the right (and impressive) menu, co-ordinating cooking times, giving good front of house, floral arrangements AND keeping certain guests off the cooking sherry before 8pm cause any consternation – after all we are (Northants) British aren’t we? But listen…I’ve got the winning formula!

Step forward, the Ladies at Devine Betty’s and Rockabilly Rose; my new Fairy Godmothers, who together, bring you the dinner party with bells on!

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Muddy Northants, Easter hols survival guide, part 2

30 Mar 2016

It’s nearly WEEK TWO of the Easter hols! Managed a few sleep ins yet? No? Pooh Shmoo, not to worry. Sweep up the last broken bits of chocolate egg, pour a tea for one, and plan out the remaining few days of joy with the raggamuffins (or indeed, just your good self)!


Rapunzel, Thurs 31 Mar, Lighthouse Theatre

A funny musical for the whole family; an old tale with a new spin.

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Muddy pairs Easter food and wine

25 Mar 2016

Nipping out to the shops for some last minute Easter wine supplies, but unsure what will match the food to impress the Father-in-Law? Well I’m no stranger to the joys of a good bottle of wine (as you well know), but the more I meet independent wine merchants, the more I appreciate how much I don’t know. Proper indie wine stores are now sadly few and far between, but the ones that are hanging in there are successful because they’re seriously good and totally passionate about what they do…and we’ve been talking to one about Easter!

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Muddy Northants, Easter hols survival guide, part 1

22 Mar 2016

It’s Easter, there’s chocolate and Bank Holidays, what’s not to like? *swifty hides Easter egg wrappers under the sofa! Anyway, here’s your Muddy low-down for what’s on in the first half of the break (while you’re still full of energy and facing the morning with freshly brushed teeth and a spring in your step)!

The Last Tango, 21 Mar- 26 Mar, Royal and Derngate

Strictly’s Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have created their most moving production yet, as they prepare to dance in their final ever show (Grand Muddy is desparate to don her sequins and go and see this).

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Muddy tries: Facial reflexology

22 Mar 2016

Sometimes on Muddy, the quirky little businesses out there find me, rather than me foraging afar and finding them. And when one comes knocking offering to rub rose scented oil into my face, who am I to say no; even if it is a guy, a stranger I’ve never met (but hey, that’s what I’m here for, to try out the unknown, be the intrepid reporter to come back with a yay or nay for my loyal readers).

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My favourite places – Author Joanne Harris

21 Mar 2016

Joanne Harris is the acclaimed author of Chocolat made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche (was it just me, or was Johnny Depp a bit weird in that film?). Since then, she has written 15 more novels, two collections of short stories, three cookbooks and her books are now published in over 50 countries (phew). She’s appearing at the Oxford Literary Festival in three separate events from Friday 8 – Sunday 10 April 2016, so pop in and see her if you’re there.

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Because I’m (not always) happy…

17 Mar 2016

Strictly speaking, that’s not true. I’m not always happy. But I’m definitely a glass half full type, so near as damn it baby! It’s a big bad world out there sometimes, and here on Muddy, we tend to skip on the lighter side of life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t touch upon some of the other stuff too. I’m off to try some hypnotherapy in a couple of weeks; we’ve been told it’s great for stopping smoking and losing weight, but apparently it’s also good for everyday anxiety (I shall report back dear reader, worry not – pardon the pun).

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The Muddy Guide: What’s on Thurs 17 – Weds 23 March ’16

16 Mar 2016

Easter and Spring Flowers, Bay Tree Cottage, Thurs 17 Mar

Repeat to self ‘I will become a passable gardener.’ Pah, who am I kidding! However, I am loving all the flowers starting to blossom again and this workshop will show you how to create splendiferous arrangements using a selection of seasonal flowers. And just in time for Easter (ooooh isn’t it early this year). From 9.30-12.30, £45.

Bay Tree Cottage

Discs from a Desert Island with Castaway Rev Richard Coles, Kettering Park Hotel, Thurs 17 Mar

We all love the Coles (you know, vicar of Finedon, once in the Communards), he’s always in the media somewhere, Radio 4, QI, Have I Got News For You (personally, I listen to him on Chris Evans, follow him on Twitter, OK, mildly stalk him on Twitter…) anyway!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Northamptonshire Edition