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The alternative guide to Valentines

February 14th, eh? If St Valentines is more of a botheration and you’d rather spend time with someone you love – yourself, then let Muddy inspire you to do something different during a soggy February day.  However if you’re planning gifts, adventures, experiences – all in the name of love then we’ve got it covered.

A cheesy love story – Seductive savoury selections

Board of cheese? No way?

Who doesn’t love a cheesy happy ending?  OK, I’ll rephrase that, what better indulgence for those of us without a sweet tooth than cheese on a cracker – and then we finish off the evening elsewhere?  OK my imagination is running wild now.  Head of Fromage in Northamptonshire are St Giles Cheese, purveyors of speciality goods, and they have something in mind to cap off your dinner date, or as a gift for your savoury mate.  Why not try one of their special Godminster Brie or Cheddars, or a specially made up Valentines hamper from £25?  More details in-store.

St Giles Cheese, 77 St Giles’ Street, NN1 1JF

Ooh, Spicy – The UK’s best curry house is in Northampton

…comes with pilau rice and a garlic naan bread

Last July (2016) Northamptons highly acclaimed Bangladeshi Restaurant was named the best curry house in the country, having won a Parliamentary competition to crown the nation’s best South Asian cuisine. So Saffron, in Castilian Street, are the current holders of coveted Tiffin Cup.  Winners!!! Why not impress your loved one with a trip to this spicy and sophisticated restaurant? Expect a vast diversity of Asian regional cuisines and brilliant service from your hosts.

Scrubs up nice – 20% off Day Spa packages @ Whittlebury Hall Nr Towcester, 13-16 February

Treat someone you REALLY love to a pampering spa

Is there anything more romantic at Valentines than spending time with someone you love?  You!!  Book on-line and you can get  a whacking 20% of the normal prices for a limited time only.  These include Elemis Indulgence Day, ESPA Indulgence Day,  Jessica Indulgence Day , Mums to Be Day, Unwind Day for Two.

Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, Near Towcester, Northamptonshire NN12 8QH

Love over a latte – spill the beans to your loved one

Loves labours lost? What might have bean

What’s not to fall with at Ground Craft Coffee – Northampton-based independent craft coffee house? Fantastic coffee and flavoursome artisan food in an unparalleled space, for the local community.  And very handsome gentlemen serving up their own roasted coffee no less!!  We popped along recently and were super impressed – swoon.  Check out our visit here

Ground Craft Coffee, 217 Wellingborough Rd, NN1 4EF

Curious Gifts from 15 Collingwood

It doesnt always take two babe, but in this case it does

15 Collingwood is THE place in Northamptonshire to pick up a gift – large or small, and in all cases these presents fall into the cool and curious category.  Who wants something off the peg when owners Rocco Cat and Franco have a more thoughtful and sophisticated range on offer?  We recently reviewed this fantastic bijoux bazaar – check it out here.

15 Collingwood Rd, Northampton NN1 4RD

Walk into the sunset together and Love Lyveden Weekend, Nr Oundle

To look at it is bracing enough, right?

A romantic walk around one of Northamptonshire’s most intriguing beauty spots? Yes please.  Fall in love with Lyvden by exploring the beautiful grounds and stunning views. The grounds at Lyvden New Bield are a sight to behold whatever the weather. When it’s cold, hours of fun can be had sliding twigs across the icy moat and on sunnier days the acres of orchards which surround the Elizabethan lodge are a must to explore. An audio guide will fill you in on the story of Sir Thomas Tresham’s doomed attempt to build an enigmatic garden lodge – the project was never completed because of his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.  up with a tasty treat in the National Trust managed cosy Cottage Tea Room. If you’re feeling really adventurous how about a refreshing walk there  from Muddy’s favourite parks – Fermyn Woods along the Lyvden way?  Booking Not Needed. Dogs on leads welcome. Entry to Lyveden New Bield is free for members of the National Trust otherwise it costs £6.40 per adult and there is no charge for under 18s.

Wine me, dine me…

Sharing is nice but not compulsory at The Church Restarurant

The Church Restaurant in Northampton is a gloriously romantic venue, and you may recall that the team there were winners of the Muddy Northants Award for restaurant of the year in 2016.  There is a special Valentines Menu on offer in 2017.  What price can you put on love eh?  £41.50 ahead actually.

The Church Restaurant, 67-83 Bridge Street, Northampton, NN1 1PD

Love is in the Hare

To some, Valentine might mean rampant rabbit but to us we’re thinking Hopping Hare. How about a lovely stop over  at one of Northamptonshire’s finest Restaurant Hotels.   There’s always a warm welcome, and there’s a special menu available at £29.95 per person . It’s not too far from Northampton Town centre and it offers a sanctuary to dine, stay and romance. It’s a really welcoming but sophisticated bar – just dont tell anyone you’re hiding away way here this Valentines.  Three is usually a crowd.  Up to date Room costs can be found here.

The Hopping Hare, 18 Hopping Hill Gardens, Duston, NN5 6PF

Run away together – Elope to London for some capital culture

Other colours of London are available

The Tate Britain’s major spring exhibition is well worth jumping on the train for: a comprehensive retrospective of British art giant David Hockney’s work. He’s now approaching 80, so there’s six decades’ worth of painting, drawing, print, photography and videos to enjoy, some of which have never been publicly exhibited. What better antidote to a grey February than gazing at gorgeously vibrant paintings of sun-dappled LA swimming pools? It runs 9 Feb to 29 May, and if you want to avoid the kiddie and tourist crowds, it’s worth noting the extended opening hours of 10pm on a Friday and 8pm on a Saturday.

Rock a billy romance – say it with roses

Romance with a bite – Rock it Billy (Cat)

Another Muddy Award Winner of 2016, is Cat Minney and her Gals, at Rockabilly Rose.  A florist like no other, Cat’s talents are in demand across the country, not just the county, as she offers floristry with a vintage twist.  Very, er, not modern but very on trend.  And who doesn’t like to receive flowers?

Rockabilly Rose, 14 Cambridge Street , Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN8 1DJ

“With our love, we could save the world” – George Harrison

February 14th is just a date right?  Whether you delight in the commerciality of it all or not, perhaps there’s no Valentine to celebrate and now is a good time to have a good think about what you really want.  This being said why not spend some time with someone you should love – yourself?  If you can find time to introspect, Muddy highly recommends a visit to Kelmarsh to meditate and contemplate the year ahead.  Check out our review here.

Nagarjuna Kadampa Meditation Centre, Kelmarsh, Northants NN6 9LZ Tel: 01604 686 778

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