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Superflashy Newsflash!

Psssst! From pop-up supper clubs to foodie festivals... Wanna know the latest goss in our 'hood this January? Muddy is all over it, naturellement.

I’ve been collecting superflashes of news, and now I’m ready to spill those goddam beans! Here’s 10 hot gossip happenings in Kent right now.

FOODIE FAVOURITE: Pub in the Park, Tunbridge Wells, 12 – 14 Jul

It’s baaaack! It’s just been announced that the biggest celebration of the best food and music the country has to offer is returning to Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells this summer. In case you haven’t heard of it, Pub in the Park is Michelin-starred chef and TV personality Tom Kerridge’s food and music festival which started out in his stomping ground of Bucks and is now in 8 UK destinations – and not to be missed! Alongside some of the biggest names in the food industry you can enjoy top music acts, including Will Young and a DJ set with Basement Jaxx. Tickets go fast and will be on sale 1 Feb (or sign up to their newsletter for access to the pre-sale on 31 Jan).

LAUNCH EVENT: The Kent Running Coach, The 1809 Hub, Hildenborough, Sat 9 – Mon 11 Feb

Since local legend, Dame Kelly Holmes, announced that Café 1809 in Hildenborough, near Tonbridge, had served its final cup of coffee and was morphing into The 1809 Hub, (still founded by Dame Kelly Holmes) I’ve been eager to see what new exciting future ventures would emerge. Well word has reached our shell-like that The Kent Running Coach, a new sports injury and performance centre, is launching in the upstairs space. It will be a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in sport and exercise (literally everything – run analysis and coaching, osteopathy, Pilates, sports massage…) The team behind it, Amy Pay & Clare Norris, will also be working closely with Dame Kelly and the 1809 Hub team to provide workshops and events based around running, fitness and mental health. The launch is OPEN TO EVERYONE – so feel welcome to jog along and see exactly what they’re offering (and bag some demonstrations and discounts!)

The Enchanted Forest, Pop Up Restaurant, East Sutton, Sat 16 FebOur new favourite tented-pop-up hosts, the brilliant Twisted Bramble, is brought to you by Nicci Gurr of Home Gurr’own. Celebrate Valentine’s in style this year as you wind your way down candlelit pathways and dine amongst the trees, encased within the walls of a beautiful sailcloth tent. The pop up will appear in the grounds of Friday Street Farm, East Sutton where you’ll enjoy magical entertainment, a cocktail upon arrival and a delicious 5 course feast. Tickets cost £85.

Sex in the Garden: a talk on the private lives of insects, Sat 9 FebWhile we’re on the subject of Valentine’s here’s a date like none other… Enjoy a three course meal, with optional insects, followed by a talk by Dr Erica McAlister from the Natural History Museum, in the cosy surroundings of the Blooming Green shed. Scientist, author, star of radio and TV, Dr Erica McAlister will be sharing her love of insects as well as enlightening us with tales of their quirky, fascinating and often shocking behaviour – right outside our back door.

Before sitting back to enjoy Erica’s saucy tales or entomological erotica, you’ll be treated to a bug-themed menu (insects optional) including a welcome cocktail, canapes, main course and dessert. Edible insects will be provided by Eat Grub — a boundary-breaking sustainable food brand that aims to revolutionise Western food culture by introducing insects as a staple part of it. 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm.

NEW TAP ROOM: Cellar Head Brewing Company, Flimwell

This brilliant local brewery, with a highly memorable logo (that black and white dude with hops for a beard) only launched in March 2017. But since then Cellar Head (which only uses English hops) has gone from strength to strength gaining a cult following and place behind our fave bars and on shelves in our local stores. Now they’ve just moved to bigger swanky premises just off the A21 near Flimwell by the Bedgebury turning. Stop by and you’ll find not just beer, but also local wine and a good selection of soft drinks too.

Makes a perfect pressie for the Mr Muddys or just stop by for a pitstop – there’s a walk directly from the brewery to Bewl Water. Dogs are welcome (children on leads!)

NEW OPENING: Verdigris Restaurant & Bar, Tonbridge

Foodie alert!! Kent celebrity chef Scott Goss, who appeared on BBC Two’s Great British Menu last year, has opened his first solo restaurant, Verdigris, in the centre of Tonbridge next to the river with a view of Tonbridge Castle. Scott has worked with the likes of Gary Rhodes and Robert Spencer, after starting out at The Swan, with Peter Cornwell, before going on to be executive chef of the I’ll Be Mother group of restaurants including The Beacon in Tunbridge Wells, The Swan at Chapel Down and The Twenty Six in Southborough. Basically Scott has the golden touch and he’s always original which is why Muddy is so excited about his new venture. Head here for fine wine, quality cocktails and exquisite food.

FOR THE GIN LOVERS: Leeds Castle Motte & Baille Gin, Available now

Who doesn’t love a limited edition? Especially when it involves a much-loved slice of local history and a great local distiller. As Leeds Castle celebrates its 900th anniversary in 2019 they’ve teamed up with Copper Rivet Distillery in Medway to produce a special edition Motte & Baillie gin. The gin has been distilled in a limited batch of 900 bottles and is infused with specially selected botanicals from the Castle estate; sweet fig from the Castle Island, floral Rosehip from the Culpeper Gardens and fragrant pine picked from the Lady Baillie Mediterranean Terraces. Each botanical was handpicked by the Leeds Castle Gardeners and given to Copper Rivets Head Distiller to infuse the flavours and create this unique, craft gin. Chin, chin.

FESTIVAL FUN: Black Deer Festival, Eridge Park, 21 – 23 June 2019

Black Deer is back for 2019! Last year the first ever Americana and country music festival to launch in the UK, happened right here in our neck-of-the-woods and it was all kinds of rootin’-tootin, foot-stompin’ cool. Well now we’ve got the chance to dip into the world of Americana & Country music once again when it returns this summer to picturesque Eridge Park. A family-friendly festival with wholesome food & drink, artisan wares and custom-built motorcycles, just some of the things – in addition to the music – paying homage to the cultural heritage of America. The first acts have just been announced and tickets are now on sale. Stampeeeeede!

THEMED AFTERNOON TEA: Alice in Wonderland, One Warwick Park, Until 31 Jan

OWP hotel has just introduced fun, new monthly themes to add character and give it a USP in this highly competitive part of Tunny Wells. This month the theme is Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Enjoy an eclectic menu of sweet treats and savoury delights inspired by characters and quirks from the book, like Chocolate Playing Cards, Marzipan Mushroom, Raspberry Mousse Cake and Strawberry Panna Cotta and accompanying finger sandwiches. Wash everything down with Alice’s Exotic potions ‘Drink Me’, ‘Queen of Hearts’ or ‘The White Rabbit’ and you’ll be grinning like a Cheshire Cat. (Muddy’s heard word that Feb is going to be Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – form an orderly queue please!)

MUDDY BUSSINESSES IN VOGUE: Zuzu Valla, Tatty Tess & Emma’s Flower Design, Vogue Italia Online

Photographer Zuzu Valla from Ashford (2017 Muddy Award Winner) has just had a picture feature on Vogue Italia online. The models are 3 local sisters (daughters of Emma Garrow, of Emma’s Flower Design) and they were dressed by our fave handmade kids’ clothing brand Tatty Tess which are all sewn at her home studio by local talent Tessa.

Dinner with the Gamekeeper Dining Event, Deakin’s restaurant, Canterbury, Fri Jan 25

Foodie game fans, listen up! Deakins, the popular Canterbury restaurant, is teaming up with Phil, the game keeper at Turner’s Game, (Canterbury’s family-run game dealer that provides Michelin- star restaurants). Dinners will be given a guided tour through the 3-course menu as well as a locally sourced wood pigeon to take home with an accompanying recipe card (all for £30 – bargain alert!). This is event, starting at 7pm, will celebrate local game and the closing of the main game season – and there’s just a few tickets left! So, go, go, go!

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent