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A lifetime ago I graduated in Archaeology, then got a proper job to keep my parents and the bank manager happy, leaving my love for ancient things behind. I went into the commercial world, working all over the country from a base outside London. To be honest, although I mostly loved what I was doing, in my busy life I largely forgot about my passion for the past and the fascinating heritage of the British Isles.

Nearly 25 years ago my family and I moved to Northamptonshire mainly because of the great central location.  My other half and I worked all over the UK and on the rare occasions we took time off, we travelled around the country. We would drive miles to visit the more remote places that had caught our interest as we passed by for work.

Then about ten years ago I had an epiphany. I visited one of our county’s little gems, Canons Ashby, and fell in love with Northamptonshire. My love of history and heritage reasserted itself, so I stopped my travelling job and started volunteering and working within the heritage sector of this county of Spires and Squires. I was delighted and surprised to discover that I lived in a county with more stately homes than any other, some of the oldest and finest churches, and world class heritage sites and stories. Any excuse - friends visiting, a quiet afternoon, a beautiful day - will find me on a hunt to discover the charms of this conveniently located, largely unknown and totally awesome county!

I’m passionate about learning more about England and its story. I love adventures, and discovering something surprising. I love sharing secrets, meeting interesting people and finding things that make me laugh. I’m also extremely fond of a great lunch, especially those involving cake, and things produced locally. I have a great weakness for gin, good beer, and yes, cake too!

If anyone has a suggestion about a place that I need to visit and report back on I would love to hear about it. Contact me here.

Hello, I’m Anna-Lou, the editor of Muddy Stilettos Northants, a witty but indispensable local guide to the very best restaurants, walks, boutiques, day trips, hotels, interiors and events. It’s also a platform for lovely local businesses to get their message across to readers, and for us to see what an amazing and creative county we live in.

I’m not from Northants, so how did I end up here? I’ve been a journalist for nearly 20 years (age spoiler alert ; ) writing for magazines, websites and major brands, and after the birth of my first baby in 2000, I moved to sunny Northamptonshire because of its excellent rail links and closer proximity to Grandparents. I commuted for the next 16 years, then in 2016, after spending many a cold and wet morning on Wellingborough train platform, I finally took the plunge and decided to do a job closer to home. What’s the point in living in such a beautiful county if I don’t get to enjoy all the amazing things on my doorstop (and what better county for a Muddy Stiletto, than Northamptonshire the shoe making capital of the world)!

As well as being an indispensable local guide for Northants, Muddy Stilettos can now be found in 18 counties with even more to follow later this year (but I’m VERY happy with my county - all those stately homes, destination pubs and award winning local producers). Winner of Most Innovative Blog in the UK in 2015 and one of eight national finalists for the UK’s Best Arts & Culture Blog in 2017, the heartbeat of Muddy Stilettos is its upbeat honesty, humour, and single-minded focus on finding the cool, quirky and downright unmissable in the Northamptonshire. I’m passionate about story telling and living life to the full, and everyday really is a new adventure. If you’re a local business who wants to be featured or you’re a reader who knows the winding roads and county secrets like the back of your hand, get in touch. I’m always happy to try out that new gin maker or pop open a local fizz, just to make sure you’ll all like it of course ; )

Meet our Bloggers - Laura

A lifetime ago I graduated in Archaeology, then got a proper job to keep my parents and the bank manager happy, leaving my love for ancient things behind. I went into the commercial world, working all over the country from a base outside London. To be honest, although I mostly loved what I was doing, in my busy life I largely forgot about my passion for the past and the fascinating heritage of the British Isles.

Nearly 25 years ago my family and I moved to Northamptonshire mainly because of the great central location.  My other half and I worked all over the UK and on the rare occasions we took time off, we travelled around the country. We would drive miles to visit the more remote places that had caught our interest as we passed by for work.

Then about ten years ago I had an epiphany. I visited one of our county’s little gems, Canons Ashby, and fell in love with Northamptonshire. My love of history and heritage reasserted itself, so I stopped my travelling job and started volunteering and working within the heritage sector of this county of Spires and Squires. I was delighted and surprised to discover that I lived in a county with more stately homes than any other, some of the oldest and finest churches, and world class heritage sites and stories. Any excuse - friends visiting, a quiet afternoon, a beautiful day - will find me on a hunt to discover the charms of this conveniently located, largely unknown and totally awesome county!

I’m passionate about learning more about England and its story. I love adventures, and discovering something surprising. I love sharing secrets, meeting interesting people and finding things that make me laugh. I’m also extremely fond of a great lunch, especially those involving cake, and things produced locally. I have a great weakness for gin, good beer, and yes, cake too!

If anyone has a suggestion about a place that I need to visit and report back on I would love to hear about it. Contact me here.

Meet our Bloggers - Anna-Lou

Hello, I’m Anna-Lou, the editor of Muddy Stilettos Northants, a witty but indispensable local guide to the very best restaurants, walks, boutiques, day trips, hotels, interiors and events. It’s also a platform for lovely local businesses to get their message across to readers, and for us to see what an amazing and creative county we live in.

I’m not from Northants, so how did I end up here? I’ve been a journalist for nearly 20 years (age spoiler alert ; ) writing for magazines, websites and major brands, and after the birth of my first baby in 2000, I moved to sunny Northamptonshire because of its excellent rail links and closer proximity to Grandparents. I commuted for the next 16 years, then in 2016, after spending many a cold and wet morning on Wellingborough train platform, I finally took the plunge and decided to do a job closer to home. What’s the point in living in such a beautiful county if I don’t get to enjoy all the amazing things on my doorstop (and what better county for a Muddy Stiletto, than Northamptonshire the shoe making capital of the world)!

As well as being an indispensable local guide for Northants, Muddy Stilettos can now be found in 18 counties with even more to follow later this year (but I’m VERY happy with my county - all those stately homes, destination pubs and award winning local producers). Winner of Most Innovative Blog in the UK in 2015 and one of eight national finalists for the UK’s Best Arts & Culture Blog in 2017, the heartbeat of Muddy Stilettos is its upbeat honesty, humour, and single-minded focus on finding the cool, quirky and downright unmissable in the Northamptonshire. I’m passionate about story telling and living life to the full, and everyday really is a new adventure. If you’re a local business who wants to be featured or you’re a reader who knows the winding roads and county secrets like the back of your hand, get in touch. I’m always happy to try out that new gin maker or pop open a local fizz, just to make sure you’ll all like it of course ; )

Take the Silverstone driving test!

Super duper founder of Muddy Stilettos, Hero Brown shows us her skills on her visit back to Silverstone! Rev me up, wipe down my... Read More
Take the Silverstone driving test!
Anna Lou 19th Oct 2017

It’s the bumper Muddy October Half Term special

The nights are drawing in, and school is out (again). Let Muddy guide you through the family fun to be had in Northants this October... Read More
It’s the bumper Muddy October Half Term special
Anna Lou 19th Oct 2017

Muddy Eats: The Rose & Crown

On the website blurb it says the Rose & Crown captures all the qualities of what a classic English country pub should be. And... Read More
Muddy Eats: The Rose & Crown
Anna Lou 19th Oct 2017

What do you mean I love the fashion at Rushden Lakes?

Shhhhhh, I'm not usually a fan of shopping centres, but when they're in the heart of the beautiful Nene Valley surrounded by lakes... Read More
What do you mean I love the fashion at Rushden Lakes...
Anna Lou 19th Oct 2017

Melancholy and Magnificent, the Montagu Monuments

Visiting one of our Northamptonshire churches, I was unexpectedly dazzled by a chancel full of ethereal light reflecting off pure... Read More
Melancholy and Magnificent, the Montagu Monuments
Laura 07th Sep 2017

Harvest and History at Canons Ashby

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness begins as the Harvest is gathered in. All over Northamptonshire the bounty of nature will... Read More
Harvest and History at Canons Ashby
Laura 16th Aug 2017

Life a’Fermyn at the Woods

Muddy (and doggy pal) visits a real hidden gem within our lovely Northants countryside What better than an impromptu Sunday morning... Read More
Life a’Fermyn at the Woods
Anna Lou 17th Jul 2017

The Folly (food review)

Mellow moments and creative flair are both on tap at one of Northants not so hidden culinary gems It would be easy to drive past... Read More
The Folly (food review)
Anna Lou 17th Jul 2017

Overstone Arms

A village pub with countryside charm... LOCATION I often drive past the picturesque village of Pytchley on my way to the cinema... Read More
Overstone Arms
Anna Lou 17th Jul 2017

Out and about in Oundle

This month’s history hunting took me to the north east of the county, to visit a town famous for it’s ancient good looks... Read More
Out and about in Oundle
Laura 11th Jul 2017

Ready to be surprised by Northamptonshire? Grand Prix Weekend

Ready to be surprised by Northamptonshire?Grand Prix Weekend So, you’re coming to one of the world’s greatest sporting... Read More
Ready to be surprised by Northamptonshire? Grand Prix...
Laura 05th Jul 2017

Zoooom – 5 great things to do on British Grand Prix weekend

Well we all know how great Northamptonshire is and on the weekend of 14/15/16 July, Silverstone Circuit faces the glare of  global... Read More
Zoooom – 5 great things to do on British Grand Prix...
Anna Lou 30th Jun 2017

Rebels, Riots and Green Cheese versus the Vote!

8th June 2017, a significant date for the future of our country, and a date when we all must exercise our right to vote. An almost... Read More
Rebels, Riots and Green Cheese versus the Vote!
Laura 05th Jun 2017

10 Fabulous Northants Festivals…

There are loads of festival shenanigans planned for the county between now and September. Move over Glasters and V - Northamptonshire... Read More
10 Fabulous Northants Festivals…
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

Reviews: The Addams Family

If you're at a loose end this week and want to entertain you, the kids, the partner, your girlfriends, please see this! I’m... Read More
Reviews: The Addams Family
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

12 Cosy Northants Pubs

I wrote this post just before Christmas 2016 but we have at least another month of freakin’ cold weather, so this is a reminder... Read More
12 Cosy Northants Pubs
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

Our Daily Bread & Pullet

We're back at The Bread & Pullet to review their brunch menu, weekend mornings will never be the same again Those of you Mudsters... Read More
Our Daily Bread & Pullet
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

Tea at Highgate House

A 5 star afternoon tea experience and free glass of sparkly for each diner (it would be rude not to, no?) Who lives in a Highgate... Read More
Tea at Highgate House
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

The Brampton Halt

It's good for a beer festival AND for a meal, read our review of the pub set in Northamptonshire's gorgeous countryside. Who doesn... Read More
The Brampton Halt
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

The Stanwick Hotel

It's an oasis of tranquility and quality, set on the edge of the A45. It's easy to reach and even easier to relax. I’m a regular... Read More
The Stanwick Hotel
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

Bravo Nuovo!

Are we really surprised that Nuovo has maintained it’s high standards over the Northamptonshire years? Not really. Nuovo may... Read More
Bravo Nuovo!
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

High Five Northants – Cocktail Bars

Top Five Cocktail Bars It’s that time of year where it’s ok to apply as much sparkle as you want, get dolled up to the... Read More
High Five Northants – Cocktail Bars
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

Mini Staycation – The Narrowboat, Weedon

Weekend breaks, secret dates, and catching up with mates. It's a step into rural Northamptonshire, but offers the cuisine most often... Read More
Mini Staycation – The Narrowboat, Weedon
Anna Lou 18th May 2017

Rushton Hall Reviewed

Less than half an hour from Northampton town, this oasis will have you clamouring back  I had mixed reactions when I said I... Read More
Rushton Hall Reviewed
Anna Lou 17th May 2017

Twentieth Century Style in an Eighteenth Century Mansion

Kelmarsh Hall and the MacDonald Gill exhibitionI wonder if anyone else plays my game when visiting stately homes? I like to pretend... Read More
Twentieth Century Style in an Eighteenth Century Mansion...
Laura 08th May 2017

Easter Excellence

Northamptonshire has had a bumper Easter with some attractions reporting three times the number of visitors seen last year. How exciting... Read More
Easter Excellence
Laura 26th Apr 2017

The Rothwell Bone Crypt

Macabre mediaeval RothwellHere’s a suggestion for a visit to a historic site that is almost unique in Britain, and it is so... Read More
The Rothwell Bone Crypt
Laura 13th Apr 2017

Breathtaking Boughton

I am very rarely lost for words, as a fully card carrying extrovert I find it harder to restrain myself than to be quiet. However... Read More
Breathtaking Boughton
Laura 01st Mar 2017

Exploring the watery world of Stoke Bruerne

This month I have the perfect suggestion to keep all the family happy. It has been the favoured location for day trips for my brood... Read More
Exploring the watery world of Stoke Bruerne
Laura 28th Feb 2017

Snowdrops, surprises and stunning architecture

Snowdrops, surprises and stunning architecture Discovering Deene Park The fun of Christmas is long behind us now, and although we... Read More
Snowdrops, surprises and stunning architecture
Laura 17th Jan 2017

Llama-rama-ding-dong

Or How to have a great day and a big surprise in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside I love walking. There’s something... Read More
Llama-rama-ding-dong
Laura 01st Feb 2017

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