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Pop! Went the Corks…

As your Muddy Award winning businesses came to celebrate in style at the fab Exeter Cookery School. Come and see!

prosecco being poured into glasses

This is the fun bit. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Muddy Awards are always a blast, but there’s nothing quite like welcoming the winners with a glass of fizz and celebrating their successes.  And that’s exactly what we did yesterday.

exterior building with waterfront

Thanks to the, frankly, awesome Jim and Lucy at Exeter Cookery School, your Muddy Awards winners for 2018 were treated to a show-stopping location right on the Quayside, sunshine streaming through and with the buzz of the bank holiday weekend vibe lingering in the air.

woman pouring champagne

Muddy’s Emma rolls her sleeves up

I love the quirky and the School does quirky with aplomb. No sign of spatulas and mixing bowls to be seen within this converted 1830s warehouse when they host events, from launches to corporate parties; just the kind of industrial pared back style that you’d expect to find in a Shoreditch loft. Except here, the only ‘shore’ you’ll spot is one where kayakers and sailors bob off on the water from.

women with champagne

Team Turtle Tots (Best Children’s Business) are sandwiched by Hope Cove winners – The Cove (Best Bar) and Hope Cove Gallery (Best Art Gallery)

Your super-dooper winners came with smiles, ready to mingle and snaffle their certificates (and get papped by the very lovely Imi F Hughes who kindly worked her magic around the room with her camera).


Muddy’s youngest +1, with Fraser Marchbank Images (Best Photographer), chatting to James “double whammy” from Josie’s (winner Best Interiors store and Best Gift Shop)


people with certificate

Hannah from Barnstaple’s The Cupcakery and Mum (Best Local Producer Food/Drink).

And they should feel proud; over 20,000 of you cast votes in the final round alone this year, but the battle to reach the finals was incredible too, with hundreds and hundreds of businesses nominated from all corners of the county, from teeny-tiny villages, to our two cities.

women with certificate

Posing with Yasmin from Gaia Spa at Boringdon (Best Day Spa)

I loved meeting everybody and our winners are all definitely worth a visit in the coming months, whether in person or online.

man and woman decorating marshmallows

The concentration! Jim and Lucy “doing” marshmallow

I think it’s fair to say that Chef Jim’s pink ‘Muddy Mallows’ garnished with basil and raspberry went down an absolute storm.  Who knew that would be such a winning combo?!

guests and champagne

Keeping it Devon, the sharp-eared among the guests may have picked up on the suitably summery soundtrack – from North Devon musician Lack of Afro (the even sharper-eyed may have spotted him in the crowd at one point, because Muddy likes a musical celeb!).


guests chatting

Retaining the crown for Best Cafe, Appledore’s Coffee Cabin takes the award for the second year running!

But frolics aside for a moment, I just want to take the opportunity once more to say a massive CONGRATS to everyone who found themselves nominated, a finalist and eventually a winner. The warmth in the room yesterday really hit home to me how much talent, character and good-feeling there is here in Devon. I’m not sure my blithering speech did you justice, but the sentiment is definitely there!

So, one last time – let’s hear it for our amazing winners for 2018! See you next year? *goes and lies down in a cool, dark room*.


Art Gallery: Hope Cove Gallery (Hope Cove).

Beauty Salon: Reductions Devon (Barnstaple).

Bar: The Cove Cafe Bar (Hope Cove).

Bookshop: Walter Henry’s Bookshop (Bideford).

Boutique stay: Southernhay House (Exeter).

Café: The Coffee Cabin (Appledore).

Children’s Business: Turtle Tots (Exeter & East Devon).

Day Spa: Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall (Boringdon, Plymouth).

Farmshop/Deli: Darts Farm (Topsham).

Destination Pub: The Thatch (Croyde).

Family attraction: The Donkey Sanctuary (Sidmouth).

Fitness Instructor: Miriam Kimber Fitness (North Devon Area).

Local Producer (food/drink): The Cupcakery (Barnstaple).

Florist: The Flower Consultant (Okehampton).

Gift Shop: Josie’s (Bideford).

Hair Salon: Steven & Laurent (Bideford).

Interiors: Josie’s (Bideford).

Jewellery Store: Bishop Jewellery (Bideford).

Photographer:  Fraser Marchbank Images (Westward Ho!)

Restaurant: Custom House (Barnstaple).

Theatre: The Plough Arts Centre (Great Torrington).

Wine merchant: Grape & Grain Wine Merchants (Crediton).

Women’s Store: Amica Bridal Boutique (Plymouth).

Yoga/Pilates Studio:  The HealthHub (Kingsbridge).

exterior exeter cookery school

If you’re looking for somewhere cool to hold a party or event, for work or pleasure, then I highly recommend you check out Exeter Cookery School.  Give ’em a call, or pop in when you’re passing (many do, intrigued by the look of it!).  Tel. 07415 783759.  60a Haven Road, Quayside Exeter, EX2 8DP.  Email: 

Huge thanks to all, especially Imi F Hughes Photography and Jim & Lucy!

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