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From foodie and fashion news and contemporary culture fixes, to where to shop to restore your soul, I've truffled up all the goss and goings on in Essex this week.

James Blunt tour

Sorry to be Blunt, but…

…You better be ready to book if you want to catch James Blunt playing live at Audley End next year! Yep, the You’re Beautiful crooner announced a new ‘Once Upon A Mind’ tour date in Saffron Walden this week and tickets for the stately affair are set to go on sale at 9am sharp on Friday 18 September. The gig will take place on 13 August, 2021, and Blunt will be joined by Craig Charles and Hackney Colliery Band. But, if you want to secure your spot (tickets are priced from £31-£64), be sure to hit the Ents24 checkout this Friday – or be prepared to say Goodbye My Lover for good. (#sorrynotsorry).

H Beauty at Lakeside

H Beauty’s new Lakeside launch

We all like to make ourselves feel special with a new lippie now and again, right? But H Beauty – a new concept store from Harrods – is pioneering a whole new way to shop with an interactive Playtable, where you can experiment with luxe brand products from La Mer and Chanel, as well as cutting edge cult buys from the likes of The Ordinary and UOMA. Launching at Intu Lakeside shopping centre on 17 September, there will also be a Skincare Station for mini facials, plus an Insta-worthy Harrods Champagne Bar to enjoy. Now that’s what we call forward facing! See harrods.com and intu.co.uk for more details. 

Refill Chelmsford

Join the refill movement

Looking to live more sustainably? Say hello to Refill, which has just opened its doors on Bond Street, Chelmsford. Offering a variety of ethical, local, organic and cruelty-free products, the beauty of this future-facing store is that it’s completely package free! Here’s how it works: in store, you’ll find a plethora of domestic products and groceries in bulk. Come armed with your own glass/refillable containers and/or cotton totes, then weigh your container before refilling. That way, once you weigh in again, you’ll only be charged for the goods you’ve stocked up on. Simples. Inspired by David Attenborough’s call to aims for a zero-waste society, we’re loving this gem of a shop. Not sold? Pop in to see just how easy it really is to make the switch to zero packaging and let us know how you get on.

Grain Colchester

Say goodbye to Grain

Colchester’s Grain restaurant, which redefined the town’s dining scene in 2016 with its contemporary collection of global small plates and nutritional focus, has announced it will – with a heavy heart – be closing its doors on 17 October. As you might suspect, a lengthy waiting list for tables is now quickly amassing, but, if you’re quick off the mark, you might just be able to get booked in or nab a cancellation before this institution ceases to trade. Don’t miss your last chance to savour the venue’s innovative plant-based plates (hello, courgette tagliatelle) and local sweets (cue ‘Dutch Quarter’ honey and raw milk ice cream). Grain, we’ll miss you.

Wivenhoe

Hit our Heritage Open Days

As part of the England’s largest history and cultural festival, supported by the National Trust, Heritage Open Days has laid on a fortnight of fun for art and culture vultures this month, themed around ‘hidden nature’. From short films about Roman theatre courtesy of VisitColchester.com and a 24-strong pub crawl around the quayside with Wivenhoe Bookshop on 19 September, to the ‘Free Art Friday’ showcase with Chelmsford Creative Collective in Central Park on 18 September, there’s a little hit of heritage lined up for the county’s creative movers and shakers. Oh, and did we mention it’s all completely free? For the full deets, check out HeritageOpenDays.org.uk.

Church Street Tavern

Menus get an autumnal makeover

Stylish foodie haunt Church Street Tavern in Colchester is mixing up its menu this week to add a seasonal spin. Game, roots, berries and plums have powered their way into the new autumn-focus dishes, so next time you book in, why not hit the partridge main with creamed spinach, game chips and crab and apple jelly? (Before polishing off the vanilla pannacotta pudding with baked plums, amaretto and almonds, of course.) Expect all the usual flair and finesse of the kitchen, just with some exciting new flavours to kickstart fall.

Find more ideas here

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