Best of 2021— Part II

Top 10 posts — Part II

The best of the best from 2021

5. Cozy and covered dining — Six weatherproof options in London and Surrey

4. Snowy Surrey Saunter — Worth bundling up for

3. May flowers bloom into June — Catch the flowers while you can

2. Favorite custom gifts — Without heading to the shops

1. Bridgerton on location — Surrey and beyond

As we turn the corner on 2021 — cheers to 2022 and everything it holds!

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Best of 2021

Top 10 posts — Part I

After being locked in, posts about getting out were popular along with gift-giving and of course those involving the royalty:

10. Hampton Court Flower Show blooms on — World's oldest and largest flower show takes place in July
9. London Cocktail Week — £7 drinks at 250+ venues in October

8. Experience Gifts — Five gifts not to be missed

7. Fit for a Prince — Duke of Edinburgh Royal Warrant Appointments

6. Gifts for Mum's Day . . . — Mothering Sunday and beyond

Best of 2021, Part II will feature the best of the best from 2021.

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Experience Gifts

Five gifts not to be missed

For the person that has everything or needs nothing, an experience gift might just be the perfect fit. Some of my favorite ones are offerring gift vouchers, including:

Bisley Shooting Ground — Set within 3,000 acres in Surrey, Bisley Shooting Ground is Europe’s largest sporting clay ground and one of the top shooting schools.  Here's a chance to try one of the fastest growing sports in the country with no prior experience required.Vouchers available £50 — £150

Coutours Emma Parker uses her PR background to discover London's hidden gems, including 'Feast from the East' (street food in London's East End) and 'History of London in 4 Drinks' (tea, coffee, gin or beer). hidden gems, including 'Feast from the East' (street food in London's East End) and 'History of London in 4 Drinks' (tea, coffee, gin or beer).
Walking tour vouchers start at £20 / person

Perfume Studio — After an introduction to 18 blends created by their Master Perfumer, you'll have a chance to sample, test and combine them to create a signature fragrance of our own to take home.
Fragrance experiences starting at £49 /person

Shoreditch Street Art Tours — This tour always offers something different since new art shows up all the time and in the most unusual places. Think of it as live Where's Waldo, but the art you are looking for ranges from famous Bansky to C215 to piggy sculptures.
Public tour vouchers £20 / adult, £10 / child

Sweet Tooth Tours — Led by Le Cordon Bleu pastry chef Lynne Staartjes, Sweet Tooth Tours highlight London's best sweets (bakeries, chocolate shops, gelaterias), savories (cheese mongers) and more.  Once you have tasted London, head to Paris where Lynne leads similar tours!
London experiences start at £58 / person (minimum of 2 for a private tour)

While you are shopping for someone else, you might just find something for yourself too!

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Favorite custom gifts

Without heading to the shops

Black Friday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season. Skip the mall madness and support small businesses on-line instead:

Original Welly Boot Collection
Since 2002, This is Nessie has been producing signature watercolor wellie prints. Designs are updated every season and comes framed or ready to be framed.
Bonus : 20% off orders £60 or more

Personalized Metal Street Sign
— Not on the High Street’s popular aluminum street sign can be personalized with your family’s name and post code. If this doesn't suit, they have 5,000+ other small creative businesses to choose from.
Bonus : On sale for £12.80 with free UK delivery

Vintage Map 
Select a special place, a message and design and let Posh Totty Designs do the rest. Their pieces are handmade and made-to-order, including keepsake jewelery.
Bonus : Free UK delivery with code 'DASHER'

London Needlepoint Kit
— Not exactly custom, but considering it is just the kit — each one comes out as one-of-a-kind. I personally didn’t have the patience to stitch it. Thankfully my sister did!
Bonus : £5 off small kits with code SMALL5 and £10 off big kits code BIG10 for orders placed by Tuesday

Order on-line now for discounts and holiday delivery!

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Halloween Happenings

Something for everyone in Surrey

Halloween has become increasingly popular in the UK and is one of the country’s biggest cultural events. Here are a few ways to celebrate in Surrey:

For kids
Claremont Landscape Garden (Esher) — Complete the spell and save creatures from an evil wizard and earn your own wand.
£2 / trail added to normal admission
+44 1372 467806
Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9JG

Garsons Farm (Esher) — Garsons will award prizes for spotting colored pumpkins and spooky silhouettes, the most creative pumpkin colouring contest and guessing the weight of their giant ghost pumpkin. Visit to take photos among the pumpkins and their photo booth.
Free 1372 460181
Winterdown Road, Esher KT10 8LS

For Adults
The Ivy (Cobham) — Why should kids have all the fun? The Ivy has teamed up with Cazcabel Premium Tequila to serve up Halloween hand-crafted cocktails, including Diablo Verde, Bone Marrow, A Clockwork Orange and The Skull Crusher.
Starting at £9.75 1932 901777
48 High Street, Cobham KT11 3EF

For Family & Friends
The Oatlands Park Hotel (Weybridge) — Afternoon tea includes finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream along with Halloween themed cakes and pastries and feature tea from T2.
Starting at £26.95, £15 (for under 12s) +44 1932 847242
146 Oatlands Dr, Weybridge KT13 9HB

Painshill Park (Cobham) — Afternoon tea will include pumpkin and apple scones along with other Halloween themed treats. £30, £21.50 (for children) includes entry to the Garden and Fairy Door Trail +44 1372 701107
Sandown Sports, More Lane, Esher, Surrey KT10 8AN

While fancy dress is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged!

London cocktail week is back

Original cocktail event runs until October 31

London Cocktail Week will again extend to the end of the month. A £15 wristband entitles you to £7 drinks at 250+ venues. There is also an option to have £7 cocktails delivered to your door with The Drinks Drop. Other specials include ‘your first drink is on us’ for NHS workers and students and six tickets for the price of five for groups.

Some photo-worthy spots include:

Aqua Shard
(London Bridge) — Take in views from 31st floor of The Shard, London's tallest building, while sipping a Hennessy VS Cognac cocktail.

Christopher's Martini Bar (Covent Garden) — Enjoy Pining for you made with Grey Goose Vodka, Apricot Brandy Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, Homemade Chamomile Syrup & Fresh Basil Leaves in the heart of the theatre district.

City Social (City) — Sip Hazelnut Negroni (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Red Vermouth, Campari and Hazelnut Liqueur) or a S & T (Amaro Santoni Liqueur and Premium Tonic Water).

Ham Yard Hotel (Soho) — Step into this chic bar for a Fords Gin cocktail served with homemade orange, jasmine and lemon bald soda.

OXO Tower
(Southbank) — Pop into this riverside bar for views and a fruity Beluga Noble Vodka cocktail.

sketch (Soho) — Stop in at this stylish bar for Born to Swizzle (The Botanist Gin, Paragon Timur Berry, Green Melon, Pineapple, Lime, Sugar and Bitters) and Huggy Bear (Belsazar Riesling, Diplomatico Rum, Dark Rum, Martini Fiero, Vanilla Syrup and Salted Chocolate Bitters).

Even if you miss your chance for £7 cocktails — these bars are all worth a visit!

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West End Eats

10 stops in 35 minutes
Screenshot by Author of Google Maps
Now that theatres are open at full capacity and restrictions on social contact have eased, it is the perfect time to visit (or re-visit) London’s theatres. There is truly no shortage of places to eat in the West End.  Here is just a taste of places for afternoon tea or pre-theatre dinner:

BONUS : These stops also follow the Art of London digital art trail on display until September 30th.
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