Jo Downs Glass

Seas of inspiration

Based in Cornwall, Jo Downs is one of the world’s most well-known fused glass designers. She specializes in handmade, original coastal-themed wall panels and art frames. Her unique designs have earned her corporate commissions from churches to cruise liners to hotels – as well as private commissions. Opened in 2014, the Jo Downs Handmade Glass in Ripley is home to her only major gallery outside of Cornwall.

In addition to fused glass drop-in workshops using brass, copper and tin, they offer frit (broken glass) workshops. After a short demonstration, you will have time to design your piece. Using literally every color under the sun, draw inspiration from a beautiful array of gift and interior pieces around you or create something completely your own.

We each made a small ‘vase’ (perfectly sized tealight holder) for £25. It was remarkably easy and we were all pleased with the end result. Coasters, larger vases and square framed pieces are also available to make. Fusing with Frit workshops are now conveniently offered on Sundays twice a month.

Even if you decide you are not up to making something – there are countless number of custom coastal-inspired gifts available for purchase too!
www.jodowns.com+44 1483 225742
Teulon House, High Street, Ripley, Surrey GU23 6AY


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Beaverbrook

Quintessential English luxury country house hotel

Located less than 20 miles outside of London and set on 400 acres between Leatherhead and Dorking, Beaverbrook is the quintessential English luxury country house hotel complete with golf club. Prior home of Lord Beaverbrook, legendary newspaper publisher (Daily Express and Sunday Express)and one of Britain’s most influential 20th century leaders.

The Garden House features 11 bedrooms and a British-Italian inspired restaurant, while the Main House has 18 bedrooms and a Japanese restaurant headed up by Maruyama Taiji, former Nobu chef – not surprisingly some of the best sushi we have had. Fresh ingredients for dishes are sourced from the Kitchen Garden.

Enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the 1920s inspired Parrot Bar or on the terrace of the late-Victorian mansion that boasts stunning views of the Surrey Hills. Rooms are named after famous guests including Winston Churchill, Joe and Rose Kennedy, Rudyard Kipling, Wallis Simpson and Elizabeth Taylor and are creatively and tastefully decorated by Susie Atkinson, designer behind Soho House.

Amenities aside, the staff could not be friendlier and customer-service focused – a treat in and of itself. With onsite cinema, cookery school, private dining options and tennis courts – along with health club, pools and spa to come, you may find the most difficult choice you have to make is whether to go home or not!

www.beaverbrook.co.uk+44 1372 571300
Beaverbrook, Reigate Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8QX

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Farnham Antiquing

As much as I try to save select Tuesday mornings for Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park and Sandown Racecourses, there are times these dates don't work or it is simply too cold, wet or lately even hot to go. A visit to Farnham does the trick:

The Antiques Warehouse — Located on a farm, the two large Elizabethan barns are full of wall-to-wall (literally!) antique treasures.  Items include vintage furniture, garden items, household decor, jewelry, paintings and more.  If you have attention for detail, like the thrill of the hunt and/or have a good decorative eye, this is the place for you.  There are countless items  all with potential for the right buyer.  

The owners could not be friendlier or more helpful.  It is no wonder that episodes of the popular BBC Antiques Road Trip have been filmed there.  As a bonus, on weekend afternoons and bank holidays they also have live piano music and serve homemade cakes, coffee and tea.  
www.theantiqueswarehouse.com+44 2034 411688
Badshot Farm, St. George's Road, Runfold, Farnham, Surrey GU9 9HR

PackhouseIf The Antiques Warehouse is a bit reminiscent of your grandmother's attic, then Packhouse is like visiting your shabby chic aunt. Voted Surrey's Best Interiors 2018 and located in close proximity to The Antique Warehouse, Packhouse lives up to its motto of "lose yourself amongst beautiful things.

There are 60+ modern to vintage vendors that decorate various sections throughout the 400-year old Grade II-listed multi-level building.  Despite visiting multiple times, I find myself turned around — apparently others do too and they have a handy map you can pickup next to the till by the entry.  Conveniently located next door is a gastropub, Bears which is open for light bites, lunch and even dinner.

www.packhouse.com+44 1252 781010
Packhouse, Hewett's Kilns, Tongham Road Runfold, Farnham GU10 1PJ

The only downside (if any) is I rarely leave empty-handed!

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Kids Week - Kids Eat Free

Top picks of where to eat

The Kids Week promotion has expanded to 35+ theatre district restaurants. During the month of August, Kids Eat Free when accompanied by an adult. Can't beat that!

Bodean’s BBQ Smokehouse — If you’re in the mood for Kansas City barbeque ribs in London, here’s your place. Become a member and Kids Eat Free Saturdays and Sundays with purchase of main and drink.
www.bodeansbbq.com+44 2039 00444
25 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JS

Duck & Waffle The £15 for Mighty Duck Deal includes a duck dish (choice of burger, satay, jam doughnut or their signature Duck & Waffle dish), fries and drink. www.duckandwafflelocal.com+44 2039 00444
52 Haymarket, St. James’s Market, London SW1Y 4RP


Inamo The £24 for 4 dishes from Pre-theatre Set Menu can be viewed through digital projections on you table surface. Change the tablecloth, order, watch chef and play retro games with a swipe of your finger. Kids enjoy either an Apple Gyoza & Caramel Ice Cream or a Candy Floss Garden with chocolate tree on crushed Oreo for dessert.
www.inamo-restaurant.com

Leicester Square Kitchen — The £20 for 3 dishes or £25 for 4 dishes Pre-theatre Set Menu is a mix of Mexican and Peruvian small plates. The dishes are perfectly portioned and flavorful.
www.leicestersquarekitchen.co.uk +44 2076 660902
31-36 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LH


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Kids Week - Free Tickets for 16 and Under

Tickets on sale June 12th

Kids 16 and under go free to shows in August with a full price paid adult ticket (and two additional children can go half price). As a bonus, some shows include free activities and workshops, including acting, dancing, meet and greet and Q&As.

While Book of Morman and Hamilton are not on the list, there are 40+ other shows to pick from, including:

  • Aladdin
  • Bat Out of Hell
  • Chicago
  • Dreamgirls
  • Kinky Boots
  • Les Misérables
  • Lion King
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Matilda
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • The Play That Goes Wrong
  • Thriller Live
  • Wicked
  • Young Frankenstein
With no booking, postage or transactions fees – this promotion is particularly popular and tickets sellout fast.  Tune in next week for the best pick of theatreland restaurants where Kids Eat Free.  Now that's the ticket!
www.kidsweek.co.uk

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Terrace Dining

With the longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, it is the perfect time of year to explore the Surrey’s footpaths and of course enjoy outside dining along the way.

Kinghams Restaurant (Shere) — Kinghams Restaurant is located in the quintessential English village of Shere. The restaurant dates from 17th century and is known for quality seafood, fresh produce and fine wine. The garden is in bloom throughout the summer and there is a bonus of heated gazebo in case the forecast should change.
Fancy Free, Shere Village and Little London Walk 3-1/2 – 4 miles
www.kinghams-restaurant.co.uk+44 1483 202168
Gomshall Lane, Shere, Surrey GU5 9HE


The Refectery (Godalming) — Originally a cattle barn, The Refectory in Godalming has been successfully repurposed to a pub restaurant. In addition to the stunning interior wooden beams and fireplace, the terrace is the place to be when the sun is shining. The menu changes daily and features both traditional and international dishes. Along with ales and wine, they also feature a substantial whisky menu.
iFootpah, The Refectory and Milford Common Walk 4 miles www.brunningandprice.co.uk/refectory+44 1483 413820
Portsmouth Road, Milford, Godalming GU8 5HJ


The Withies Inn (Compton) — The Withies Inn is a 16th century pub restaurant located in Compton close to the famous Watts Gallery. While the inside is a step back in time with its low ceilings and lighting, the outside boasts a long, lush pergola for alfresco dining. The menu is traditional British fare and the portions are generous — best to go when you have time to enjoy a leisurely meal.
Fancy Free, Compton, Surrey : The Withies Inn Walk 2-3/4 miles
www.thewithiesinn.com +44 1483 421158 Compton, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1JA

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Royal Seal of Approval

Favorites you can enjoy too

Just before the Royal Wedding, I headed to Windsor to get a glimpse of pre-wedding preparation along with visiting the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The large Royal Warrant Holders Association Pavilion marquee caught my eye with its array of wedding memorabilia by Halcyon Days (finebone china) and Daniel (Windsor department store).


A Royal Warrant of Appointment can be made by HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and/or the Prince of Wales to businesses who have supplied highly quality goods or services for at least five years. Those granted a warrant are responsible for displaying the relevant coat of arms of the Royal Family member.


There are currently 800 Royal Warrant Holders. Once an application is accepted, royal warrants are issued for five years. To say the least, companies are motivated to maintain this distinction. In the case of Jaguar Land Rover, Pimm’s and Tabasco (yes the popular Louisiana sauce), it is clear what products are Royal family favorites. 

On the other hand, it is hard to know which specific products at high-end stores like Fortnum & Mason (department store) and Penhaligon’s (perfume house) are favored by the Royal family – complicated by the fact it is not customary for Warrant Holders to disclose this information.  

What I do know is my future trips to Boots and Waitrose will feel just a bit less mundane!


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