Afternoon Tea Delivery

10 springtime teas

Even though restaurants and non-essential shops remain closed, it is still possible to enjoy an afternoon tea delivered to your door:

Lola’s Cupcakes
(Multiple) — Cream Tea Box of scones, strawberry jam and fresh juice for family of 4 (£18.99). Deluxe Afternoon Tea box of sweet and savory treats (baked scones, clotted cream, jam, Victorian sponge cake) for up to 8 people (£59.99).

Warren House
(Kingston) — Traditional Easter Sunday Afternoon Tea with sandwiches, scones, pastries, and teas for collection (£24.95) or delivery (+£5).

Ham Yard Hotel (Multiple) — Traditional (£30), Spring Cocktail (£40) & Sparkling Afternoon Teas (£170 for 4) includes finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones, clotted cream, preserves and cakes.

OXO (London) — Afternoon Tea for 2 includes selection of sandwiches, Bailey’s panna cotta, scones, clotted cream and jam (£40).

(Multiple) — Afternoon Tea for 4 includes scones, lemon curd, strawberry jam, ream and an assortment of miniature cakes and sandwiches (£42).

The East India Company (London) — Wicker Easter Hamper with milk chocolate raspberries, shortbread & clotted cream biscuits, and loose leaf tea (£55).

sketch (London) — Five different Spring Afternoon Teas (original, vegetarian, pescatarian, champagne, cocktail) arrive in a pink jewelry case (£55).

(London) — Bee Happy Hamper includes English Tableware Company’s products combined with Twinings teas (£55.25).

Fortnum & Mason (London) — Wicker Easter Hamper includes chocolate Easter egg, loose leaf caddy, Simnel biscuits, jelly carrots, raspberry & rhubarb conserve, pistachio & clotted cream biscuits and nougat chocolate eggs (£100).

Hotel Café Royal : Cakes & Bubbles (London) — Afternoon In includes two signature desserts along with bottle of Grand Reserve champagne (£100).

With teas of every size and budget — consider it a much-deserved treat for making it through a year of a global pandemic!

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Gifts for Mum’s Day

March 14th and beyond

In the UK, Mothering Sunday is different each year since it is linked to Easter and determined by the lunar calendar.  The UK's Mother's Day is held on the fourth Sunday during the period of Lent. 

This year’s holiday happens to coincide with when the first UK coronavirus lockdown took place (March 16th). While a one-plus rule went into place March 8th, for many it will mark a year of not being able to see and spend time with Mum.

With the Government's advice that people continue to keep their distance, there are two gifts to let Mum you are thinking of her everyday:

Emma Bridgewater Plate
— Emma Bridgewater's Mother's Day Everyday 6-1/2” plate with green cabbage white butterflies. Well-priced at £12.95, you can buy one for all the Mums in your life.
Fortnum & Mason Tea — Limited edition Mother of All Teas Caddy is filled with 400 silky tea bags of Fortnum & Masons famous Royal Blend. While it is priced on the high-end of £195, it works out to less than 50p a cup.

While your gift may not arrive in time for Mothering Sunday, you can be early for Mother’s Day in the US — the second Sunday in May (May 9th).

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Mardi Gras & More

Mardi Gras falls on Shrove Tuesday (February 16th), the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent (a period of 40 days of fasting).  While there will be no parades this year, there are still ways to celebrate:

Despite cancellation of New Orleans signature event, the spirit of Mardi Gras will still be on full display . .
Mardi Gras for All Y'all is inviting everyone to tune into a 4-1/2 hour online show complete with carnival, celebrities and musical performances.  All three segments will be re-broadcast on February 16.

Po' Boys
Based on 1920s New Orleans legend of the Martin brothers who gave free food (meat and seafood on french loaves) to striking tram workers who became known as Poor Boys or Po'Boys . . .
Poor Boys
(Kingston) —
Inspired by the Martin brothers, this Kingston restaurant started by two brothers features build-your-own Po Boy sandwiches and other New Orleans street food favorites. Available for carryout or delivery

Traditionally, pancakes are an ideal way to use up fatty ingredients like eggs, milk and sugar. While there will be no public Pancake Day races this year, you can get your pancake fix at home . . .

Breakfast Club The Pancakes At Home Kit comes with pancake mix, double cream, tasting toppings (vanilla essence, salted caramel chocolate ganache, cherry compote, ginger snap & macadamia nut granola crunch, dark & white chocolate chunks, maple syrup) and tea towel.  Serves 4 for £40.

Crepeaffaire The Pancakes in the Post comes with six pre-made crêpes £14.50 or a box of pancake mix (makes ~10) for 10.  Both come with Nutella, strawberry & toffee sauces, as well as sprinkles, marshmallows and Oreo pieces.  Add 50p for vegan and gluten-free box.

Fat Tuesday may actually end up being Fat February!

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Ring in Year of the Ox Online

Beginning February 12th

While public celebrations have been cancelled due to the pandemic, it is still possible to celebrate Chinese New Year virtually in London and beyond:

London (February 14) London usually boasts the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia, but this year's celebration has been moved online. The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) will have an online and live (Freeview UK - Channel 8, Sky - Channel 117, Virgin Media - Channel 159, Youview 8) broadcasts beginning at Noon feature dance and musical performances.

New York (Through February 16) — With an estimated 90K-100K people, Manhattan's Chinatown has one of the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. To celebrate the Year of the Ox, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will host a daylong festival of performances, activities, exhibitions and workshops on February 13 10 am to 10 pm and other activities through February 16.

California (February 20-21) — San Francisco is home to one of the oldest and most established Chinatowns in the US. While the the iconic Chinese New Year Parade (named one of the top 10 in the world) is cancelled, the city will host a one-hour special on Facebook live that gives a behind-the-scenes Chinese New Year moments 4:30 — 5:30 pm followed by a special on KTVU Fox 2 at 6 pm (rebroadcast at 9 pm and February 21 3 pm) sponsored by Southwest Airlines.

Texas (Through February 26th) — Houston is home to two Chinatowns — with 'Old Chinatown' located just East of Downtown Houston and one in Southwest Houston, which opened in 1983. Asia Society of Texas Center will release virtual arts and crafts, cooking and performances content through February 26 and Chinese Community Center will host cooking, educational and performance programming through February 13.

With Chinese New Year officially lasting 16 days, there is plenty of time to celebrate — 新年快乐! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!

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Snowy Surrey saunter

Hour-long walk worth bundling up for

Start at Cafe Menta and walk up Esher High Street towards Moore Place and take a right onto the public footpath just past Hill House. Moore Place Golf Course will be on either side of the path. Continue down the path until you reach a fork in the path. Proceed down the right hand side path down a steep hill. At the end of the hill you will reach West End Lane.

Take a left on West End Lane and when you reach the fork in the road stay to your right to Winterdown Road. West End Pond on your left is the central focal point of the small village of West End.

On the way, keep an eye out for the colorful ornamental cabbage. These plants are used by gardeners to provide a shot of color during the winter months before spring flowers emerge. And in fact, they get brighter as the temperature goes down.

If you are lucky, you may see spider webs covered in ice crystals. Once the snow melts a bit, you may see patches of snow drops and blooms of daffodils, a sign spring is on its way.

Don't wait to head out — if you have lived in the area long enough, you know it is likely to go as quickly as it has come!

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Adapted from original post February 27, 2018.

Bridgerton on location

Surrey and beyond

Less than 30 days after its release, Bridgerton has 60 million plus viewers and has already been renewed for season two. The period drama has enjoyed popularity similar to Downton Abbey. While the show is based in London, most of the filming has been done outside the city. Below are just four of the 100 UK film locations used:

Grosvenor Square : Royal Crescent
(Bath) — The series of signature 30 Georgian architecture townhomes placed in a crescent shape is a stand-in for Mayfair, London where the Bridgerton siblings, Featherington families and Siena live.

St James' Palace : Hampton Court Palace
(East Molesey) — The exterior of Queen Charlotte's home was filmed at Hampton Court Palace, a Grade I listed building built in 1500s for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s church officer.

London Park Scenes : Windsor Great Park
Painshill Park (Cobham) — The London parks of Battersea Fields Hampstead Heath, Hyde Park and Rotten Row were filmed in other locations, such as Windsor Great Park while Primrose Hill and the Botanical Gardens was represented by Painshill Park.

Unfortunately, due to current Government restrictions if these places are not ‘local’ to you — you will need to wait to visit them. But if you are in the area, you may get lucky and catch filming that begins in March.

Otherwise, there is always Netflix now or later this year when Lady Whistledown will pen her Society Papers once again.
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Best of 2020 — Part II

Top 10 posts — Part II

The best of the best from 2020

5. Eat Out to Help Out— Discounts at 73,000+ restaurants in London and Surrey

4. Pompeii of the North — you don’t have to leave England to get a taste of Pompeii

3. Open for business — Surrey restaurants and shops

2. Chelsea Flower Show Virtual Views — World’s most famous flower show opens online

1. Now showing on Netflix — Run down of British-inspired shows worth watching

As we bid 2020 a fond farewell — cheers to the New Year ahead!

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