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:

Virtual
Despite cancellation of New Orleans signature event, the spirit of Mardi Gras will still be on full display . .
Mardi Gras for All Y'all Nola.com 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.
www.mardigrasforall.com

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
www.eatpoorboys.com

Pancakes
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.
wwww.thebreakfastclubcafes.com


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.
www.crepeaffaire.com


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.
www.lccauk.com

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.
www.metmuseum.org

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.
www.asiasociety.org/texas
www.ccchouston.org

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
(Windsor)
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
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/08/eat-out-to-help-out.html

4. Pompeii of the North — you don’t have to leave England to get a taste of Pompeii
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/02/pompeii-of-north.html

3. Open for business — Surrey restaurants and shops
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/04/open-for-business.html

2. Chelsea Flower Show Virtual Views — World’s most famous flower show opens online
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/05/chelsea-flower-show-virtual-views.html

1. Now showing on Netflix — Run down of British-inspired shows worth watching
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/10/now-showing-on-netflix.html

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

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Best of 2020

Top 10 posts — Part I

As the UK lifts lockdown (again), it is not surprising the year's most popular posts were either on-line or outdoors. With the less than desirable weather, here's your chance to catch what you may have missed:

10. England’s best vineyard experience— Award-winning boutique vineyard produces sparkling English wines from a trio of champagne grapes that mature at least five years.
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/07/englands-best-vineyard-experience.html

9. Magna Carta pilgrimage — The Magna Carta was sealed at Runnymeade field in Surrey over 800 years ago.
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/07/magna-carta-pilgrimage.html

8. Kew's Summer Cycle — Cycle through the world’s largest and most diverse garden
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/08/kews-summer-cycle.html

7. Shows go on . . . — On-line that is
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/03/shows-go-on.html


6. Covid-friendly adventure hunts — Following the Rule of Six
www.londonviasurrey.com/2020/10/covid-friendly-adventure-hunts.html


Best of 2020  Part II will feature the best of the best from 2020.

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Chocolate-Free Advent Calendars

One-of-a-kind countdowns for everyone on your list

If you missed out on Liberty's luxury beauty advent calendar or Aldi's popular wine calendar, there is still time to have one-of-a-kind countdowns delivered to your door.

Bonne Maman (£23.99) — Bonne Maman (‘Grandma’) calendar features 23 mini jars of all-natural jams and marmalades plus a gift to open Christmas Eve.  The different, unique fruit combinations are usually not available in the UK and include lemon and yuzu, grapefruit and dragon fruit and raspberry and lychee.
www.bonnemaman.co.uk

Cath Kidston (£34.99) — For nearly 30 years, Cath Kidston has been designing vintage prints with a modern twist. The beauty Advent calendar includes 5 hand and 3 cuticle creams, 3 body lotions, 2 body scrubs, 2 hand washes, 3 bath fizzers, 3 lip balms, 2 liquid and a scented soap all packaged in Kidston’s signature designs.
www.costco.co.uk

The Chuckling Cheese Company (£34.99) — Founded in 2012, The Chuckling Cheese Company is offering two calendar designs (Merry Christmas, ‘Tis the Cheeseason to be Jolly). There are 24 mini cheese wheels in 8 different flavors — including best-selling ones (applesmoked, carmelised red onion) and limited edition and festive ones (Christmas pudding, Sunday roast).
www.chucklingcheese.co.uk

Fortnum & Mason (£25) — For nearly three centuries, Fortnum & Mason has been the exclusive supplier of tea to the Royal family. The teas come in 24 silk bags and include Fortnum’s famous (Breakfast Blend, Earl Grey and Royal Blend teas), holiday flavours (Christmas Spiced Black and Green teas) and Oddi-teas (Gin & Tonic and Lemon Curd Green teas).
www.fortnumandmason.com

Harry Potter (£20.89) — LEGO has teamed up with Costco to offer a Harry Potter themed LEGO Advent calendar. Recreate the wonderful Wizarding World with 24 LEGO Harry Potter toys, including 6 minifigures, Beauxbaton’s carriage and a dining table with ice-castle centerpiece — all ready to build, design and play with.
www.costco.co.uk

Joe & Seph’s (£25) — Joe & Seph’s award-winning handmade popcorn was inspired by trips to the US. The 24 days of popular popcorn is available in three assortments : gourmet (19 flavours, including salted caramel, pumpkin spice), vegan (8 flavours, including toffee apple & cinnamon, coconut & cacao) and tipsy (10 flavours, including gin & tonic, limoncello).
www.joeandsephs.com

That Boutique-y Gin Company (£49.95) — The Boutique-y Gin Company is the world’s first independent gin bottler that produces small batches of new and experimental gins. The Advent calendar features 24 different 30 ml drams of gin by 10 distilleries from 5 countries, including Cherry, GINgle all the Way and Spit-Roasted Pineapple gins.
www.masterofmalt.com

Who knew spending less than £2 a day before the holidays even arrive could bring so much joy?

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