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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Bonfire Night alternative


Sadly, Bonfire Night (November 5) large firework displays are the latest lockdown casualty since you are not allowed to mix with people outside your household or support bubble 
(or at most one person from another household).  Three ways to celebrate while complying with the new rules:

Garden Fireworks — While you can set off set off fireworks in your garden until midnight on Bonfire Night (until 1 am on New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year) and 11 pm all other times, you are not allowed to set them off in public places (ie parks, street or woodlands). Fines can be run up to £5,000 or six months in prison. 
Note : Stock up now since members of the public are only allowed to purchase fireworks until November 10th, December 26th - 31st or three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.


Hummingbird Bakery : Fireworks Cupcakes — Hummingbird Bakery has a special box of six firework themed cupcakes (three red velvet cheesecake and three chocolate) for £19.95 on offer. Gluten-free and vegan boxes are also available — order now for pick up until November 7th.
www.hummingbirdbakery.com

Monty Bo Jangles : Berry Bubbly Truffles — Monty Bo Jangles decadent Berry Bubbly truffles are filled with popping candy that explode in your mouth. Two 150 g boxes are £6.80 (regularly £8.50) or splurge for a trunk full of truffles (includes 8 other flavors) is £29.99 (regularly £40).  While non-essential travel is discouraged, the decorative box that resembles a piece of luggage will at least give you the feeling of going somewhere.
Note : Sale on 100 g and 150 g boxes runs until Sunday via Amazon.
www.amazon.co.uk

While the saying is 'Remember, remember, the fifth of November' . . . 'Should ever be forgot . . . ' — like so many other things, 2020 might be the one exception!

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Covid-friendly adventure hunts

Following the Rule of Six

Tired of Zoom or staying inside?  Grab a group of family, friends or colleagues and follow a trail of clues and solve riddles through Kingston and London. On both tours you will see things you never noticed before — even if you are a local.  All you need is your mobile phone, walking shoes and a sense of of adventure!

Game of Stones (Kingston) — Make your way through Kingston’s alleys, graveyards and market squares. The game starts at the steps of Kingston Town Hall.
Available : 8 am - 7 pm
Duration : 1 - 3 hours
Cost : £25 for 2 players, £5 for each additional player
Bonus : Prize at the end of the hunt
www.gameofstonestreasurehunt.com

Hidden City (London) — Themed-hunts include : Moriarty Games (Professor James Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes), Hunt for Cheshire Cat who escaped from Wonderland and The Enchanted Mirror inspired by Snow White. 
Available : Start between 10:30 am - 6:30 pm (until 5:30 pm Sundays)
Duration : 3 - 4 hours
Cost : £19 / player (2-5 people)
Bonus : Pause the game for cafe or pub breaks. Fully flexible booking (add or remove players, change the date, game or get a full refund).
www.inthehiddencity.com

Who knew the Rule of Six could be fun and challenging at the same time — in an entirely different way!

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Now showing on Netflix

British-inspired shows


As London and Surrey go on Tier 2 high alert and indoor socializing limited to those in your own home, here’s a run down of British-inspired shows worth watching:

Churchill's Secret Agents: The New Recruits
(2018) — A five-part reality series where 14 contestants go through a four-day selection process similar to the ones British spies went through during World War II.

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet (2020) — Broadcaster David Attenborough provides a first-hand account of the defining moments of his life and changes he has seen in nature during the course of his 94 years.

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) — New York Times bestselling historical novel turned movie is about a London writer who exchanges letters with residents of Gurnsey (one of the channel Islands between England and France) and decides to visit the society in person.

Jack Whitehall : Travels with My Father
(2020) — Four season comedy travel documentary featuring British comedian Jack Whitehall who takes his 77 year old father on a gap year trip around the world.

Pride & Prejudice
(2005) — Originally released in 2005, this 19th century period piece based on Jane Austin’s book is back on Netflix.  The story centers around Mrs. Bennet who is determined to have one of her daughters marry the affluent Mr. Darcy.

And last but certainly not least mark your diary for The Crown, a historical drama series on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Season 4 premieres November 15th — leaving you plenty of time to binge watch the first three seasons if you haven’t already.

Happy watching!

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London Cocktail Week to last a month

Biggest cocktail event in the world runs October 1 — 31

As the extension of Eat Out to Help Out officially ends September 30th, London Cocktail Week kicks off October 1st and will run the entire month. A £15 wristband entitles you to £6 drinks at 230+ venues, some favorites (with good food too) include:

Christopher's Martini Bar (Covent Garden) — Whisk Me Away: 12 year old Scotch whisky, blood orange liqueur, homemade lavender syrup, cranberry and lemon juice along with Peychaud's bitters.

City Social (City) — Pineapple Negroni: Bombay Sapphire gin infused with pineapple, sweet vermouth, bitter aperitif and pineapple liqueur, Fall Summer Spritz: Bergamot liqueur, white grape and apricot soda and topped with Prosecco.

Ham Yard Hotel (Soho) — The Tipsy Bee: Ketel One vodka, elderflower liqueur, Mythical Creatures tea, fresh lemon juice, Ham Yard honey and vegan egg white.

Hawksmoor (Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Spitalfields) — Blackberry & Apple Gimlet: Hepple gin, Bramley apple juice and blackberry cordial, Flora & Fauna: Hepple gin, fresh raspberries, ginger and fresh lemon juice, topped with champagne.

Heddon Street Kitchen (Mayfair) — Welly Coupe: Roku gin, elderflower cordial, fresh lime juice and orange bitters, Duke of Wellington: 10 year old Scotch whisky, ginger ale, fresh lemon juice and honey.

MEATliquor (Marylebone) — Stagg Do: Jägermeister liqueur, rum, citrus juices, orgeat an pomegranate.

OXO Tower (Southbank) — Raspberry Gin Daisy: Tanqueray No. 10 gin, homemade raspberry
syrup, fresh lemon juice, green Chartreuse and soda water, Sevilla Fizz: Tanqueray Sevilla gin, peach puree, peach liquor, orange, dry curaçao, blood orange syrup and OXO Brut Champagne, Logroni: Tanqueray No. 10 gin, Æcorn Bitter, Æcorn Aromatic. Reservations required.

sketch (Soho) — Osaka Highball: Roku gin, apricot liqueur, lemongrass and ginger cordial, verjus, citric and soda water, Tampico: Bitter aperitif, blood orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice, citrus tonic and Absinthe.

Cheers!
www.londoncocktailweek.com

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Eat Out to Help Out more

Scheme extends into September

While the UK government's restaurant industry initiative Eat Out to Help Out officially concludes August 31st, some restaurants are extending the 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks for up to £10 in September, including:

Aqua Kyoto, Aqua Shard, Hutong (London) — £10 off per person (minimum spend £30 / person) Monday through Wednesday

Bill’s (Multiple) — One course for £10 or two courses for £14.50 from their set menu after 11:30 am Monday through Wednesday

Darwin Brasserie & Fenchurch (London) — 50% off (up to £10 off per person) food and soft drinks in lunch and dinner in Darwin (Tuesday, Wednesday) and in Fenchurch (Friday, Saturday)

The Gilbert Scott
(London) — Set menu with a cocktail for £25 or 50% off anything from their a la carte menu and soft drinks Monday through Wednesday

Peggy Porschen (London) — 50% off all food and non-alcoholic drinks breakfast, brunch or tea-time Monday through Wednesday

These are just a few of the 84,000 restaurants that participated in the original inititiave where 64 million meals were consumed in the first three weeks alone.

Hope the extended offers will tempt people to keep eating out!

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Eat Out to Help Out

Discounts at 73,000+ restaurants

Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August, the UK government is supporting the restaurant industry with its initiative Eat Out to Help Out. Over 73,000 cafés, pubs and restaurants from major chains to Michelin-starred* eateries are participating. The offer is good for 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks for up to £10. Some special offers include:

Aqua Kyoto, Aqua Shard, Hutong (London) — These restaurants will also offer £10 off any bottle of wine priced at more than £40.

Barrafina (London) — Spanish tapas for £4.50 instead of £9.

Bill’s (Multiple) — Set menus two courses £15.50/£19.95 or three courses for £19.95/£24.95 will come with a free glass a wine.

Carluccio’s
(Multiple) — 50% off all food and non-alcoholic drinks plus £10 off all bottles of wine with no £10 cap applied.

Dishoom (London) — 50% off all Indian dishes (starting at £3.45, usually £6.90) with no £10 cap applied.

Great Fosters
* (London) — Afternoon tea £25 (usually £35) or Champagne afternoon tea for £37.50 (usually £47.50)

Hawksmoor (Multiple) — 300 g rump steak with chips and sauce for £10 instead of £20

Ivy Collection (Multiple) — Two courses for £8.75 or three courses for £11 between 11:30 am – 6 pm (usually £17.50 and £21).

Padella
(London) — Italian pasta dishes £2 – £5.75 (usually £4 – £11.50).

Pollen Street Social* & Social Eating House* (London) — Two-course prix fixe menu Tuesdays and Wednesdays at lunch and between 6 – 6:30 pm for £12.

A website has been setup so you can easily search for your favorites by post code. There is no better time to eat out – if you are ready to venture out!

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