Chelsea Flower Show Virtual Views

Horticulture from home

Thanks to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and its 520,000+ members, the world’s most famous flower show opened online earlier this week. This is only the third time in the history of the Chelsea Flower Show that it had to be cancelled — the first two was World War I and World War II.

Virtual Chelsea runs through May 23rd and features talks by famous garden designers and experts, behind-the-scenes tours, activities for kids and more — streamed throughout the day along with its usual BBC broadcasts. Just some of the segments so far:

Ironically, this year’s show coincides with Mental Health Week and perhaps now more than ever people are realizing just how important gardens and green spaces are especially during lockdown. RHS is encouraging people to share images of their favorite flowers and green spaces. Even the members of Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have all shared their favorite flowers #mychelseagarden.

With the opening of local garden centres, there is no better time to stop and smell the roses — and perhaps even plant one too!

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Downton Abbey from Home

It is hard to imagine that it was just over a year and a half ago that Downton Abbey returned to the big screen after nearly a four-year hiatus. For fans, it was like catching up with old friends and a bit of an escape from the everyday.

Sadly, Highclere Castle which served as the main film location for the television series and movie has been closed since March 23rd due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, despite being closed to the public, the real-life residents of Highclere Castle, Lord and Lady Carnarvon are still graciously hosting fans from around the world.


‘At Home at Highclere Castle Fridays’
Airs on Viking TV at 11 am PST
The first episode featuring the historic library aired April 3rd can be watched here along with subsequent episodes. Best-selling author, Lady Carnarvon, takes viewers behind-the-scenes sharing details on items found in the room, highlighting the important role the castle has played over the years and fielding questions from the viewers.

‘Virtual Cocktail Party at Highclere Castle’
Takes place every other Friday via Highclere Castle Gin Facebook Live 1 pm PST
The first party took place April 17th in the Library with Lord and Lady Carnarvon sipping period '20s and '30s cocktails (made with Highclere Castle Gin of course), discussing the history of the castle, filming of Downton Abbey and answering questions posted by fans. The event proved so popular, they hosted a second event on May 1st in the Drawing Room and will continue every other week.

Much like the Crawleys in Downton Abbey, spending time with the Carnarvons is like catching up with old friends and a welcome escape from the everyday.

No doubt when Highclere Castle opens again, we will all be cordially invited to visit having gotten to know them and the ‘Real Downton Abbey’ just a bit better!

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Surrey Walks

What to look for

With sunny skies and warmer temperatures, everyone is eager to spend time outdoors. While the best way to protect yourself from Covid-19 is to stay-at-home, exercising once a day is still encouraged. Luckily, Surrey has over 2,100 miles of footpaths to explore — here’s what to look for:


Bluebells Considered England’s favorite wildflower, bluebells typically begin blooming in April and peak in May creating violet-blue carpet on forest floors. The UK is home to nearly half of the ancient blue bluebell woodlands in the world. Checkout the Be careful when walking since it can take years for bluebells to recover from damage. Hopefully with less foot traffic, the displays will be even more stunning in the years to come.


Geocaches Number 49 out of 50 on National Trust's 'Things to do before your 11-3/4' is Geocaching. Before smartphones, you had to rely on a physical somewhat clunky GPS, but now all you need is to download an app and you are ready to go. Basically, you follow coordinates and clues to find a hidden box known as 'caches'. Inside you'll find a logbook and potentially trinkets left by others before you. Apparently, Geocaching is even popular among celebrities with Anthony Bourdain, Melissa Joan Hart and Hugh Jackman all playing along.
www.geocaching.com



Painted Rocks A non-tech treasure hunt involves reading clues on Surrey Rocks! Facebook group and hiding and seeking painted rocks. Once you find one, take a photo of where you found it and post it to the site – or you can hide it somewhere else and post a clue instead (a lot of people choose to keep their first rock and re-hide others they find). You can also decorate and hide rocks of your own for someone else to find. Beyond making someone’s day, you’ll also be able to see how far they have gone — since people will take them on holiday. Of course, once the travel ban is lifted!

Note : *Since it is unknown how long Covid 19 stays alive on different surfaces – it is probably best to not touch your finds for the time-being


Hope everyone finds a bit of joy outside!

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Open for Business

As the lockdown continues and trips from home are limited, here are a list of Surrey shops and restaurants that are still open for business:

Out of necessity
In case you are not having luck at your local supermarket, some farm shops may have what you are looking for . . .

Garson’s Farm Shop (Esher) — Over 65's and vulnerables can shop before the store opens to the pubic Monday – Saturday 8 am – 9 am and Sunday 10 – 11 am and have groceries delivered their cars (includes NHS and other key staff).
www.garsons.co.uk+44 1372 460181
Winterdown Road, West End, Esher KT10 8LS



Priory Farm (Nutfield) — Priory Farm Shop is offering free delivery on orders over £50 and within a 5-mile radius. Public opening hours are 9 am – 1 pm (keyworkers are able to shop until 5 pm).
www.prioryfarm.co.uk+44 1737 823304
Sandy Lane, South Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey RH1 4EJ


Squire’s Garden Centre (Multiple) — The Squire’s Food Hall - Frensham features locally sourced products and Food Shop - Badshot Lea has essential food items are the only locations open. Their Garden Centres are accepting orders of £50 or more with free delivery within 7-mile radius.
www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk




Break from the kitchen
If you need a break from the seemingly endless stacks of dishes, let someone else do the cooking . . .
Carlo's Trattoria (Guildford) — Considered Guildford’s Best Loved Italian, Carlos Trattoria has been around for over 30 years. They have a weekly set menu and individual dishes both chilled and frozen along with a selection of house wines with collection from their car park.
www.carlostrattoria.com+44 1483 224180
Shere Road, Newlands Corner, Guildford GU4 8SE


Meat the Greek (Guildford) — This small cafe serves delicious gyros, kebabs and souvlaki – add an order of homemade tzatziki sauce served with pita bread and fries with feta sauce – you have a meal. Order online for collection or delivery.
www.meatthegreek.co.uk+44 1483 458644
15 Chapel Street, Guildford GU1 3UL



Lift the spirits
While pubs and breweries are closed, how to make staying at home more bearable . . .
Denbies Wine Estate (Guildford) — Denbies is offering on-line wine sales with 20% discount on 6 bottles or more. Collection available Monday – Friday 10 am – 3 pm or by delivery.
www.denbies.co.uk+44 1306 876616
London Road, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA


Silent Pool Distillers (Albury) — Silent Pool has stay at home gin bundles, including Date Night and Summer Garden. They are offering free Silent Treatment hand sanitiser with gin orders, 20% discount for NHS and emergency services staff and free delivery for orders over £50 for everyone.
www.silentpooldistillers.com+44 1483 229136
Shere Road, Albury, Surrey GU5 9BW


*Note : Easter weekend opening hours and delivery may vary from the ones listed above.

Hopefully it will not be too long before these restaurants and shops open fully again!

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Shows go on . . .

Online that is
With London theatres shut down for the foreseeable future — three ways to get your theatre fix:

Opera & Ballet
Royal Opera House Fridays at 7 pm
27th March : Peter and the Wolf (The Royal Ballet 2010)
3rd April : Così fan tutte (The Royal Opera 2009)
10th April : Treasure Island (The Royal Opera 2010)
17rd April : The Metamorphosis (The Royal Ballet 2013)
www.facebook.com/royaloperahouse
www.youtube.com/user/RoyalOperaHouse

Shakespeare
TheShowMustGoOnline — Weekly readings Thursdays at 7 pm of the complete plays of William Shakespeare in the order they were written
19th March : The Two Gentleman of Verona
2nd April : Henry VI Part 1

www.robmyles.co.uk/theshowmustgoonline

Theatre
National Theatre — Every Thursday in April at 7 pm
2nd April : One Man, Two Guvnors (James Corden)
9th April : Jane Eyre
16th April : Treasure Island
23rd April : Twelfth Night (Tamsin Greig)
www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre

Here's to hoping the curtains will rise again soon to new and bigger audiences!

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Mother's Day Delivered

With advice against “unnecessary contact”, send special treats instead this Mothering Sunday:

Cuppa & Tea
Emma Bridgewater — Founded in 1985 when she was unable to find cups and saucers for her own Mum — Emma Bridgewater has remained true to 'the necessity of getting the thought and design absolutely right'. Today, it is the largest pottery manufacturer based in the UK. Their Mother's Day collection is currently 20% off.
www.emmabridgewater.co.uk


T2 T2 is a specialty tea shop originally established in Australia.  They are know for their extensive array of teas (200+) along with colorful teapots, cups and countless tea accessories.  Their Mother's Day specials include a Bazaar Beauty Pink Tea for One set and Top Sips Assorted Tea Sampler alone or together make a perfect pair.
www.t2tea.com


Soap & Scent
LUSH Cosmetics — From humble beginnings in 1995 with their first store located in the small seaside town of Poole, UK, Lush Cosmetics now boasts 900+ stores worldwide. The company is known for ‘fresh handmade cosmetics’ that are 100% vegetarian and cruelty-free. Lush offers over 170+ soaps alone — their Parsley Porridge Soap, an herbal, antibacterial suds would be welcome by anyone.
www.lush.com

Perfume Studio — For a truly unique and thoughtful gift, purchase a voucher for a bespoke fragrance experience.  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.  Due to coronavirus outbreak, Fragrance Design Experience Vouchers are valid for up to 18 months. 
www.theperfumestudio.com

Sweets

The Biscuiteers These iced biscuits taste as good as they look and are literally works of art (not surprisingly many Biscuiteers icers are artists as well). Fashionable corporate clients include Dior, Burberry and Gucci. They ship worldwide and can be found at Fortnum & Masons, Harrods and Selfridges.  Use code MUMSDAY for 10% off their Mother's Day flowers biscuit tin.
www.biscuiteers.com


Monty Bo Jangles Truffle Bar There are simply no words to describe these award-winning French cocoa dusted truffles. A limited selection is available from local grocery stores, specialty shops and on-line.  Customize a trunk of 100 truffles — be sure to include at least one box of Ruby Fruit Sunday in honor of Mothering Sunday.
www.montybojangles.com


All can be ordered from the comfort of your home and sure to bring a smile to the Mums in your life — until you can visit in person again!

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Pompeii of the North

Without leaving London

With the current Italy travel advisories, you don’t have to leave England to get a taste of Pompeii. London Mithraeum Bloomberg Space is touted by archaeologists as Pompeii of the North. The excavation between 2012 and 2014 was one of the most extensive in London. It revealed over 14,000 finds covering the entire period of the Roman occupation of Britain — 40s AD to the early 5th century under Bloomberg London.

In addition to well-preserved streets, the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) uncovered items such as charms, coins, writing tablets and even perfectly preserved leather shoes thanks in huge part to the waterlogged site.

Originally discovered in 1954, the Temple of Mithras was moved 100 meters away. It has since been restored to its original site under Bloomberg’s European headquarters. The exhibition now includes 600 artifacts and includes an audio-visual enhanced walk around the Temple itself. It was named by Time as one of the World's Greatest Places in 2018. Self-guided visits take approximately an hour and booking is currently available until May 2020.

Best of all entry is free and no need to travel or worry about the weather either! 
www.londonmithraeum.com
12 Walbrook, London, EC4N 8AA