FF: Bourbon Rubenesque from Wood Hat Spirits

Looking for a nice little spirit for the bourbon aficionado on your gift list (like, ahem, yours truly)? Well, look no further than the mighty fine Bourbon Rubenesque from the fine folks at Wood Hat Spirits.

About Bourbon Rubenesque from Wood Hat Spirits:

“We diligently control every step of the process to produce a full-bodied flavor. By keeping the grains whole all the way to the end, a bigger robust flavor was created. It did not need much oak to finish it off. Then, by selecting 3 year old, air-dried wood for the barrels, the flavor blossomed without the tannic bite – a process only possible with a small batch, pot distilled, single barrel, field-to-glass creation. Aged 10 months.”

Learn more about Bourbon Rubenesque from Wood Hat Spirits here.

See all the fine products from Wood Hat Spirits here.

FF: Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Meanwhile, the fine folks at John Dewar and Sons’ Aberfeldy Distillery in the very heart of Scotland, produce the highly-acclaimed Aberfeldy 21 single malt Scotch Whisky and it is fantastic. Definitely the perfect gift for the scotch lover on your list.

About Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky:

“Richly textured, honeyed nose with sweet creamy intensity. Dried fruits, floral heather notes, and hints of toasted coconut.”

Learn more about Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky here.

See all the great spirits from John Dewar and Sons here.

While taking a break touring around Lille on my recent visit, my traveling companions and I stopped at a café where I enjoyed a lovely bottle of Badoit sparkling water. Perrier who?

About Badoit sparkling water:

“This major sparkling water brand is much-loved by the French. Badoit brings over two centuries of pleasure and sophistication to every meal. Originally acknowledged for its exceptional properties in the 18th Century, Badoit was recognised in 1778 by King Louis XVI’s physician as having virtues that ‘enhance the appetite, soothe digestion and lift the spirit’. Resolutely traditional, Badoit knows how to reinvent itself; its bottles are increasingly elegant, and highlight this unique product. Choosing to enjoy Badoit fine bubbles means making each meal a special occasion.”

Learn more about Badoit sparkling water here.


The Brits know how to send the perfect housewarming gifts at Christmas – the traditional Christmas hamper full of the beverages and treats that make the perfect holiday celebration. The fine folks at UK retailer John Lewis (the ones whose Christmas ad with Elton John went viral) have a great collection of Christmas hampers like their Sophistication Christmas Hamper.

About the Sophistication Christmas Hamper from John Lewis:

“A fabulous family hamper, built around a sophisticated … colour scheme and filled with quality food and drink which includes a bottle of Champagne, a Christmas pudding, luxury shortbread and 6 premium Christmas crackers. Presented in a lidded basket.”

Find the Sophistication Christmas Hamper from John Lewis here.

Do you have a million questions about snow but were always afraid to ask? Now you can learn everything you every wanted to know about snow (and then some) from the comfort of your own home with the new book Snow – The Biography by Giles Whittell.

About Snow: The Biography by Giles Whittell:

“Snow has a lot in common with religion. It comes from heaven. It changes everything. It creates an alternative reality and brings on irrational behaviour in humans. But unlike most religions, snow has never had a bible, until now. Giles Whittell, a passionate snow enthusiast, takes the reader on a quest through centuries and continents to reveal the wonders of snow. Along the way he uncovers the mysteries of snow crystal morphology, why avalanches happen, how snow saved a British prime minister’s life, and the terrifying truth about the opening ceremony of the 1960 winter Olympics. Snow is the next best thing to a white Christmas, an anthropology and travelogue for everyone from ski addicts to the millions of people who have never even seen it.”

Snow: The Biography by Giles Whittell is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

If your family is anything like mine, the holiday season means board games. Every year we play at least one new game – and one of the best places I have found to look for fun new games is Are You Game. But I think I have found the perfect game to play this Christmas – Christmas-opoly.

About Christmas-opoly from Are You Game:

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Get your lights up, your presents wrapped, gather family and friends, and pop the lid off Christmas-opoly! Watch out Players! You may be run over by a reindeer! Be nice…or you may end up with a lump of coal! To play, collect Christmas properties, increase your property value by buying presents and trading them in for a Christmas tree. It’s all fun and games until someone blows a fuse, gets snowed in, or gets sent to ‘Naughty’ and is out of the game for three turns! Whatever happens…YOU BETTER NOT POUT! Christmas-opoly is a game to celebrate the season!”

Find Christmas-opoly from Are You Game here.

See all the great games from Are You Game here.

I love the vintage look of the Merry Christmas Typewriter Ornament I found from the fine folks at Magnolia – the perfect gift for the writer or journalist (or aging hipster) in your life.

About the Merry Christmas Typewriter Ornament from Magnolia:

“Inspired by a vintage typewriter, this detailed Merry Christmas Typewriter Ornament makes a thoughtful gift for the writer in your life.”

Find the Merry Christmas Typewriter Ornament from Magnolia here.

There are any number of options for you Christmas stockings, but few as quaint and perfect as the Rustic Christmas Stockings I found from the fine folks at Antique Farmhouse.

About the Rustic Christmas Stockings from Antique Farmhouse:

“Our coordinating Rustic Christmas Stockings, Set of 4, are the perfect finishing touch to your holiday home decor. The pattern and design is perfectly suited to your vintage inspired tastes and traditional holiday color scheme. Each is over a foot and a half long and is accented by decorative jingle bells, so there is lots of room for Santa to leave everyone’s favorite goodies.”

Find the Rustic Christmas Stockings from Antique Farmhouse here.

I have raved about the fine folks at LovePop before, makers of awesome pop-up greeting cards and related items. However, when it comes to Christmas, they really shine. Their Christmas collection is just awesome, highlighted by their Ornate Tabletop Christmas Tree.

About the Ornate Tabletop Christmas Tree from LovePop:

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go — thanks to our new portable tree! The Ornate Tabletop Christmas Tree is the creme de la creme of our 3D pop-up paper evergreen tree sculptures. Complete with 50 colorful, metallic hang-it-yourself ornaments, a lightweight locking base, ruby red tree skirt, the Ornate Tabletop Christmas Tree features intricate filigree cutouts throughout its branching, revealing a deep forest green interior. Made for office parties, military bases, hospital bedsides, teeny-tiny first apartments, or anywhere that could use an extra dose of Christmas cheer.”

Find the Ornate Tabletop Christmas Tree from LovePop here.

See LovePop’s complete Christmas Collection here.

I am back from my trip to London and Lille and I promise I will get back to the regular random finds you have come to love. However, I have a ton more to share about what I found on my trip, so get ready to see more mixed in as we head towards Christmas and the New Year. And we will have plenty of Holiday Finds and great gift ideas all month long. So let’s get started!

Concluding my review of the London theatre scene from my recent trip – this week I present a couple of two-part epic plays. Most plays run a couple of hours. However, it is not unheard of for a longer show to be performed in two parts – either on consecutive nights or as a day/night doubleheader – matinee and evening. Nicholas Nickleby and Angels in America are classic examples from years past. However, it seems two-part plays are having a moment, with a couple currently on the boards in London: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and The Inheritance. I took naps and made sure I had the stamina to take in both of these epics and I am glad I did.

FF: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

First, I finally had the chance to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I say finally as I thought I had tickets to see it on my last trip to London in April 2017 but it turned out I had purchased tickets for April 2018. Doh!

Anyway, the show is a new chapter in the Harry Potter world and is a must for any Potter fan – or anyone who loves the magic of live theatre.

We meet Harry and his Hogwarts mates as adults and are introduced to a new generation. But that’s all I can say as we are asked to “keep the secrets” of the show.

About Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

“Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne received its world premiere in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre in summer 2016. The critically acclaimed production is most awarded West End play in the history of the Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best New Play and Best Director in 2017. Written by BAFTA, Tony and Olivier award-winner Jack Thorne and directed by Olivier and Tony award winner John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, bringing together some of the most exciting talent working in the theatre today.”

What I can say is that the more than five hours of show never drags and the story is fun and engaging with some wonderfully inventive stage craft. Of course if you are familiar with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you will take more away, but Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stands on its own as a very good play and production. I for one am so happy to see this show is playing to sold out crowds and introducing new generations to the glories of live theatre.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues its indefinite run at London’s Palace Theatre and on Broadway at New York’s Lyric Theatre. Additional productions in Hamburg, Melbourne and San Francisco have been announced.

FF: The Inheritance

Meanwhile, just a couple of blocks away at London’s Noel Coward Theatre is a very different two-part play, The Inheritance, an ensemble play examining the lives of gay men across generations. This may sound niche, but the work is so rich and compelling it crosses into the mainstream and I dare to say is an important work for younger generations to understand their not so distance elders.

About The Inheritance:

“Following a sold-out, critically-acclaimed run at the Young Vic, Matthew Lopez’s major two-part world premiere The Inheritance lands in London’s West End for just fifteen weeks. Directed by multi Olivier Award winner Stephen Daldry, this ‘monumental and transcendent’ (Time Out) production questions how much we owe to those who lived and loved before us. A generation after the peak of the AIDs crisis, what is it like to be a young gay man in New York? How many words are there now for pain and for love? Stephen Daldry’s ‘remarkably involving production’ (Independent) explores profound themes through the turbulent and often hilarious experiences of a group of young, ambitious New Yorkers.  What is the legacy left to them by previous generations? What do they owe the future and each other? Spanning generations and interlinking lives, The Inheritance is ‘an exquisitely truthful and funny modern classic’ (Telegraph) that brilliantly transposes EM Forster’s novel Howards End to 21st century New York.”

The Inheritance is one of those plays that starts out one way and draws you in to think you are in for one experience and then takes a turn and you are amazed by the power of the storytelling. Performed by a great ensemble of young actors and a few stellar veterans, including the great Vanessa Redgrave, The Inheritance will stay with you for a long time.

The Inheritance continues its limited run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre through January 19, 2019.

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