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Emma Bridgewater


Best of the British Isles: A Gift Giving Guide for Anglophiles

It’s November, which means (hurrah!) it’s socially acceptable to start talking about holiday shopping. If you’re in need of a gift for the Anglophile in your life—even if that’s you—look no further than my list of favorite things hailing from or inspired by the British Isles.

Riley’s Gastronomic Guide to the British Isles

For the Foodie

Riley’s Gastronomic Guide is a charming illustrated map of all things edible in the British Isles. How else is a self-respecting Anglophile supposed to know where to find Star Gazy Pie?

It may not have made Riley’s Gastronomic Guide, but Grasmere Gingerbread in the heart of the Lake District deserves a mention. The village is best known for Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s former home, but the gingerbread that’s been produced there since the mid-nineteenth century is equally poetic. Luckily they deliver overseas.

You’re going to need some tea to wash down all that gingerbread and, short of moving to the Cotswolds, a piece of china from Emma Bridgewater is the easiest way to invoke that feeling of English cottage cozy. Plus, this line of English pottery has managed to do the seemingly impossible in creating tasteful tat to commemorate royal events. Prince George mug, anyone?

For the Dandy

When we first moved to the Cotswolds, the Cirencester-based gentlemen’s clothier, Pakeman, Catto & Carter, was the destination of choice for my husband to suit up in the local garb (think corduroy, tweed, and the occasional velvet collar). Their selection of accessories includes pheasant cuff links, mother of pearl collar stays, and a flat cap made from their specially commissioned 150th anniversary tweed. I also love their selection of women’s pajamas.

Clothes and accessories in Liberty art fabric prints are another classic option. Shop a curated selection of Liberty clothes and accessories at J.Crew and avoid overseas shipping costs to the U.S.

For the Bibliophile

Just in time for Christmas are three new offerings from classic British franchises. Sebastian Faulks brings us the first new Jeeves and Wooster novel in forty years, which makes a perfect pairing with Liberty’s Jeeve’s Bowler Hat table lamp. William Boyd has penned a new installment of James Bond, Solo, set in 1969 in West Africa, and Helen Fielding gives us the next phase in the life and times of Bridget Jones, now 51 (!), in Mad About the Boy. And, if you’re looking to try something new, I humbly suggest my own Cotswoldian memoir, Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage.


Back in the Wolds

Arrived back in the Cotswolds on Wednesday night for a few days of rural refreshment before a trip out to California then back again in time for the royal wedding. Enough royal wedding memorabilia to fill a small warehouse had been delivered in the post (tea towels for everyone!), including the Emma Bridgewater mug pictured from which I am currently drinking my morning coffee. I appreciate the way Ms. Bridgewater managed to make the helicopters (emblem of Will’s profession as a search and rescue helicopter pilot) look sort of like flowers if you squint, but it’s too bad the initials of the royal couple are the same as those used to indicate bathroom facilities in the UK.

Also awaiting me was the May issue of Cotswold Life magazine, a periodical in which I had pretty much lost interest when I was living here full-time. I preferred the New Yorker to say the monthly Cotswold Pub Dog column in which, yes, a local pub dog gets his own column in which to inform the public of his favourite pub snack, favourite spot in the bar, and favourite customer. But now that I am back living full-time in the big, bad urban-ness of Berlin, I sopped up Cotswold Life like it was some kind of life-prolonging tonic.

In typical idiosyncratic style, the opening article managed to both bemoan the cancellation for the second year in a row of Cheese Rolling down Cooper’s Hill, a nearly two-century old Cotswold tradition, and extol the virtues of smoking. The second article was a newish (well, new since I stopped reading regularly) column by a woman who calls herself Cotswold Mother. Very annoying since that is obviously the perfect spot for the American in the Cotswolds column. And then there was my favorite, the property pages, which reminded me how very rich this area is and how very rich I am not. The description in one ad for a manor and estate in nearby Withington included a minstrels’ gallery, bothy, and manège, none of which are architectural features with which I am familiar (although the first one sounds disturbingly, to an American, like a venue for a minstrel show). Like the old saying goes, if you have to ask you can’t afford it!