The down to earth brainchild of CheeringTech, a Chinese tech company that decided to venture into reality and came up with the idea of brightly coloured paper soil using recycled paper and old-fashioned jam jars in which to grow a variety of plants and herbs. Looks jazzy, and saves energy, water and trees.
From $9.99/350g visit paper-soil.com for details
Formerly known as Market Porter, Heartier is an on-line farm shop that delivers local produce to your door. Specialising in meat, charcuterie, cheese and chocolate
Visit heartier.com for details
Now in its 90th decade, the McVities digestive biscuit (it was invented in 1892 by Sir Alexander Grant) has been subject to a wealth of advertising techniques from family-focused toddlers to glamorous women and sweet corgi puppies. Visit the results at mcvities.co.uk/products and break open a celebratory packet
89p/250g from supermarkets
Five of the best… places to do more than just eat
Feast your Eye, National Gallery Experiences, Picnics on the portico, overlooking Trafalgar Square and a secret bar sponsored by Leffe Belgian Abbey Beer
2 June, 6pm, £15; 4 August, 6pm £15,tickets from timeout.com
Cherry fair featuring the 400 cherry trees in the national collection plus additional cherry-related events (cherry pie eating competition, live music and cherries through the ages)
Sunday 16 July at Brogdale, Brogdale Road, Faversham Kent, visit brogdalecollections.org
Galvin Green Man
This year’s winner of the best pub in the east of England (National Pub and Bar Awards), the Green Man was opened last year by restaurateur Chris Galvin and his brother Jeff. Apart from some pretty good food, the 700 year old pub also features one and half acres of water meadows with the River Chelmer meandering along the bottom of the pub garden.
Galvin Green Man, Howe Street Great Waltham, tel 01245 408820 or visit galvinrestaurants.com
World class venue for contemporary art, London’s Whitechapel gallery also hosts an after-hours evening wine bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Drinks and small plates of charcuterie, cheeses and homemade terrine plus tutored tastings, music and a chance to look round the gallery
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82Whitechapel High Street, London E1, visit whitechapelgallery.org for details
Simpson’s in the Strand
If you like a dining experience steeped in filmic and literary history, Simpsons in the Strand is the place to be. It started life in 1828 as a London chess club and coffee house and from there evolved into the august, some might say old-fashioned, dining room famous for its carving trolleys of roast beef and diners such as Winston Churchill, Dickens, PG Wodehouse and a pre-vegetarian GBS. Now this iconic restaurant has been revamped and although the original paneling and the trolleys remain, there’s a new head chef (William Hemming), a sober new British menu featuring Scottish beef and local cheeses and a shop selling Simpson’s products in the foyer.
Simpsons in the Strand, 100 Strand London WC2, tel 0207 836 9112 or visit simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk