Favorite Shops: Hambleton Bakery: artisan bakers who have introduced Middle Englanders to sourdough and other cosmopolitan ideas; Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese is our very respectable local cheddar, found at farmer's markets in the Midlands and in London.
Favorite Restaurants: The Old White Hartin Lyddington not a restaurant but the kind of pub in the country which you hope to find but so rarely do: food, ale and a warm fire. Baines Tearoom in Uppingham, the UK's best tea room (according to the Times) is attached to the best cake shop in Middle England. It's almost unchanged since 1867 with parents running the bakery and daughter running the tearoom. Try the battenburg cake.
Design Haunt: The Yellow Book (print and online): a guide to gardens all over England which open especially for the National Garden Scheme to raise money for charity; I follow several local branches on Twitter for last-minute reminders of openings. The Into Gardens app for the iPad and iPhone by James Alexander-Sinclair—it reads well, looks good and has humor. The Foodie Bugle is an online magazine mixing food, living, entrepreneurial start ups, and lots of ideas.