Category Archives: Culture
“I didn’t ever imagine it would be like this so I was both shocked and surprised at the same time. I thought we were coming to watch a film!” – one Secret Cinema attendee interviewed by BBC Newshour
I, too, had heard bits and pieces about Secret Cinema and thought it was merely a pop-up shop-style movie theater. Oh how wrong I was!
If you want to get the real scoop, listen to BBC Newshour from yesterday. One of their reporters participated in this mystery night out in London and finds herself on trial, convicted and then sent off to a prison yard a la “Shawshank Redemption.”
I was only able to source yesterday’s Newshour podcast in its entirety (if you haven’t listened to Newshour, it’s a great listen anyway!) but you can scroll to 35:46 to hear about Secret Cinema! Also, check out some of the photos taken at this recent one. Talk about experiencing a movie!
Have you gone to Secret Cinema? What did you think?
Our Christmas dinner is always very British – my husband does the cooking and it usually involves a roast rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, English trifle or pavlova and it is spectacular!
But Thanksgiving? That’s a whole ‘nother bird. We usually celebrate it with good friends (Americans!) and thankfully, they do the cooking: roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes with little marshmallows, pumpkin pie. It’s a familiar, time-tested formula that I’ve looked forward to with pure giddiness since I was a child old enough to slot black olives onto my fingers and pour the gravy. In fact, my appreciation for this very uniquely American holiday has only deepened through the years.
How are you celebrating Turkey Day today? Have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!
How happy are Brits as a nation?
Well, the Office of National Statistics have measured this (as well as other measurements on national well-being of the country!) for the first time – and here are a few findings:
* Just over three-quarters (75.9%) of people aged 16 and over in the UK rated their overall life satisfaction as medium or high in 2011/12 and four-fifths (80.0%) felt that the things they do in their life are worthwhile.
* When asked to reflect on their feelings during the preceding day, over 7 out of 10 (71.1%) people in the UK rated their happiness as medium/ high. In terms of anxiety people felt the day before, 4 out of 10 (40%) reported high anxiety.
* Younger people aged 16 to 19 and older people aged 65 to 79 rated their life satisfaction highest between 7.7 and 7.8 out of 10 and felt that the things that they do were worthwhile (between 7.7 and 8.0 out of 10). Those in middle age (aged 40 to 59) were least satisfied with their lives, reporting a score of 7.1 to 7.2 out of 10 and also reporting the highest anxiety levels; 3.4 to 3.5 out of 10.
At the height of the dot-com boom, I used to work for an online communications agency based in Notting Hill. It was a fantastic neighborhood – still is! – and I used to look forward to my walks to and from the Tube station, passing some fantastic shops, restaurants and pubs along the way.
One of my favorite spots was Space NK. I bought my first NARS lipstick there. It was a place way beyond my budget, but an oasis. I haven’t been back into a Space NK for 10 years. This weekend, we took a trip to the Marin Country Mart, a super-chic outdoor shopping area in the same vein as the Malibu Country Mart.
And what in my wondering eyes did appear but a Space NK, stateside!
The minute I walked in, I was met with this fresh smell of candles and clean laundry – it was literally the same smell of the Space NK in London. It was magical. Everything was still beyond my budget, but very fun to browse. Even more magical was the presence of Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird (Ms. NK herself), in store giving makeovers.
When I left the shop, I felt at least 10 years younger.
Grey Fox night? Don’t I mean Guy Fawkes Night? Well, let me fill you in.
And in a complete utter coincidence, we watched Disney’s “Fox and the Hound” yesterday. My, did I cry. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It really is quite a lovely little story about the friendship between two unlikely friends, a fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper in some Southern town where hunting is big. It actually could’ve been set in a pretty British town and have a completely different flavor.
Anyway, it left me quite pro-fox. Until by another sheer coincidence, I read “Chicken Licken” at bedtime, which outlines how a fox manages to lure quite a lot of poultry back to his family’s place for dinner (you know, the whole gang, including Henny Penny, Turkey Lurkey, Ducky Lucky — or not so lucky as it turns out) after they think the sky is falling and are looking to tell the king. No one was ever heard from again. It’s hard to believe this was the same benevolent creature depicted in the Disney film just hours before.
And so, if you feel moved to swap out the usual Guy Fawkes effigy for something more fox-like, well, go ahead. (Sorry, Tod.) Have a happy Grey Fox Night!
See the above contraption? What do you suppose it is? Any guesses?
Well, would you put your foot in it?
My MIL recently told us that this was an actual devise used in shoe stores to provide an X-ray of one’s foot – and indeed to check to see if there was enough room for toes inside a shoe. I kid you not.
Not sure what was wrong with the method of just pushing on one’s toes through the shoe to gauge, but yes. These were used instead. Apparently, they were known as pedoscopes and were popular in the U.K. through the mid-1970s. I’ve never seen one, never heard of one, but my MIL has reported that my husband’s foot was pedoscoped back in the day!
Wikipedia also reports that they were also used in the U.S. from the 1920s through the 1950s until they were outlawed (probably due to all the pesky radiation! What a buzzkill!).
You’d think a country with a queen would have a queen bed, but no.
British mattress sizes aren’t the same as American mattress sizes (even though they use many of the same terms – well, aside from “queen”). Their sizes are as follows:
Single bed: Close to our twin size, but a little smaller
Double bed: Close to our double/full size
King bed: A little smaller than our queen size
Super King bed: A little smaller than our king size
Confused yet? Yeah, me too.