The chewy joy of wine gums

Wine gums

When I first moved to the United Kingdom nearly 20 years ago, I discovered the Maynards Wine Gums and being a Haribo convert and loving anything gummy, sweet and black currant flavored, I became an instant fan.

And then the whole Mad Cow Disease broke and there was rumor/conjecture/fact that wine gums were made out of gelatin (made from those mad cow’s joints or muscle, bones or gristle, I’m not quite sure) and they fell out of favor with me. I stopped buying them (I was a vegetarian at the time and did think it would be tragic and also ironic if I got Mad Cow Disease, not from eating cheap burgers or sausages, but from these blissfully nearly blameless fruit candies), but that decision did come with anguish every time I spotted them in the grocery checkout aisle.

Fast forward to this past year and I started thinking about those wine gums again. When my mother-in-law was packing her bag to visit us in November, I asked her if she could bring some. It only took a couple of bites into the black and red (the only flavors worth mentioning, in my opinion) and I was transported to those days at uni. I love the density of them. The hearty chewiness of them (not weak and loose in bite like some excessively jubbly candies you can buy). The black currant-y smell of them. They don’t stick to your teeth or make you worry that you’ll loose a filling. They’re just a burst of sweet berry joy and I can’t compare them to anything here in the U.S. Needless to say that packet of wine gums went quickly.

My sister-in-law came to visit us this month and also brought a box of wine gums along with Percy Pigs (more on this delicacy in a future post…) and it was again like a tasty reunion of memories and nostalgia, wrapped in animal gelatin and black currant flavors (or lime, lemon or orange, if you prefer the green, yellow or orange, which I don’t touch).

Have you tried wine gums? What do you think of them?

And … I’m back!

It's a Small World
How was your holiday season? I hope you had a wonderful one! Apologies for the radio silence these past couple of months. It’s been an incredibly busy time for me and my family — like most holiday seasons — but I haven’t been able to quite find the time to add blogging into the matrix.

My mother-in-law came to visit in November from Cornwall and we had a great visit. One of the highlights of her trip was taking her to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for the first time right before Thanksgiving! Our kids had a blast and if you’ve never been to Disneyland during the holidays, I’d highly recommend it! It was my first time visiting when the park was completely dressed in holiday splendor and we had a lot of fun seeing some of our favorite rides like It’s a Small World and Jungle Cruise get redone for Christmas.

Other Disney highlights:

* Seeing “Aladdin” stage show at the Disney California Adventure
* Watching the holiday parade at Disneyland
* Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan and Soarin’ Over California
* Fried chicken dinner at the Plaza

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some other adventures I’ve had over the holiday break. Stay tuned! In the meantime, have a wonderful three-day weekend!

A good card for an Anglophile

This card was too good to pass up!

A good card for an Anglophile

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10 Things That Brits Don’t Realize Are Offensive to Americans

Stephen Fry

Last week, I blogged about BBC America’s “10 things that Americans don’t realize are offensive to Brits” so naturally we need to cover the other side and discuss the 10 things that Brits don’t realize are offensive to Americans (most of these are pretty self-evident, IMHO, including saying Americans are unsophisticated and criticizing America.) I think the typical British reserve (replying monosyllabically to an American’s “How are you?”) can often be perceived as rude. Are there others?

Laura Ashley clothing sale

Laura Ashley is so very British and high quality (a combination that usually spells “expensive.”) And so I was pleased to see some very sweet dresses for kids appearing at deep discounts on Zulily.com yesterday.

Black Embroidered Dress

Black Embroidered Dress, $29.99, regularly priced $51

Blue Plaid Smocked Dress

Blue Plaid Smocked Dress, $28.99, regularly priced $50

Black Floral Dress & White Cardigan

Black Floral Dress & White Cardigan, $33.99, regularly priced $59

They also have a sale on Laura Ashley women’s sleepwear, shoes and a couple of home items like this quilt set and curtains.

The event will end Tuesday morning so get there quick. And if you’re new to Zulily, use this link to register to the site and I’ll get $15 credit, which I would definitely use to buy this.)

What the “Love Actually” cast looks like now

Colin Firth

How has Colin Firth fared since “Love Actually” was filmed in 2003? Read on…

We are only weeks away from Full-on Christmas Movie Season (hurray!) and so I bring you this glimpse at what the cast of “Love Actually” actually looks like now via Buzzfeed.

You know, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley and the list goes on… Take a gander!

Can anyone in Britain make a sandwich?

What happens when a British daily newspaper puts this on their front cover?

Daily Mail

Sandwichgate 2014! Just look at the flood of responses on Twitter! And the answer is … well, see for yourself!

Sandwichgate

Sandwichgate

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Sandwichgate

John Lewis’ 2014 Christmas advert

Nothing says “Christmas is coming” quite like John Lewis’ annual Christmas advert.

Here’s this year’s present.

What do you think? Do you like #Montythepenguin? I’ll admit that I cried the first two times I watched it. (It’s definitely an improvement over last year’s bear advert, but not as good as the 2011 version)

10 things that Americans don’t realize are offensive to Brits

Two fingers

Be sure not to confuse this with a peace sign, okay?

I’m enjoying this BBC America list of 10 things that Americans don’t realize our offensive to Brits — particularly taking our plates away and describing something as “quite” good! Anything they’ve missed?

British sweets

Fiona's sweets

Have you heard of Fiona’s Sweetshoppe? They do a line of imported candy from the U.K. in the U.S. My husband got a few different types for his birthday and I’m excited to try it – particularly the sherbet lemons, which I’ve never tried, but sounds so very Harry Pottery, I can’t wait.

What’s your favorite British candy?

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