Monthly Archives: June 2012

Severe weather warning this weekend

Flood warnings have been issued by the Met Office as high speed winds and heavy rains are forecast to hit England, Wales and Northern Ireland this weekend. This is June, right?

I found this on the UK’s Nice ‘n Easy Facebook page and it’s so fitting:

Contain yourself

The British make truly edgy ads.

Check out this week’s sales ad for major department store Harvey Nichols. Somehow I don’t see Macy’s or Nordstrom ever going there. Thanks to Simon for the lead!

Best of British kitchens

Photo credit: Metropolitan Home

Sure, British food has long been the butt of many jokes stateside (despite the fact that most of it is all lies!), but their kitchen design has been head and shoulders ahead of ours. Apartment Therapy has a roundup of the best of the bunch. Thanks to Ally for bringing this to my attention!

“The Elephant and the Bad Baby”

When I was growing up, my mother used to take me to the library twice a week. As I result, I’ve got a vivid arsenal of memories of pictures from books – many of which we never owned, and that I have no record of.

For most of them, my memory of the title of the book is completely gone, sadly inaccessible, but if I catch of glimpse of a particular page (now particularly when reading to my own kids and also going to the library) – it all comes rushing back.

“The Elephant and the Bad Baby” by Elfrida Vipont and illustrated by Raymond Briggs (of “The Snowman” fame) is one of those books for me.

It’s a very English story with references to crisps, biscuits, buns and barrow boys, as the Elephant takes the Bad Baby on a tasty trip through a variety of shops. My favorite pages out of the book (and every page, to be honest, is good enough to eat!) is the last scene of his mother making pancakes (in this case, hers are thin, French-style crepes), with lemon and sugar as the perfect accompaniments.

Rain, rain, go away!

There is no sign that truly summery weather will arrive before the start of July. Photo credit: PA

You’ve heard that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. But this year, it seems that the rain in England stays mainly … well, everywhere.

Last month, the country reported a record heatwave. Now, only a few weeks later, they’re calling it “European monsoon” weather, with hurricane-force winds and heavy downpours.

Experts are already predicting that this weather will continue through June. Summer, it seems, will be postponed until July.

Flat white

Have you tried a flat white?

This is the first I’ve heard of it but it looks like my cup of tea, er, coffee.

It’s a Kiwi invention – basically a strong latte, topped with swirled microfoam – and has been all the rage in England. A jet-setting friend of mine spent this week in New York and London and reported that Starbucks in England includes the flat white, while the Starbucks in New York does not.

America needs flat white! I need flat white! Bring it.

Orbit Tower is out of this world

If you haven’t yet seen the AcelorMittal Orbit Tower, take a gander. This feast for the eyes was unveiled last month and may give the Eiffel Tower a run for its money.

At 377 feet high, it’s Britain’s largest work of public art and it’s located in the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, where the Summer Games will be held next month.

So far, the reviews are mixed. Some people love it, some people hate it. Many are wishing they weren’t living in its shadow. What do you think? It reminds me of something you might see in Las Vegas – part rollercoaster, part revolving restaurant in the sky!

Mind the Gap! And its London line!

Have you seen the Gap London line? They really have an amazing collection of union jack items in adult sizes, as well as sizes for kids, toddlers and infants, just in time for the Summer Olympics.

I haven’t bought anything from the Gap in a long time, but this warrants a visit!

London in a Bag

My MIL sent over this sweet wooden collection called “London in a Bag” last week for the kids and they have loved it. The river has been the thing they’ve been fighting over – who knew the Thames would be so popular? I say there’s plenty of London to go around from the mini version of the London Eye to the Tower Bridge. I’ve been trying to locate it online and there are other versions of the London in a Bag but nothing quite like this collection…

Diamond Jubilee dinner

Well, those in the U.K. are enjoying the last of a four-day weekend in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne), while the rest of us are back to the grindstone. Lucky.

We ended up celebrating yesterday with some friends. We hung our union jack bunting up on the front of our house and threw together an impromptu barbecue dinner of grilled rack of lamb with mint sauce, boiled new potatoes, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese (for the kids), strawberries and freshly whipped cream and a homemade berry pie from Taylor’s Market for pudding – all served with some union jack napkins and St. George’s flag plates, cups and even balloons (I know, I know, St. George’s flag is only representative of England, but we bought them cheaply on our last trip to the U.K. around the time of St. George’s Day and it worked in a pinch – at least more appropriate than this tableware.).