Monthly Archives: October 2012

Potty hands

Wash your hands! ‘Nuff said!

“In Britain, one in 10 bank cards (10%) and one in seven notes (14%) were found to be contaminated with some faecal organisms, the research, carried out at Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, showed. More than a quarter (26%) of hands sampled showed traces of faecal contamination including bacteria such as E.coli, the study found.

Samples were taken from 272 people from east and west London, Birmingham and Liverpool – and in total 816 specimens were collected. Out of the samples taken, the cards and notes in Birmingham showed the most contamination, with faecal matter detected on 17% of specimens.

More than one in three (35%) of hands sampled from Birmingham harboured traces of faecal contamination. A fifth (20%) of hands surveyed in east and west London were found to have traces of faecal contamination. The most “grossly” contaminated cards and notes came from east London with 8% of cards and 11% of notes holding levels of bacteria that were comparable to a dirty toilet bowl.”

Gah. Gross. I’m not saying that American hands are any better. I shudder to imagine what the results of such a stateside study would find. Read the story. 

Iced tea-free zone

I’ve become more of an iced tea drinker in the past five years or so. It’s always perceived in my mind as a healthier option than a soft drink, and provides the added boost of a little caffeine in the afternoon.

What I haven’t really consciously considered is the fact that the U.K. is essentially an iced tea-free zone. If tea is on the menu, it’s not listed as hot tea. It’s tea. It will be hot. For a country obsessed with tea, the concept of iced tea is truly foreign. (However, they do intimately know their Long Island Iced Tea, though, I should add …)

What are your thoughts on iced tea? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

London Underground gone wild

Photo credit: I know this great little place in London …

Have you heard about this? Some Londoners are having a laugh covering over the usual London Underground signs with something a little more fun. Check out a few more on Stickers on the Central Line.

NPR covered the story. Have a listen!

Brits and their nits

I’ve just learned that my husband may have been exposed to nits. This is what he told me yesterday.

You know … Brits and their nits. That’s head lice in American lingo. I can’t decide which word is worst – lice? nits? But I think nits is it.

He doesn’t have it (yet), but the idea of it is making me itchy. Nits, bed bugs, scabies and lice. They all need to die. Or take up knitting as a sport instead of blood sucking. Gah.

(As an aside, Brits do have lice, but theirs is a “wood louse” or “wood lice,” better known in American as the ever lovable insect, the “roly-poly.”)

Double-decker buses in Davis

If you thought double-decker buses could only be found in the U.K., check out this photo! The college town of Davis, California uses authentic London double-decker buses in their transport system known as Unitrans. I particularly love the fact that the London destinations (Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Baker St.) haven’t been swapped out in favor of Davis stops. Read more fun facts about these buses!

Remembering Mr. Belvedere

This weekend, my husband and I were basking in the glow of 1980s nostalgia, after stumbling upon the theme song to the “Golden Girls” on YouTube.

Where would we all be without YouTube and its endless supply of retro remembrances? After listening to the theme songs from “Charles in Charge,” “It’s Your Move” and “Benson” (which my husband used to watch in England), the YouTube genies suggested “Mr. Belvedere.”

“Ever watch ‘Mr. Belvedere’?” I asked, interested to hear his take on this Briton-in-America story.

But no. Never saw it. Or couldn’t remember it if he had.

I’m not sure why “Mr. Belvedere,” a little comedy about an average middle class family employing a British butler, never made it across the pond. But good news! It’s available now on for Brits who are interested. I know I’d like to see it again.

The origins of the Peter Pan collar

Peter Pan collars are big this season, and I, for one, am a fan – both of the style (for example, see last Thursday’s post about the Lucy shirt) and of Peter Pan himself. But any Peter Pan fan knows that Peter Pan wears a V-neck top, nothing slightly resembling the prim and proper Peter Pan collared shirt.

So, how exactly did these collars get their name?

Well, I just read the potted history of its origins, thanks to

The costume that launched the trend was designed way back in 1905, for the first American stage production of J.M. Barrie’s play. Maude Adams, the Broadway star who played Peter, wore britches, a feathered cap, and a forest-y looking blouse with a white, rounded collar—a bit wider than the Peter Pan collars in vogue today, but otherwise quite similar.

And there you have it! You can read the full article.

Good cause, good music

News of this little event popped into my email box and I wanted to share: The Metropolitan Black Police Association is hosting a “Celebration of Life” concert on Oct. 19 at the Royal Festival Hall, as part of an initiative to reduce violent crime in London.

It’s a good cause and a promises to be a good evening of music, with headliners Naturally 7, saxophonist Jason Yarde, reggae singer Peter Hunnigale, hip-hop artist Donae’o, British singer Ayanna and the Lifeforce Band.

Speaking of music, what do you have planned this weekend? We’ll be attending a friend’s birthday party and hoping to catch the last of the summer weather before it starts going all autumn on us. Have a great weekend!

What to wear with the Lucy shirt

I am swooning over the entire fall collection from Boden. Over the years, I’ve bought a couple of items here and there but then returned them because they didn’t fit quite right. This year, I’ve given it another try and things fit perfectly.

Now my problem is how to style them. The above Lucy shirt is one of my latest buys – so cute with its Peter Pan collar and fitted shape. I bought it in the sale in navy (sadly, white was not available in my size) and am now stuck on what to wear with it apart from jeans. It’s suddenly seems less versatile since it’s navy rather than white. Suggestions greatly appreciated!

Lovely London print

I love this silk screen print by Nicola Meiring (£60), which is the first of a series of European prints. So retro and sweet!