Monthly Archives: December 2013

Visitors bearing Tunis cake

First of all, apologies for the radio silence this past week. It’s been honestly the busiest week of my life. Possibly ever. And I still haven’t had time to entirely catch my breath yet.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law arrived at our place today and came bearing gifts! Check out this new tea towel that they brought from Scotland:

Scotland tea towel

And not one, but two Tunis cakes. Tunis cakes are pretty seasonal cakes (that taste much better than a fruitcake, if you ask me!). They’re getting more difficult to find but my sister-in-law tracked ’em down. In fact, when she asked the supermarket clerk for Tunis cakes, he asked, “Tuna steaks”?! LOL!

We just cracked into the one she bought from Marks & Spencer. Delicious buttery pound cake with a thick cocoa frosting! (We also have one from Waitrose so will be doing a taste test later!)

Tunis cake

Tunis cake

Tunis cake

Have you ever tried Tunis cake? What do you think?


How British are you?

Stephen Fry

Love’s “How British are you?” quiz and really chuffed that I ended up with “As British as Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace.”

You’re awkward. You’re easily embarrassed. You’re sickeningly polite. You’re as British as they come!

How about you? Take the quiz and post your status!

Day 1 of Carmen’s Twelve Days of Christmas: Santa’s Grotto

Great post I wanted to share!

Everything I Know about the UK... I Learned from the BBC

In the spirit of this wondrous holiday season I’ve planned a series of posts concerning the lessons I’ve learned about British Christmas traditions, one per day for the next twelve days. Though many of our rituals and celebrations have sprung from a common place, I’ve found enough examples over the years to contend that, while the message is universal, Christmas doesn’t look exactly the same in the US as it does in the UK.  Please enjoy my observations and, to my British readers, feel free to correct me if I’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick along the way.

When I was a kid, the yearly visit to Santa was an exciting yet daunting prospect.  Sure you got to tell Old St. Nick what you wanted for Christmas first hand. But there was the whole sitting on a strange man’s lap stipulation. ( I didn’t like strange men much when I…

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Gift idea: Adopt a tea garden

Nudo Darjeeling tea

Nudo Darjeeling has a sweet little offering that could make a perfect holiday gift for the tea lover in your life (or could be a treat for yourself)!

You can adopt one of their Darjeeling tea gardens for a year and receive the finest quality, first flush, loose leaf tea straight from their garden!

It starts from £18 and includes an adoption certificate and a spring delivery of a 125g tin of organic, first flush, loose leaf tea!

London Underground pulls all-nighters

London Underground

I can’t believe it! Starting 2015, the London Underground’s Jubilee, Victoria and stretches of the Central, Northern and Picadilly lines will run all night on Fridays and Saturdays. This is epic! Amazing! Life changing!

Not convinced? Check out’s “15 Ways that All-Night Tubes will Change Your Life.”

Downton Abbey-esque manors

These British cottages and country homes are truly Downton Abbey-esque! Perfect places for a mini-break!

Downton Abbey Infographic

Infographic courtesy of Cumbrian Cottages.

Why “The Holiday” may be the most underrated holiday movie there is

The Holiday

How picture perfect is Kate Winslet’s character’s cottage in Surrey?!

This weekend, we kicked off the post-Thanksgiving period by watching “The Holiday.” There is so much that I love about this film — and am happy to see that I’m in good company with one of Buzzfeed’s staff writers, who hits on all the high points of what makes this movie one of my favorites this time of year.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

The cronut in Britain


So many column inches have been devoted to the cronut in New York, but did you know you can get a cronut knockoff in London?

I’ve just discovered that Greggs Bakery, of all places, has launched this half croissant, half donut hybrid in its London stores and christened it the “greggsnut.” It’s available in berry and caramel-pecan.

(I should add that I have never had a cronut, but have tried the DIY hack version, using Pillsbury crescent rolls. I didn’t attempt the filling, only topped it with chocolate frosting but I won’t lie. It was sublime.)

John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas advert

Wow. It’s not even December yet, but John Lewis has unveiled its 2013 Christmas advert – this time, an animated tale about a hare and a bear.

I’ve blogged before about how much I adore their annual holiday adverts and I do like the heart of it and Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” (We bought it on iTunes last week and it’s been on perpetual repeat ever since!)

What do you think? Yay or nay? I’m finding it hard for any Christmas advert to live up to the sheer Christmas magic and Britishness of this one.

Hunter Rain Boots on sale at Nordstrom

Hunter Rigley Boot

Attention Hunter Wellie fans! These Hunter ‘Rigley’ Rain Boots are currently on sale at Nordstrom for $116.98, regularly priced $195. They come in Dark Ruby. Get ’em before they are gone!