Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sunday lunch + creche

Julie's Restaurant Sunday creche

I’ve been trying to track down some good family-friendly eats in London (and when I say family-friendly, I’m not talking about the British alternative to Applebee’s, Chili’s or TGIF’s, thank you very much).

I want to simply go to an independently owned place with good food, little fussiness, no surly looks from fellow customers or waitstaff when my kids drop a fork or eschew the fork altogether in favor of taking fistfuls of pasta into their mouths. Is that too much to ask? This is what I’m investigating.

What I’ve found so far is Julie’s Restaurant, a Holland Park institution (darling) that provides a Sunday lunch as well as a creche for kids ages 2-12 run by fully qualified and vetted creche staff. Genius! I want to go to there.

What is love?

Happy Valentine’s Day! I had to share this video that I watched this morning – a tremendous reminder of the power of love. *Sigh*

Wiltshire gets naked in the snow

Leanne Myers

It started with a Facebook page called “Wiltshire, Let’s Get Naked in the Snow” started by Leanne Myers, a 40-year-old from Durrington, Wiltshire. With the recent snowfall in the U.K., over 250 people posted their photos (all fairly tasteful – like “Calendar Girls”) in the first three days and the page has since received nearly 10,000 likes. The craze has reached the U.S. and the Middle East, with non-Brits posting to their pics to the page as well.

Check out some of the news stories and photos.

Candy review: Marvellous Creations

Marvellous Creations

My sister-in-law in New Zealand sent us some crazy candy bars awhile back. I’m not a big candy eater, but this was a novelty I had to check out: Marvellous Creations by Cadbury.

They take a regular bar of Dairy Milk milk chocolate and then infuse it with a little bit of something gummy, a little bit of plain M&Ms and colorful Pop Rocks. Mad! It’s actually a strange but ridiculously fun thing to eat, particularly with the Pop Rocks. If I had unlimited access to Pop Rocks, I would add it to everything. Yogurt. Cheesecake. The possibilities would be endless! I can’t help smiling and feeling like I’m 5 when I’m eating Pop Rocks!

Would I prefer it if the chocolate base was dark chocolate, rather than this silky, creamy Dairy Milk chocolate? Absolutely! But on a feel-good factor scale, it’s still a 10.

The chocolate bars now have a Facebook page and Brits are already posting online begging for them to come to the U.K. With Cadbury World in Birmingham, England, I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time.

The Hokey Pokey, Shakespearean style

Each week, the Washington Post hosts a weekly contest called the Style Invitational, inviting readers to a different creative writing challenge.

The best one I’ve seen to date is the response to their prompt – create a set of instructions for something, in the style of a famous person. Voila! Meet the Hokey Pokey, Shakespearean style:

Hokey Pokey, Shakespearean style

The only thing I take issue with the name of the game. Brits call it the Hokey Cokey, not the Hokey Pokey, and I do expect that Will Shakespeare would fall in line on the cokey side of things. Don’t you?

Is this the most British picture you’ve ever seen?

Stephen Fry

I do love Buzzfeed and in my deepest moments of procrastination, I find the site really very engaging. Yet another example: their post asking how do you make a British picture even more British? Click and see what they do to the above photo of Stephen Fry.

British panto season

keepcalmandpantoLast weekend, we took the kids to their first play in the theater – and their first British panto.

For the uninitiated, British panto is a rich holiday tradition that goes back for centuries. It’s a family-friendly musical theater extravaganza, always during the holidays, with lots of audience participation. There are some constants: The shows are always based on a fairytale. Pantos always include a dame (the story’s narrator) played by a man dressed in drag, a horse or cow, and a leading man, played by a woman wearing boots and shorts. I’ve been to a panto years ago when we were living in the U.K. but haven’t seen one in recent years and never here in the states. When we heard there was playing here in Sacramento (City Theatre), we had to check it out.

The panto was “Alice in Wonderland” and we loved it. They threw some characters from “The Nutcracker” into the mix, along with heavy pop culture references and some familiar pop songs. Candy was tossed into the audience at regular intervals, we had a great time shouting at the actors (“She’s behind you!”) and we were all given balls to pelt the Queen of Hearts. It was amazing, manic and joyful and will certainly be part of our holiday tradition going forward.

Now I am just hoping the kids aren’t really disappointed when they go to a regular play for the first time!

Brits and the Triple D

With my British sister-in-law in town these past few days, we’ve been eating out a fair bit. Today she led us to Dad’s Kitchen in Sacramento, which I’ve driven past a million times but never tried.

The reason for her pick? It was on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Yes, Brits get Guy Fieri on the Food Network UK channel and she’s taught me a thing or two about the Triple D. She knew about this website, which maps out all of the eateries that have been featured on the show. She and her husband have been to a few across the U.S. on previous visits and have yet to be disappointed.

Dad’s Kitchen was good. We ordered Dad’s Burger and The Hot Blonde (both which were featured on the show), along with fries and jumbo onion rings, drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction and a shred of parmesan.

And as we left, our waiter told us that they’ve already served two Brits today…

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.”)

The secret to good fish and chips

Photo credit: The Independent

Sorry, America, your chips suck.

Too many fish and chip shops in the U.S. rely on limp, frozen, thick-cut fries and they try to pawn them off quietly, blanketed underneath a fine piece of crisp, beer-battered fish. It’s a travesty that is happening in too many so-called London fish and chip shops that are a dime-a-dozen in the U.S.

But there is a secret to good fish and chips and you don’t need to have British-grown spuds to succeed.  Just double fry the chips! It makes a world of difference and the Brits know it!

Check out The Independent’s guide to perfect chips every time – at home!