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Happy 2017!

Hello and happy 2017!

I’ve recently returned from a trip back to the United Kingdom — our last trip back was in 2013 — and have much to share about our travels. We had a fabulous visit, spending nearly three weeks seeing family and friends in the U.K. and France — with stops in London, Birmingham, Bedfordshire, Colchester and Paris. It was quite a whirlwind trip, but a fun mix of places we were familiar with and new spots we hadn’t been before.

I’ll share more in the coming weeks but wanted to just wish everyone a happy new year and hope that you had a wonderful winter break!

Here are a few shots from our flight over to London on Virgin Atlantic – we traveled economy this time (at about $800 per ticket before Christmas!) — and there were some new features, including purple lighted cabins, no more window shades (but the option to darken your window with a button) and electronic chargers! And check out our clear view of London from the sky!

window view

Charge up

Purple lighted cabin

sky view of London

Views of London


The Definitive Stereotype Map of Britain and Ireland

Definitive Stereotype Map of Britain and Ireland

Thanks to my friend Tory, who lives where the “really cold oil rig workers live,” I have Buzzfeed’s definitive stereotype map of Britain and Ireland! Enjoy!

Rude street names

Fanny Hands Lane

Ah, Britain! Land of rude street names!

It appears that if you don’t mind living on a street named Crotch Crescent or Slag Lane, you might be able to get a deal on property!

Here are the top 10 streets with the most embarrassing names, along with the percentage of people who voted each name as embarrassing followed by the price of a property on the street and an example of the price of a similar property nearby, courtesy of a study by As you can see, it doesn’t pay to buy on an embarrassingly named street:

1. Minge Lane, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, 31%, Detached house – £253,389, Detached house in Longfield – £325,000

2. Slag Lane, Lowton, Lancashire, 26%, Semi-detached house – £112,620, Semi-detached house in Fieldfare Close – £141,297

3. Fanny Hands Lane, Ludford, Lincolnshire, 24.9%, Detached house, £157,200, Detached house in Magna Mile, £236,987

4. Bell End, Rowley Regis, West Midlands, 22.5%, Semi-detached house, £126,409, Semi-detached house in Uplands Avenue, £187,027

5. Crotch Crescent, Marston, Oxfordshire, 19.6%, Terraced house, £238,250, Terraced house in Ouseley Close, £280,500

6. The Knob, Kings Sutton, Northamptonshire, 17%, Semi-detached house, £245,000, Semi-detached house in Glebe Rise, £249,000

7. Turkey Cock Lane, Stanway, Essex, 10.8%, Terraced house, £177,527, Terraced house in London Road, £166,840

8. Cockshoot Close, Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, 10.1%, Semi-detached house, £286,536, Semi-detached house in Longore, £304,794

9. Cumming Street, Islington, London, 8.9%, Flat, £292,768, Flat in Britannia Street, £358,419

10. Cock-A-Dobby, Sandhurst, Berkshire, 6.5%, Detached house, £456,481, Detached house in Longdown Road, £615,000

4.1 earthquake in Devon?!

British earthquake

The British Geological Survey (BGS) is reporting that an earthquake measuring 4.1 hit Devon at 1:21 p.m. BST today.

Tremors were felt in areas including Dartmoor, Bristol, Taunton, Swansea, Llanelli, Barnstable, Gloucester and South Molton.

What in the world is going on? I’m still trying to get over Devon images like this. Waves hitting our favorite quiet seaside Devon town of Teignmouth:

Devon waves

And the flooding in Dawlish:


* Sigh *

Brits and trick or treating

rhubarb yogurt

Does this belong in a trick or treat bag to you?

I have this general, possibly misguided, theory that trick or treating is not that big in the U.K. Part of this is based on the fact that I never went trick or treating when I lived in Scotland or London, and never knew anyone who did. Guy Fawkes Night was much more of the thing to do. Granted, that was over a decade ago. Times may have changed. Halloween may have arrived in a bigger way in the U.K. since I’ve moved back to the U.S. Has it?

My husband has an American colleague who moved to London with her family this summer when her husband landed a job there. She commented on how big Halloween was this year, how many kids trick or treated at their house. And then, in nearly the same breath, commented on the amazing items that her kids brought back from their trick or treating adventure in London, which included unwrapped M&Ms and other small, loose, unwrapped, man-handled candies, loose home baked cookies and even a pot of rhubarb yogurt.

Okay, Londoners. Is this weird or the norm? Is this an accurate picture of Halloween, circa 2013, in London? Enlighten us, please!

The official royal christening photo, “Family Guy” style

Family Guy

Have you seen this? “Family Guy” has spoofed the official christening photo of Prince George! (And Stewie has taken the place of our young prince…)

Occupation: Princess

Just as I’m telling my daughter that princess-ing isn’t a real job, Prince George’s birth certificate is released to the public.

Prince George's birth certificate

I love every little detail captured on this piece of paper! Disney couldn’t have created something this good.

The best places to visit in the U.K.

Last month, MSN Travel asked site visitors to send in their photos of their favourite places in Britain – be it hotels, restaurants, beaches, castles or views.

Check out their top 30 photos that made them say, “I want to go to there.”

12 places you’d never believe were in the U.K.

Check out Buzzfeed’s collection of top 12 places you’d never know we’re in the U.K. (including spots that are dead ringers for Italy, Greece, India and New Zealand.)

Interview with Anglotopia founder Jonathan Thomas

Jonathan and Jackie Thomas

I discovered a few months after I launched and have enjoyed the content, from its travel pieces to news headlines to British tips and everything in between.

I finally had a chance to connect with founder Jonathan Thomas, who runs the site with his wife Jackie, from their home in Valparaiso, Indiana. Here’s what he had to say:

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