I’m still out enjoying the sun this week…

Hello all!

I’m still out enjoying the sun this week… but I do have a couple of things lined up for you on the blog this week, including some bits and pieces from my last minute trip to Belgium this week.

I LOVE my job! :)

Why Britain is Great: Traditional English Tea Parties

I haven’t done one of these posts Why Britain is Great posts in a while, but I certainly haven’t forgotten about them… In fact, there’s more to come.

Last week, I attended an event for the launch of Royal Albert, a fabulous new range of teapots and cups and little sandwich plates (don’t get me started on the cake stands- devine!). I was chatting to the lovely Sarah from Royal Albert and we got to chatting about this upsurge in tea parties and knitting and pretty tea dresses over the past couple of years. Even manicures are becoming very ladylike this season. And doesn’t everyone have a “Keep Calm and… Something” piece of merchandise? (…I do!)

One of my friends recently had a birthday party that involved afternoon tea and lots of lovely mini snacks. Cupcakes came back with a vengeance a few years ago – try and keep me away from The Hummingbird Bakery…). But the rage now is mini Victoria sponges, macaroons, scones and fruit tarts. Bridget Jones’ mother would be thrilled – everything English in miniature!

I do love an English Afternoon Tea. It is one of the many things that I’ve been thrilled to embrace about being British and coming home to England. In my time living in Spain and Costa Rica, I tried to turn people on to drinking tea all day long. But, alas that was a lost cause, especially in Costa Rica. Try telling a country of people who quite literally live on coffee and coffee production – even as far as dropping a bit in babies’ bottles (as it will do them no harm) – to try a bit of English Breakfast and it doesn’t go down well.

I’m quite excited about this resurge in quintessential Englishness. It really came about with the announcement of the Royal Wedding and with the London 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, it is unlikely to die down anytime soon. As I mentioned in a previous post, I really enjoyed showing my friend from Poland around Lincoln. We enjoyed tea and scones in a tea room and it was such a pleasant experience to rediscover my own heritage and see someone else having such a fabulous time.

This event was a lot of fun. The Royal Albert range from Royal Doulton is 100 years old and the new tea range to celebrate is held exclusively at Liberty’s. There was a lovely afternoon tea with fresh juice, tea and champagne to choose from and very polite and helpful staff behind the table. It went beautifully with collection. The product displays are equally as beautiful. I love the little messages on the tea cups, like the one below: “It epitomises English eccentricity.”

Doesn’t it just make you want to host your own tea party?

Home is not so bad…

Look at these beautiful pictures of the slow sunrise yesterday. I was in a hurry to work out and get to the station to meet my friend, otherwise I would have sat with my coffee and enjoyed the view. I love how the pink just sits above the old English houses and the church… So pretty.

More Fun in England!

Mark and me with our friends Sinead and In, who we met when we lived in Santiago, Spain
We met our friends Dani and Matt for a whirlwind stop in Birmingham

Cosmo in a can on a London bus… classy!
This paella smelled amazing in Covent Garden. How yummy does it look?

Why does it always rain on me?

I have lived in 3 places in my life: England, Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and Costa Rica. They have one thing in common. RAIN.
This was our BBQ planning going to pot whilst I was home last month:
This was my balcony the weekend I got back to Costa Rica:
And this is from Santiago a couple of years ago (I took a picture of a picture, but you get the point!):
Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

“Tickets, Passes and Excuses please!”

I have spent quite a lot of the past three weeks riding the Great British Railway, enjoying the Great British Summer (in large part with a Pimm’s in my hand) and tucking into some seriously great British food! I am in England visiting a LOT of friends and family.

Here are some observations that I have noted:

  • Pimm’s is an acceptable daytime drink – at any time of day.
  • Yes, people really do still play croquet.
  • You will still need to cover up in the evening. It may be summer, but it is still England!
  • Trains are very expensive. Planes are even more so.
  • The theatre is still a wonderful London tradition attracting all ages.
  • Men still aren’t interested in Legally Blonde, even when you put it to music. In fact, especially when you put it to music.
  • I still secretly wish that I was Elle Woods.
  • The British government probably do sit around drinking whiskey and wondering what to do about the foreign minister’s request of a young friend, instead of focusing on the bigger picture.
  • Yorkshire folk will make jokes all day long even when they know it isn’t funny themselves (see title of this post!)
  • A pub quiz is secretly shockingly competitive even if you all say “Oh, well” when you don’t know the answer to the 5th question in a row.
  • British people have an amazing ability to let people off a train whilst at all times moving forwards!
  • Portobello Road is one of best places to pass the day.
  • I really would quite like to live in Notting Hill one day.
  • Wills and Kate are still the best thing since sliced bread (except maybe for Pippa’s bum, which people are still talking about).
  • Everybody has suddenly realised how much they loved Amy Winehouse. Young and old alike are mourning the loss of a great talent whilst ironically listening to ‘Rehab’ on repeat.

I have much more detailed accounts coming for all of you but this is just a taster of what is to come.

Christmas at Home!

I spent the festive season at home and by ‘at home’, I mean in England, because we actually spent Christmas in a pretty country cottage in Suffolk, not Lincolnshire where my house is. It was so nice to do something different this year and really enjoy family time with board games, festive TV and too much food! We even got a real tree, which we have never really done before and had to chop it because it was too big for the room!

We also had snow this year, making it a perfect white Christmas, and very cold weather for puppy walking!
At the end of my trip, I even squeezed in a day in London with my uni girls! Fabulous fun!

Hope you all had a great holiday!

Winter Wonderland!

It is snowing in England this week, and the sun has started to shine perfectly in Costa Rica, because the summer is here! I couldn’t believe the pictures when my mum sent them to me this week. This cute one of our dog Max is now my desktop picture in the office! It makes me feel Christmassy, whilst sitting in my sandals! :)

So Tyra’s writing books now?!

Oh dear. These were the first two words that came to mind, followed by “I wonder if it will be as successful as her pop career?”. But you have to hand it to the woman, she knows how to market herself. From being skinny skinny and high fashion to curvy and sexy, she has consistently been at the top of her game and with the success of the Next Top Model series all over the globe, she is no dumb model. However, a novel named Modelland revealing secrets about unnamed fashion celebrities is about to hit the stands and word on the street is that she has based it all on true life. Now if that wasn’t enough to leave Janice Dickenson and Naomi Campbell quaking in their boots (it may be better to stay on the right side of Tyra Banks in future!), we are all expected to read it!
Tyra says:
The story happens in a make-believe place called Modelland – every girl in the world wants to go there because it’s where “Intoxibellas”are trained. Intoxibellas are drop-dead beautiful, kick-butt fierce and, yeah, maybe they have some powers too. (But I’m confirming NOTHING! Ha. You gotta wait for the book.) The story follows a teen girl and her friends who find themselves magically transported to Modelland, even though they’re really not supposed to be there. (Okay, now, that’s ALL I’m saying!)

Good, is ALL I can say! Actually, I want to be proved wrong on this, I really do, because I love a good fashion novel. The thing is that the last time I read a book of this ilk (i.e. famous person makes novel out of crazy “real” life) was LA Candy by Lauren Conrad and I was severely disappointed. That book was pretty rubbish and only really began to get interesting at the end. I so wanted to love it too, but it just fell so flat. Whether I bother with the next installment is yet to be decided..!
I really am not a fan of the crazy fantasy fairy tales that some seasons of ANTM have taken (anyone remember that space-age one? And don’t get me started on when she thought she was a goddess of FIERCE!) It’s just all a little ridiculous for me. Maybe it’s the British in me, or maybe its the fact that I have always been so much more seduced by reality (whatever that may be!). I have never really been into anything with huge imagination (Willy Wonka, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars etc). I’m just not a fantastical kind of person. But, is that such a bad thing? Either way, I’m hoping that these novels are done with class (maybe a little more author and a little less Top Model?). The irony in all of this is that I’m going to read it anyway, just to find out. That’s the beauty of marketing I suppose.

Rain, Rain Go Away!

I am aware that I mention the rain quite a lot recently, but I DO live in England, so what do you expect? Our beautiful July heatwave has gone and has been replaced with summer showers.

I have however found the perfect way to brighten up any day! Check out Clippy for these AMAZING umbrellas! You can slot in all of your favourite keepsakes and photos to customize your own. Clippy also stock various tote bags and other accessories.

What do you think?