Monday, August 31, 2015

The Brit Giveaway Winners

Remember how I had a giveaway and the original winner didn't contact me? [so sorry for that person].

Well, look what you all missed out on.

It's so nice to be able to share 'home' with some fellow Limeys!  I hope you ladies enjoy all your goodies and that one day soon we will be able to actually meet up for a lovely cuppa.

Until then, don't eat it all at once.  *smile*

Thank you so much for my British goodies. It was so exciting to open this up this morning. Now I need to establish some self control and not scoff them all in one ☺
Posted by Liz Mason on Saturday, 25 July 2015

DING DONG!! The delivery man just brought me the best package ever!! Thank you so much for the goodies. Can't wait to...
Posted by Rosie Makinney on Saturday, 25 July 2015

And you know what, I do, in fact ROCK!! (as is shown by the actual, very real stick of Brighton rock that I popped in each box.)

You might want to share my blog with any of your English friends as you never know, I might have another giveaway some time soon. :-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Medieval Madness

I did something this weekend that I had vowed never, ever to do, ever again…. I went to a Renaissance Faire.  Although to be fair (hah), this was a little local fair(e) and not the super dooper, massively entertaining (read "commercial") event that is the Southern California Renaissance Festival which is held every year.

NOTE:  I bet you are reading that as Ren-ay-sance, but this is Americaland where it's pronounced Ren-er-sonse and Medi-eval is pronounced Mud-evil. I know, weird and a bit annoying.

I’ve often wondered why these are even a thing.  I mean, England lived through the Renaissance and if they don’t feel the need to celebrate, so why then, does America think they need to.  It boggles the mind… The Renaissance was a cultural movement all about a new beginning with views on philosophy, science, literature, politics, music and religion becoming more diverse and was “a bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern History” [That is your history lesson for today].  It most certainly wasn’t a commercial venture where you go to get drunk, eat massive turkey legs and dress in olden days clothes.

The main reason we ventured there this weekend was the weather.  The temperature at our house was around one billion degrees and this Faire was in the Big Bear mountains which, we hoped, would be slightly cooler than Hades.  
Ahhh... the coolness of the mountains
So with no further ado, I present for thy consideration some of the costumes (did you see what I did there?)

The Braveheart

Now don't get me wrong, he's looking a bit Scottish, what with his kilt and all, and when he turned around he did, in fact, have one side of his face painted blue, but what's up with those dreadlocks?   This was the worst impression of Mel Gibson I've seen in quite a while.

The Chinese/Oriental Belly Dancers

I have absolutely no idea what's happening here.  I don't know when belly dancers were part of the Renaissance, or any English history for that matter.  But at least they've got nice umbrellas.

Little Red Riding Hood

And her friend.  I have no idea....

Pirates/Wenches and Um... Captain Jack Sparrow

I know people just like to dress up (apparently), but this is the Renaissance people, the Renaissance. I don't think Captain Jack was around, or any other pirate if truth be told.

Fairies and Dragons

Although absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of Renaissance, there were fairies [or faeries as they tended to spell it] and dragons.  I think some people were confused with Dungeons and Dragons. Oopsie.  Although, in all honesty, the 'fairy' with the bubbles was quite entertaining and the dragon was animated and a bit fun.

Whatever This is...

Ummm... isn't this a Roman Centurian?  I think the costume was not chosen for its authenticity, but rather to display the steroids, fake tan and veiny muscles.(eew)  And you've just got to love the cowboy on his motorized chair.

Ahh… and the food, of course.  Nothing particularly English, but I opted for a “pig on a stick” which for only $5.00 I assumed was going to be an awful hotdog on a stick, but I was actually pleasantly surprised when I got a huge pork chop in sauce.  In fact, I was so surprised I forgot to take a photo – just trust me though, it was very nice.  The people at The Boars Head Feaste were also very nice. Spot the extra “e”, which makes everything old-English-y.  So does “Ye” before everything, even ice, apparently.

It's oldey woldey
All in all it was quite a nice day actually.  Probably because it was such a small fair(e) and there was none of that awkwardness of people talking to you in what they assume is old time Medieval language and accents (thank goodness) because the one thing that’s even worse than having an American try to do an English accent, is an American trying to do a Medieval English accent.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Blackcurrant Conspiracy

I recently read a news report which said Tesco was no longer going to carry Ribena because it had too much sugar.   Whaat?  Well, there’s my childhood memories ruined.  I loved Ribena, and in fact I still do.  Every time I go home I manage to smuggle import the biggest bottle I can in my suitcase. Looks like I will have to do my shopping elsewhere next time.

I admit I have never seen half of these
I was commenting on this to my colleagues and nobody, absolutely nobody, knew what Ribena was, obviously, but what was more surprising was they don’t even know what a blackcurrant is.  Okay, how can you possibly have never heard of a blackcurrant?
Yes, it's a blackcurrant
This got me curious so I googled did some research on why the humble blackcurrant is so illusive in the USA.  Here’s what I found out:

In 1705, Lord Weymouth shipped American ‘white pine’ seedlings to England and as the tree spread across Europe, blister rust disease began affecting them.  Unknown to the Americans who were suffering from depleted forests at that time, they began importing the seedlings back to the USA, which obviously brought the disease here, threatening the US Timber industry.  A fancy plant pathologist was called in who decided the disease did not jump from tree to tree, but instead went from tree to blackcurrant bush to the next tree.   [Talk about going around the houses!]

So they did what any reasonable person would do – they banned the farming and cultivation of blackcurrants, of course, and for over 100 years the poor little blackcurrant has been called the “forbidden fruit.”  No wonder nobody here’s ever heard of them.  

There have been a few states who have overturned the ban, but not enough of them so I can get my flippin' Ribena, unfortunately.  I think I am going to have to go on a one person crusade to get people to understand how brilliant blackcurrant is.  Or, next time I’m in Blighty, maybe I can find a bush and bring it back in my suitcase - "Nope, nothing illegal going on here officer".  I’m sure I could plant it in my garden (although I've never really had green fingers!)

Can I get them in my suitcase?
Now I’ve got myself all discombobulated, I went back to look at other news articles about the Tesco ban and it turns out they’ve actually only stopped selling the little lunchbox versions of the full sugar drink.  They will still be selling the big bottles (for adults) and "no sugar added" versions for kids. This is what happens when I get all my news from reading only the headlines…. ask anyone, I do it all the time!  

But who would have known that the blackcurrant would have been so vilified by America, bless!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why Blog?

I initially started this blog on a slow day at work (did I say that out loud?)… I was bored and had been talking to a friend who blogged and thought “Why not?  I'm sure I can do that.”  Pretty much anyone I moaned to was fed up listening to my reminisces, memories and comparisons of England, so this was the ideal outlet for my “creative juices” or “moody cow whining” however you want to look at it. But some of the best things have happened because of this blog:


I have been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen for over 30 years (Good grief, has it been 30 years!) Although this isn’t technically true in all senses of the word as Facebook has played a part too, I was recently chatting with an old friend via Facebook and he mentioned his brother also lives in California and he would be visiting and would I like to meet up.  Well, of course I bloody would.  

The day came and he gave me a ring to arrange to meet.  I was totally taken aback when he said he would come to my house – I’m so used to the American culture of always meeting for dinner, lunch or the like and really never going to someone’s house.  Obviously right then the conversation went typically British.  “Oh” I said, “You’ll have to excuse the state of the house, we’ve just got a new puppy and it’s a bit of a mess.”   To which he replied “Don’t be silly, we’re coming to see you, not the house.”   How refreshingly polite.

Obviously, I rushed home and tidied up, as you do, and put the kettle on.  The visit was brilliant, even more so when he presented me with this little lot

So, thank you Mr. G.  Hope to see you again sometime soon.

New Friends

I saw a quote on Twitter the other day which said:

“Facebook makes you hate people you already know and
   Twitter makes you love people you’ll never meet.”

That is exactly what this blog has done (well, not the Facebook hating thing).  I have met (virtually) so many people through this blog and Twitter [and if you are one of them, a big hello].  I have also realized how many expats out there are having the same issues, experiences and fun as I am.   


This has only happened once (so far) [*hint, hint*] and it was bloody brilliant.

As the Hershey’s debacle was in full swing, a couple of start up companies contacted me to review their service.  I was asked by to take a look at what they are offering and they sent me a lovely box full of Cadbury’s.  My post about that is HERE.

So if there’s anyone else out there who is just dying to send me stuff – go ahead [*smile*] – Yes, I am being cheeky.

British Telly

I was contacted by the BBC, yes the real Aunty Beeb, to participate in a telly programme pitting expats and their families at home against other expats and home families.  While this sounded like an absolutely fantastic idea that I would jump at, I missed the deadline (mainly due to the time difference of emails, etc) so I am a bit gutted.  

Hopefully, they will have a second season and I will definitely be there, with bells on!

I’m not in any way saying, though, that this blogging malarkey is easy.  Sometimes I just sit here and stare at my computer with vacant eyes and an empty head not knowing  what to say.  But apparently, my brain kicks into gear every now and again and here we are…