Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Jubilee....

As it's been well over a week since the Queen's Jubilee, and I still can't decide if the experience falls into to the "Amazing! Once in a lifetime! Isn't this simply grand!!?!" category or the "Bah. Should have stayed home and watched it all from the telly." I definitely told myself and anyone else who would listen both sentiments at one point or the other. Setting my royalist vs. republican internal conflict aside, it was a weekend of eccentric and funny experiences (including the little boy weeing on us portion of the program.) Wee aside, there was something quite exciting and moving about the pomp and pageantry of the occasion that united one million people in central London. Here are a few pictures.....
Waiting and waiting and waiting.....

Thursday, 24 May 2012

An Afternoon at The Pipe and Glass Inn in Beverley

One of my favorite things about living in the UK is the plethora of country villages all within easy reach of London, each seemingly with a plethora of country pubs to choose from!  My sweetie recently surprised me with an afternoon drive and lunch at The Pipe and Glass Inn. The Pipe and Glass, in the market village Beverley, is the winner of the Michelin Pub of the Year 2012. I will admit I'm still unsure exactly where Beverley is other than to say "somewhere in East Yorkshire". However, I would highly recommend stopping by, or better yet, booking a night in one of their two boutique suites and making a romantic weekend of it. The pub was lovely and as rustic as you can imagine with comfy leather sofas and cozy snugs near big fireplaces. The perfect setting to imagine yourself a gentry land owner stopping by for a pint, or someone from EastEnders.
The backyard

The herb garden

Yes, apparently cows in East Yorkshire too!
If you'd like to be a pub explorer, check out http://www.pubs.com/

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Happy Anniversary to me...

yep. that's a red velvet cupcake

I can't believe it. Three years ago today I landed at Heathrow armed only with my favorite vintage furs, two overstuffed suitcases, impractical-for-London-footwear and buckets of naive optimism. I had no idea what was in store for me. And unbelievably, I'm still here!

I would never have imagined that my life was going to be turned upside down in so many ways, and every belief about myself challenged as I learned to navigate the transition from city life in Atlanta to city life in London. And trust me, there are very few commonalities between the two. Nothing unfolded as I had imagined - I found myself discovering a foreign city on my own with little support, no job prospects and an assortment of dubious accommodations. Throw in about a dozen other challenges that presented themselves quite quickly upon my arrival and - Voila - I had more invites to my own pity party than one could imagine.

I have only made it this far because of much needed support and encouragement from my mom and my best friends Sarah, Jeni and Kim. They spent many hours and calling card minutes consoling me, offering advice and the option to return immediately into open arms and spare bedrooms. However, this advice was paired with "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it. You can do this. I love you and I believe in you." For that, I am eternally thankful.

I absolutely don't regret my decision to move here, but it sure hasn't been easy. Yes, there are perks of course - London is unsurpassed when it comes to art, history, fashion, handsome suited and booted men and it's proximity to other really cool cities, but this experience has come with a few bittersweet sacrifices. By far, the best part of living here is that I have met some really awesome people who have made London bearable and most importantly, a once in a lifetime adventure (y'all know who you are).

As I wait anxiously for my tier 1 visa extension approval which affords me two more years and a path to British citizenship, I have learned many things over the past three years and here's a few:

1. London rocks and doesn't rock, often at the same time.
2. When the sun is out, London is truly a gorgeous & inspiring city.
3. As much as I fought against it, I do now say things like  "rubbish", "whilst",  "flat", "bespoke" and a whole string of swear words I won't type here. Yet apparently, I don't speak English.
4. The most important people in your life will always stay connected to you, and will fly hours to be with you.
5. You will stay connected to only the most important people in your life, and fly hours to be with them.
6.  I now know I can do anything and that rocks.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sipsmith & Salmon at Mount Street Deli

Luckily, I work in Mayfair. By luck I mean I have convenient access to some of the best restaurants, hotels, galleries and boutiques London has to offer. If I had been blessed with even more luck, I would actually be able to afford to live in Mayfair. However, the gods have yet to bless me that much. So as the present, I am quite content to have Mayfair's Mount Street Deli right around the corner. A gem for it's 'British style' coffees, gourmet cheeses and rustic sandwiches often enabling my own improvised lunch time picnic in Hyde Park.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

World's 50 Best Restaurants

The World's 50 Best Restaurants were announced yesterday - Heston Blumenthal's Dinner and The Fat Duck making the list, along with The Ledbury. 3 outta 50 ain't bad for the UK! I'm still pining to try The Fat Duck......
....because the food looks like this!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Now here's an English tipple for you....

Robin Webb, the winner of Sloane's Gin "Twisted Traditions" cocktail competition, created this concoction only a gran could love....served in a tea cup with a homemade vanilla macaroon on the side. A must try.
‘Grandma Sloanes Tea Time Tipple’ 
50mls Vanilla Rose pouchong (black tea) infused with Sloane’s Gin for 10mins (no heat needed)
25mls lemon juice
10mls rose syrup
Egg white
Two dashes orange bitters
(optional – violet essence atomiser)
  • Dry shake, then hard shake over cubed ice.
  • Served straight up in grandma’s best bone china.
  • Garnished with two vanilla macaroons and (optional) give a quick spray with the violet essence.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Rain, rain go away.....

Sorry for the absence in posting!  My ennui is directly commiserate to the drab and grey weather we've been experiencing in London. It's always the hardest during the final few weeks before spring officially begins. Or summer as many feel the one week of sun we had was indeed spring. What I would do for a dose of sunshine. So admittedly, I have been consoling myself with Manhattans and Old Fashioneds (Made with bourbon of course! One must remain sensible to their southern roots.) One of these does indeed make the grey go away and warms up the insides. It's either this or time spent in an icky tanning bed.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cocktails & Cabaret at Cafe de Paris

Ever since I bought a limited edition Liza Minelli inspired MAC makeup palette (circa 2003), I have adored cabaret. Perhaps it's the idea of wearing fishnets and false lashes in the debauched nightclubs of 1930's Berlin with my face made up like Liza (young Liza that is!)

Problem is, not everyone can cabaret. Myself included, in despite of the burlesque and dance classes taken. Some things are better observed than mimicked! However, I was pleased as punch to have finally found a decent cabaret show in London at Cafe De Paris. (La Soiree is another fab show...I'll be writing about that one later...)
Since 1924, Cafe de Paris has been the home of a few clubs, patronised by the who's who of London. Many a celeb and royal have been photographed blindly stumbling from the building in the wee hours. And now it was my turn! I joined a few friends for a cocktails and a three-course meal served up center front stage. Although like much of London, the meal isn't necessarily worth it's accompanying price tag, but it's well worth it as it secures you and your friends a prime table for the show.  If you're only there for cocktails, then you're squired away to the cheap seats in the balcony. 

if only I could do this!
and this! now that's a party trick
Overall, a highly enjoyable evening with talented and handsome entertainers. The tables are moved after the show as it becomes a dance club with your average Gaga remixes. Make your way to the tiny speakeasy-esque bar right of the stage where they will continue to play more retro inspired music. Speaking of, I just discovered The Correspondents. Check them out.