30 April 2011

Post Of The Month Club: April

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK


Coming off a royal high, 
yesterday was completely over-the-top wonderful

We watched the magnificent wedding with friends

I just think the newlyweds make the cutest couple,
and I'm still spellbound by Kate's and Pippa's dresses

Our super-fun neighborhood street party lasted until 11p

The icing on the cake was my daughter winning a prize for her 'I Love England' cake!


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So welcome to another 'Post Of The Month Club' party

Oh my goodness, I am so excited you are here!
It wouldn't be the same without you :)

Last month, we sat in my little napping house, but you know I like to mix it up
So today I saved you a seat next to me on this retro ferris wheel
Wheee! Snow cone?

And I must say...


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I can't wait to read what you have been up to
in Blogland this month

 -Bloggers, just link up your best post of the month -
And see, you've already done the work

- Share the love by visiting a few other blogs -

- Would you like to add my button to your lovely sidebar so more can join the fun? -
Yep, we'll do this the last day of each month

- Don't forget to become a follower too -

Happy May Blogging :)




29 April 2011

The Royal Wedding From My Throne: Part 3

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Yesterday in London? UNFORGETTABLE!
Like a child's first time to Disney World
Excuse me if I talk too fast :)

It was a thrill to walk around the day before the Royal Wedding
Nothing short of fantastic


Notice the crowd on the bridge
Love the flying flags


I first arrived (kids in tow) at Westminster Abbey around 3:45p. It was packed with people


Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square




International media set up everywhere




Impressive media grandstand-thingy across from Westminster Abbey




Sorry, No Tours Of The Abbey Today, Madam :)

Camera Boom Set Up For Tomorrow


Camping Out
See the tents?


I was so busy taking photos and keeping track of the kiddos, look who snuck up behind me
Super-famous American news anchor Katie Couric!




Right after I took this photo, she looked right at me and gave me a HUGE cutie-pie smile 
(darn, that's the photo I should have taken)

Then I said, 'Sorry, I just couldn't help myself!' (taking a photo of you like a total dork)
And she said in the nicest way, 'Oh, that's okay' (I see dorks all the time)
Now I am her newest fan




Here is a photo of my new BFF working
Katie was super sparkly and adorable in person and seemed to be in a great mood, 
taking photos with everyone who asked and just smiling the whole time

Playing it 'cool' and trying to contain the jumping monkeys in my tummy, I whispered to the kids
'Oh my gosh, guys. I know you have no idea who that was, but she is crazy famous'

Their reply? 'Why are you talking in that squeaky voice, mom?

So I get a little star struck. The moment was totally lost on the little ones :)

***

We moved along and the crowds were gone


Check Points Set Up For Tomorrow


This reporter was cracking us up. He would start to talk in the microphone, 
then white flower petals would drop onto his hair. Brushing them off, he'd have to start all over




Video screen at Trafalgar Square for public viewing tomorrow


There were about 6 different police escorts that passed us while we roamed around
I thought I saw Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in one of those cars
Who knows? But I'm sticking with it


Trafalgar Square & The National Gallery


There was definitely a police presence everywhere, but they all seemed in good spirits
At first I thought he was waving at me to stop taking photos,
but he actually was just waving for the picture


Hello friendly policeman


We arrived at Buckingham Palace by 5p
The crowd was thin, unlike the Abbey


See the cleverly camoflagued television camera 'hides' around the statues?
You almost missed those, didn't you?


Another media bandstandy-thingy across from Buckingham Palace




I have been trying to figure out what gets me so pumped about the Royal Wedding day, 
and I think I finally put my finger on it


Wearing Will & Kate Masks


In the US, our patriotic day is definitely The 4th Of July
It is a national holiday when many wear the national colors, fly the American flag, 
and have a day with friends, family or neighbors. There are fireworks and parades
Each year it is a celebration of being American and having our freedoms




England doesn't really have an annual national, patriotic day

One reason could be the English personality. You would find the typical English person modest
Perhaps only 'boastful about not being boastful'
Few would say, 'I'm English and proud of it!' for fear it might offend

And England is intertwined with many identities- 
Great Britain, the United Kingdom, and even the European Union with its fluid borders 
I think the sun still doesn't set on the British Commonwealth, but few will tell you that here





Although the Royal Wedding is not a celebration of England, 
it has brought the country together with one million people joining in street parties
And to me, that feels patriotic

I am twirling with excitement that I am here to celebrate this historic day with them



Azaleas in St James's Park behind media grandstand


Thank you for joining me for the ride this Royal Week

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!!

Wishing Will & Kate the very best

- all photos by me -


The Royal Wedding Part I - Insider Scoop (here)

The Royal Wedding Part II - Celebrating The Wedding (here)


This Weekend :: 'Post Of The Month Club' Linky Party for bloggers (details here)

27 April 2011

The Royal Wedding From My Throne: Part 2

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

As a follow up to Part I
I thought you might be interested in a few ways 
the Royal Wedding will be celebrated around England


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TEA PARTIES

In the morning, we will go to a tea party at an expat friend's house. Our daughters will be all dressed up for the occasion. While the girls play, it will probably be the moms who watch it on the television. The wedding starts at 11 am. Totally 'my cup of tea'!

STREET PARTIES

'Street parties' have a long history in the UK, mainly England and Wales.  These neighborly gatherings may have started as early as 1919 after the end of World War I to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. They were called 'Peace Teas' and were formal sit-down occasions at tables in the street. Tea and cake were served with what little ingredients they had.   

Ever since, neighbors have come together on their traffic-free road to commemorate momentous events, including the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, VE Day in 1945, and the Millennium.


1953 Coronation Street Party
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According to StreetParty.org.uk, on Friday and over the weekend 'one million people will enjoy street parties, ...which is the largest number of people to have one since the last royal wedding in 1981. This is the biggest neighbour's day for 30 years, which is a great boost for street sociability and neighbourliness.'

One even will be held by Prime Minister David Cameron on Downing Street. 


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I will be attending a street party in my neighborhood. Yea! Here are some of the fun planned activities (weather permitting):

- Table Tennis
- Penalty Goal Shoot Out (football/soccer)
- Egg and Spoon Races, Tug of War
- Craft Table, Sidewalk Chalk, Temporary Tattoos, Bubbles
- Best Wedding Dress Made Of Newspaper Contest
- Best Homemade Cake Competition
- Grills For Food; Bring Your Own Drinks

Interestingly, bunting is a traditional part of street parties. No one has a street party without one :) Who knew?

PUB PARTIES

If we aren't exhausted by the end of the day, we may pull up a chair at the local pub. Most pubs are kid friendly, often offering yummy food, outside seating and sometimes even a playground. 

Sign from a local pub

'A Knees Up' is Cockney for 'a party'
[personal photo]

Gotta run - cakes to make, and newspaper wedding dresses to design :) 

Do you have any plans for the big day?


The Royal Wedding Part 1 - Insider Scoop (here)

The Royal Wedding Part 3 - London, The Day Before The Wedding (here)



26 April 2011

The Royal Wedding From My Throne: Part 1

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK


I don't know if you've heard, but there is a little wedding coming up on Friday around here :)

What else can I add? I think the worldwide media has covered it thoroughly

So here is my American point of view in England


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Most Brits seem to have a soft spot for William and his brother Harry. The love for his mom, Diana, has been transferred onto her two sons.  Will seems to be a cool, down-to-earth guy with an honorable job (RAF Search & Rescue helicopter pilot in Wales).  He'd be invited to my house for supper anytime.


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And how adorable is Catherine?! Liked by the public, this beautiful 'commoner' from mining roots has a great sense of style and is well educated. Coming from a stable family makes her popular with the Queen. I'm guessing you've probably seen a few photos of Kate recently. This is one of my favs. And let's face it, she has great hair.


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The fairy tale story is irresistible. They are possibly the first royal couple destined for the throne in the UK to marry for love. William and Kate are a modern couple too, having met in university and lived together for 9 years. 

As for the Queen, reportedly she is happy there is a fresh boost to the monarchy's popularity and looks forward to a stable future of the crown.

The people seem to have mixed feelings about their monarchy. While they question not only the relevance of a royal family in this day and age but also the justification of supporting their expensive lifestyle during this economic crisis. And yet the royal family continues to hold local and worldwide fascination.

I believe it has been a tricky balance as to how much to spend on the wedding - royal and grand yet not too ostentatious, as this country has been hard hit with difficult financial times.


Tea Towel
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Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, gave some royal wedding scoop at a talk I recently attended (she'll be broadcasting with Katie Couric at the wedding). Here are a few things she reported:

Hundreds of staff and some of the best wedding planners in the world have been working on the royal wedding around the clock. Many are ex-military employees, so the event is sure to work like clockwork with military precision.


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Details you many not have thought of:

* There will be several bridal bouquets in case of mishaps

* A specialized hair stylist will be hired with tiara experience. Tiaras are very heavy, you know, and no one wants flat hair on her big day

* Kate will be well practiced getting in and out of the car. Like Princess Diana, it is likely Kate will have used a tablecloth pinned around her waist to duplicate the wedding dress


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Following royal tradition...

* Kate's wedding ring will be made of rare Welsh Gold. William probably will not wear a wedding ring

* The cake will be cut with a sword

* The crowd will shout 'Give Her A Kiss' when the couple appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace

* There will be a 'flypast' of military planes

* The honeymoon location has not been disclosed, but unlikely Africa since it is the rainy season, according to Ms Seward

* Where they will call 'home' - an apartment in Kensington Palace (London) and a house in Wales


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You can count on many camping-out overnight in London to get a good view along the wedding route. Green Park and St James's Park will be ideal locations to save a spot. There will be media stands and big screens broadcasting the event in the surrounding parks. Although it probably will be difficult to catch a glimpse of the newlywed couple, I think the atmosphere and experience would be unforgettable.

The royal wedding is a national holiday. I suspect the reason the wedding is April 29th is because it is surrounded by a cluster of other bank holidays. If you take off work just 3 days this week in the UK, you would have yourself a nice 10-day break.  Many are fleeing the country to avoid the wedding madness or just to take advantage of the extra time off.

Some are thinking 'Is it over yet?' with local media (and trinket) oversaturation. Furthermore, there is a mild security concern of the event being targeted by terrorists and more anarchist demonstrations.

Nonetheless, there is no denying there a buzz in the air for this joyous, historical wedding day. Personally, I am VERY excited.

And although there have been rumors, insider Ingrid assured us Prince Charles will not abdicate (or shall I say 'abdi-Kate') the throne when his time comes to be crowned king. He will give his son relative normalcy and freedom for as long as possible before taking on big monarchical responsibilities.


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Talk about wedding jitters - I can't even imagine how they feel

Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for a sunny Friday


The Royal Wedding Part II - Celebrating The Royal Wedding (here)

The Royal Wedding Part III - London, The Day Before The Wedding (here)


Have a great week!

21 April 2011

Happy Birthday, Queen Elizabeth!

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK


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Doesn't she look amazing at age 85?!

Although Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926, 
her birthday will be celebrated on June 6th
on the 'Queen's Official Birthday'

It has been celebrated with the Queen's Birthday Parade 
and Trooping The Colour Ceremony since 1748


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Interestingly, any current United Kingdom monarch's birthday is celebrated on the first Monday in June
 as an official holiday regardless of the actual birthday
because the weather is typically nice

This day is considered the UK's 'National Day'

Happy Birthday, Queen Elizabeth!

Source: Wikipedia.com

16 April 2011

Unforgettable Petersham Nurseries

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

I found another English gem - Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. The clouds parted and the angels sang. Oh my goodness - such a feast for ALL the senses. Let me give you a little tour...




This is no ordinary garden nursery
For starters, it is really tucked away next to a pasture yet definitely in town




Vintage looking crates for displays
Slate tabletops
Willow screens and urns thoughtfully scattered





But that's not all... {sigh}

They have a tea house




and a cafe so darling, I think I peed in my pants!!




Super shabby-chic
See those dirt floors?
Chippy chairs, naked lightbulbs too
In a glass greenhouse




Have you peed in your pants yet, too?

And the food...
Just awarded a Michelin Star
It was delish




According to their website,  'Head Chef Skye Gyngell works almost exclusively with seasonal produce, creating simple food inspired by what she sees growing and flowering around her. The relatively short menu changes every week....In season, she picks herbs, salads & fruit from the walled kitchen garden of Petersham House and uses as much local produce as she can lay her hands on.' It is rumored she was formally Madonna's chef.




Is this little 'nursery for the soul' a local secret?


Not exactly - we made reservations a month in advance for lunch
And we just missed Mick Jagger and Ralph Lauren who visited earlier in the week


Not your typical nursery :)


- all photos by me -