Monday, March 28, 2011

If you need more....

NBC Today show

If you aren't already in Royal Wedding overload, you might want to look into getting the newly unveiled iPad Royal Wedding app available in iTunes now. Put together by the NBC Today Show, it contains photos, interactive activities and all the latest information so that you won't miss a beat, and the good news is that it is free. The iPhone and Android apps will be available shortly.

In addition, NBC's own wedding website, the Windsor Knot is full of tidbits of information coming out daily, so that you'll always be on the cutting edge of news. It appears that the whole Today show gang will eventually be in place around the city of London on the wedding date to share the news with all of us. Coverage starts at 4 AM and continues until 11 AM Eastern time.

A excellent summary of the schedule of all of NBC and its affiliates' broadcasting can be found here. You might want to bookmark it if you are in the US, wishing you were in London on the big day. You know you're going to want to have a ringside seat!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Surprise

Every neighborhood in England has its local pubs. We are fortunate to have several near us, the closest having always been Coopers Arms, just a 2 minute walk away, where our kids love the Tuesday Night Pub Quiz Night and I love the Penne Prawn Pasta.

A few months ago, we began to see some activity at the old pub just down the street from us towards the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Formerly The Surprise pub, it had closed down in 2006 and had been empty all these years.

Glad to report there's a new "pub on the block" with a fresh paint job that has just re-opened and

once again is called The Surprise, in honor of one of the 13 ships of the Royal British Navy which have been called throughout history "The Surprise".  More about the pub here at their website.

The typical pub sign reminds us that the pub is smack dab in the middle of our quiet neighborhood

and is as warm and cozy as ever.

We enjoyed a night out recently at this newly opened "gastro-pub," a term which always refers to an establishment serving higher-end drinks and food.

Their concept for meals is a bit unique--almost like British tapas, or the "many plates" concept as they call it. It is suggested that you order several, and that we did on our first visit.

The next time I go, however, I may need to take my British dictionary to help me wade through the translations of many of the dishes. What would be your choice if you dined with us?

Warm scotch egg, cockles and whelks, Welsh rarebit, tinned sardines in tomato sauce, Kipper paté?
Or perhaps you would prefer Stinking Bishop macaroni and cheese, Rabbit, out of the hat (a daily surprise,) pork cheek and black pudding, or Shepherd's pie with hogget shoulder.
And for dessert, Sussex pond pudding or Eton tidy?

I think we might have a wee bit of investigative work ahead of us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St.Patrick's Day Parade

Sunday marked the beginning of the St. Patrick's Day celebrations here in London. The week kicked off with a big parade that ended up in Trafalgar Square, where an Irish festival kept the party spirit alive all day long.

There was a little rain at the start of the day, but that did not dampen the spirits of the Irish people

who were eager to paint the city green.


of all shapes

and sizes participated.

About 900,000 citizens of London are Irish, making up about 12 % of their population.

They are very proud of their heritage

and St. Patrick himself oversaw the parade with 32 Irish counties represented.

Among the 90 entries were the Mahogany Carnival Group,

and Irish dancers

of all ages.

Here's a quick video with a few of the bands just to give you the flavor of the day.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Just a quick note today. Something fairly interesting and out of the ordinary happened Sunday night. I heard a noise and saw some lights out on the street in front of our London house, and about that time the doorbell rang. WhenI went to the door, I stepped out to find a bright light shining in my eyes, and a young man greeting me, who asked if his group could film part of a commercial at our doorway. Always eager to be helpful, and curious, of course about a commercial being filmed, I gave them permission and then went outside to watch them make their magic.

It took them about 45 minutes to get about 4 seconds of a shot. He was modeling a jacket, designed by a young woman who was with them. I kept trying to read the name on the jacket later after I took the picture, but even though she told me the name of her design company, I can't really recall, nor read exactly what it says on his jacket. I think it must be Jacq-ster, or something like that.

Here's the itsy-bitsy clip that I took of them filming. Didn't this actor really know how to strut?

This just goes to show that you need to keep your eyes and ears open here in London. The whole city is a stage and you never know when the actors are going to play out their roles.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Royal Baby

Finding The Royal Baby paper doll book was an unexpected serendipity. I was searching for Little Prince gifts for our new grandson who will be born in a few weeks, and stumbled upon this "vintage" copy of paper dolls made the year Prince William was born. Isn't he a cutie in this  "I ♥ Buckingham Palace" shirt?

Inside on heavy cardstock were two views of little William to be cut out. Did you play with paper dolls when you were young?

My grandma, the Queen says that it is never too early to take our Royal Duty seriously. 
How about those Union Jack pajamas and the miniature throne with the symbol of the Prince of Wales?

For our morning outing with nanny Barnes. We like the informality of a Prince of Wales plaid suit. 
Of course, his lap blanket is monogrammed "Mighty Monarch." Nanny Barnes must be a fictitious name, since I imagine at the time of print, it was not known who would be the nanny, but it does seem that Prince William has not forgotten one of his true life nannies, Araceli Piccio, affectionately called Miss Lillie by the brothers. She has received one of the coveted invitations to the wedding.

Someday I'll be Commander of the Royal Guards, but for now, it's jolly good wearing a bearskin hat. 
Even his bear has a "bearskin" hat!

The Empire was not built upon shifting sands, so today we shall build ourselves a new castle. 
The name Gordonstoun on the T-shirt refers to the boarding school that the Duke of Edinburgh, and Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward all attended as young boys.

Don't we look smashing in our Ascot gear? Our Shetland pony will accompany us on a "walkabout."
Ascot, of course, refers to the famous horse racing venue.

Kippers and kidneys are all very well, but, at the moment, we are partial to Yorkshire pudd.
I don't think that kippers (cold smoked herring) or kidneys would be anything my own boys would have wanted for breakfast either. His little bib says "Bibmaster by appointment to the Prince" and his dishes say, Fit for a King, Princely Pudd, and The Royal Kid (just so it wouldn't get mixed up with any commoners' cups!)

Fishing at Balmoral with my great-granny, the Queen Mum is simply super. Look what we have caught!

Freddy Windsor and his sister Gabriella are the son and daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Must be Harvey guarding the royal swing, "crown" sandbox, and swan swimming pool.

Uncle Andy gave me my helicopter suit, but I often get nabbed for speeding down the palace halls.

Mummy loathes blood sports, but Daddy knows what's good for men...and future kings like him and me.
The only reference to Diana, his mother. Is that bunny for shooting?

We are never too young to go down to the sea in ships, says William, ready to sail forth before the Royal mast.
A little prophetic for the royal stag party, since Prince Harry is planning his brother's stag party off shore in a boat, with options of all sorts of water sports for the guys.

We like to recall those glorious days when the sun never set on the British Empire. Elephants are forever.

We royals sometimes go down into the mines, just the way our loyal subjects do.

Daddy is good at polo. Grandpa Philip was better, but we are going to be the best ever. 
His cup reads Will's Lite Ginger Beer.

And here's his royal coach and horses,

and the book closes with a blessing for his life to come.

And then guess what I found yesterday in the book store???


You got it!
Royal Wedding Paper dolls--a dress-up dolly book.
Gotta' love those Union Jack briefs!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Little Prince

As I've mentioned before, I will not be attending the Royal Wedding on April 29th. Kate and William must have known that I was not going to be in London on that date, and that is why they sent my invitation to someone who could actually make it. You see, we have a big event in our own family that week. My little grandson, Jackson, is due to grace us with his presence on April 28th. And an event like that, I wouldn't miss for all the royal weddings in the world.

Since baby Jackson is due at Royal Wedding time, and since his big sister is already a princess, I've decided to call him in advance of his arrival, the Little Prince. And it's with that royal declaration in mind, that I put together a big basket for His Little Majesty that I gave his mommy at her baby shower last week.

Here's his mummy! I call her the Queen Mum since she is such an awesome mother to little princess Jordan and the new one soon to make his entrance.

It was fun collecting for the Little Prince basket. I included several rompers and onesies with the Little Prince theme, along with tiny Prince shoes and his own Little Prince doll. I loved the Jackson-Prince of Wails outfit, as well as the Prince Charming in training.

And what would a Little Prince basket be without some references to the classic French children's book, Le Petit Prince?  A bib, books, plate and bubble bath--imported from France, of course--nothing too good for this little boy. His nightlight will say The Prince Sleeps here, in case anyone forgets just who is in charge. The Snowbabies Little Prince will hopefully be a collectible he can pass on someday.

Even more fun was finding a royal bottle, topped with a crown, a brush and comb set, a Prince Charming pacifier, a towel, Prince of the Potty book, a magnet for his car saying The Prince's Chariot, and a burp pad, because every little prince needs a soft place where he can lay his sweet head on mummy's  shoulder. I did stop short of buying the Royal Throne potty chair however, but it's out there should anyone want one.

He'll have bibs for every day of the week, a baby prince bag, and a Little Frog Prince "lovey" as we call it.

He just had to have the Mum is my Queen shirt, the Prince Charming boxers, and a onesie reminding everyone he is his Mummy's handsome prince. The white T shirt is actually for his big sister, and in case, you can't make out the print, it says There's a new Prince in this house...That makes me the Queen. I think there could be some truth in that!

And one of my favorite finds of all was a book of paper dolls printed the year Prince William was born--The Royal Baby. The story inside is so cute, that I'm saving it for the next blog. I think you'll want to come back to see it.