28 January 2009

I have several items to discuss today!

One: it rained, like, three days in a row last week, and I was SUPER BUMMED, and thought, 'London is ALWAYS raining,' which led me to realize how one can easily reach that conclusion based on one week alone. But THEN I got Orla Kiely wellingtons at Sunday's sample sale and was so psyched for it to rain again and THEN the SUN came out for TWO DAYS and oh how sad I was and then today it rained again and I've never been so pleased. Thank you, wellies, for making rain lovely and exciting and good.

Two: I can't remember number two. It will no doubt come to me next time I'm walking one of the babies, which is when all of my good ideas come.

Three: I emailed Weetabix my blog tutorial on their product and got the world's funniest email in response. I seriously can't even handle this:

'Dear Sharona
Many thanks for making contact.
Welcome to the wonderful World of Weetabix!
We are delighted to hear you enjoy Weetabix so much and are spreading the word too!
There is no right or wrong way to enjoy Britain's favourite breakfast cereal. Cold milk, hot milk. A little sugar or none (Weetabix already contains around 4.5%, 1.7g in a 2 biscuit serving). Some even take it dry with butter and jam! It all goes to show what a versatile product Weetabix really is.
We hope the attached might inspire you and your friends to try Weetabix a few different ways.
Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kind regards,


25 January 2009

Orla Kiely just puked on me.

I KNOW, right? How lucky am I? However, it is less like Orla HERSELF puked on me, and more like her SAMPLE SALE puked on me. And I'm so, so happy about it. I will take photos this week of today's drunken purchases; I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I love you, Brick Lane. I love you, Orla Kiely. I love you, sample sale on a rainy day. You complete me.

20 January 2009

It is NOT Day Two.

It didn't rain today. This confirms my theory: the infamous London rain is a myth. 'Watch out for the worst few months of your life,' they all inform, gleeful about their cold, wet wet winters. But so far...it's rained once since December. And before that, MAYBE a half dozen times since October, random short downpours, mid-afternoon or mid-dle of the night. So yes...my suspicions hold fast: there is no such thing as Famous London Always Rain.

Day One is officially renamed 'The Day It Rained in London.' No, wait. The Day It Rained HARD in London. Yes. That is right.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go curl up with a brick of Weetabix. Kisses.

A breakfast cereal tutorial

Would you like some cereal?
Yes, please!
* clunk *
What is that?
Cereal! Do they not have this where you come from?*

Introducing Weetabix. According to their website, they are 'the UK's favourite breakfast.' I am here to give you a Weetabix tutorial.

When you first open the Weetabix box, you will find these bricks (for lack of a better word). You do not pour Weetabix into a bowl. You pick out a brick, and put THAT in your bowl.

Then, if you are six years old (or me), you put a bit of sugar on top. And by a 'bit,' I mean, 'a lot.'

Then you pour in the milk.

Now here is where it gets exciting. In the length of time it takes you to put the milk back away, your Weetabix is softening. Take this opportunity to break it apart with your spoon.

Then mush it around using the bottom of your spoon. This is just for fun, really. This is also where your mother would tell you to 'quit playing with your food.' Once you've really worked it into a good pile of sludge, it is ready to eat!**

Weetabix: the Wholegrain Cereal. It's like a party in your bowl.

*According to the Weetabix website, Weetabix entered the US market in 1968. It doesn't mention when it left.
**You will be surprised at how tasty it is, for a food resembling something you'd feed your cat.

19 January 2009

It rained today!

Today was Day One of the infamous London Rain. I label it Day One in anticipation of a Day Two. I anticipate a Day Two given the dark and torrential nature of today; it was a downfall so intense that it does not seem to be self-contained or fleeting, but instead rather ambitious and focused. If it does NOT rain tomorrow, then I shall have to rename Day One 'The Day It Rained in London,' which just isn't the same.

17 January 2009

I am a member of the Unsuspecting Public.

I seriously suck at story-telling. I'm not kidding. I do. Like just now, I sat down to begin a story starting with 'Last Thursday' and ending with 'and this is what I saw.' Simple, right? But then, three sentences in, it read like it was written by someone who speaks English as a second language. And not proficiently, like a German, but poorly, like a [I just realized I can't insert anything here without sounding racist. Dammit.] At any rate, I had to give up and delete the entire thing. This happens frequently in my world.

So, to keep the story short and as un-story-like as possible, since that seems to be the only way my higher power will let me do it: last Thursday I saw four hundred 'commuters' break into spontaneous choreographed dancing at Liverpool Street Station. I was on the mezzanine, looking down, and they went through a medley of songs, dancing in complete unison. It. was. fantastic. Absolutely one of the most thrilling things I've ever seen. Due in large part to the fact that it was unprecedented, unexpected, and unexplained.

Later I went online to find out what it was. I knew it would be on youtube within seconds, as every single bystander had stopped to watch (train and bus schedules were thrown out the window that day, as everybody's priorities were usurped by blind fascination) and whipped out their cell phones to record the show. Turns out it was an elaborately produced (and dare I say brilliant?) ad by T-Mobile, something about Life is Sharing or somesuch. They intentionally hid their video cameras while they taped the dancers, as they didn't want anybody to figure out what was going on. They also captured the viewers with their mobiles out, sending the videos to friends. After all, Life is Sharing. Or somesuch.

And this is what I saw. Please click on 'watch in high quality' if your bandwith gives you the luxury.

And this is how they pre-advertised. I should really try to watch more t.v. Without it, I apparently fall under the category of 'Unsuspecting Public.' So true...so true.

13 January 2009

And sometimes the LIGHTS flicker. I KNOW, right? It's so obvious. Some might say this is because the building is, like, three hundred billions years old and faulty wiring and blah blah blah, but seriously. I'm not stupid.

I have a ghost.

I have a ghost. Albeit a helpful one. And this morning he helped me make my coffee.

This is what happened. And there's really no other explanation other than the intervention of a spirit with unfinished business: I pulled the shots for my coffee and poured milk into the steamer, but didn't push the button to steam the milk because I wasn't ready for the cup JUST yet and wanted it to be as hot as possible. I turned my back to finish washing the dishes, and when I turned around again, not only was my milk steamed, but the lid to the pitcher was on top. Now I know what you are thinking: surely you capped the pitcher without thinking about it, AND pushed the button. I can see how this would be possible, as when one makes repetitive motions every day, it's easy to make them again without thinking or noticing. Except I NEVER put the lid on the pitcher because I love to watch the steaming process, the milk swirling around and around, faster and faster, gradually growing taller and frothy and smooth as air. It's one of the greatest pleasures of my day. In fact, I haven't used the lid EVER. So I certainly would have noticed a motion that would involve me putting it on. Apparently my ghost, though, was thinking Safety First.

08 January 2009

Northern England Reveals Its Charms

Jane Austen lived here.*

In her letters, she referred to her estate as 'Hot Toddy Hall.' She did this in an attempt to protect her privacy as well as to offer her correspondents a revealing glimpse into her personal life.**

This was Jane's local church. She rarely set foot inside, as she was usually nursing her hangover from Saturday night's festivities in Hot Toddy Hall.***

This was Jane's local butcher and deli. She loved their duck liver pate and could often be heard on the children's swings after dark, whooping into the wee hours.****

And so concludes my tour of Northern England. Please let me know if you are interested in any more of my tours; there are many neighborhoods in London I would love to walk you through.

*I'm making this up. I really have no idea where Jane Austen lived.

**This is also not true.
***This is probably true.
****'Whooping' is not a metaphor.

07 January 2009

I carried a watermelon?

Slim Jim's Liquor Store was recently rated in the Top 5 London Bars 2008 by Urban Junkies. When I told the manager, 'That's cool,' while sipping a brandy during a break in the day's shopping, he proceeded to put in on the bar's outdoor sandwich board. Quote, unquote.

06 January 2009

Another Brighton recommendation

A long overdue return trip to Brighton was last weekend's pleasure...this time with personal recommendations a la Isabel, a fanciful girl who used to live there and knew the ins and outs of the shopping, eating, and shopping. Armed with the list she gave me, this Brighton itinerary expanded to include The Lavender Room, Cath Kidston, One in the House, and Bert's Homestore. None of these shops was a disappointment and it took all of my restraint not to blow my bank on the goodies inside. (Please note: I would have photographed each of these shops, except the weather was roughly thirty degrees below zero and I couldn't get my frozen fingertips to grip the camera, let alone operate the tiny dials.)

I did, however, photograph Bill's Produce Store, yum incarnate. The walls were lined with produce for purchase, and if the brunch I ordered was any indication of their quality, then I think little on the shelves would disappoint.

This was my eggs benedict. Please note the sumptuous bread, the thick slices of ham, and the about-to-explode poached eggs...the whole thing was absolutely taste-tastic. I can't wait for my next visit so I can return for their peppered steak sandwich, served on housemade onion foccacia with horseradish and mustard creme fraiche. Brighton hooooooooooooooooo!