As today is St George’s Day, what better way to celebrate all that is British with a list of all things England holds dear, and without which would quite frankly not be the same?!
1) Proper cups of tea. By proper, I mean not a glass teacup that’s full of boiling water with a teabag perched forlornly on the saucer next to it. That you’re supposed to introduce to the hot water yourself. NOT. THE. SAME. You need a big mug. That you can hold with two hands, and that has had the teabag sat in there already for a good five minutes at least.
2) Fish and chips. With a side order of mushy peas or curry sauce.
3) The beautiful beaches and coastline.
4) British comedy. Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Red Dwarf.
5) Queueing. A very British thing.
6) The erratic weather. One day it can be blazing sunshine, the next it can be freezing fog and battering hailstones. Literally.
7) Strawberries and cream. Something one must surely eat when partaking in a bit of Wimbledon tennis watching in the summer. Don’t forget your iced cold glass of Pimms.
8) The Royal Family. Love them or loathe them, they’re a cornerstone of British life and sets us apart from other countries without a monarchy.
9) Fruit cake should be eaten with a wedge of cheese. Yes. That’s right.
10) Sunday dinner. Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, and all your vegetables. Don’t forget the stuffing.
11) Our stand up comedians.
12) Red telephone boxes.
13) Iconic music, from the Beatles to Queen.
15) Sense of humour. No-one can do wit and sarcasm in the same manner as a Brit. Dry and sarcastic is the way to go.
16) Toad in the hole.
18) Proper chocolate. Cadburys, Rowntree’s (sorry, I should say Nestle’s) as well. Not to mention Terry’s of course.
19) Its rich history and old buildings.
Not to mention the old, cobbled streets in some towns that still stand.
20) Afternoon teas. China cups filled with tea, and cucumber sandwiches sliced into triangles with the crusts cut off. With scones and plenty of jam and clotted cream.
Feel free to add via the comments box if you think I’ve missed anything quintessentially British off the list!
We’re into the second week of the Easter holidays here, and after a weekend of eating too much chocolate and not venturing much further than the local park, we decided to hit the local cinema instead.
As a huge Muppet fan when I was small, the obvious choice was to go to see the latest Muppet movie, the Muppets Most Wanted.
Luckily for them (or should that be me?!) both the small people really wanted to go as well. Phew.
Armed with the obligatory bag of sweets to munch during the film, we took to our seats and settled down to watch.
The film starts off where the last one finished, with the Muppets high from their success of bringing back their show and now wanting to do more shows.
With the help of a new agent, they get persuaded to embark upon a world tour. Unbeknownst to them, an evil frog, the duplicate of Kermit, has escaped from prison and is in cahoots with their agent, Dominic Badguy (played by Ricky Gervais.) to steal the Crown jewels.
Evil frog soon gets the real Kermit locked up and tricks his way into the Muppets in order to frame them.
What’s going to happen to Kermit now he’s locked up and there’s an evil doppelganger masquerading as him? Will the rest of the Muppets realise there’s an imposter in the group?
This is a great, family film that everyone will enjoy.
Keeping the children amused was easily achievable about twenty or thirty years ago, as they were happy to be out all day in the fresh air, climbing trees, and running about.
Happily content with their lot, there were no distractions such as the internet, the Wii, or ds consoles.
Okay, there was the Nintendo Gameboy if you were a kid in the infancy of the nineties, but they were brand new and not commonplace like they are now.
The two small people of this house are like chalk and cheese. The 10 year old is happy to be out as much as possible, and could kick a ball about all day.
The 6 year old does like playing out, but left to his own devices would quite happily sit in front of his DS console for hours or watch dvds.
Which is all well and good, but a bit of balance is needed in there too and some fresh air and exercise thrown into the mix.
It doesn’t help that the longer children seem to spend on their game consoles, the grumpier they get when they have to come off. Or they’ll answer you with monosyllabic grunts as they’re too busy trying to make Mario race around a track in his car, or Sonic jump for golden rings or something.
So, ‘screen time’ in this house has been limited to half hour bursts with running about doing outside activities in between.
A hark back to the simpler times of no consoles may be a step too far, but it makes sense to restrict their usage.
Do you limit screen time or let them go on as much as they like?
Or notice a change in behaviour after they’ve been on a while?
There’s nothing like a good tradition to make for happy memories, and Easter is a great time to get out there and create some of your own for your kids to remember in future years.
When I was little, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my younger brother with a hard boiled egg and a packet of felt tips, and having great fun colouring them in and decorating them.
We then entered them into the village ‘egg rolling’ competition.
This comprised of a big ramp that you all put your egg atop, and on the count of three you let go of your egg and cheered it down to the bottom. The one that rolled the furthest won a prize.
This is where smart and simple eggs ruled. I remember laughing one year as some that thought they were all clever with their fancy schmancy decorated eggs covered in feathers or with an outfit on to be dressed up like Humpty Dumpty or whatever would come unstuck halfway down the ramp/slide and grind to a pathetic halt at the bottom.
Whereas the streamlined felt tip ones decorated by the children (yeah, not the parents!) hared on down to the finish line and rolled above and beyond.
We all got a Smarties Easter egg for taking part though. (It was always a Smarties Easter egg.)
The husband remembers a summer fete he once went to where you had to throw and catch an egg to each other with the aim not being to drop and smash it.
I think that could be another Easter tradition in the making.
As for the small people of this house, the egg decorating goes on in the form of decorating them for school in Juniors.
The 10 year old had fun decorating this egg with gold paint, ribbon and gems.
I always do an Easter egg hunt too, and hide eggs around the house and outside for them to find, with clues to find them.
What Easter traditions do you have? I’d love to hear them.
I’m not one of those ‘crafty’ types that make perfect flowers out of toilet rolls, so my heart did a little plunge yesterday when I realised next week is the egg decorating and Easter bonnet competition at school.
I aspire to be crafty. I look at all the pretty things on Pinterest, then realise if I was to actually make anything on there, it’d be more at home on a Pinterest fail board where people point and laugh.
Yes, yes I know it’s the kids who are supposed to do it, not the parents. I’m one of those who buys all the materials for them and then lets them go mad sticking little fluffy chicks and stickers on their crowns.
That’s what it’s all about right?!
Then you get to school and see little Johnny and half of the school with him parading around with what, quite frankly have had more than a little adult input.
(If they were done by the kids, I’ll eat one of those flower toilet rolls I was talking about.)
You just know Alpha Mum has been up half the night supergluing her fingers together and getting in a tizz just so they have the best hat EVER.
The hats. I can cope with. Just about.
It’s when they get to Juniors that it all gets ridiculous. Not content with doing hats any more (what’s wrong with hats for goodness sake?!) they have to create an egg scene.
So now the game has been upped and you have to think of something witty like the Eggs Factor (X Factor, geddit) and make little egg judges and have a panel of the little blighters.
Last year, the 10 year old did The Grand Old Duke of Yolk and his 10,000 chicks marching up the hill. He did it all himself, too. (OK, there weren’t quite ten thousand chicks. That would have made for making a big assed hill.)
No idea what he’s doing this year, but I suppose he’d better get cracking.
No doubt the Alpha Mummies have been making theirs since February….