Seeing as we have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend coming up, I thought I’d be all patriotic and write a small blog post on all things that are fabulous and British.
Dainty cucumber sandwiches, freshly baked scones with lashings of clotted cream and fruity jam, miniature Victoria sponge cakes dusted lightly with icing sugar and a pot of freshly brewed Earl Grey Tea.
Now, that I have you all salivating…Afternoon Tea is an absolute gem of British tradition. Dating back to the early nineteenth century, ‘high tea,’ as it was then known, was a common pastime for the upper and middle classes, in order to stop that common afternoon slump in between lunch and dinner. Sadly, Afternoon Tea is more of a luxury offered by West End hotels than a tradition but it is always a huge attraction for visiting tourists. Popular haunts in London include The Dorchester, The Ritz and The Savoy. Remember to book well in advance though because of the upcoming Jubilee and Olympics.
Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Sarah Burton…I could go on and on but the world watches with awe during our London Fashion weeks. British Fashion Designers are eccentric, unafraid to break the mould and yet at the same time, create classic, sophisticated shapes that fashionistas lust over for their capsule wardrobe.
Sarah Burton made the late Alexander McQueen proud when she became director of the brand and designed last year’s most anticipated dress- Kate Middleton’s wedding gown. Even our fashion magazines are influential with British-born Anna Wintour at the helm of US Vogue.
The Royal Family
Like them or loathe them, Kate Middleton and Prince William put the popularity back into being Royal last year with their wedding. The extra bank holiday, their down-to-earth nature and Kate’s love for high street brands has put the Royal Family back into the hearts of us Brits. Not to mention party-loving bachelor Prince Harry and Pippa being crowned with the “Rear of the Year,” award!
And seeing as we’re celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, prompting encouragement for street parties galore from the Prime Minister and another bank holiday, it’d be rude not to give them a mention.
Our History and Heritage
The London skyline is one of the most beautiful in the world (personally for me because I love living in a concrete jungle) and although the Shard, the Gherkin and the Millennium Wheel are practically brand new in comparison, we musn’t forget about the Tower of London, St Paul’s or Buckingham Palace.
What I love the most when wandering around London, is the fact that we like to keep and restore as much of our heritage as possible. That’s why you often find little medieval churches among shiny new office blocks. I used to always wander past St John’s Church in Islington when I was at uni and it always amazes me that a building from the 1800s is placed near a hairdressers and a Greek restaurant. It’s fantastic that we stick with our traditions but don’t mind mixing it up a bit with modern life.
Two words: British. Bands.
Our musicians headline festivals across the globe from Coachella to Benicassim and The Garden Festival in Croatia. The obsession with popping the Hollywood bubble is starting to fade and now many musicians and bands from other countries are honoured when we start to adopt them as our own- The Killers, Scissor Sisters, Abba (if we must) to name but a few. We lead the pack in terms of our trend-setting, uber coolness and the laid-back “Yeah, I’m a rockstar, so what?” attitude. Our bands are raw, upfront (think the Gallagher brothers) and we have some of the best producers and studios in the world. The council near Abbey Road studios constantly have to re-paint the walls because of the millions of people that visit and mark their signatures. Oh and we also know how to work the festival look to a tee, combining Hunter wellies and floral dresses.
Last but definitely not least…is the British sense of humour, responsible for confusing tourists (namely Americans) all over the world.
Sarcasm was invented by us (if it wasn’t, it should have been) from satire in our novels to television with Monty Python, The Carry On films, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses. We have produced some of the best comedy in the world, with several countries attempting to reproduce our formats- The US Office anyone?
So here’s to being British- we’re funny, fashionable, talented and we build beautiful architecture, oh and make a bloody nice cup of tea!
Enjoy your Jubilee celebrations this weekend, whatever you’re doing.