A Delivery of American Goodies

It’s Thanksgiving this week – a holiday that brings back fond memories from my childhood of tables full of turkey and family visiting from out of town. It’s one that I tend to forget about these days though. I haven’t had a Thanksgiving in New York since I moved to London in 2007, so the date almost always just fades in with all the others.

Last week Thursday I had an exciting delivery at work in celebration of Thanksgiving – a gift basket from Ocado full of American goodies (perks of being an American expat blogger…)!

american snacks

There were Snyders pretzel bites, sesame flatbreads, bagel crisps, Kraft mac and cheese, egg nog, samuel adams (which I’ve donated to Jorge), a Reeses (which went to my colleague Amy)…

American snacks from Ocado

…and my favourite: Lucky charms. Magically delicious. I used to eat these all the time when I was a kid and even now when I go home my mom always has a box on hand for me.

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 21.14.51

Now I just need to decide on whether or not I feel like cooking turkey after work on Thursday or if I will just settle in with my box of Lucky Charms and some eggnog…

American snacks - eggnog

How about you? Are you celebrating Thanksgiving in London, my fellow American expats? If you’re not American or British, are there other holidays that you had back home that you celebrate abroad? I’d love to hear about them!

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10 Photographs of London Icons and Architecture

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans out there!

Move Guides listed some places to grab a good old Turkey dinner tonight if you’re in London like me. I, however, will be spending my Thanksgiving with my dad and brother who are here from the States. My brother is itching for a good crepe so I will take him to Hampstead for a mouth watering lunch from the little kiosk, La Crêperie de Hampstead, my favourite in all of London. Then perhaps a little wander through Camden and a stroll along the South Bank. In the evening, we’re have a very non-American Thanksgiving, celebrating with fish and chips followed by drinks with my dad’s friends and family in a little pub in Dartford.

Who else is celebrating Thanksgiving in London? What’s the plan? And, more importantly, who’s going to make me some pumpkin pie?

For today, I give you 10 images of London icons and architecture from the Flickr pool:

House of CardsPhoto: House of cards by Fred255

Way out
Photo: Way out, Canary Wharf by The Green Album

Lloyd's Building
Photo: Lloyds building by Fred255

Kings X
Photo: Kings X by Shando

28 Days Later
Photo: 28 days later by Fred255

London by night
Photo: London by night by Noslen20

Going Underground
Photo: Going underground, Canary Wharf by The Green Album

London by night
Photo: London by night by Noslen20

Minster Court
Photo: Minster Court by Fred255

Whizz
Photo: Whizz by The Green Album

That’s all folks! Enjoy your day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family whether you’re there or here or anywhere else!

I think this photo that John Kortland added to the Flickr pool really hits home the fact that even when our lives aren’t perfect or don’t turn out exactly as we expect them to, we still have a million reasons to be thankful.

This is my 6th Thanksgiving away from home in a row, but my aunt and cousin are cooking some American food and making pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dinner. Yum!

So where are you this Thanksgiving and how are you celebrating?
Are you with your family? 
What are you most thankful for in your life right now? 

PS – check out my little list of American food shops in London next time you’re craving some pumpkin pie 🙂

Listen to a Londoner: Natalie Lester

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

Natalie Lester

Natalie has a BA in English, BSc in geography and MA in publishing; She loves English literature and her outlet is writing. Her favourite gelato is found in London at Gelato Mia in Notting Hill (dark chocolate and Biscotto). She loves the theatre and when she was younger, wanted to be Christine in Phantom.

LLO: How long have you been in London, where did you come from originally and what brought you here?
NL: I’ve been in London for a little more than a year – I just finished my MA in publishing at UCL…turned in my dissertation in September so here’s hoping for the best! I grew up in Idaho (in the US) and during my undergrad I did a study abroad in London. Ever since I have been planning to come back. In my opinion everyone should live in London for at least a little bit!

LLO: What’s your favourite way to pass a Saturday afternoon in London?
NL: Nothing beats the markets in London on a Saturday. I live right next to Regent’s Canal (Little Venice) and you can easily walk along the canal to Camden Market. If you go early enough then usually you are the only one along the canal and you get to breathe in the crisp air all by yourself. On my way to Camden I sometimes take a detour into Regent’s Park with my book… but I always make sure I get to Camden for my favourite treat in London – Chocolate covered strawberries and pineapple on a banana leaf!

LLO: Where is your favourite place to pick up an American treat if you’re craving something from home?
NL: One time I was in desperate need of some Root Beer and happened to be in the Leicester Square area so I had to pop into Ed’s Diner and pay a ridiculous price for a can of some A&W…it was worth it!

LLO: Which part of London are you most familiar with and what’s the best part about it?
NL: Well, I live on Edgware Road, which is pretty central London, so probably that area and then the Regent’s Canal area I was talking about earlier. London is great for its diversity and there is no better place to see this than Edgware Road with its plethora of Middle Eastern restaurants. And while the rest of London seems to close ridiculously early, you can venture onto Edgware at midnight and it still has the liveliness of midday.

LLO: If I told you I would be in London for one night only and wanted to get off the tourist trail, where would you send me to eat and drink?
NL: Ok, maybe this is still a bit touristy, but you can’t beat their chicken and leek pie at Doggetts Pub. It is right on the southbank by Blackfriar’s Bridge and if you want a nice meal you can go up top to the restaurant and sit by the window and watch London light up at night.

LLO: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an expat in London?
NL: Maybe this is a lame challenge to have, but I miss my clothes dryer every day! Jeans just don’t fit the same here with nothing to dry them back into shape. Like I said, lame, but other than that…oh, and trying to find a frozen turkey at Thanksgiving (an adventure that ended with my flatmate and I carrying a frozen turkey in our arms for 45 minutes on our walk back from Camden). Other than those two things I have very few complaints about London.

LLO: Tell us about a favourite London memory that could only have happened in London.
NL: Keeping on the Thanksgiving theme, last year my flatmate and I were hosting a Thanksgiving party for a lot of people and we had purchased two turkeys. Somehow we forgot that this wasn’t America and not only did we not have room for them in our fridge, but we didn’t have two ovens. On Thanksgiving day we rang up some friends that lived about 15 minutes away to ask if we could borrow their oven. We ended up carrying the pre-cooked (but stuffed and seasoned) bird down the road and stuffed it into their oven which was even smaller than ours. Four hours later I picked up the bird—who was now full of juices and twice as heavy—and proceeded to walk down the very busy Edgware Road with a 20lb bird and turkey juice sloshing all over me everytime I placed a foot down! Surprisingly, after all that poor turkey had been through, and my arms shaking for about 20 minutes afterwards, Thanksgiving dinner never tasted so good!

LLO: Favourite London discovery?
NL: My favourite place in all of London is one I discovered with my fiancé. He is a Londoner and loves to walk on the southbank by the London Eye at night when the trees have their blue lights. While we were sitting, gazing up at the Eye through a sea of blue, we noticed that there was a break in the hedge and on the opposite side of the trees was a park…with swings. Now, it isn’t like this playground is exactly hidden, but it is further back from the main southbank walkway and I had never noticed it before. We quickly climbed over the rest of the hedge and snuck into the playground to swing (my all-time favourite past-time). In front is a large tree, and when you swing at night you catch glimpses of the London Eye lights through the trees and it looks like the London sky is full of stars that you can almost touch. I think it is one of the most magical places in London.

LLO: What would you suggest if I asked you to plan a creative, off-the-wall or otherwise unique date in London?
NL: Saturday morning head down to Borough Market, bring your appetite! Spend the first little bit just wandering around the stalls and take advantage of the free samples. Then, just about midday choose something that either a) you can’t possibly resist or b) something that is really strange and you have never tried before. Don’t eat it yet, but walk to Shakespeare’s Globe and wait in line for the groundlings so that you are the first ones in. While you are waiting break open lunch and enjoy! When they open the gates make sure that you get front and centre and you can lean up against the stage! Enjoy!

LLO: If you move back to America in the future, what five things will you miss most about London?
NL: Where do I start, once you have lived in London it becomes a part of you and I think there will always be something that I miss. But, if I had to choose 5, I would have to say 1) waking up on a crisp Autumn morning, getting a Chocolate Milano at Café Nero and crunching through the leaves in Hyde Park; 2) Big Ben at night…it just looks so magical and everytime I see it at night I think that Peter Pan will come land on the hands of the clock at any moment; 3) Amazing fish and chips the the hole-in-the-wall chippies (they are always the best); 4) Christmas time in London, from the Harrod’s Christmas Parade to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park; 5) Low-tide on the Thames on the southbank skipping rocks.

Thanks Natalie!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.


London Restaurants: Recency Club, Queensbury

K introduced me to a delicious new curry restaurant last weekend so I thought I’d share. Not that it hasn’t gotten enough press what with Lily Allen’s recent appearance.

We ordered takeaway because it was too busy, but the atmosphere inside is buzzing, cozy with low lighting, lots of festive decorations, a few different eating areas and a well-stocked bar with smiling staff.

Being the only blond one in curry house is always a good sign. Indian people know Indian food better far better than I ever will even though I love it. I ordered lamb biryani and naan which were delicious, though slightly spicy for my sensitive tastebuds.

Queensbury’s a bit of a trek from the centre of town, but I would definitely recommend it!

Website: www.regencyclub.co.uk
18-21 Queensbury Station Parade, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 5NR
Takeaway: 020 8952 6300

PS – Speaking of food, Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans out there!