Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lindt Chocolate

I bought some orange and pepper at Selfridge's and just love it! For some odd reason I cannot find a reference to it on the web. We took this picture but it doesn't do it justice.
I did find this one on their website.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Montreal - food

Having been in Montreal for the weekend naturally the conversation turned to food. Joel asked if Wilensky's still existed. That sent us on a Google search to find out.

Immortalized in Mordecai Richler's seminal work the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (it's always about the books!), Wilensky's is still owned by the Wilensky family, has much of the original decor and even some of the original customers! You can still order a Wilensky's Special: grilled salami and bologna on a roll with mustard. There are hot dogs as well. All the meat is beef. There is also an old-fashioned soda fountain in which you can get drinks like cherry-cola, strawberry, cream soda, root beer and egg cream (whatever that is??).

And then for dinner last night we had steamies and poutine! Dinner of Champions!

More Selfridges

Check this out! You pcik you dishes from the revolving counter and pay by the colour of your selected dishes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shopping in Selfridges

We came across this in Selfridges in Birmingham and fell in love with the concept. I did some research so that we could show it to you!
Look, taste, enjoy. that is the tagline of vom fass, a German purveyor of exquisite vinegars, oils, wines, liquers and spirits all straight from the cask. Vom Fass is available at Selfridges and Harrods in London and other locations all over the uk. it's also available at galeries lafayette in paris or online.
It was only 11:30 in the morning so we swung by the food halls to see what was on offer. Oh my, what wasn't on offer! from Yo Sushi to Krispy Kreme doughnuts, chocolates american brands, a wide selection of cheeses to fresh pasta and lots more, we were completely blown away by the sheer variety of food stuff on display.
We were still walking around the food court when we ran into a section which had these beautiful coloured casks filled with exotic sounding liquors. Lovely empty glass bottles of various shapes and sized lined the shelves, waiting to be taken home.
the Vom Fass concept is very simple. pick a wine, liquor, vinegar, oil of your choice after tasting as many as you like. Select a bottle shape that you like in the size that you want. The name of your selection is written in beautiful handwriting on the bottle along with the percentage of alcohol.

The sales people wouldn't allow us to take any photos due to copyright.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the centre of London. It was created to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars in 1805. The square was originally intended to be called the King William VI Square, but architect George Ledwell Taylor suggested Trafalgar Square. The point where the Strand meets Whitehall was the original location of the Charing Cross. This is where the City of London meets the City of Westminster, and is accepted as the very heart of London. From here all distances are measured. The architecture around Trafalgar Square dates two between 1820 and 1845. The Prince Region had engaged the imminent landscape architect John Nash to redevelop the area. The project became known as the Charing Cross Improvement Scheme. The architecture of the square was the work of Sir Charles Barry, and was completed in 1845. Trafalgar Square consists of a big public area bordered by roads. Exploring it in clockwise fashion beginning from the north, we see the stairs that lead up to the National Gallery. To the east of the square is the St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. At little to the south of the St Martin's church, past South Africa House, still to the east, is the Strand, towards the present location of Charing Cross and the Charing Cross station. To the south is Whitehall, towards the direction of the Palace of Westminster. To the southwest is the Admiralty Arch with The Mall passing through it towards Buckingham Palace. Finally, to the west is Cockspur Street in the direction towards the Haymarket. There are several statues at Trafalgar Square, the most prominent of which is Nelson's Column. It is surrounded by four huge bronze lions cast from cannons of the French fleet. At the four corners of the square are plinths. Three of these have statues on them: King George IV on the northeast plinth, cast in the 1840s; Henry Havelock on the southeast plinth, cast in 1861; Sir Charles James Napier on the southwest plinth, cast in 1855. The fourth plinth remains without a permanent statue on it. Initially it was intended for a statue of King William IV, but there was insufficient funds to complete it. As of now, the plinth continues to be used for temporary works of art. On the lawn in front of the National Gallery are two more statues: King James II to the west of the entrance portico, and George Washington to the east. The Washington statue was a gift from the state of Virginia in US. It stands on soil brought over from the United States, in honour of Washington's declaration that he would never again set foot on British soil.

The Mall

The Mall is the boulevard that runs from Buckingham Palace at the western end to the Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. It is closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays, and on ceremonial occasions.Among the sights along the Mall includes the Victoria Memorial right in front of the palace gate. Coming from Buckingham Palace down the Mall, St. James's Park is on the right while St. James's Palace, on the left. Beyond St James's Park is the Horse Guards building, where the ceremony of Trooping the Colour occurs.The Mall was created at the same time that similar ceremonial routes were being created in other cities including Washington, D.C., Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Vienna, St. Petersburg and Oslo. It is intended for major national ceremonies. For the same purpose, Buckingham Palace was given a new façade while the Victoria Memorial was built.

10 Downing St

Number 10 Downing Street is the centre of the government, physically as well as politically. It is where the prime minister stays, and it is where he works. It also houses the offices for the secretaries, assistants and advisors. There are conference rooms and dining rooms where the prime minister meets with and entertains leaders and foreign dignitaries. 10 Downing Street is located close to the Palace of Westminister, the UK Parliament, and to Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen.The building known as Number 10 originally comprises three houses: the "house at the back", the "Number 10" itself, and the house next to it. The house at the back was a mansion built around 1530, next to the Palace of Whitehall, the primary residence of the monarchs at that time. 10 Downing Street was a smaller house than the house at the back, and was built in 1685. They all belonged to the king, and various members of the royal family used to stay there.In 1732 King George II offered it to Robert Walpole, regarded as the first person to assume the position of Prime Minister of Great Britain. He accepted, but on condition that it be a gift to the office of the First Lord of the Treasury, and not to himself. The monarch agreed, and with that, 10 Downing Street has passed to each incoming First Lord.
10 Downing Street turned out to be a rather unpleasant place to live. It was constructed on boggy soil, and was costly to maintain. Many prime ministers chose not to stay there. William Pitt the Younger lived there for 19 years, longer than any other prime ministers before or since. In a letter to his mother, Pitt called Number 10 his "vast, awkward house". Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellingtonm refused to stay there because it was too small. Many times, 10 Downing Street came close to being demolished. But as time went by, it survived and became intertwined with the unfolding events of British history, that people came to appreciate it for its historic value, if anything.
The black front door at Number 10 has no keyhole - it can only be opened from the inside. Nevertheless there will always be a security guard stationed behind the door to open it for the prime minister, no matter how early or late he/she comes home. Gates were installed at both ends of Downing Street during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. There are armed police on guard. People are still allowed on Downing Street, after they go through security checks and follow certain rules.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday Morning Birmingham

Up early and went in search of the Coach Terminal as we continually tried to book online but it kept giving us an error message.
It was a crisp October morning. Found the Coach Terminal behind the market which was bustling with activity. Anything you desire you could find.
Got to the Coach Terminal and bought our tickets to Heathrow Bus Staion 30 pounds each -a good deal.

Then to Costa's for coffee, tea and pastries. More shopping and then back to hotel to wait for Tanya's call on where to meet her and Andrew for a pub crawl.

No Posts

So we didn't post yesterday because every time we completed it the internet crashed! Service just sucked at the hotel we will make it up now!

Friday, October 16, 2009

This and That

Sooo after shopping time to relax before going back out.

Then out to our watering hole (ok so it's only been 2 days but hey) for a beer before going to dinner.

Then dinner at Zorba's at the Arcadian.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Of Pigs and Sweaters

To Market To Market

And then we had coffee.

We needed to fortify ourselves for shopping! At the Bullring!

5 hours later and many delightful hours spent in Selfridges and other stores we needed to head to the Yard of Ale!

Back to the hotel with our spoils! Includes lots of sweaters. But we should have bought more!

Day 4 - Birmingham continued

Will head out shortly for cappuccinos and tea.
Then some shopping across the street at

On the list: jeans, sweaters, scarves and who knows what else might strike our fancy.

Day 4 - Birmingham

Weather report - cloudy with a spot of rain.

Lazy morning in hotel, just sipping tea now and watching trashy TV.

Last night we went for a nice dinner in the Arcadian a lovely area right next to the hotel.

Check out Karen's mussels as a starter. And my pate with toast!

On to our main courses.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 3 - London to Birmingham

Our English Breakfast! Mushrooms were awesome.

Just down the street from our hotel the Royal National.

Getting ready to go to train station.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

London Day 2

Tanya: enjoyed today more than yesterday because we were more in control and knew where we were going.
Karen: Oh we walked a lot! Thinks she can easily do the Resolution Walk on New Year’s Eve.
Jackie: The weather was spectacular for walking!

Karen spotted the Queen’s Guards and we were able to view the entire Changing of the Guards at the original gateway to the Royal Palaces.. The horses, guards,, costumes and pomp and ceremony were magnificent. Tanya video-taped it for us.
Walked from Trafalgar Square to Whitehall where we passed 10 Downing St after watching the Guards.
Then we walked around House of Parliament taking astonishing pictures. Parliament had just resumed yesterday after 86 days of paid holidays so it was bustling. Security Helicopters were flying overhead.
Then it was time for a beer at The Red Lion and sat enjoying the sun.
From there it was off to Westminster Abbey where the chimes were ringing the entire time. The 15 pound entrance fee almost stopped us from entering, however sanity prevailed and we entered. We received our touring headsets and were just mesmerized by everything we saw. Tanya’s main highlight was D.H. Lawrence’s tombstone!!
All agreed that it was totally worthwhile.
We then strolled along the Thames trying to find a taxi to take us to St. Paul’s, but we were feeling a little puckish and happened upon Sherlock Homes’ pub. We had lunch and decided to grab a taxi to Covent Gardens and Leicester Square. It happened we were only 2 blocks to Trafalgar Square and from there we walked to Covent Gardens. We then went and bought discount tickets for Wicked. Wanted to grab a taxi but the driver said our hotel was just down the street. Well after a 30 minute walk we finally got back in time to change and head out for the theatre. Got a cab and found out that the Apollo Victoria Theatre was way behind Buckingham Palace! We entered up stuck in traffic and barely made it to our seats in time!

Monday, October 12, 2009

London Day 1

Great flight, not full! Meet and greet from limo was well done. Martin met us with his silver mercedes and drove us to the hotel. Hotel check-in was fast and our room is an adequate triple.

Spent today sightseeing, had a pint, fish and chips for lunch.

You've got to love the name of this pub!