Souvenirs From Across The World | United Kingdom Calling

I cannot believe that I nearly missed out on taking part in this awesome feature! As ever, I’m late to the party but I’m here and I’m SO glad.

This post is the first part of a really cool blogging feature created by Marie over at Drizzle & Hurricane Books, and it provides a chance for bloggers from all over the world to connect with each other, find out more about each other’s home countries and also GET FUN BOOKISH POST! So much yay. There’s still a little bit of time left to sign up (subscriptions close on the 25th of June, so get going quick sharp!), and you can read all about the initiative by checking out Marie’s original post.

The first post is all about getting to know each other’s home countries or towns, and I’m going to tell you all a little bit about my home country; the UK. If you want to have a little look at Marie’s original post about her home town of France, click here.

We’re home to these chaps:

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We listen to this (only marginally famous) old lady on Christmas day:

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And we all wish that our school days were actually like that of (arguably) our most famous and best loved export:

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Minus the threat of imminent death and the impending doom of a world ruled by dark magic, obvs.


The Lowdown:

Made up of Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, we are a nation of people who love to moan and who are proud of our ability to queue anywhere and everywhere. Home to The Beatles, Peaky Blinders, David Beckham and Oxbridge, our economy subsists mostly on tea and we fear nothing more than making eye contact with strangers on the tube. Most of the stereotypes are at least partly true, aside from the one about us all liking horses and having dodgy teeth. That mainly only applies to posh people, and most of us don’t like them either.

I was born and bred in a county called Berkshire, and I’ve lived here for most of my 24 years. Based in the South East of England, we’re lucky enough to be home to some most lovely countryside in England, including Bucklebury, (the namesake of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Bucklebury Ferry in The Lord Of The Rings), and The North Wessex Downs, which was the inspiration for Watership Down. My home county also boasts Royal Ascot, Windsor Castle, Reading Festival, Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) and now an IKEA. We finally have an IKEA, people!

I wrote most of this post last night, but I realised I couldn’t publish it without speaking about the result of the EU Referendum. This not a political blog, so I’ll keep my thoughts short. I spent quite a long time drafting this post last night, writing about how I was proud to be a Brit, how I loved our cities and countryside, and how in awe I am of the writers, musicians, actors and athletes that we have produced. I’m thankful for our many contributions to society, technology, science and research. I still love my country and I still think Yorkshire Puddings are among the best food items invented, but today, I am less proud.

Democracy is important to me, and I count it among the reasons that I’m happy to live in the UK. I would never say that people aren’t entitled to vote in whichever way they choose. However, these last few months have been dominated by a campaign run by racists like Nigel Farage; driven by fearful xenophobia and dripping with lies about immigration, the economy and the governance of the EU. Only time will tell what the impact of this historic vote will be, but I hoped that as a country, we would come to our senses, reach for fact over sensationalism and realise (in the words of late MP Jo Cox) that we are far stronger united than that which divides us.


Here are just a few of my favourite things from the UK (Not including Nigel Farage or Brexit, obvs):

Tea

There’s nothing quite as British or as comforting to a Brit as a proper cuppa. A warm brew served in your favourite mug is the most calming and happy of all beverages. Also, it rains so much that we need the hot drinks.

London

My boyfriend lives in London, and I travel backwards and forwards some weekends to stay with him. I’m going to be honest here: I couldn’t live in London full time, but there’s no denying that it is a place of infinite possibility, multi-culturalism and incredible atmosphere. The buzz and bustle of restaurants, bars and galleries on Southbank, the colour and smells of Chinatown and Hyde Park in the sunshine are some of my favourites. London also voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, so it’s also got that going for it.

The Inbetweeners

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Now I would love to say that going to school in England is like going to Hogwarts, but actually it is basically exactly the same as it is in The Inbetweeners. It communicates exactly what its like to be a teenager growing up in dull, English suburbia. It is also, as far as I’m concerned, the single most hilarious thing that the UK has produced in at least the last fifteen years. It is funnier and more British than basically anything other than this.

 

Marmite

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The Aussies have their Vegemite, and we have Marmite. Other countries are terrified of it, probably because it looks like tar. But HEY, put your fears aside if you visit, give it a go and wonder how you never knew yeast extract could be so tasty. Get yourself a few slices of hot buttered toast, slather it in Marmite, shove it on your gob and feel at peace with the world once more.


Where to visit:

L-R Starting from the top: Warwick Castle, Woolacombe (Devon), Edinburgh (Scotland), Bucklebury (Berkshire), The Natural History Museum (South Kensington, London), Fistral Beach (Newquay, Cornwall), Donnington (Berkshire). All photos my own.

From the museums and theatres of London to the Roman Spa in Bath, the UK isn’t short of things to see or do. I’ve still not explored as much of my home country as I would like, especially when it comes to cities, but the photos above are from some of my favourite places. I really do think that British scenery, when it has just a touch of sunshine, can rival that of anywhere in the world. *Promptly weeps for the death of the sun in 2016*


So that was a slightly different post from usual, and potentially a bit (very) rambling! Have you visited the UK? Where else should I add to my British bucket list? I’d love to hear more about where you all come from – let me know in the comments!

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55 thoughts on “Souvenirs From Across The World | United Kingdom Calling

  1. This post is so awesome! I absolutely love it! It’s so funny you mentioned Becks because I’m reading this book and I keep thinking the MC looks like him or at least in my mind. Lol. Your post is the first one I’ve seen mention Elizabeth II. So far, every post on England was different, which is so great because I love seeing where everyone lives. I’ve always wanted to go to London. I was supposed to go years ago but that didn’t work out. I can’t believe you didn’t have an IKEA until recently. IKEA is really big in the US. I could walk through that store for hours. A lot of people go there to get design ideas. I’m not sure if I’d like marmite. It sounds kind of scary. I usually see it equated to a paste like substance. Is it like eating flavored jam on toast? I usually eat toast for breakfast. I’ve been following the referendum, even though I live in the US, and I’m really shocked by the outcome. I’m also a democrat and I love the concept of democracy, but that’s a shame how the vote turned out. That’s going to have a huge impact on your financial markets. I read somewhere that mortgages could increase by some crazy number because of the potential increase in interest rates to adjust for inflation. There’s so many negative impacts I won’t even bother listing them. I know President Obama was hoping the UK would remain part of the EU. I was planing on writing a somewhat political post with all the stuff that’s been going on in the US, and I find the referendum to be even more interesting.

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    • Thank you! 😁 Haha sign me up to a book where I can imagine Becks as the MC! Really?! That’s so weird! Especially because of how many people across the world associate the UK with the Royal Family. Then again, they’re definitely not as big a talking point here as they are abroad I don’t think. 😂 You should definitely visit! It is a great city. Claustrophobic and irritating at times, but full of amazing things to see and do. I know right?! We only have a few here, we’re so far behind. 😞 It looks scary but it tastes AMAZING. It’s been my go to toast topping since I was a kid – it’s exactly like a savoury jam/spread for toast! Yeah, it’s pretty scary. 😔 It’s all kind of in a flux and no one knows what will happen, especially when it comes to the economy. All the data points to be being better (in nearly every way) to remain but there we go. I wish we had sided with Obama too! Waiting with bated breath to see how your Presidential election turns out! X

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      • It’s funny because the guy isn’t described like Becks, but he’s one of the sexiest British guys I could think of when I found out where the MC was from. Honestly, I think people in the US don’t know enough about England to know anything other than the Royal Family or Harry Potter. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t even know the Queen’s name. Some people don’t even know who our Vice President is, which is really sad. My friend, who mind you has a master’s degree, asked me the other day what countries were part of the U.K. I was so embarrassed to know her. In fact, I still am. 🙈 It looks and sounds amazing! My fiancé won’t go anywhere that doesn’t involve a beach or race cars. Maybe I’ll take my mom. She’d appreciate it like I would. You’ll have so many changes over the next two years. That’s very scary. It doesn’t sound like there’s a way to hold another referendum to vote back in. I’ve been following all the coverage on this for a while. I hope it works out. I’m dreading the day Obama leaves office so much. Our presidential election is also scary. If Trump somehow manages to get elected, I’m moving to another country.

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      • Haha! It’s funny how much you can miss about other country’s cultures if you don’t seek it out. Hahaha! That’s brilliant. I shouldn’t laugh though, because if someone showed me a map of the USA and asked me to point out some of the states I would fail catastrophically! Oh there’s plenty of beaches and some great racing tracks here, like Silverstone! But unfortunately I don’t think there’s anywhere in the UK that you can do beaches and racing cars, not to mention it’d probably rain whenever you wanted to go to the beach anyway lol. I know, it’s pretty scary to be honest. The referendum isn’t technically legally binding, but if they go back on the decision that the public have made then what does that say about democracy? It’s a really tricky situation that our government has gotten themselves into, that’s for sure. Me too! I don’t blame you – I’m keeping an eye on your election with bated breath, because if he wins it’ll end up effecting us all. I don’t blame you! Crazy times.

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      • That’s so true. I really like Marie’s idea. I saw so many countries from different perspectives. It was very interesting. I think most Americans would be the same way with a map of Europe. But I also think an equal amount would have the same issue identifying states. What’s with all the rain you guys get? That must be such a beach killer. Yeah, I did some research about the referendum and the treaty. I think the British legal system is so complex but also very fascinating. I agree that would make a very bold statement. I’m not sure reversing the vote would ease investors concerns. I hope everything works out. The financial impacts could be catastrophic globally. Ahh, thanks. I’m keeping my fingers crossed over here.

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  2. I love this! I’ve always wanted to visit the UK. It just seems like such a beautiful place! I was OBSESSED with McFly & Busted when I was in high school, about when they first came about. I was determined to become Mrs. Harry Judd during my life (not gonna lie, still am holding onto that dream.) I’m a bit scared to try Marmite, but I do love me a good cup of tea! I’m really sorry about what you’re currently having to go through with Brexit. I was really hoping that ya’ll would remain apart of EU.

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    • Thank you! 😊 I hope you get to visit some time – there are some beautiful places here, although the weather generally sucks, haha! Omg ME TOO. I had a McFly wall in my room. 😂 You can have Harry, cos I always wanted to be Mrs Danny Jones lol! Omg I didn’t know McFly were even heard of outside the UK. 😂 Try it! It looks bizarre, I agree but it tastes insane on toast. Kind of like savoury jam! Yeah, it’s pretty scary, no one really knows what happens now. 🙁 x

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  3. Aw, I absolutely love this post Sammie! I’ve never been to Berkshire (I’ve lived in London all my life) but I agree that London can get quite tiring. All of your points are great :)The National History Museum is definitely a favourite of mine. You’ve covered a lot already!

    I’m also so glad you mentioned Brexit. I’ve been so upset about that, but as you say, even if we’re not happy with the result: we voted!

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    • Thank you so much, Fatima! 🙂 You’re not so far away in London, you should come and have a wander! I’d definitely recommend Windsor Castle, at any rate. I love London, but I’d miss the open space/countryside of where I grew up if I moved there, I think! Thank you. 🙂 A few places here and there, but I’d love to do more of the North of the country, as well as Wales and Scotland! The Isle of Skye has been on my bucketlist for a loooong time. Me too. 😦 It’s not the result I was hoping for, and the way that the campaigns conducted themselves is so disappointing. But yes, we exercised out democratic right, and that’s super important! 🙂

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  4. […] Fadwa @ Word Wonders is taking you to Morocco! Lais @ harumansaebooks is taking you to Brazil! Kat @ Life & Other Disasters is taking you to Vienna! Cindy @ My book file is taking you to The Netherlands! Sush @ Fervently Curious is taking you to India! Jamie @ Watch Game Read is taking you to Malaysia! Fernanda @ Mystery Date With A Book is taking you to Brazil AND Northern Ireland! Icky @ A Home of Temperance is taking you to Birmingham, Alabama! Tyra Anne @ Alice in Winterland is taking you to Canada ! Jesalin @ JBelkBooks is taking you to The Bay Area of California! Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews is taking you to Western Australia! She’s also sharing some of her favorite Australian books! Beth @ Reading Every Night is taking you to England! Shoto @ Confessions of a Bibliophile is taking you to Mumbai, India! Rivka @ The Orang Outan Librarian is taking you to a bookish tour of England! Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros is taking you to the United Kingdom! […]

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  5. Such a great post Sammie, thank you so, so much for your contribution! ❤ I've been to the UK a few times already, and I always loved my time there. London is probably my favorite city in the whole world, I love it so, so much. ❤ And love these pictures, this makes me want to visit England even more, I can't wait. I'm going there actually this summer, doing a couple of cities and I am really thrilled already. Even if, that whole Brexit thing kind of bums me out, really.
    Thank you so much for sharing!! ❤

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  6. Great post Sammie! I’m coming to London in July and I can’t wait! Couldn’t live there full-time though, I’ve been there before and there are so many people 😮 (I sometimes tend to dislike being around a lot of people all the time) but I can manage 4 days! Are there any hidden places in London that I can visit?

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    • Thank you so much! I’ll definitely be checking your post about The Netherlands out, too. 🙂 Yeah that’s why I couldn’t do it either – I get a bit claustrophobic/irritated with big crowds of people sometimes, too. That’s awesome, I hope you enjoy and that the weather improves for you! We’re having a lot of rain at the moment. 😦 Where did you when you visited last time? Southbank Book Market is a good shout for browsing, and there’s also a book shop on a barge somewhere in London but I can’t remember where that is. If the weather is good, Kew Gardens and Hyde Park are lovely places to explore and have a picnic or an ice cream! 😀 If you’re a foodie, Street Feast at Hawker House in Canada Water or Borough Market are amazing. If you go to Borough, try the doughnuts! 🙂 x

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      • Don’t even start about rain! We’ve had ice falling from the heavens in the south the size of tennis balls! Luckily, I live in the west so we only had rain and thunder ^^
        I went to London about 4 year ago and visited national gallery, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham palace, Hyde park, the tower and we walked around a bit. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll definitely check them out ^^

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      • Wow, that’s crazy! We haven’t had any hail recently but it’s just been so grey and drizzly and horrible. The sun has left us! 😦 We did have a cool thunderstorm the other day, though. No problem! Westminster Abbey is beautiful, right? There’s lots of museums I’d definitely recommend in London. TimeOut is a good website for deals/suggestions in London too, if you haven’t already checked it out. 🙂 x

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      • It’s a beautiful place for sure! I was the only one from my group who was allowed to go in because I was going to write an essay about it. There also a time team episode about Westminster Abbey! (Do you know time team? It’s awesome). I’ll definitely check out the website, thanks!

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  7. This was such a great post, I loved all the pictures! UK looks so beautiful. I’ve been to London once when I was 4 and I have no recollection of it apart from throwing up near the London Eye. I was a delightful child. We don’t have IKEAs in India but they look so cool so yay! You have a Downton Abbey?! Is that where the show’s set? (Pardon my lack of knowledge about the UK) I’ve tried Marmite and found it revolting (partly yes, because it looked like tar :P). It’s funny to think that all the clichés we have about the UK are mostly true – the tea, the not making eye contact and such. But above all, I think my favourite thing about the UK is the British accent. It sounds so fancy! 😛 I loved this post!!! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much! 🙂 Hahaha that’s brilliant! I’m sure you won’t have been the only person who threw up on Southbank that today, lol! I know, right? It’s really sad actually because everyone is so excited for it to open, which says a lot about how much there is to do where I live! Indeed – Downton Abbey is filmed at Highclere Castle, which is just down the road from my home town. That’s okay, I wouldn’t expect many people to know that anyway! 🙂 Haha, yup, they are mostly true, which I find quite funny. As a nation I don’t think we’ve changed very much for a number of years! Haha, really? In some parts of the country it’s definitely not fancy, trust me! 😛 Thank you for your comment! 🙂 x

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  8. I would love to visit the UK some day! Those photos are so pretty! I love the trees, water and historic architecture compositions! I love the Inbetweeners. I watched the first season a couple of months ago, this reminds me that I need to go back and watch the rest! My dad loves Marmite. He eats it with rice of all things. Personally I can’t stand the taste though. Haha. I really hope the UK remains strong throughout this whole Brexit thing. I’m not really up to date with the details but I hope you guys will be able to bounce back!

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    • I hope you do get to come and do some exploring! Thank you so much! 🙂 Haha you absolutely HAVE to watch the rest of The Inbetweeners! It’s my go-to program whenever I feel sad (or hungover) lol. Really?! Now that’s a combo I haven’t tried, although Marmite pasta is delicious! Me too, it’s a really bizarre time. No one knows what’s going on, but thank you for the support. I really hope we can turn it around! Thank you for commenting, I promise I will get round to reading your SFATW post in the next day or so. 🙂 x

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      • I’ll be sure to continue watching the Inbetweeners! Yeah, my dad likes to… experiment with food. Most of which are weird combinations though occasionally, he does strike gold. No problem! There’s no need to rush. Haha.

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      • You must! It’s the best TV comedy to come out of the UK for so long. 🙂 Haha! That’s the great thing about trying crazy food combinations, sometimes you get lucky and come up with something that in theory should taste rubbish but is actually amazing. Haha, that’s my blogger guilt kicking in you see! 🙂

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  9. One of my favorite posts about the UK! Thank you so much! I was born and raised in the north of France, so we shared the same weather for years 😀 I haven’t taken the jump and crossed the water to finally fulfill my dream to visit (and lever leave) England.
    I must be half British, or maybe it’s due to the geography, but there is nothing better than the sight of your favorite cuppa when you’ve had a terrible day. Or a good day. Any kind of day actually. I’m sure there’s tea in my veins, not blood.
    I love small towns and I’ve always thought that I would really enjoy living in the south and be able to get to London whenever I want, to have all the advantages of the big town without the drawbacks!

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    • Awww thank you, that’s such a nice thing to hear and much appreciated! 🙂 Haha yes! Tea is most definitely more important than blood, I’m pretty sure it’s what I have pumping through my body, too. I drink enough of the stuff anyway haha! Yeah it’s a pretty good base to get to places like London, and where I live we’re lucky to have a good balance of countryside/open space and towns. 🙂 Thanks so much again for commenting, and I’m so sorry that you share in our terrible weather woes haha! x

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  10. When we lived in the Midlands, we visited Warwick Castle several times, and Stratford on Avon, and Coventry and the Royal Ballet Birmingham. Sorry, but as an American, I’m allowed: NO MARMITE!!!!!!

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  11. Great post! I love all the places you mentioned and the GIFs are great 😀 I’ve never heard of marmite so that sounds fascinating! Maybe I’ll muster up the courage to try it if I ever visit England! I definitely want to visit 🙂

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    • Thank you so much! 😊 Have you not? That’s great because it’s means you don’t have any preconceptions about it! 😂 You should definitely try it if you visit, if you’ve got a savoury tooth and you like toast you can’t go wrong with good old Marmite! 😊 I hope you get to visit soon! 😊

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