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2012 London Olympics: A French Perspective

July 31, 2012
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, it’s not news that the 2012 London Olympics opened last Friday night, with quite the star studded bash. The Queen is now officially my hero by surprising everyone with a hilarious special appearance with James Bond – and how cute were the royal corgis?!
 
One of my favorite WOW moments of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was when the Olympic rings lit up the stadium and drizzled gold fireworks from the sky – although seats that night cost up to £2,000, can you imagine how cool this must have been up close?
If you aren’t James Bond or the Queen, traveling around London is a total nightmare at the moment. So I hopped on my helicopter and headed to the Ile de Re, France. As I waved goodbye to jolly old England, who was there but Jessica Ennis and her six pack, grinning at me on the Heathrow flight path – go team GB!
Watching the Olympic coverage in France, it is hard to get much clarity from the French TV commentators. For example, the Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, were described as the “London Olympic aliens.” To be fair, they are rather strange and even with a diagram explaining their design, I am still a bit confused…
The French haven’t even dared mention the design of the official London Olympic logo, correctly described by the Brits as Lisa Simpson giving a bj. I know that’s crude, but come on, it is pretty funny!
Like every country proud of their athletes, the French TV only shows sports where French athletes excel. As a result, I have seen: badminton, swimming, judo, fencing, and handball- yes, handball apparently is an Olympic sport.
 
Before I even try to find some decent Olympic souvenirs in France, let me tell you about what is available –and what you might actually want- as an Olympic keepsake from London. I have to be honest, unlike the Royal Wedding or Jubilee souvenirs, the London Olympic souvenirs are pretty limited. The best ones I have found have all been kitchen accessories – maybe that says something about how the Brits prepare for the Olympics vs. going to the gym.
Team GB Olympic Oven Gloves – an obvious keepsake?
For £12 you can show how patriotic you are, even while taking your supper out of the oven, in these Olympic oven gloves from John Lewis. Surely Katie Holmes is rapidly trying to secure her hands on these just like daughter Suri — ohhh, too soon?

An Olympic Games Tea Towel – a must buy! 
Can one ever have too many tea towels? I think not. This collector’s item is available for £5.99 from John Lewis. If your dishes enjoy feeling sporty, then why not opt for the same print in an apron?
 
Olympic Mugs – to sip out of while watching the games

The English drink A LOT of tea. So it goes without saying that you need a good mug or five to accompany you while watching the games. Cath Kidston has created a new “Be A Good Sport” collection, which features fun mugs like this one pictured above, for £4. If a personalised mug is what you are after, Emma Bridewater has the Personalised Sporting London mug, for £25.
Olympic Tea Pot – stay caffeinated & continue cheering!

This Olympic memento is just so English that you have to chuckle! If you are busy stocking your kitchen with London Olympic memorabilia, then you simply cannot forget your tea pot! I wonder if the Queen had a cuppa with James Bond during takes between filming out of this Union Jack classic?

After months of grumbling, Londoners are finally embracing the games and have caught the spreading Olympic fever. Despite the traffic, London is a pretty fantastic city to host the Olympics.
Are we in California or at the Horse Guard’s Parade on David Cameron’s back doorstep?
Whether you are watching from abroad like me, or cheering along with the beach babes at the Olympic volleyball court, you cannot help but get into the Olympic spirit. Wishing all the athletes the best of luck – I am toasting team GB with my Olympic mug here in France!
Lifestyle, London

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Souvenirs: A Jubilee Exclusive

May 9, 2012
When I visit friends and family in the States, British mementos are in hot demand. And right now, in the run up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years of the Queen’s reign in early June, the London shops are packed with limited edition Jubilee souvenirs. 

 

Fortunately, the Jubilee souvenirs are far more classy than some of last year’s Royal wedding souvenirs. Before zipping over to the States for a lightning quick weekend trip, I’ve learned the hard way that Jubilee souvenirs are selling out quickly. So if like me you’re looking for some special keepsakes for your American friends, then you better run to the shops fast and do some damage control to your credit card because the Diamond Jubilee souvenirs are flying off the shelves!

If you’re not sure what your options are, here are some of my favourite Queen’s Diamond Jubilee souvenirs:


Limited Edition Jan Constantine Diamond Jubilee cushions 

  Surely the Royal corgis need £120 souvenir cushions to rest their little heads on?

 Jan Constantine’s range of plush Jubilee cushions are so soft, intricately detailed, and patriotic, that Her Majesty just might need a few of these collector’s items for herself!

Toasting the Jubilee In Style
Knowing the British, there will be a lot of toasting during the Jubilee celebrations and can you think of a better way to toast to Queen Elizabeth II than with these £4.99 Jubilee past and present shot glasses? The right hand image shows a recent image of the Queen while the left hand image pictures Her Majesty at her coronation in 1952… 


Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t this fantastic portrait make Obama’s official White House portrait seem pretty casual? Bring on the fabulous Royal jewels!

Ultra Rare Jubilee Whisky: Prepare to Max Out Your Credit Card!
Once you have your Jubilee shot glasses, you need a very special liquor to fill them with, even if it costs you £100,000-per-bottle. John Walker & Sons has created 60 of these very pricey bottles of extremely rare whisky for the Jubilee–The Diamond Jubilee is a blend of rare malt and grain Scotch whiskies distilled in 1952, the year the Queen ascended to the throne.
The diamond shaped Baccarat crystal decanters (right) stand on a crystal base with six legs to signify the decades of the Queen’s reign, and are adorned with Britannia silver – sounds just like your decanter at home right? Can we say lavish?! And I thought I had expensive taste when it comes to booze…
Protect Your iPhone In Jubilee Glamor
 
If you’re accident prone like I am, then protecting your iPhone is essential. Harrods is selling a limited edition Diamond Jubilee iPhone4 case for £14.95, which features a particularly charming and patriotic pattern…
 


A Diamond Jubilee Tea Service
Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidstonhave really gone overboard in mass producing Diamond Jubilee products for your household’s every need. If you are hosting a Jubilee party, then you might need to stock up on these Diamond Jubilee themed teatime essentials:   


Embrace your inner Brit, and sip on some English Breakfast tea in this Jubilee mug.


This Jubilee tea plate is perfect for serving: tea-time crumpets, cucumber sandwiches, scones.. oh, the list just goes on!
When it comes to washing up, why wouldn’t you pay tribute to Her Majesty..
… or her beloved corgis with these fun tea towels? Don’t these just scream family heirloom?

If you’re really going above and beyond at your Diamond Jubilee party, then why not treat your refreshments like royalty too with some gourmet Jubilee swag?
After all, don’t all cupcakes belong on a throne?

For £3.99, you can ensure your Victoria sponge cake doesn’t feel left out of the Jubilee spirit with these fabulous Diamond Jubilee Pop Out Cake Toppers. 
Jubilee Pill Popping Made Easy!
 
You can now remember to take your daily vitamin in style and on time with this English fine bone china Diamond Jubilee Pillbox Clock from The Royal Collection Shop.

For The Jubilee Chocoholic
If you’re a self confessed chocoholic, then you basically haven’t lived until you try Prestat chocolate. In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Prestat has created a celebratory Jubilee and Union Jack range, which features beautiful packaging and a brand new collection of Union Jack truffles… yum!

 


If you reach for white chocolate first, then you might just need to treat yourself to this cleverly designed chocolate Queen’s Jubilee creation by Choc on Choc. The hand carved slab of white chocolate is accompanied by mini union jack chocolate treats – it’s almost too pretty to take a big bite out of… almost.

 Jubilee Wheels For Kids

Similar to limited edition TY Beanie Babies, Corgi toy cars have created the Corgi Diamond Jubilee edition cars, which will one day surely be a collector’s item. Whether you are a toy car collector or want your tots to get into the Jubilee spirit, thesesweet mini Diamond Jubilee double-decker toy buses are now available for £9.99. 

A Jubilee Tote You Can Wear For Years

Once you have beat the masses to the shops and stocked up on your Jubilee gear, tote your prized souvenirs all the way home – or in my case, across the pond – in thisCelebration Jubilee Large shoulder bag, exclusively made for the Queen’s Jubilee by Harrods.

After a long day of Jubilee souvenir shopping, take off your patriotic Original Brit edition Hunter wellies, put your feet up, and treat yourself to a well-deserved cup of tea (served in a Jubilee mug of course!). 
 
If you cannot face hitting the shops in the run-up to Jubilee madness, then go online shopping in a big way before these Jubilee souvenirs are out of stock!

Try to remember..

Happy Jubilee souvenir shopping! 
xoxo, 
Blondon