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AMERICAN IN BRITAIN Serving the American Community in the UK

Eating Out  •   Wealth Management  •   Americans Make A Difference Beyond Britain Theatre   • American Expatriate Clubs & News  •   Days Out With The Family Dentistry • Arts & Antiques   •   Hotel Review  •   Tax Advice  •   Take Five Embassy Corner   •   American Craft Brewers Offer Beer & Food Pairing





3 Eating Out 6 Hotel Review 8 Travel 10 My Life In Britain


12 Wealth Management 14 Taxing Issues 16 Dentistry 17 Arts And Antiques


20 Sports 22 Take Five



27 Days Out 28 Beer And Food Pairing 30 Theatre 32 Americans Make A Difference Beyond Britain


35 American Expatriate Clubs And News 39 Useful Numbers 40 Embassy Corner ADVISORY PANEL:

PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott, Telephone: 020 8661 0186 Email: helen@theamericanhour.com PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Damian Porter, Telephone: 01737 551506 Email: damian@theamericanhour.com American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

Cover image - Alexander O’Neal performing in London.

No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Origination and Printing by Gemini Group






Galvin at Windows

Restaurant Reviews Galvin at Windows

London Hilton on Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE Telephone 020 7208 4021 The stunning Michelin-starred restaurant Galvin at Windows, is located on the 28th Floor of London Hilton on Park Lane and was launched in May 2006. It is superbly situated in the heart of Mayfair. With an interior evoking the glamour of the 1930s, we were intrigued to find out why this bar and restaurant has become one of the most talked about destinations since opening, and has maintained its Michelinstarred status each year since 2009. On arrival we were taken to the Galvin at Windows bar where they offer a wide range of cocktails, from the classic martini and negroni to the specially created ‘signature cocktails’ that showcase the knowledge and expertise of the team. We were able to relax with a glass of Galvin champagne, whilst we marvelled over the 360 degree stunning views over the capital, including some of the most iconic sites: from the sky scrapers of the City and Canary Wharf, to the London Eye, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and Wembley Stadium. This bar and restaurant certainly boasts some of the most spectacular views of London. Chef Patron Chris Galvin and his team create seasonally inspired menus based around modern French haute cuisine. All of which make this a sought-after dining experience and a definite place to go if you are looking to impress, celebrate a special occasion or just have a great time with friends, colleagues or family. The kitchen is led by Head Chef Joo Won, who has been at the restaurant since 2006 and has worked his way up the ranks from Chef de Partie to Head Chef. We enjoyed the Menu Prestige, priced at £82 for three sumptuous courses. But, there are a range of other menus available including WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

a 7-course tasting menu at £119 per head, and some fabulous ‘affordable’ offers on the website. The seasonally inspired Menu Prestige offers a good variety of dishes, and gives you the option of starting the meal with a choice of caviar (at an additional cost). Starters include Ballotine of Foie Gras with spice salt, orange, pistachio, & honey millefeuille, Marinated Iberico Pork with mooli and pickled mushroom, and Salad of Asparagus, Turnips, Lemon Grass & Romseco. I opted for the Cured Loch Fyne Salmon, brown crab mousseline & celeriac remoulade. My wife chose the Velouté of Mushrooms, hen egg, confit duck legs & wild garlic pesto. Both of these dishes were beautifully presented and memorable for their flavours, quality and texture. The main course selection held great appeal to me, including such offerings as Lobster Risotto & tarragon oil, Fillet of Scotch Beef, braised shallot, short rib beignet, ox tongue & red wine jus (both dishes supplement £6), or the Pan-Fried Red Mullet with shellfish ravioli, aioli & spinach. I selected the Rump of Lamb, glazed breast, Bolognese, goat cheese & jus gras. The lamb was perfectly lean, with a deliciously rich jus. I enjoyed the pairing of goats cheese and Bolognese too, giving an exciting twist to the dish. The friendly Sommelier had recommended matching this with a glass of Chianti, which provided the perfect accompaniment. My wife ordered the Fillet of Stone Bass, caponata, olive, crispy baby squid & courgette. This dish did not disappoint - the delicate flavour of the fish still discernible amongst the olive, caponata and baby squid. Ahead of dessert we enjoyed a selection of seasonal cheeses by Maître affineur ‘Buchanans’. This is available as an additional course for £18 or as a dessert choice for a £12 supplement. The selection of desserts is one of the best I have seen in a long time, with recommended wines to complement each choice. I was won over by the Valrhona

Chocolate “Cigar”, Tonka, Coffee, Bourbon Sponge & Hazelnut Ice Cream (with a delicious glass of Madeira), whilst my wife opted for the Pear Soufflé with warm Salt Caramel Fudge and Cinnamon Ice Cream. This she declared to be heaven on a plate, and I have to say I was blown away by the delicacy of the texture. The whole experience was enhanced by the easy-going, friendly attention of our Sommelier. She did a fantastic job of pairing each course perfectly with wines from a wideranging list. The Cognac trolley is, in itself, a sight to behold, made up of some of the most beautifully ornate bottles I have seen. A the end of the meal, with the gentlest of persuasion, she suggested that a digestif was a perfect idea. She was right, of course! The highly attentive, yet unobtrusive service, coupled with some of the most jaw-dropping views of London, makes this restaurant a real destination, but your reason for visiting Galvin at Windows should first and foremost be for the food. With menus to suit a wide range of occasions and budgets including a dedicated Kids Menu and Sunday Lunch Menu, Michelin-star cuisine is more accessible than you might think.



Boisdale of CanaryWharf

15 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4QT Telephone: 020 7715 5818 I have worked at Canary Wharf on and off for over 25 years, from when it didn’t have the Jubilee Line, and at weekends the only way in or out was by bus that took an hour to get from Canary Wharf to Bank. Now it has grown three fold, and is about to welcome Cross Rail, but what hasn’t changed in all that time is its style. Canary Wharf is a place with grandiose buildings with vast atriums, high ceilings, an abundance of marble and unfeasibly large doors that are almost impossible to push open! Although Boisdale is located in Canary Wharf, its charm is how different it is, as it has the feel of a Mayfair men’s club in the heart of Canary Wharf and is certainly unique to all the bars and restaurants here. Boisdale is situated on two floors overlooking Cabot Square, and regardless of whether you are on the first floor on the terrace surrounding the oyster bar or in the restaurant on the second, the view out over Cabot Square fountains is a wonderful backdrop. The oyster bar is an art deco connoisseur’s dream, and has arched bar mirrors the shape of the window leading to the terrace where those looking for an after work drink or an informal bite to eat can sip a drink and watch people making their weary way home. If you take the elevator to the second floor rather than the first you come out into one the more majestic restaurants you will find. Canary Wharf restaurants are all glass and white walls whereas here the walls are Boisdale’s distinctive lacquer red and dark green with



rich mahogany panelling, more at home in St James’ rather than the modern Canary Wharf, but Boisdale dares to be different and stands out because of it. The feeling is warm and classy and the colourful walls are adorned with pictures of stars who have played the venue along with a few artistic nudes! Your route to your table is flanked on one side by an awe inspiring 12 metre long glowing amber whisky bar. The bar holds approximately 1,000 different bottles of malt whisky and I think can rightly claim to have one of the most extensive and magnificent whisky selections in the world. The Boisdale is not just a restaurant and bar, it is a music venue as well, and regularly has jazz, blues and soul music sourced by its patron of music, Jules Holland. It also has bands/singers and that list of performers is impressive. We visited when Alexander O’Neal was playing and took advantage of their Dinner and Show Club, and other famous artists in recent months include Melanie C (the one Spice girl who could sing), Rita Coolidge and Marcella Detroit (from Shakespears Sister). Our evening started with dinner followed by a performance from one of THE soul singers of the 80’s. For starters I selected the Mini Roast Dumfriesshire Blackface Haggis with mashed potatoes and bashed neeps, and my wife the Crispy Szechaun Pepper & Chilli Squid with lime and chilli mayonnaise. Haggis is not everyone’s cup of tea, indeed it is not my favourite, but as Boisdale has Scottish roots and I was promised it was something special I plumped for it and was glad I did. The tastes were rich and rewarding and the special secret ingredients and spices resulted in a very special sauce, and earthy neeps and creamy potatoes were perfect accompaniments. The Szechuan and Chilli Squid was light and crispy and packed a fair punch, and the lime in

the creamy mayonnaise added a slight hint of sharpness which married with the heat nicely. Portion sizes are generous and none more so with our selections for mains. My wife opted for the Truffle Aberdeenshire Rib-Steak Hamburger with black truffle mayonnaise, gruyere de comte cheese, roast mushrooms and thrice cooked chips, and I the 12oz Dry Aged Aberdeenshire Ribeye Steak with thrice cooked chips. The burger was a gooey delight as the juices from the meat soaked into the bread, and my steak melted in my mouth and had that lovely chargrilled flavour with a slightly crispy outer skin. The chips were gorgeous and the light fluffy potato encased in a crispy skin was perfect. As said the portions are generous, so we paused for a while before tackling dessert and enjoyed the happy buzz generated by contented diners whilst sipping on a crisp and light house Sauvignon Blanc. When we were ready my wife was served the Apple Tarte Fine with Burbon Vanilla Ice Cream and I went with the Dark Chocolate & Caramel Marquise with Honeycomb. The tartness of the apple and the sweetness of the pastry were perfect partners and that contrast was also exhibited with the sweet caramel and the bitter dark chocolate in the marquise. The marquise was indulgently smooth, and although I had eaten well, it was just so good I felt I could have eaten another slice! Alexander O’Neal, featured on our cover, played a great set, and as we left we remarked that Boisdale has something for everyone and is a perfect way to spend an evening, as where else can you get such a perfect combination of drink, food and music, all set in an eclectic mix of styles and colours which combine to provide a unique venue. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.


The Botanist

7 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8EE Telephone: 020 7730 0077 Sloane Square borders some of the most luxurious and exclusive areas in London, namely Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea, and is surrounded by wonderfully large town houses in the mixed style of Gothic, Classical and Edwardian. It is an exclusive area and was given its name after Sir Hans Sloane who owned the land at the time. The Botanist occupies a prominent corner of the square and was so named after the aforementioned Sir Hans, who was a famous botanist and collector whose other claim to fame, after naming the square, was that he bequeathed his collection to the nation which formed the beginning of the British Museum. The Botanist is an iconic bar and restaurant where people can drop in for a drink after a hard day’s shopping along the King’s Road and watch the London elite sipping Champagne or the signature botanical cocktails, or dine in the restaurant which serves a mix of modern European food. We visited the Botanist on a Sunday lunchtime to enjoy a relaxed Sunday Brunch, and even then the bar and the restaurant had a lively buzz, but we resisted the lure of the art deco bar and immediately went into the restaurant. The restaurant is split from the bar and is airier due to the large floor to ceiling windows providing lots of light, but the décor in both is an eclectic mix of colours and designs. Rousseauesk painting of animals in vivid colours rub shoulders with light mauve leather chairs, wooden tables and red and blue leather chairs in the bar. This explosion of colours really shouldn’t work, but in a crazy way it does, and this crazy mix of things flows into the menu choices and dishes. The Brunch Menu is available from 9am to 4pm at weekends and the menu is split into 4 sections, Lighter Options, Starters, Salads and Mains. The lighter options section focus’ more on breakfast dishes but with a twist, so porridge is twinned with coconut milk and passion fruit (£7.5) and sweetcorn and chilli fritters are served with grilled tomatoes, watercress and mint yoghurt (£9). WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

Our brunch started with the starter section where I selected the Tuna Tartare, Avocado, Radish, Macadamia and Prawn Crackers (£11.5), and my wife selected Burrata, Isle of White Tomatoes, Avocado and Chilli (£13). The Burrata was light and creamy and the chilli gave just enough heat to the fresh English ingredients. My tuna was a generous size and was good, but unfortunately the wonderful fresh, meaty tuna was swamped by the overpowering taste of sesame oil. There was a lovely oriental flavour, but unfortunately at the expense of the main ingredient. The salad options are perfect for those healthconscious people with Superfood Quinoa (£15), along with that classic Caesar Salad (£12), but we resisted the healthy options and selected from the Mains section. My wife opted for the Scottish Salmon Fishcake, Poached Egg, Spinach and Parsley Sauce (£16) with a side of Mash Potato (£4.5), whereas I opted for the Longhorn Beef Burger, cheese, caramelised onions and fries served on a choice of buns (£17.5). The Botanist sources its ingredients from English sources and many are selected from small family owned business’ as the thought process is that these business’ care more about their products, and this is borne out by the taste. The fishcake was perched expectantly on a bed of wilted spinach smothered in a light and creamy parsley sauce which was nicely soaked up by the smooth mash, and my burger was a first for our meal, as instead of mixing lots of ingredients

and tastes, this dish rested on the quality of the double beef patties which was sensible, as they happily stood up to the test. The portions are so generous we were too full to partake of a dessert, well it was brunch! But the selection has many English classics and a imaginative selection of cheeses which sorely tempted me. Prices are reasonable for this part of the city, and that is emphasised by the wine selection where we chose a crisp and fresh house white for under £25, which would give many grander labels a run for their money. The Botanist is a perfect place to enjoy a drink or a meal at any time of the day or night and offers quality in a lovely relaxed atmosphere.



HOTEL REVIEW Nutfield Priory Hotel, Nutfield, Surrey Set high on a green Surrey hillside, Nutfield Priory is a peaceful country retreat, a safe distance from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. Location-wise it serves as a stepping stone between London and the Surrey Hills, or as a romantic weekend destination. Alternatively, for those flying away to foreign climes via Gatwick Airport, this is a much more 6


appealing stopover than one of the generic hotel airports, and is a mere 20 minutes away. Owned and managed by the Hand Picked Hotels Group, I imagine this is a precious jewel in their crown, as the property is both steeped in history and is full of character. The original Victorian mansion was built between 1849 and 1854 by owner Thomas

Fowler Wood. This was then added to in 185559 for the Quaker banker Henry Edward Gurney. He later became bankrupt, and so the house and lands were sold to Joshua Fielden MP of Todmorden in Lancashire. The architect, John Gibson, built the present mansion including the tower, inspired by the Palace of Westminster. In Gurney’s time, one of the popular events

HOTEL REVIEW of the year was the “Festival of Ragged School Teachers” for which he invited teachers from the East London Schools to meet at Nutfield Priory. A staunch advocate of education for all, he paid for special trains to bring them to Redhill and they dined and “enjoyed the gardens and grounds”. The wood, stone carvings and wood panels are all original, as are the beautiful marble fireplaces. The beautiful organ in the Grand Hall is also original, having been built in 1874. It has been carefully restored by the Shepherd Brothers of London and sings as sweetly today as it always did. In 1869, Joshua Fielden purchased the estate. He was very much a family man; having had 11 children with his wife Ellen. Fielden, an MP, cared deeply for the welfare of others. It was his father, ‘Honest John Fielden, MP’ who was responsible for passing the Ten Hours Bill in 1847. This limited the hours of

women and children in the textile industry to ten hours a day. When Joshua died in 1887, he left Nutfield in trust for his wife Ellen for her lifetime. She lived on for another 40 years and stayed at Nutfield for almost all that time until 1920, when she sold the house and moved to London. At this time Nutfield Priory was sold to a Mr Ferris and stayed a private residence until 1930 when Mr O Picton Davis purchased it and turned it into a luxurious, expensive hotel with a nine-hole golf course around the lake. During the Second World War, the mansion was commandeered and Canadian soldiers were stationed here. Later Nutfield was a base for the ATS Personnel and NAAFI Training. The years rolled on and Surrey County Council bought Nutfield Priory, later to open it as the first Secondary Modern Boarding School for severely deaf children in England. The first Headmaster was Mr. S.J Blount, who through

his knowledge, expertise and love of children made the school a success and a happy home. With the school’s closure in July 1987, the house reverted to its 1930s usage as a hotel, reopening a year later. Following sympathetic renovation and refurbishment the house was restored to its former glory and, as a country house hotel, many people can now share in its beauty. Upon our arrival, the hotel’s front of house staff helped us to relax into the surroundings with a really speedy check-in and room settling process. Our room, the Shelley suite, named after the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, was beautifully furnished and appointed, with a large picture window overlooking the hotel terrace and the Surrey Hills beyond. The room was large and reflected the wood and stone of the mansion itself. The huge cherry wood sleigh bed and large sofa, made perfect spots to unwind and relax. The heat of the day made us keen to take a dip in the pool in the Health Club and spa. This is housed in a separate building a short stroll away and comprises a decent sized pool along with jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, a gym, exercise studio, squash court and outdoor lounge area. In addition, there is a spa offering a range of treatments and a club bar for lunches, snacks and refreshments. Dinner was in the 2 AA Rosette Cloisters Restaurant, but before that we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in the bar with the other couples, groups and families relaxing for the evening. The restaurant has a sophisticated charm, and beautiful views from the windows that overlook the terrace. I imagine it is the arched ceiling and stone carvings that give rise to the name ‘Cloisters’, and part of the restaurant certainly evokes the feeling of being in a religious building such as a convent or monastery. For guests on an inclusive dinner, bed and breakfast rate there is a set menu, (£39 per head, for three courses). This was the menu we selected from, and found it represented excellent value. There are also À la carte and Tasting Menus available. The dishes we chose were intricately prepared and did not disappoint in flavour or quality. Along with hosting weekenders like us, the hotel provides an ideal venue for Sunday Lunch, Afternoon Tea or a Spa day, for which there are competitive packages available. And what a beautiful location for a wedding (we saw coaches shipping guests up to their ceremony at St Paul’s when we were there). After a very comfortable night’s sleep, a full English beckoned! We headed back into Cloisters for a sunny view of the Surrey Hills and our eggs and bacon. Afterwards, the only thing to do was to return to the sunshine at the back of the pool. After a few hours of dozing, dipping in the pool to cool down and reading, it was time to head back to reality … For further information, visit www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/nutfieldpriory or call 01737 824400. Nutfield Road, Nutfield, Surrey RH1 4EL.




TRAVEL Ecuador by Alex Svendsen Ecuador - known for being the middle of the world, the vibrant latino culture, the Andes mountains, and the nearby Galapagos islands, and it’s only five hours via Atlanta! This was my first time visiting South America, so it was an incredibly exciting adventure. This trip’s purpose was to celebrate the marriage of my cousin and her Ecuadorian husband. As he’s Ecuadorian, the majority of his friends and family are in Ecuador and nearby areas, and the cultural immersion between the American and Ecuadorian families is amazing. My mom and I flew in two days prior to the wedding, and the majority of the flights that come from the US arrive late at night, so we didn’t get to bed until around 3am, and had to wake up at 8am to travel to the equator, which was about 45 minutes from our hotel in Quito. Basically, exhausted is an understatement to describe how we felt that morning, and I was 8


still recovering from the jet lag of flying to the US! After lots of coffee, we had a group of 10 people (friends and family - all Americans) with this van we pre-hired, and a driver who didn’t speak any English. Thankfully my mom and I are pretty decent Spanish speakers who can understand pretty well, and another friend on the trip could speak fluently! Once at the equator area, there’s a tour you can take that only costs $4 (yes, they use the US dollar - which is incredibly convenient), you get your photo taken on the physical equator line, and you get an incredible tour of the site while learning about the history of the area. The guide also showed us some experiments about being on the equator, which included trying to walk in a straight line (very difficult) on the equator versus a foot away, and balancing an egg on a nail right on the line - as the egg can balance perfectly on the

equator. After viewing the actual equator, we were taken through a little shop where a native woman was sewing traditional face masks, quilts and more. About a mile or so down the road is the monument for the equator, which features interactive experiments that you can do whilst climbing up the tower, and the top features stunning views of the surrounding mountains. We enjoyed lunch at the small on-site restaurant, and their empanadas, (pastry typically filled with varied meats, veggies and/or cheese) were incredible, (only $2 too!), followed by some cheap and delicious local beer. I also learned that London is exactly 5335 miles away from the equator, so you could say I racked up a few thousand miles on the trip over! Also, the whole site of the equator is referred to as “El mitad del mundo” which translates to: “the middle of the world”. Following the journey to the equator, we spent

TRAVEL the night relaxing and catching up with family at a wonderful Argentinian restaurant called El Rincón de Coyoacán, featuring incredible South American dishes with the owner’s recipes. The following day was wedding day, so a 6:30am wake-up to begin the five hour hair/ makeup process, as I was lucky enough to be one of the bridesmaids! The venue was about 45 minutes outside of Quito in the nearby town, Pifa. The ceremony was short and sweet, as they were already legally married beforehand, as they had to, in order for the groom’s visa to be valid. Other than my family and a few of the groom’s friends from college, the entire wedding was Ecuadorians - therefore, everything was in Spanish. I mean, some of us were able to understand bits and pieces of the ceremony and the speeches afterwards… but the majority of the family isn’t quite up to speed on Spanish, which, honestly, was quite entertaining to watch. The whole event was a traditional Ecuadorian wedding, and it was such a beautiful and unique experience. From dancers performing traditional Ecuadorian dances, accompanied and followed by a live band playing both Ecuadorian and popular latin music. The food was also incredible, and the saviour of the night was this traditional potato soup featuring cheese and avocado. I couldn’t tell you exactly how much I drank that night, but that soup honestly made me feel flawless in the morning. After removing the 40 bobby-pins from my hair, we set off to the local mall to get some of the local fútbol team’s jerseys, as we all thought it would be a great idea to go to a national fútbol game - where beer is only $3 - the morning after. I can definitely say that it was an outrageous experience, with the surrounding crowd chanting and yelling, and we didn’t have a single clue as to what they were saying, but it was great to see and feel the latin energy. They, of course, had vendors walking up and down the stands, selling everything from empanadas to hats and bags, and we all managed to get a cap for $1! The 16 of us were all nearly matching from head to toe…and we seemed to make it pretty obvious that we were foreign. All part of the experience, right? Also I shouldn’t forget to mention all of our matching ponchos, as Ecuadorian weather is some of the most bizarre weather I’ve ever experienced, and it would go from rain to shine every 10 minutes, so we happily drank our cervezas (beer) with our ponchos ready for anything. While the chanting and ponchos were entertaining, the most amusing thing about the game was that belts weren’t allowed within the stadium, so if you were wearing a belt they’d give you a little ticket and do a “belt-check,” if you will. This meant that after the game there were tonnes of women standing around with armfuls of belts, which is something you don’t exactly see everyday! Ecuador also takes their security incredibly seriously, and they were prepared with police in full riot gear at every entrance of the stadium, who actively patrol around during the game. WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

For our final day in the city, we took a gondola up to El teleferico’s highest point and reached 14,000 ft (4000m). This was the highest point in the city of Quito, and we standing in the clouds looking down on the city. The views were breathtaking, (literally - the high altitude makes breathing difficult due to the reduced oxygen levels) and we hiked up the nearby trail to capture the exquisite views. I’m not going to lie, it was rather difficult to hike with the steep hills and low oxygen. We found ourselves trying to catch our breath after walking a few steps, but at least the little shop at the top had an oxygen bar and refreshments. The cost of the gondola was only $6 per person, and everything in the shop was well priced for being the only store within miles. After hiking and catching our breath, we ventured to the city centre and, without thinking, walked about half a mile uphill to the Basilica of the National Vote. Entry was $3-4, and granted entry to the basilica, where you can climb 10 stories to the top. The views were absolutely stunning, with panoramic views of the entire city and mountains. The climb up would probably be seen as dangerous by US health and safety, which of course meant we had to, right? There was this long swinging bridge, about 1.5 people wide, that led to the stairs (almost a 90 degree climb) to the top. These stairs could only handle one direction of climbing, so it was a bit of a task to get 10 people up. Then of course it started raining while we were at the top, so the climb down was full of adrenaline and slipping. After this endeavour, we headed to La Mariscal market, which was the ideal place for souvenir and gift shopping. Key-chains, magnets, postcards, clothes, jewellery, scarves, food, essentially everything was there, and it was all incredibly cheap. We didn’t get the chance to travel outside of Quito, but everything that we were able to do and see in the city was incredible, and again, very inexpensive. As South America in general is typically seen as unsafe to walk around at night, my mom and I took Ubers between our hotel and the airb&b that our family was staying at (about 2 miles apart), and they all cost between $1.40-$2.50, which still blows my mind. In saying this, I definitely recommend Uber verses a normal taxi, as the drivers typically don’t speak English, and it’s a safe and trusted taxi service. Overall, Quito and Ecuador as a whole was an incredibly stunning, vibrant and cultural place. There were new sights and experiences at every corner, and the locals were all very welcoming and friendly. I definitely plan to return in the hope of experiencing more of the country’s vast history and culture, and to hopefully experience other attractions such as the city of Quiolota, where you can take photos with llamas and climb within a crater, and the Galapagos Islands. Delta, JetBlue, American, and United Airlines fly direct to Quito from the US, as there currently is no direct flight from the UK. WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK


MY LIFE IN BRITAIN From Desert to Drizzle By Katrina Boydon Our final fling in the United States was a sixthousand-mile cross-country adventure with our four children and two dogs. Epic doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was AWESOME. We wiggled our way from West to East and ended up in New York one day before we left forever. But that’s a story for another time. We are naturalised Americans who lived in Reno, Nevada for ten years. Before that, we lived in France and Russia for many years. And before that, Britain, where we were born and raised. When we made the decision to move “back” to Britain, it didn’t feel like that at all. Meaning we had been away for so long that it felt as if we were moving, yet again, to a foreign country. And we were right. The question everyone asked us when we told them of our plans was, but WHY? Why indeed. There were lots of reasons. I stopped working for a Silicon Valley marketing company a year before we left and had no interest in finding a similar job in Reno or anywhere else. Our children were all British but had never lived in Britain. Our parents, who were in Britain, were in poor health and we wanted to be near them. And we were homesick. Even so, it was a very difficult decision. We loved our home and life in Reno and we had no real idea of what we might do in Britain. The last year in Reno was the most fabulous ever, which made it even harder to leave. I spent more time with my children, rode my horses, volunteered as a 4-H leader, did a spot of consulting, and planned our move. In retrospect, the decision to spend six weeks travelling across America was wise. Eight of us, including the two huge dogs, living in an albeit good-sized trailer, was excellent preparation for moving into my mother’s house in Wales. The house, quite large for Britain, was a shock to the system for the kids. That and having only one bathroom between all of us. Steve and I chuckled on more than one occasion at a disgruntled teenager sulkily waiting their turn in the hallway. But it was lovely to be in Britain. It was all so new and exciting, yet familiar. It was easy to settle in apart from the nightmare first month. We had no belongings, no credit history, no past UK address and no internet. Every single service I called told me “just go online…” Funny looking back, but not so amusing at the time. Then I got homesick for Reno. I still am. I miss my home and life, for sure, but it is more than that. I miss the wide-open spaces and guaranteed sunny weather. I miss the encouragement and enthusiasm 10


of my American friends (thank heavens for Facebook). I miss that lending your car to a friend is normal. Why ARE British people so special about their cars? And I miss the easiness of living. High speed internet. Showers that work. Mixer taps. That my clothes dried quickly inside the house in winter. That my home was easy to clean, warm in winter and cool in summer. That I didn’t wallow in mud when I fed my animals. It’s not that you can’t be comfortable in Britain; but complaining about any discomfort is likely to elicit an eye roll from a proper Brit. There’s no place for softies here. I joke half-seriously that Brits don’t consider they’re really living unless there’s a bit of hardship involved. “Mustn’t grumble”, “can’t complain”, is a way of life.

Brits don’t consider they’re really living unless there’s a bit of hardship involved We’ve settled here happily, even if part of me is still in Reno. I feel more of a connection for The Biggest Little City than anywhere else I have lived. Perhaps it’s true that if you travel

and live in different countries you are never completely content anywhere ever again. This makes me sad but also secretly pleased that, truly, I have another country I consider home. Did we really leave forever? We have no plans to move back any time soon, but never say never. I cannot imagine NOT going back to the US at some point. Oh yes, we found a way to support our life here, too. During our last year in the United States, we had a germ of an idea to start up a glamping (so-called glamorous camping) business in Britain. So, we did it. Within six months of moving back we found a property in Shropshire and set up Barnutopia. Steve’s practical skills and my marketing skills have proved to be a winning combination. Our gorgeous rural location with stunning views in every direction helps a bit, too. You can see us and our glamping site on ITV’s Give It A Year (find it on www.itv.com) with Baroness Karren Brady. Please feel free to drop in and say hi sometime. We’d love to see a friendly face from across the pond.

About Barnutopia

Barnutopia is a glamping, wedding and event venue in the Shropshire countryside. The site offers a glamorous camping experience for guests who love the outdoors but prefer the comforts of home. Since opening in 2015, it has earned over one hundred and seventy 5-star reviews from satisfied guests. For more information visit www.barnutopia.com.




WEALTH MANAGEMENT Charitable Giving – Ways To Give Effectively As A US Person Living In The UK Putting a coherent strategy around charitable giving can be an important part of an individual’s Wealth Plan. If giving strategies are among actionable priorities, it is important to identify tax-efficient ways to achieve your charitable objectives. There are often two primary reasons why people give to charities: (1) To support a cause or organisation about which they care (2) To leave a legacy through their support. Whilst charitable giving often forms part of an individual’s estate planning objectives, some also give during their lifetime by transferring a sum of money thus removing it from their estate. There are many different methods by which an individual can give. One way is by maximising the potential tax benefit and thereby ultimately gifting more.

Ways To Give

Before exploring optimal strategies for US persons living in the UK, it would be good to review some of the different ways to give to charity. (1) Give directly - This approach is the most straightforward and simple. It involves donating money directly to a charitable organisation of your choice. Any tax benefit is received in the same year in which the donation is made. (2) Use insurance as a vehicle for giftgiving – If you do not have large sums of money to give during your lifetime and you hold a life insurance policy that is not needed for other important purposes, you could consider naming a charitable organisation as your policy beneficiary. This could result in a larger gift than you otherwise would have been able to make and potentially creates a longer-term legacy. However, serious thought must be given to this method and you should seek guidance from a financial adviser before any steps are taken. Even though the policy may be redundant in terms of the purpose for which it was originally taken out, there may be valuable benefits attached of which you are not immediately aware. (3) Volunteer time – Giving is not always about money. It can also be about getting involved by giving your time. Many organisations need volunteers to 12


help deliver on their charitable goals. This can be a way to establish a personal connection and give in ways that require little or no money changing hands. (4) Establish a trust to give money - This is a longer-term approach towards charitable giving. It will allow you to receive tax benefits today on funds allocated specifically for charitable giving, but actual donations may be made at a future point in time. This may be a strategy for people who are asset rich but time poor and have not been able to decide to which causes they want to donate. A Donor Advised Fund is one type of vehicle that facilitates the giving strategy. Donor Advised Funds have increased in popularity over the last few years due to their offering of administrative convenience, cost savings and tax benefits.

What Is A Donor Advised Fund?

A Donor Advised Fund, or DAF, is a charitable investment fund, administered by a public charity, that is formed for the sole purpose of supporting charitable organisations on behalf of an individual, a family or an organisation. It allows donors to make an irrevocable charitable contribution, receive a tax benefit immediately and then allocate charitable gifts from the fund at some point in the future. Gifts are made to a specified charity whenever they decide it is the appropriate time. While the gifts remain inside the fund, they are invested with an eye to grow the balance.

What Are The Benefits Of A Donor Advised Fund?

DAFs have a number of benefits. First, a DAF is a cost-effective way for donors to maximise the tax benefits of making charitable donations to causes about which they care. A DAF can be set up with a relatively small amount of money (as little as £1,000 or £5,000) so an individual can choose to donate a lump sum or make small contributions in regular intervals over time. DAFs have relatively few administrative responsibilities. There is generally minimal paperwork that needs to be completed, and

quite often grants can be made directly online. Additionally, DAFs are not subject to the minimum payout requirement each year. Private foundations, for example, must distribute at least 5% of assets annually. The fact that DAFs are not subject to this requirement leads to more flexibility on timing of distributions. Another benefit of DAFs is that when donors decide to make a donation from the funds held within their DAF, it is possible to choose whether their donation is made anonymously, or if their personal details are disclosed to the donee. One of the benefits that a DAF offers is not only the ability to receive a tax benefit upon funding the DAF but the ability to invest the pool of money and choose an organisation to donate to at a point in the future. So, if an individual can benefit from funding a DAF today but has not had time to decide which cause they would like to receive their gift, a DAF provides a mechanism to make that feasible. Under current US tax law and practice, when donating to a US qualified charity ((a 501(c) (3) organisation), an individual can receive a US income tax deduction if they itemise their deductions as opposed to claiming the standard deduction. Under the new tax reforms and the higher thresholds for itemising deductions that have come into effect this year, making charitable contributions in lumps can potentially provide a greater benefit than in previous years. So, for example, if a 37% taxpayer contributes the equivalent of £100,000 into a US qualified DAF, the donation will receive a tax deduction of up to £37,000. Similarly, when donating to a UK charity, currently the donation will qualify for UK income tax relief. In addition, the donation should qualify for UK Gift Aid which will increase the value of your donation by 25%. So, for example, if a 45% rate individual taxpayer contributes £100,000 to a UK qualified DAF, the donation with Gift Aid will be £125,000 and your additional claim back from HMRC would be £31,250.

How Can A Dual-Qualified Donor Advised Fund Be Beneficial For Americans Living In The UK?

Many charitable organisations are considered

WEALTH MANAGEMENT to be qualified non-profit organisations in one jurisdiction or the other. As a result, giving directly to charities in either the US or the UK will often result in a tax benefit in only one country. As Americans living in the UK are generally subject to income tax in both the UK and the US, there are advantages to ensuring that you receive a tax benefit in both jurisdictions for the dollars that you donate. A dual qualified DAF allows individuals who are taxpayers in both the US and UK to receive tax benefits available in both countries. As such a dual qualified structure will ultimately allow the individual to allocate more money to their favoured charitable causes. Once the money has been donated to the dual qualified structure, it can then be directed towards charitable organisations and causes around the world without the need for the organisation itself to be dual qualified.

Identifying An Appropriate Donor Advised Fund Provider

Awareness of DAFs and their rising popularity seems likely to continue as more people reach retirement and look for ways in which to give away some of their wealth in a tax efficient manner. There are a number of charitable organisations that will facilitate dual-qualified DAFs. A few of the organisations are listed below: • Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) • SharedImpact • Prism the Gift Fund • National Philanthropic Trust (NPT-UK) When deciding which organisation to establish a DAF with, it can be important to identify one that ultimately aligns with your own interests and values. Each charity has their own cost structure, investment options, minimum contribution requirements and account balances and varying ability to transfer the account to another institution. As the organisation will be trustee over the donated assets, the donor should make sure that the organisation will help facilitate their giving in the manner with which they agree. While charitable giving is not all about receiving a tax benefit, we know that we are often limited in the amount we can give and would like to be able to give more if we had the ability to do so. Giving in a way that maximises the benefit to both the charity and the donor will help ensure that more assets ultimately reach the causes about which we personally care. Utilising a dual qualified DAF is one way to help facilitate this strategy and should be considered when assessing your charitable giving objectives.

Risk Warnings And Important Information

MASECO LLP (trading as MASECO Private Wealth and MASECO Institutional) is registered in England and Wales (Companies WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

House No. OC337650) and has its registered office at Burleigh House, 357 Strand, London WC2R 0HS. MASECO LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the conduct of investment business in the UK and is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor in the United States of America. This article does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individuals and is not intended to be, nor should be construed as, investment or tax advice. Information contained in this article is based on MASECO’s understanding of current tax law and legislation, however, MASECO Private Wealth is not a tax specialist. You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. We strongly recommend that every client seeks their own tax advice prior to acting on any of the strategies described in this document.

The American Hour If you would like to be invited to the events we organise for Americans living in the UK, please sign up for The American Hour’s Monthly email newsletters, by emailing helen@theamericanhour.com with the email address you would like the information sent to, and your nationality. Our monthly email newsletters

Andrea Solana is Head of Advanced Planning at MASECO Private Wealth where she helps to provide financial planning and wealth structuring advisory services to US expatriates in the UK and British nationals in the US. Before joining MASECO, Andrea spent the first part of her career with a well-known Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she gained considerable experience advising high net worth individuals with multi-jurisdictional financial interests to design and implement strategies for tax-efficient and risk-managed asset growth. She has written numerous white papers regarding fundamental financial planning and investment strategies for US connected individuals and has previously been a speaker on financial planning topics at numerous places including both The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Andrea graduated from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management and completed her MBA at Imperial College London. Visit www.masecoprivatewealth.com for further information.

are sent out on 1st of each month, and include useful information, special offers and details of events we think you might be interested in. We will send you separately invitations to Networking Events and Tax Seminars that are organised by Helen and are free of charge for our readers. We look forward to hopefully seeing you at an event in the near future.



TAXING ISSUES Impact Of New US Tax Law On US Shareholders Of UK Limited Companies The new tax law that was recently enacted in the US had many provisions dealing with US shareholders. The provision that could impact US citizens and green card holders living in the UK currently focused primarily on US individual shareholders and US corporate shareholders of limited companies created outside the US. This new Section 965 repatriation tax (also known as the toll tax) applies a new one-time tax that will require looking back at many years of ownership. For US persons living in the UK that own more than a 50% share of a UK limited company (PLC or LTD), this new Section 965 “toll” tax may apply.

Taxpayers Affected By Tax

In prior years, many US individuals have started UK limited companies to improve their tax position in the UK. This new US tax, will affect many of these businesses in the current tax year. The focus of the tax is on US shareholders of certain specified foreign corporations (SFC). A US shareholder is defined as a US person who owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting power or value of a SFC. For Section 965 purposes, there are two types of SFC’s. The first type of SFC is where the US shareholder is a US corporation. While that is outside the scope of this article, if you are an individual US shareholder of a foreign corporation, it is important to first determine whether there are additional US shareholders, including both US individuals and corporations.

Individual US Shareholders of CFC’s

The second type of SFC will have a greater impact on individual shareholders. This type of SFC is simply a controlled foreign corporation (CFC). If that sounds familiar, that is because a CFC is a foreign limited company that is more than 50% owned or controlled by US persons whether through stock voting power or the total value of stock. US persons include individuals, corporations, and other business entities. Importantly, this CFC definition encompasses the many individuals residing in the UK who provide services through their personally owned UK LTD. The reason being, as 100% owners you easily meet the 51% ownership threshold for being considered a CFC. 14


A final note on LTD ownership is that while in some cases you can have attribution of ownership from certain family members (predominantly spouses) for tax reporting purposes (usually Form 5471), there is a key difference for the toll tax’s definition of constructive ownership of a LTD. That difference is that attribution from any US nonresident spouse or family member is not considered towards the ownership percentage for purposes of this new transition tax. This can be very helpful for small businesses set up as an LTD with spouses as 50/50 owners if one spouse is not a US citizen or green card holder, as the 51% threshold would likely not be met.

This new Section 965 repatriation tax (also known as the toll tax) applies a new one-time tax that will require looking back at many years of ownership Pertinent Details Of The Toll Tax

One of the more complex features of the new law is that while it affects US tax returns for calendar year 2017, it also looks back to financial data from prior years. This retroactive focus requires reviewing earnings and profits (E&P) for SFCs back to 1987. This is because the tax includes in income an amount based on post-1986 deferred foreign earnings of CFC’s.

How Does It Apply To Individuals?

There are two dates for which the undistributed E&P amount must be determined: November 2nd and December 31st of 2017. The higher

undistributed E&P of the two dates will then be used to start the calculations regarding the tax. If the amount equals $0 or is a negative amount, no toll charge is levied. Once the amount of post-1986 undistributed E&P has been determined, the next step is to allocate the amount into two categories: cash and non-cash assets. Cash includes not only net account receivables, but also the FMV of securities, commercial paper, and foreign currency. Non-cash assets include machinery, intellectual property, and so on. This distinction is critical as an exemption deduction from the gross E&P amount is calculated based on how much is allocated to cash and non-cash assets. Ultimately, the cash positions have a smaller deduction amount based on a tax rate of 15.5% while the non-cash assets have a larger deduction based on an 8% tax rate. Both resulting numbers are subtracted from the gross post-1986 E&P to determine the net amount included in income which is then taxed at a taxpayer’s effective tax rate for 2017. This will lead to the final toll tax, which is paid in addition to the tax on the rest of the taxpayer’s income. A statement is also required to be attached to the return, explaining different line items in relation to the calculated tax amount.

When Does It Apply To Individuals?

US taxpayers that are invested in CFCs may already be subject to the tax and its reporting requirements. The law includes calendar year 2017 returns and US taxpayers are already feeling the impact. While many UK companies are reported on the April fiscal year, because a CFC must report on the same US tax year as its majority shareholder, almost all LTD’s 100% owned by US individuals need to be reported on the calendar year. This then requires pick-up of the additional tax in the current tax year. As the amount of the tax can be large, taxpayers have the option of either paying it in one lump sum payment or elect to do so over eight years, at different percentages each year ranging from 8%-25% of the total. This deferral of tax may be beneficial in many circumstances.

Additional Factors To Consider

As with all new tax laws, the IRS is continually providing updates and guidance on the toll tax. An IRS announcement stated that there will be further developments later this year.

TAXING ISSUES Additionally, the IRS is proposing regulations this summer which may clarify some of the more confusing aspects. Other issues to consider include the impact of foreign tax credit carryovers and the Section 962 election. Unused foreign tax credits on a US return can be carried back 1 year and forward for 10 years. These credits are commonly split into 2 or 3 categories. General category credits accumulate from excess foreign taxes paid on items like wages or selfemployment income, which is common if your resident tax base is the UK. If you have been accruing general category carryovers, they can be used to offset the toll tax. The 962 election allows a US individual to elect to be treated as a corporation under Subpart F of the US tax code. The obvious benefit of this election is that US corporations tend to be taxed at lower rates. Generally, an individual taxpayer cannot use a corporation’s foreign tax credits. However, by making this election to be treated as a corporation, the individual may be able to offset the toll tax with an indirect foreign tax credit attributed from the UK based LTD. This could potentially lower a taxpayer’s overall tax bill. However, this can also open a variety of other complex issues such as an income gross-up, reporting requirements, and other internationally specific taxes and should be approached cautiously on a case-by-case basis. Ownership of foreign companies has


always been a complex affair. With new guidance constantly coming from the IRS –an experienced tax advisor can help you explore your options in order to choose the best course of action specific to you.

The 962 election allows a US individual to elect to be treated as a corporation under Subpart F of the US tax code Mohitindervir Sandhu is an enrolled agent working as a Senior Tax Support Analyst with H&R Block Expat Tax Services. As a lead member of the training, quality assurance, and research team, his expertise in international tax planning and compliance helps tax advisors prepare complex tax returns and resolve challenging tax issues.

H&R Block Expat Tax Services is a highly specialised team of tax attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents whose sole focus is expat tax preparation for Americans abroad. Remember that due to the complexity of US tax reporting for expats and its highly fact-specific nature, this article is general in nature. For further information visit: www.hrblock.com/expat-tax-preparation

Mohitindervir Sandhu



DENTISTRY How Does Dentistry Work In The UK? Differences Between NHS And Private Dentists Dental care in the UK can be provided by the National Health Service (NHS) or by private dental practices. Dentistry provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom was originally intended to ensure that dental treatment is available to the whole population. However, financial support for NHS dentistry has been limited by central government for some time, struggling to even see 55% of the population in a one-year period (HSCIC official stats 2015-1026). Unlike medical care, charges are made to most people. In England, a new but experimental target system of UDAs was imposed by government on 1 April 2006, but by 2008 the Parliamentary Health Select Committee investigation found the UDAs were unfit for purpose. Currently, dentists act as private contractors to the NHS, which simply put means the dentists buy/rent the building and equip the surgery, hire all the staff and pay all of the running costs including wages, materials and insurances, to provide an NHS dental service. Within its three price brackets, the NHS offers core restorative dental treatments, such as crowns, bridges, fillings and dentures. There are limitations though. Cosmetic treatment like white fillings are only offered in some cases, while treatments such as veneers and implants are only available on the NHS under very exceptional circumstances. In the private sector, dentists work without any NHS restrictions and are able to provide the full range of dental services to their patients, as well as quick and easy access to specialist dental care if required. The complete selection of clinical and cosmetic treatments will be available, as well as dental implants for the replacement of missing teeth. Private dentists generally have access to a greater range of materials and equipment that sit at the cuttingedge of modern dentistry. There are no official guidelines for the cost of private treatment, and fees are set by each practice to reflect the level of care they wish to provide as well as the qualifications and expertise of their clinicians. Some practices may offer different ways to pay for treatment. You may pay at the end of a



Financial support for NHS dentistry has been limited by central government for some time, struggling to even see 55% of the population in a one-year period (HSCIC official stats 2015-1026) Unlike medical care, charges are made to most people course of treatment or take out an insurance policy to cover the cost up to an agreed limit. If using the NHS, there is no need to register with a dentist in the same way as with a GP because you are not bound to a catchment area. Simply find a dental practice that’s convenient for you, whether it’s near your home or work, and phone them to see if there are any appointments available. Once you find a dental practice, you may have to fill in a registration form at your first visit, which is purely to add you to their patient database. However, that does not mean you have guaranteed access to an NHS dental appointment in the future. Whether you choose to attend an NHS (visit www.nhs.uk) or a Private dental practice, it is advisable to research their reputation and the calibre of its clinicians. Having attended your first visit, discuss all treatment options available and ask for a written estimated cost for the proposed treatment.

Dr Mehran Sanei, Dental Perfection Dr Mehran Sanei graduated as a dentist in the UK in 1992, and attained his Masters degree and Speciality in the USA in 1999. He is the practice Principal and is recognised by the British General Dental Council and the American Dental Association as a Specialist in Prosthodontics, which includes disciplines such as general dentistry, cosmetics, dental implants, crown/bridgework, full mouth reconstructions, removable dentures and joint therapy. He is rightly proud of his team, which includes specialist Endodontist Dr Shahrzad Rahbaran and Consultant Oral Surgeon Mr Anish Shah who practise at Dr Sanei’s sister practice in Harley Street. Cosmetic dentistry treatments are a speciality at Dental Perfection and the practice goes to every effort to ensure that the team receive the best in training in the latest professional techniques. Treatments range from the fitting of porcelain veneers and bridges to TMJ therapy for those with joint and jaw muscle discomfort. One of the many charms of the Dental Perfection practice is their commitment to the on-going dental health of their patients. Their dedicated Hygiene Centre offers a range of services and client education. Poor dental hygiene can cause bad breath, gum disease and ultimately possible heart problems; Dental Perfection have a direct access policy, which allows hygiene appointments and services without first having a dental examination. Clients can drop in, make an appointment and go back to enjoying the allures of Hampstead Village. 53a Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3 6UG Tel: 020 7431 2710 E-mail: info@dentalperfection.net Visit www.dentalperfections.co.uk for further information.


The Great Hall- Alexandra Palace Antiques Fair

ARTS & ANTIQUES FAIRS By Abby Cronin Attention Collectors!! If online shopping leaves you confused, spoiled for choice and feeling like a couch potato, it’s time to get up and head out to venues where you can find and touch your favourite collectibles. Even betteryou can meet dealers who are always happy to discuss your collection and help to source those special items. So-it’s up and out to London’s exceptional array of art and antiques fairs. Several are held regularly throughout the year, so all you need to do is decide what you want to add to your collection and then find the fairs that fit the bill. Or-if you are ‘just curious’, then explore several fairs at your leisure. When you have that ‘aha’ moment, you know you have found ‘it’. The ‘hunt’ is always worth the effort. And you will learn far more about off-the-beaten-path London than you expected - plus the delight of adding a new item to your collection. The sheer abundance of venues on London’s antiques calendar can be confusing. Check out scheduled fairs held all over town. Many are located in areas of the city you may not know about. If you are a novice when it comes to shopping for art and antiques, three of the established fairs catering for mid-range customers are discussed here. They attract a WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

wide array of collectors keen to find items to add to their specialist collections. Now it’s time to take a journey around town and visit a few.

The Ally Pally Antiques Fair Known as “The People’s Palace”, Alexandra Palace originally built in 1873. Perched on the

top of a hill between Muswell Hill and Wood Green, there are spectacular wide panoramic views over London. The original purpose of the ‘palace’ was to serve as a public centre of recreation, education and entertainment. From 1936 to 1981, the BBC leased part of the building to use as the production and transmission centre for their new BBC television service. Today it remains as one Alexandra Palace (aka Ally Pally)



Adams Antiques – Cut Steel Jewellery

Adams Antiques – table top

of London’s most popular entertainment and sports venues and hosts four antiques and collectors fairs annually. The Antiques and Collectors Fair takes place inside the enormous hall pictured here. Dealers have ample space to display hand-picked, quality items. They offer a wide range of genuine vintage and antique goods. In recent years this fair also features ‘Pop Up Vintage Fairs’ which bring a fresh, younger audience to brica-brac and antique shopping. Comb through the Pop Up stalls with its mix of vintage ladies’ and menswear, jewellery and accessories, retro homeware together with mid-century collectables and curios. Find yourself immersed in learning about period ceramics sold by knowledgeable dealers. Oodles of stalls sell collections of old sheet music, theatre memorabilia, art books and so much more. (www.iacf.co.uk/alexandra-palace).

Adams Antiques Fairs

The Adams Antiques Fair is held in the Grade II listed Royal Horticultural Hall, a noted landmark built in 1904 in central London. Its red brick architectural features incorporate Arts and Crafts and Renaissance details. Find it on Everton Street, London, SW1P 2PB. Opposite St. Vincent’s Square. Since 1971, this monthly fair is one of the longest running Sunday fairs. Nearly 140 vendors from across the UK and Europe present an eclectic assortment of collectibles. While the Royal Horticultural Hall serves the antiques world well, it is also a venue for charity events and conferences. There is no shortage of eye-watering items here. Browse amongst the vast inventory of decorative and antique pieces. Explore and handle a vast selection of tempting goods on dealers’ tables. The eclectic mix includes everything from fine jewellery, gold, silver, glass, rugs and porcelain, and even an occasional item from classical antiquity. While you’re there, absorb the atmosphere 18


of the chic streets of Westminster. This is one of London’s unique locations. Only a stone’s throw from Tate Britain and Westminster Cathedral, it’s a real insiders’ secret. With free parking on Vincent Square at weekends, there’s no excuse to skip this venue. Check the Sunday calendar dates and make it a day’s outing. After visiting the Tate you can pop into the fair, browse and select something from a remarkable range of collectibles. (www.adamsantiquesfairs.com/)

If online shopping leaves you confused, spoiled for choice and feeling like a couch potato, it’s time to get up and head out to venues where you can find and touch your favourite collectibles Affordable Art Fair

The story behind the Affordable Art Fair centres on Will Ramsay, a young Londonbased entrepreneur with amazing vision and energy. He opened Will’s Art Warehouse in Parson’s Green, West London in 1966, and in

October 1999, Ramsay took his vision a giant step forward. Seeking to democratise the art market, he launched the Affordable Art Fair in the Battersea Marquee with participating galleries from all over the UK. Original art by all living artists with prices fixed between £30 and £2400 drew in the crowds. Some 10,000 art enthusiasts turned up to browse and buy contemporary paintings, photographs, sculptures and prints at the first AAF. Today, nearly 20 years later, the Affordable Art Fair has not only become a permanent fixture on London’s art calendar, it has gone global! This year the AAF will be held in local and international galleries in 10 locations: from London, Bristol, New York, major European capitals from Amsterdam to Stockholm and Hong Kong and Singapore. In recent years the AAF has morphed into a veritable creative smorgasbord of artistic Suraj Kumar Kashi’s ‘Apple on the Desk’. The Brown Easel Gallery, London Affordable Art Fair

ARTS & ANTIQUES Affordable Art Fair Hampstead May 2018

Affordable Art Fair-Hampstead- May 2018 Photo by Abby Cronin

performances, unique talks, tours, workshops, activities for children which take place in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. This is a fair which adds new features at each venue, something for all ages. The Spring 2018 AAF was located in the wide open spaces of Hampstead Heath (see photo). It was a magnet for regular visitors as well as people just strolling on the Heath. This remarkable venue featured curated art from over 118 galleries. Everything was easily accessible inside a stunning purpose-built marquee equipped with every modern comfort. Visitors could wander through the aisles at their leisure, stop to chat

with dealers and learn about the exceptional array of contemporary art, prints, sculpture and ceramics for sale. An exhibition of art by recent graduates from the University of the Arts London was hung in the foyer. Everyone was encouraged to place a bid in the charity art auction for the North London Hospice. Predictably prices have risen over the years and this year they ranged from approximately £250 - £5000, still a very long way from high end galleries and auction houses. Don’t miss the next Affordable Art Fair to be held in the Battersea Evolution, from October 18-21 2018. (www.affordableartfair.com/). Now collectors! It’s time to turn off that laptop, check the dates for a few of London’s fairs and indulge yourselves in the amazing world of art and antiques fairs. They never disappoint. Get in Touch I would love to hear from you with a view to discussing your interests in the decorative arts and arts heritage. Abby Cronin E: artsjournalist@abbycronin.co.uk W: www.abbycronin.co.uk Photos courtesy of: iacf.co.uk/Alexandra-palace Adams Antiques Fairs Affordable Art Fair



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SPORTS Playing US Sports in the UK by Alex Svendsen

Moving from the United States to the United Kingdom back in 2014 meant there would be many changes in my life, but little did I know how life-changing it would be for me. People always ask me what I miss the most about life in the US, and my response is typically: “Target, driving and sports.” With the UK having such a different sports culture than the US, it lacks the heavy presence of advertisement, popularity and availability that Americans are accustomed to. Think about it, if your child plays (American) football or any sport, for that matter - really well in high school, they can go to college on a full scholarship and have the potential to enter the professional level. Meanwhile in the UK, children tend to get sent to a special school that’s designed around the sport, say soccer, where they then can have the potential to enter the professional level. The UK doesn’t really have that same variety and availability of sports that the US has in schools. I moved here just before my junior year of high school, and learned that fastpitch softball isn’t very well-known in much of Europe. When I was looking at high schools in London, I looked for schools that offered softball, and thankfully my chosen school (ACS Hillingdon) had slowpitch softball, which was a bit of a difficult transition, but it was an incredible experience to go to an American-international school and be able to play against other international schools, and even travel to Germany for a tournament. Sports, especially softball, have always been a part of my life, and being able to 20


have that team at school made me feel more at home in the UK, and gave me friends from all over the world. It was an incredible experience for someone who lived in the US for 16 years and went to the same school for 11. Now, I’m a third year student in university, and I’ve been playing for the Coyotes of the Greater London Mixed Softball League for three seasons, and the league is composed of co-ed, recreational slowpitch teams based throughout London. It’s a great way to make new connections with other Americans and internationals while playing a classic American sport, and there’s normally a team trip to the local pub afterwards! We travel around London and play against other teams in the league to fight for the division title, and there’s a game roughly once a week from May-August, and there are leagues that run through the winter as well. The British Softball Federation hosts a professional team for both men’s and women’s fast-pitch, and a co-ed slowpitch team. These professional teams travel around the world for tournaments, including the Slowpitch World Cup, Slowpitch Nationals, and even the Olympics. There’s also one women’s fastpitch team in London called the London Angels, and they play in tournaments in Slough on Saturdays from May-July. Another great way to play sports such as basketball, volleyball and even dodgeball is to join GO Mammoth, which has a great variety of sports with leagues and events throughout London, and you can check them out at www.gomammoth.co.uk. You can

register as an individual and then play any sport which are available near you (some of the locations include Clapham Junction and Regents Park), or you can sign-up as an entire team to play in any sport. While the UK hosts many football and rugby games, it’s not quite the same as going to a sporting event in the US. However, the NFL has been bringing one or two games to London every season since 2007, and it’s the American sports atmosphere with a European flare. According to the NFL, there will be three games held in London this season, taking place on the 14th, 21st and 28th of October. The games will feature the Seattle Seahawks verses the Oakland Raiders, the Tennessee Titans verses the LA Chargers, and finally the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, with two games being played at Wembley Stadium, and the other at Tottenham Hotspur. With the NFL becoming more popular here, the MLB has also decided to bring games to London beginning in 2019. The MLB announced that the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will be playing at West Ham United’s stadium on the 29th and 30th of June, 2019, which will be the first MLB game ever played in Europe! I do wish there were more ice hockey teams in London, that’s the one popular US sport that isn’t very common at all here, but there is a team for women called the Streatham Storm, based in Streatham, South London. Overall, there are many leagues out there for playing your favourite sports from back home, and it’s been great seeing Europeans supporting and appreciating US sports as we do theirs.

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Wonderful WOMAD shines, whatever the weather, photo by Judith Schrut

TAKE FIVE Celebrate Summer By Judith Schrut Wimbledon, cricket, polo; fish and chips on a pebble beach; cream teas, picnics and BBQs in the rain. Come rain, come shine, welcome to summertime Britain! While our famously fickle weather can’t be guaranteed, you can absolutely count on long days, light nights and a breathtaking bonanza of music, festivals and other cultural treats. So, pack your wellies, macs, sunhats and picnic gear and join us as we preview some of the season’s best.

1. Promful Pleasures

For classical music lovers it doesn’t get much better than the BBC Promenade Concerts, affectionately known as the Proms. A British national treasure since Victorian times, this world’s greatest festival of classical music roars into London’s Royal Albert Hall mid July, setting off 90 concerts and two months of nonstop musical feasting. The original Proms’ promise, to create a

BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, credit BBC, Mark Allan



joyous celebration of music and reach the widest possible audience, means there are plenty of affordable options, including halfprice for under 18s and 1300 ‘promming’ (standing) tickets for every Prom at £6. Each Prom Season gets bigger and more imaginative. This year welcomes a gobsmacking choice of orchestras, choirs and premier musicians from around the globe. There are 90 artist debuts and 42 world premieres, intimate late night Proms, lunchtime Proms, Prom ‘Extras’ and loads of free concerts and events for families. As well as the usual generous helpings of Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, amongst this year’s delights are a Tango Prom, Havana meets Kingston Prom, Folk Music Prom and a jazzy evening with multi-instrumentalist sensation Jacob Collier. Reach-outs to other venues include Proms at Lincoln’s Drill Hall and Gilbert and Sullivan staged in the beautifully restored Victorian Theatre at Alexandra Palace in north London.

The Proms love anniversaries and 2018 is no exception. This year’s Proms feature works by 24 women composers to honour the 100th anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. Debussy and Lili Boulanger will be honoured on the centenary of their deaths. The Proms offer a massive grand salute to American composer, conductor and musical personality, Leonard Bernstein, who would have been 100 this year, including celebratory performances of West Side Story and On the Town. As a child growing up in 1960s America, this writer vividly recalls the joy of watching Bernstein’s groundbreaking Young People’s Concerts on national television. Several Proms will introduce new audiences to music as a tribute to Bernstein, the inspirational educationalist. As ever, the season culminates in that beloved ritual known as the Last Night of the Proms. Last Night festivities, complete with traditional fancy dress, party poppers, balloons and flag-waving sing-a-longs to ‘Rule, Britannia!’ and ‘Land of

Young Musicians at Ten Pieces Prom, credit BBC, Pete Dadds

TAKE FIVE Hope and Glory,’ are always sold out. That’s where Proms in the Park come in, created in 1996 so that the overwhelming numbers of Last Night fans won’t miss out on the fun. In addition to the Royal Albert Hall finale, audiences can choose from four open air spectacles nationwide. Park Proms in Belfast, Glasgow, Swansea and London’s Hyde Park bring the four UK nations together in song and spirit with the help of tirelessly enthusiastic compere Michael Ball and live big screen linkups. Hyde Park’s stellar headliners will be Gladys Knight, Josh Groban, Matt Goss and Joseph Calleja. For the grand finale, Prom audiences join celebrities, choirs and fireworks as Prommers across the land sing, wave Union Jacks, pop poppers and let go of all that British reserve for another year. Never mind if you can’t make it to the Last Night in person— you can join the party via giant video screens around the country or sing along by telly, tablet, smartphone, laptop or radio, thanks to the BBC. Further information: BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, 13 July-8 September 2018 Proms in the Park, 8 September 2018 bbc.co.uk/proms

2. Eat, Drink and be Merry

Summertime Britain is a food lovers’ paradise, with dozens of festivals, fairs and other tasty offerings where food and cooking take centre stage. That’s certainly true at the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall. Enjoying a magnificent setting on the grounds, woodlands and riverside of an historic house and former medieval monastery, Port Eliot has grown a reputation for words, music, fashion, flowers and extremely good food. Over its four packed days and nights, festival goers can savour a delicious blend of chefs, cooks, bakers, brewers and growers as they share skills, kitchen secrets and top quality eats. Caught by the River and other stages welcome writers, musicians,

3. Movie Magic

Claire Ptak (aka Meghan & Harry’s wedding cake baker) at Port Eliot Festival, photo credit Beth Druce

conversationalists and comedians, Sipsmith Gin Palace hosts jazz parties, martini masterclasses and plenty of opportunities for G&T by the river, and the Fashion Foundation takes fashion to imaginative new heights. Wellbeing and wildlife have a big part to play at Port Eliot. There are activities like astronomy walks, wild cookery, fire building, flamenco dancing, herbal first aid and wild swimming. You can stop by Larks Haven for wellness workshops, disco yoga, hot tubs and mindful masculinity sessions. We recommend signing up early for the wilderness survival masterclass with award-winning actress Teri Hatcher (aka Susan from Desperate Housewives). This year sees the debut of Wildlings Wood, a magical forest glade where children can dance, sing, frolic and forage all day long. As nowhere is considered off limits, the Festival also wends its way into Port Eliot House itself for tours, talks and films. If, like the Hungry Caterpillar, you are still hungry, there’s plenty more on this summer’s culinary menu. You might even say there’s a festival for every food fetish. You can gorge on local oysters, crabs and whelks washed down with champagne at Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival or turn up the heat at the Northeast Chilli Festival. Experience all things sausage at Lincoln’s Sausage Festival or hone the art of keeping vampires away at Isle of Wight’s Garlic Food Festival. And Corfe Castle Food and Drink Festival looks perfect for lovers of romantic castle ruins and spectacular country views. Further information: Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall, 26-29 July, www.porteliotfestival.com

The joys of open air cinema date back to 1932 New Jersey, when salesman and film fan Richard Hollingshead nailed a bedsheet between two trees in his yard and a Kodak projector to the hood of his car. He opened the world’s first commercial movie Drive-In the following year, proudly advertising “the whole family is welcome regardless of how noisy the children are.” By the 1950s there were over 4000 Drive-Ins across the USA. Famed for iconic roller-skating waitresses bringing cheeseburgers, shakes and fries right to your car window and boasting a reputation as teenage ‘passion pits’, Drive-Ins enjoyed many boom years. Then, with the coming of home videos and more profitable options like turning Drive-In lots into high rise property blocks, they faded almost to extinction. Low and behold, outdoor movies are today enjoying a global comeback and nowhere more than in the UK, where screenings have become increasingly inventive. Who needs walls when you can bring cushions, blankets, picnics and homemade popcorn to an alfresco screen near you? This season’s quirkier venues include cathedrals, cemeteries, botanic gardens and a sunken amphitheatre. Since 2010, The Nomad has been popping screens up in Brompton Cemetery, Hyde Park Lido, St Paul’s Cathedral Gardens and other intriguing locations, along with enticing add-ons like hot food, goody bags, blankets and magic carpets. It has a unique tag as “the pop-up cinema that gives back”, as it’s run primarily by volunteers and donates 100% of profits to charity. Luna Cinema has a habit of hitting locations other screens can’t reach, like Windsor Racecourse, Bath’s Royal Crescent and Bolton Abbey. Luna Beach Cinema is hanging out on Brighton Beach. Opt for its VIP Beach Hut package for your very own beachside hut, luxury seating, complimentary mini-bar and butler service for the day. New this year is Movies with a view, photo courtesy Rooftop Cinemas

Glamping, Port Eliot Festival, photo credit Michael Bowles

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, copyright James Bryant Photography




Luna Kids Cinema, the first outdoor cinema designed for children, with tempting sips and nibbles available from the Luna Kids Bar. This summer, BP Big Screens will beam opera and ballet live and free to screens at Brighton Marina, Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square, Bristol’s Millennium Square, London’s Trafalgar Square and other spaces across the UK. Rooftop Cinema operates from three lofty London locations, promising comfy deckchairs, a wide range of daily shows and incomparable rooftop views. Last but not least, Film4 brings two weeks of giant projections to the historic courtyard at Somerset House. Choose from surround-screen immersive showings of Labyrinth, Blue Velvet, Call Me By Your Name plus Behind The Screen, a series of talks, panel discussions and special events. Further information: whereisthenomad.com thelunacinema.com roh.org.uk/about/bp-big-screens rooftopfilmclub.com somersethouse.org.uk

4. The World at Womad

WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance and is simply the biggest international music festival on the planet. Happening the last weekend in July, Womad brings together performing artists from dozens of countries and thousands of world music fans to its splendid open air site deep in the Wiltshire countryside. This year’s adventurous lineup includes the Original Gypsies of Camargue (formerly the Gypsy Kings), North African master gnawa musician Hamid El Kasri and the uplifting Celtic-meetsworld crossover beats of Jiggy. There’s swinging bluesy sounds from Malian duo Amadou and Mariam and an athletic double dose of Latin American dance moves from Danza Región and Cámara de Danza Comunidad. We’re looking forward to the bubbly crop of American musicians likely to shake things up this Womad. Like brilliantly energetic Evie Ladin and Keith Terry with their unique take on old time song, dance, banjo and body instrumentation, and ‘electronic dance music without the electronics’ from high energy New York brass band buskers Too Many Zooz. There’s also punky bluegrass from Texas quintet Whiskey Shivers, intriguingly described as playing “banjos, fiddles and washboards in bare feet at breakneck speeds while singing lonesome harmonies about love and video games.” The Womad Crowd, photo by Geoffrey Davies



But WOMAD is much more than a chance to revel in a rousing feast of music. It’s also a place for dancing or drumming the nights away, acapella singing workshops in a Bedouin tent, checking out human books from the Human Library and having a blast at Molly’s Bar. Festival favourite, Taste the World Cookery Stage, will be back. Here, performing artists prepare choice dishes from their home country whilst chatting about their lives, music and culture with charming host, Roger deWolf. It’s all served up with a side order of spontaneous music and the audience gets to taste the completed dish. WOMAD’s a big place but you’re never far from the Global Market, where you can eat and drink your way around the globe as well as browse the tempting range of crafts, clothing, music paraphernalia and worthy causes on display. With free entry for kids, a dedicated Kids Zone with hundreds of activities from dawn to dusk, the annual Children’s Parade and a relaxed vibe, WOMAD is also an outstanding choice for families. In need of a break from the hullabaloo? Nip into the World of Wellbeing, a cool, calming space among the trees of the Arboretum where you can sample laughter yoga, song baths, didgeridoo healing, sound meditation and some excellent tea and cakes. And if you’re tired of chemical toilets and ground sheet camping, treat yourself to the La Di Da Loos, luxury camping in tipis, podpads and yurts, or splash out on a weekend Spa Ticket. This gives you unlimited access to pamper pavilions of Persian rugs and saffron light, gardens and gazebos, hammocks, hot tubs and barrel sauna, the exclusive Chakra Bar and a range of therapeutic treatments. Further information: WOMAD, Charlton Park, 26-29 July 2018, womad.org

5. Castles to Come Home To

As Meghan, new Duchess of Sussex and American in Britain royal, settles into married life with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace, isn’t it high time to enjoy a royal venue of your own this summer? Whether you’re new to the UK or have been here since the Queen’s Coronation, visiting castles, historic houses and stately homes is an unmissable and uniquely British experience. From perfectly restored fairytale fortresses to crumbling medieval wrecks where much is left to the imagination, these are attractions you definitely can’t get stateside. For the ultimate royal day out we heartily recommend a visit to Sussex’s Herstmonceux Castle for the annual England’s Medieval Festival. Step back in time and experience its living history village, battle re-enactments, jousting, falconry displays and mud wrestling. It’s a safe bet your kids will never forget the thrill of seeing knights duelling on horseback. Have a go at arrowmaking, blacksmith forging, axe throwing or archery. There’s also real ale, medieval munchies and plenty of timely music. And did we mention the moonlit cinema playing medieval themed-classics on a giant screen?

England’s Medieval Festival, photo courtesy Herstmonceaux Castle

A particularly brilliant castle for families is Hever Castle in Kent. Over 700 years old and pure storybook, Hever is the historic home of the Boleyn family and reputed to be where King Henry VIII courted the second of his six ill-fated wives, Anne Boleyn. It has every enchantment you’d expect in a perfect palace: turrets and battlements, a double moat, knights in armour, weapons and instruments of torture on display, majestic gardens and a splashing water maze. Hever holds a popular summer programme of events including musical theatre, comedy nights, jousting tournaments and Knights and Princesses School. Blenheim Palace’s Great Court is the stunning setting for Nocturne Live concerts. A starry lineup includes Elvis Costello, Gary Barlow and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Blenheim has a long and noble history, most famously as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and his illustrious ancestors, and is renowned for its gilded state rooms, water terraces and gorgeous landscaping. In early September, old and new world traditions will unite in the opulent surrounds of Stanford Hall stately home for the first Long Road Country, Americana and Roots Festival. Stanford Hall has housed the Cave family since the 15th century, and this year will play host to Lee Ann Womack, Angaleena Presley, The Shires, Bob Harris, the BBC Introducing Stage and dozens more country, bluegrass and folk performers from the US and UK. Further information: Nocturne Live, Blenheim Palace, 14-17 June 2018, nocturnelive.com Herstmonceux Castle/Medieval Festival, Sussex, 25-27 August 2018, englandsmedievalfestival.com The Long Road Festival, Stanford Hall, Leicestershire, 7-9 September 2018, thelongroad.com Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. Have you been to any of our recommended events? We’d love your feedback. You can email Judith at judith0777@gmail.com.




The Only Ball Marker for Golfers in Stormy and Inclement Weather Not only can it be used to mark balls in bad weather, it can also be used as a Nearest the Pin Marker, a Longest Drive Marker and a Locker Key Ring Looking for a New, Fun and Innovative Golf Gift for the golfer in your life? Tired of buying novelty golf presents they won't use? Why not buy a gift that he/she can use over and over again, but also has that fun factor? Be the first to buy the golfer in your life Stormarker, the New, Unique, Innovative and Exciting Multi-Purpose Marker, designed and created by Helen Elliott, Founder & CEO of American in Britain! Stormarker’s main purpose is to mark your ball if you have to leave the course mid-round due to bad weather, but it can also be used as a Nearest the Pin and Longest Drive Marker, and when not being used on the course its striking design make it a fun Locker Keyring. Stormarker is lightweight and easily portable, and as it is 20cm in height and distinctively shaped as a lightning bolt (with its own name tag attached) will clearly mark the place of golf balls if golfers have to leave the course. Because it is so visible from a long distance, it can also be used as a Nearest the Pin or Longest Drive marker. It is available in five bright, attractive, vivid colours - Red, Yellow, Pink, Orange and White. Golfers love nearest the pin and longest drive challenges, and if groups of friends, societies, charity days etc., want to add a bit of extra fun to the round, then all they need are Stormarkers, rather than the large, unwieldly, heavy metal markers that damage your golf bags when carried. Stormarker will provide a fun and useful alternative to golf balls, towels and tees for those looking for stocking fillers as well as Birthday, Christmas, Father's Day and Mother's Day presents. They are also great for charity day, golf day and society day gifts and prizes.

Price: ÂŁ9.99 For further information, or to purchase these markers, please email helen@theamericanhour.com

The recipient of your gift will be delighted with this product, as it has only just been created, so they will be the first to own one and will be the envy of their golf friends.


DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY I was delighted to have my 12 year old niece Daisy for a couple of nights in the May halfterm. A couple of nights before her arrival I sent her a text, explaining that we were going to make cakes one day as my mother and mother-in-law were both coming over for Afternoon Tea. I told her that we were going to go to the cinema and that we were also going to Drusilla’s on the following day, so you can imagine my amusement when I picked Daisy up and she turned round to me and asked who Drusilla was! She thought it was someone I knew and she and her Mum had been racking their brains trying to remember if I had ever mentioned a Drusilla! Luckily for Daisy she wasn’t dragged round to a friend of mine, but instead was taken to Drusilla’s Park in Sussex, which is a zoo with a few rides and attractions that will delight children probably aged around 10 and under. On entering Drusilla’s Park you immediately find yourself in the zoo area, with sloths, iguanas, hyraxes, snakes, mice and monkeys all peeking at you through the glass. From this area you enter the farmyard where children can pet donkeys, rabbits and calves and view several other farmyard animals before the path leads you to more monkeys, meerkats, porcupines and capybaras. We then came across the bats zone, and although initially I was rather wary of walking through it as they are literally flying over your head, I decided that Daisy needed to learn that we need to face our fears, so I quickly walked, head down, through their cage and was very relieved once I found the exit! I did squeal a little bit on entering, as did the lady who was WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

laughing at me, but at least we can both say we walked through and nothing bad happened to either of us! We then found ourselves wandering past the owls which are amazing, and if your children have never seen how they move their heads from side to side then this is a must, as they are just magical. We then stood over giant anteaters whilst heading to the flamingos, red pandas, fennec foxes, wallabies, camels and penguins. Along many of the paths are interactive activities that teach the children about the animals, and there are also close encounter animal experiences that you can pay extra for if you would like to get up close and personal with some of the animals. Drusilla’s Park is not just a zoo, as it has many attractions and rides that will thrill the little ones. If they need cooling down then they can jump through water jets in the Get Wet area (remember to take a towel and possibly a change of clothes!), and in the Go Safari area they can climb aboard the cheetah ride and fly high in the sky, followed by a ride in the hippo that is like a bus that goes in circles in the air backwards a few times initially and then forwards, so make sure the children haven’t just had lunch, as it is a bit of a stomach churner! If you do have very little children then you may need to go on some of the rides with them, but I promise even the feint hearted will be ok! A few years ago the Hello Kitty Secret Garden was opened, and here you can find small cars the children can pretend to ride, a teacup ride, a mini plunge ride, and even a parlour where children can have their hair braided, faces painted and temporary tattoos,

although there is a charge for these services. The last few rides also incur an extra charge, and these include the huge inflatable slide named Penguin Plunge, the climbing wall named Vertical Limit and the Panning For Golf experience. There is a safari express train, but to be honest we didn’t see very much, although if the younger ones like train rides, then at least you will be able to take a seat and relax for a few minutes! There are a few eateries within the park that serve burgers, pizzas, chicken nuggets, salads etc., and by the train station you may find yourself drawn into the freshly made doughnut shop, but many families had taken picnics with them for the day. This really is a lovely day out for the younger members of the family, and the older ones will probably find they have a thoroughly enjoyable day out too! Ticket prices are cheaper online, and start at £17.95 and under 2’s go free. For further information please visit: www.drusillas.co.uk



AMERICAN CRAFT BREWERS ELEVATE BEER AND FOOD PAIRING Adam Dulye, Executive Chef at the Brewers Association and one of the world’s leading experts on beer and food pairing, explains how to cook at the intersection of craft beer and great food

© Brewers Association

Pairing beer with food in the USA is arguably more advanced than anywhere else in the world. Culinary skill and brewing expertise elevate the beer and food experience to a whole new level! As the UK continues to grow out of its ‘pie and pint’ mentality people are discovering the diversity of craft beer styles and how they can pair to any cuisine. So, if you’re missing the American beer and food scene here’s how you can craft your own flavour matches while in the UK: 1 Match strength with strength. Pair delicate dishes with lighter craft beers and strongly flavoured dishes with intense, more assertive beer styles. 2 Use the dominant flavour or ingredient in a dish as the starting point. Hops are very foodfriendly and will go with just about any food. 28


3 Supporting ingredients – herbs, spices, fat and sugar - impact on the interaction of the beer with the food. 4 Consider what cooking methods and techniques to use because this affects the end result. Grilling, roasting, smoking and baking when done at high temperatures will accentuate the beer’s malt flavours, while braising or frying adds fat that will coat the palate and protect against the ‘bite’ of the alcohol. 5 Hops can mimic the flavours of herbs and spices. Hops with herbal, spicy, pine, citrus, tropical, fruity or woody flavour notes will compliment similar herbs and spices used in the dish. 6 Yeast can also compliment a wide range of supporting ingredients and flavours.

There are three main interactions with beer and food pairings – complementing, contrasting and cutting. For a dish to be complementary you’re looking for harmonious flavours between the ingredients and the craft beer e.g. roast duck breast with a brown ale or Dubbel or the light acidity of a witbier with a salad and vinaigrette dressing. Roasting or grilling will complement the malts used in the beer and bring out the Maillard reaction. Contrasting is the most challenging interaction on the palate and works best when the dominant flavour of the dish contrasts against the main flavour profile of the beer e.g. sweet v sour or bitter v sweet. A classic example is the tropical flavour notes of an American IPA with an intensely, hot pepper spiced dish or curry.

AMERICAN CRAFT BREWERS ELEVATE BEER AND FOOD PAIRING Craft beer cuts through the fat of rich, succulent and creamy foods to cleanse the palate after every mouthful and leave it feeling refreshed, clean and ready for the next bite. The bitter strength and astringency of hops lifts fat from the palate and a sweet finish cuts away acidic flavours, leaving a pleasant sensation in the mouth. Sour and tart flavours can cut away sugary and fruity notes and the scrubbing effect of carbonation diffuses the richness of the food.

Pairing suggestions: Crisp & Clean Beers – these beers are refreshing, delicate and slightly dry and work well with lighter flavours. Pair with grain based dishes such as creamy risotto, salads, vegetable. Beer styles: Blonde Ale, Pilsner, Helles, Kölsch. Hoppy & Bitter – great with foods that need a bit of competition on the palate, think spicy, fatty or acidic. The bitterness of hops lifts fat from the tongue leaving you ready for the next bite. Hops can be intensely flavoursome with notes of citrus, resin, tropical fruit or pine, herbal or floral. Beer styles: Amber, Barley Wine, IPA, Imperial IPA, Pale Ale. Try with: spicy foods, curry, pizza, cheese, carrot cake. Malty & Sweet – offer a degree of sweetness and notes of nuts, toffee, caramel and dried fruit from roasted malts. These beers complement


food that is roasted, crispy or browned. Beer styles: Amber lager, Brown Ale, Belgianstyle Dubbel, Dunkel, Scotch Ale. Goes with: roast chicken, pork, duck, sausages, cheese. Rich & Roasty – intensely deep, dark, rich flavours; barrel-aged bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and sometimes a smokey aroma and work with dishes that have roasted fat such as nuts, red meats or chocolate. They’re great with anything charred, barbecued or grilled or anything with a clean, briny finish such as oysters. Beer styles: Brown Ale, Stout, Porter, Schwarzbier. Pair with: ribs, burgers, meat casseroles, barbecue, spicy foods, oysters, chocolate. Fruity & Spicy – flavours are mainly driven by yeast and can include notes of stone fruits, citrus, ginger and salt or banana, clove and hay. Spicy aromatic foods that go well with rose or red wine would be good accompaniments here. Beer styles: Belgian Blonde Ale, Witbier, Hefeweizen, Saison, Tripel, Quadrupel. Works with: shellfish, seafood, fish and chips, sushi. Sour, Tart & Funky – often barrel-aged and may have fruit or natural sugars added. Farmhouse, leather, hay, grass and even wet socks may not sound appealing, but if you like acidic, biodynamic wine you’ll love these! Beer styles: Brett, Sour, Flanders Ale, Gose,

Geuze, Lambic. Food suggestions: creamy desserts, cheesecake, crème brulee, Black Forest gateau. The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as being small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3% of US annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavour derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavoured malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-forprofit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,000-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely-adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. Further details and recipes are available in my new book ‘The Beer Pantry’ (Dovetail).



THEATRE Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker Tina The Tina Turner Musical at The Aldwych Theatre Tina Turner’s life has been well documented first in her autobiography I, Tina and then in the film What’s Love Got To Do With It with Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to audiences that this fiercely talented singer endured years of brutal beatings from her husband Ike Turner. This violence is central yet again to Tina Turner’s story in this production, turning what could be a rags to riches, typical jukebox musical into a study of domestic abuse. Of course, we know that she will triumph and go on to record her Private Dancer album, become even more successful without Ike and will eventually find happiness, but the journey that takes her there is a difficult one to watch. Katori Hall’s script has a lot of ground to cover, so doesn’t have much time to delve into any depth or ask too many questions of its protagonist. We first see Tina waiting to go on stage in Brazil in 1988, calmly chanting Buddhist prayers while a huge audience screams in anticipation. We then jump to the beginning of the story, an outdoor prayer meeting in Nutbush, Tennessee, where little Anna Mae Bullock is told off by her mother, Zelma, for singing too boisterously and showing off. Zelma is reprimanded for her criticism by her husband, Richard, the preacher, who hits her in front of the children, a foreshadowing of Tina’s life to come. Zelma soon takes off with younger daughter Alline to St Louis and Anna Mae is left in the care of her grandmother, a kind woman who encourages her. At sixteen, she joins her mother and sister in St Louis and almost immediately meets Ike Turner at a club, who insists that she join his band and charms her mother into letting her, promising that Anna Mae will be well paid and will send money home. He also promises to take care of her, but the early signs are not good. He loses his temper with everyone around him, showing a narcissistic, bullying personality, threatening fellow band members as well as the singers. Nevertheless, Tina joins him and is soon made the lead singer. Although she falls in love with saxophonist Ray, and has a child by him, Ike renames her Tina Turner and pretends that they are married for the sake of their band, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Two years later they do marry, despite Ike beating up both her and Ray, and what follows is years of abuse as well as many hit records. 30


Adrienne Warren as Tina Turner. Photo by Manuel Harlan

What is glossed over is why Tina stayed all those years with Ike, who was a drug addict and philanderer. We see plenty of scenes of violence but never any love so it makes her look like an unquestioning victim, perhaps because she considered it normal for a man to beat his wife, as she saw in her childhood. Only after her suicide attempt does she eventually decide to stand up to Ike, fighting back and then escaping from him on the spur of the moment, while they are on tour. Act Two sees Tina now left with no money, a single mum struggling to support two sons by doing Las Vegas shows, and follows her slow rise back to the top of the charts with the help of a new manager and a fortuitous collaboration in London. Along the way, she also finds love with Erwin Bach, a German music producer who is seventeen years younger than her. The rest is history. Although Tina Turner’s life story is bleak, it is clear that what kept her going was the music and there is plenty of it in this production. The songs

are cleverly interwoven into the story, starting with Nutbush City Limits sung as a hymn by the outdoor church to Gran Georgeanna singing Don’t Turn Around as she sends young Anna Mae off to St Louis, to Let’s Stay Together sung by Ray in one of the rare tender moments. The music really takes off though when performed by the astounding Adrienne Warren who perfectly embodies Tina Turner; despite not sounding or looking like her, she has Turner’s unbounded energy, strength and size. Her magnificent voice soars in every number. The scene where Phil Spectre is recording the iconic River Deep, Mountain High with Turner, making her do it repeatedly until she gives it her all, is particularly memorable. American actress Warren also captures Turner’s mesmerising stage persona, from the highly energetic, verging on manic dance moves of Proud Mary to the smiling powerhouse of Simply the Best. In addition, she has to age from sixteen to fortynine, which is no mean feat, even though Tina Turner has always looked remarkably young.

THEATRE Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, a fine actor who has worked frequently in theatre, including playing Laertes to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet, has the unenviable task of playing the unrelenting villain of the piece, Ike Turner. He plays it absolutely straight in an unyielding performance that doesn’t ask for sympathy, but unfortunately the script gives him little opportunity to show what first attracted Tina to Ike and what kept her with him for sixteen long years of abuse. He is, without a doubt, a powerful presence, however, and we do sense his resentment at never being recognised as the rock and roll renegade he was. He shapes and forms young Anna Mae into the iconic Tina Turner but cannot control his anger and brutal temper, lashing out at all around him. Madeleine Appiah as Zelma Bullock, Lorna Gayle as Gran Georgeanna and Francesca Jackson as Rhonda Graam, Ike’s road manager and later Tina’s close friend and personal assistant, all turn in excellent performances. Mention must also be made of the actresses playing the Ikettes, the original back-up singers, who perform with as much gusto as Tina. This is a musical with heart, showing the bravery, fearlessness and extraordinary talent of Tina Turner, faced with not only an abusive husband but with racism, ageism and sexism from white executives in the music industry. However, it never takes a closer look into the mind of a woman who would endure such abuse for sixteen years, while still asking the audience to witness repeatedly such scenes of violence. It is an uncomfortable story to watch, alleviated by full throttle performances of Tina Turner’s greatest hits by the incredible Adrianne Warren. Although the musical is hard-hitting, it didn’t seem to bother most audience members who happily stood up and danced and sang along to the obligatory end of show numbers including Proud Mary. As Tina Turner had a hand in presenting this version of her life, we have to assume this is what she wants the world to see, that she will not be beaten into submission by anyone and in the end, we just have to keep singing.

Consent at the Harold Pinter Theatre

Consent, a new play by Nina Raine which premiered at the National Theatre last year, is a biting dark comedy about what lies underneath and in between the lies that people tell each other and themselves. As the play opens, we see Kitty and Ed celebrating their move to a new house and the birth of their baby with another couple, Rachel and Jake. As the friends, three of whom are lawyers, loudly discuss the various rape and criminal cases they are trying, while holding a real baby, we sense that this play is not going to be an easy ride. Although each character is interesting, intelligent and funny, they are not particularly likeable and are incredibly privileged. As soon as Jake and Rachel have departed, Kitty and Ed surmise that something is wrong in their friends’ marriage. Sure enough, the next time we WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

see the group of friends gathered together, this time with Tim, a prosecutor and Zara, an actress they are trying to match him up with, Rachel is absent. It is soon revealed that she has thrown out Jake as she suspects him of having an affair, which he denies wholeheartedly to everyone who will listen, until he eventually confesses to many dalliances, saying it kept the marriage alive. As Ed and Kitty try to intervene, they find themselves taking opposite sides along gender lines. Kitty is aghast when Rachel eventually takes Jake back, a reunion orchestrated by Ed. Meantime, cracks in their own marriage start to show: in a scene where Tim and Ed are helping Zara to research a role, Tim censures Ed for flirting with Zara. He denies it and in turn accuses Tim of being attracted to Kitty. The real problem, however, is Kitty can never forgive Ed for an affair he had five years ago. Interspersed with all this is a rape case that is being tried with Tim as the prosecutor and Ed defending the accused, whom we never see, witnessing only his harsh cross examination of the victim, Gayle. She keeps trying to tell them what happened but is told to stick to her original statement and finds herself torn apart by brutal questioning about her drinking and sexual history. We never do hear the whole story and it never seems important to the lawyers involved, even when a distraught Gayle turns up at their New Year celebrations, asking why her personal history was ripped apart and examined while her rapist’s was left untouched. For these lawyers, it is just one more horrible trial to get through. As the play goes on, and we see Ed continually putting the rules of the law above all else and dismissing emotional involvement, we understand when Kitty blows up at him for having no empathy. She says that he spends his life lying, defending criminals and rapists and it’s turned him into an unfeeling, heartless person. Later on, we see quite a different side to Ed as Kitty decides to exact her revenge so that he will know what it feels like to be cheated on. His rage and tears are the stuff of Greek tragedy, earlier referenced by Zara doing a production of Medea. What follows next brings up yet again the question of consent as Kitty accuses Ed of rape and surprisingly Jake, who earlier had his own wailing and gnashing of teeth, takes her side while his wife sympathises with Ed. This is a complicated play with complex,

Claudie Blakley (Kitty) and Stephen Campbell Moore (Ed). Consent at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Photographer credit Johan Persson

familiar characters. Ed is the sort of person who just always has to be right, no matter what the consequences. Jake is no better and both of them seem to belong to a club where their own self-belief outweighs any ethical code. They freely lie, philander and demean others and are shocked when they are caught out and punished. Tim at first appears very different to them, a kind man whom Zara initially dismisses as probably “gay” and “a bit victim-y” before eventually getting into a relationship with him. Compared to the bombastic, aggressive masculinity of Ed and Jake, he seems gentle and thoughtful. However, we question his motives in having an affair with Kitty; does he really love her or is it revenge on the bullying Ed? The women in these couples are no mere helpless victims and display as much rage and fury as the men. Kitty, who is probably the most sympathetic, hurls a kettle at Ed as she accuses him of having no empathy, a clever reference to Tim’s earlier story of a kettle flying across the room in his poltergeist haunted flat. There is a nice balance of humour undercutting tragedy throughout the play. As the emotionally out of control Ed weeps with fury at Kitty’s betrayal, he says he hasn’t cried that much since prep school. When Jake thinks he is unjustly thrown out by Rachel, he says he is “basically being bullied”. These men are ridiculous at times and don’t seem to be aware of it, despite their extreme intelligence. The cast are uniformly superb as is Roger Michel’s direction. Adam James as Jake and Stephen Campbell Moore as Ed, perfectly embody their entitled, self-righteous lawyer characters who also show a tender side as they are first seen holding a tiny, actual baby in the first scene. These are men who will fight to the death for their children, the only way they know how to show real love. Claudie Blakley is excellent as the dissatisfied and occasionally fierce Kitty, the only one who seems to have any morals until she decides to give Ed a taste of his own medicine. Equally good are Lee Ingleby as the awkward Tim, Sian Clifford as Rachel, Clare Foster as Zara and Heather Craney as Gayle. This play will provoke much conversation and leave people debating the many issues raised as well as the controversial ending. It’s a disturbing yet entertaining and satisfying evening at the theatre. Consent is one of the best new plays I have seen in a very long time.

Clare Foster (Zara) and Claudie Blakley (Kitty) - Consent at the Harold Pinter Theatre Photographer credit Johan Persson.




Food Voucher Programme - Collateral Repair Project

Back in April I was lucky enough to participate in a site visit to the Collateral Repair Project (CRP) in Amman, Jordan, with 22 other American ladies from the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO). The FAWCO Foundation’s current two-year Target Project, called Hope Beyond Displacement, is providing funds directly to CRP, a grassroots effort to bring much-needed assistance to refugees - those commonly referred to as ‘collateral damage.’ Our mission was to see the programmes we are funding and bear witness to the stories of the refugees served. Two other American ladies from FAWCO Region 1 – currently living in Edinburgh and Dublin – met me at Heathrow (after the long drive down from my home near Birmingham) to board the flight to Amman. We weren’t fully prepared for what we would see and hear. According to UNHCR, Jordan hosts the second-largest refugee population in the world and about 80% of the refugees live outside of UN-funded camps. They are called ‘urban refugees’ and this population in Amman consists mainly of those who have fled Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan. With few exceptions, refugees are not legally allowed to work in Jordan. For these people, CRP extends lifelines such as food vouchers, English classes, children’s programmes, skills training, trauma relief and women’s empowerment. Amanda Lane, Executive Director of CRP and American expat, told me about the refugee population in Jordan and how CRP has been able to build community services to help them in Amman: 32


Lunch at CRP - Collateral Repair Project

“Less than 1% of the people that apply… get resettled. It’s interesting because when I go to Europe, people are like, ‘Yes, we have some refugees here.’ Actually, you really don’t. In Jordan, one in every ten people is a refugee and Lebanon one in every four. Yes, the reality is the vast majority of refugees are here in these primary host countries…It’s actually much more cost-effective to help people here because the vast majority of them are going to be staying here”. “What has changed in the past five years is that we’ve really been consistently growing. Whereas we were feeding about 15 families right now, in the past month we fed over 400 families. We have a lot more self-care and wellness programming that fits into helping people to heal from trauma. We have a computer lab and lots of computer classes. We also have an after-school club for kids that takes place every day”. Amanda lives in Amman with her Jordanian husband, Samer, and their two children. Her story began the same way as many Americans living in Britain: she met a man from another country, fell in love, got married, had kids, and in her words, ‘got sidetracked.’ “We were living in Seattle for about six years, and then we decided to come back [to Jordan]. It was actually me who pulled us back more than my husband because I really wanted my kids to feel like they could relate to half of their heritage, or to be able to relate to being Arab, and to be able to learn Arabic as well”. I asked Amanda about the challenges of

being an American living in Jordan and raising children abroad. I explained that I know many expat women in Britain who feel that they are trying to raise children between two different countries. She said: “I don’t feel I’m raising them between countries much anymore. I think they’re comfortable wherever. I don’t feel like it’s a challenge. We certainly live, like many expat families, in a weird middle place. It’s really weird to me because I grew up in southern Ohio and never left, until I was out of college, really”. Expats Jason and Judy Wilson knew Amanda and her husband and jumped at the chance to move to Amman to work for CRP. Jason is now the Director of Data and Marketing at CRP and Judy is the Director of Grants and Communications. Jason explained how they got back to Jordan, a country they had fallen in love with during previous travels: “Amanda was in town, she came to Seattle for a [CRP] fund-raising trip and she met up with us just to say ‘hi’ and have some coffee, and that’s when she asked, ‘Do you want to come help with this?’ We had said if we had ever had the opportunity to live in Amman, we should do it and then, this opportunity to come and use our talents to help these people appeared... I’ve never worked harder, been paid less or been happier in my entire life!”. Jason left his job as a data analyst to help modernise processes at CRP. He explained: “Our challenge is we’re trying to do a lot, we’re trying to keep track of everything that we’re doing, and understand it, build out

AMERICANS MAKE A DIFFERENCE BEYOND BRITAIN a measurement and evaluation practice, build out a better way to track people who are receiving our food vouchers, and our programmes. A couple of years ago, this was literally all being done on paper. What I’ve been trying to do is put together a technology stack using software that is available. I’m still working on a way to develop a pipeline of interns or volunteers who have the hard skills that we really need for this”. The site visit to CRP was the first of its kind to support FAWCO’s Target Project programme. FAWCO’s funding is specifically used for the SuperGirls after school programme, women’s vocational training, the Women’s Empowerment 101 programme, and a men’s gender-based violence prevention course. We learned so much more about why grassroots programs are vital by being on the ground in Jordan than we ever would by watching news reports or documentaries. We knew there would be heartbreaking stories shared, but there was no preparation to keep the tears from flowing as we were told of one impossible, horrific personal experience after another. We had no idea that so many of the refugees had stopped living their lives completely, i.e. not working, not sending their children to school, etc., or that they feel just as hopeless now as they did when they made the decision to flee dangerous conflict zones. During our visit, one of the beneficiaries, Sara*, had asked to share her story with us.

After explaining that she and her family had left the ‘hell’ of one of the largest refugee camps in the world, without any national identity papers for herself or her family, she became too upset to finish her story. Jason Wilson, Director of Data and Marketing at CRP, later filled in the gaps during our interview: [Sara’s father] is from Syria and he was involved very early on when the [Arab Spring] protests began. He’s a lawyer and he advocated for the young men who had been charged. As a result of his defense of these young men, his family was targeted by the regime. They were attacked. His young daughter [Sara’s younger sister] was alone in the home and they dropped a bomb on his house. His daughter was grievously injured, they ended up having to flee in the night. They went to a hospital. Many of the hospitals wouldn’t take them in, because the government was searching for their family. They finally found a hospital to help stabilise the daughter and then, in the middle of the night, someone from the hospital came and said, ‘They’re here. They’re looking for you. You need to go.’ His daughter was in a coma, he put her over his shoulder and they ended up crossing from Syria into Jordan, being pursued. When Amanda and CRP ended up finding them, they were living under a bridge in winter with no proper clothing and they had no options. Their daughter was still unconscious. CRP was

able to find some medical help and support for them. The daughter lived and they really started to build their life here. Sara’s parents and sister now live in the UK. Sara, her husband and two young children hope to be allowed to join them one day. *Name has been changed. Many of us who are members of FAWCOaffiliated American Women’s Clubs in the UK are happy to fundraise for local British charities, but we sometimes lose sight of the work FAWCO is doing in the name of American women all over the world. The programmes and assistance offered by CRP helps refugees to start living again by building a community on shared experiences that transcends race, religion or political leanings. The beneficiaries of these programmes were excited to share their progress with us and stressed how they have found dignity again by helping others at the centre. They want people in the UK and all over the world to know what has happened to them and what challenges they continue to face. They were incredibly welcoming, resilient women who were happy to cook their favourite dishes and share them with us. Every expat knows how comforting tastes of home can be! Read more about the Collateral Repair Project at www.collateralrepairproject.org and about FAWCO’s Target Project Hope Beyond Displacement at https://bit.ly/2ieiPjp. See even more about Amy’s visit to CRP at http:// iceberglife.net/asia/jordan.

Would you like to be invited to networking events for Americans living in the UK? If you are an American living in the UK, and would like to be invited to the events we organise, please email helen@theamericanhour.com who will add you to our guest list and we look forward to hopefully seeing you in the near future. Follow us on

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AMERICAN EXPATRIATE CLUBS & NEWS Hampstead Women’s Club Interested in making new friends, having a full calendar of events and activities to choose from, exploring more of London and having volunteering opportunities? Then join the Hampstead Women’s Club (HWC)! You can live anywhere in London to be a member. You don’t have to live in Hampstead, many of our members don’t! The HWC has been very busy this Spring with a big highlight being our annual Spring Fling party! One of our club’s many benefits, the event is free for our members and this year it was themed ‘The Royal Edition’ as it fell within days of the Royal Wedding. Members dressed to impress, complete with hats and fascinators, and a grand time was had by all.

Other recent highlights of our club include a Triforium Tour of St. Pauls, a theatre outing to see ‘Network’ with Bryan Cranston, a Changing of the Guard walking tour, hiking in Chesham, a Fortnum & Mason Delicious Histories Tour, private tour of the British gallery at the V&A, a wellness event learning about decluttering your life and our monthly outreach work at Henderson Court! The HWC will have a booth this year at The Big Fair – part of the Hampstead Summer Festival on Sunday, 1st July from 12-5pm, so stop by and say ‘hello’! Another way to see what we’re all about is to join us for one of our Link-up events. They are a casual way for non-members to meet members and learn more about the club. They are either coffee mornings or evening drinks. Contact Sumi at linkup@ hwcinlondon.co.uk for more information. The Hampstead Women’s Club is a multinational, social organisation for women living in the London area. Our purpose is to provide a sense of community through social, educational and charitable activities. To find out more about the HWC in general, visit our website: www.hwcinlondon. co.uk or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

North American Connection (NAC) Summer is here in Britain and at the North American Connection that brings us to one of our favourite events of the year, our annual 4th July barbecue! We hold this annually on the first Sunday of July and invite not only our NAC members, but their families and friends. About 90 of us get together for an American style barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, home made side dishes and salads and plenty of delicious desserts! We have a lot of other fun social activities planned over the summer, so if you are an American lady living in the Birmingham, Warwickshire, Solihull or surrounding areas, we would love to meet you! The North American Connection is an organisation committed to the support of North Americans living in the West Midlands, England. The club, while essentially social, provides assistance with integration into the English community, as well as the opportunity for charitable activity. Our goal is to understand the needs of new expatriates and to help bridge their transition into British culture. We also have expats who join us for WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

the first time after living here for many years who wish to re-connect with their American culture and meet other Americans living in the area. We are a very friendly group and we provide friendship and support, as well as social, educational and philanthropic activities for our members. WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK


Although most of our members are from the United States and Canada, we also have women from other European countries, Australia, and even a few British members. The club is open to all women with a particular connection to North America or a specific interest in the club’s activities. We are a diverse group who are here due to a short- or long-term work assignment or who have chosen to relocate to England permanently. We include women who are single, partnered or married. Many members have children - both young and adult. We come from all areas of the Midlands but most members reside within an hour’s travel radius of Birmingham, including Solihull, Leamington Spa, Stafford, Derby, Worcester and Stratford-upon-Avon. We would be delighted for you to come join us for a couple of events before deciding on whether or not you would like to become a member. We regularly hold monthly coffee mornings, day and evening books clubs, pub nights and dinner evenings as well as special charity events that partners/spouses are welcome to attend. For more information, please do visit us at www.naconnect.com or visit our Facebook page, ‘The North American Connection.’

The American Society in London The American Society in London is the oldest American society in the UK, pre-dating the Atlantic Union, the Pilgrims, American Aid and The Harvard and Princeton Clubs in England to name a few. Founded in 1895 to promote good fellowship between the USA and UK, it has a rich history including Gordon H. Selfridge as a past chairman and past event attendees including Jacqueline Kennedy. The American Society in London holds four marquee social events per year for its members, all not for profit Autumn drinks, Spring Drinks, a Forth of July party and a Black Tie Thanksgiving

American Society in London

Dinner. The Thanksgiving Dinner is held around Remembrance Day / Veterans Day and representatives of both the British and American military are invited to and honoured at the event. The society is always interested in hearing from American citizens living in the UK (and frequent visitors) who are interested in becoming a member. UPCOMING EVENTS: Columbus Day/Autumn Drinks Gathering at the Tower of London in September. Black Tie Thanksgiving Dinner at Plaisterers’ Hall in November. Please contact the American Society in London for further details: info@americansocietyuk.com Feel free to contact us at: Email: info@americansocietyuk.com Facebook: @americansocietyinlondon Twitter: @ASL_1895.

Kensington & Chelsea Women’s Club (kcwc) Thirty-five years and going strong! Whether you are new to London or have been here for a while and looking for new experiences, consider kcwc, with over 800 members from more than 52 countries, we are the city’s largest women’s club. This year marks kcwc’s 35th anniversary and members continue to enjoy lectures and tours from leading experts, take part in exclusive and exciting experiences, and meet new friends. Each month kcwc holds a General Meeting with a high-profile guest speaker at a prime London location. Recent past speakers include: Dr. David Hamilton, Clarissa Ward, Ben Fogle, The Queen’s Six, Marcus Wareing, Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Samantha Cameron, Carolina Bonfiglio and Judy Murray. The meetings are a good way to meet other members, sign up for activities, enjoy listening to a keynote speaker and join fellow members for an optional lunch at a prestigious local restaurant afterwards. The General Meetings are also a great opportunity to know more about discounts and promotions offered by our preferred partners as they display their products and offers at our showcase tables. kcwc members benefit from special discounts on these showcase tables. In addition to the General Meetings, kcwc also offers approximately 35 activities. These are organised by members who volunteer their time and skills by running a wide variety of weekly and monthly activities. Topics include history, culture, art, design, fashion, music, theatre, local tours, UK and international travel, special events, technology, fitness, dance, golf, tennis, languages, arts and crafts, food, dining, wine tasting, book and lecture groups, country walks, feng shui, and much more.

American Society in London



There are also a variety of evening activities for members to enjoy. These include theatre, happy hour, dining out, classical music concerts, evening speakers and special events. For those interested in making a difference in the community, kcwc’s Volunteers for Charity group works with


kcwc - Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni

AWS American Women of Surrey International Group

New to Surrey? Please join our expat club. This is the perfect place to meet new friends. We have over 200 international members, many expats, some long-term, some shortterm, and also some returning British expats. All are welcome. We hold monthly meetings and usually have interesting speakers and local vendors to add to the fun mornings. Find us at www.awsurrey.org/Home or on Facebook, AWS International Group.

A Bit of TLC while in London kcwc - Judy Murray

several local charitable organisations. There is so much on offer at kcwc and members get to discover London while making new friends at the same time. Learn More About kcwc Kcwc General Meetings are open to nonmembers for a guest fee of £10, redeemable if joining on the day. The meetings are usually held on a Thursday, between September and June (we sometimes skip a month so be sure to check our website for details). For further information please contact potential@kcwc.org.uk or visit our website www.kcwc.org.uk Save the Date September General Meeting: Thursday, 20 September 2018, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, 9:30am – 12pm October General Meeting: Thursday, 18 October 2018, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, 9:30am – 12pm November General Meeting: Thursday, 29 November 2018, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, 9:30am – 12pm. WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

Almost 250 years ago Samuel Johnson said, ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’ This now appears on coffee mugs and T-shirts galore, but that doesn’t make it less true. Eight years ago, Maria and I (both Londoners by birth) started arranging and hosting activities for members of London’s leading Sports and Social Club. We now have a breadth and depth of experience that we have taken to a wider public, creating our own ‘virtual club’ while sticking to what our members say – that we deliver activities with imagination, efficiency, value and… a bit of TLC. That is how we got the name for the business, A Bit of TLC. We offer something more – Maria’s family was not originally from Britain and my family lived abroad throughout my early years so we know London and what London can feel like

for ‘outsiders’ or those who are new to the city. A Bit of TLC bridges that gap by bringing people, from all over, together in a single social community and hosting events. We organise theatre outings (with great choices and great discounts), trips around Britain with overnight stays when appropriate (to places like Highgrove and Chatsworth and less well known gems like Sledmere and Haddon Hall), excursions to places like Glyndebourne (affordably!), Bletchley Park and the Royal Opera House’s scenery workshops; and overseas trips. And then there are the London Weeks, at least four each year and full of diary dates – country house visits, private tours, behind the scenes, lunches in unusual places and theatre evenings. A typical London Week offers 12 to 15 events where TLC members from London, the Shires or abroad come together and pick what they want or work through the ‘menu’, confident that the selection will be interesting and the company will be kindred spirits, fellow TLC members and their guests. If you go online to www.abitoftlc.org you’ll get a taste of what we do; but the best way to find out is to join us and experience ‘a bit of TLC’ for yourself. As TLC members say, ‘the great thing about the TLC members’ website is that I can read loads of interesting articles about London life and get great insights into what’s on at the theatre - entertainment comes to me now: I no longer have to spend hours doing research or hanging on for the box office or rounding up friends to go with. It’s the best way to get the most out of London without spending too much’.

A Bit of TLC while in London



READERS ROYAL WEDDING CELEBRATIONS Some of our readers enjoying the recent wedding day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

USEFUL CONTACTS EDUCATION - SCHOOLS DWIGHT SCHOOL LONDON 6 Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Contact: Karen Strickland Email: kstrickland@dwightlondon.org Telephone: +44(0)20 8920 0600 Website: www.dwightlondon.org Twitter: @DwightSchoolUK Dwight School London, formerly known as The North London International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and is one of the first schools in the UK to offer the full IB Programme. ISL GROUP OF SCHOOLS ISL SURREY PRIMARY SCHOOL Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY Contact: Admissions Telephone: +44 (0)1483 750 409 www.islsurrey.org/ ISL LONDON 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Contact: Yoel Gordon Telephone: +44 (0)20 8992 5823 www.isllondon.org ISL QATAR Po Box 18511, North Duhail, Qatar Contact: Admissions Telephone: +974 4433 8600 www.islqatar.org/ Website: www.islschools.org Founded in 1972, the International School of London (ISL) Group comprises two International Baccalaureate (1B) primary schools situated in London (UK) and Doha (Qatar) plus an IPC primary school in Surrey (UK) providing education for internationally mobile students. Although the languages of the school is English, the schools are known for integrating home languages and English as an Additional Language (EAL) into the internationally recognised curricula. The schools are culturally diverse communities which foster a passion and enthusiasm for learning, and where students’ cultural and linguistic identities are valued and nurtured. ISL Schools develop the attitudes, skills and understanding needed for further education and to become active and responsible contributors to local and global communities. The ISL Group enrols over 1800 students from 88 countries, and teaches 25 languages. TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: ukadmissions@tasisengland.org Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM

boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic programme, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualised attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.

LEGAL MUNDAYS LLP Surrey Office: Cedar House, 78 Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1AN London Office: 1 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8DJ Contact: Oliver Taylor Email: oliver.taylor@mundays.co.uk Telephone +44 (0)1932 590523 Website: www.mundays.co.uk Twitter: @MundaysLaw Mundays LLP are a top UK law firm based in Surrey and London. Ranked in The Legal 500 UK, Chambers & Partners UK and Chambers HNW legal directories as a leading law firm in the South using expertise to deliver the full range of legal services to individuals, families and businesses. Our highly experienced friendly team offer a range of knowledge. Delivering not just legal advice, but tailored advice that is appropriate to your specific circumstances.

MOVING DT MOVING (A GOSSELIN MOBILITY GROUP COMPANY) 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: london@dtmoving.com Web: www.dtmoving.com DT Moving (A Gosselin Mobility Group company) is a long established and awardwinning international moving company. Founded in 1870, we have vast experience in moving Americans to and from the United States and to other worldwide destinations, courtesy of our 56 global offices. With a customer satisfaction rating of 97% in 2017, we offer a quality service at competitive rates. First class storage facilities are available worldwide. FOX INTERNATIONAL 10 Somerset Road, Cwmbran, NP44 1QX Telephone: 01633 488100 Email: international@fox-moving.com Website: www.fox-moving.com Contact: Stephen Denning

Fox International is one of the UK’s largest removal companies, offering a full range of moving and storage service to Americans throughout the UK, Europe and Worldwide.

TAXATION ADVANCEDAMERICANTAX.CO.UK Telephone: +44 (0)20 3289 1040 Website: www.AdvancedAmericanTax.co.uk and www.htj.tax Email: Help@htj.tax Our international tax team has over 80 years’ experience and we are fully qualified and licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We are 3 independent but allied offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and now Singapore. Our team is united in our drive to serve the US Tax needs of our clients. US TAX & FINANCIAL SERVICES 3 Harbour Exchange Square, London, E14 9GE Telephone: +44 20 7357 8220 Contact: Joni Trulock, Group Marketing Manager Email: j.trulock@ustaxfs.com Website: ustaxfs.com Twitter: @ustaxfs With 30 years’ experience, our US/UK expat tax specialists provide US and UK tax return preparation, planning, compliance, and expatriation as well as all US business tax services, wherever you are in the world.

WEALTH MANAGEMENT MASECO PRIVATE WEALTH Burleigh House, 357 Strand, London WC2R 0HS Telephone: +44 (0)20 7043 0455 Email: enquiries@masecopw.com Website: www.masecoprivatewealth.com MASECO Private Wealth gives peace of mind by providing expert guidance to US families on how to simplify their cross-border wealth management needs. We serve and care for Americans living at home or abroad through the planning and implementation of rational, practical and tax efficient wealth management strategies.

To advertise in American in Britain magazine, contribute a feature, or promote your organisation in this Directory, please email Damian at damian@theamericanhour.com



EMBASSY CORNER Voting In 2018 US Elections Did you know London ranks fourth amongst international cities with the most voting-age Americans?

Many US elections for House and Senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters. All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline. Your vote does count! Voting from overseas is easy but requires advance planning. Here are a few simple steps to make sure you can vote in the 2018 US elections: 1 Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2018 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 elections. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, US Senate, and US House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all US states and territories. You can complete the FPCA online at www.FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with your original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options. 2 Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office, and states generally send out ballots at least 40


30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online by visiting the website of your local election officials. 3 Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or you may also drop off completed voting materials during regular business hours at the US Embassy in London or our Consulate Generals in Edinburgh and Belfast. Place your materials in a postage-paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials� on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic US postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials. Learn more from the website of the Federal Voting Assistance Programme (FVAP) at www.fvap.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the Voting Assistance Officer at the US Embassy in London at LondonVote@state.gov. For US citizens in Northern Ireland, contact ACSBelfast@state.gov. US citizens in Scotland can contact Edinburgh-Info@state.gov.

EMBASSY INFORMATION US Embassy, 33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US uk.usembassy.gov Switchboard: (020)7499 9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American and UK holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, every day, for a life or death emergency involving a US citizen in the United Kingdom. Passport and Citizenship Services: By Appointment Monday - Friday Notary Services: By appointment Appointments available only online at uk.usembassy.gov Federal Benefits Unit: uk.usembassy.gov General Social Security information: ssa.gov Travel Advice: travel.state.gov



American in Britain - Summer 2018  

Features include Wealth Management: Charitable Giving – Ways To Give Effectively As A US Person Living in the UK by MASECO Private Wealth; T...

American in Britain - Summer 2018  

Features include Wealth Management: Charitable Giving – Ways To Give Effectively As A US Person Living in the UK by MASECO Private Wealth; T...