AMERICAN IN BRITAIN Serving the American Community in the UK
Eating Out • Wealth Management • Take Five Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News • Days Out With The Family Travel • Arts & Antiques • Hotel Review • Tax Advice Embassy Corner • Legal Issues
AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
3 Eating Out 8 Hotel Review 10 Days Out With The Family
12 Theatre 14 Wealth Management 16 Taxing Issues 18 The Power of Reflexology
21 Legal Matters 23 Take Five
29 American Womenâ€™s Clubs News 36 Born in the USA & Living in the UK
38 Arts & Antiques 40 Useful Contacts IBC Embassy Corner
PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott, Telephone: 020 8661 0186 Email: email@example.com PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Damian Porter, Telephone: 01737 551506 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
Cover image credit NFL UK.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Origination and Printing by Gemini Group
FREE AMERICAN FINANCIAL & LEGAL SEMINAR You are invited to the following Financial & Legal Event, organised by American in Britain, on Monday 29th January 2018 from 11.30am-3pm at Smith & Wollensky, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT (a short walk from Charing Cross & Embankment stations).
The topics to be covered are as follows: Managing member, Roland Sabates, from Expat Legal Services Group, will speak about the complicated tax landscape Americans encounter when living and working in the United Kingdom and will outline strategies to minimise potential tax exposure. For anyone with US tax compliance concerns, the discussion will address the current environment in the FATCA and voluntary disclosure arena and detail the tax, immigration, and broader planning implications of abandoning US citizenship. And considering that dramatic changes to the US tax code are on the horizon, the presentation will conclude with an update on any new or pending legislation and outline areas that may be relevant to Americans overseas. Beacon Financial Education will speak about the impact FATCA can make on your personal situation, your income as an American living abroad, and overseas assets. There are alternate options available for American nationals and US connected individuals that many are not aware of. Let us assist you with your financial planning and reporting obligations, as well as addressing any financial concerns you may have as a US national or US connected person living overseas. Beacon Financial Education was created with the purpose of providing individuals with the information they need for financial control, stability and simplicity. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at – a recent graduate starting to contribute to a pension through to a retiree – there are important financial decisions to be made that can greatly assist in fulfilling your dreams. Registration takes place from 11.30am so please join us for tea, coffee and pastries before the seminars for an opportunity to network with fellow Americans and the companies sponsoring the event, and then at 12.30pm the seminars will commence and will last just over an hour in total. There will then be the opportunity after the seminars to continue networking and to ask the speakers any questions you may have. This event is open to Americans who are living in the UK, so if you are able to spread the word to your American colleagues and friends, please do. Spaces are limited at this event, so to book your place please email:
email@example.com The other companies supporting this event are Mundays LLP, Charities Aid Foundation and Fox Moving.
EATING OUT Restaurant Reviews
Peels at Hampton Manor
Shadowbrook Lane, Hampton-In-Arden, Solihull B92 0EN Telephone: 01675 446080 As a child, my formative years were spent in Solihull, a metropolitan borough just south of Birmingham, which boasts many of the places people think are in Birmingham, including the National Exhibition Centre and also Birmingham Airport, so it was with great pleasure and nostalgia that I revisited my old stomping grounds to visit a restaurant that has a 2017 entry in the Michelin Guide. Peels restaurant is located in the aptly named Hampton Manor, an impressive 15 bedroomed Manor House in the picturesque village of Hampton in Arden, and although predominantly a restaurant, Hampton Manor does offer 15 individually decorated rooms combining country elegance with a 70’s vibe which combines surprisingly well. My wife and I were lucky enough to be staying at the Manor (more about the rooms later), so having unpacked and dressed for dinner, we glided down the impressive main staircase dominated by the largest light shade (or 5 shades stacked on top of each other) into the homely parlour, where we enjoyed a predinner drink and perused the menu. I can’t lie, I am not a great fan of the latest trend on menus to under describe the dishes by just listing some of the ingredients, and I understand restaurants may believe that this adds a touch of mystery to the offerings, but to me the quality of the food that Peels offers needs no gimmicks. WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
The menu has only three options, two four course Tasting Menus (£70 and £75), or a seven course (£85), and after considerable deliberation my wife and I chose one of each of the 4 course menus. Before moving from the parlour, we were treated to a few canapés to accompany our delightfully fruity English sparkling wine. The venison tartar was rich, the Cod as fresh as if it had been just been caught, and the mature cheese mousse was to die for. Once we had devoured the initial offerings we moved from the country parlour to the main restaurant, an eclectic mix of wooden panels and chinois wallpaper, giving an oriental twist to the overall country theme. Tables are well spaced to allow you to enjoy your own space and not have to hear your fellow diners. Before we started our chosen culinary journey, we enjoyed an amuse bouche of Leek and Potato Velouté, with puffed potato, which set the bar for dishes to come. The velouté was smooth and rich and was topped by light puffed potato which crackled as it melted into the velouté - a perfect combination of flavours and textures. Both tasting menus started with the minimalistically named Beetroot. This consisted of a duo of sweet and crunchy beetroot topped with a goat’s cheese ice cream and a crunchy rye crumb. The sweetness of the beetroot was offset by the cool and smooth goat’s cheese ice cream, again a lovely combination of tastes and textures. It was following this, that my wife’s and my tasting menus diverged, with my wife having Middle White Pork and me the Crab XO. My wife’s pork was small succulent cubes of melt in your mouth pork, bathed in a rich onion broth, and I was really disappointed that I hadn’t chosen
that menu, as I could have just had a large bowl of the broth on its own it was that good. My crab was accompanied by brown shrimp and an XO mayonnaise which was delightfully fresh, but for me the delicate taste of the crab was slightly overpowered by the brown shrimp. Main courses were Turbot on the bone and Wagyu Beef. My wife declared that her Turbot was the best turbot she had ever had, as the bright white meaty turbot was light and flaky, cased inside a crisp outer skin, complemented by the crunchy sprouting broccoli and the buttery sauce. My Wagyu Beef was sumptuous and cooked to perfection, accompanied by celeriac and a rich and warming jus. Having been spoiled with the previous courses we didn’t want things to end, so chose the optional cheese course, and were not disappointed with a generous selection of English and French cheeses served with a fruity chutney. Before our dessert we were served a palate cleansing pre-dessert of luxuriously smooth vanilla buttermilk covering a wonderfully sharp and crunchy passion fruit, all topped off with a silky caramel sauce. The taste contrasts worked perfectly and led perfectly to our final course. My wife’s menu dessert was ‘Chocolate’ mine was ‘Apple’, and both were the perfect end to a truly memorable meal. The chocolate mousse was an explosion of chocolate with wonderful hints of sherry and vanilla, and my apple again contrasted the soft sweetness of Pink Lady apples with the hard sharpness of Granny Smiths, truly wonderful. We retired to the parlour for coffee and a green tea and were treated to one final surprise in the form of the petit fours. These WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
were a deconstructed Bakewell Tart in three parts, the first a small, lightly whipped meringue, the second a moreish almond cake and the final delight, a piece of rich and sugary white chocolate fudge. Peels prides itself on using only the freshest and best organic ingredients, and sources most of them from the UK. and this even stretches to the wine where many of the wine flight offerings come from biodynamic vineyards. The delights of Hampton Manor don’t just stop at their food, as they do have 15 rooms all individually decorated ranging in price from £150 to £320. Our room had a wonderfully soft duvet and a comfortable mattress, which guaranteed me one of the best night’s sleep I have had, and our bathroom had a standalone bath and even a fireplace! Peels and Hampton Manor are a family run business, and this shines through in their offering, as the service is so personal nothing is too much trouble, and from the moment you arrive you feel like you are a guest at a friend’s home rather than a paying customer. That feeling is priceless, and if you do have a friend who cooks as well as Ryan Swift, please let me know, as I am free for dinner any time!!
8 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BE Telephone: 020 3405 7230 In this health conscious age it is always a delight to be able to know that there are some restaurants that are equally as conscious and will serve only the finest ingredients cooked in a healthy manner, which I guess is why Japanese food has continued to move up the UK’s list of favourite cuisines. One such health-conscious restaurant is Sakagura, nestling in a ‘restaurant oasis’ in Heddon Street just off Regent Street. Sakagura offers traditional Japanese food, collectively known as washoku (literally, food of Japan), coupled with a dazzling array of sake’s. Indeed, UNESCO has registered this type of food as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. I am not sure exactly what that means, but what I do know is that the food is special. Japanese food prides itself as being simultaneously both simple yet complicated, plain yet sophisticated. It is salty, sweet, sour, slightly bitter and full of umani flavours, and Sakagura also makes every dish a work of art, so during your dining experience all of your senses are stimulated. Sakagura’s entrance gives the diner an idea of the emphasis on Sake, as you have to pass a large Sake barrel, the style of which is based on the old style drinking houses in Japan. Its décor is a Japanese twist on industrial chic, with wooden tables and curved backed leather padded chairs, flanked on one side by a section of booths separated by hessian drapes and a buzzing bar on the other. The menu is extensive and shows off all the best Japanese food offers. We started with Sushi, enjoying Tuna Roll (£7) and Ebi Tempura (£14), where the king prawn tempura and avocado was surrounded by wonderfully sticky 4
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rice. We followed this with two choices from the large selection of sides, Ika Karaage (£8) and Pork Gyoza (£7.5). The Ika Karaage was the best of the pick, as it was a generous portion of salty squid, lovingly encased in light crispy batter with a wonderfully rich and creamy chilli mayo that provided just enough heat. Gyoza are a variant of the Chinese dish jiaozi, and were nicely crispy on one side and moist on the other with that extra hint of garlic which distinguishes it as being the Japanese variant. Following on from this we chose two skewers from the charcoal grill, Negima (£4), succulent chicken and spring onion with a teriyaki glaze, and Beef Teriyaki (£5), medium rare chunks of melt in your mouth, chuck beef. Japanese food is very organised and dishes are usually served separately so the tastes and flavours are not spoilt by being mixed, but our final dish was a notable exception to this rule. We both selected a Donburi (literally meaning bowl), myself a Tuna Zuke Don (£15), and my wife the King Prawn and Vegetable Tempura Don (£16). Tuna is such an underrated fish and many only know it as a fish in flakes, but here these wonderfully fresh and meaty strips of tuna just oozed freshness and for me should stand alone, as I felt they were slightly spoiled by an over-generous helping of wasabi which was just not needed. My wife’s dish was a feast for the tempura lover, with 3 enormous prawns and a variety of battered vegetables covering a satisfying portion of rice. There are 4 selections for dessert ranging from £6 to £8 and I won’t spoil it for you, but I suspect you won’t see many of their ice cream flavours anywhere else! Japanese food is rightly fast becoming a firm favourite and Sakagura, and its wonderful array of sake’s, just off Regents Street, is a great place to enjoy this fabulous and healthy cuisine in a wonderful environment.
Bodean’s BBQ Smokehouse
25 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JS Telephone: 020 7257 2790 www.bodeansbbq.com Bodean’s BBQ is currently enjoying expansion in the UK, and now has eight branches in London (including Fulham, Muswell Hill, Soho and Clapham), which has increased from four when we undertook our last review in 2012. This is not a great surprise considering the popularity of the barbecue concept here in the UK, and the beauty of a barbecue restaurant of course is that the pesky British weather cannot come along and spoil it! Having said all that, expansion such as this would not happen without first building up a solid reputation for consistently good food and Bodean’s seem to have this covered. In my opinion, a meat feast is a great idea on most nights, but especially appealing on a chilly, wintry night in late autumn. It was on such an evening as this that we visited the Convent Garden Bodean’s. We entered for an early evening meal at 6pm to a buzzing atmosphere. The small bar at the entrance has the feel of a sports bar and is very welcoming, with most of the seating in comfortable banquettes. There was a mixture of groups, families and intimate diners, all enjoying the lively surroundings. Bodean’s was opened in the UK in 2002 by an American, Andre Blais, who had a dream of bringing the taste, style, and soul of his beloved Kansas City barbecue to London. Andre is a keen ice hockey/sports follower, and his goal is to ensure that guests feel they are getting the ‘real deal’, as if they were sitting 3,775 miles away in KC, USA. Whilst I have never been to Kansas City itself, I have enjoyed visits to many parts of the States, and from my humble perspective it has an authentic US feel about the place. After an afternoon that had included a rather dreary round of The London Eye, shrouded by fog and drizzle, a great way to commence proceedings, in our opinion, was with cocktails. The menu is comprised of many classic cocktails, but I really enjoyed my ‘Louisville Orchard’ as recommended by the waitress. My wife sipped on her ‘Pacific Cooler’ whilst the kids loved their Hawaiian Punches. To start we ordered the Caroline Prawns – four flame-kissed Caroline Spiced Prawns with a Lime Wedge (£7.25). The Prawns were succulent with a slightly spicy kick, and complemented with the pleasant tang of the lime. Along with these we enjoyed the Mac & Cheese Balls- bread crumbed and fried with a creamy soft Monterey Jack Cheese centre (£5.45); indulgent and delicious. We couldn’t resist Bodean’s Nacho Supreme, and ordered this alongside, to create our own version of a ‘sharing platter’ of appetisers. This came topped with grilled cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and Jalapenos (£7.50). If you are a fan of barbecue food then you will WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
find the menu full of mouth-watering options ranging from Hot Deli Sandwiches, Burgers, Hot Dogs and Oak Smoked House Specialities to Classic Sharing Platters, Steaks, Salads and a variety of other Main Courses. If you are up for a challenge, and clearly my eldest son and I were, you could opt for the Boss Hog Platter for 2. At £49.90 this consisted of all the meat you could dream of - Spare and Baby Back Ribs, a Jacob’s Ladder Beef Rib, Burnt Ends, Pulled Pork, Chicken Thighs and Texas smoked Sausages - a huge platter served with Fries and Coleslaw. The varied meats provided a flavour of the many popular dishes Bodean’s BBQ is renowned for. All their meats are slow cooked at low temperatures, which keeps all the natural juices in the meat and enhances the flavour. This process also gives a wonderful smoky flavour to the meat. We found the meats to be tender and delicious, and enjoyed the variety of flavours and textures. The accompanying sauces complemented the meats well, and added an extra dimension of flavour. The challenge proved a little too great on this occasion and we were provided with a ‘doggy bag’ so we could take home the leftovers to enjoy the following day! My wife, being the representative healthy eater in our family ordered a Cobb Salad, with baby gem lettuce, beef tomato, egg, avocado and blue cheese dressing. This dish usually comes with pork burnt ends, but by her request these were replaced with grilled halloumi- a favourite salad accompaniment in our house at the moment. A great benefit to visiting Bodean’s with the family is that kids eat free all week from noon till 7 (One child per adult only; £5 at all other times). The kids menu includes 4 boned Baby Back Ribs, BBQ Chicken Breast, 4oz Beef Burger with an ice cream for dessert. Again, the portions are generous, and my younger son
really enjoyed his Beef Burger. There is also a varied range of sides available including such American classics as Corn bread, BBQ Beans and Mac and Cheese. The main courses range in price from £6.95 to £49.90 for our huge platter for 2, whilst sides are priced from £2.50. The wine menu offers a suitable range from £14.95 a bottle, and we chose a Malbec to accompany our meal. If you hail from the US and are longing for a taste of home they also serve a range of American beers. We could probably have passed on dessert, given what had gone before, but who could not be tempted into ordering the Key Lime Pie (only £3.95), which my wife and I shared with some ice cream. This was comfort food at its best...homemade, sweet and tangy. The kids had just enough room for Honeycomb and Strawberry Milkshakes! Dessert choices include traditional American classics such as Pecan Pie and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and next time I have already decided that I will give Eli’s New York Cheesecake a whirl. Bodean’s BBQ in Covent Garden is a fun, lively restaurant, with a great vibe. This marked my 5th Bodean’s restaurant, so I am becoming well versed in their offering … for meat lovers, there is undoubtedly a fantastic range of meats, and possibly (and surprisingly!) more food than we could manage in one sitting. It is a great place to visit with your family or a group of friends or to catch a Game (they have screens all around the restaurant, screening everything from Premiership football to American football, and be sure to check out the Game Day specials). Do book in advance where possible, as they can be busy. There are some great promotions, takeaway options, and even full catering for parties and events. You can also buy some of their signature sauces to take home with you - perfect for that Doggy bag. Arrive hungry!
67 Venn St, Clapham, SW4 0BD Telephone: 0207 627 3881 It’s not often that the two people who publish American in Britain magazine get the chance to actually sit down together for dinner, but I am delighted to say a couple of weeks before this issue went to print, Damian and I laid aside our proof reading (although we both took it on the train with us as we didn’t really have a minute to spare), and made our separate ways to Clapham Common to enjoy an evening of delicious Italian starters and pizzas, and what delighted me the most when I woke up the next morning, was that I hadn’t gained any weight, which I usually do having tucked into garlic bread, cold meats and pizza, so I honestly believe that the way the dough is specially made at Radio Alice, really is a much healthy option, and as much as I like Pizza Express, I think that I will be hopping back on the train for the pizza that is equally, if not more delicious, but that will also keep the weight off! Hailing from Bologna, brothers Matteo and Salvatore Aloe have brought their sourdough pizzas to London initially with Radio Alice on Hoxton Square, but Damian and I visited their newest opening on Clapham’s Venn Street that opened last June, and is situated just by Clapham Common station, in a pedestrianised road, with several restaurants and bars, and lovely outdoor lighting. The restaurant also has large tables outside, so I am already visualising my outdoor pizza experience once spring/summer arrives. Championing the belief that delicious pizza starts with a light and digestible sourdough base, (which I can now champion with them!), the brothers’ integrity in ingredients extends from the dough through to carefully sourced toppings. Allowing the dough to ferment for 24 hours, Radio Alice’s pizzaiolos use type 1 organic flour, with more nutrients than standard, refined flour and seasonal, organic toppings from Prosciutto di Parma with organic burrata and orange infused oil, 6
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to Amalfi coast Anchovies, tomato, red onion and lemon zest. The recipe was born in Bologna, and uses ancient baking techniques to help make the pizzas crisp on the outside and soft in the inside. By blending organic, stoneground flour with a mother yeast sourdough, they’ve created a base that’s light and nutritious. Using ingredients sourced from small-scale Italian suppliers, the toppings are portioned perfectly onto each slice and added at just the right moment, so you’ll enjoy them when they’re at their best. The atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxed, informal and buzzy, and we sat in one of the booths, alongside a party of 16 who thoroughly enjoyed their evening at Radio Alice! Our waitresses were lovely helpful and welcoming, and gave us the feeling that we really were in a family run restaurant somewhere in beautiful Italy! We started our dining experience with Garlic Bread (£2.50) and a Salumi Share Platter (£8), and enjoyed the sour dough garlic bread so much that we devoured a second portion! The menu at Radio Alice isn’t extensive and there is a choice of eleven pizzas, ranging in price from £5 for Tomato – garlic, parsley, to £12 for Proscuitto di Parma
– burrata, fiordilatte mozzarella, orange oil, but we chose the Butternut Squash – porcini mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano, black garlic, fiodilatte mozzarella (£10) and Speck – gorgonzola, fiodilatte mozzarella, honey, walnuts (£11). Both arrived pre-cut which was great as it made sharing very easy, and I did remark to our lovely waitress that they looked exactly the same as the photos they had on the internet (which was a good thing!). They were light, fluffy and crispy, and the toppings were original and delicious. You can order extras such as Chilli oil, garlic butter, olives, capers and anchovies, but in my opinion they don’t need any extras. There are also a selection of salads to choose from, but we weren’t feeling that health conscious that night! Following our pizzas, and having had a short rest to enjoy the last of our wine (the house wine is very good and priced at (£18.25), we chose a dessert each. Damian chose the Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake, which I didn’t really see as he devoured it so quickly (!) and I had a scoop of really chocolatey chocolate ice cream. Radio Alice is a great venue for friends and families, and we hope you enjoy your visit there as much as we did, although we both had to get straight back to work once we left to finalise our proof reading!
HOTEL REVIEW Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate Liphook, Surrey As a keen golfer I have played at almost every course in Surrey, and it was over 20 years ago since I last played Old Thorns, so I was really excited to reacquaint myself with a course which is so highly rated. Old Thorns really has developed from those days, and totally for the better, as they now have a Peter Allis designed golf course, a state of the art hotel, spa, restaurants, conference centre and wedding venue, which all work beautifully together. Old Thorns is just an hour away from London by car or train, and is conveniently situated just off the A3 in the lovely countryside around Liphook, and it is through these rolling hills that its golf course wends its merry way. The course was designed by Peter Allis and has many of his signature features, including small undulating greens and tricky doglegs, but what struck me most was the stunning views from the course, and that this course has something for every golfer, from the highest to the lowest handicapper. As we walked to the first tee we actually met
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Peter Allis coming the other way in a buggy, as he still has close links with the course, and despite his cheery salutation wishing us ‘God’s speed’, our play required greater divine intervention than that! Indeed, the course is that good that it has featured in many competitive events, and although it has a mature feel to it, it was actually only officially opened in 1982 by Jack Nicklaus, Bill Rogers, Seve Ballesteros and Isao Aoki - true golfing royalty. Once we finished our round we made our way into the hotel reception, past massive driftwood sculptures of an elephant, gorilla and a giraffe. The hotel has a flamboyant and modern feel which flows throughout the whole hotel, combined with exposed brickwork and old wooden beams, giving a throw-back vibe to the old dairy farm the hotel grew up from. Old Thorns has 162 rooms and 8 different room options, ranging from suites with jacuzzi baths, luxury toiletries and flat screen TV’s, to an eco pod village which are best described as glamping (posh camping to you and me). They
also cater for families with family rooms which have a double bed and 2 single beds, along with all the other amenities. All rooms are modern and stylish and the supportive mattress’ and crisp sheets ensure a restful night’s sleep. Having enjoyed our round of golf we were feeling very relaxed, and so made our way into the aesthetically stimulating Atrium Champagne Bar for a pre-dinner drink. The decoration here is a mix of sophistication and glitz with a dramatic brass mirrored curved bar dominated by a massive mirror ball casting shards of light over the pink seats. An interesting combination, but it does work! Having enjoyed a quiet cocktail we made our way over to the King’s Restaurant, where we were dining that evening. The restaurant continues the kaleidoscope of styles with intimate horseshoe-shaped booths and soft lighting mixing well with wooden beams and exposed brickwork, giving an overall cosy country theme. The food again is a mixture of styles where you can either enjoy an upmarket carvery, or their signature ‘Hot Rocks’. I chose
HOTEL REVIEW the carvery and enjoyed a full roast with crispy potatoes and succulent beef, all bathed in a rich gravy. My wife selected the steak ‘hot rock’ which consisted of a rock heated to over 200 degrees on which you cook your own steak strips or tuna. This came with chips and a number of sauces. The food was hale and hearty and perfect for golfers and spa guests alike. Old Thorns has other dining options to the King’s Restaurant including a newly opened Chinese Restaurant, The Lantern Room, and the Sports Bar, where diners can get a variety of bistro style food including Gourmet Burgers and a variety of bar classics including Beef and Ale Pie and Beer Battered Fish and Chips. After a wonderful night’s sleep and a generous buffet breakfast, my wife and I went over to the Spa to relax before our Spa treatments. The Spa at Old Thorns is an oasis of tranquillity in an ultra-modern shell. The Spa has a 20m pool, perfect for working off any excesses from the restaurants and is flanked by comfy loungers on one side and a family hot tub at its end. At the opposite end of the pool is the adults only area which also has a hot tub along with a sauna, steam room, an ice bucket shower and heated loungers. Having taken a swim and sat in the relaxing hot tub, my wife and I had to tear ourselves away to go for our treatments. I had a wonderfully relaxing back massage, perfectly executed by an expert masseuse, and my wife had a pedicure. I love a good hard massage, as although a little
painful at the time, it is perfect for removing those stress knots, and here just the right amount of pressure was applied. There is an extensive range of aromatherapy, therapeutic and indulgent treatments each using market leading products such as Decleor and OPI to choose from to satisfy the most ardent of Spa visitors, and the setting is the perfect place to unwind, relax and enjoy. For those more energetic than I, there is also a state of the art Fitness Club with a 25,000ft gym packed with 100 top of the range cardio and resistance equipment, all with breathtaking views of the golf course. There are also a multitude of classes to join, in fact 84 a week! So there’s something for everyone.
Old Thorns also has extensive conference facilities and is one of the most popular wedding venues in the South of England, and it is easy to see why, as the attention to detail and the quality of the staff and the facilities are second to none. I hadn’t visited Old Thorns for many years, but now having experienced the amazing transformation from a small golf club to a modern hotel with every facility you could wish for, it won’t be as long before I return again, as it has everything you could possible need all in a lovely country setting. For further information please visit www.oldthorns.com
The Play That Goes Wrong, 2017, West End ©Helen Murray
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY At the Theatre: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre There are so many great theatre shows and matinées to enjoy with the family for a day out including The Lion King, Matilda, Aladdin, and Mamma Mia to name a few. My family and I had seen Peter Pan Goes Wrong in the West End last Christmas, and we all loved it – in fact, we had never laughed as much. I was aware of The Play That Goes Wrong, which was the first show composed by Mischief Theatre, who then moved onto other productions including Pan and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, so thought it would make for a good Days Out write-up if we enjoyed a performance as a family (after a cake/coffee shop visit of course!). There is certainly nothing like Mischief Theatre’s shows in the West End, and as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong... does! This physical comedy would make everybody laugh, however grumpy they might be! The premise is that Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a 1920s- murder mystery, The Murder at Haversham Manor and due to a mix up with the RSC’s production of Equus, have ended up in the West End - this is all in the programme notes, which must be read, as they are as entertaining as the play. The evening starts off with a member of the audience being brought on stage with 10
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backstage staff doing last-minute adjustments and repairs to the set, including trying to mend a broken mantelpiece, and to find a dog that has run off. The play begins, after a brief welcome and perhaps warning, from the nervous director/producer, and through a period of two hours everything that could possibly go wrong in a theatrical production does indeed go wrong. It would not be giving anything away to say these mishaps include set pieces falling apart, understudies reading in and props not working properly. However, most of the trouble comes from the fictional actors themselves, losing props and picking up the first thing they can find as a replacement, mostly unintentionally causing injury to each other, losing their place in the script, over acting, competing, calling for their lines, and not staying dead when they are supposed to be. What is so clever in the construction of this piece is that these fictional actors refuse to improvise and will not stray from the script for a moment. The actors and actresses are all to be commended and worked beautifully as a group. They are all ridiculously over-the-top and are all ingenious at getting themselves into and out of difficult positions. Some of the action is quite physically daring, and left us gasping, but added to the excitement and our amusement. All of us laughed consistently throughout the production, as did the audience around us. It was also great to see so many children in the audience. There are not many non-musical
plays in the West End that are suitable for kids and this one will definitely make them laugh as much as their parents! Credit also has to go the set designer, Nigel Hook, who has created an incredible seemingly lethal set, and also the Director must be praised for making order out of all this chaos. Just the timings of entrances and exits must be a nightmare to coordinate. It is heart-warming to see a company of young actors, who have gone from the tiny Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington to UK tours and now established in the West End, succeed so dazzlingly without any ‘celebrities’ to sell the show. It’s not hard to see why The Play That Goes Wrong has been winning awards and 5-star reviews; the New York Times reviewed surmised that it is a ‘Gut-busting hit’ and with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Ant & Dec as the ‘funniest show we’ve seen! If you can get a ticket go’, we can see how it’s run has been so successful, so far … Our sons are aged 12 and 15, and are sometimes hard to please, but they can’t get enough of this. We’ve already discussed taking the grandparents in the new year. The Play That Goes Wrong is stumbling into its fourth catastrophic year, and we promise you will leave aching with laughter! Book now (tickets from £20.00) on 0330 333 4810 or visit www.ThePlayThatGoesWrong.com. The recommended age is 8+.
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY
Treasure Trails I have always loved puzzles and challenges, and this enjoyment has increased and developed over the years, and so when I found out that there is a company that provides informative treasure trails across the country I was delighted! Treasure Trails is a company who provide a wide variety of treasure trails on their website that cover the whole of the UK, and are perfect for all ages and mobilities. They are also a great way to spend time with your friends and family. All of the Trails cost £6.99, and are sent to you by email, so all you have to do is print them out, wrap up warm and set off. We live in Surrey, so on a chilly and crisp Sunday afternoon in November, my wife, my 15 year old daughter and I drove to Guildford to try and solve a murder mystery around the city centre. This mystery trail has a number of suspects and murder weapons, and as you walk through historic Guildford you solve clues and find names on monuments, walls etc., which enable you to eliminate suspects or weapons, leaving you eventually with just one of each. Some of the clues can be challenging to find, even for ardent treasure trailers, so if you are struggling you can text for help, but if you do miss a clue this won’t stop you continuing the trail, it just makes finding the murderer harder! Each clue was only a few minutes from the next, and kept us moving, as well as searching around
when we were at a point where we were to find an answer to a clue. I was in puzzle heaven, but what was really special was that my family spent time together, minus mobile phones, whilst also learning a lot about the town we were in, which in our case was Guildford. I had never realised that Guildford has so many interesting and picturesque places, including Guildford Castle which dates back to William the Conqueror’s times, and its connection with Lewis Carrol (he of Alice in Wonderland fame). It was also based just off the High Street, where there are many restaurants and coffee shops, so refreshments were never very far away! We also completed the trail fairly quickly, maybe due to my competitiveness and keenness, much to the amusement of my wife and daughter at times, so we even managed to fit in a bit of retail therapy towards the end of the afternoon. Treasure Trails are a wonderful way to extract your children from their phones and spend some quality time together whilst also learning about your local area, and just to add to the fun once you have solved the clues and identified the murder and weapon, you can submit your answer into a monthly prize draw to win £100, and in addition to this there is a certificate you can download for any kids on the Trail (big or small!). We thoroughly enjoyed our Murder Mystery Trail and highly recommend that you try them yourselves, and at £6.99 per trail, you can’t
go far wrong (unless you turn right instead of left!). On average, the trails take between 1-2 hours to complete. For further information please visit www.treasuretrails.com
THEATRE A Review of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ at the Playhouse Theatre By Lydia Parker
L-R Christian Slater (Ricky Roma) & Daniel Ryan (Lingk) - Glengarry Glen Ross at The Playhouse. Image credit Marc Brenner.
Glengarry Glen Ross, a visceral exploration of cut-throat competition in the male-dominated world of real estate, was written in 1983 by David Mamet, and is one of his best plays. It has inspired many other stories of men with no moral compass who egg each other on in a fierce contest where winning is all even if it destroys everything else in their lives. This behaviour indeed became not only accepted but celebrated in the 1980’s onwards on Wall Street and in the City. Mamet’s brilliant work looks at the peer pressure of a work environment and the gender expectations placed on men by each other as they battle to be the alpha male through bullying, insulting, cajoling and coercing their work mates into submission. The play begins with three short scenes set in an empty Chinese restaurant as Shelly Levene, a broker who is past his prime, tries to convince John, the office manager to give him some good leads, i.e. phone numbers of people who are likely to want to invest in the dodgy real estate they flog. Shelly is at the bottom of the ranking for sales, is in danger of being fired if he doesn’t improve and desperately offers John cash in exchange for some names. John clearly despises him and feels no obligation to help despite Shelly’s pleas for sympathy. The next scene sees Moss and Aaronow, two other brokers who also complain about a lack of good leads for their slump in sales. Moss muses that it would be easy to break into the office, make it look like a robbery, steal the leads and sell them to a rival company. His musings soon turn into a concrete plan which he declares must happen that night with mild- mannered Aaronow doing the breaking in. If he refuses, Moss will tell the police he was his accomplice. In the third scene, we meet Roma, the most successful broker, as he seduces a would-be buyer, Lingk, with a long monologue about the futility of a sense of morality. He believes each man must control his own destiny. An unusual lead in to a sales pitch, but one that seems to work. 12
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The final scene takes place in the office where a robbery has occurred and a gruff policeman is questioning everyone. Moss and Aaronow, are furious at the way the policeman has treated them. Levene is unconcerned as he has just made a huge sale on some property from a lead. He is back on top and boasting about his prowess. Roma is also strutting around after selling property the previous night to a willing patsy. Unfortunately, Lingk appears, having changed his mind, or rather having been told by his wife in no uncertain terms that he must get the money back. Events unfold in unexpected ways as each man frantically fights for survival. Glengarry Glen Ross is a short play but it is oddly divided, probably so that the scenery can be changed. After three short scenes lasting half an hour, there is an interval, followed by an hour of the second act. It would have made more sense to compromise on the set design, despite it being an excellent set, and run straight through. Speed and urgency are what is missing from this production. In general, the conversations feel inauthentic because they aren’t fast paced; words should be tumbling out on top of each other, the characters should not be politely avoiding interrupting each other. Mamet writes in a specific style which is particularly and distinctively American. It is possible this British cast could not get the speech rhythms or that Sam Yates, the director, purposely discouraged it. Instead it feels like they are wallowing in the beauty of Mamet’s expletive filled words, stretching out a short play into a longer one. Stanley Townsend, who was so mesmerising in Girl from the North Country and The Nether, gives a very different interpretation of Shelly than those seen in previous productions, emphasising the character’s swagger and posturing, rather than his weary desperation and vulnerability. His sonorous voice, which takes its time
making a point, and his imposing physical presence show a man who is always play acting and takes great joy in it, but never seems to expect that his life can truly implode at any minute through his own fault. Although he blusters and swears with the rest of them, his words lack any real aggression. Robert Glenister and Don Warrington are fine as Moss and Aaronow, but are missing a trick in their timing as cues are not picked up quickly enough, making their conversations seem rambling rather than compelling. Christian Slater, however, is outstanding as Roma, bringing a snake like charm to this ultimate snake oil salesman. Mr Slater understands Roma perfectly, the man who has brought real estate sales to another level by getting into existential conversations with strangers in order to make a sale. He exudes selfassurance which believably lures other men into trusting him because they want to be him. Kris Marshall, wearing big 1980’s glasses, is unrecognisable as the sneering, hard-nosed Williamson. Although his performance was slightly one note, he was completely believable as a man who hates everyone around him and enjoys lording his power over all his work colleagues. One of the best performances came from Daniel Ryan who plays the mostly silent Lingk, perhaps because he is the most sympathetic character in the play. If you are a Mamet fan and would like to see a different take on Glengarry Glen Ross, then definitely catch this production, which is worth seeing for Christian Slater’s superb performance alone. It is always heartening to see fine actors, including all of the capable cast, regularly returning to the stage. The play is still blisteringly relevant in a world where male celebrities and politicians are today being accused of sexual harassment and wondering where it all went wrong. Glengarry Glen Ross provides the answers. For tickets visit www.playhousetheatrelondon.com/ glengarry-glen-ross
WEALTH MANAGEMENT Eight Questions To Ask Yourself If You Are An American Living In The UK As an American living in the UK, almost nothing related to your financial affairs is easy. The consequences of seemingly simple decisions â€“ such as how to pay for a new home or purchase a mutual fund - may create unnecessary tax charges and complexities. Americans resident in the UK need to make financial decisions considering the interplay between two jurisdictions and the impact across the whole of their investment and wealth management spectrum. Below are eight common questions which can help you identify where the complexities in your financial lives may exist and steps you can take to address them.
Americans resident in the UK need to make financial decisions considering the interplay between two jurisdictions and the impact across the whole of their investment and wealth management spectrum. Q1. How long have you been resident in the UK?
Most Americans living in the UK are considered to be non-domiciled individuals for UK income tax purposes. In the first seven years that you live in the UK, non-domiciled 14
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individuals have the ability to pay tax in the UK on what is called the Remittance Basis. This means that you will pay UK tax on income earned in the UK and any untaxed income deemed to be brought onshore to the UK. However, after seven tax years, most non-domiciled individuals begin paying tax in the UK on worldwide income as it arises as the alternative involves paying an annual Remittance Basis Charge. And, after fifteen tax years, individuals generally lose the ability to choose taxation under the Remittance basis altogether. This results in Americans reporting worldwide income in both the US and the UK and claiming a tax credit, where appropriate, in the allowed jurisdiction. Once an individual is paying tax in the UK on a worldwide basis, the UK will tax any mutual fund or exchange traded fund investments held in the US at income tax rates instead of capital gains taxes, unless the fund investment has applied for something called UK reporting status with HMRC. As such, it is important to consider a review of your US investment portfolio in the years leading up to being taxed on the Arising Basis, to ensure that your US investment portfolio doesnâ€™t unknowingly attract unfavourable tax rates in the UK.
Q2. Have you ever invested in Mutual Funds or ETFs in the US? Do you still have those investments?
Many Americans who move to the UK do so with the intention of staying for just a few years. Often two years turn into five years which turn into ten years or more. As noted earlier, after being resident in the UK for more than seven tax years, many Americans begin paying tax in the UK on what is called the Arising Basis. This means that you are reporting your worldwide income to the UK tax authorities as it arises regardless of whether that income is remitted into the UK or not. Unless a non-UK collective investment has gone through a special reporting process with HMRC, the UK will view any gains earned on funds outside of the UK as Offshore Income Gains (OIG). This means that any gains earned on a fund without UK reporting status is subject to UK tax based
on your UK income tax band as opposed to the more favourable capital gains tax rates. Additionally, any OIG assets do not receive the benefit of the UK capital gains tax allowance. As such, in order to keep your financial affairs more flexible, it often makes sense to review the structure of your investments before beginning to pay tax in the UK on the Arising Basis and make any appropriate changes. HMRC publishes a list of offshore funds that have undergone the UK reporting status process.
Q3. Do you have any investments in Unit Trusts, Investment Bonds, ISAs, Collective Funds or ETFs either in the UK or anywhere else outside the US?
Once Americans gather assets outside of the US, they will often begin looking to invest in non-US based investments. However, investing in many non-US based investments can be highly tax inefficient from a US perspective. Any non-US regulated collective investments are considered to be something called a Passive Foreign Investment Company, or PFIC. Unless a special election is made in the first year of ownership, PFIC gains can often attract tax at the highest marginal income tax rates in the US (regardless of the level of your other income) as well as an interest charge. Up to 100% of the gain can be paid in tax. PFICs do not receive the benefit of capital gains tax rates in the US and PFIC gains cannot be offset against another PFIC loss. Common UK products, unless recognised under the US-UK income tax treaty, will often attract PFIC treatment. As ISAs are viewed as taxable accounts from a US tax perspective, the US tax authorities will look through the ISA wrapper to the underlying holdings and tax them based on the character of the investments. If you have ISAs it is important to invest in individual securities to then avoid PFIC treatment. If you hold any non-US regulated collective investments you should seek advice from a US-UK tax adviser to determine the tax consequences of selling and you should consider restructuring your finances to hold more tax-efficient investments.
Q4. What are your plans for the future? Are you intending to stay in the UK or return to the US?
Many Americans believe they will return to the US but don’t know when. Others are equally unsure whether they will remain in the UK, go elsewhere or return eventually to the US. Your long-term residency intentions in retirement and an understanding of where your long-term liabilities are will have important implications on how your investment assets are best structured. Foreign exchange risk can creep into portfolios if they are not structured properly, and having an understanding of where this lies is crucial when designing an investment portfolio. For example, the reference currency of your growth assets matters less when you have an unhedged globally diversified portfolio versus the denomination of your fixed income investment assets.
Q5. Do you have Pensions in the UK, US or elsewhere?
Holding a recognised pension asset under the US-UK income tax treaty can offer real benefits to appropriately managing the overall structure of your investment base. For example, if your long-term intentions are to remain in the UK and you hold recognised tax deferred pension assets in either the US or the UK, this can be a good place to shelter pure Sterling investment exposure within your portfolio without attracting negative tax consequences that can result from PFICs. Alternatively, if your intention is to return to the US, there may be opportunities to custody your UK pension on a US platform allowing US based investments to be held within the pension.
Q6. Do you know whether you have any Excess Foreign Tax Credits and do you know how you can utilise them?
Since UK tax rates are generally higher than US tax rates, many people generate excess FTCs on their US tax return that build up over time. These excess credits can be carried forward and utilised for up to ten years on foreign income that does not attract extra tax in the UK but attracts tax in the US. There are limited scenarios that these can be used, but this can be a valuable planning tool if the opportunity arises. Some common uses of excess FTCs can be towards UK pension contributions, contributions to an individually owned Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), or a Roth IRA conversion of deemed foreign source contributions made to an employer 401k WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
plan. It can be beneficial to review opportunities to utilise excess FTCs with a US-UK tax adviser.
Q7. Are you Married? If so, what is the nationality of your spouse?
Two US citizen spouses generally have less complications and complexities to consider with respect to the structure of their financial assets. However, when one spouse is a US person and the other is not, more consideration is often needed to determine the optimal structure of any investment assets. For instance, the non-US spouse will usually be able to take advantage of all of the tax favourable UK products without exposing themselves to negative US tax consequences whilst the US spouse cannot. Additionally, it can often be beneficial to review the ownership structure of real property when both spouses are not US persons.
Q8. Are you aware of the difference between the UK and US Estate/ Inheritance Tax Limits and the different Gifting Rules in the UK and US?
This is an area of potential change under Trump’s tax proposals but, in general, the US is very generous with its estate tax allowances, currently $5.6 million (2018 thresholds), for US citizens and those considered domiciliary residents for US gift and estate tax purposes. Lifetime gifting is tied to the US estate tax allowances, with any gifts in excess of $15,000 (to non-spouse individuals) or $152,000 (to non-US spouses) per year going towards the individual’s estate tax lifetime allowance. The UK on the other hand currently allows for generous lifetime gifting in the form of Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs) and for a £325,000 nil rate band per individual for inheritance tax. Whether an individual is considered deemed domicile or not will impact appropriate strategies for managing exposures in both jurisdictions. Managing optimal strategies for one jurisdiction is not easy, but having to understand and consider the interaction between two can make things even more complex. Taking the time to understand where those complexities in your financial lives lie, and seeking advice from a professional who understands how the US and UK rules interplay, can be incredibly valuable to keeping things simple, flexible and optimal as your plans inevitably evolve.
The above article does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individuals and is not to be construed as advice. You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. MASECO LLP trading as MASECO Private Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. MASECO Private Wealth is not a tax specialist. We strongly recommend that every client seeks their own tax advice prior to acting on any of the strategies described in this document. 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. Andrea spent the first 9 years 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. Andrea holds her UK Investment Advice Diploma and US Series 65 license.
Risk Warnings and Important Information
The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
TAXING ISSUES Deathly Taxing They say there are only two sure things in life - death and taxes. Americans abroad are all too familiar with the latter, which causes some to long for the former. What many don’t realise, however, is that the former can have some pretty nasty tax consequences! Often, to their detriment, Americans abroad, and their tax advisors, focus solely on income tax, and completely ignore US gift and estate taxes. This is a big mistake because gift and estate taxes can have a big impact on Americans married to non-US citizens and/or who live in foreign countries that have their own gift and estate taxes. For this reason, I thought US gift and estate taxes would be a good topic for this article. Hopefully, I can help shed some light on an often ignored and misunderstood area of US tax law. Before delving into specific examples of how gift and estate taxes can affect Americans abroad, I’ll give a brief primer on topic.
They say there are only two sure things in life death and taxes. Americans abroad are all too familiar with the latter, which causes some to long for the former. I will begin with gift tax. The US generally levies gift tax on the person giving the gift rather than the person receiving it. To reduce the burden of gift taxes, US citizens are given a lifetime gift tax exclusion, which is indexed for inflation annually; for 2017 it is $5,490,000 and for 2018 it is $5,600,000. Each time you give a gift, your lifetime exclusion is reduced by the Fair Market Value (“FMV”), not the basis, of your gift. Once your lifetime exclusion is used up, any additional gifts will be subject to gift tax at 16
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the applicable gift tax rate, currently 40%. In addition to the lifetime exclusion, US citizens are entitled to an annual gift tax exclusion that is adjusted for inflation from time-to-time; for 2017 it is $14,000 and for 2018 it is $15,000. The annual exclusion allows US citizens to gift up to the annual exclusion amount to an unlimited number of people tax-free, and without reducing their lifetime exclusion. For example, if you gifted $14,000 each to 5 different people in 2017, your lifetime exclusion wouldn’t be reduced, you wouldn’t have to file any forms, or pay any gift tax. But what if you gifted more than $14,000 to any one person during 2017? Assuming you were that nice, you would be rewarded by having to file a US gift tax return and potentially having to pay gift tax. If you hadn’t used up your lifetime exclusion, you would need to file a gift tax return to report the gift, and your lifetime exclusion would be reduced by the amount of the gift over $14,000. No gift tax would be due. If, however, you had already used up your entire lifetime exclusion, you would have to file a gift tax return and pay gift tax on the amount of the gift over $14,000. Here’s a quick example to illustrate. Assume you are a US citizen, and that in 2017 you gave $114,000 to your son. Since the gift was over the annual exclusion amount, you would need to file a gift tax return to report the gift. If you hadn’t used up your lifetime exclusion, it would be reduced by $100,000, the amount in excess of annual exclusion, to $5,390,000. You would owe no gift tax. If, on the other hand, you had used up your entire lifetime exclusion, you would be required to pay $40,000 in gift tax ($100,000 x 40%). In addition to the above, US citizen spouses benefit from what’s known as the marital deduction. The marital deduction allows US citizen spouses to gift an unlimited amount between one another tax-free, and without reducing their annual or lifetime exclusions, or having to file any forms. Did you catch the catch? The catch is that the marital deduction only applies to gifts between US citizen spouses. If you are married to a non-US citizen, even if they are a green-card holder, the marital deduction does not apply! The IRS does, however, throw you a bone in that there is a special annual gift tax exclusion for gifts to non-US citizen spouses. The exclusion amount is adjusted for inflation annually, and is $149,000 for 2017 and $152,000 for 2018. Any gifts over the annual exclusion amount will reduce your lifetime exclusion or be subject to gift tax if you’ve already used up your lifetime exclusion.
US citizen spouses, on the other hand, can receive an unlimited amount of gifts from their non-resident alien spouses free of US gift tax. Next up, is US estate tax. US estate taxation is closely related to US gift taxation in that whatever lifetime gift tax exclusion a US citizen decedent has left at death, can be used as an estate tax exclusion. Estate tax is levied on the FMV, not basis, of a decedent’s worldwide assets. As long as the value of the decedent’s estate is less than the remaining balance of their lifetime exclusion, no estate tax would be due. If, however, the FMV of the decedent’s estate was more than the remaining balance of their lifetime exclusion, estate tax - currently 40% - would be levied on the overage. US citizen spouses can inherit an unlimited amount from one another tax-free, and without reduction of their lifetime exclusion. A US citizen spouse can also inherit an unlimited amount from their non-US citizen spouse tax-free. If, however, a US citizen died and left their estate to their non-US citizen spouse, the FMV of their entire estate would go against the deceased US citizen spouse’s remaining lifetime exclusion, and any overage would be subject to estate tax.
US citizen spouses can inherit an unlimited amount from one another tax-free, and without reduction of their lifetime exclusion. Now that we’ve got the basics of US gift and estate tax out of the way, let’s examine how the gift and estate tax rules can catch unsuspecting taxpayers off-guard. Assume Joe, a US citizen living in London marries Emma, a non-US citizen, in 2017. Once married, Joe decides to add Emma to his bank and investment accounts, which have a total balance of $500,000. Joe’s actions, while well intentioned, could constitute a $250,000 gift in the eyes of the IRS. Joe could have inadvertently used up $101,000 of his lifetime exclusion ($250,000 - $149,000). His ignorance of the gift tax rules, could cause
TAXING ISSUES him to inadvertently fail to file a gift tax return, resulting in substantial penalties.
I strongly recommend hiring competent tax advisors in each relevant country to ensure the outcome. The point is, plan your gifts, and your estate, carefully! Another common mishap is when a US citizen gives a gift to someone residing in a country, like Germany, that levies gift tax on the recipient of the gift rather than the person giving the gift. In a case like this, it is possible the US could levy gift tax on the person giving
the gift, and Germany could levy gift tax on the person receiving the gift; the total gift tax could be almost as much as the gift! I strongly recommend hiring competent tax advisors in each relevant country to ensure the best outcome. The point is, plan your gifts, and your estate, carefully! Jimmy Sexton, LL.M. is the President and CEO of Esquire Group, a company he co-founded in 2005. Esquire Group is a boutique international tax advisory firm specialising in international tax planning and compliance for both corporate and individual clients. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, a Juris Doctor (J.D.), and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) post-graduate degree in International Taxation. Mr. Sexton focuses primarily on advanced tax planning strategies for high-net worth and corporate clients. His areas of special competence include corporate structuring, expatriation, cross-border estate planning, and US tax compliance. Regarded as an expert in the field of international taxation, Mr. Sexton has lectured at the United Nations, eBay, Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) clubs throughout Europe and the Middle East, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Sexton has also been cited in
major media outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, and the Vienna Review. Under Mr. Sexton’s leadership, Esquire Group has grown into an international firm with offices in 4 countries (Austria, Germany, UAE, and the United States). From his base in Dubai, he regularly travels throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas meeting with clients, speaking, and overseeing Esquire Group’s global operations. Mr. Sexton is a member of the Milken Institute’s Young Leaders Circle, a group of intellectually curious and motivated individuals who support the Institute and its mission to improve the lives and economic conditions of diverse populations around the world. Visit www.esquiregroup.com for further information.
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REFLEXOLOGY The Power of Reflexology by Heidi Porter, Happy Soles Reflexology In this age of extended working hours, 24/7 availability through email and digital media, and the feeling of a narrowing, pressurised job market, it is no surprise that the word ‘stress’ has become part of our everyday vocabulary. Try counting how many times you hear it used during the course of a day. It seems that just about everyone is juggling too many balls and inevitably one or more of these ‘balls’ gets dropped from time to time. Of course, we are quick to associate ‘stress’ with negativity, but it is a necessary human response and one that actually does us good in small short-lived doses. For example, that ‘buzz’ you get when your back is up against the wall to meet a deadline and suddenly your productivity and energy goes into overdrive with the result that you manage to smash the task. Adrenaline flows and stress helps get the job done. Or being thrust into an emergency situation when something inside you that seems to be out of your own conscious control takes over and just reacts. Stress saves lives and makes heroes of ordinary people. But as with most things, whilst a little may do you good, too much has the reverse effect. When the ‘stress’ is ongoing and long-term there are physiological effects on the body. Stress hormones, known as cortisol, are released to help the body maintain supplies of blood, and in doing so, the immune system is suppressed. A suppressed immune system can then lead to all sorts of health issues, as the body deals with the nitty gritty of survival, rather than maintaining balance, known as ‘homeostasis’ in the body. The longer the stress continues, the greater the health consequences become.
To put some positivity back into this article we have more options available to us than ever before if we decide to be proactive in breaking this cycle, or in addressing health issues that crop up. Alongside the medical route of seeing a pharmacist, GP or specialist, there is a growing market in alternative and complementary therapies. There is an important difference between these two which is often misunderstood. An alternative therapy is generally used instead of conventional medical treatment whilst a complementary therapy is used alongside medical treatment. Within this latter category, you will find therapies such as acupuncture, massage and reflexology. All of these treatments harness the therapeutic power of touch, but reflexology is sometimes seen as the latecomer to the party and viewed by some with indifference or suspicion. Actually, being a ‘latecomer’ couldn’t be further from the truth as reflexology has been practiced for over 5000 years. Unlike acupuncture it is a non-intrusive therapy. It works through the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg and hands correspond with different areas of the body; for example, the big toe relates to the head and neck. Reflexologists believe that working these ‘reflex points’ aids relaxation, improves circulation, and helps the body get back into balance- aiming to achieve ‘homeostasis’. Alongside these benefits, reflexology works to help eliminate toxins from the body, that are built up in all of us through day to day life. For this reason, you will be encouraged to drink plenty of water after a treatment to help your body flush out any such chemicals. Many people use reflexology as a means of
alleviating the symptoms of a wide range of health conditions, and whilst there are many studies seeking to ‘measure’ the impact of reflexology scientifically, it is the vast weight of anecdotal evidence that seems to have pushed this previously little known therapy into the mainstream. I first experienced it in a hospital whilst receiving treatment for breast cancer, and I became more and more interested as I recognised the beneficial effect it was having on me - it enabled me to relax, and switch off my mind, something I could not manage to achieve myself at that time. I went on to have treatments regularly throughout my recovery at a local Cancer Centre, and now two years on, I have trained as a reflexologist myself. I continue to be fascinated by the power of this therapy, and especially with regard to tackling stress. The combination of pressure and therapeutic touch activates the part of our nervous system that moderates, calms and relaxes, enabling it to reduce our body’s stress response. This often continues well after the treatment has finished, resulting in an improved sense of wellbeing. It is no surprise then, that more and more people are seeking reflexology, and with some hospitals and clinics beginning to offer it to their patients, it is more widely available than ever before. If you are looking to improve your sense of wellbeing in 2018, then perhaps reflexology is a good place to start? Heidi Porter is a Practitioner at Happy Soles Reflexology (find us on Facebook). Heidi undertakes home and corporate visits in South London. For further information please contact Heidi on Heidifirstname.lastname@example.org.
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SECURE HOUSE & PET SITTERS Winston Hayles is your pet’s friend and keeper in the UK so you can stay secure in the trust that your loved one and your home will be cared for as you would desire and expect. Winston has a great track record of caring for pets in the UK. He understands how much you worry about yours when you leave them behind, after all he or she is member of your family. It is traumatic and daunting for your pet; they miss you when you are not around and especially if they have to leave their home to go into a kennel or to stay with friends elsewhere. Secure Sitter is a reputable and well established company that provides you with a premium, fully insured overnight or drop-in house and pet sitting service. Winston’s American clients are also available for References and happy to speak to you for your peace of mind. Contact Winston at Secure Sitter today and let’s start a conversation. US TOLL FREE: 1-866-290-0504 (24hrs) UK FREEphone: 0800-783-2129 (24hrs) UK Cell: +44-(0)-774-341-5695 eMail: SecureSitter@hotmail.com
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LEGAL MATTERS Unmarried Partners In The UK Whilst married and civil partners are still the most common family type in the UK and also the USA, more and more couples are choosing to live together outside of marriage. Whilst some US states recognise such unions as common law marriages, that term has no meaning in the legal system of England and Wales. It’s a well-quoted, but inaccurate urban myth. This can come as a nasty shock to some cohabitees at the end of their relationship, and there is widespread misunderstanding about the gap in legal protection. If a married couple separates, they can both make wide-ranging financial claims against each other under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Orders can cover maintenance, property and even split a pension. The judge at Court has wide discretion to make orders to ensure that both husband and wife and their children will be properly provided for, and generally no one walks away empty handed. But there is no unified body of law in this country that protects cohabitants, and it is possible for couples to live together for decades and raise children together, then for the financially weaker partner to be left in difficulty if the relationship finishes. There is no right to maintenance or other personal claims between former cohabiting partners, and this can cause severe injustice after a long relationship. This is currently the focus of a campaign for reform and you may have seen mention of this in the national press. However, the law does offer some protection to cohabitees’ rights to live in or share in the value of their home via the Trusts of Land (Appointment of Trustees) Act. When couples buy a home together in this country, they will be asked by their conveyancing solicitors if they want to own the property as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. This is important, and the terms have difficult meanings and implications that they do in some states of the US. In England and Wales, Joint Tenants own equal shares and have automatic survivorship rights. This mean that if one owner dies, the survivor would automatically inherit the deceased’s share in the property. Tenants in Common can own unequal shares, and they do not have automatic survivorship rights. That means if one partner dies, their share would become part of their testamentary estate to be divided up according to their Will. If cohabiting partners are making different and unequal financial contributions towards the property, it is absolutely vital that the WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
documents prepared at the time of the purchase describe them as Tenants in Common, and set out what their respective shares in the property are agreed to be. This can be done either on the Land Registry forms at the time of purchase or in a separate contract called a Deed of Trust. A Deed can also set out what the owners want to happen in the future in respect of additional financial contributions (perhaps if one partner pays for an extension on the home) and/or what they have agreed should happen if they separate and whether one should have the right to buyout the other’s share in the future or the circumstances in which the property should be sold. It’s never too late to deal with this, but it must be done properly – a verbal agreement or a scribbled note on the back of the cornflakes packet is not enough. I have a specialist practice in cohabitee cases and I see many clients who were not aware that they needed to formally deal with their agreement, and they can end up in litigation as a result. But the law can assist, and this is where the Trusts of Land Act comes into play. This is a complicated area of property law and it is easy for non-lawyers to become confused by the plethora of legal terms that they may meet, such as constructive trust, resulting trust, proprietary estoppel and beneficial interests. But essentially the law provides that if the ownership of the property does not properly reflect either the parties’ joint agreement about their respective shares, or one party’s unilateral belief that they have a share but where the home is registered in the name of their partner only, a claim can be made under the Act. The Court will try to rectify the situation and can declare the proper split of the equity in the property (i.e. who owns the balance of the value after the mortgage has been deducted) or order a sale. There is also another option if the couple have children and a claim could be made under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, for an order providing that the parent with care of the children can stay in the property until the children reach adulthood, or that the financial stronger party has to assist them with the cost of rehousing. This would be on a trust basis, and the money would revert back to the other parent when the children are grown. The Court can also make orders relating to maintenance and other expenses such as school fees. This is again a complicated area of law and it is essential to take legal advice.
Judith Fitton, Pa r t n e r in the Fa m i l y Department of Mundays LLP in Cobham and has 23 years’ experience in the field of high net worth divorces. She also has a niche practice in cohabitee Judith Fitton matters and disputes between non-married couples as to their property interests or their children. Judith is accredited as a specialist in this field by Resolution and mentioned in The Legal 500 UK 2017 as being “‘thorough, to-the-point, very focused and clear”.
Please come and visit our stand at
THE AMERICAN FINANCIAL & LEGAL SEMINAR MONDAY 29TH JANUARY at Smith & Wollensky, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2 We will be happy to discuss how we can help you with any legal issues you may have
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Cozy Culture... Judith Schrut takes you on a brief but spectacular tour of the New Year’s cultural treats With the festive season’s glitz and glitter well behind us and those tell-tale crocus, snowdrops and blue skies of spring not quite ready to put in an appearance, you may be wondering how to muddle through these wintry waiting weeks. Good news! Britain’s got loads of cocklewarming treats this time of year. So, resist that urge to hibernate and tuck into our top ways to cut those frosty feelings down to size.
1. Cold Hands, Warm Art
We think a winter’s outing to one of the UK’s 2500 museums or art galleries is a perfect way to cheat the chill. Seems like millions of visitors agree; together, Britain’s top 5 museums (British Museum, Tate, Natural History Museum, V&A and National Gallery) attract an astonishing 27 million visitors each year! With free entry, first class collections, splendid late night events, cozy eating, lovely gift shops and loads of family activities, they offer easy escapes out of the cold and into the imagination. The award-winning and ever innovative Victoria and Albert Museum in London’s South Kensington is the world’s greatest museum of art and design. The V&A, as it’s affectionately known, houses 150 galleries and nearly 3 million objects from around the world and across the ages, from breathtaking jewellery, glass, theatre and performance collections, to glorious displays of silver, fashion, ceramics and much, much more. Its adorable little sister, the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, holds a further treasure trove of toys, games, dolls and dollhouses. For 2018, the V&A’s special exhibitions include Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, Fashioned from Nature and Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic, a multi-sensory and playful journey celebrating one of the world’s favourite fictional characters. Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, re-imagines 100 years of ocean travel’s ‘golden age’ via paintings, furniture, fashion, ship models, photographs and film, from early steamships of Victorian Britain through the heady years of cruise ships like the Titanic, the Queen Mary and the QE2. Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe will be the first show outside of Mexico to display the powerful and passionate Mexican painter’s clothing and personal possessions, which played an important part in her style and expression. This year also sees the opening of V&A’s epic Photography Centre, flaunting a magnificent collection of historic and contemporary WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
Pablo Picasso, La Reve (The Dream), 1932. Private Collection, copyright Succession Picasso, DACS London, 2017
Amedeo Modigliani, Jeanne Hébuterne, 1919, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
photographs, cameras and other unique items. The Centre’s suite of rooms, state-ofthe-art displays and vast digital resources for photography enthusiasts around the world will be unveiled in autumn, alongside a museumwide photography festival. The four Tate siblings— Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives— are chock full of temptations for art lovers, with unparallelled collections set in superb spaces. Tate Modern starts the year with a dazzling retrospective of Amedeo Modigliani’s work. Although dying tragically young, Modigliani is considered one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, known for his iconic portraits, sculptures and nudes. The exhibition includes a groundbreaking and unforgettable virtual reality room, allowing viewers to experience sights, sounds and sensations of the early 20th century Paris of Modigliani and his bohemian contemporaries. Not shy about sharing its embarrassment of riches, Tate Modern follows with another blockbuster show, Picasso, 1932: Love, Fame and Tragedy, displaying 100 head-turning paintings and other works created during what’s been called Picasso’s prolific “year of wonders”. If you’re visiting Cornwall any time soon, be sure to stop by recently transformed Tate St Ives, now blessed with double the space, refurbished beachside galleries, a stunning new gallery sunk into the cliffside, rooms for events and learning and a spectacular glazed roof terrace with views over the sea. Tate Liverpool hails its 30th birthday with
offerings of two 20th century art giants, radical Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele and French Pop-Art forerunner, Fernand Leger, while Tate Britain continues with Impressionists in London, telling the visual story of the many artists who fled to Britain to escape war in France. Scotland hosts some of Britain’s familyfriendliest museums. At Glasgow’s futuristic looking Science Centre you’ll find more than 300 hands-on exhibits, interactive workshops and live science shows as well as a planetarium, ubercool IMAX cinema and the famous Glasgow Tower, the world’s tallest fully rotating freestanding building with thrilling vistas. Kelvingrove Gallery is a wonderland of fine art, arms and armour, a suspended Spitfire airplane, Sir Roger the Elephant and the Beehive, designed to allow bees in and out of the building. Those attracted to the curious and unusual will find Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum a must. Like many Victorians, August Pitt Rivers was an obsessive collector, and his lifetime of exploration and discovery is on display here. Glass cabinets line walls and floors from top to bottom, stuffed with African masks, Japanese arms and armour, magic amulets and charms, body jewellery, shrunken heads, an intriguing variety of bone art and thousands of other remarkable objects from around the globe. Literature lovers will be charmed by Keats House in London’s Hampstead, the early 19th century villa where Romantic poet John Keats lived and wrote his most celebrated works. Keats’ life was inspirational but tragic. Born in 1795 and WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
V&A’s new Photography Centre, render of The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery, copyright David Kohn Architects, courtesy V&A Press Office
orphaned young, he left school at 14 to train as a surgeon. Though not wealthy, he then gave up medicine to dedicate his life to poetry. Ill health, family deaths, unkind critics and frustrated love marked his short, painful life. Keats died of tuberculosis aged 25, leaving behind some of the finest poems in the English language. After a morning or afternoon exploring Keats’ Hampstead, there’s still time to pop into the Dickens Museum, former London home of beloved Victorian writer and social activist, Charles Dickens. Wander the fascinating rooms where Dickens lived with wife Catherine, their children and servants, where he slept, ate, hosted elaborate dinner parties and wrote Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby. Visitors can also enjoy atmospheric candlelit evenings, tours, costumed walks and intimate performances. The Museum’s current exhibition honours one of the author’s most cherished tales, A Christmas Carol, in partnership with The Man Who Invented Christmas, a star-spangled new movie about the story’s creation. Further information: vam.ac.uk tate.org.uk glasgowsciencecentre.org keatshouse.org.uk
2. Best in Show
Are your fires best lit by toasty and traditional pantomime, steamy and serious drama or toetapping, soul-warming musicals? Whatever your stage tastes, depend on UK Theatreland to deliver a snowplough of fabulous shows to snuggle up to this winter. For gorgeous, if pricey, family entertainment, you’re guaranteed a great time with stand out West End oldies-but-goodies like 42nd Street, The Lion King and Matilda. For more adventurous fare, try Kinky Boots (soon touring the UK) or the zany musical version of Young Frankenstein. Hotly-tipped West End newbies this coming year include the Tony-winning Lincoln Centre transfer of The King and I, a sparkling, gender-swapped Company and the eagerly awaited UK premiere of Hamilton. Sadlers Wells/Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s charming 20th anniversary production of The Snowman will enchant children (and children at heart) of all ages. Enter the wintry world of a small boy and his snowman, a magical mix of dance, spectacle, live music, storytelling and real snowflakes, meet dancing penguins, cheeky reindeer, Father Christmas and an Ice Princess, and escape the clutches
of (only a teeny bit scary) Jack Frost. Who could ask for more from a family show? In London and touring, including Milton Keynes, Brighton and Southampton in January. This winter, the always impressive National Theatre presents world premieres of Pinocchio, the classic story brought to life as never before with music and songs from the Walt Disney film, and Network, its acclaimed stage version with an electrifying cast led by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey; Godless). You can also catch top-notch NT-originated productions Hedda Gabbler, War Horse, Oslo and the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in the West End or on tour. Even more exciting to find that friends and family back home can enjoy all these wonderful shows, as NT broadcasts in movie theatres across the USA as part of National Theatre Live. Meanwhile, London’s many fringe venues offer a pleasure and quality match for the West End’s best, at a fraction of the price. For something completely different as well as beautiful, historic and inexpensive, you’ll love an evening at Wilton’s Music Hall. This one-of-a-kind gem in the heart of London is the oldest Grand Music Hall in the world. Recently re-opened after a splendid restoration and re-design, Wilton’s proudly hosts a year round programme of exceptional shows and community events. Highlights of the coming season include the mesmerising Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, a tale of lifelong love and artistic collaboration of Bella and Marc Chagall accompanied by live Klezmer music, an uproarious, old-fashioned ‘knees up’ from Carradine’s Cockney Singalong, featuring songs of World Wars I and II, music hall and West End show tunes, and children’s favourite time-travelling magicians, Morgan and West. Britain’s excellent regional theatres should also not be overlooked for outstanding drama, musicals and family-friendly shows. A hop, skip and long jump from London, you’ll find Salisbury Playhouse, with its reputation for choice theatre as well as an inspirational youth theatre company. Winchester has Theatre Royal, offering a unique mix of historic and contemporary architecture and shows for all ages in one of the UK’s most beautiful venues. Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex has been producing world-class theatre for over 50 years, including a regular stream of West End transfers like Guys and Dolls, Gypsy and Caroline, or Change. Further north are thespian treasures such as Manchester’s Royal Exchange and Liverpool’s Everyman, The Snowman, photo courtesy Sadlers Wells Press Office
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, (Marc & Bella Chagall) Kneehigh Theatre, Wlltons Music Hall, photo copyright Steve Tanner
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Scene from Network, centre, Bryan Cranston. Image taken by Jan Versweyveld, courtesy National Theatre Press Office
recent recipients of the RIBA Stirling Prize, the world’s most prestigious architecture award…. the list goes on and on. The Everyman’s coming year looks especially interesting and diverse, with a panto rock’n roll Little Mermaid, an edgy and enthralling Clockwork Orange and Wild West musical, Paint your Wagon. Finally, when treating yourself to a show this winter, remember the Golden Rule: there’s no need to pay full price! You’ll be amazed how many theatres have hugely discounted on-theday tickets to in-person callers, students and over-60s. Do also check out Leicester Square’s official half-price ticket booth or the numerous online theatre discount sites. For really useful tips on choosing seats and insider reviews, consult Theatre Monkey. Further information: wiltons.org.uk www.sadlerswells.com nationaltheatre.org.uk everymanplayhouse.com
3. Backstage at the BBC
Whether you’ve lived in the UK for the proverbial donkey’s years, or arrived here more recently, you’ll be familiar with that national treasure known as the BBC, short for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Many of us enjoy or, let’s be honest, need a fix of our beloved Beeb on a daily basis, whether via television, radio, iPlayer or online. But there are many other ways to get upfront and personal with ‘Auntie Beeb’. One of the very best is to join a behind the scenes tour at the amazing BBC Media City in Manchester, or at one of many outstanding regional studios including BBC Bristol Centre, Birmingham’s The Mailbox, Newcastle’s Pink Palace and Pacific Quay in Glasgow, riverside headquarters of BBC Scotland. You’ll have WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of your favourite stars, visit backstage studios and have a go at making your own news or weather bulletins in interactive studios. Media City is also home to Children’s BBC and has created a fab CBBC tour especially for young people. Tours are free or reasonably priced but very popular, so be sure to book well in advance. If you’ve always dreamed of seeing your favourite show filmed or broadcast live, why not sign up to the BBC’s online mailing list and apply for free tickets to dozens of popular TV and radio shows? Favourites include Strictly Come Dancing, the Now Show, the Dog Ate my Homework and Friday Night is Music Night, the world’s longest running live radio programme. Those with chutzpah may prefer to take part as contestants. If so, you can apply to pitch your wits or test your quizzability IQ in quiz shows Eggheads, Impossible, Mastermind and Only Connect or competitions like Who Dares Wins. Consider having your house renovated by the DIY SOS: Big Build team or your garden made over by the flowery folks at Garden Rescue. Bring your heirlooms and car boot bargains to the Antiques Roadshow. Or nominate your Mammy for Mrs Brown’s Mammy of the Week award. Further information: bbc.co.uk/showsandtours Home of the Beeb - BBC Media City, Salford, Manchester, photo by Geoffrey Davies
4. The Sounds of Music
With hundreds of live music venues, no wonder many music lovers liken Britain to Music Heaven. When it comes to classical, jazz, opera, folk, grime or hip hop, this may be a small island but it’s one with an unrivalled set of musical grooves. Few would call it beautiful; many call it brutal, nonetheless the Barbican Centre boasts some brilliant music spaces and welcomes 2018 with a glorious glut of worldclass orchestras, bands, choirs and solo artists. For those unfamiliar, the Barbican is a 35-acre art, culture and housing complex in the heart of London’s financial district, built over an area left devastated by World War II bombs. It’s now home to the London and BBC Symphony Orchestras, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Museum of London, and includes concert halls, cinemas, a theatre and a major art gallery as well as shops, pubs and restaurants, several hundred luxury apartments, magical roof gardens, a manmade lake with fountains and the best public library in the UK. The Barbican Centre’s upcoming year is themed The Art of Change, a banner which will include a generous sprinkling of visits from top musical Americans. February sees legendary Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on Brit shores for an invigorating residency of concerts, workshops and master classes. A recreation of “King of Swing” Benny Goodman’s famous and historic 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, the first interracial concert in New York, will be a highlight of their visit. Next to arrive will be the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its magnetic conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, bringing another of its hugely popular annual residencies as international orchestral partner. The visit WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
Taylor Mac & his astonishing 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act, image credit Sarah Walker, courtesy Barbican Media Relations
features a programme of great American music, the European premiere of Ted Hearne’s Place, an original musical story of growing up in Chicago, and a triumphant transatlantic orchestra made up of young musicians from East London and LA. Later in the year, New York’s spectacular, subversive Taylor Mac re-imagines the social history of America with his highly acclaimed 24-Decade History of Popular Music: the First Act, an extravaganza of music, art, activism and entertaining mass ritual. Finally, from left field (and Australia) comes never-dull Barry Humphries and his Weimar Cabaret - a risqué, sophisticated and seductive tribute to the jazz-infused music of Germany’s Weimar Republic. Meanwhile, over at London’s The Southbank Centre, the refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room will re-open, celebrating with some adventurous treats for music lovers such as Steve Reich’s Different Trains, Carl Davis conducting two movie jewels from Hollywood’s silent era with live orchestra and original scores, a full on, allGershwin afternoon of music, dance and toetapping Broadway tunes, an evening delighting in 50 years of James Bond in music, and new orchestral works by Sir Harrison Birtwhistle and Unsuk Chin. Ms. Chin’s mystical and echoing Le Chant des Enfants des Étoiles (The Song of the Children of the Stars), for symphony orchestra, children’s choir and organ, is based on the idea that `all humans are stardust’. Well, why not? You can always depend on Southbank Centre to offer plenty for families and young people, like the popular FUNharmonics family concerts, along with many attractive free options, including monthly social dances, Friday Tonic, after-work concerts and many other free foyer events. Further information: barbican.org.uk southbankcentre.co.uk 26
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5. Awesome Anniversaries
Make a date with history as 2018 Britain celebrates a bevy of famous birthdays and anniversaries. Classical music lovers will be saluting the 350th birthday of Baroque composer Francois Couperin, the 200th birthday of Romantic era’s Claude Debussy and the centenary of American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, Candide), as well as that of his peerless choreographic collaborator, Jerome Robbins.
Happy 100th! Suffragettes and Votes for Women Campaigners Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst
Rock and pop fans will fete Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus as they turn 25, Kylie Minogue, Bono, Will Smith and Shaggy at 50, Madonna at 60, and Mick Jagger, the grand old man of rock, who will be 75. We’ll be fondly remembering the late Prince and Michael Jackson; both would have turned 60 this year. Two hundred years ago, in 1818, young author Mary Shelley gave life to Frankenstein’s monster. Feel free to honour the occasion by re-reading her novel, taking part in Dorset’s Shelley-Frankenstein Festival, or seeing for yourself how the story’s been changed— just a titch— in Mel Brooks’ hilarious West End musical, Young Frankenstein. 2018 also marks 100 years since women in Britain first gained the right to vote. Amongst many centenary events saluting Women’s Suffrage will be a major exhibition at the Houses of Parliament, a feminist film season at Barbican Cinema and Old Vic Theatre’s world premiere of Sylvia, a dance, hip-hop, soul and funk modern musical celebrating the life of Sylvia Pankhurst and her pivotal role in the passionate campaign for women’s rights. Last but by no means least, 1968—50 years ago— was a landmark year at the movies, release year for a feast of films now considered classics: Oliver, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Odd Couple, Funny Girl, Yellow Submarine, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang and Rosemary’s Baby, to name a diverse handful. Expect no shortage of Golden Anniversary screenings, fan events and limited-edition merchandise for each. 2001: A Space Odyssey, will be particularly honoured. It was groundbreaking at the time and is still widely considered the best sci-fi movie ever made, with astonishing cinematography and music, Oscar-winning special effects and memorable back-talking computer, Hal. Diehard fans certainly won’t want to miss The Southbank Centre’s exciting anniversary screening in April with live orchestra. Further information: oldvictheatre.com barbican.org.uk ukvote100.org Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. Let us know if we’ve missed something special you think our readers might like to cozy up to this winter: Contact Judith at californianinlondon.dudaone.com.
2001a Space Odyssey at 50, Screening with orchestra at Southbank Centre
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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS North American Connection
Are you an American lady living in the Birmingham, Warwickshire, Solihull or surrounding areas? If so, we would love to meet you at one of our many exciting events taking place in 2018! 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 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 here to provide friendship and support, as well as social, educational and philanthropic activities for our members. Although most of our members are from the United States and Canada, we also have members 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 of women who are here due to a shortor 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. Coming up in the next few months we have a lot of fun and interesting activities planned. We are happy for you to come join us for a couple of events before deciding on whether or not 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.’
Hampstead Women’s Club (HWC)
The Hampstead Women’s Club (HWC) is a diverse, social organisation for women living in the London area. Our purpose is to provide a sense of community through social, educational and charitable activities. Recent Highlights A great time was had by all at our Fall Kickoff Meeting to start our new year at the HWC! A record attendance of members and prospective members joined us for a wonderful September morning at The Freemasons Arms. We heard from Stacy Popovici, our President, learned about the different activities and interest groups of the club, and got to shop from members selling products and services. We finished with a pub quiz with prizes from many generous merchants in and around Hampstead. A huge highlight of the Fall was a once in a lifetime opportunity of having lunch in the Peers Dining Room at The House of Lords. Ten lucky members had a 3-hour delicious lunch among members of Parliament, and an opportunity to buy fantastic goodies in the gift shop! In October we also held our annual children’s Halloween parade through Hampstead. Children in fancy dress made their way to various stations getting all treats and no tricks! Taking advantage of the Halloween spirit, the Cheers group
speakers discussing exercise and health. This meeting is a great way to learn more about the club and meet other members. Contact Jeanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. This event is FREE to attend for non members and light refreshments will be served. Hope to see you there! Another way to find out more about the HWC is to attend one of our casual, monthly Link-Up meetings. Friday, 19th January, 9:30am - Cote Brasserie, Hampstead High Street, NW31RE Friday, 9th February, 10am - member Liz’s home. Thursday, 15th March, 7:30pm – place TBD. These events are FREE to attend for non members, so join us! Contact Sumi at email@example.com for locations and more details. To find out more about the HWC in general, visit our website: hwcinlondon.co.uk or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Junior League of London (JLL)
organised a haunted, moonlit pub crawl from Hampstead to Highgate, including a 15 minute stroll through the pitch black Heath! It was very educational and scary! More educational tours of the Fall include a Victorian London walk, a private tour of the British Gallery at The V&A, and a walking tour of Little Venice. Our Arts and Antiques group kept us cultured with planned outings to Matisse in the Studio, Cezanne’s portraits, Fahrelnissa Zeid and Basquiat. Our London Bites group have been hitting the best restaurants for lunch once a month, and in November, our Evenings Out team took a group to the immersive, dining experience, Beauty and the Feast, at The Vaults. Some of our most memorable moments of the Fall have been through our Community Outreach Programme with Age UK’s Henderson Court Resource Centre, a daytime activity centre for older folks, with and without dementia. Once a month we bring cakes and sit and visit with those at the centre. It’s been a rewarding 30
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opportunity to give of our time to those who need some friendly company. Upcoming Events In addition to our ongoing regularly scheduled activities like our creative writing group, golf, book club, tennis, running, Heath walking, hiking and yoga, here are a few fun events already lined up for January-March: • Russian Banyan Spa Day • Theatre outing to see Network • Behind the scenes tour of Fortnum and Mason • Wellness event with a Nutritional Speaker • Tour of Beefeater Distillery The calendar is still getting filled up, so these are just a few of the MANY activities we will have this Winter. If you’re interested in finding out more about our club, join us at our January General Meeting on Tuesday, 16th January, 10am- 12pm at the Burgh House, New End Square, London, NW3 1LT. We’ll be hearing from two different
The Junior League of London (JLL) is pleased to wrap up a busy and successful 2017, culminating in our signature Holiday Hampers project. The hampers benefited 1,238 vulnerable Londoners from our partner agencies, providing them with food, toiletries and gifts to brighten the holidays. If you would like to support the 2018 Holiday Hampers project, you can get started now by shopping for some needed items on our Amazon Wish List: http://amzn.eu/1LGyKOw. Do you want to learn more about the Junior League of London? We are an organisation of women volunteers bound by one goal: to help women, children, and families throughout London break the cycle of poverty. Here is a sampling of what we do: • We help refugees secure jobs • Assist in English classes • Provide job interview advice and mock interviews for students from low income families • Support & provide professional clothing to those who can’t afford it • Teach young women how to cook an affordable meal • Provide books, craft supplies and activities for children in schools and community centres. Are you interested in volunteering, developing and gaining new leadership and volunteering skills, making new friends and making a difference in your community? If you answered
AMERICAN WOMENâ€™S CLUBS NEWS
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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS yes to any of those, we welcome you to find out more about us. We will be holding four to five information sessions in January for prospective New Members to join us for the Spring New Member Programme. Please visit our website: https://www.jll.org.uk/join-us/ to reserve a space in one of our information sessions. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Kensington and Chelsea Women’s Club (KCWC)
Are you new to London or interested in attending lectures and tours from leading experts, enjoying exclusive and exciting experiences, and meeting new friends? Then, The Kensington and Chelsea Women’s Club (KCWC) is a great starting point. As one of London’s longest established and largest women’s organisations, we have more than 800 British and international members from over 52 countries. Each month KCWC holds a General Meeting with a high-profile guest speaker at a prime London location. Past speakers have included HRH Princess Michael of Kent, Anthony Geffen, Zac Goldsmith, Earl Spencer, Anton Du Beke, Alexandra Shulman and Jo Malone. 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, sports, golf, tennis, languages, arts and crafts, food, dining, wine tasting, book and lecture groups, country walks, bridge, feng shui, and much more. There are also a variety of evening and weekend activities which working women can enjoy. These include theatre, happy hour, dining out, jazz and music appreciation, evening speakers, and special events. For those interested in making a difference in the community, KCWC’s Volunteers for Charity group works with 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. Recent Highlights Refreshed after the summer break, the KCWC members returned to another new year of interesting General Meetings with inspirational guest speakers, and to the wide range of exciting activities on offer from our various WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
activity leaders. Without exaggerating, one can safely say that they have not been disappointed. The new year began with a bang and a lot of laughter at the September General Meeting with Dr. David Hamilton who entertained us with his talk on The Five Side Effects of Kindness. His speech was not only entertaining, but it was also thoughtprovoking as our members left the meeting wondering how they could add value to their own lives simply by being kind to others. The October General Meeting was held at The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and was graced by a very special guest speaker, Senior International Correspondent for CNN Clarissa Ward, whose achievements in the war zone reporting need no elaboration. The November General Meeting brought broadcaster, adventurer and writer Ben Fogle as its guest speaker. KCWC members were awe- struck as he spoke about his Crossing of the Atlantic in the world’s toughest rowing race and of his Race to the South Pole in the World’s Toughest Endurance Race. The KCWC luncheon after the General
Meetings, held at one of the chic London Restaurants, continue to be in high demand and well attended as members took advantage of the unique opportunity to converse with the guest speakers and to get to know other members. We are just three months into the new KCWC year, but our hard-working and resourceful Activity Leaders have already managed to “wow!” our members by offering them a kaleidoscope of exciting activities and events. As always, the Art History and the British History groups continue to intellectually stimulate and inspire members with their lectures, tours and gallery visits. The fashion oriented members enjoyed a visit to the Fabergé Boutique, while the athletically inclined engaged in tennis or walked to Stamford Hill and Somers Town. The gastronomy aficionados learned to make the sweet treats of Capri, the more “nerdy” members learned about and played with their “techy toys” – MacBook, iPad etc., while others simply enjoyed a night at the Theatre. Upcoming Events As for our 2018 events and activities, they WWW.AMERICANINBRITAIN.CO.UK
promise to be even more rich and exciting if the first three months of this new KCWC year are anything to go by. After Six in the City hosts a dinner at Da Mario restaurant, Antiques and Design will visit Strawberry Hill House while Art History will conduct lectures on Cezanne’s Portraits, Surrealism, as well as a special lecture on the new Modigliani Exhibition that has just opened at the Tate Britain. British History will conclude its final year of the long-running, extremely sought-after History of London Course and bid farewell to its lecturer Caroline Macdonald Haig, a long- time associate of KCWC and one of its favourite lecturers. The Classical Music and Opera Group which previously entertained members with the extremely successful concert, 1767 – A Retrospective on the music Mozart by Ian Page, continue their effort by bringing the next concert in the same series titled 1768 – A Retrospective. After their adventure with the sweets of Capri and a Taste of Sardinia, Foodies focus on another part of the world with A Journey to Mysterious Iran. They also learn the intricacies of gluten-free cooking as they go Naturally Gluten Free with the experienced chef Simona Ranieri. Fun with Feng Shui take you to the stars with their seminar on astrology as they welcome The Year of Yang Earth Dog in 2018, while at the other end Passion for Fashion make you feel like a star with the iconic leather brand Bottega Veneta with their Hand of the Artisan tour. Coffee Mornings and Happy Hour activities with the Hospitality team or one of the several language specific conversation groups with the Languages team are also a good way to meet other members and make new friends. For those who would rather play a game, there is Bridge, Golf or Tennis to choose from and for those who prefer to walk, London Walks and Treasures and Country Walks are the two activity groups that explore unusual areas to walk in and around London. And then if one were to fancy something outside the UK, take a trip to Bruges and Antwerp with the Travel Group or save the date for Copenhagen or Andalucia with them. Another great opportunity to socialise are the events hosted by Wine Society and after this autumn’s Spectator Magazine Wine Luncheon and the Decanter Fine Wine Tasting with Steven Spurrier, they take a break during the festivities before they come up with their next proposal. Learn More About KCWC General Meetings are open to non-members for a guest fee of £10, redeemable if joining on the day. The meetings are usually held on the first or second Thursday of each month between September and June. Prospective members are welcome to attend a Coffee Morning or a Happy Hour where guests can come along for an informal chat over coffee or a drink and enjoy the company of other international women. There is no need to pre-register to attend a Hospitality event and the cost is your own tab. For further information please contact 34
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firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.kcwc.org.uk. To join KCWC, please visit www.kcwc.org.uk and click on Join Us or email email@example.com. Save The Date January General Meeting: Thursday, 11 January 2017, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, 9:30am – 12pm February General Meeting: Thursday, 8 February 2017, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, 9:30am – 12pm March General Meeting: Thursday, 1 March 2017, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, 9:30am – 12pm
American Women of Surrey (AWS)
The American Women of Surrey (AWS) is a not-for-profit club founded in 1975 to provide a welcoming atmosphere for expatriates and their families living in Surrey. Membership comprises a diverse and international group of women from many countries who get together frequently for social events and to help raise money for charity. The club is tied to FAWCO, the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas. AWS raises money for the philanthropic arm of FAWCO and for three charities based in the local area.
The club is tied to FAWCO, the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas. AWS raises money for the philanthropic arm of FAWCO and for three charities based in the local area. With many members having children of school age, the AWS year starts in September with a welcome coffee and thereafter monthly meetings. The meetings usually take place at an historic house or venue and throughout
the year interesting and varied speakers are invited to give a talk. A small number of local businesses are also invited to showcase their products and services. Some AWS events are tied to a specific season. Just recently, in November, AWS held its 27th Annual Gift Fayre at ACS International School. With over 100 vendors and nearly 900 visitors, this is the club’s largest annual fundraiser. Each year in December AWS arranges a sparkling Christmas lunch at an exciting venue. This year it was a Gatsby themed affair at Shepperton Film Studios in Littleton Park House. Everyone was greeted with a glass of bubbly to the sound of jazz music in front of a roaring fire, followed by a three course Christmas lunch served in the dining room. An auction of gift baskets raised money for charity. AWS has a wonderful selection of classes and activities to be involved in, where members can do things they enjoy or learn something new, but always whilst having fun and meeting new people. In fact, many make lifelong friends. The range of classes and activities includes: Mix & Mingle, Cookery classes, International Dining Club, Let’s Go!, Art Appreciation, Running Club, Golf Club and Mod Maude. Most of these are self-explanatory, except Mod Maude! Mod Maude takes a group of ladies on fabulous and exciting outings. Here is what one member had to say “I joined AWS 4 years ago and joined Mod Maude right away. Mod Maude is a hip girl who likes to go on trendy excursions in and around London. Our little “Maudie” puts together a diary of loads of fun outings...bike tours in and around Windsor Castle & Hampton Court, Speed Boat tours on the River Thames, Zip Lining in London, Jamie Oliver Cookery School classes, Dorking Antiques Tour, Sweet Tooth Tour in Belgravia, Glassblowing and lunch at The Clink Prison in Sutton, to name just a few...I love getting out, meeting new people and exploring places off the beaten path. Mod Maude has been the perfect match for me!” Another popular activity is Let’s Go!, which organises fun trips throughout the year to various European and worldwide destinations. Trips always involve some retail therapy, good food and good friends, new and old. This year, trips have been to Krakow, Malta, San Sebastian and the German Christmas Markets. If you are new to Surrey and the UK you can find out more about AWS by visiting awsurrey. org or on Facebook at AWS International Group.
BORN IN THE USA AND LIVING IN THE UK By Deborah Djukic I have lived in England now some 38 plus years and I met my British husband in 1978. During our time together we have travelled all over England and Scotland and had a wonderful time. Upon returning home to the US, having travelled the length of the UK, I felt in many ways that I had gained more knowledge about the UK over the three months than many Brits have in a life time! Because I loved England and my soon-to-be husband, it was not a difficult choice to relocate! I really enjoy my life here and embrace change and all the differences, of which there are a many! Our grown up children are the best of both of us - a real combination. My daughter calls me Mom and my son calls me Mum, it’s just how they like it! I found going back to the US with our small children tough- going, and then facing the return flight back to our home in the UK was awful. Eventually these trips became less and less and I invited family and friends to come to us! My two children are grown up now, so they more or less go off on individual vacations with friends, so I no longer have to deal with planning, insurance, flights and hauling luggage and children across two countries! I must add that due to living in the UK, European travel is their oyster. We have kept up as much as possible with many traditions and holidays such as the 4th of July & Thanksgiving, all of which we all enjoy. I neglected to mention that my husband was from an Eastern European background, and his parents were Orthodox, and I had no idea until many, many years after our first Christmas together that our first Christmas Tree was his first tree ever! My family really enjoy the holiday meal traditions, and all love to eat a large plate of the poultry, complemented with my mother’s recipe for stuffing. I do have to make an apple pie as well as a pumpkin pie to please all of our palates. The years pass quickly and life does get busy, and we can easily forget the family we do not see on a daily basis. Sadly, in the last 10 years all the senior members of my family have passed away. The last member left my birth state and the place I always returned to, and where I felt that Dulles Airport was the welcome home sign for just me! I must admit having the last remaining relative leaving really did hit me hard and I shed a tear or two, as silly as that might seem. I do not foresee returning to my birth state anytime soon, and feel if I do return to the US in the future it will be to a warmer state to start new memories. 36
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I cannot image living anywhere other than the UK and I look forward to growing old here with my family. I am very proud of my roots and my birthplace and enjoy my lifestyle. I am happy to say my life is a very healthy balance of both. I do not get as home sick as much as I used too. I am not sure why, but think perhaps because I am settled and happy with a grown up family, I have put down deep roots here.
I cannot image living anywhere other than the UK and I look forward to growing old here with my family. I am very proud of my roots and my birthplace and enjoy my lifestyle. I am happy to say my life is a very healthy balance of both. I attended Thanksgiving at St Paul’s a few years ago and really did enjoy it. I found it to be very moving emotionally and spiritually, and my daughter was moved also. I found her watching me and others with me, and she was crying. I asked her if she was ok, and she said “Mom I loved seeing you with other Americans and seeing the strong connection that you all seem to share. It was overwhelming to see the tears in your eyes as you were singing”. She went on tell me that it hit her all of the sudden what her Mom had left behind to relocate to the UK.
That was a magical moment for me and told me all I needed to know, I made the right decisions in my life to relocate, marry and have my two children. My blessing is to have a daughter who would share such a lovely moment with me. I feel that it has been my children’s upbringing with family, friends on both sides of the Atlantic that made them such interesting, understanding and most of all, adaptable people. I made a choice in 1979 to relocate and I have never looked back. I enjoy my life, and I adore the changing seasons, and even find the rain moody and reflective! I have, luckily for me, always liked tea, and remember the awful stuff served on British Rail in plastic cups (milk and hot water). We now have many fabulous coffee shops, of which there were none in 1978 - things have much improved!
I made a choice in 1979 to relocate and I have never looked back. I enjoy my life, and I adore the changing seasons. I look forward to one day creating my very own (English) country garden, and hope one day to share some flowery pictures with you all!
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Shop Front at 12 Cecil Court
Cecil Court Street Sign
ARTS & ANTIQUES A Jeweller To The Stars By Abby Cronin To find the shop owned by a ‘jeweller to the stars’ you only need to walk a few steps off Charing Cross Road into the passage of Cecil Court. This pedestrian thoroughfare has the Dickensian atmosphere of old London. Victorian shop frontages house individual specialist dealers selling all manner of collectibles: antique books, modern first editions, rare maps, antique and modern prints, silver, stamps and theatrical ephemera. But the ‘jewel’ in the crown is Christopher St James’ jewellery shop at number 12. His front window is mesmerising, with stunning shimmering treasures on display. Once inside you will be warmly welcomed by Christopher, who is always delighted to share his vast knowledge of jewellery design and discuss his collection with interested customers and folks who are just curious about his unique stock. History radiates from his diverse selection of gems. They range from Tudor style to the present and many of these brilliant jewels were made by Christopher himself.
Thespian - Collector – Craftsman
Christopher’s story is fascinating. It’s lifelong a journey both onstage, backstage and in the wings. Growing up in a theatrical family nurtured his appreciation and love for theatre. All he ever wanted to be was an actor, which 38
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he was for over 30 years. But the onstage thespian side of Christopher gradually changed direction. He describes himself as an incessant collector of odds and ends – “I had my own box
There were amazing pieces from Georgian times to the present and it was from this experience that I became interested in historical costume and period detailing.
of tricks…scouring market stalls, collecting odd bits of jewellery like old cufflinks and shirt buttons. It was great fun and you never knew when you might need these trinkets to use as accessories for period costumes.” The turning point came some years ago when he trained as an actor with the Repertory Company in Birmingham. “When I wasn’t in a production, I learned everything I ever learned backstage. The Rep Company had an extraordinary costume collection and I catalogued the whole collection. I learned about period detail. There were amazing pieces from Georgian times to the present and it was from this experience that I became interested in historical costume and period detailing.” Gradually Christopher’s part-time hobby turned into a full-time professional career. When period pieces of jewellery were required for a production, he haunted market stalls in search of trinkets he could use to make a Tudor or Medieval piece. His expertise progressed step by step, he explained: “The best way to learn was to take things apart, see how they were made and put them back together again. I watched and listened and asked how do you do this? that? My skills just evolved from that point and people began to ask me to make for a particular production. Today theatrical production costs have soared and most theatres are unable to afford specialist props
ARTS & ANTIQUES departments so they farm everything out.” Fortunately, Christopher, with a reputation for excellence in crafting jewellery, is ready to step in. With the indispensable support of his partner, Robert Mace, he can be relied upon to meet the detailed design demands as he crafts the jewels required.
Bejewelled Stars Signed photo of Glenn Close
Art Deco Jewellery
Downton Abby Jewels for Lady Cora by Christopher St James
Christopher’s repertoire of theatrical jewellery includes a catalogue of impressive credits stretching back some 35 years. He has supplied gems for a long list of glamourous stars. Today his credits include musicals, plays, movies, TV, opera and catwalks. He has ‘dressed’ some of the most outstanding actors in their field. One of his first commissions came in the 1980s when Faye Dunaway needed a crown for her role in ‘Wicked Lady’. Since then, calls for his work have continued. He admits that at first he wasn’t sure how to do it so he - “just winged it.” Whether he ‘winged it’ or not, his excellent period designs and craftsmanship is second to none. Somewhat of a transatlantic thespian, he works in Broadway and Hollywood and wherever - when he gets the call. Some years ago he provided Elizabeth Taylor with brooches for her to give the cast and crew in the 2001 London production of ‘The Little Foxes’. Glenn Close shone in the spectacular jewellery by Christopher in the recent Broadway and London productions of ‘Sunset Boulevard’. He described working with Close as “a dream”. She signed a photo thanking Christopher; it hangs on the wall in his shop. More recently his original gilt 1950s jewellery was used in the production of ‘Marni’ at the English National Opera. This production will transfer to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Remind yourselves of the extraordinary success of the TV series Downton Abbey. Its success may be due, in part, to the exquisite period costumes and accessories. The entire cast had to be dressed in the fashions of the day, but it is fair to say that the leading ladies’ wardrobes took top billing. Here period jewellery was an essential ingredient. So when the
Downton costume designer came to Christopher requesting bespoke items for specific episodes, he was delighted to accept. Devoted Downton fans may remember the jewels worn in the ballroom episodes. But perhaps even more memorable is the stunning Parure of jewellery worn by Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham, in the Christmas special 2013 (pictured here). These are only a few of the jewels supplied by Christopher. The sheer vitality of Christopher’s jewellery is infinite. Next time you are in Cecil Court pop into number 12. Familiarise yourself with his extensive collection. You just might find that ‘special occasion’ piece you are looking for. Or - you could commission one for yourself. His clientele is a mixture of theatrical designers, collectors and impulse shoppers all looking for that unique piece. Among his popular and collectible stock items are designer brooches by Lea Stein, a longstanding friend. Stein, a Parisian-based jeweller-designer, is well known for brooches of people, animals and geometrics made from laminated cellulose. There is always a wide variety of Stein’s items available at very reasonable prices. In a similar vein, there are dozens of Art Deco pieces, probably Christopher’s favourite period design. At modest cost, you will find a rich selection of Art Deco bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and brooches, in Bakelite and Lucite, both vintage and modern, and several made by Christopher. He takes the view that: “Art Deco never ages. You can wear it anytime with anything and it will always look amazing”. If you love jewellery, you will not be disappointed by visiting this exceptional ‘jeweller to the stars”. Get in Touch. Contact: Abby Cronin Email: email@example.com Website: abbycronin.co.uk Photo credits: 5 Photos by Abby Cronin 2 Courtesy Christopher St James
Film and theatre pieces by Christopher St James
USEFUL CONTACTS EDUCATION - SCHOOLS AMERICAN SAT/ACT TUITION London W1B 3HH Contact: Elizabeth von Nardroff Email: Elizabeth@AmericanSATtuition.com Telephone +44 (0)20 7692 0766 Website: www.AmericanSATtuition.com Twitter: @elivonna American SAT/ACT Tuition is a small, independent company based in the London, UK area. Our focus is on the needs of American, British and International students applying to US Colleges/Universities or Prep Schools. We offer SAT/ACT/PSAT/SSAT advice, tutoring and bespoke online courses, as well as help with applications, admissions advice, and interview technique coaching. Our specialists are knowledgeable, experienced, and we love what we do! Plus we’ve shown results - past students now attend Yale, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, and other top US Universities.
TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: firstname.lastname@example.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 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.
MOVING DWIGHT SCHOOL LONDON 6 Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Contact: Karen Strickland Email: email@example.com 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.
DT MOVING 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.dtmoving.com Contact: Tim Daniells DT Moving 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. With a customer satisfaction rating of 96% throughout 2016, we offer a quality service at competitive rates. First class storage facilities are available.
ISL GROUP OF SCHOOLS ISL SURREY Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY Contact: Admissions Telephone: +44 (0)1483 750 409 ISL LONDON 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Contact: Yoel Gordon Telephone: +44 (0)20 8992 5823 ISL QATAR Po Box 18511, North Duhail, Qatar Contact: Nivin el Aawar Telephone: +974 4433 8600 Website: www.islschools.org The International School of London (ISL) Group has schools in London, Surrey, and Qatar. The internationally recognised primary and secondary curricula have embedded language programmes (mother tongue, English as an Additional Language, and second language) which continue throughout the student’s stay in the school. A team of experienced and qualified teachers and administrators provides every student with the opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that respects diversity and promotes identity, understanding, and a passion for learning.
*Awarded eleven global relocation awards since 2010.
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FOX INTERNATIONAL 10 Somerset Road, Cwmbran, NP44 1QX Telephone: 01633 488100 Email: email@example.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 ADVANCED AMERICAN TAX Telephone: +44 20 3289 1040 Website: www.AdvancedAmericanTax.co.uk and Edinburgh.AdvancedAmericanTax.co.uk Email: Help@AdvancedAmericanTax.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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.
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EMBASSY CORNER Special Consular Services: Supporting Americans in Times of Crisis At any given time, hundreds of thousands of Americans are living or travelling in the United Kingdom, and together they represent one of the largest communities of US citizens outside of North America - the equivalent of a sizeable US city. If you are like most of them, your interactions with the US Embassy are probably limited to the occasional passport renewal, or perhaps to register the birth of your children. But as with the members of any other large community, sometimes life takes a difficult turn. US Embassies and Consulates abroad have no greater priority than assisting Americans when they suffer a personal tragedy while abroad. This critical function of a diplomatic mission, known as Special Consular Services, is performed by our highly skilled and experienced staff of consular officers and caseworkers - at our Embassy in London and at our consulates in Edinburgh and Belfast - who every day are helping your fellow US citizens in need. Not surprisingly, given how many Americans are in the United Kingdom, each year several hundred die while here. Our Special Consular Services staff takes on the delicate task of breaking that difficult news to family members back home, helps them understand what happened, and guides them in the return of their loved one’s remains. Similarly, when an American in the United Kingdom is injured or becomes seriously ill, our Special Consular Services unit may
be able to alert relatives so that they can participate in important medical decisions. Special Consular Services also helps other vulnerable Americans in the United Kingdom, like children who have been orphaned or are in foster care; in some cases we work with UK authorities to identify relatives of the children in the United States who can look after them. Americans who run afoul of the law while here and end up in custody can expect to receive occasional visits from our staff, along with guidance about the local legal system. And when Americans are victims of crime or terrorism in the United Kingdom, we serve as their link with US law enforcement and help identify potential resources for victim-compensation. If you ever find yourself in need of assistance from our Special Consular Services unit, please visit our website at uk.usembassy. gov and click on “US Citizen Services” for information, including how to contact us. And in case we ever need to reach you in an emergency, we encourage you to sign up for the US Department of State’s Smart Traveller Enrolment Programme, at step.state.gov. Doing so will enable you to receive official US government travel information updates, and will give you the option to share your contact information with us. We hope you won’t need the assistance of our Special Consular Services unit while you are in the United Kingdom. But if you do, the US Embassy in London and our consulates in Edinburgh and Belfast stand ready to assist.
EMBASSY INFORMATION US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6AH 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 WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM
AMERICAN IN BRITAIN
Published on Dec 21, 2017
Published on Dec 21, 2017
The features in this issue include Wealth Management: Eight Questions To Ask Yourself If You Are An American Living In The UK by MASECO Priv...