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The public is so interested in the pregnancy of celebrity moms.  However, the interest goes far more for royal pregnancies because these babies are not only the children of well-known people, they are also heirs to a throne.  Royal pregnancies will always be associated with royal succession since an heir’s position moves with the addition of  each child.

Every appearance, whether public or private is highly anticipated with special focus on the physical condition of the mother and her growing tummy.  Even fashion statements are noted and scrutinized by the public who seems to be forever hungry for every bit of trivia and information about the pregnancy.  It is no secret how reporters find ways to invade the private moments of the royalties and they do it because they know there will always be readers who will appreciate it.

Royal pregnancies also sometimes start a trend in baby names. Health problems experienced in pregnancy also receive fair share in discussion.  Also, there is the inevitable comparison between royalties during their respective pregnancies.

Queen Elizabeth II Image: followpics.com

Queen Elizabeth II Image: followpics.com

 

Princess Diana Image: usmagazine.com

Princess Diana Image: usmagazine.com

 

Princess Ann Image: usmagazine.com

Princess Ann Image: usmagazine.com

 

Duchess of York Image: usmagazine.com

Duchess of York Image: usmagazine.com

 

The great interest in royal pregnancies arises not only from the natural inclination towards wanting to know about specific details in the lives of famous people. Much as the public would like to see the physical changes undergone by a royal mother, there is a lingering question that always persists.  This is the question of what particular effect will the new baby bring in terms of royal succession.

It is no secret that the chances of those who are farther down the line to ascend to the throne becomes slimmer as the members of the family of those who are first in line increases.  With the coming of the child of Prince William of Wales for example, the place of his brother Prince Henry of Wales will move down one notch.  The ranking of all those next in line will naturally be affected.

There are very serious matters that concern royal succession including the prohibition of having Catholic heirs to the throne and the preference for the male gender  regardless of birth sequence. These issues would probably take some time to be settled, if they are indeed to be changed at all. In the mean time, the public’s obsession with royal pregnancies continues.

Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.

Image: thefashionfoot.com

Being an international city, London has some of the world’s most advanced transportation system. It is the center of road, rail and air networks in the United Kingdom. Despite the advancements, however, it has also retained its traditional vehicles such as the double deck buses that travel around the city.

london trasport museum

A visit to the London Transport Museum is the best way to learn about the city’s transport heritage. Situated in the Covent Garden Piazza, its permanent location, the museum showcases old vehicles preserved since the 1920’s. From a small collection of two Victorian horse buses and a motorbus, the collection has grown to include all modes of transport such as bicycles, taxis, trams and river vessels to art (posters, films and photographs) and design works.

The museum’s main objective is to relate to visitors the evolution of the city’s transportation system from the past to the present and even up to the future. Different exhibitions are in place with themes such as public transport at war, London’s massive expansion in the 20th century and world city comparisons.

A library is also available providing valuable research materials plus a museum depot which stores more than 370,000 items not displayed at the Covent Garden building. The depot, however, is open to the public only during special events.

For this year 2013, heritage vehicle runs and other exciting events are lined up to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground entitled Tube 150. It was in January 1863 when the world’s first underground train made its first journey beneath London’s streets from Paddington to Farringdon. In its first six months alone, the train accommodated some 26,000 passengers.

london-transport-museum

Worth noting here is the fact that the London Transport Museum goes beyond merely displaying artifacts and transportation collections. Inside are shops where souvenir items such as posters, gifts, clothes, toys and vintage house ware can be purchased as well as a café and bar at the Upper Deck that offers snacks and drinks.

This popular tourist attraction is open daily starting at 10 a.m. except on Fridays which opens at 11 a.m. Individual tickets can be purchased but large groups can avail of lower fees. Guided tours are offered as well.

If visiting London is not possible, learning about this historical museum and the city’s different modes of transport can be done through its website ltmuseum.co.uk. The site provides comprehensive information covering everything you’d like to know from the history and collections to upcoming events and activities. A blog is also available where visitors can get updates on the museum’s activities, people and other valuable details.

Photo via londontown

About the guest author:

Regine is a travel writer who hopes to visit the London Transport Museum someday. She frequently visits Expedia for some great deals.

Image: vayama.com

Visiting foreign countries would require travelers to observe the prevailing standards of etiquette in the place of destination.  Failure to observe this could result to misunderstanding or unintentional insult to locals.  England also has its specific do’s which visitors should observe while in the country.

The British have been known to maintain a stiff upper lip in their behavior.  They are known for being more formal than Americans.  Although there has been considerable relaxation of this formality, there are still certain standards of etiquette that need to be observed by locals and foreign visitors as well.

Visitors to England can take their cue from  what they observe once they are in the country.  If totally unsure of what to do, it might be best to inquire from friends and associates.  A little research can go a long way before visiting the country.

The basics are rather similar to other culture’s observance of common courtesy and good manners.  The three magic words consisting of please, thank you, and sorry form a large part of everyday conversation in England.  Shaking of hands is an acceptable form of greeting for long-time acquaintances while kissing on the cheek is fairly common between female friends.  When visiting a family, it is considered good manners to bring a gift either in the form of flowers, wine, or candy.

Waiting in line for one’s turn is seriously observed in England.  People using the escalator should always stay on the right side to permit people coming from the other direction to pass on the left side.  Tipping should be done in a manner that will not be interpreted as showing-off.  This includes the place and the amount of the tip.  People who do not drink alcohol can go to English pubs which are more like places to meet new friends rather than bars associated with drinking alcohol.

About the Author:

Teresa is a professional researcher-writer in a wide range of topics.

Living in the U.K. can be quite expensive, no matter what corner you reside. To help you cut down on costs, here are several useful money saving tips.

Tip #1: Settle your credit card balance right away

There’s a good chance that your credit card comes with the highest interest rates among all your debts. Because of this, make sure that you settle your credit card balance in full every month. Doing this would actually save you much more money than investing, unless you can find a financial product with an interest rate higher than your credit card (which is virtually impossible). Continue reading »

        

 

Every country is represented by a symbol or symbols that give it its recognition that is unique from other countries. England, which is one of the countries that comprise Great Britain, has many familiar symbols which are automatically connected with it even without an accompanying explanation.  Most of them can be found printed on souvenir items often sold to tourists.

England has three national symbols comprised of the St. George’s Cross as seen on the flag, the Three Lion Emblem as seen on England’s Cricket Team Badge, and the Red Rose as seen on the English Rugby Union Team Badge.  These three symbols more or less represent England and its culture along with other familiar symbols such as St. Edward’s Crown, the Oak Tree, and tea.   Personalities that have been iconized and are often considered official English symbols as well include St. George who is the country’s patron saint, Alfred the Great who is recognized as the most dominant ruler of England, and Robin Hood who is the heroic outlaw perpetuated by English folklore.

In the present day England, many personalities and inanimate objects inevitably fall under the category of an English symbol by virtue of the recall factor.  Leading the list is of course the Royal Family which like it or not, will always represent England.  The people surrounding the Royal Family and their environs have also become symbolic of English culture including the Life Guard, the Foot Guard, and the Beefeaters.

Famous landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye are all automatically associated with England.  Sports such as football and cricket are both English-made and so are fish and chips.  Familiar sites in England that have elevated themselves as distinctive components of the English culture include the Red Double Decker buses, the black taxi cabs, and the red pillar boxes and telephone booths.

The mark of a gentleman in Great Britain can be seen in different aspects but in men’s clothing, the use of what was then known as sleeve buttons was one indication of the importance of the man wearing it.  They were originally fashioned either in gold or silver usually with an etched design or embellished with precious stones.  It did not take long for the two ornamented buttons attached with a chain to become known as cufflinks.

With the growing popularity of cufflinks, jewelers lost no time in making them from other materials including glass and base metal alloy.  The popularity of cufflinks spread even to the masses that it became a must for any man’s wardrobe particularly by the later part of the Victorian era.  Its popularity suffered when men turned to more casual dressing during the 60s and the 70s.  Recently however, the increased use of designer cufflinks among men who aim to stand out though their impeccable manner of dressing has been observed. 

This 16th century men’s accessory that traces its roots to British royalty remains a classy refinement to everyday dressing in the present time.  There are at least 5 types of cufflinks available in the market today including double-faced which is connected by a metal bar, the chain type which is the original cuff design, the snap-on where the two faces are snapped together, the push through which has a single face and a rounded end, and the hinged-back which comes with a swiveling bar. 

Monogrammed designer cufflinks also traces its roots to British nobility.  Monogramming has always been associated with class and high economic status.  The Victorian era favored interlocking letters but the simplest forms of today still exude the same elegance of its origins.

London has been the melting pot of diverse music genres for hundreds of years. The music scene has grown in the last few years and more musicians are encouraged to share their talents.  Considered as the “Los Angeles” of the UK, London has seen the evolution of rock and roll, pub rock, punk, brit-pop movements and it will most likely bump into so much more emerging trends in the music scene.

Some of the most famous nightclubs, night-spots and probably the best record stores are here, including many world famous bands and artists. Being a rock star will not be complete without the London experience, which is why many famous performers choose it as a venue for concerts and events which cater to the European market.

Within the city you can expect celebrities and budding artists in music venues or night clubs. Everyone here likes to party and groove to all sorts of music. It is the perfect venue to get your big break or if you simply want to mingle with people in the music industry. Just like in most places the places “to be” change from time to time. You may ask some friends or check the internet for any upcoming events, festivals or performances.

A music mecca in its own right, London’s diverse music preference allows you to experience music in your own terms. There are numerous venues where you can watch live performances every night. If you prefer more intimate venues, you may choose among the many pubs and clubs within the city.
Image from  mkis

Every nation in this world would certainly want something to be called their core culture. Some countries (especially in Asia) label their cultures as hospitable and welcoming. Others label their cultures as hard working. Still others prefer the label easy going and fun loving. What is the core culture of the Britain of today? If someone were to ask you this question, what would you answer off the top of your head?

I was quite saddened when I read something about this over at Time.com. Here are some excerpts from the feature article:

What are the key components of Britishness? The bulldog spirit? A stiff upper lip? Or a penchant for Sex on the Beach? With Britain locked in an identity crisis (the English feel English, the Welsh, Welsh and some Scots are so eager to assert their Scottishness that they want to disunite the United Kingdom), these questions are troubling Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Oddly, Brown overlooked another fundament of Britishness: alcohol-fueled misbehavior. Booze culture unites Britons from Land’s End in southwestern England to John O’Groats at the northeastern tip of Scotland, and it’s also one of the U.K.’s best-known exports. In sun spots such as Ibiza, Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Spain and Greece, English, Welsh and Scottish holidaymakers raucously intermingle, indistinguishable from each other in their bright leisure wear and brighter sunburns, downing alcoholic concoctions such as Sex on the Beach, sometimes as a prelude to the act itself.

The feature is longer than these two paragraphs and I felt disturbed after I read it. Is this how people of other nations perceive the British people? Do they really think that the British is a nation of boozers?

Photo courtesy of mike harper

“I’ve got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You’d be surprised
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh…”

original pooh cast
Those are some of the words of the song “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins. I still remember hearing this song for the first time way back and feeling wistful about my childhood – and Pooh stories, of course. From toddlers to adults, this character created by A.A. Milne is forever imprinted in many people’s hearts.

But did you know that there really is a Pooh Corner? Did you know that the forest where Christopher Robin, Pooh, Eeyore, and Piglet played in really exists? Yes, they do – in Hartfield, Sussex. If you grew up on Pooh, then a visit to where it all happened should be at the top of your list.

Hartfield can be found at the south of London, easily accessible on a day’s trip. Once you get there, you can visit the print room, where all original artwork by E.H. Shepard is available for viewing. If you want to see all of it, you would have to allot several hours.

If you prefer the great outdoors, then you should visit Poohsticks Bridge – where you can play Poohsticks – and then head on to the Pooh Corner, which used to be the candy store where Christopher Robin got his Bullseye candy.

royal albert hall
No, I am not talking about the parties that high school students look forward to each year in the United States and other parts of the world. This “prom” is a bit more, let’s say, cultured. I am talking about The BBC Proms or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. Does that suit your taste better?

The Proms is an age old tradition in the UK. It started way back in 1895 and lasts for 8 weeks during the summer period. Today, one can look forward to over 70 concerts throughout the whole season. The concerts are held at the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London – well, at least most of them.

This year, The Proms started on July 15. As it is every year, the world’s greatest musical performances will be attended by countless people.

A little more information on The Proms from Wikipedia:

Proms is short for promenade concerts, a term which arose from the original practice of audience members promenading, or strolling, in some areas of the concert hall during the concert. Promming now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall (the arena and gallery) for which ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating. Single concert promming tickets can be purchased, with few exceptions, only on the day of the concert, which can give rise to long queues for well-known artists or works. Prommers can purchase full or half season tickets instead for guaranteed entry, although not guaranteed standing position. A number of Prommers are particularly keen in their attendance, and see it as a badge of honour to achieve the grand slam of attending every concert of the season.

Photo courtesy of wallyg