Friday, January 28, 2011

Smitten By Britain

Hello everyone. At Brits In America we meet a lot of Brits who love the USA so this week I thought it would be a nice idea to talk to an American with a love of Britain. So I spoke with Melissa Stoey who produces the excellent Smitten By Britain website. Melissa has an insatiable appetite for all things British. She lived in England twenty years ago and her love for Blighty has never left her. She is also the mum of a Briton which makes her as pleased as Punch.

Hello Melissa. Where abouts in America do you live?

If you could live anywhere in Britain, where would it be and why?
This question is so unfair for a true Britophile like me because there are so many places to love.
At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter to me as long as I am there. The great thing about Britain is it is so accessible I would never be too far away from another great place to see.
I just want to be there, period.

City/Town/Countryside: Which do you prefer?
Even though I live in a rural area I am a city girl at heart and I love Britain's cities. Naturally I have been to London many times, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, and Nottingham, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing York, Newcastle, Chester and Manchester in 2012.

Your top 3 places In Britain?
Again, city girl: London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Where is the one place you would not return to?
Last year I would have had a terrible time answering this question, then I spent a night in Hounslow this summer. Safe to say, I won't be returning.

Who would be your ideal travel partner?
My husband. He is so easy going and does everything I ask. What more could you want?

What is your best British travel experience?
To date it would have to be the bus tour we took through Glencoe, Scotland. We used Rabbie's tours and they were superb. The guide was very informative and had a wicked sense of humour. I know it sounds cliche but he played a Scottish soundtrack during our tour that really added to the ambiance. Now just the first few chords of Loch Lomond brings tears to my eyes. Very good memories indeed. I highly recommend Rabbies tours.

What annoys you most when travelling?
People who don't know where they are going and stop dead center right in front of you while you're walking. I had quite a few near misses this summer while touring London.
If you need to stop and look at a map, move over to the side and out of the way of oncoming traffic.

What would be your one piece of advice for people travelling to Blighty?
This goes for travelling anywhere in the world and that is to blend in as much as possible. Make yourself as much a part of the scenery as you can and don't make it so obvious that you're a tourist. Have respect for the country and culture you are visiting; be sensitive to what is socially acceptable as far as attire, behaviors and manners. And remember the saying
"When in Rome..." Get out of your comfort zone, stay away from McDonald's and live like the locals as much as possible.

If you could travel to anywhere in Britain right now, where would it be? 
The northeast, specifically Whitby, York, Durham and Newcastle which are at the top of my list for summer 2012

What can you not travel without?
A camera - without it, what's the point?

What stops you from just moving to the UK?

 I'm divorced from my British husband and remarried to an American now so I have no right to live in the UK at the moment, despite having a son with dual citizenship. As you know the UK government has tightened the immigration laws quite a bit in the last few years so my only hope now is to find sponsored employment.

If you did make the move is there anything from America you'd miss?

 Other than my family, no there isn't much I would miss. An American sized clothes dryer maybe? I dare anyone to live in the U.S. and not miss their large load, quick drying clothes dryer when they move to the UK. (I'm not bashing the British clothes dryer. I understand why it's small. It's out of necessity. Island living equals small houses, small kitchens and small appliances.)

Honestly, Britain has changed so much in the last twenty years and dare I say it, become more "Americanized",  so many of the conveniences I missed the first time around are now part of the culture: cable TV, shops open on Sunday, more fast food restaurants and 24 hour conveniences. I'm not saying these things make one happier but as an American they are the things I grew up with and what I missed most twenty years ago. What I didn't have was the kind of technology we have today. I think Expats have it much easier now when it comes to keeping in touch with their loved ones. They can use email, Facebook and Skype. In 1988, we made expensive monthly calls and actually posted handwritten letters. Imagine that? is the home of the Britophile and is full of all things British. If you're missing 'home' then this is a great site to visit. 

Parts of this interview originally appeared on The Blighty Traveller

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some new sections from Brits In America

Hello everyone. Today I have some information about some of the additional areas of the Brits In America website and a competition for you to win one of two great prizes from Miniature Picture Cards.

If you like Facebook then you'll love our Brits In America Network. It's a place to meet fellow Brits living in the USA, or to find advice and help if you are looking to make a move across the pond. You can create your own profile page, invite friends to join and make new friends too. You can join any of the groups - we currently have groups for Brits living in or interested in moving to Central, West and South Florida, and New York. A group to find and socialise with fellow Brits, and for those looking to make the move to the USA, to ask any questions they may have about the moving process. You can even add pictures & videos, post your own blogs and chat with your friends online in our chat room. We're in the last stages of testing the site but you can sign up (for free of course!) Here, you can even use your Facebook id to log in.

Our Blogs and Articles pages hold not just our weekly postings but a selection of other informative and entertaining Blogs from a variety of Authors. You can get involved and be a guest Blogger or even start your own weekly or monthly Blog and have it updated and promoted on our site. We are also gathering information from expats for a selction of Expat Experience Articles. If you'd like to tell your story about your move to the USA, good or bad, then we'd love to hear from you. You can use our Online Form to send us your details or see the Articles page for more information.

If you have some time to kill why not visit our Just For Fun section? You'll find a selection of fun themed quizzes. How much do you know about Florida? Are you a whiz with Walt Disney World trivia? How many US State Capitals can you name? Do you know when each President was in Office? You can also test your knowledge of current US television shows or take our Best of British quiz.

To celebrate the launch of this section we have a competition running where you could win one of two great prizes from

All you have to do is answer the question posted on our Just For Fun page and you could be the winner!

Remember Brits can still list their Business for FREE on find out how Here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The British Television Podcast

Hello everyone. This week I spoke with two Americans who have an obsession with British Television, so much so that they produce the weekly British TV Podcast.

The British TV Podcast began in 2009 and is co-presented by Ryan Johnson and Chrissy Cameron. Every episode they review the latest British TV, look ahead to the coming weeks broadcasts, keep you up to date on any US DVD releases for British shows and much more.

Ryan is a 49-year old American living in Seattle. He became a fan of British television during the Monty Python invasion of the early 1970s. In 1993 he moved to London for a year just so he could see British television first-hand. Since moving back to the States sixteen years ago he has continued to keep up on British TV by trading tapes back and forth. In the late 1990s he worked for three years for as their British TV Guide and has been interviewed twice by BBC Radio including a 2007 interview for Radio 4 when BBC America canceled Benny Hill. He has written over 1200 British TV reviews over the years (you can read them here).

Chrissy has been a British TV fan since the early 80s. Growing up in the 1970s she remembers when her relatives would watch shows such as Monty Python and Upstairs Downstairs on PBS. Her interest was piqued when she got cable TV in the 80s when networks like A&E and MTV would import British TV shows to fill their schedules. She is a big fan of stand up comedians, and her favorite actors include Marc Warren, Lesley Sharp and Lee Ingleby. She also follows British politics just so she'll get all the jokes on Have I Got News For You.

Their latest podcast, show 67, includes a feature on "Shameless", which is currently in its 8th season in Britain on Channel 4 but also has an American remake running on Showtime. Chrissy and Ryan talk about both versions and how they compare. Plus there's a review of "The Sinking of the Laconia," the new Derren Brown specials, and the return of "Hustle" along with all the regular features.
There are many ways you can access the British TV Podcast, on their website, on iTunes or on the Brits In America website where you can download shows and listen to the latest offering.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Elegant Weddings of Orlando

Hello everybody.  Many people in the UK dream of getting married in The Sunshine State, but with so much long distance planning and organization they just wouldn't know where to start. I recently spoke with expat Helen Ronchetti who is helping people achieve their dreams with her company Elegant Weddings of Orlando.

Elegant Weddings of Orlando is a wedding planning and coordination company that organizes weddings for locals here in Orlando as well as having a large British client base of people who are embracing the trend for destination weddings in the sun and combining a Florida vacation with a wedding and honeymoon.

Being British ourselves we understand how difficult it is to put that most special day in the hands of someone so far away when most communication is done by internet and email and it is not possible for the Bride & Groom to look at locations and meet with vendors themselves – apart from photographs a lot of couples only see the venue for the very first time on the day of the wedding so a huge amount of trust is necessary between the wedding planner and the Bride & Groom.
We can arrange anything from a simple ceremony for two to a large wedding and elaborate reception for many guests and we are used to planning all of this at a distance.  Elegant Weddings has trusted and experienced vendors for anything from Photographers to Bag Pipers to Dove Releases – and pretty much anything else you have imagined having at your wedding and we can put together a custom wedding package to include as many or as few wedding services as you need.

Look beyond Disney and the other theme parks and Orlando has some stunning wedding venues – beautiful lakeside gazebos, beaches, gorgeous garden settings, luxury hotels – and all minutes from the popular holiday villas and resorts.
Take a look at our website and please feel free to contact us at and see how we can help you plan your dream Orlando Wedding. 

Throughout 2011 we will try to feature as many US based British run businesses as we can here on our Blog. If you'd like to be share your experiences and be featured then please contact us and remember Brits can still list their businesses for FREE at