A Look Back at November

It’s hard to imagine that tomorrow will be December. Where did November go?

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Before my thoughts start charging ahead to Christmas, it’s nice to slow down a bit, think of the last few weeks, and catch you up on what’s been happening. So I know what you’re all thinking, “where do we stand with the BBAL?” Well, including a trip to the US, I’ve been able to check off five things on the list – woohoo!

We’ve also done tons of baby prep. We’re signed up to go to NCT birth preparation classes in January, a hypnobirthing class in December and have received or purchased almost all of the supplies we need for the beginning of parenthood. So exciting!

Regrettably, there is one thing on our BBAL that just won’t be happening this year and that’s ‘Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day/ Bonfire Night’. The festivities came and went while I was stuck at home with a cold. Ah well, there’s always next year and so many other things to look forward to.

Here’s a most recent rundown:

  • Done and dusted
    • Go apple picking
    • Attend a concert at St Martin in the Fields
    • Have German food and (non-alcoholic) beer at Katzenjammers bavarian bierkeller
    • Prepare my garden allotment for the winter
    • Eat at the Portrait Restaurant above the National Portrait Gallery
    • See exhibit at the V&A Museum: Wedding Dresses 1775 – 2014
    • Carve pumpkins for Halloween
    • Go to an NFL game in London
    • Attend a taping of a TV show
  • Not in the cards
    • Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day/ Bonfire Night
  • Will tell you about this week
    • Visit the British Museum
    • Host an Autumn gathering for friends
    • Shop at Junior League’s Boutique de Noel fundraiser
    • Visit the US
    • Volunteer with Junior League of London
  • Still to come…
    • Go up the Shard or eat in one of the restaurants
    • See more musicals — Wicked, Mathilda, Lion King
    • See ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
    • See exhibit at the V&A Museum — Horst Photographer of Style
    • Get a fresh Christmas tree
    • Host a pre-Christmas gathering for friends
    • See a film at the historic Phoenix Cinema
    • Go on a ghost tour at Hampton Court Palace
    • Have another day at the races
    • Stargaze at the Hampstead Scientific Society Observatory
    • Sing Christmas carols somewhere festive
    • Eat at the UK’s oldest Indian Restaurant, Veeraswamy
    • Visit Cheddar caves in Cheddar, England
    • Go to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral
    • Enjoy the Christmas lights on Regent Street
    • Visit the Kensington Roof Gardens

Taping of “8 out of 10 Cats”

When I put together my BBAL, I wanted it to be a list of things that were reasonably achievable. Nothing feels worse than falling short of something you intended to do or announcing to the world that you want to do something and then not being able to make it happen. For that reason, I didn’t list any of the wonderful things that I would *like* to do but probably wouldn’t get around to such as going to Paris one last time before February or visiting a Christmas market in Germany or eastern Europe.

Another thing that didn’t make it to the list was “being in the audience of a TV show taping”. I’d actually love to see a TV show being taped live and even started applying for tickets last spring. Despite my repeated efforts, I never won any tickets and sort of lost hope. However as fate would have it, just days after posting my BBAL on the blog, I received an email saying that we’d won tickets to go see a taping of 8 out of 10 Cats in our local area!!

For those of you who aren’t British, 8 out of 10 Cats is a comedy panel show based on opinion polls and statistics. The show is hosted by comedian Jimmy Car and has two three-person panels. The panels each have a regular team lead and then two guests. On the episode we watched the celebrity guests were actor Henry Winkler and gold medalist swimmer Rebecca Adlington. We weren’t allowed pictures but here’s a sneaky one that I took after the show ended. Henry Winkler is in the middle in the purple sweater.

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Watching a TV show being taped is fascinating. We were there for about two hours and they filmed considerably more than what is actually shown in the final edit. For every joke that Jimmy Carr tells, they probably filmed about four or five extra jokes to gauge reaction from the audience. They even filmed an entire extra segment in the ‘what should the nation be talking about’ portion of the show that didn’t make it to air.

Having this sort of insider perspective but not being able to actually interact with the comedians felt exciting – like we were picked especially to join in this experience. It almost felt like being a little kid again and a teenager or adult allowing you to tag along to something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. You couldn’t possibly remember enough to relay the whole experience to anyone else but for those few hours you were part of something that would never be repeated or shown to anyone else again.

For those who are interested, here’s a link to the show we watched being filmed. Apologies if it’s not available outside of the UK. We’ve already checked and you cannot hear my distinctive laugh above the rest of the crowd… pity, because I really tried to laugh hard!

Are You Ready for Some Football?!?

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There’s nothing quite like an American sporting event, especially football. The cheerleaders, musical performances, sideline acrobatics, enormous flags running across the field at various intervals, pyrotechnics when the home team scores, and team and celebrity videos encouraging the crowd to get excited all come together to make it more than just a game, it’s an experience. And this experience is one that I love taking part in every year when the NFL comes to London!

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This year, Peter and I were invited to watch the Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons by our American friends, Jenn and Nick, who bought tickets to every game this season. The Lions vs Falcons game was last Sunday during the afternoon and turned out to be exactly the experience and spectacle we were expecting.

The Falcons were the “home team” but we were all rooting for the Lions. Each of us had our own reason to be Lions fans that day. One guy was from Detroit, Jenn and Nick are both Northerners, and even though I’m from the South, I just had to root for the Lions after seeing the unbelievably bad tweet the Falcons did in advance of the game. Turns out we picked the right team because the Lions ended up winning in an incredible comeback that was only secured in the final few seconds of the game!

In sporting terms, it was one of the most suspenseful and fantastic games I’ve ever seen live. There were some great plays and my team ended up winning by one point. Also, during the game one of the players literally jumped over another and then continued on going – incredible!

So glad watching an American football game was on my BBAL because this one was hard to beat! Big thanks to Jenn and Nick for inviting us along!