American Women’s Clubs in Britain: Do they just eat cake?

peacefulyorkshire

Ok so the blog post title is unfair. I’ve seen pictures of women’s clubs in ‘American in Britain Magazine’* also wearing some pretty adorable fashionable feather-infused hats. Oh, and also daintily drinking tea. You can see what I mean here,where there are some stylin’ laydehs.

Have you ever been tempted to join one as a newcomer, my fellow Americans in Britain?

Have you ever considered shelling out your dough for some ‘instant’ Expat American friends?

I set out to do a little mission to see what it would cost to join. I counted 21 American Women’s clubs listed on this fair island, and two examples:

1)The Chilterns American Women’s Club- “CAWC is a network of friendly faces, all of whom were ready to help with my adjustment to the expatriate lifestyle.” (This will cost you £50 a year). 

  • Newcomer Coffees
  • Holiday Charity Bazaar
  • Trunk or Treat
  • Winter Luncheon
  • Spring English Morning Tea
  • Charity Cheque Presentation
  • Summer Luncheon Cruise on the Thames

2) For a whopping £105 a year you can join the American Women’s Club of London whose previous programs include:

  • Bridging the cultural gap- two lands separated by a common language
  • Christie’s Auction House – Famous women and their jewellery collections
  • Flower arranging ideas for the Fall and Holiday season
  • Chocolate tasting with the official chocolate taster of Fortnum & Mason

But cost aside, and if you can afford this type of thing in these Aldi-lovin’ Credit Crunch times, does being an Expat automatically make you bond foreveh with other Americans? I can honestly say from experience that it is NO for me personally. I mean, although it is nice to chit chat about how damn annoying American tourists can be when they talk loudly and wear fanny packs, and how the weather can suck, and of course raising money for charity is thoughtful. But after that….well,  there needs to be some kind of other connection, right?

    What are your thoughts, ladies? Are you in any paid  ‘American Women in Britain’ clubs? If so, what have your experiences been? Please share so I can stop being so sceptical…


    * One of the benefits of running SNFY with PacificBird and Yankeebean are the perks, like this magazine we get complimentary, thank you very much.

13 Little Reasons to love Britain

  • yahooavatar15Best music scene in the world, everything from Nick Drake to George Michael to the Smiths to Florence and the Machine

    Like to be inspired more by Britain’s positives? Click here.

    Want 13 Reasons to Love America? Click here

    Descaling your tea kettle as a feisty American in the UK:the why and how

    yahooavatar15Let’s remind ourselves of The Mysterious Things you might discover upon moving to the UK as a feisty and intelligent American lady. Oh darling,  will there be plenty. No one tells you (well besides us, I mean)  that you might notice your British partner doesn’t rinse the suds off dishesduvet covers might wean you from your beloved sheets for good, that in this country Asbestos is no biggie despite what you thought, and that you will need to be able to make tea for 10 Brits and get them all right. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! But– amongst those initial discoveries is the reality that you might need to descale the tea kettle at some point to get rid of rust and limescale buildup. Descaling the tea kettle is a frequent joke amongst us 3 American women and a frequent laughing point when we have one of our Betty’s tea parties (wait, I hope Betty’s descales their kettle?!).

    Us three American ladies on this blog are very different, and it is highlighted by our approach to the tea kettle descaling. Do you fall into any of these categories?

    yankeebeanYankee bean: She doesn’t bother with descaling and actually didn’t know what the heck I was talking about at our first mention of descaling. She said something along the lines of  “Descaling? You mean cutting fish open?” Needless, to say she happily drinks her tea regardless of the mineral buildup– she won’t mind me telling you that the bottom of her tea kettle looks like a dandruff  storm that has settled for life.  I admire her relaxed nature to this and wish I could be so chilled about it.

    avt_kapyork_large115Pacificbird: She only uses natural ingredients to descale to coincide with her uber-healthy lifestyle. She has tried numerous natural recipes and the most popular ones include using citric acid, lemon, vinegar, water… this goes along perfectly with her decision to give up caffeine and drink herbal cuppas instead.

    Well, then there is me here–I can’t stand drinking tea from a nasty scaled tea kettle, with weird white things floating in the water. It just grosses me out. For example, I teach at a very posh college, but do those Old Boys bother to descale their very schmancy fancy silver coated kettle? No! So, I decline tea very politely. But in my home I descale my Tesco 5 quid bargain kettle every four months with those little descaling packets you can buy. By descaling I have had my cheapo kettle for years! Click here for a great little article on how and why to complete this important task. Gosh it’s so satisfying.

    American friends in Britain, where would you be without them?

    yahooavatar15One cold night on the 31st of January, the three American “She’s not From Yorkshire” gals got together for one big hoopla celebration in York, England. There wasn’t any big occasion per se–there were no birthdays, graduations, new jobs or babies or marriage announcements.  While walking around the ancient city of beautiful York  they probably got excited and talked a bit louder than the others in the streets, their enthusiasm brightening up the dark York snickleways.  They wore wide grins that got lots of stares– were they drunk? Nope– but their laughter echoed through the quaint cobbled-stone streets.

    Well, who else could they  rant to about UK tax struggles, their British lurve-life and their wish about really wanting some flowery Cath Kidston wellies even though they don’t live in the countryside?? Without their American-gal-we-hear-your-pain-support-system they would be lost and very lonely indeed. But secretly each of these American women also needed their Betty’s Tearoom fix…and they even waited a lousy and cold 27 minutes outside to be seated.

    Of course, of course, after trying to figure out the meaning of life when you’re approaching 30, they started talking about all of you lot (that phrase still makes them giggle!) They decided they needed a mega change on the blog– a new headline pic! Yes, that was what they needed!  Its was their 3 month blogiversary a couple days ago and in honour of  having 8,000 readers in 3 months… well, they decided it was time for a makeover (see above pic– you did notice right?!). Also, Peaceful found other blogs that was using the their old picture on it– including a blog that was written by a Las Vegas stripper. They needed to set themselves apart a bit. No offense to strippers using the same blog pic as them. Kassi the stripper was a really sassy one and seemed very successful.

    So, Happy Birthday to “Shes not from Yorkshire” and were glad you’re with us!

    Making teas for 10 and getting them all right!

    avt_kapyork_large115 Have you had your cup of tea yet this morning? I love having English Breakfast in the morning with plenty of milk and one sugar (sometimes just half a sugar). A few years ago I didn’t even know what it meant to ask how many sugars. Are we talking individual crystals here? Once I was told (jokingly by a half American) that as an American I am genetically unable to make a cup of tea.

    I think I am pretty good at it these days. I even worked out how to make a less disgusting cup of instant coffee. But at work, or in someone’s home if you go to put the kettle on you must ask each individual person in the room if they want a cuppa.

    My work office is fairly small. It is enough to stand near the kitchen and ask “Does anyone want a hot drink?” but in our office the culture is to then address everyone by name and ask them if they want a cup.  And then if say 6 people say yes you must go through the routine.
    Step 1: Would you like tea, coffee, herbal tea or hot water?
    Step 2: Milk or sugar or sweetener?
    Step 3: How weak/strong?
    Step 4: How many sugars?
    Step 5: Repeat for every person in the room.
    Step 6: Remember what everyone said and make drinks accordingly.

    AAAGGGGHHHHH! It makes me crazy. So usually I just don’t have drinks at the office. An American employer might view this as a big waste of your work time. And the minute you have a drink, people start taking note of how often you do the dishes.

    It is the little things….

    Showing off at Betty's Tearooms with your American family

    yahooavatar15Let me tell you now, fellow readers,  Betty’s Tearooms are not a bargain…but wait– its okay–because it is one of the best Yorkshire experiences, hand down. Don’t you think?

    Its the place where you take all your family when they come visit you from far away America. See, you say, showing off a bit, England is just great, isn’t it?

    Look mom, they have real silver tea strainers!

    Uhh, dad, I explain, be sure you don’t drink your coffee too fast because this is not a diner, they don’t give you free refills here.

    About that point Mr. Chill winces in pain when we walk in the door because he knows that he has to foot the bill, because aren’t we all a guest in his country anyway? He knows it won’t be cheap.

    Betty’s represents what I thought England would be like when I arrived here, before views of council flats, chav mothers smoking on my street corner, horrible weather and complacent attitudes became my daily reality. Oh no, Betty’s represents the England of Cath Kidson, Princess Diana, red Double-Decker buses and paisley.

    Betty’s is English perfection, those silver tea pots and fresh white table cloths. Indulgent lemon tarts and strawberry pies. The milky waitresses serve quietly in starched linens, zit-free and hair in a tidy tight bun.

    Big portions?

    Not a chance!

    As we leave I purchase a 50 bag box of “Betty’s Tearoom Blend” so I can be more proper in my middle-class North England life.

    Oh yes,  I relish any opportunity to imitate an afternoon at Betty’s…