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Downton Abbey: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Downton Abbey You Might Not Have Known


Perhaps one of the most popular shows on television in Britain and America, the tales of the Crawley family continue to draw in millions of viewers with each episode. The audience comes from all walks of life who tune in to see what bit of drama will happen this week, who will fall in love with who, and what snarky thing the Dowager Countess will say next. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve seen most or all of the episodes, but what do you not know? Have a look below at ten interesting facts about one of the world’s favourite programmes.



While Julian Fellowes had Maggie Smith, Brendan Coyle, and Hugh Bonneville in mind for their roles as the Dowager Countess, John Bates, and Lord Grantham, Lady Cora was originally meant to be someone other than Elizabeth McGovern. Who did he have in mind originally? Gillian Anderson.

The States

Downton is also very popular in America. It has quickly become one of PBS Masterpiece Theater’s highest-viewed programmes and it brings in 120 million viewers from 200 different countries and territories. In fact, on the night of the Super Bowl, Downton was the second most popular programme.

On Location

Well, mostly. The real-life Highclere Castle serves as the setting for Downton Abbey and the show does often film its scenes there. However, George Herbert, the Eighth Earl of Carnarvon, and his family still own and occupy the house, and so the kitchen and servants’ quarters have all been modernised. As a result, scenes depicting these parts of the house still have to be shot in a studio. The sets are taken down and reassembled for each series.


Several of the actors have interesting hobbies. Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) enjoys jazz singing. Jim Carter (Mr. Carson) does charity bike rides all over the world. Elizabeth McGovern also has a band called Sadie and the Hotheads that Dockery sometimes sings in.

Expensive Values

It costs approximately £1 million per episode to make Downton Abbey.

When You Can’t Dance Anymore

Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) was once a ballet dancer. She was even invited to be part of the Russian Kirov Ballet Company when she was fifteen. She might have continued on in this career but ankle surgery forced her to quit dancing and she decided to turn to acting instead.

The House Has Gone to the Dogs

Isis and Pharaoh, Lord Grantham’s dogs, get their names due to one of the real-life house’s owners, George Herbert, the Fifth Earl Carnarvon. Along with Howard Carter, he uncovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. Thus, the dogs are named in tribute to him.

Striving for Reality

The programme attempts to recreate everything faithfully, even down to the food. The food you see in dining scenes or being prepared in the kitchen is all real. This means that food items like seafood can get pretty smell at the end of a day of filming. One has to wonder if the cast ever gets to eat it?


Even though they strive for period accuracy, the programme does make mistakes every once in a while. The most recent of these was a plastic water bottle that appeared in a promotional photo for the most recent series. Plastic bottles weren’t widely used in the UK until the 1960s, about thirty-four years after Downton takes place.


Being a top-rated program, it’s also won numerous awards over the years. It has the Guinness World record for Emmy nominations at 27 and has won approximately ten times. Additionally, it has been nominated for and won numerous BAFTAs and Golden Globes.


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Christmas Actually: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Love Actually


A movie that is now eleven years old and inspired at least a couple star-studded, holiday-themed movies, it is now thought of as a Christmas classic. While films like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve attempted to recreate the magic with their star-studded casts and multiple storylines, it’s hard to recreate such awesomeness within a two hour period with a cast like that as Richard Curtis does. If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve viewed the film more than once, so you think you know everything about it. Well, here are ten things you may not know about this 2003 holiday classic.


There’s still 4 days left to pick up our lovely Love Actually themed design called Christmas Actually. Available on white or navy garments and shipping with plenty of time until Christmas.


No No, Thank YOU

Kris Marshall (“Colin Frissell”) actually refused pay for the scene in which three girls from Wisconsin undress him. He actually returned his check for the day’s filming because it was so much fun. Maybe it had something to do with the twenty-one takes they did for the scene?

Revenge is a Dish Best Served in Cinema

At university, Curtis’s girlfriend left him for a man named Bernard. As revenge, Curtis names one of the more negative characters after him. This is why Emma Thompson’s and Alan Rickman’s son Bernard is referred to as “horrid”.

Save It for Later

Colin’s awkward conversation with the caterer about how terrible the food is was actually written for Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was eventually drafted out of the original script, but used for the film’s auditions.

I Know that Voice

Years later, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) have turned their talents to voice acting. Besides live-action roles in film and television, Brodie-Sangster provides the voice of Ferb on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, while Olson’s voice and musical talents can be heard as Marceline the Vampire Queen on Adventuretime.


The word “actually” is spoken twenty-two times over the course of the film.

It’s All Relative

Thomas Brodie-Sangster is actually the second cousin, once removed, of Hugh Grant. Grant and Curtis both note this in the commentary. Grant and Alan Rickman also attended the same private school.

Scary Facial Hair

Billy Bob Thornton agreed to play the American President before even seeing the script. On set, he informed Curtis that he was terrified of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s facial hair and that he wouldn’t do a scene in the 10 Downing Street set because of a picture of Disraeli on the wall. Curtis ultimately talked Thornton into doing the scene regardless, but the actor always has his back turned to any picture of the PM. Hugh Grant would taunt Thornton on set by running up to him and showing him a picture of Disraeli, at which point Thornton would “break out in a sweat.”

Blink and You’ll Miss It

In Hugh Grant’s first scene, he is wearing a different tie in close-ups than in other shots. That’s because the two parts of the scene were shot at different times and Grant alleges that he grabbed the wrong tie before leaving his trailer to film the close-up shots. Rumour has it, though, that Grant changed the tie on purpose.

Ant or Dec

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are a comedy and presenting duo on British television. The frequency of their presenting together is made fun of when Bill Nighy’s Billy Mack character calls them “Ant or Dec”, referring to the fact that most people can’t tell them apart. Fortunately, the band Blue took their joke about their manhoods pretty well.

Joanna the First

Images of Daniel’s wife and Sam’s mother Joanna are actually those of documentary filmmaker Rebecca Frayn whom Curtis once had a crush on, but it never worked out, as Curtis notes in the commentary.

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The Hurricane: 10 Interesting Facts about the Hawker Hurricane – The Workhorse of World War II


Not talking about storms here, but one of the greatest fighter planes of World War II. While its fame was later eclipsed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane played a major role in early air conflicts, especially the Battle of Britain. Produced from 1937 to 1944, it served throughout most of the war and racked up some pretty impressive facts and figures.


There’s 72 Hours Left to buy our tribute to this iconic airplane. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA. Makes a great gift for Dad or Grandpa!


Eagle Squadron

Before the US’s entry into the war, many Americans joined the Royal Air Force and formed the Eagle Squadrons. As this took place at the beginning of the war, the American pilots mostly flew Hurricanes. In 1941 after the US declared war on Germany, these squadrons were folded into the US Army Air Corps.

Outnumbered but Not Outgunned

During the Battle of Britain in July 1940, the RAF had a total of 527 Hurricanes and 321 Spitfires to face the Luftwaffe’s 2,700 planes. Ultimately, the British forces were successful in destroying 1,887 aircraft to British losses of 1,547 planes over the three-month period. Their success marked a turning point for Britain and the war, halting the Nazis’ advancement in Europe.

Takes a Lickin’

While slower and less agile than the Spitfire, one of the Hurricane’s saving graces was that it was known to hold up better against enemy fire. In the Battle of Britain, they helped provide cover for the Spitfires, taking the brunt of the damage as the Spitfires moved in for the kill.

Important Technical Figures

Maximum Speed: 340 MPH
Range: 468 miles (1,090 miles with two 90 gallon ferry tanks)
Ceiling: 35,000 feet
Wingspan: 40 feet
Length: 31 feet, 4 inches
Height: 13 feet

31 Flavours of Death

Aside from the standard Mark I Hurricane, there were several other models that varied depending on their mission. Besides the Mark II(A&B), there was the Mark II Trop (rigged for combat in North Africa), the Sea Hurricane (modified to be launched by catapult for convoys), the Hurricane Hotspur (with a turret gun placement), the Typhoon, and many other variants.



With the Great Depression going on at the time of its development, Chief Designer Sydney Camm tried to use as many pre-existing parts and manufacturing techniques as possible. This resulted in a plane that was essentially the monoplane successor to the Hawker Fury biplane.

Easy to Repair and Modify

These practical concerns in building the Hurricane meant that it could be easily repaired after battle. It also allowed for the heavy modification that led to so many different models, making it a highly suitable fighter for almost any theatre in the war.

Hazardous to Your Health

And not just because of the Nazis shooting at you. Hurricanes had a problem with carbon monoxide fumes seeping into the cockpit. Manufacturers attempted to fix this by outfitting the planes with longer exhaust stubs and other modifications, but nothing ever completely alleviated the problem. Instead, pilots were required to use oxygen from engine start-up to engine shut-down.

A Throwback?

Of all the various modifications to the Hurricane, one of the more interesting was a one-off biplane variant. Known as the Hillson FH.40, the top wing was meant to hold extra fuel, reducing takeoff distance and increasing ferry range. However, it proved too heavy to be serviceable and none were built beyond the original.

Only a Handful Remaining

Of the 14,583 Hawker Hurricanes that were built during the seven-year period of production, only 13 survive that can still fly. However, many that are not in airworthy condition, are on display at museums all over the world. There is even one at the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, which is part of the National Air and Space Museum.

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Brit History: 10 Fascinating Facts about the British Union Flag You Probably Didn’t Know

In honor of the Union Jack Collection this week at Anglotees, here’s some interesting facts about the Union Flag you might not know.

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There’s still THREE DAYS left to get one of the design from the Union Flag Collection! Click here to BUY NOW!

Nothing says Britain like the Union Flag – also known colloquially as the Union Jack. The flag has a long history and within that history is many interesting nuggets of information.

Long History

The First Union Flag
The First Union Flag

The flag was first proclaimed by James I (aka James VI of Scotland) in 1606 when he inherited both the thrones of England and Scotland and sought to create a flag combining the two crosses of the respective nations. Ireland was later added in 1801 when it joined the United Kingdom.

It’s Actually Three Flags in One

The flag is actually made up of the three flags of England, Scotland and Ireland which are the crosses of each country’s patron saint.

England: Cross of St George – Red Cross
Scotland: Cross of St Andrew – White Saltaire
Ireland: Cross of St Patrick – Red Saltaire

Wales is Missing

Welsh Flag
Welsh Flag

While there are four constituent countries that make up the United Kingdom, only three of them are actually represented on the Union Flag. Why is this? Well, technically, Wales is a principality and has legally always been considered a part of England until recently when it was given more devolved powers. If Scotland votes to leave the Union, it’s highly likely Wales will get a place in whatever flag replaces the Union Flag. A dragon is a pretty cool thing to put on a flag!

It’s Actually Not Called the Union Jack

While pretty much everyone calls it the Union Jack, it’s technically called the Union Flag unless it’s being flown at sea. Well, this is the tradition anyway. Everyone calls it the Union Jack these days.

There’s a Right Way to Display It


If you look closely at the flag, you’ll notice that it’s actually not symmetrical in its shapes, which means that there is a proper way to display the flag. This little graphic should clarify how to properly display the flag.

There’s a US State flag with the Union Flag On it

State Flag of Hawaii

Despite fighting a lengthy war for independence, there is still a US state flag with the Union Jack on it – the Hawaii State flag still features it in the upper left corner. Why is this? It’s a relic of Hawaii’s colonial past when it was more associated with the British empire when Hawaii was still a monarchy. The King of Hawaii at the time sought to placate both British and American interests by creating a hybrid flag and it’s stuck ever since. When America took control of the islands, they opted to stick with the hybrid flag.

There are 23 countries using the Union Flag

There are still 23 countries around the world – many small territories or islands – that use some form of the Union Flag in their design. But there are big ones that still do like Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand Might Ditch Theirs

Possible New Flag for New Zealand
Possible New Flag for New Zealand

Recently, the Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key has announced that he intends to hold a referendum after the next election for New Zealand to choose a new flag. The options would be to keep the current flag or create a new one, probably based around the Silver Fern that is associated with the country. According to surveys, they’re likely to keep the same flag – mostly to honor veterans who fought under it.

Canada Ditched Theirs in the 1960’s


After much debate, in the 1960’s, Canada decided to discard their ‘Red Ensign’ flag, which was never actually its ‘official’ flag and adopt the Maple Leaf as their national flag. There was a huge public debate but in the end, public support was behind adopted a new national symbol to represent the independence of Canada.

They Don’t Have a ‘Flag Code’ and No Modern Concept of Flag Desecration

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The United States takes its flag very seriously and has an entire code dedicated to the proper treatment of the flag. The UK doesn’t have any of this and they have no legal concept of flag desecration. There is also no specific way in which the Union Flag should be folded as there is with the United States Flag. It should simply be folded ready for the next use. Which I guess explains why no one makes any noise over the availability of Union Jack underwear or seat cushions.

Check out some of the beautiful designs this week below!

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Spitfire: 14 Facts and Figures You Probably Didn’t Know About the Supermarine Spitfire – The Iconic Plane That Fought During the Battle of Britain


The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most iconic airplanes ever built. It’s best known as the plane flown by pilots during the Battle of Britain (along with the Hawker Hurricane). In honor of our current shirt at Anglotees, Spitfire Schematic, we present 14 facts and figures you probably didn’t know about the Supermarine Spitfire.


There’s still 72 hours left to get your own Spitfire Schematic T-shirt. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, sweatshirt and hoodie starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA!


1. What Makes the Spitfire so special? Its sleek lines, its maneuverability and the power put out by its Merlin engines. It was almost unmatched in the air during the early years of the war.

2. The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton . In accordance with its role as an interceptor, Mitchell designed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing to have the thinnest possible cross-section; this thin wing enabled the Spitfire to have a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the development of the Spitfire through its multitude of variants.

3. The Germans admired them. Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, Herman Goring was having a heated exchange with his commanders, frustrated that they weren’t winning the Battle of Britain as planned. He asked them what they needed to win and ace pilot Adolf Galland famously responded “I should like an outfit of Spitfires.”

Here is the scene dramatized in The Battle of Britain film from 1968:

4. While the Spitfire was in service, there were 20,351 total built. Today there are just 179 left today in various states of decay.

5. The Spitfire was the only Allied aircraft to be built during the entire war.

6. Because so many Spitfires were built, there were plenty of leftovers after the war. This meant that when filmmakers produced the iconic film Battle of Britain in 1968, they could use the actual planes flown in the battles. Many were also flown by veteran pilots.

7. It was one of the first airplanes to feature retractable landing gear. This was so new that many new pilots often crash landed because they forgot to put down their landing gear, assuming it was already down.

8. The Spitfire’s maiden flight was on 5 March 1936. It entered service with the RAF in 1938 and remained there until 1955.

9. Though it is assumed that ‘Spitfire’ came from the aeroplane’s awesome firing capabilities, it was also an Elizabethan word that meant someone who had a fiery character. The names Snipe and Shrew were also considered for the plane. Thankfully they went with Spitfire!


10. If you have a pilot’s license and £5500 (about $8500) you can attend the Boultbee Flight Academy in Kent, England and learn how to fly a real Spitfire. This is on my bucket list.

11. Some of the planes had modifications made to their under the wing mountings. Instead of carrying bombs, the planes could carry two small barrels of beer, something that was very popular with pilots!

12. The Spitfire continues to be a very popular aircraft, with approximately 55 Spitfires still being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums all over the world including here in the USA. I’ve seen the Spitfire inflight twice now and it was an amazing sight – can’t wait to see it again.

13. A single spitfire cost £12,604 to produce in 1939 – about £681,000 in today’s money or about $1.15 Million, which is rather cheap for an aircraft of its ability!

14. The maximum top speed of the Spitfire was 363 MPH – quite zippy! It’s range was 991 Nautical Miles but when it was in combat, it’s range was about 410 nautical miles. It could fly up to 36,000 feet, but the cabin was not pressurized.


There’s still 72 hours left to get your own Spitfire Schematic T-shirt. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, sweatshirt and hoodie starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA!


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Londinium: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Roman London

Aerial View of Roman London

Our runaway hit design this week is Londinium, our tribute to London’s roman foundations. So, we thought it would be fun to put together 10 interesting facts and figures about Roman London that you might not know.


There’s still 72 hours left to pick up Londinium – our tribute to Roman London. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie, tote bag and sweatshirt on Dark Grey or Brown garments. Starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA.


1. Londinium was founded by the Romans in AD 47 (or 47 CE) on the banks of the Thames roughly where the current square mile ‘City of London’ is located.

2. They chose the spot on the River Thames because the River Thames was quick way to transport goods between Britain and the Continent. The Romans saw this and built the town of Londinium around the river’s main crossing point. They built the first London Bridge.

3. In AD 61 the native Iceni tribe, led by Queen Boudicca, rose up against the Romans. They burnt Londinium to the ground and killed 30,000 Londoners.

4. The Romans regained control and over the next 20 yeas rebuilt Londinium. By AD 100, the city was thriving again. At its peak the new Londinium city had a population of up to 60,000 people and for 300 years it was the largest city in Britannia

5. The Romans built many major structures in Londinium including temples, bathhouses, a basilica for meetings, and a governor’s palace. Around 200 AD, they built a defensive wall around the city called London Wall. The wall was around three miles long, 20 feet high, and 8 feet wide.

6. You can still see bits of the Roman Wall that surrounded the city today. See the biggest pieces are the Museum of London.

7. Excavation has revealed extensive evidence of destruction by fire from when Boudicca burned the city in the form of a layer of red ash beneath the city.

8. The road network that the Romans built is still largely in place as modern roads in Britain. Of the fifteen British routes recorded in the 2nd- or 3rd-century, seven ran to or from Londinium.

9. Despite its importance, Londinium was not the capital of Roman Britain. It was Camulodunum (modern day Colchester) first before Londinium eventually replaced it.

10. Emperor Hadrian visited in 122. The impressive public buildings from around this period may have been initially constructed in preparation for his visit or during the rebuilding which followed the “Hadrianic Fire”. This fire, which archaeologists have discovered destroyed much of the city, is not recorded by any surviving source and seems to have occurred in a time of relative calm in Britain; for those reasons, it is generally assumed to have been accidental.


There’s still 72 hours left to pick up Londinium – our tribute to Roman London. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie, tote bag and sweatshirt on Dark Grey or Brown garments. Starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA.


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10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Cornwall You Might Now Know


Cornwall is fantastic place – a land of geographic and cultural identity distinct from the rest of Britain. In honor of this week’s shirt dedicated to Cornwall, here are a few facts and figures you might now know.


There’s still 4 days left to pick up this week’s design dedicated to Cornwall. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide!


1. The flag of Cornwall is Saint Piran’s Flag. The flag is attributed to Saint Piran. Saint Piran or Pyran (Cornish: Peran) was an early 6th-century Cornish abbot and saint, supposedly of Irish origin. He is the patron saint of tin-miners, and is also generally regarded as the patron saint of Cornwall, although Saint Michael and Saint Petroc also have some claim to this title. Traditionally, St. Piran has been identified as the Irish saint Ciarán of Saigir. Saint Piran’s Flag, a white cross on a black background, is used as a symbol of Cornwall. Saint Piran’s Day falls on 5 March.

2. Cornwall is home to 545,355 people.

3. Cornwall is 1,376 square miles (3,563 square km) and features 422 miles of coastline (697 km).

4. Cornwall’s longest river is the River Tamar which marks the border between Devon and Cornwall.

5. Some famous British TV shows to be shot in Cornwall: Doc Martin (one of our favorites), Poldark (old and new), Jamaica Inn, Wild West, Wycliffe and The Camomile Lawn.

6. Following a review by the Boundary Commission for England taking effect at the 2010 general election, Cornwall is divided into six county constituencies to elect MPs to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

7. A Cornish pasty is a baked pastry, a traditional variety of which is particularly associated with Cornwall. It is made by placing uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables, on one half of a flat shortcrust pastry circle, folding the pastry in half to wrap the filling in a semicircle and crimping the curved edge to form a seal before baking.

8. The Cornish language is closely related to the other Brythonic languages of Welsh and Breton, and less so to the Goidelic languages of Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx. The language continued to function visibly as a community language in parts of Cornwall until the late 18th century, and it was claimed in 2011 that the last native speaker did not die until 1914. There has been a revival of the language since Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language was published in 1904. A study in 2000 suggested that there were around 300 people who spoke Cornish fluently.

9. Tourism is estimated to contribute up to 24% of Cornwall’s gross domestic product. In 2011 Tourism brought £1.85 billion into the Cornish economy.

10. Truro is the centre for administration, leisure and retail in Cornwall, with a population recorded in the 2011 census of 18,766. It is Cornwall’s county town and only city, also being the most southern city in mainland Great Britain. People from Truro are known as Truronians.


There’s still 4 days left to pick up this week’s design dedicated to Cornwall. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide!


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The Brit Food Fiver – Five Unique British Foods You Have to Try – Which is your Favorite?

Article by John Rabon

Every country and region in the world has its own unique delicacies. While these local dishes have been around for centuries and seem perfectly normal to the people who live there, tourists might be a bit taken aback at them. However, were they to give these uniquely British dishes a chance, they might find a new favorite food. From the sweet to the savory, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these are some of the more interesting and distinctive foods that the United Kingdom has to offer. So instead of turning up your nose, take your fork and dive into these dishes.


There three days left to pick up our tribute to British Food by designer Caroline Silfverling. Available in red and navy blue in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide. 


1. Toad in the Hole


A dish with a more disgusting name that masks its deliciousness, the Toad in the Hole is actually a group of sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter. The name is meant to evoke an image of toads submerged in mud, and there is some debate about whether it originates from the game of tossing disks or whether the dish used actual toads when times were tough. More than likely, it comes from the 1600s when the dish was invented at a time that meat was roasted over batter puddings and the fat would drip into the batter, creating holes, while sometimes the poorer cuts of meat (or toadies) were cut off and allowed to fall into the batter.

2. Stargazy Pie


This one is slightly more unappealing to look at, but certainly no less delicious. This Cornish dish involves baked sardines in a pie, filled with eggs and potatoes, and covered with a pastry crust. Then, using the remaining sardines’ heads, the pie is decorated. The reason for leaving the heads in is to permit the oils from the fish to seep back into the pie. It was created to celebrate the festival of Tom Bawcock’s Eve, which recognizes the efforts of Mousehole resident Tom Bawcock to ease a famine on the village through relentless fishing. The name comes from the appearance of the fish heads, as if they are staring at the stars.

3. Black Pudding


Not like any kind of pudding you’ve had before, I’ll wager. Black pudding is another name for a blood sausage and is made from a combination of congealed pig’s blood, oatmeal, and that all-purpose ingredient—lard. Some recipes also include seasonings such as pepper, onion, salt, and cloves. It is a particular delicacy of the Black Country, West Midlands, and North West England, and Lancashire has a variation where it is boiled and served with malt vinegar. I found the texture a little dry and grainy for my taste, but you may feel different. It’s definitely a “love it or hate it” dish.

4. Spotted Dick


All right, stop with the sniggering! It is actually a pudding made from a sheet of suet pastry filled with either raisins or currants, then rolled up into its traditional circular shape. Its first recorded appearance was in chef Alex Soyer’s “The Modern Housewife” in 1849, and it is believed that “dick” was simply a term used for pudding in the 19th Century, while the “spotted” part should be fairly obvious.

5. Haggis


This traditional Scottish dish gets more of a bad rap for how it’s made than anything else. This pudding is created by taking the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep (also called the pluck), mincing them, and adding in onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, stock and salt before cooking it in the sheep’s own stomach. The first written recipes appeared around 1430 in Lancashire. So famed as a dish that it has had poetry written about it, including one piece by Robert Burns, in whose honor haggis is traditionally served on Burns Night. It is also the subject of a game called “haggis hurling”, but if you’d rather eat it instead, it is traditionally served with mashed turnips and mashed potatoes (neeps and tatties) and the recommended beverage is whiskey.


There three days left to pick up our tribute to British Food by designer Caroline Silfverling. Available in red and navy blue in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide. 


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10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Jaguar You Might Not Know

In 1933, two motorcycle enthusiasts named William Lyons and William Walmsley took their Swallow Sidecar Company and formed SS Cars Ltd., producing their first car, the SS Jaguar, in 1935. Following World War II, SS Cars formally changed its name to Jaguar and began producing sports cars such as the XK120, XK140, and the E-Type. With a sales slogan of “Grace, Space, Pace”, Jaguar has always been committed to producing luxury vehicles and sports cars. With the firm celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year, it is our hope that you will enjoy this great t-shirt recognising the accomplishments of one of Britain’s automotive giants as well as these interesting facts.


There’s 72 hours left to get our latest British Classic car themed design dedicated to the Jaguar Mark 1. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide.


Side Business

As mentioned above, Jaguar actually started out as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, making sidecars to go with motorcycles. Lyons and Walmsley started the company with a £1,000 loan taken out with the help of their fathers. In 1927, they began experimenting with cars by coachbuilding kits for the Austin 7. That same year, they stopped making sidecars and changed the company name to Swallow Coachbuilding Company. It would only be eight more years before they started making their own automobiles.


For decades, Jaguar’s hood ornaments, also known as “The Leaper” featured a prominent leaping jaguar. In 2005, Jaguar removed the Leaper from its models in line with the European Union’s safety standards for automakers. In addition to removing the Leaper out of safety concerns for frontal collisions, vice president of marketing and communications Tim Watson said “We’ve taken a much more modern, svelte, and aerodynamic approach.” Customers can still have the Leaper added to their cars for about $250.

World’s Fastest

The Jaguar XJ220 was the world’s fastest production car from 1992 to 1994, achieving a top speed of 213.478 mph. It held the record until it was superseded by the McLaren F1 that achieved a speed of 231 mph. The XJ220 held the production car record lap time of 7:46:36 at the Nurburgring from 1992 to 2000

All Day and All of the Night

24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest sports car endurance race in which teams of drivers take turns to keep the race going for a full day. Jaguar first won in 1951 with a XK120C and has won the race seven times, the last race being in 1990 with a XJR-12.

What’s Cooler than Being Cool?

Jaguar climate tests all its vehicles in a freezer at -40 degree Fahrenheit for 12 hours. Then they stick the cars into a wind tunnel with air streams that are 0 degrees all while spraying the car with water. This is to ensure that, no matter how cold it gets outside, your Jaguar will run like a dream.

The Finest Leather

For the company’s XJ models, Jaguar uses only leather from Scottish Angus Bulls. The reason for bulls over cows is that the cows can get stretch marks from pregnancy. What’s more, the Scottish bulls are less likely to have been bitten by mosquitos, which could damage the leather. Skin from the belly and neck are used for the dash and the doors, while the rump and backbone are used for the seats as those parts of the hide are tougher.

It’s Good to Be Bad

Jaguar relied on the American cinematic tradition of British actors playing villains for its 2014 Super Bowl commercial that featured Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong, and Tom Hiddleston. During the filming, Hiddleston had to hang out of the side of a helicopter that was approximately 500 feet off the ground moving through central London, an act that actually terrified him (though he doesn’t let it show). In the same commercial, the driving was actually done by former Top Gear Stig, Ben Collins.

VR Modeling

Jaguar’s designers have a Virtual Reality Cave with eight cinema-quality 4K projects that help to recreate the interior of the cars so that designers can sit in their designs and get a sense of proportion. It also lets them form 3D models of parts to see how they will work together.

I Can’t Drive 55

Steve McQueen was once the proud owner of a Jaguar XKSS, which was one of only 16 ever made. The car got him in a bit of trouble, though, and he had two driving bans over the ten years that he owned it. He eventually sold it, but regretted the decision and later bought it back, keeping it until he died in 1980.


Prior to painting, Jaguar workers brush every car with ionized emu feathers because they can briefly hold an electrostatic charge. This way, the bare metal won’t attract dust between the final cleaning and the painting.

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Tube Love: Top 10 Things I Love about the London Underground


Our runaway hit design this week is our new tribute to the London Underground – Tube Love – and is popular with fans of the Tube all over the world. That got me thinking – just what is it about the Tube that I love so much?


There’s still time left to pick up Tube Love – our tribute to the London Underground by Kevin Scharr. Available on navy garments in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide.


Here are 10 things I love about the Tube in no particular order.

It Goes Everywhere

The Tube simply goes everywhere – with 250 miles of track and 270 stations, the London Underground sprawls in every direction. You can travel to a different station every day and discover something new.

Mind the Gap

The most iconic phrase to come from the Tube is ‘Mind the Gap,’ which is broadcast over audio systems of the network and also painted on the platforms. It’s such a reassuring thing to hear the tone and then the calm voice warning you to watch your step as you get on the train.

The Smell

Some one argue that the Tube doesn’t smell good. But I would argue that the Tube has its own unique patina – dust, engines and people all combine to make the smell of the London Underground completely unique. I know I’m in London when the smell hits me at Heathrow station.

The Whoosh

Standing on the platform, one of the simple pleasures of traveling in London is hearing the train approach and then feeling the rush of wind rushing ahead of the train as it arrives. It’s such a feeling of anticipation. And a relief on a hot day as most of the Underground is not air conditioned!

Old Stations

While there are no shortage of new stations on the network, I really love visiting the old stations – some built over a hundred years ago. Many have unique and beautiful tile work you simply cannot see anywhere else. There’s such a timelessness about these stations and they’re a joy to travel through.

The Tube Map


With 270 stations, it would be easy to get confused when you look at a rail map. That’s why Harry Beck had the brilliant idea to re-imagine the map as an electrical diagram and the iconic Tube Map was born. It’s so simple to navigate – you can easily find your way around London and transferring between lines.

It’s a Cheap Way to Get Around London

There are cheaper ways to get around London (buses are much cheaper) but the Tube is a surprisingly affordable way to travel around London when you’re on a budget. When we visited during our college days, it was indispensable for poor college students.

Feel Like a Local

We know it will never be possible for us to live in London, but when we travel there – riding the Underground makes us feel like locals. You get to see a slice of London life. London fashion. What people are reading. Hear what people are listening too. You also notice social cues you might not notice anywhere else (like don’t talk, ever or don’t sit next to someone if there is a free seat elsewhere).

The Oyster Card

London pioneered using an electronic card to travel its network and we recommend that everyone get one before they go to London. It never expires and you can use it on future trips. For those that don’t know what it is – the Oyster card is your ticket to the Tube. It gives you the cheapest fare whenever you use it (and caps out for multiple trips). It’s much cheaper to use than paper tickets. It’s also much easier to use to get through the ticket barriers. My Oyster card is one of my prized possessions and I always keep it with my passport, ready to go to London.

The Rolling Stock

I’m not a train geek that can tell you what kind of train each one is, but I simply love trains and love examine the variety across the network. They’re so fast! And that sound they make as they accelerate of the station is truly an iconic London sound.

Here are some of the sounds of the Tube:


There’s still time left to pick up Tube Love – our tribute to the London Underground by Kevin Scharr. Available on navy garments in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide.