BritGigglesHow To Be BritishLiza Baron

For my first HelloGiggles column, I wanted to introduce myself by way of a quick guide to being British. I am British through and through – I love queuing, I like being kept on my toes by the changes of seasons and I love that I live on this tiny little island that speaks so loudly to the world. I am a bit obsessed with current affairs and always have my nose stuck into what’s going on, whether it’s from following Twitter trends, watching reality TV or reading the broadsheets. The UK creates so much beautiful art, music and style – I hope HG readers from the UK, US and all round the world like hearing what I have to say about it all.

Here’s my little guide on how to be British.

Obsessively read fashion tips in magazines, blogs, columns and tweets…then go right on ahead and ignore them. Look, our seasons change every five minutes and we just can’t scrape together enough pennies to keep updating our wardrobes all the time. Better to choose a funky signature style and stick to it (perhaps with a few catwalk-inspired adjustments or accessories). I think of my style as casual-pretty meets old-lady-vintage; a style based around a good selection of dresses that I can dress up with heels and lippy or down with trainers and a nice warm cardigan. Yes, I said cardigan.

Watch soaps. The whole of Great Britain is split between those who watch Eastenders (me!) and those who watch Coronation Street, but the main thing is to pick a side and stick to it. Through thick and thin, on holidays and dull working weeks alike, you can always rely on the fact that the people on the soaps are having a harder time than you are. Apparently some people claim not to watch soaps. These people are lying.

Complain when your favourite show is remade for a US network but secretly prefer the NBC version. The Office, anyone?

Make the most of summer festivals. I’ve been to Glastonbury festival almost every year since I was born, and love that many other boutique-y festivals have sprung up all over the country. Nothing says being British more than watching your favourite band in the rain whilst wearing a pretty summer dress and wellies.

Get really, REALLY excited when your country’s sports teams make it to international events…and then pretend the whole thing never happened when they get knocked out in the second round. *cough*everyworldcupsince1966*cough*. I don’t even like football much, but I can’t help but get swept up in the hype.

Speaking of hype, get hyped. About anything and everything. For a small country, we have a lot going on – get involved. Don’t pretend you’re not excited about the 2012 Olympics – we all are – so let’s just admit it and enjoy the togetherness of it all.

Be slightly uncomfortable when you talk about the Royal Family. Kate’s done wonders for their public image, but is it ok to be fond of the Royals? Nobody knows!

Get on yer bike! There’s nothing like going on a bike ride with a good friend, getting covered in mud, and letting her giggle at you for the rest of the trip. I’m more often a cycle-to-work kinda girl – you get to be smug about doing regular exercise but chances of getting muddy are minimal.

Slag off your country when it suits – but ultimately be patriotic. You know how you can slag off your sister to anyone who’ll listen, but woe betide anyone else who says anything negative about her? That.

Exaggerate your accent to sound cute. Whenever I speak to someone from the US, Australia or another English-speaking country, I find myself getting more and more British-sounding by the second. I even said “cheerio” on the phone the other day. I’m going to visit New York in March and have already started practising my best Queens English! And boys, we know you do it too.

Drink tea. Lots of it. ‘Nuff said.

Image via England For All

  • Becca Robson

    Big up to the South coast! I grew up in Portsmouth, now living in London. I miss the sea though :(

  • Coleen Campbell

    Fellow Brit! I love the US Office too. :) But can I just say thank you for writing a truly “British” article. Rather than calling it so then mentioning only England a billion times. I’m Scottish but proud to be part of a United Kingdom. :D Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    I adore cardigans!! :) (maybe it’s because I went to an English School in Spain..) and Downton Abbey!!

  • Christie Pellow

    I love this!!

  • Miriam Ridge


  • James Olney

    A few years back I was in New York with my mum and sister. We were queuing in Macy’s and some of the locals heard our accents and felt the need to talk to us (which I am sorry to say just makes you seem like a nutcase!). It was just before Prince Edward got married – so naturally they asked us if we knew them and were going to the wedding… because everyone in England knows everyone else.

    So after a very brief moment’s thought we said yes. Nothing to lose and they believed it 100% and seemed quite pleased with themselves :)

    Number one difference between Americans and the English – we understand and use sarcasm and irony like weapons! It’s a dangerous thing to be too trusting over here.

  • Lorna Speed

    Nice article! I’m actually from near Glastonbury and think festivals are definitely one of my favourite things of being British (just wish my parents had been cool enough to take me as a kid)
    I seem to be in the minority of having no allegiance to soaps, though a few people I know are partial to Emmerdale

  • Irene Munro Vick

    Yay for being British! Been in the US for almost 19 years but still drinking the tea :) Agree 110$ with the above :)

  • Judi Barber

    Thank you for your affirmation that although I have lived in Houston since I was 13, I am, in fact, still British!!! (Hubby says “I could have told you that”) I thought all these traits were just me, but apparently it’s a national thing… YAY!!

  • Ella Earp-Lynch

    Yay Brighton! Worthing girl here. I had to switch soap allegiance as I live in Canada now & it’s quite hard to find EastEnders but the Canadians are frighteningly all about the Corrie.

  • Janet A. Hopkins

    Anglophile here. My family is from a town nearby Brighton, Heyshott. Wish I could visit someday!!

  • Autumn Kieft

    A fellow Anglophile here. Like was stated above, I was born in the wrong country.

  • Ana Raquel Romão

    I’m from Portugal and I have to say I’m right up there with you on the Eastenders bit :)

  • Aimée Wootton

    A fellow Brit here, I agree with every single aspect of this article!

  • Liza Baron

    Oh, and Tish, I’d be more than happy to give you a ‘How to make tea’ column, hooray! (It’s been a long day, I probably shouldn’t be so excited about tea)

  • Liza Baron

    Thanks everyone, hope I didn’t make anyone too homesick! There’s a particularly irritating kind of rain in Brighton today – no-one likes that!

  • Tish Chambers

    For your next article, will you teach us how to drink tea like the Brits do?
    I don’t know how to drink tea! What kind to buy? How to I make it? What do I put in it? It’s everywhere on British shows (I watch a LOT) like Americans with their coffee. I want to be cool and British but I need to know how to make good British tea!
    P.S. I admit I like the American remake of Shameless better than what I saw of the original, but please don’t tell me you actually thought the MTV Skins was better! (It made me die a little inside…)

    • Liza Baron

      “Martin Freeman is made of kittens” – love it!

    • Karen Cooke

      From my recent trip to the States (American Boyfriend) you can not buy decent tea bags there, you will need to come to England to be shown how to make a cup of tea the correct way! Milk and two sugars please!

    • Amy Rowe

      If you like Sherlock, you have to watch our version of The Office. It is Martin Freeman at his most adorable (he is made of kittens after all). I just have to say, I am 100% English but I honestly do not follow a soap! I think we just have a love for telly in general, I get much more excited about a good BBC Drama :) I do love tea though…all day everyday.

  • Lindsay Ann

    As a huge Anglophile. this column makes me very happy! :)

  • Anonymous

    I just got back to the States in December from my semester in Canterbury and I feel super homesick. I want to go back! Nothing like some good ole Spoons pub food.

  • Mackenzie Barrow Warren

    This is the column I’ve been waiting for! By your criteria I am actually British!

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