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Thursday, August 1

The Manchester England Area & Christine's Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

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Note: We recently returned from three MARVELOUS weeks in Europe! Over the next little while, I'll be sharing our adventures with you {as well as some of the things we learned}. We chose to plan our own trip because we couldn't picture ourselves on a tour bus with a bunch of other tourists. Whenever possible, I'll explore the myths & stereotypes that I've always heard & if they are true or not. I'm going to be honest about our opinions & experiences - in doing so, I hope I don't offend anyone.

After days of staying in hotels, it was such fun to stay in Oldham with friends. My son got to know The Smiths {not their real name} when he served a mission for our church in that area. They were so kind to welcome us into their darling English home. 
John - in his gardening hat & Christine. Yes - the fuschia flowers hanging by their door ARE real!

And I loved this pretty fireplace in their home . . .
Best of all, they have a "Harry Potter cupboard" under their stairs!
Christine fed us such delicious food & even made one of Jeff's favorites on request - her Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble. {I'll share the recipe at the end of this post!}

While in the area, we tried to visit a lot of the places Jeff lived during his time spent serving a church mission in England. Chester was a very pretty city with lots of tudor style architecture.
We had fun walking around the city center.
We also enjoyed driving around in Knutsford {"Very posh" as Jeff would say} & seeing the temple in Preston. So beautiful.
Are there any Pride and Prejudice fans out there?  I adore the BBC movie version so it was a big thrill to visit Lyme Hall where the outdoor scenes for Pemberley were filmed.
Here are Chris & I are pretending to be rich on the very staircase that Mr. Darcy descends after cleaning up from his swim in the pond. 
I found Christian's "rich guy" face very effective & amusing!
{You can't imagine my disappointment when I heard that - had we arrived earlier in the day, we could have dressed & posed in period costumes. I would have LOVED that!} And, by the way, did you know there's a huge "Colin Firth emerging from the water" statue in London's Serpentine River? We missed it!

In Manchester, we went shopping at the HUGE Trafford Centre mall. {Which reminded me more of Las Vegas than England}. The shopping was great. I love a store called Fatface.
I was surprised to find a display of American junk food for sale in a department store. The prices were very high. For instance, the Trix cereal would have cost an equivalent of $11.36 for a box.
I was also amused by this awesome "Jerky Deli" .  . .

And speaking of food, as promised - here is Christine's recipe:

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
  • Coat a 9x13 pan with a non-stick spray
  • Cut up some rhubarb into 1" pieces & put in bottom of pan
  • Add some strawberries {frozen works fine}
  • Add 2 Tbsp water {if strawberries are frozen, make it 1 Tbsp.}
  • Mix in about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
To make the crumble topping:
  • Cut 3/4 cup of butter into about 1 1/2 flour. Sprinkle onto rhubarb mixture.
  • Sprinkle another 1/2 cup sugar on top
Bake at 350 degrees until rhubarb is tender. Serve with ice cream or custard.

Thank you, John & Christine for your wonderful hospitality. And thank you, to my dear son Jeff for showing us around your mission. I love you BIG!

Want to read more about our adventures? See the links below:


  1. Did your son serve in the Manchester mission? That is fun that you got to stay with a "real" English family! I love the Harry Potter cupboard! Don't you find their homes so odd? Their laundry washing machines in the kitchen and many of them still use clotheslines in their gardens? And how they pile all their food in one blob on their plates??? I never knew that Manchester had such a great mall! That is funny about the American products you saw. When I first lived in England and went to the grocery store for the first time, I could not find the cereal aisle. That was because they only devoted about 1/4 of an aisle to cereal! Not quite like in the USA! Enjoying your posts...can't wait to read the rest especially Ireland and Scotland. Did you kiss the Blarney I wonder???

    1. Yes Kelly, it was the Manchester mission. Did you do study abroad in England? That rings a bell. We were also surprised by things like the clothes washer in the kitchen, but we didn't see all the food in a blob thing. We got really hooked on "Corner Yogurt" from the grocery store & we wish we had it here. I am enjoying hearing about your experiences in the UK.

      Warmly, Michelle

    2. Yes, I did study abroad. I've never heard of Corner Yogurt! Many things have changed since I was there 13 years ago, such as they have Costco's now which just makes me sad (Costco's are not the English way of living!) You got to go to so many places and I can see that you love many English things! I never got to go to Ireland so I can't wait to read what your experience there was like. Cheers mate!

  2. I love this so much!
    I have always wanted to visit England and this was a fun little trip for me scanning your post.
    And I am still laughing at the "American junk food" in the department store!

    1. Hi Kari. It has been so fun for me to blog about the trip. Thank you for indulging me!

      Warmly, Michelle

  3. My son said that same thing about all the food in a big mound on a plate - then covered with gravy - the WHOLE Thing! He also got used to eating the "mushy peas". Doesn't sound too appetizing to me!


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