American here. I have a bunch of questions for the Brits and Aussies - sorry if it gets a little overwhelming!
What on earth is treacle? Is it edible? What about Spotted D.ick? (yes, that makes me giggle... )
In British/Australian literature, public schools seem to be pretty exclusive and hard to get into. This confuses me because in the US, public schools are funded by the government and anyone can attend, no entrance exam required (hence the name public). How is the educational system set up there?
Oh, and I'm totally addicted to the Shopaholic series of books, and if I ever get over to London, I'm definitely going shopping. Is Topshop as awesome as it sounds?
Treacle is thick, golden-brown, runny sweet stuff. It's very oozy and sugary and can be used to make sticky desserts (or pour over them). It's more a British than Australian thing, though; we have our own version, which is called Golden Syrup and is kind of same-but-different.
Spotted wingadingdingy is also British. It's a pudding made with (I think) raisins/sultanas, hence the 'spots'. We, too, snicker at the name, but nobody makes it here.
In Britain, public schools are exclusive and expensive, compared to government-run schools, that is true. Australia is more like the US; here, a 'public school' is government-funded and every child has the right to a free (sort of) public school education, whereas a private school charges school fees, is usually religious-affiliated, and is more difficult to get into. (In other words, the Aussie private school is the equivalent of a Brit public school - very confusing!)
Topshop is awesome, in my humble opinion. I shopped there lots when I lived in London, and I went back last July, for old times' sake. I still *heart* it. As for overpriced, it probably is, but it seemed pretty reasonable to me (but i do live in the most overpriced city in Australia