31 October 2014

Friday figments and photos

A few too many celebrations involving these...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...an interesting suitcase...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...after dark traipsing around my FAVOURITE museum...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...a touch of excited planning with this cupboard foreigner...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi
... a few of these Norwegian cuties...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...London from on high...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...a slice or two of this...

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...and one unhappy cat.

Friday figments and photos - Adventures of a London Kiwi

How are things with you?

30 October 2014

Belfast, Northern Ireland

How and where do you start with a city like Belfast? Torn in two for generations over the rights of the English and the Irish to govern this rainy spot, peace seems to be gently settling on this troubled place.

Falls Road striking with Republican/Nationalist messages - Belfast, Northern Ireland

After travelling through the luscious Irish Country side, kissing the Blarney Stone, sipping on an ice-cold Guinness next to the Liffey, marvelling at the incredibly dramatic Cliffs of Moher, transversing Dublin's ha'penny bridge, explored the enigmatic ruins of Charles' Fort and marvelled at the gluten-free offerings of Ireland, we hopped on the train to Belfast. There was no announcement en route of the country's border line, one minute you were in the emerald Isles, next thing back on English soil - yet that imaginary line has been the subject of so much suffering.

29 October 2014

An anti-label mini-rant.

I hate labels.  Restrictions, racial labels, pigeon-holing, sexist slurs, narrow-minded thinking... you name it, it annoys me. Why let someone else dictate the way you see yourself? The minute you let them assign you a label you're giving into the Matrix.

Take blogging as a fairly non-contentious subject  for example (all the other discriminations we can discuss whilst fixing the world over a Friday night mojito).

Blogging should be about having fun (unless there is a work element you're trying to run with, in which case fair play, rock on) and it should be about adventuring, exploring and getting to know yourself. But sometimes politics and your own expectations get in the way.
Over the last couple of months chatting with blogging mates, a few have decided to change the direction of their blogs. Some because their lives have changed, some because they are interested in new subjects and a few because they feel pigeonholed by a label. Travel. Lifestyle. Foodies. Fashion. Cut it off.

Sod the labels - names aren't everything. Write occasionally about a passing fancy, challenge yourself with a style of writing you never thought you could, enjoy weaving words. Push yourself - challenge the boundaries of what other people think. Secretly they're probably thinking 'ooooh, I wish I'd written that!'

An Ode to Toast - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Most of all, don't care about what other people think. It's your blog, your creative space, your little corner on t'internet. Be true to yourself - find your voice.

Aside from labels (including itchy square ones in the back of your clothes) I also hate shoes, but don't get me started!

28 October 2014

Help: Reading recommendations required

Having completed several long journey recently, I need your help to fill up a few empty spaces. I love interesting fiction, kickass fantasy, scrummy foodie reads, wanderlust inducing travel memoirs and almost everything in between.

Pretty please?

27 October 2014

The best Knockers in London

Door furniture that is (get your mind out of the gutter - this is very much a PG, though slightly random blog). It occurred to me on a wander through London a couple of months ago (visiting the temporary art installation books about town) that before we had electronic door bells disturbing our quiet homes with Kraftwerk style trills, it was wrought iron knocker (or your bare fist) announcing the outside world.

Each and every time I encounter another beautiful knocker (once getting over the initial urge to rap it) I always begin to wonder at the story behind it. Is it a relic of the home's original Victorian history used by rich young women after a night dancing with their beau? Was it found in the car boot of a antiquing entrepreneur? Is it a modern knock-off added to a brand new door by a family wishing to prove their new-found fortunes have endowed a touch of class?

The sound of the ominous knock echoing down a long, wood lined hallway; does it strike joy in the hearts of the young inhabitants, eager to open the portal to the outer world, or does a timid elderly lady live in the home surrounded by the ghosts of years past and a scary modern society.

Filigree works in ironmongery, they do seem to be fashion statements that take a door from pretty, all the way to ridiculously posh dahling.

But, they are beautiful.

And this one has to take the cake (mouse-flavoured?).

Sensational Cat & Mouse front door knocker by Derek Bernstein

And some just get a little too funky...

What do you think of door knockers? What is you favourite?

24 October 2014

Friday figments and photos

I always feel under a weird pressure on Fridays. The need to have an action packed weekend planned often wars with a keening for relaxing at home in PJs with the cat and a pile of cheesy movies.

What is a girl to do?

Picadilly Circus - Eros Adventures of a London Kiwi

Sexy snowshoe shopping - who needs Jimmy Choos?

Adventures of a London Kiwi

We also visited one of the poshest sports-goods stores I've ever seen.

Picadilly Circus Adventures of a London Kiwi

Giggled at these wallflower-esque costumes (none purchased FYI)

Picadilly Circus Adventures of a London Kiwi

Got slightly frightened in a 30-storey lift (and had visions of Dr Who arriving just in the nick of time)

Adventures of a London Kiwi

Explored a taste or two of French Wines...

Picadilly Circus Adventures of a London Kiwi

... with an incredible London skyline backdrop.

Picadilly Circus Adventures of a London Kiwi

A touch of R&R is definitely in order. Well, maybe.

23 October 2014

London Fashion Week; Off-catwalk and off plate; LK Bennett at the Marylebone Hotel

I am not a fashion blogger. My wardrobe tends to fall into two style categories; Tidy & Everything Else. Shoes are only ever bought for their ability to adventure in, my handbags get a bit battered commuting and I live by the mantra "everything goes better with a scarf". I'm not super keen on photos of myself (ironic I know considering how many hundreds I take) and my only ever attempt at a saucy pout ended up looking seriously fishwifely.

Of late however, I've been accused lately of turning more into a girly girl - but the piece de resistance was when I announced to the world that Amanda and I had been invited to the LK Bennett catwalk show. Yup. A catwalk show. Having not painted my nails in months, straightened my hair since my wedding years ago or worn heels in many moons, I had images of a paparazzi surrounded platform, overlooked by stern looking fashionistas in head-to-toe-black and huge sunglasses.

As someone never to turn a new experience down I just couldn't say no, and as evening fell I donned my favourite LBD (because that's what one wears, right?) a pretty scarf and diamante flats we tottled off. Unsure of the format, we excitedly entered the beautiful doors of the Marylebone Hotel very, very curious.

Having popped in for the Pantry at 108 to try the Gluten-free afternoon tea a few months ago, we were immediately we were struck by the luxurious designer touches in the foyer and public areas - French cut crystal, dazzling sculptures and opulent fabrics.

Seated with a smile, our tables were groaning with afternoon tea treats (I have always maintained that afternoon tea is best for any meal of the day) and Nyetimber bubbly. Well, you have to toast the beautiful L K Bennett models with something, right?

The lovely Perugia coat and Thyme dress.

Our models eschewed a traditional catwalk, preferring to walk between the tables full of click-happy press. It gave the autumn/winter 2014 preview a lovely intimate feeling; perfectly suited to the beautifully tailored fashion on show.

The Fabina coat and Elle top.

Did I want to buy everything? Yes, as usual. But how do you pick a single one? Luckily, the lovely gluten-free tea was on hand as consolation. I always adore Autumn; the glossy falling leaves, incredible sunsets, crisp mornings and the jewel-tone fashion beginning to appear. I don't wear a lot of colour, but when I do it needs to be strong and beautiful so I look less like a ghost - the LK Bennett palette is utterly perfect for me; teal, hints of magenta, lemon yellow and vibrant red; crowned with luxury coats.

For a far better photographed post and a view from the other side of the table, I highly recommend Amanda's beautiful blog Rhyme and Ribbons or Angie's post on Silver Spoon London of the afternoon show.
Silver glitter and fur-lined crutches - epic.

22 October 2014

Picture Restaurant Review.

I accidentally committed the ultimate food blogger sin. In a pretty restaurant, not far from Oxford Street (ironically enough) called Picture, I watched with an aching blogging heart as battery life bleeped away into nothingness, my lens then deciding completely reformat itself a few days later. But, in the spirit of intrepid explorers everywhere (think Scott in Antarctica, Hillary on Everest, Armstrong on the Moon) I thought hey, as a seasoned eater I can do this, write a review concentrating entirely on the incredible flavour plated in front of us without taking any photos. [Turns out that blogging without photos is like walking down a beach wearing an Arctic coat, just weird feeling]

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Picture Restaurant, but my (many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily visit. And revisit.

Luckily, the lovely, and far more skilled Leyla swung by the next day to take more of her incredible light soaked images of main-size plates and allowed me to share them. Follow her (via her wonderful blog, not down the road, that's a little stalkery).

21 October 2014

Secret Europe: 50 Truly Unforgettable Experiences to Inspire your next trip; Lonely Planet

This book is simply a gate-way drug to wanderlust. Yep, you read that right. Don't download this unless you want to be tempted into booking a fabulous holiday somewhere exotic.

I did warn you.

The downside to blogging, and reading so many wonderful blogs <shameless plug for all my favourite bloggers> is the sheer inspiration that causes you to fall in love with yet another destination from afar. Sunshine drenched beaches, hilarious travel escapades, immersing yourself in different cultures, tasting wonderful new flavours. All of it.

And this short book was no better. A free(!) Kindle download, it sucked me in whilst I was having a weak moment and a holiday to book over the Christmas/New Year break. With suggestions ranging from secret Krakow pubs, to sun-drenched Italian villages undiscovered by the mauraudering masses I soon realised that this may be the most costly free book I've ever owned.

I feel like travel bloggers are not just travelling to spend half an hour in each new city, but to experience something that makes a country unique, the as yet untold story of their own adventures - some good, some bad. We want to experience something of that city making it unique; the good, the bad AND the fascinating.

Is this really a book review? Probably not. But promise me you'll dream big, ok?

20 October 2014

Macarons, macaroons & Mayfair Mews'

Mayfair, home of the wealthy and privileged is a stunning corner of London. Beautiful Georgian terraces festooned with flowering window boxes, stunning ironmongery and simply fabulous windows combined with secrets mews streets and tucked away pubs full of ghost stories and laughing punters.

When the idea of a 'Macarons and Mews walking tour' was mentioned over the tinkle of afternoon tea cups, we told our lovely friend Yannick that it would be criminal if this wasn't made a fixture on his roster of wonderful London walks. Even luckier for us, we were invited to stretch our legs on the inaugural tour, celebrating the impending new member of Lady Loves Cake's family.

Accompanying (chief ringleader) Mandy, Melissa, a couple of new friends (not to forget Kelly and Manasi sadly unavoidably detained but being updated via the medium of tantalising Tweets) we made our way through nooks of opulent beauty.

Yannick, Luxemburg native and passionate London-guide is so thoroughly entertaining and knowledgeable that hours pass by without a second thought. Snaking our way through beautiful cobblestone streets, whilst being treated to his incredible area knowledge was delightful, as ever.

A marvel on it's own the walking tour is wonderful for exploring, but made all the better for a smattering of incredibly delicious Macaron stops. 

Macarons - should I compare thee to a summers day? Soft, crisps shells of scrumptiousness held together with a sweet cream filling, flavoured to perfection. They are perfectly sized creations of confectionary shipped from France to arrive on our tea plates, perfect with a good British cuppa. And they're gluten free! (And, if you believe Kelly by cutting them in half they are calorie free - but I couldn't confirm the scientific authenticity of that particular statement...)

The venues we were guided to are breathtaking themselves; architects confections of mortar and stone nestled in the hushed Mayfair and Kensington mews'.

Yannick was intially running the Macarons and Mews walk as a private group tour, but has recently added a couple of public dates to the calendar due to public demand - it's an afternoon of scrumptious delights and wonderful history. The tour is £20.00 but includes 5 tastings which is fantastic value.

 Good friends, sunshine* and Macarons. What more can a girl wish for?

*sunshine not guaranteed, but a plethora of delicious flavour is!