30 April 2015

Friday(ish) figments and photos

Ironically for someone who prides herself on defying the blog niche perogative, I seem to thrive creatively in a set, defined challenge. Bizarre, yes. Very Emma, yes. With my set scheme of 6 topics, I could plan ahead, knew what I needed to get for the next few posts and could feel like I was cheating when I defied the system and spent an entire week writing about Harry Potter and Doctor Who.

I think I've just solved my blogger's block. *facepalm*

Life lately Adventures of a London Kiwi

This entire week has been rather surreal and rather moving. With a 3am start on ANZAC day, we made our way to the incredibly busy corner of Hyde Park (there were literally thousands of sleepy antipodeans all rugged up, listened to the remembrance service intently. I do always wonder what the local hotel guests think!?) and joined Princess Anne commemorating the fallen soldiers of World War One.

ANZAC Life lately Adventures of a London Kiwi

27 April 2015

Communication and the redefinition of home to expats

I blearily cracked open an eyelid, my proper first view of a London morning framed by the bright red struts of a dorm room bunkbed. Blinking, I peeped out the window over the sleepily setting up Borough High Street. The sky was overcast with the promise of rain, but I was simply too excited to care as the realisation dawned that it was my first full day on the other side of the world. 28 hours of flying (broken with a long stopover in Singapore) had taken me away from my family, but headlong into the biggest, scarily amazing adventure I could imagine.

Rolling over, I realised that my dorm mates were beginning to stir as well. Heads began to pop up from blue duvets and limbs began to stretch as I rubbed my eyes in utter disbelief. Here I was 11,659 miles from home, and across the room from me were 3 girls I had sat exams with in a small Auckland town; we had shared a few house parties and High School common room gossip, but over the ensuing years lethargy meant we had lost touch. Once the shock had worn off, we celebrated over cornflakes and mugs of coffee before we parted once again. They were off to Scotland on a week long bus tour, but I set about establishing a life here in the capital. 
 Communication and the redefinition of home to expats

What is with all of these musings? It's coming up to my 9th anniversary of stepping onto London Tarmac, and when serendipitiously Lebara contacted me about working together on a post about the joys of expat communication, it seemed like a nice excuse to look back with a few musings on my first few months in a strange country.

25 April 2015

ANZAC Day - Lest We Forget

As you slept this morning, thousands of Kiwis and Australians have spent the pre-dawn hours shivering in their coats - an insignificant hardship as we remember brave servicemen of our countries who gave their all to help the Allied Forces in World War One and Two to protect our right to the freedom of slumbering safely in our beds.

My great-uncle (once removed) who left for war under a false name and age. He survived the war but returned with injuries. 
Slowly in the darkness the crowd begins to thicken, take shape, many around weatherworn memorials thousands of miles away from their birthplaces. A lone speaker takes the podium, and begins to capture rapt attention with sombre words on this chill morning. It is ANZAC day, and we are here to remember.

24 April 2015

Friday figments and photos

Thank you for listening, and so kindly empathising with my blabberings a few days ago about blog muses. It's a strange thing but so comforting to know I'm not the only one fretting slightly irrationally about our wonderful hobby!

The Garden Museum London

This week was mainly spent soaking in the sunshine - along with most of the rest of the UK I suspect. If much work got done nationally, I would be very, very surprised. 

22 April 2015

Blogging #firstworldproblems.

I have a very strange problem. I’m finding it weirdly hard to settle into the less frenetic groove of 3 posts a week (plus Fridays). When I was publishing a 6 posts a week it seemed like a fairground train ride that just kept chugging along happily; I had a pattern and variety of posts that I loved to put up – an organiser by nature I felt grounded in my routine: Monday – London, Tuesday – Books, Wednesday – Foodie something, Thursday – Travel, Friday – Figments and photos, Saturday – anything that took my fancy.

...just another brick in the wall...
Like so many of the blogging folk*, for me blogging is a creative outlet to make up for a pedestrian 9-5 <insert a good ole bit of Dolly Parton here>. It’s been a wonderful way to make friends in the London expat community, find out a few insane secrets of my adopted city, bring a bit of creativity into the day and a fantastic excuse for making brunch dates.

20 April 2015

Visiting Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham Richmond.

Hidden in the opulent suburb of Twickenham, a gothic castle of dreamy spires quietly rests.  

Strawberry Hill House Twickenham Richmond

You won't believe it, but it has taken me a little over 2 years to visit this particular piece of Richmond history. It's not through want of trying, but rather a lack of memory teamed with the house being open to the public. Every single time I've found myself with a spare afternoon I either haven't remembered to think of Strawberry Hill House, or have eagerly jumped onto the website only to discover that it's a month too early to visit down in the old borough of Surrey. A fail indeed*.

Strawberry Hill House Twickenham Richmond

Luckily in March inspiration struck with the inspired combination of Strawberry Hill House actually being open.

18 April 2015

Slippered footsteps through the Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Every step Becca and I took with our local guide Sahmi seemed to sink us further and further into a gem box as we explored the winding souk lanes, then the Bahia Palace. Exquisitely laid mosaic floors, fragrant orange-tree lined terraces and bare plaster walls awaiting thick winter tapestries, crowned with neck achingly ornate ceilings.

Bahia Palace, Marrakesh

Bahia Palace, Marrakesh

And the occasional inevitable shoefie. You can take the blogger out of London, but you'll never quite conquer her photography addiction...

17 April 2015

Friday figments and photos

How on earth can it be mid-April already? How!? The week that was: sunshine, brunching, blossoms, infamous authors, historical suburbs, questioning what is art, tasting aperol, indian feasts, mischief and Kiwi cuddles.

The Wolseley Restaurant Breakfast

A hola to the lovelies Angie, Kara, JaimeSam, & Yannick!

The Wolseley Restaurant Breakfast

15 April 2015

The Aladdin's Cave of Marrakech Medina pathways

Haunting calls to prayer echoed through early afternoon hillsides raising the hair on our arms, the sun shone for most of the day before dissolving into an early wet twilight and the tang of freshly made tagines filled our plates. Our first day in Morocco had passed in a haze of poolside snacks (and a very excited Skype call home) after a bone wearingly flight, so as the second dawned we were determined to explore. (Well, ok, dawned is a touch untruthful, perhaps 'as the second day 8am-ed' is a little more accurate - we were after all on holiday.)

Souk of Marrakesh Adventures of a London Kiwi

Forewarned about the attention we could get travelling as women on our own in Morocco, we arranged for a local guide to meet us in the foyer of our hotel. His name was Sahmi, an enthusiastic 65-year old ex-primary school teacher who asked us what we wanted to see. Still slightly clueless despite frantic googling the night before and rather jet-lagged, we arranged for a half day walking tour to include the Yves St Laurent cactus garden, the labyrinthine souk and Sahmi's favourite spots. We also asked to see the tanneries to Sahmi's slight discomfort - they're not a very ladylike place to show guests.


13 April 2015

Marrakesh: Twisting medina lanes, Moroccan Kiwis and golf carts...

Marrakesh was everything I thought it would be, and at the same time nothing like I expected. From the moment we landed on Morroccan tarmac there was a feeling in the air I couldn't place. We watched enthralled (fresh from London's metropolis) as we were driven to our hotel past dusky red apartment buildings, locals wandering busy with their day, palm trees planted in sandy roadside shoulders, American Rap billboards and city walls with ancient stone buttresses.

Marrakesh: Twisting medina, Moroccan Kiwis and golf carts...

Marrakesh seems to be a city of chapters. With a wild and varied history, each corner we turned seemed to yield another version of the North African capital. Traditional Souks filled with hand crafted items and apothecary shops groaning with natural remedies, luxury oasis hotels surrounded by verdant golf courses, dusty red apartment buildings mounted with satellite dishes, bi-lingual locals reflecting the tumultuous history, marble-floored fortresses and tanneries built on hand processing all manner of animal products.

11 April 2015

Frid... Well, Saturday figments and photos and the week that was

A long weekend in the Scottish highlands, chocolate brownies, the Loch Ness Monster, Castles, immersive Grimm Fairy tale theater, spring blossoms, ridiculously hipster burgers, mist, Easter Egg hunting, reflections, kilts, sunshine and toasting new friends.

Scotland Isle of Skye Adventures of a London Kiwi

Scotland Isle of Skye Adventures of a London Kiwi

9 April 2015

Rossopomodoro - A taste of Italy and woodfired pizza in Covent Garden

As a kiwi student living in digs, dreams of exploring the cobbled streets of Italy simply seemed impossible. Fast-foward a life re-evaluation, living with my family for a year, working 50+ hour work weeks, an interminably long flight to the other side of the world, and I finally felt like I was getting a little closer. Asked where I wanted to visit for my first long break, and 'Italy' came to mind quicker than you could say pasta.

Gluten Free Pizza Rossopomodoro Adventures of a London Kiwi

Rossopomodoro - woodfired gluten free pizzas in the middle of Soho & Covent Garden.
The photos in this post are horrendous, and I apologise. The smell was just too alluring...

As a result, Mr Kiwi and I spent a fortnight a few years ago soaking in the Mediterranean sunshine, sipping delicious local wine and visiting as many glorious churches as I could convince him to enter. In a moment of superlative drenched waffling, I decided that  Florence stole my heart many, many moons ago, Venice has my soul, Rome my thirst and hunger, Tivoli my artisticly history drenched imagination.

What does any of this have to do with a busy restaurant in the tourist centre of London? Well, whilst in Florence we discovered a small, busy pizzeria that not only encouraged my halting practice Italian, but fed us the lightest, tastiest, most delicious pizzas we had ever sliced (and after hours of traipsing through the Uffizi gallery we definitely needed the carb hit.)

7 April 2015

Welcome to the 'Adventures of a London Kiwi Gin Emporium'

For this confession, I'm pretty sure that I could be thrown out of the blogging world. Me & Gin, we're not really friends. I've never really been able to warm to the tart, spicy, flavour profile of most gins, and don't get along with tonic water. There, I said it. I've even spent several evenings (a rather wet afternoon at Kew and a quirky subterranean afternoon tea) at Gin tastings to make sure I really knew what I was talking about.

But, as a dedicate and as a former pub landlady, I've always maintained that it's simply a matter of finding a flavour that suits your palate - I'm of the sweet, rich, plummy-esque flavours usually found in mellow dessert wine, sweet dark rum and the occasional damson liqueur. But, I also love the piquancy of Angostura Bitters, a touch of Chilli and a puckered squeeze of lemons, so I figured out a way to beat the system. Making my own gin & putting my favourites in...

Infuse your own Gin - Kitchen Provisions

Without investing in a gin still, copper piping and a buff bloke to haul the grain about for me, it occurred with a bit of research that there were a couple of ways.

3 April 2015

Friday figments and photos

Gin, cake, blogger meet ups, sunshine,  recipes, packing, indulging in everyone's guilty pleasures as part of the linkup, Easter deliveries, train journeys & smiles.

Lovely.





1 April 2015

Guilty Pleasures; a cheeky April slice of the Travel Linkup

I have a bit of a secret, a guilty pleasure which is a probably a little random. Sure, I love touristy spots (very early in the morning or very late afternoon when all those nuisance tourists people clear out), cobblestone alleyways where the sunlight gleams, and adore quirky off the beaten track museums (hello Amsterdam's Cat and Handbag Museums).

But one the of places I love to pop into the most is a proper local supermarket. It isn't somewhere that I would intentionally plot on a map (we made an exception though for the infamous La Boqueria in Barcelona, and the Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Markets). Ok, who am I kidding, it's a secret guilty pleasure allowed to me as the navigator, so perfect for this month's linkup!

Guilty Pleasures; a cheeky slice of the Travel Linkup

Guilty Pleasures; a cheeky slice of the Travel Linkup

Parisian supermarché, Spanish strore comestibles, Moroccan Medinas, German Bäckereis, Dutch supermarkten, French Boulangeries, and the singular joy that is passing half an hour in the American institution of Walmart, which should have really a section all of it's own. (We popped in whilst in Florida, and a guy offered us a kitten. Which I probably would have adopted left to my own devices...)