30 March 2015

How to survive a blog conference weekend

Blogging is a funny creature, and at one point or another temptation will hearken for spending a Saturday learning stuff and you may just find yourself sat behind a school desk in your spare time of your own free will. Don't believe me? It's totally true. Ploughing the fields of SEO strategy, photography tips, basic accountancy, a touch of history, social media workshops - all the blogging buzzwords (and occasionally a few of those too).

How to survive a blog conference weekend
 
But even after 3 years of being involved in the blogging community, introducing myself into a room of strangers makes me break out in a cold sweat. I've often called my better half 5 minutes before the start of a morning to squeal howIcan'tpossiblydothisbecauseIdon'tknowanyoneandwhyonearthdoIputmyselfthroughthis!?. Luckily he usually calms me down by telling that I'm an idiot, to go for an hour and see how I feel - much like a parent on their child's first day at school. Half an hour later I'm happily playing chatting away and get the 'told you so' text of support and vindication.

How to survive a blog conference weekend
Back walking through the school corridors...

Over the years I've made myself push through the barrier, and been helped by a few tips from friends when faced with a room of 150 smiling faces. In reality, I guess a lot of these apply to the professional world too (except possibly the snacks, play that one by air)

28 March 2015

Fields Cafe - Clapham Common brunch review

Brunch has become a way of life in London. With friends living, working and partying in completely random boroughs spread over this great behemoth, arranging a proper sit down and catch up over a brew can be interesting. And that's just finding a date we can all do.

Fields Cafe - Clapham Common brunch review

One who won't really leave Zone One without the lure of doughnuts or the offer of a sausage sizzle date in New Zealand. One nominated a Kiwi despite never having set foot in our humble country and currently learning to be a Brit (even though sorely lacking on the tea equipment front). One who will happily travel anywhere she can park (aka nowhere in Central London) and has been known to drive for 3 hours to Gloucestershire just to buy chocolate cake.

27 March 2015

Friday figments and photos: Marrakech

Marrakech, oh Marrakech.

I already want to return.

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel
Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

Marrakech, Morocco Travel

24 March 2015

8 Things I will never do before I die

I adore having goals. They're perfect rainy day guides, helpful when wanting a direction in life and just plain amusing; but Holly's post on '8 things I will never do before I die' tickled my fancy. Call it an anti-bucket list.

8 Things I will never do before I die

1. Resist taking photos of foreign cats.
Yes, I have an addiction and I can't help it.

2. Enjoy wearing shoes
Much to the consternation of my British workmates, whatever instruments of torture I've strapped to my feet are discarded the milisecond it's possible. At the altar I kicked off my sensible heels whilst speaking my vows (only to panic as we were instructed to turn around and walk down the aisle as man and wife but I couldn't find them...)

22 March 2015

18, going on 30 - countries that is

Growing up in New Zealand, one of the farthest countries away from just about everything (or as Mr Kiwi put it' once you fly out from Australia, it feels as though you're flying off the edge of the world) it seems like an unimaginable dream to be able to pop over to another country for lunch (in our case, Paris that is!).

Friday figments and photos - the Tromso Edition

Someone's very wise Dad (I'm not sure who, my memory is getting incredibly bad) quite rightly pointed out that we're the first generation who can take full advantage of travelling. No kids, fairly good jobs, good transport infastructure and a yearning to explore. Over the years I've been privileged to travel to a few so far, but cheers to hopefully a few more!

(And they say Kiwis can't fly!)

1. New Zealand - the land of my forefathers, and one of my dearest homes. It totally counts.

20 March 2015

Friday figments and photos

Gadzooks, Friday already? How can this be!? Time is a funny phenomena - some days seem to drip by slower than a London train affected by leaves on the track, and others scream past like a surprise birthday party that ends 5 minutes after it began.

No? Just me?

We've had an adventurous week 't be sure - transport themed coffee dates, spring blossoms, meanders along the Thames, Gothic surprises, beastie hangouts, and beginning a Gin emporium, I mean flavour fusion laboratory. I let you know about the results, promise.

London Transport Museum Adventures of a London Kiwi

Spring Flowers Adventures of a London Kiwi

18 March 2015

18 things you must do on a road trip to Bath.

Bath, old friend, we meet again. This time, I've brought a new chum (the infamous Kelly) back to your gorgeous Georgian terraces. This time I won't be staying for 10 days, it isn't my first Christmas in the UK and I won't be leaving you and using you as a base to explore the county. But, we will however be re-sampling as many of your delights as we can.

 18 things you must do in Bath Adventures of a London Kiwi

Ancient Roman Baths Adventures of a London Kiwi

There are just so many essential elements for a girls weekend* in one of the prettiest cities in the world.  We're never in need an excuse for a roadtrip, and yet you provide so many.

16 March 2015

Celebrating Holi (by pelting your friends with colour)

Sometimes times it feels as though you'd never need to leave the busy streets of London to experience the world. With a touch of Google search wizardry in short order you can discover Chinese Tea Ceremonies, French Gothic revival architecture of the Houses of Parliament, Malaysian Street Feasts, Japanese Gardens and antipodean bruncheries are (gloriously) popping up in almost every neighbourhood - to name but a few examples.

The sheer variety of population makes for a beautiful patchwork of festivities but over the years there has been one that has managed to elude me. Holi.

Celebrating Holi in London (by pelting your friends with colour)
Our shoes were black, and overalls pristine white...

Celebrating the onset of Spring (the ancient festival clearly invented before the modern/pagan seasonal worship flower overload on instagram), Holi was originally a festival of fertility and harvest. Now it also marks some Hindu legends, which provide some of the ingredients for the celebrations (it's an ancient festival referred to as far back as the 7th century Sanskrit drama, Ratnaval.)

14 March 2015

We sometimes forget how lucky we are.

Every so often something stops me in my tracks to remind me just how lucky we are. We live lives that would be unimaginable to starving children who have to hustle through rubbish tips and elderly people with dementia freezing in their dirty homes.

Their lives aren't fluffy and presented with sun saturated pastel colours, but a reality that we are lucky to mostly escape in our centrally heated homes. Something easily forgotten as we curse a train making us wait in the rain for 10 minutes, something not considered as we grumble about an off remark over a loaded desk, something not worried about as we get rid of another dress that isn't fashionable any more.

Volunteering and charity. We forget how lucky we are.

Sitting on my couch with tears every Red Nose Day, every Christmas appeal for donations, every Children in Need, every time I see a cancer charity hoping to find a cure, every time it reminds me how lucky we are to live where we do.

To have warmth, to have choice, to have people who care, to have health, to have food in the cupboard. So many things that we take for granted.

13 March 2015

Friday figments and photos

What a week (I say that every week don't I?).

Kelly and I took a Jane Austin inspired turn or two around the cobbled streets of Bath this weekend, spring has most definitely sprung in my neglected lawn, a few of us celebrated Holi blogger-style,  normality vainly attempted to re-balance my life (sans-blogging everyday) and we sadly mourned the passing of the great Sir Terry Pratchett.

Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi

Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi

Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi

Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi

These overalls and shoes started off white and black respectively...then Holi happened.

Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi

I forgot that I'm not the only book addict in the house... she seriously cannot leave them alone.

Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiwi

Sometimes “THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE."

RIP Sir Terry.


I have a weekend planned of chores, relaxing, exploring London, catching up with a friend and discovering a few ancient houses. How about you?

Ps. a friend who'll meet you at the train station of a Friday evening armed with wine and Salted Caramel Haagen-Daas for no reason other than celebrating Friday is a mucho keeper...

11 March 2015

A pinkie-raising Kensington Orangery Afternoon Tea

Sometimes it's just nice to be able to take a break from the daily grind and raise a pinkie in a royal manner...

A pinkie-raising Kensington Orangery Afternoon Tea

Sometimes it's splendid to eat off the good china...

A pinkie-raising Kensington Orangery Afternoon Tea

Sometimes it's just lovely to spend an afternoon in the sunshine nattering with good friends over the gentle clink of tea cups and saucers...

9 March 2015

Visiting Kensington Palace

Living in London for many years, we've walked past Kensington Palace at least 1,294 times. Clutching ill-gotten snacks, sunning ourselves in the enormous park, exploring tube oddities such as the fake terrace in Leinster Gardens, sipping tea in the afternoon with fellow blog-addicts, discovering the Grade II listed stump known as the Elfin Oak. All of these, and every single time I've said 'I really want to visit Kensington Palace, I should do it sometime.'

Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

This is a sure sign of taking a city for granted - taking more than 5 years to get my permatourist butt into gear, and walk through those gates. We've made our way around the others - nearly vaulting into the thrones at Buckingham Palace, sipped tea with the Queen whilst hatted, taken part in ancient key ceremonies with Royal Guardsmen, taken overseas friends to Windsor, discovered royal cottages tucked in amongst Bluebells, explored Hampton Court Palace, spent hours in the Tower of London, but still walked past Kensington Palace again and again. Talk about a fail.

7 March 2015

101 in 1001 goal list (v2.0)

It's been a whole week since I finished wrapped up my first 101 in 1001 goal list. It's confession time - the thought of not having a set of back-up ideas for rainy days was driving my litttle OCD mind to distraction. I've become so used to have a set of goals awaiting idle moments, that it was unthinkable to not rustle up another set.

Am I a sucker for punishment? Yes, it seems so...

101 in 1001 goal list v2.0 Adventures of a London Kiwi

As I said the other day, I can quite seriously credit sitting here at a computer for getting us out and about exploring the world a hundred times more than we ever did. Instead of just frumping at home on the couch in front of the TV wondering why we were so 'meh', we're continually finding more and more crazy, wonderful things to do and places to visit.

100 in 1001 (v2.0): 
07/03/2015 – 02/12/2017

TRAVEL:
1: 30 countries before 30 (18/30 ticked off the list with 4 planned so far).
2: Watch a Santorini sunset.
3: Toast sake in a Kyoto Yakitori bar.
4: Sleep in a Canadian forest lodge.
5: Swim with dolphins in the wild.
6: Visit Africa & South America to complete our continents clutch.
7: Go on a spontaneous Road Trip. Use a spin board to decide where to go for an afternoon.
8: Explore New Zealand's South Island & walk on a glacier.
9: Experience a Turkish bath.
10: Swim by moonlight.
11: Eat dumplings & goulash in Krakow.
12: Catch a fish for lunch.
13: Throw a dart in a map and travel wherever it lands.
14: Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
15: Ride a Camel.
16: Sip Scotch in it's birthplace.
17: Play Train Roulette (picking a station and destination at random).
18: Go up in a Hot Air Balloon.
19: Send a Message in a bottle.

6 March 2015

Friday figments and photos

Of all the posts I write, the Friday figments and photos has to be my favourite. I've gone from blogging omnipotently unable to venture anything personally, to reminiscing each week, immortalising a collection of small memories that won't mean anything to anybody else. And I'm ok with that (heck, I had to remove the qualifying 'pretty ok' even then. There is still room for improvement).

Picadilly Circus by rainfall Friday figments and photos

I also need to work on quirky creative twists (that other people probably don't even notice), slightly off the wall images, embracing inspiration from fellow bloggers, terribly random jokes, a few decent photos, not blogging at the dinner/tea table, actually editing. These are my new resolutions.

Sketch Afternoon Tea Friday figments and photos

Liberty's Afternoon Tea Friday figments and photos

This week was delicious. An infamous tea at Sketch, looping through Liberty's, embracing the sunshine, celebrating milestones, a cheeky visit to Picadilly Circus and tea under a neo-Byzantine ceiling.

Spring Sunshine Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiw

Spring sunshine Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiw

Make every moment count, no matter how big or small. Make every day extra-ordinary.

Picadilly Circus Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiw

The Criterion  Friday figments and photos Adventures of a London Kiw 

Here's to a lovely weekend everyone!

4 March 2015

101 goals in 1001 days - the final result.

A thousand days ago (give or take 3) I set myself a rather rambunctious set of goals: 101 items to be crossed off a list within almost 3 years. The goals ranged from as simple as visiting America, to keeping the coffee table clear for a whole month (you snigger, but have no idea at the will power this took to complete...!) One of those goals was to blog every single day for that time.

Not one to do things by halves ('I want to travel' turns into move to the other side of the world, 'I've met a nice boy' turned into ooops, how on earth am I married) my ridiculous enthusiasm which is perfect for beginning projects, was somewhat diminished by the real world getting in the way - who needs sleep, I mean really!? - but I'm pretty proud to say I managed 800(!!) of them and close to 6 days a week of blogging, sharing, musing and adventuring.

101 goals in 1001 days - the final result - Adventures of a London Kiwi

I can quite seriously credit sitting here at a computer for getting us out and about exploring London a hundred times more than we ever did. Instead of just frumping at home on the couch in front of the TV wondering why we were so 'meh', we're continually finding more and more crazy, wonderful things to do and places to visit. Afternoon teas, hidden wonders, coffee spots, fascinating lectures, incredible homes, Hindu temples down residential streets, secret gardens, nursery rhyme churches, I could go on (and let's be honest here, I have done for 1001+ days...)

Revelling in a plethora of fascinations 101 in 1001 Afternoon Tea Animals Blog advice Bookshelf Brunch Cat Highjinks Christmas Churches Cocktails Coffee Day trips England Europe Excercise expats family Fiction Food Foodie Penpals Foodie-in-training Free London Fridays Fun Giveaway Gluten Free Guest Post Healthy Holidays Inspiration Kiwi Spotting Life lately Linkups London London Living Non-Fiction Olympics Oranges and Lemons Phone Photography Photography Product Review Quirks Recipes Restaurant Review Touristy Traditions Travel Travel Linkup Treats United Kingdom to name but a few, I've had written work commissioned (to my never ending surprise), made a plethora of wonderfully quirky friends, hosted a year long travel topic linkup, paid karma forward as much as I could and generally loved every minute.

 101 goals in 1001 days - the final result - Adventures of a London Kiwi

I've learned SEO, what a social media is, how to turn almost any situation into an article, how to hack Blogspot layouts, basic html (mostly centering, let's be honest) but what has really amazed me is how my photography has improved, my palate has sharpened and the confidence that's emerged as a result of having my wee blog soap box. I intentionally only share positive things because that's me - I don't want to be the person that looks back on life and only sees the negative - it happens, it just isn't immortalised on the world wide web, and that's no bad thing I reckon. I have come to realise that my grammar is severely lacking in refinement, my spelling is atrocious but I seemed to have developed a conversational writing that is me and me alone (even when my other half is drafted in to edit occasionally - the jokes he takes out are more often than not chucked straight back in.) Having a blog could be seen as an exercise in ego, but it's also bursting with something to say, and realising that everyone has the ability to say it, they just need the confidence.

This here corner of t'internet has resulted in more than 1,000,000 Google+ views (and probably would have been more if I hadn't switched accounts, rookie error), found myself with 2,300 Twitter followers, 660 Bloglovin' followers, but best of of all I've found you. Yep, you, the lovelies who stick reading my drivel day after day, offering your own stories, amusing comments, an occasional shoulder to cry on, company to drink tea with, hilarious encounters, epic advice, cat photos, dinner recommendations and above all, an audience to commiserate with when blogging seems like hard work.

2 March 2015

Lost in Translation: our linguistically minded March Travel Linkup

I always joke that on my CV under skills that I can confidentally say I'm bi-lingual. I always wanted to speak Italian, the romance loving teenager that I was, but alas my Island home only considered Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin and Maori suitable languages for starry eyed teenagers. Ever the rebel, when told that we had to study a language I decided to study Japanese. With visions of holding protracted conversations about haiku over sushi, sadly it turns out that I was terrible at speaking, and even worse drawing the beautiful character alphabets, so that went out the window as soon as I could get away with it. I did however learn quite a few swear words from our exchange students, a favour swiftly returned with a few in English...


Nope, the two languages that I can speak are Kiwi-English and English-English. I can almost hear you begin to chortle at me, but considering that both of our countries speak the same language, you'd think it would be a little more straight forward. It's not. The British Isles have a plethora of wonderful brogues, but it takes a good while for your ear to adjust. A Cockney geezer sounds nothing like a Welsh rugby lad, Geordies sound nothing like Glaswegians, and Brummies have nothing much in common with Northerners, like.