30 May 2015

Blogs I love.

What I love the most about these blogs are the vivacious variety of posts, escapades, mischief, fun, real life, chaos, quirkyness, foodie fun, history, brunch... all the wonderful blogging personalities.

Just a few of my favorite blogs for your perusing pleasure...

Sequins and Cherry Blossom - London, sunshine, sushi, books and blooms.
A Life Less Beige - A girl with big dreams on a mission to see the world and make a difference.
Runaway Kiwi - Coffee, brunch and an obsession with polka dots.
Emm in London - An eternal South African Tourist.
The MayFairy - A wicked Kiwi, with a razor sharp wit.
Jasmin Charlotte -  A hybrid English Kiwi currently living in London
Angloyankophile - Stylishly escaping the clutches of suburban American life in London...
Cake and Whiskey - She had my heart at 'cake'.
The Lifestyle Diaries - Full of mischief and smiles.

Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes - Gluten free afternoon tea, roadtrips and mischief.
Silverspoon London - Luxurious life, fun and foodies escapades (with a side of salmon ;D).
Lux Life - Life, events, food, travel, luxury - and the best surname ever.
Luxury Columnist - Delectable tastes of the finer side of life.
Penelope & Parker's Travels - Accountant by day, travelling blogger by night...
Follow your Sunshine -Luxuriating in the sunshine of a Doha life.

The Wanderblogger - Beautiful, beautiful photos and and enormous smile.
Urban Pixxels - Stunningly stylish photography.
To the Days Like This - Adventures, travels, ramblings and thoughts on this funny old life.
Melanie Fontaine -Aspiring writer & photographer with a mad case of the travelbug
Oh, The Places We Will Go - Texan travel exploits around the world
Jess on Thames - My favourite Minnesotan Kiwi living, loving London.
Being Erica - Wednesdays she wears pink.
Living in Another Language - Life in the Deep South. Of New Zealand, currently.
Kiwi Footprints - Tips, tricks and photography causing travel envy.
Why Waste Annual Leave - I think the name says everything you need to know...
Lines of Escape - Travel, confessions, suitcases, quirky activities and a side of archaeology.

Meg-Made - New adventures of a glitter glamour puss in Abu Dhabi
The Hemborg Wife - Craft, tea, cheeky American wit and a love for cheese that matches my own...
Globetrotter Postcards - Immersive theatre, day trips, off the beaten track travel & a huge shy smile.
Erin Out and About - Expat life on the flipside.
Globetrotting in Heels - Passionate traveler, budding photographer and mom with a nomadic soul.
Chic-a-Dee-Dee - The story of a New Yorker & her explorations of North-East England
Big World, Small Me - A New Zealand girl who left home five years ago to pursue a life of travelling and living abroad.
That Adventurer - Loving the adventure in the everyday.
This City Life - A writer currently navigating the world of advertising and a new life in Leeds.
Six out of Ten Magazine - Head in the clouds and feet on the ground.

As the Bird Flies - A Londoner in Amsterdam (for now)
The Sunny Side of This - The fabulous 'self-proclaimed unofficial Slovenia-Mexican Ambassador'.
A Deecoded Life - An expat living in Singapore and sharing her world.
Unlocking Kiki - Lust worthy life in Iceland
Full of beans (and sausages) -  A devoted English romantic and explorer living in Canada.
Crumbs in the bed - Saying life how it is as an English expat in Belgium
Toothbrush Travels - An ex-expat having expat worthy escapades.
Eat Love Wanderlust - All my favourites!
Stacey Fenton - Aussie girl living in London. Full time web developer and part time traveller

A Little Lusciousness - Supper clubs, London life and foodie treats.
The Italian Kiwi - The life and times of an Italian Kiwi.
In her 30s - Honest #foodporn.
Lady Loves Cake - Wellington NZ brunch meets London UK dinners. Get in mah belly.
Whatever Gets You Through The Day -Delicious recipes and wonderful writing.
Rhyme & Ribbons - London shenanigans and a Paul Hollywood approved baking thumb.
Passport and Toothbrush - Currently travelling around the world one London restaurant at a time.
More than just a cupcake lover - Chatter, tea, cake, London.

I always find it fascinating to see whose blogs other bloggers love to read - does it say something about our personalities? In fact I've just realised that my bloglovin' has 230 blogs that I follow.

Hello, my name is Emma and I am a blog addict.

(I know I've missed a plethora - drop me your recommendations!!)

29 May 2015

Friday figments and photos::The Hollywood edition

Celebs, stars, coffee, sprawling suburbs, grime, city life, movie sets, lifestyles of the rich and famous, lost camera memory cards, rolling down Rodeo Drive in a convertable, beach sunshine, rock'n'roll bars.

We kinda loved Los Angeles. Not necessarily the city itself - it seemed a bit harsh and enormous - but the awesome opportunities for two jet-lagged tourists were pretty fantastic.

Hollywood - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Hollywood - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Hollywood - Adventures of a London Kiwi

There may have been a little bit of holiday photo spam on my instagram feed. #Sorrynotsorry.

Hollywood - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Hollywood - Adventures of a London Kiwi

And before we knew it, our short visit was over and were were winging our way over to New Zealand, land of the long white cloud...

27 May 2015

Urban Beekeeping at St Ermin's Hotel Westminster

Samuel Johnson hit the nail on the head when he declared 'if you are tired of London, you are tired of life'. There seems to be literally something for everyone in this adopted city of mine, and when people ask for my favourite aspect of London there is no question that it's the sheer variety of fascinating things you can do. (In it's own way, it can be rather exhausting - how do you learn to say no to something you think you'll regret missing?)

St Ermin's Hotel Westminster Urban Beekeeping Course

St Ermin's Hotel Westminster Urban Beekeeping Course

So with this in mind, Kara and I found ourselves one Saturday dressed in hooded beekeepers outfit in the corridors of a luxury Westminster hotel. My friends weren't even suprised. Much.

25 May 2015

18 reasons you must visit Glasgow Transport museum

It probably isn't often that a museum about the vehicles that ferry us from A - Z is added to a jolly holiday itinerary. Granted, we're probably not normal - hello London tube - but when we had 48 hours in Glasgow unwinding from our epic Skye roadtrip we were rather fascinated to see what the European Museum of the Year 2013 had.

May I present to you 18 reasons that you should visit the Glasgow Transport museum.

Glasgow Transport museum Zaha Hadid

1. Four separate people enthused about this museum the second I mentioned we were popping into Glasgow.

2. Horse drawn taxis.

Glasgow Transport museum Zaha Hadid

3. It's absolutely free.

23 May 2015

Blogging inspiration and what the heck to write about?

A friend of mine was asking me the other day just how I managed to blog 6 days a week for 3 years, work fulltime, spend quality time with my other half AND motor around London like my pants were on fire. Honestly I don't know... I guess really it came down to two things: sheer bl**dy determination and settling into a blogging habit that suited me (and occasionally inviting Mr Kiwi out to blogging dinners - heh, two birds with one stone and all that).

I've learnt that creativity comes easiest to my weird brain in the later evening; it helps to have a soundtrack of pop music (Delta brainwaves help generate creativity with a good bass line apparently) and no distractions ie. turning off Twitter. I know it is hard, but you can do it if I can (for at least 10 minutes anyway). I absolutely wouldn't have been able to do it without publicly setting myself a target of blogging, and seizing that tricky muse went it hits - some days I could draft 4 posts in a sitting, some weeks I could draft 2 over all 7 days.

I also find that I have to have photos to write. Strange I know, but once there are a few pretties lined up in the draft box, the words seem to come a little bit easier.

22 May 2015

Friday figments and photos

Halcyon spring sunshine. That's the start of the week we've been mostly enjoying.

Life lately Adventures of a London Kiwi

Life lately Adventures of a London Kiwi

20 May 2015

Le Garrick, a corner of French Romance in London's Covent Garden - Restaurant Review

Restaurants from all corners of the globe line the the London streets of Covent Garden and the West End to entice theatre goers. Mexican fajitas, Kiwi brunches, delectably dirty American burgers, Italian pizzas - you name it, it seems as though almost every corner of cuisine gets a look in.

Down a very continental street, Le Garrick, an intimate restaurant has claimed a corner for France. Known worldwide as a bastion of culinary excellence, French cuisine is famous for simple, fabulous ingredients paired with a skill in subtlety that is almost unsurpassed according to the professionals. And eating snails.

Le Garrick Restaurant Review corner of French Romance in Covent Garden
La Soupe a L’Oignon

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Le Garrick, but my (very many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily visit. And revisit, cheesy French puns and all.

Facing the blue-grey stone of the Neo-classical facade of the exclusive Garrick Club, it is easy to lose yourself in the charm of Le Garrick's rustic setting. Perfectly timeworn tables match spindly chairs, an ornate bureau houses the waitress station, baskets of warm baguette await hungry customers and an iron spiral staircase leads to further candlelit nooks downstairs. We're greeted almost immediately on arrival early on a fairly busy Saturday lunchtime, our French waitress welcoming us like long lost friends (after first asking if we're French - she wasn't too disappointed when we said no, declaring our 3 words of française to be enough).

17 May 2015

A day in the life of a London Kiwi (feat. a few blog friends)

The 'day in the life' post style is one that has kicked the blogosphere for years, and every time I read one I love it. It offers a fascinating snapshot into the wanderings of a blogger you love - so, inspired by Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki and Kerri @ Crumbs in the Bed, here is a look into my little life.

Now, day-to-day my weekday routines aren't interesting to anyone, let alone me, so I've picked a fairly typical Sunday. Just exchange our brunch location for any one of these London brunch spots, the Shoreditch wanderances for a plethora of explorations and the snoozing cat for, well, nothing as the snoozing cat ain't never gonna change.

London Bridge A day in the life Adventures of a London Kiwi

8am: Wake up, resent the curled up cat still sleeping on my bed, laugh at my silly self, choose outfit and size bag that best suits the day of mischief, then run for train.

A day in the life Adventures of a London Kiwi
*Reconstruction of incident*

9am: Check Twitter updates, intend to reply to comments on my own blog, end up being distracted by other people's posts and find coffee.

9.31am: Rescue a dazed and upset Duck from being runover in London traffic, before shooing him into a nearby grassy square and calling the RSPB.

16 May 2015

Announcement: June Travel Linkup Topic - Souvenirs!

Today I had visions of drafting eloquent phrases about the breathtaking Scottish Highlands for you (seriously, go now!). Instead I'm running about like a headless chook (apologies for the rough Kiwi phrase) organising, sorting, planning and slightly panicking. You know, the usual.

How about our travel linkup topic for May instead plus a few of the frequently asked questions we get? (Just be warned, there may be a test at the end and it may or may not be Hunger Games style.)

June topic:

Love them or hate them, sometimes buying a souvenir seems to becomes an utter necessity. Fitting a Turkish carpet into flight carry-on, filling your car boot with cakes from their namesake towns, sending bottles of French Congnac or carrying a 3kg wheel of Gouda - you know, seriously important.

What is your favorite souvenir? It could be past, present or future - or have you sworn off them for life? Have you or would you plan your trip around buying one? ~ ahem, guilty over here ~


How to link up your post
Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st - 7th June), add it to the link up widget found on here, Rebecca's, Kelly's or this month's lovely co-host Jaime at Angloyankophile (who suggested this month's theme) blogs from the 1st.

Are there rules?
There are no rules – basically all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. It’s a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!
Who can join in?
We LOVE new linkers - welcome, welcome! The Link Up is open to all bloggers as long as the post is relevant. Past, present - just go for it. Over a year ago a blogpost went up entreating a group of blog junkies friends to share their travel wishlists for the year ahead in a one-time linkup. Kelly and Rebecca and I had the crazy idea to continue the tradition on with variation of themes, and 13 months later we've been treated to 350+ wonderful blogposts on subjects.
Friday figments and photos - the Tromso Edition
Caught in the act #addict
We're lucky enough to be joined each month by bloggers who live all over the globe: Canada, the UAE, Sunsvall Sweden, Oxford, America, Hawaii, New Zealand, the Arctic Circle, Yorkshire... I could go on! Many of the months have also been co-hosted by terrific travelistas from all corners of the world, bringing their own cheery smiles and hilarious antics to the metaphorical table.
How do I hear about future topics?

Not sure how to reach everyone the best, we regularly Tweet/message/smoke signal the topic out and we send out an email to our regular addicts around the 15th of each month - it's a privately kept list that will never, ever be released to anyone, and all emails are sent to you as a BCC. Let me or the girls know if you'd like to be added to the list, either in the comments below or
via email to adventuresofalondonkiwi @ gmail.com  

* There is no test, I don't really, really don't have the time in the chaos of this weekend......... but feel free to read through a few of our old topics or just take inspiration from them for posts and article - I seriously recommend you browse through our travel linkup archive.

15 May 2015

Friday figments and photos

The last week or two has been a wonderful reminder of just why I adore London. Aided by a bank holiday, short week, mucho sunshine and good people, was a little surreal, but utterly delicious.

(ps. note the first 'friday figments and photos' actually on a Friday for a while - hurrah! The fact that some of the photos are from a couple of weekends ago is neither here nor there, though a slight blog fail...)

Breakfast in Westminster Abbey basements & charity run plotting (5k here we come!)

The joy of gratuitous hanky waving - beer & Morris men dancing - only in England...!

An afternoon of urban beekeeping in a lovely 5* hotel.

Seriously, we have to look after our bees (with varying degrees of hands on attention of course...)

And a celebratory honey cocktail...

Chortled at some Blogger problems

Tasted some of the poshest 'chicken in a basket' I've ever laid eyes on.

Played a little London landmark bingo - 4 in one photo! Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye & a double decker bus. I'm just disappointed there wasn't a red telephone box...

A little bit of this.

Sipped a cocktail or two as we watched trains slide through London to the Continent.Made several .

I started my plans for world domination by curating the @PeopleofUK curating Twitter account...

...and made several Art Deco discoveries in The Strand with my favourite Luxembourger ...

All in all, a rather fascinating week...

13 May 2015

Blogger problems, oh I have many...

There are many, many hilarious issues you may have to face as a blogger.

  • A Grade-A caffeine addiction. Before I came to the UK and met fanatics like the incredible RunawayKiwi (who comes complete with Coffee in London Pinterest board no less) I didn't like coffee. Now? Don't try to speak to me in the mornings until I'm cup of joe in hand - you're just wasting your time...
  • A ridiculous amount of confusion when a new friend asks your for your phone number - surely connections on Twitter, Google+Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, email and Bloglovin'. are enough, right!? Oh hang on wait, phone numbers are the normal method of communication...
  • An inability to stay at home for 2 whole days in a row.

11 May 2015

Alternative views of London...

When you've lived in London for a long time, much of the magic that makes it such a unique city begins to wane. The ability to dash onto a red double decker bus rolling past Big Ben, the luxurious joy of a genteel afternoon tea becomes a little bit passe and spending your weekends actually exploring the secrets of this sprawling city don't seem very important when you can go next weekend, or maybe later, or just another time, k?

Living in New Zealand I definitely think I had this syndrome for most of my life. Sure, it's a pretty country, but pretty isn't exciting is it? Mountains meeting the sea is a bit boring after the 3 sets of them locally and acres of natural forest just seem like a bug breeding ground. It took flying to the other side of the world to begin really appreciating the beauty of my native home, mostly brought about by the excitement of living in London, one of the most vibrant cities in the world steeped in thousands of years of history. For a while anyway - several years down the track my long-term Londoner Mr Kiwi and I had fallen back into the worse habit town folk can get in to - complacency. Call it laziness, call it procrastination, call it taking a fantastic city for granted, whatever - we fell back into a horrendous work/home/work rut. We became boring.
 ArcelorMittal Orbit Olympic Park designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond

Then came the blog and weekends tearing around London wanting to see everything with a new found joy. We hunted down the Oranges and Lemons nursery rhyme churches, gushed over the Queen's crowns (kept rather ironically in The Tower of London the very place where many Queens lost the ability to wear them...), cantered through the cherry blossoms of Kew Gardens, pretended to be Princesses at Kensington Palace (ok, that was just me, not Mr Kiwi) and discovered a plethora of new/old secrets. We had seen everything.
ArcelorMittal Orbit Olympic Park designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond
^ this is a real photo that I took - doesn't Zaha Hadid's swimming arena just look surreal?
So when I was contacted by The London Pass crew, to have a play with one of their passes I decided to set myself a challenge.

9 May 2015

Friday Figments and photos (ok, ok it's Saturday...)

It seems to have been a pretty bits and bobs kind of week. A bit of sunshine here, a touch of rain there, an enormous soupcon of bank holiday picnicking and too much coffee (by which I mean not enough) and many hours of laughter bobbing as some of the travel scrapes our linkup lovelies have been up to. Seriously, you need to read at least a few of these 28 travel posts.

Laboured metaphors aside, we seemed to delight in a week of hometown tourism. Pottering through a few old visitor favourites and discovering several new ones. You'd think after 9 years it would all get boring, but nope.

Greenwich London Life Lately Adventures of a London Kiwi

We pottered through the Olympic Park, wandered through Greenwich, tore upstream to London Bridge, marveled at the joy of a cold beverage, lost ourselves in a set of immersive theatre, inhaled toasted banana bread, chortled at bad jokes and missioned our way up several hills.

The things I do for this blog!

7 May 2015

Gaylord London, a North India-style feast and restaurant review

You know how us bloggers are meant to be avant guarde foodies, will 'o' the wisp creatures that skip from cool new thing to the coolest new thing? Well, through years of trial and error living in the UK I now only ever order one curry dish from our favourite local Indian restaurant. *shock* *gasp* *will you ever read my mutterings again*

Our favourite takeaway is usually on a Friday - the long hard week having taken it's toll, is normally eaten at home in our pyjamas and there might just be a celebratory beverage here and there. The whole ordering rigamarole is hilarious. I'll get a phonecall or email or message asking 'what are we having for dinner?'. There'll be at least 17 messages backwards and forwards where neither of us wants to be the mischievous one who suggests our favourite naughty treat meal, and yet somehow by 6.45pm a plate full of vibrant flavours will be eagerly dug into. 

Gaylord Restaurant Review

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

My absolute favourite is Lamb Saag Gosht (mild because I'm a bit of a spice wuss, even though the lads that take our order always sigh a little in disappointment - I'm fairly sure they're actually slowly dialling up the spice without telling me because my tolerance seems to be growing), fragrant mushroom rice and if we're being really naughty a freshly baked naan bread. Every. Single. time. It doesn't even matter where we go, as I adore Lamb Saag Gosht so much that I judge every single restaurant by the quality of theirs. Call it a neutral sample if you will.

As if trying to puncture this day-to-day rut we'd happily settled in, the Gaylord Restaurant team have been inviting a few bloggers here and there to sample a flavour feast of gargantuan proportions, and perhaps dislodge us old dyed in the wool diners from our comfortably favourite dishes.
 Gaylord Restaurant Review London

5 May 2015

The joys of commuting in London (it's all in the subtle detail)

Commuting sucks. Being stuffed under a stranger's armpit in sweltering heat whilst the tannoy crackles with another delay platitude is not fun. Racing down stairs, around corners and cramming onto a train so you're not late for that very important meeting, to only watch the train carriage close and pull out of the station. To be kicked out from a malfunctioning train into the pouring rain on a winter evening. We've all been there.

Tube Underground Commuting London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Tube Underground Commuting London Adventures of a London Kiwi

But there is still something quietly adorable about the spider web of train tracks that provides London with commuter lifeblood. You don't believe me, do you? In fact if you're in London you're probably reading this now after getting on at 'your' door, hopefully getting a seat and watching the countryside slowly turn to city towers as you head towards your 9-5.

3 May 2015

Sipping our way through the Scottish Isles

A realm of faerie-stories, kilted clansmen and bagpipes, we knew that visiting the Scottish highlands we were going to see beautiful scenery, but we weren't quite prepared for the variety of stunning vistas that seemed to appear ever time we turned a corner.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

From the civilised streets of Edinburgh we wended our way into the Northern Highlands, stopping overnight to visit Nessie in Loch Ness, snuck as many castles stops as I could into the itinerary, passed through the Trossachs, sipped proper Scotch, admired the spirit of kilt wearers, watched the sun set and the mist lift on the Isle of Skye.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

1 May 2015

Travel experiences I never want to have again - May Travel Linkup

Whilst travelling we’ve been pickpocketed in Barcelona, had to race across an icy tarmac as we had almost missed our connecting flight in Helsinki, been slightly stuck in a luxury Moroccan oasis hotel due to security concerns, left my passport tucked under an Italian hotel mattress only to discover it 10 minutes before we boarded a train to Rome, sipped sake at 7am in Japan, were (laughingly) threatened by a knife wielding Parisian waiter, burst into tears on a Kayak in France and panicked about not having a Visa mid-flight to Prague*.

Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

And yet somehow I think I'd do it all again. Each of the countries we've visited really has been a new adventure – the good, the bad, the hour-long queues - all of it. We've learned so much over the years from what went wrong, that it was hard to wrap my thoughts around a truly negative situation for the lovely Shikha's suggestion of our travel topic this month 'things you'd never do again'. (Posts are open from the 1st May-7th May so get scribing!)