31 October 2015

Bordeaux City Break - Day Two

We didn't expect a lot of our long weekend city break in Bordeaux, France. I know it sounds silly, but we were hoping for a pretty city with a side of good wine, and ended up being rather astonished. Maybe we happened to wander into the lovely areas, maybe we just had the right frame of mind to wander like teenagers gazing at the sunset (sorry, there's a sick bucket just to the left of your knee) or perhaps because we had no real expectations we couldn't be disappointed.

We tram hopped our way through the city *cough* occasionally forgetting to timestamp the tickets like clueless foreigners *cough* and just let the things we found on foot or via Google guide us.

Bordeaux City Break - Day Two

Ridiculous, no? Bordeaux is a 1 hour and 20 minute flight from London.

30 October 2015

Friday figments and photos: Time

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
― Marthe Troly-Curtin
  Life Lately Adventures of a London Kiwi

 “Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this.”
― Dave Eggers

28 October 2015

The Meat Co Restaurant Review - South African Steakhouse

Vegetarians avert your eyes. Pescetarians still your forks. Carnivores ready your knives. The Meat Co is simply a no-holds barred temple to plates of perfectly cooked steak. That's not to say that it's only hunks of beef; when we visited there were tables around us happily catching up over good looking burgers, but as our waiter said it succinctly 'Meat is our specialty, why would you come for anything else?' (What he failed to mention was the insanely good dessert selection, but that'll come for afters).

The Meat Co, found curving along the Shepherds Bush shopping mall, reminded me metaphorically of a good bottle of South African wine - cool, classic and almost unassuming on the outside; but once opened packed full of spice, heady wood notes and and explosion of colourful flavour. Alas, both are rather hard to photograph without really good light...

The Meat Co Restaurant Review - South African Steakhouse

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Meat Co, but my (very many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily revisit - I just wished that I had photographed the blissful face of my husband...

26 October 2015

Apple Day at Borough Market

There have been many moments in my life where I feel like a square peg in a round hole (a cup of tea on a table of flat whites, a box of birds in a den of lions, a chocolate biscuit on a stand of sandwiches etc. etc.) but one of the joys of blogging has been meeting a group of like minded hashtag addicts around the world who love to discover new stories.

One of these keyboard clickers lives across the Atlantic popping over the ocean as often as she can, always excited to discover a new corner of my adopted country. Whilst not pounding cobbled English Streets, she often emails me London inspiration - scraps, stories and shenanigans that inspire me to always keep wandering. One of these slunk into my inbox recently and I knew I simply had to spring out of bed & go...

Apple Day at Borough Market Adventures of a London Kiwi

Apple Day is an annual celebration of apples and orchards, held in October. It is celebrated mainly in the United Kingdom, traditionally falling on October 21, the date of the first such event in 1990, but events are held throughout the month.

25 October 2015

Bordeaux, a surprisingly beautiful city break

Within 24 hours of arrriving in Bordeaux I declared to the world that I wasn’t returning to my beloved London, but staying forever to bask in the southern climes of France. I even announced it via a variety of social media, both personal and blog related – and we all know that’s a seriously serious statement.

It captured my easy heart in a big way. Winding medieval streets, beautiful sunsets, quirky history, #pawned pavements, bouquet filled stems of wine, friendly locals, terracotta rooftops; all the things. Aaaand then I realised that I would have to learn French, and being somewhat language discombobulated (it's a real thing - learning English-English vs. Kiwi-English still confounds me some days) I knew it couldn't ever happen.

Bordeaux City Break France
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. We had 72 hours in which to wander, no plans, a few recommendations, a couple of hotels booked and an appetitite for joie de vivre.

23 October 2015

Friday figments and photos: Milestones and retrospect

As I have a milestone birthday approaching next year, I was asked the other day if I was beginning to stress about coming up to that milestone (and no, I'm not revealing which one). I thought about it for a second, and then replied 'no, I think that life is to be treasured and lived to the full - we can either spend our lives enjoying every moment, or wishing that we were - and I never want to live with regrets'.

Liberty London Adventures of a London Kiwi

I know, I know, I sounded like those cheezball memes that everyone loves to hate (and make into their own secret Pinterest boards for rainy pick me ups) but I truly want to live life to the full. My friends laugh at me for my shenanigans, and say they wish they had my energy, whilst I admire their contentment (and ability to sit still for more than 15 seconds).

21 October 2015

Bourne and Hollingsworth brunch with a hashtag of bloggers

Sometimes a chat gets a little out of hand over Twitter, and you find yourself organising a brunch date with a bevy of beautiful blogging lovelies early(ish) on a Saturday morning. We left our duvets, other halves, pets and alarms snoozing at home whilst we (Angie, Rebecca, Shikha, Jaime and Sam) migrated from all over London to gather over coffee cups and eggs.

Brunch with a hashtag of bloggers at Bourne and Hollingsworth

 Brunch Bourne and Hollingsworth Clerkenwell London

19 October 2015

10 things I have to do in Autumn

Autumn - Fall, Oсень, Herbst, Automne or Jesień - is unconditionally my favourite season of the year. Rust-hued leaves twirling to the ground, blue skies with a crisp feel to the air and the best excuse to lay a crackling fire. Spring is a welcome relief to winter, but festooned with allergy causing pollen; summer is normally disappointing or hot and smelly, and winter is icy. Nah. Autumn all the way.

 10 things I have to do in Autumn Adventures of a London Kiwi

Being a list junkie, there are a few things I have to tick off each time autumn rolls around.

1. Wander through a park and stampede through a pile of autumnal leaves. (Instagram proof is optional, though entirely irresistable)

17 October 2015

Wine + Chocolate + Hugs = #NationalChocolateWeek

We need to spend more time with our loved ones. At times I'm certainly guilty of this particular sin by omission, often getting too caught in the cyber world to often spend proper time with those closest to me. Ahem. I've also been a long time proponent of small gestures that have a ripple act, believing in quality over quantity. A smile, a selfless good deed for a stranger, a phone call, a bunch of flowers just to say I luff ya or sending over a 'hey, how are you' Twitter DM out of the blue. You know, the stuff that makes the world go around.

Well, very much in this spirit I've discovered a new spin on a vice to share with someone I/you/we love. Wine & chocolate matching - the best excuse for an off-the-cuff catch up. Waitrose contacted me to get involved with their National Chocolate Week campaign - how do you say no to an email like that!? - sending me a delicious bottle or two of wine and a few packages of chocolates so, I turned it into an excuse to spend some quality time with a few of my loved ones for no reason other than because we can.

Guide to wine and chocolate matching Adventures of a London Kiwi Disclaimer: We received ingredients for participating, but no positive reviews were requested in exchange. My (many) opinions are only ever my own.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much, it turned it into 3 evenings where I turned up on doorsteps with loaded with wine, chocolate and hugs. (For the record they all knew I was coming and willingly told me where they lived, I'm not a creeper, just FYI.) Best round of blog research I've ever done.

16 October 2015

Friday figments and photos: a bit of this, a bit of that...

Life has been a touch eccentric this week to say the least. Fairytale Bordeaux Chateaus, terracotta rooftops, cake sales, cat walking, London rain, fleecy PJs and a rather epic foodie #fdbloggers chat I was kindly allowed to host, all about the travel...

Bordeaux City Break - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Bordeaux City Break - Adventures of a London Kiwi

14 October 2015

The gate restaurant review - vegetarian cuisine in London

One of the things I love the most about being invited as a blogger to try restaurants is the ability to push our tastebuds a little outside of their usual comfort zone. Normally of an evening out we might go for a tried and tested bet, safe in the knowledge that we'll get good, if not super exciting meals - and sometimes that is perfect. But sometimes you want to try a meal that is a little different, a little off the beaten path.

Take the gate restaurants for instance. Running for more than 25 years, the brainchild of Adrian and Michael Danie, they serve vegetarian cuisine with a Indo-Iraqi Jewish bent modulated by French and Italian influences. Yep.

The gate restaurant review - vegetarian cuisine in London Adventures of a London Kiwi

The gate restaurant review - vegetarian cuisine in London Adventures of a London Kiwi

 Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Gate, but my (very many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily revisit - in this case, it's somewhere my carnivorous husband really loved and would go back!

Their focus is complementing fresh, delicious ingredients with a gourmet flare, and my focus of the evening was how my other half would cope, deprived of his favorite protein hit. We pootled along to their Hammersmith branch after work one evening, a carefully hidden away building behind the infamous Hammersmith Apollo Theatre. Entrance is through a humble communal courtyard, leading to a airy loft and enormous smiles of the welcoming restaurant staff.

12 October 2015

Every journey begins with a single step, or so the travel philosophers say...

All the great Internet cheeseballs and philosophers say the journey is as important as the destination. Sitting on English tarmac recently, still belted in an hour and a half after we were meant to land at our destination, I actually decided that actually they were right.

My journey began pretty routinely; I skipped onto the tube, my suitcase wheeling with delight, then settled into the short & cosy train ride out to the airport. Once through the fun of security (read: giggling at all the puzzled, annoyed people waiting until the head of the queue before emptying their pockets, removing their belts and looking confused at electronics being hauled our of their bags by bored looking officials. They clearly don't read any of the billion signs despite a half a hour queue looking at a variety of them...)


Strolling though (my outfit chosen for the ease of getting through metal detectors and lack if pockets for stay coins to hide in) I decided a glass of champers, an hour of reading my book and a healthy session of people-watching was in order. Students in neon trainers sprawled poutily on the floor, pearl framed blue-rinsed Ladies complaining about the waste of salad leaves as garnish and elderly gentlemen corralled kids astride suitcases with a vengeance against ankles.

10 October 2015

A surprise September trip to Broadstairs seaside..

A couple of Saturdays ago I found myself at a loss. I was home doing boring things chores whilst the September sun was gloriously full. We had no real plans, a proper cozy weekend in, watching Downton Abbey, baking and lounging around in our PJs. Half an hour later, Mr Kiwi was in a car on his way up North to Great Grimsby with his brother for a family birthday (I opted to not go because I didn't want to spread my plague symptoms any further around) and the weather forecast said clear, blue sunshine on Sunday.

I was at a crossroads. Continue in the same vein of Saturday, or run away. So run away it was. With some frenetic Googling of 'best beaches near London' (don't laugh they are real), a few stressed messages to said husband to ensure I wasn't planning on going to a seaside gangland and a train ticket later I was outta there. Well, after a good night's sleep any way.

Broadstairs Beach Kent Adventures of a London Kiwi

I hopped out of bed, grabbed my beach skirt with glee (in late September no less!), packed my book and vaulted out of the house. It takes 1hr 20 to train from St Pancras Station to Broadstairs (or Margate) so I sat back, relaxed and made sure I had a coffee in hand. Before long, the chalky cliffs of the Dover coast came into view, and then the sea started to sparkle through my window.

9 October 2015

Friday figments and photos: One where it all gets a little tasty

So, I've been a pretty bad blogger again, neglecting this the only running series on my little corner of the interwebs, but I'm ok with that. Sometimes you just have to sit back, relax and enjoy life (I especially enjoyed Angloyankophile's post on this as part of the travel linkup this month. Word.)

We overstretch ourselves to a point where it becomes ludicrous, sharing our lives in a perfectly lit manner (hello instagram), tell the world our funniest thoughts (hello Twitter) and hope that we remembered to take a portrait photos (hello Pinterest).



But I still adore it. Every bit of it. #Bloglife4eva

7 October 2015

Best free view in London - 55 Broadway

We wandered our fingers through the 2015 Open House guide (ok, figuratively speaking - in reality we just had hundreds of website tabs open) as we shortlisted the buildings usually closed to the public that we wanted to visit. With around 30 selected, and only 7 or so hours (including a lunch break) we battled it our individual selections out and whittled the list even further down to 4.

We began the morning with dragons and five star luxury (post to come shortly), visited medieval Law buildings, dabbled in a little East London river history but ended with the most unexpectedly glorious London view.

The-best-view-in-London-Adventures-of-a-London-Kiwi

I thought that may have got your attention - it certainly had ours. The London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Shard and Westminster Abbey, not to mention St Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Wembley Stadium from the other viewpoints had us spellbound, especially as the clouds cleared in perfect time...

5 October 2015

Pachamama, Peruvian brunch in Marylebone

Previous research at the University of California in 2003 found that women speak an average of 20,000 words daily compared to only 7,000 words for men. This means that on average, women talk nearly three times as much as men. In fact when I was googling the above query (cause research is important kids) I used the search terms "How many words do men say compared to the amount of words women say" (a bloke would probably search "average words men and women" or perhaps just sigh knowingly). 

Pachamama Brunch Review Marylebone London Adventures of a London Kiwi

For the most part lads in England socialise in the pub over a couple of warm frosty pints, debating the merits of their favourite Football teams, the price of beer and a side of friendly banter (ribbing, p*sstaking, derision - whatever you fancy calling it). I often wondered if they use it as an allegory, but after years of operating the beer handles, I can definitely confirm it isn't. It is just pure escapism from the dreary day to day.

3 October 2015

10 things you have to do in New York

*Warning I: This is definitely not an insiders guide to New York City*
**Warning II: Don't lose your camera in the airport at the end of your holiday**
***Warning III: Don't relive memories of old travels as they will make you misty eyed***

I was asked the other day for must-dos in New York - I've only been once so I'm definitely no expert, but my favourite spots we visited were all utterly quintessential. It had me thinking and reminiscing, so in throwback style, here are a few ideas for a Big Apple itinerary. We spent 5 full days wandering the city, and riding the (confusing) subway a few years ago, before we made for Florida to take in some sunshine, sample some Southern hospitality via a plate of biscuits with gravy, ride a few Harry Potter roller coasters, dodge a few 'gators and geek out visiting NASA.

10 things you have to do in New York Adventures of a London Kiwi

I'm happy to admit it, I can be a great big cheese ball at the best of times. Soppy movies always make me cry (no to mention those animal videos on Youtube), sad stories break my heart and I get all moony-eyed at the idea of old-fashioned romance.

1 October 2015

Blogging; Behind the scenes habits and secret addictions - October #travellinkup

Blogging, right, it can be a rather all-consuming hobby. This month for the travel linkup the topic is a dishy tell-all (or tell some) of behind the scenes habits and secret addictions all in the name of our hobby. A homily to our much joked about Blogger Addicts Anonymous group. I thought I'd let my boy have a chance to share his side of the story - lord knows his life is affected by it as well...

Adventures of a London Kiwi

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I know I’m not alone. I can’t be. Who remembers the basic pleasure of picking up your knife and fork – or spoon - on arrival of the starter / main / desert? After all, it’s been a long week and we’ve earned our Friday night dinner. The waiter service might be a little slow sometimes, but, once sat down, the wait is over. Hot food - that’s how life used to be. "Don’t wait for me – you get stuck in".

Did I sign up to this?