30 December 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

2015 has been incredible and sad. 3 trips to the other side of the world, more hugs than I can count, dinner table laughter, a burgeoning coffee addiction, ticking off a new continent, many adventures in the UK and overseas to countries I will never be able to spell, a few heartbreaking incidents, discovering new nooks and generally trying to live life to the full.

And, as you read this, New Zealand has counted down & embraced the new year of 2016. We'll have watched the sun set on an incredible 2015 and we'll be (probably, ok maybe) watching the sunrise over the horizon of 2016.

New Years resolutions and a look backwards Adventures of a London Kiwi

Traditionally each year I like to finish with a little roundup of the year that was. I think we'll play with the top 15 this time (I did the top 14 last year, 13 in 2013, and 12 in 2012... see where I'm going with this?)

28 December 2015

10 Things You Must Do in Hawaii (Guest post: Carolann)

There are some bloggers who you think would be your friends if only they didn't live an ocean away (or manage to miss when they come to London for a quick trip as you're disappearing overseas yourself - we will get that coffee in one day!)

Carolann from The Two Year Honeymoon is one such lady, and has kindly taken over Adventures of a London Kiwi, with her top 10 things you must do in Hawaii. All I know is that my credit card is itching with wanderlust...

10 Things You Must Do in Hawaii 

 10 Things You Must Do in Hawaii The Two Year Honeymoon

Hi there, readers of Adventures of a London Kiwi!

I’m Carolann, and for the past two years, my husband and I lived in Hawaii on what I’ve been calling our “Two Year Honeymoon.” We just left Hawaii and are in the process of moving to a little place in the United States called Connecticut. But first, we are traveling to Europe and then New York to spend the holidays with our family! My husband is in the military, so we are always moving around. We will be stationed in Connecticut for just a few months before moving on to somewhere new. Having my husband in the military is such an amazing adventure, and I love that we get to travel and live so many different places.

26 December 2015

10 Signs You're Getting Old(er)

It is sadly inevitable that we all get older. I'm somewhat hoping that I also get a little wiser - fingers crossed (miracles CAN happen!) and lately I've been looking often into a mirror that often reflects my Mother's visage.

With every passing year time seems to speed up and a few habits are becoming more, well, noticeable.

24 December 2015

Merry, happy Christmas!

In many ways I hope you aren't reading this, I want you to be doing something you love with people you at least like. My Christmas gift to you today? A sleigh-full of Christmas Carol suggestions. Just remember, you won't get to play them for a whole 'nother year...

21 December 2015

10 signs you're spending too much time with Kiwis (or reading their blogs)

There are a few telltale signs that you have been adopted by a tribe of expat Kiwis, intent of converting you to the religion of the Long White Cloud.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Adventures of a London Kiwi

1. You have at least half a dozen brunches under your belt, and recognise eggs benedict as a food group.

2. Coffee gets grouped into good Flat Whites, bad Flat Whites and those puddles that have no pretty foam. Sauvignon Blanc becomes a life choice.

19 December 2015

8 inspirational UNESCO sites around the world

UNESCO is a club that all of the famous world heritages sites want to get into. Think of the listing as the glittery lip gloss worn by the popular schoolyard kids, only it applies to gloriously dusty buildings instead. I came to England intent on exploring the architecture of Europe, and haven't done too badly over the years with my collection of UNESCO favourites.

Kew Gardens London UNESCO

It's one of my 101 in 1001 days goals to visit at least another five - in the meantime here are a few that should definitely be on your UNESCO bucket list. That's a thing, right? (I'm so cool.)

16 December 2015

10 things I've learnt as a travel blogger

In four years or so of running this here little blog, I've learnt more than I could ever imagine. Tricks of the travel trade, my soul is afflicted with wanderlust and how caring the blogging community can be.

Travel Quotes inspiration Adventures of a London Kiwi

1.  I use far too many exclamation marks!
2.  My sense of geography is utterly shocking, though I have developed a pigeon-esque sense of local landmarks even in new cities.
3.  A good dose of common sense often prevails and every penny saved for travel will enrich your life.

14 December 2015

Why do we eat Turkey at Christmas?

Some days I feel like I could burst with questions. How does this work? Why does that happen? What on earth is that meant to be? My poor husband not only has to put up with the moniker Mr Kiwi, but attempt to explain centuries of British traditions. On top of that he's often used as a consultation resource for several of my expat friends - the questions posed over the years has often bamboozled both of us and we turn to the Google to hopefully explain.

The Whats, Whys and Where for art thous (or if you are Welsh it's 'where for to you goin'?, nope I don't understand how that translates to 'Where are you off to?' either) are often just shrugged off as a lovely mystery that we enjoy just 'because'. And why not, it's Christmas.

Why do we eat Turkey at Christmas? Adventures of a London Kiwi

Why are brussels sprouts so reviled but always make the festive dinner table?
I love brussels sprouts. Yes, I know I'm foreign which puts me slightly in the bizarre camp anyway, but I genuinely like those little green cabbage spheres - especially cooked just the side of crisp and served with a drizzle of honey, chestnuts or cranberries and bacon. Yum. All the more brassicas for me then...

12 December 2015

What do you buy someone who has everything? A charity gift guide

Carrying on the tradition from last year, I want to pay forward some of the amazing karma I have received and give something back to those less fortunate. Blogger gift guides are pretty well established now but as ever it needed a slightly Adventures of a London Kiwi twist (I even spotted a couple of little sheep fellows - hey, you can take the blogger out of New Zealand...)
Usually sent to the recipient in a glossy card, these quirky donations can make lovely stocking fillers or perhaps even as something for those people who have everything they could want. Forget sickly smelling bath sets where half the products are thrown away, and ugly tie that is only trotted out on special occasions, how about you buy a chicken for a suffering family and share the feel-good donation afterglow?

9 December 2015

The Expat Holidays: Christmas baubles and an accidentally neon green tree...

As an expat, you find yourself a little adrift sometimes at the holidays - somewhat akin to the little Matchgirl standing in the cold. No, I take that back, they are #firstworldproblems - we aren't freezing in the snow, and if we are it's because celebrations were a little too fiesty.

You do however end up starting your own hilarious Christmas traditions. Some are untraditional like the gorgeous Montgomerys who have a tradition of not traditioning, I have ached to be a) prepared and b) in the country for the fabulously British tradition of 'stir-up Sunday', the date where households gather their baking aprons to and failed several years in the row - but I did finally manage to watch the Trafalgar Square switch on this year. However, when the lovely Annie of Montgomery Fest first mentioned the inagural Expat holiday round-up, I knew there was only one topic I needed to confess.

The Expat Holidays Christmas Baubles
**Disclaimer: Not our 2015 tree**

This year is the second in a row that we aren't decorating for Christmas. *Cue the Awwws*. Normally I allow myself to go a little crazy - we're talking fairy light overload, a beautifully smelling real Christmas tree carried on the train to the bemusement of our fellow travellers, bedecking every possible surface with baubles, wassailing from the very first moment possible (some unkind people might infer it's wailing - to-mar-to, toh-may-to), cupboards groaning with spiced mince pies and stockings all hung by the chimney with care.

7 December 2015

Oh [Trafalgar Square] Christimas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

This post took nearly a decade, getting through a royal procession of cars in rush hour traffic and facing the bitter wind of London in December to be drafted. Is that commitment or what!?

For years I've promised to get myself to the annual lighting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, but each year we were either away somewhere lovely or managed to forget about the ceremony until definitely too late. Every time.

Trafalgar Square London Christmas Tree

I was determined that this year was going to be different. I spent a good hour or two in late October attempting to establish when the switching on ceremony would happen, failed, tried again thanks to a helpful calendar note in November, failed, tried again on the morning of the 1st of December to successfully learn that each year the lighting ceremony is conducted on the first Thursday in December. Huzzah!

4 December 2015

Friday figments and photos: Silly season v2.0

Christmas has definitely descended into London party season - the glad rags are sparkling lavishly, tables are laden with a cornucopia of delights and eggnog is pouring freely.

Coffee Adventures of a London Kiwi

In true expat style, we've already notched up 2 (and a half) Christmas dinners full of laughter and hugs (and a dash of Tina Turner) and are excited for a couple more. Dinners I mean, there will be many, many hugs - I've scheduled them in!