31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

As per self-instigated tradition, I spend the last post of the year reminiscing. 2016 has been incredible and sad. A serious amount of exploring, more hugs than I ever want to count, tabled laughter, a burgeoning full blown coffee addiction, many escapades both in the UK and overseas to countries I will never be able to properly spell, a few heartbreaking incidents, discovering new nooks and generally trying to live life to the full.



And, as you read this, New Zealand will shortly be counting down & embracing the new year. We'll be getting ready in the UK to watch the sun set on an incredible 2016 and we'll be (probably, ok maybe) watching the sunrise over the horizon of 2017.

29 December 2016

My 13 best London dishes 2016

It's that time of year. The week or so where we look back over our metaphorical shoulders and ponder on the successes, challenges and downright wrong turns of the last 12 months. As a foodie each year I think back over the best dishes I've enjoyed, and 2016 has been utterly delectable.

Best London Brunch and Dinner Dishes 2016 Adventures of a London Kiwi

London seems to be hitting her cuisine stride and 2017 is only going to get better.

27 December 2016

My top 10 travel moments of 2016

Wrapped up in blanket and suffering with a dose of the Christmas flu seems like a good moment to look back on the year that was. It wasn't a pretty year from a global standard so ruminating on a few of our travel highlights of 2016 seems appropriate in an effort to dispell some of the bad.

My top 10 travel moments of 2016 Adventures of a London Kiwi

We began the year by wrapping up a family Christmas and wedding in New Zealand, seeing the New Year in on Auckland's harbour front, before making our way to the UAE on a whistlestop tour to see friends. This kicked off a fantastic year of adventuring and traveling both in the UK and around the world which meant that picking only 10 of my favourite moments was decidedly difficult.

24 December 2016

Merry Christmas to all - and to all, a good night!

This year we have the strange and uniquely wonderful situation of Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday. This means that by 5.32pm on Friday London will already be half-empty with expats zooming home and most everyone else clomping off to the countryside for family gatherings around groaning tables. (Another quarter of the population will be frantically racing up and down the aisles of the nearest shop even though they could just avail themselves by perusing this annual charity gift guide.)

Wait, it's Christmas already somehow? It's ok, I have a playlist and mince pies at the ready... Adventures of a London Kiwi

Instead of disappearing off to the other side of the world to cast off our shoes and swelter - by choice - in Christmas jumpers in the New Zealand sunshine (not to mention swimming with wild dolphins (sorta)) we are cozying up at home. We have a wealth of cheesy movies lined up, more snacks than we'll ever need and a few of our nearest and dearest next to us.


21 December 2016

What to buy someone who has everything (a charity gift guide)

Carrying on my annual charity tradition (est. 2014) I want to pay forward some of the amazing karma I've received over the years and give something back to those less fortunate. Blogger gift guides are pretty well established now but as ever I couldn't just do a normal one - 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...)

What to buy someone who has everything (a charity gift guide) Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
Usually sent to the recipient in a glossy card, these quirky donations can make lovely stocking fillers or even foot the bill as something for those people who have everything they could ever 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 buying a chicken for a suffering family and share the feel-good donation afterglow?

18 December 2016

An English Christmas Scavenger Hunt (12 things of Christmas)

All over the UK, in the small towns in London alike festive lovers celebrate Christmas and the winter festive season wonderfully. December, whilst London doesn't have snow very often, is encrusted with beautiful street light displays, pine bough covered store fronts, carollers echoing on train station platforms and the smell of mulled wine seductively wafting from open pub doors full of chatter.

A London Christmas Scavenger Hunt Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
Every street has an individual character of twinkling decorations and many have over the top window displays, perfect for the season of excessive enjoyment. Some even have pedalo operators dressed as Santa, playing 40s Christmas carols to grannies, who sing their hearts out through the busy roads.

12 December 2016

A Christmas corner of London: Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus

I usually avoid Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus as much as possible, preferring to duck along the lesser visited lanes that run alongside the main thoroughfares the times I absolutely have to brave the area.

The one month where I make an exception is December.


It would be impossible to talk about London at Christmas without mentioning the shopping heart of my favourite city. Commercial greed and the chaos of thousands of visitors aside, each corner you turn is another festively trimmed doorway of cheer.

10 December 2016

Austin, Texas: the city where music pours from doorways

2 US states, 3 cities, 800 miles of driving + 1 internal flight, a serious amount of Texan BBQ, a swamp tour on a Louisiana bayou with gators and raccoons, music pouring from doorways, a small red car christened Bonnie (just because we could), 7 hotels (definitely a record for us, we like to make a single central base) and a few gallons of craft ale. That was our two week roadtrip through Texas and Louisiana.

Austin Texas Live Music Capital of the World Adventures of a London Kiwi

Drawn in by lure of classic blues, we began in the city where guitar players wander off the stage and into the road, the pavements where students snapchat alongside families and blocks upon blocks of bars showcase local talent. Austin, Texas, the self-proclaimed 'live music capital of the world'.

8 December 2016

Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill - A birthday lunch

Dining at The Savoy has always been on my all time bucket list. The atmosphere, quirky history and the sheer opulence of the famed hotel meant that I'll take any possible excuse to nip into the American Bar for a cocktail or just use the 5-star luxury hotel as a cut through - sorry, I mean coffee stop - but I wanted a thoroughly special reason as a celebration meal to remember our visit with.
 Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill - A birthday lunch
Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill - A birthday lunch

Deciding that my milestone birthday was a worthy enough occasion (after that sentence I feel like selling T-Shirts that say "if something isn't worth waiting a few years for, is it worth it?") after opening some of the lovely cards on the doormat, we ignored the unpacking from my surprise trip to Gothenburg completely (one of the joys of living in Europe is definitely the ability to use carry-on) and made our way up the Strand for a leisurely lunch.

6 December 2016

A Christmas corner of London: Chelsea

We've decided to fill our cups with Christmas cheer this year, and visit the 4 "corners" of the Circle Line (in true London style) to enjoy the different faces of festive London. This weekend I found myself brunching with some of the crew in Chelsea (at the beautifully instagrammable no.11 Pimlico Road) so went for a meander.

Chelsea Christmas Where to go in London Adventures of a London Kiw

The short walk from Sloane Square tube station to Pimlico Road was a revelation alone. Christmas trees adorned shop lintels, harpists gently plucked carols whilst raising money for charity, chestnuts were being roasted over flame (I didn't actually realise this was a thing in real life), a small choir sang on a pub corner and the smell of mulled wine from a local business hung beautifully in the air.

3 December 2016

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel, Marylebone

What is it that’s so special about afternoon tea? It’s only a few little sandwiches and a couple of teeny cakes, right?

Nope, nope, nope.

Luxury Festive Afternoon Tea Langham Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi
Luxury Festive Afternoon Tea Langham Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Langham Hotel but my (very many) thoughts are only ever my own.

It’s the act of taking a little time out of our busy lives and setting aside a few hours of pure opulence - from taking a simple cream tea in local vintage café to a special afternoon of grand sumptuousness worthy of a princess. Admittedly of late, they haven’t featured so strongly in my calendar (I think even I got a little overwhelmed with them after devising my afternoon tea golden rules) but they definitively have a special place in my heart.


1 December 2016

11 things I hate about Christmas and the festive season

As time has gone by I've discovered an inner festive-elf that delights in fairy-lights, delves into the Christmas decoration box as soon as humanly possible (I'm usually only allowed to start putting them up on the 1st of December by my Grinch, and that's only once we've listened to "Lonely This Christmas" by Mud) and revel in the new and old traditions that we've established over the years - especially the picking up of Christmas ornaments as we traipse to different cities. Amongst the branches hang miniature dutch clogs, an Irish fairy, teeny Kiwis, Football baubles and a German angel who crowns our decorations with a fair few others.

11 things I hate about Christmas and the festive season

But, I was never a Christmas fan. There, I said it. When I was a teenager I’d go out with friends on Christmas Eve celebrating the season (a bit overmuch to be honest) and Christmas Day would be a bit of a struggle, especially when my hyper excited family would bounce on my bed at 6am - a crazy thing to do even at the best of times. #Bahhumbug

29 November 2016

Writing, the drug that no-one warns you about

What never happens in all of the '10 tips to start a blog' posts is a warning about how expressing yourself via the medium of word-arranging is dangerous. Your bank account, personal safety (think photographing at the edge of cliffs) and emotional well-being are all affected in ways that no-one really talks about.


It's that saying "ignorance is bliss". Well, I used to be content with my ignorance. I blissed out over lots of TV, traipsed to and from the concrete jungle without much thought and fitted in a holiday or two when I could. Now, now every action has a tale somewhere narrated in my head, every moment can be framed in the golden section and rule of thirds (with bonus points for a square setting) and enough sometimes simply isn’t enough.

26 November 2016

Duke of York Square Christmas Fun in Chelsea

Coming back from unusually warm and sunny weather on holiday in the US (lovely enough to swim in outdoor pools) to the cold streets of London was rather disheartening except that we planned it so we would arrive just in time for the Christmas lights to go up over England.

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Duke of York Square and my (very many) opinions are only ever my own.

Almost everywhere you go (spot those carol lyrics) the trees and lanes of London are twinkling gently as each area of the city lofts their take on the festive season. Some of our favourite areas are the titans of seasonal decoration – Oxford Street, Marylebone, Regent Street and along the more exclusive Mayfair Streets – but it is the smaller, more intimate squares that often surprise and delight merrymakers the most.

24 November 2016

10 Things I’m Grateful For

The fabulous Little Miss Katy has started a happy revolution – firstly it was her “Happy Monday – 10 Good Things posts” that I adore reading to start my week, then the fantastic post “150 Good Things That Happened This Week” and now her championing of the #TodayImGrateful hashtag. Go ahead, read it through, it’ll seriously make your day.


So, as you can see, you can blame her for this post, my own little corner of minor cheerfulness (mostly because I was in the wrong time zone to remember to add something to her epic post).

22 November 2016

A visit to the Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden

Even though I'm always chafing at the bit to get overseas (recently being accused of going away "too much" which is impossible in my estimation) I've consciously tried to explore my adoptive home island as much as possible.

Roald Dahl Museum Literature Authors England Adventures of a London Kiwi

A friend coined the term 'permatourism' which is bang on the money - being a permanent tourist, even when in our home countries. Seaside trips, highland vacations, day trips to quirky museums, even London staycations where we explore a different neighborhood of this sprawling city.

19 November 2016

A surprise weekend in Gothenburg, Sweden

As a special birthday treat my lovely husband organised a secret city break that was only revealed to me at the airport as we walked up to the check-in desk. I knew we were going away somewhere and the weather was likely to be cool (allowing me to excitedly pack and dream) but every aspect of the trip was planned and researched in cryptic silence.

Gothenburg Sweden City Break Europe Adventures of a London Kiwi
Gothenburg Sweden City Break Europe Adventures of a London Kiwi

For a planner like me, it was exquisite torture.

17 November 2016

10 destinations that Instagram has made me dream about

WARNING: POST CONTAINS WANDERLUST FUEL, TURQUOISE OCEANS AND SOME PRETTY AMAZING INSTAGRAMMERS

We've literally just got back from an incredible 2 weeks under azure skies that were alive with the sound of music, but already as the plane wheels are hitting tarmac (far before we've worked out the jetlag kinks) my mind is already wandering to our next destination.

I partially blame instagram.

It not only provides another addiction to the shoal of social media habits I've found myself with, but it also provides my wanderlust with fuel. Will our next crazy adventure be in the UK (if my husband has anything to do with it) or will it be shores farther afield (if I get my own way...) for more exotic mischief?


I also blame the travel team at traveloka who commissioned this bevy of travel jewels post as they wanted to share some of their good hotel deals in a few of the beautiful South East Asian nations they feature - somewhere we haven't really travelled extensively. Yet.

14 November 2016

PizzaBuzz & the 3rd meeting of #PizzaClubLDN

I've always been a firm believer of indulge in what you love (within reason) so when Pizza Club was invented I knew I wanted in. Unfortunately I've been keeping this delicious secret to myself, not wishing to spill the beans or share a slice of the pie as it were. Except on instagram.

Pizza Club itself is simple. A gathering of some of London's biggest pizza fans - initially VickyConnie, myself and Claire - we get together to catch up over a few slices of the good stuff whilst we natter and solve a few of the world's problems. (Don't believe me? We sorted global warming over a slab sized tabletop of pizza in Shoreditch a couple of months ago - it's just a shame that the latest developments in American politics may going to undo all of our hard work...we'll just need to organise our next session sooner than planned)

PizzaBuzz Moorgate Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of PizzaBuzz but all of my discerning levels of Pizza addiction are entirely all of my own making (and volition)

Calling themselves "the Subway" of gourmet pizza purveyors, PizzaBuzz is a brilliant concept. You take-a-de-pizza-base-and-add-a-delicious-toppings-dat-you-a-love.

12 November 2016

5 of the best things to do in Los Angeles (Guest post)

Having written off LA as a noisy, polluted, boring city, Mr Kiwi and I were won over by my lovely (IRL) friend Emily who convinced us that LA is a brilliant city that needed to be explored. Giving us loads of tips, a shed load of recommendations and a starry eyed appreciation for this tinseltown I also convinced her to make her blog debut with a few of her recommendations...

5 of the best things to do in Los Angeles (Guest post)

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5 of the best things to do in Los Angeles

My love affair with California began on a 7 day trip back in 2011, after the Mr & I had grown tired of siting by pools in all inclusive resorts, sipping odd-tasting cocktails and wondering how early was too early for the next nap. So, seemingly out of nowhere Los Angeles was plucked from a short list consisting of random US cities we’d seen that one time in that one TV show and half dreamed of visiting one day, only to forget all about it the following week. In an uncharacteristically decisive action from my usually cautious Mr, the flights and hotel where quickly booked and the rest, as they say, is history.

9 November 2016

Kazan, a Turkish Restaurant near Victoria Station

It began with a simple Tweet, and ended in prosecco studded with pomegranate seeds and a platter of Baklava. Life doesn't really get much better sometimes.

Kazan Turkish Restaurant Victoria London Adventures of a London Kiwi

  Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Kazan but all of my wandering musings and admiration for beautifully slow-cooked lamb are only ever my own...

A couple of months ago searching out a few personal Turkish restaurant recommendations from the coterie of food bloggers that gather around London's tables, there was one restaurant that came up again and again - Kazan in Victoria.

7 November 2016

I just called to say I love you (ok, messaged)

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and a bit of Stevie Wonder came on the radio. Desperately trying to procrastinate about the life admin I had to get done (as much as I possibly could) his well-worn refrain really struck a chord.


I just called to say I love you.
I just called to say how much I care.

So, inspired by his words of wisdom that's what I did.

5 November 2016

The 10 best castles in the world (IMHO)

My inner princess never thought this was possible. My own country has a history of around 150 settled human years, so the magic of walking through thousands of years of history never quite loses the unique frisson of delight.

Suits of armour that tell tales of bravery and hardship, kitchen hearths that fed hundreds of (in)famous dignatories and hard working servants, windows that saw enemy arches living up their longbows and sighing maidens dreaming of their loves, moats that were filled with all sorts of exotic contents and drafty castles walls that witnessed history that changed the lives of nations.

The 10 best castles in the world Adventures of a London Kiwi

Yeah, I've got the castle wandering bug bad. If there is a castle or palace near where we are (and by near I mean within 2 hours train ride) you can guarantee that I'll be making my way there, scheming how to get closer or researching ways to sleep there (Prince Harry, watch out).

2 November 2016

Chai Wu, Luxury Chinese Restaurant Review in Harrods

Quite rightly, Harrods is often described as pure melodrama. 4.5 acres of retail space, seven floors and 330 departments, each offering up its own kind of lavish loopiness. Rising above the bejewelled occupants of Knightsbridge, as luxury sports cars (try to) zoom along the Brompton Road,I found myself making my way through those infamous green awnings once again to enjoy the fine Chinese cuisine at Chai Wu.

Chai Wu, Luxury Chinese Restaurant Review in Harrods Harrods Adventures of a London Kiwi
Chai Wu, Luxury Chinese Restaurant Review in Harrods Harrods Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Chai Wu but all thoughts (and #firstworldproblems) are definitely my own...

As you ascend the floors of Harrods, the shopping gets more and more decadent. On the fifth floor in amongst the designer squash rackets and sneakers, a haven of sushi, Wagyu beef and champagne sits just waiting to ensnare flagging shoppers.

31 October 2016

A perfect... birthday and a #travellinkup

30 years old. I am now officially 30 years old.

I'm fairly sure I'm the only person on the planet who isn't freaking out about reaching such a milestone at the age, but there we go, I'm not.

A perfect birthday Travel linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi
A perfect birthday Travel linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

Instead, I used the excuse to extend the usual week of festivities around my 36-hour birthday into a fortnight (along with an amazing 2 week holiday we have coming up shortly!). It's 36-hours long with the time difference in New Zealand - an exclusive benefit to the expat lifestyle - but with the lovely, lovely friends and family around me, what can be a homesickness trigger was actually a whirlwind celebratory champagne, fantastic meals and a secretly organised long weekend in a beautiful European city.

26 October 2016

10 things to do in Scarborough (an alternative long weekend guide)

Where do you start with a visit like this? Mr Kiwi was tripping (literally) along memory lane, I had been hankering for the soft sound of the ocean lapping on sandy shores and we were on our way to celebrating to one of the loveliest weddings we have had the pleasure to enjoy.

What to do in Scarborough Adventures of a London Kiwi
What to do in Scarborough Adventures of a London Kiwi

Dashing up on the train one evening, we arrived just as the sun was setting on the magnificent North Bay, our home for the long weekend. The seagulls were crying, the clouds were as pink as Rhubarb* and the waves far below us were lapping at the shore. The 'borough is a curious mix of seaside, Yorkshire tidbits and a plethora of kids armed with buckets & spades.

24 October 2016

Halloween Cocktails (in conjunction with thebar.com)

In the wilds of Northern England lives a purple-haired, upstate New Yorker. She is ensconced in a beautiful home that came with two chicanerous cats and the boy who stole her heart before taking her wanderlusting around the world.

We met over the interwebs, thanks to a series of blog posts she wrote about their year in New Zealand, and after an initial IRL dinner with our 3rd musketeer Amanda, we keep finding ourselves sat around a table with ribs sore from laughing over the same expat woes.

Halloween Cocktail Ideas TheBar.com Adventures of a London Kiwi
Halloween Cocktail Ideas TheBar.com Adventures of a London Kiwi


So, it was only natural when thebar.com contacted me to try and make a few of their Halloween cocktails that I began perusing Dannielle’s glass collection and we arranged a weekend tete a tete, States-style, in her Doncaster home found in the middle of Yorkshire.

22 October 2016

20 amazing experiences in my 20's

Sometimes I feel like I’ve already lived several lifetimes. One in the perceived idylls of suburban New Zealand, one as a student carefree and dancing with firepoi, another as an expat in an unfamiliar country and lately understanding that I'll never quite understand but with a smile on my face I'll make good of it (and explain that despite the English accent I'm not of this country...)

20 amazing experiences in my 20's Adventures of a London Kiwi

One of the best decisions I ever made was the terrifying choice to fly to the other side of the world on my own and see where my feet led me. At the time naively it didn't seem so scary - I had a return ticket for one year's time, accommodation arranged for 2 weeks, £20 in cash and a Lonely Travel book. Totes simple right?

21 October 2016

Friday Figments and Photos: The end of a decade

“Note to Self: None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.” -Nanea Hoffman


YES!!

Cast aside trying to be someone, and BE SOMEONE.

19 October 2016

The V&A Museum of Childhood

Wandering along to the East End outpost of my favourite London museum kept getting pushed down to the back of the London list.

The V&A Museum of Childhood Free London Adventures of a London Kiwi

My own Commonwealth dappled childhood was hugely influenced by British culture, especially literature – Famous Five books inspired us to investigate the world around us (and that dogs could be your friends as much as people), A. A. Milne shared the importance of good people (and when in doubt, honey), Lewis Carroll warned us off drugs, J.M. Barrie the importance of never smiling at a crocodile and Terry Pratchett still makes grown-up-me smile with the many hilarious layers of satire.

17 October 2016

Peninsula Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel: A girl's night

They say that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Friendship as an adult expat is a weird thing. You find yourself in a strange land having abandoned a lifetime of connections to dive deep in a culture that is strange yet wonderfully familiar all at the same time, and having a good friend can simply make all of the difference in the world.

Miss Runaway Kiwi and I met at some blog event years ago and became fast friends with a speed that only expats armed with a healthy serving of gin can facilitate. Since then we've navigated North African spa hotels (by golf buggy mostly), gained entry to Hogwarts, sampled a plethora of brunches, sashayed down Downton Abbey staircases, swooned over cat gifs, laughed over ridiculousnesses (it's a legit word I swear) and try to catch up whenever she's actually in London and not swanning off somewhere else in the world.

Peninsula Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel: Adventures of a London Kiwi



We both come from the same city in New Zealand and seem to have settled in the bright lights of London - mostly with aplomb but certainly with a serious amount of headscratching as we navigate our way through the cobbled pathways both metaphorical and literal.

15 October 2016

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal - one of the world's most insane castles

Around about this time last year, I scampered off for a long weekend in Lisbon. Not telling anyone that I was off on a solo adventure for the first time in years (the husband was on a boys weekend in Madrid – hilariously in the adjoining country) I girded my loins, arming myself with a tome of printouts + backups on my phone + backups emailed around the world, and settled in for a chilled out break entirely on my own terms.

Pena Palace Day Trip Sintra Portugal Adventures of a London Kiwi

Solo travel isn’t for everyone – it can be stressful, alarming when you’re left with your own thoughts and a bit lonesome when it comes to meals, but I really loved the change of pace (not that I don’t adore travelling with people). I simply tried to bear common sense in mind (not walking alone once night fell), made my journey to & from the airport as simple as simple as simple (a couple of metro trains) and booked in a couple of day trips where I was collected and chauffeured around.

14 October 2016

Friday Figments and photos: October half-point

Nearly 10 years I've lived in this city and still there are moments where London catches my breath.

10 years.

Friday Figments and photos: October half-point Adventures of a London Kiwi

As my black cab crossed Waterloo Bridge recently it struck my expat brain that on one side the modern ash-coloured City rises and the other the gothic magnificence of the Houses of Parliament seems to pierce the sunset. Timeless icons that never seem to fade.


12 October 2016

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Review - London Steakhouse Co

We should all dine out on Monday evenings more often. Instead of falling fretfully asleep on a Sunday night, we should take the first night after the weekend of freedom by the horns and ride the gourmet train into the sunset. Make sure there is something delicious in the diary to get you through that set of Monday blues. Something simple, something steak-y even.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Co. City Restaurant Review Adventures of a London Kiwi
 Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse - London Steakhouse Co but all of my very, very many thoughts and memory musings are only ever my own...

I've always quite firmly believed in the ethos of regular luxury moments - occasionally taking a less bombastic approach to simply enjoying yourself more often - and a good steak dinner on a Monday is one of those life luxuries.

10 October 2016

The day I broke Southwark Cathedral

Many moons ago when I was much younger and freshly arrived on these ancient shores I did a Bad Thing which probably, really should have got me deported. I don't have many regrets, but this is definitely one of them. It wasn't anything illegal, violent or intentionally nasty and it brought tears to my eyes.

Southwark Cathedral Free things do to in London Adventures of a London Kiwi

I was volunteering with a charity outfit called Cathedral Camps, a mentoring programme that works quite closely with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and teens from all over Europe who want to improve their English. Spending a week living on or near a Cathedral and working odd jobs for them - ranging from vaccuming towers to repainting railings - whilst exploring the city at night (we were lucky enough to have a special tour of St Pauls, a night at Shakespeares Globe for the Merchant of Venice and of course the delight of Leicester Square of an evening) we slept in a hostel and cooked in nearby kitchens.


8 October 2016

A day trip to Wendelstein Mountain & getting lost in the Bavarian Alps (sorta)

Visiting a freezing cold Berlin in November (mostly for the Christmas markets) a few years ago we always swore that a return trip to landlocked Germany was something we had to do. When friends told us of the misty Alpine peaks of Bavaria and generous beer gardens of Munich, we mentally notched a visit to München into our travel bucketlist and promised ourselves we would get there one day.

Bavarian Alp day trip from Munich Wendelstein Mountain Adventures of a London Kiwi

That promise of 'one day' turned into years, until summer this year and we fancied a relaxing week in sunshine. Planning to spend a week in Munich (several friends said 3 days is plenty, but I disagree) gave us more than enough time to factor in several days trips (including swimming in an alpine lake near Neuschwanstein Castle) which unconditionally made our break lovely.

7 October 2016

Friday figments and photos: Tables and smiles

It's Friday. The penultimate day of the week.


The one where everybody lets their hair down, looks forward to the weekend and hopes for a bit of sunshine along the way.

5 October 2016

Iris and June, weekend brunch in Victoria

Years ago when I worked in the area, Victoria always seemed like a little bit of a gastronomic no-man's land. Sandwiched between the tolling bells of Westminster scuttling with politicians (though I do kinda love the Blue Boar and have spent far too much time drinking champagne, breakfasting and afternoon tea-ing in the Conrad St James) and Belgravia bustling with the yummy mummy's, thankfully there are more up and coming restaurants beginning to showcase their chef's credentials.

Iris and June Brunch Victoria SW1P Adventures of a London Kiwi

Over the years we have discovered a few of the [bloggers favourite klaxon] 'hidden gems' in the area that aren't necessarily fine dining (though we've found a few of them too). The cake menu hidden beneath Westminster Abbey, the cockney cobbles of Strutton Green, the rumored Royal favorite Thai restaurant (ok, ok, I began the rumour), the uber-touristy Albert pub where British Army retiree's sit hoping to warm their bones with a free pint and the cabbie's favourite greasy spoon The Regency Cafe.

3 October 2016

5 things that describe my travel style

Let's begin this with the disclaimer that I never thought I would be lucky enough to develop a travel style. The original plan was 2 years exploring Europe before heading home to get career serious. Little did I know that my plans would be re-routed slightly, and a decade later I would have a soul infected with wanderlust whilst dragging my favourite Northern Lad around the world with me.

5 things that describe my travel style Adventures of a London Kiwi
5 things that describe my travel style Adventures of a London Kiwi

Thinking long and hard about the challenge set by Madam Silverspoon (well, more of a suggestion, less of a quest really) to define my travel style, I have to admit that I still don't really know what our travel style is like (except that lying on a beach for two weeks makes me shudder.)

1 October 2016

3 of the most unique places we have stayed... #travellinkup

Beige walls, a bed with a anonymously hues coverlet, random art on the walls and a TV in the corner. Every hotel in the world has all of the above with changes fractionally appearing as the research gets better and the budget gets increased.

Best Hotel View in the World Tromso North Norway Adventures of a London Kiwi
Thornbury Castle Princesses for a night Adventures of a London Kiwi

But, there are 3 places to rest our weary travellers heads that made so much more of a memory mark. No, not the marble-lined luxury French wine chateau, the London city skyline we didn't want to close our eyes against, our floating hotel or even the Bee terrace at St Ermin's hotel.