29 June 2016

Sunrises, a short ode.

I don't get to see sunrises very often - for a while I was having frequent dalliances with the beginning of the day, then England decided to go into daylight saving mode smashing my delicate relationship with the rose-hued light of mornings. Occasionally we have made a proper effort to worship the ball of fire that rises over our horizon - through the folds of an Arabian Desert tent, for a pre-work brunch at Duck and Waffle and occasionally in honour to the god of caffeine.

But, flying over Christmas between New Zealand and Dubai (we hovered somewhere over the oceans between Australia & Singapore to be exactish), I lifted the window-shade to a breathtaking moment. Of course I didn't have my camera to hand (it was buried in the hat rack (nb: why are they still called hat racks instead of overhead lockers?) behind several bags and I would have had to wake Mr Kiwi & our kind seat friend).

Instead, I was forced to actually just be in the moment.

27 June 2016

Our favourite places to eat in Budapest

Climbing the hills (top tip: avoid the furnicular, the hour long queue isn't worth it), wandering through twisting lanes and floating in the thermal spas will definitely make you hungry in Hungary. (sorrynotsorry). In a similar vein to Berlin and Prague, I just assumed tables would be laden with dumpling studded hearty goulashes laced with paprika - perfect for winters of ice skating from one side of the Danube to the other - tankards of beer and stuffed cabbage leaves that comfort your heart somehow.

Where to eat and drink Budapest Hungary Adventures of a London Kiwi
Where to eat and drink Budapest Hungary Adventures of a London Kiwi

So over our 3 day girl's weekend in Budapest with very little planning on my part, and a fair amount more on Sam's part (that went slightly awry on Sunday with may of the restaurants sadly closing too early) we enjoyed a real variety of ice cream places that we stumbled upon - a mixure of quirky buildings, delicious ingredients and fascinating stories.

25 June 2016

Thoughts on a small island and a touch of brexit

Yesterday could have been one of the most momentous moments in history that I will ever personally experience. Then again, with usual British spirit, it could simply hearken a new chapter in the story of a mighty nation that has weathered so many other incredible changes.

Thoughts on a small island #brexit
Thoughts on a small island #brexit

We can't get away from the confusion and uncertainty pealing across every kind of media in the UK, the news has spread across the four corners of the globe and has been discussed over every water cooler and tea point in the 4 countries it directly affects.

But, this is democracy in action. We are lucky to be able to have these choices.

24 June 2016

Friday figments and photos: Rainy Summer Daze

During the course of this week we accidentally got lost in a forest, snuggled under the duvet and experienced more rumbling thunder and lightening (very, very frightening!) than in winter...

... cursed the unrelenting rain, sipped a glass of colour palette pleasing Rose admist lovely company...

22 June 2016

When lost in a Buckinghamshire forest there are a few things to remember...

The other day we hopped on the train out to our favourite close-to-London village. Originally we had intended to skip clear to the other side of the river and go down south aways, but a very lazy start put the kibosh on our best laid plans. Instead we ended up north west in Denham Village, Buckinghamshire, and sodden with mud.

Lost in Denham Forest Buckinghamshire Adventures of a London Kiwi
Lost in Denham Forest Buckinghamshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

In a hamlet full of quaint cottages, a plethora of pubs around a quintessential village green and the tolling bell of the local church, Denham Village is - a bloggers favourite discovery - a genuinely hidden gem. Friends years ago introduced us to this sleepy little place, and we've returned time after time. We're talking Saturday afternoons in the sunshine, BBQs on the canal, riotous dinners and countless football disappointments.

19 June 2016

10 reasons you should go on a luxurious girls weekend to Budapest

I've wanted to visit Budapest for years. (I even have blog proof here in my 2015 and 2016 travel wishlist posts) but it wasn't until the mutter of a boys weekend reached my ears, freeing me to sneak away for an indulgent girly weekend with the lovely Sam (of Globetrotter Postcards fame). We met for brunch, as all good plans should begin, and within a couple hours of Google image searching and flight comparisons, we cut our wishlist down from about 18 cities to two serious contenders, and hearts over heads we went Budapest for the win.

10 reasons you should go on a luxurious girls weekend to Budapest

Straddling the Danube, the towns of Buda, Pest and Óbuda merged in the Nineteenth Century to form the capital city of Hungary. With over a thousand years of history separately, the cities coped through much turmoil, and the Magyar people emerged with a lightness of spirit that echoes through the streets. Now often known for the litany of stag parties, as the Paris of East or the Pearl of the Danube, Budapest is a city that we fell in love with. At one point I think I even grandly declared it my favourite city break ever - you can simply spa and sup, or get all culture vulture, or mixture of everything thing you love the best.

17 June 2016

Friday figments and photos: Grey June skies

I've cottoned on to something, why these weekly posts seem to hard. It's the fault of instagram. I'm always a late adoptee to everything (*cough* snapchat *cough*), and after looking at instagram and thinking 'nah' can't be bothered, I was peer pressured into joining yet another source of wanderlust.

See, it's not my fault!

Life lately and the adventures of a London Kiwi.
With only a limited time available to dedicate myself to staring at a small screen, I have no theme bar 'oooh, that's pretty'. I probably should, I'm sure but that requires a little more effort on my part. It does open your eye to the world around you - it sounds crazy and cliched, but it's true.

15 June 2016

Winter Garden at The Landmark Hotel Restaurant Review

It was only a month to go before our wedding, and we had wandered through pretty well every venue within a 10 minute walk of the registry office. Our conditions were fairly straightforward; pretty, mostly informal for a few drinks and big enough to hold 40 people without any stress.

Having scheduled an evening dinner in the London restaurant where we almost had our first date (and have revisited almost every year since) and church bells with proper celebrations in the local country club Up North a few days later, we just wanted somewhere to relax after the formalities were sealed (some might say I was tying him down with no chance to change his mind, others might have experience of the strange laws the UK has about marrying foreigners).

The Winter Garden Landmark Hotel Restaurant Review Adventures of a London Kiwi

Falling prey to all kinds of despair, one evening fresh from another round of disappointment we walked past The Landmark Hotel wringing our hands. Assuming that the luxury 5-star hotel wouldn't welcome a party of cheerful Kiwis and Northerners, we had completely dismissed it from the list until we discovered their basement bar. 

13 June 2016

Swan Lake - A Night At The London Ballet

The stage lights dim, the audience hushes as one and the orchestra conductor lifts his baton. We  unconsciously lean forward in our chairs as the opening scene unfolds.

Celebrating the Prince Siegfried's birthday, his friends, tutors and local peasants waltz their way through a forest clearing in front of the Palace. Interrupting the conviviality, the Prince's father announces Prince Siegfried must end his carefree ways and marry. Upset, he and his friends are distracted by a flock of birds, and decide to go hunting.
Swan Lake - A Night At The London Ballet Adventures of a London Kiwi

We are transfixed. With rich costuming, subtle but evocative sets and the incredible grace of ballerinas moving through the round stage with ease, aside from a few cheeky comments about the beauty of muscled men in leotards, we sit in stunned silence whilst Tchaikovsky's score weaves a spell around us.

11 June 2016

10 reasons you should visit Belfast

Every couple of years Mr Kiwi and get ourselves organised enough to book a long weekend listening to tunes and eating great food with our favourite Belfast-based friends. We hop on a Friday night flight, stock up on a few bottles of beer, spin a few records (the sound quality is simply amazing - though I'm always amazed to be allowed into the man-cave) and bookmark a couple of activities in between the terrible jokes that abound.

10 reasons you should go to Belfast Adventures of a London Kiwi

When you have good weather (and even better, lovely locals to escort you around the compact city) Belfast is almost unbeatable. Often skipped through by tourists taking daytrips and overnights from Dublin to the wonder of the Giants Causeway, there is a surprising amount of things to do as a visitor in the capital of Northern Ireland.

8 June 2016

Restaurant Review No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station

Chiswick is a London suburb made for summer evenings. Full of tree-lined lanes, beautiful terraces of red-brick homes, parks laid with picnic blankets, kids and dogs chasing frisbees, and a plethora of pram pushing yummy mummies.

Restaurant Review No.197 Chiswick Fire Station Adventures of a London Kiwi

It also - IMHO - has the highest High Street ratio of pubs and restaurants per head of population this side of the Atlantic. (That statistic might have been made up, doesn't make it untrue though.)

6 June 2016

A love letter to London

Dear London,

I feel like I've said this a hundred different times and in a hundred different ways. But, after all this time I adore you. Even when you drive me utterly crazy.

Expat blog love letter to London Adventures of a London Kiwi

After exclaiming at my British accent (for some reason I seem to be at pains to tell people I am of antipodean origin) people always ask me how I ended up living on the other side of the world. It's a strange combination of a gypsy soul, an obsession for old buildings and the unusual feeling of homecoming on Heathrow tarmac despite never setting foot on English soil before. But the reason for staying is you (plus a bloke and green-eyed cat which are both definitely your fault.)

4 June 2016

Royal China, Gourmet Chinese Restaurant Review

I think it's a sign of London assimilation, but where our default treat meal was a table full of Chinese cuisine, now our thoughts turn to the beguiling scent of a fragrant curry.

Royal China, Gourmet Chinese Restaurant Review Adventures of a London Kiwi
Royal China, Gourmet Chinese Restaurant Review Adventures of a London Kiwi
 Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the Royal China Group but all of my very, very many opinions and  thoughts are only ever my own.

We have seriously been missing out. Gone are the days (well, unless you actively seek it out) of stodgy, oily plates full of slightly unidentifiable stuff disguised as Anglicised versions of Cantonese comfort food. Royal China presents subtle flavour, beautifully cooked produce and delicate parcels of dim sum that I already want to revisit for.

1 June 2016

An unexpected journey to Colchester - June #travellinkup

After a morning of passing wizard exams*, I was intending to spend a leisurely afternoon on my own with my book in hand, snuggled in a nice nearby London coffee shop. But, unable to choose where to go, I had found myself staring at the train departure boards of Liverpool Street Station and buying a ticket almost all the way to the East Coast of England.

Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi (4)
Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi (4)

This isn’t a normal person behaviour, I know, but the combination of a sunny afternoon and a terrible case of wanderlust in my soul, Colchester - the oldest town in England - was selected almost at random based on having a castle, length of train journey and fascinating history.