30 July 2016

8 reasons why I adore Brighton

Brighton is one of those cities where the pulse thrums with music, the taste of fun is in the air and streets are filled with more than a glimmer of mischief. We've visited a few times - firstly as a brand new visitor to England, later for hijinks with friends and often as a seaside day trip from London - but haven't revisited for years.

The culture is a little offbeat, the locals are friendly and the coffee is AMAZING. Neighbouring Hove is a little more reticent and refined, but Brighton is where the fun starts - and when the train companies behave it's only an hour or so away from London.

Day trip Brighton Adventures of a London Kiwi
Day trip Brighton Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Ibis Brighton but all of my very, very many thoughts are only ever my own...

So when a tribe of bloggers along with our plus ones (the lovely Leigh, Lisa, Leanne and I were invited and corralled by my pink-haired beauty Erica) were invited to a night of open air cinema and to snooze a Friday evening away, how could we resist another taste of the city?

29 July 2016

Friday figments and photos: Are you going to Scarborough Fayre...

This week has been a whirlwind of delicious chaos (and at least one night collapsed on the couch.) Amongst other tidbits, we discovered a pop-up garden overlooking the busiest Street in London...

Latest Adventures of a London Kiwi: John Lewis Oxford Street

We attended the dreamiest wedding in Scarborough...

27 July 2016

The Ivy Kensington, an early dinner/late brunch

She was born in Doha, amidst gleaming Qatar skyscrapers buried in desert sands. With her occupation officially stamped 'baby' on her ID card, she travelled to London and lured 5 adults to the Ivy in Kensington somehow managing to convince her parents to come along too.

The Ivy Kensington Luxury Brunch Adventures of a London Kiwi
The Ivy Kensington Luxury Brunch Adventures of a London Kiwi
Presented with offerings of soft bunnies and a flowered dress, she snuggled into our shoulders and giggled at the seriously weird faces only mini-adults can evoke, pleased to have enspelled yet more minions to cater to her every cooing whim.

25 July 2016

Middle and Inner Temple Inns; a touch of bewigged architecture

Old buildings are my favourite. Forget the souless glass sheathes of modern day architecture, gleaming constructions punctuated with steel and plastics that can think. I ♥ creaky wooden floors with patinas of long since gone families living their lives over drunken levels, I ♥ the beauty of wattle and daub walls keeping the weather away, I ♥ the stories of love, loss and challenge conquered by people of yesteryear.

 London Secrets Middle and Inner Temple Inns Adventures of a London Kiwi

At our wedding, the vicar asked us to stop for a moment and consider the wealth of emotion contained within the 11th Century Saxon tower we were standing under. It's probably ridiculously fanciful, but it was one of the most memorable phrases that have stayed with me over the years.

23 July 2016

Blogging style

Ever get that feeling that you’re not normal, that your rhythm is just slightly out of sync with the rest of the world? All my life I’ve been different, a round peg in a square hole as it were. Some days it's easy to revel in; a feeling of individuality and uniqueness that can’t be dimmed; and at other times it feels decidedly outsider-ish, like you can’t fit in because you simply see the other side of the argument.

Every so often I take a breather and look back on the crazy, wonderful world of blogging that I seem enmeshed in. It is brilliant. An excuse to see the world, drink coffee over laughter, indulge in all kinds of random whims (over the years they have numbered amongst door knockers, toast, herding sheep, luxury hotel stays, setting fire to food - aka Teppenyaki, go Nursery Rhyme Church hunting, indulge in whimsy and wander way too often.

Friday figments and photos:

Throughout our mini-heatwave this week (we've gone from rain and thunderstorms to face-melting temperatures that London transport can't cope with) our thoughts have been all scattered.

From world events, to the smile of a baby.

20 July 2016

Mango Tree, Belgravia Restaurant Review

"Phillip, Phillip dear, shall we have Thai for dinner tonight? Perhaps the duck and pineapple curry and some of that lovely jasmine rice"

"Unfortunately darling cabbage, I'm off down the club later with a few of the lads."

"Oh. Yes. I had noticed that your smoking jacket had been laid out. Well, maybe I'll just take the Corgi's and Dorgi's out to stretch their little legs quickly. A lap around the ornamental lake, and then over the road to... oh goodness, what's the name of that delightful place with the live trio. Oh, Mango Tree. Yes. Wait, actually, I need a G&T, Antiques Roadshow is about to come on - I bet they find something of Aunt Margaret's again.

"OOh, Antiques Roadshow? Let's just send one of the footmen over... now did someone say G&T?"

*end dream sequence* 

Mango Tree Restaurant Review Belgravia Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were again invited guests of Mango Tree but all of my very, very many thoughts are only ever my own - and I have no real idea of what Her Majesty's favourite local Thai restaurant is - but I do have my suspicions... 

A few minutes walk from Victoria Station, a temple to Thai fragrances and flavour sits in amongst the grand columns of Buckingham Palace Road (and overlooks the rather imposing back fence of Her Majesty's garden).

18 July 2016

101 in 1001 goal update

Sounds slightly ridiculous, but I've found that I can't really achieve much without setting goals. From daily 'to do' lists that keeps all of the minutiae ticking along, to more momentous events that require all kinds of shoring up - if I don't have a reason to achieve it my mind simply moves on or switches to TV/couch potato mode.

101 in 1001 goal list v2.0 Adventures of a London Kiwi

This even goes for saving cash - give me a reason and an amount and I'll pull out all of the stops. Just generally mention saving for a rainy day, and it's like white noise..

16 July 2016

Ladies of luxury - our long weekend at Hotel Moments Budapest Review

Hotel Moments Budapest has to be one of my favourite hotels we have stayed in so far. Over the years we have slept in gilded Belgian luxury, wandered through iron balustraded Trompe-l'œil in Paris, watched from our window as ships sail along Arctic waters in Tromso, made friends with hairy Hampshire locals, revelled in a gloriously historic Bordeaux Chateau, watched the sunrise reflect over the Thames River, eaten picnics in sunny Southern French apartment gardens, ordered pizza from Edinburgh bunk beds, sipped wine in a Viennese spa as the sun set over the Danube and a few more besides.

In short, we have slept in a fair number of hotel rooms over the years.

Hotel Moments Budapest Review Adventures of a London Kiwi
Hotel Moments Budapest Review Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were guests paying a media rate at the four-star Hotel Moments Budapest for our long weekend, but my (very many) thoughts are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't want to move-in, I mean, revisit for another break.

What they all do have in common is being selected to suit our break. An anonymous spa hotel in Lille away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a swanky modern Barcelona escape near the beach and a taste of luxury close to our favourite Dublin watering hole.

15 July 2016

Friday figments and photos: The 'er, lost count' edition

Time just keeps flying by. It's not fair (and it never seems to lengthen when you want it to.)

Life Lately Michelin Starred Restaurant Le Manoir Adventures of a London Kiwi

The last few weeks haven't been very summery, but in true London style we have made up for it by enjoying the occasional G&T. (And Pimms. And Ice Cream. And Wine... and a trip to Le Manoir #anyexcuse)

13 July 2016

Hawker House, Street Feast Canada Water

On the outskirts of the looming finance district tower, a small island of foodie pop-ups exists. A secret known best to Twitter-wielders and the blog mafia (oh, and all the local office workers who have disposable incomes and furry dependants) - namely Street Feast's Hawker House.

StreetFeast Hawker House Canada Water Adventures of a London Kiwi
StreetFeast Hawker House Canada Water Adventures of a London Kiwi

The boys almost exclusively wore beards with their checked shirts, the beer was craft and the bins were burger-themed to my utter delight.

11 July 2016

A 2 Michelin star lunch at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Last year we went to the Shangri-La restaurant and hotel in the Shard for an amazing 3 course lunch, and because I'm a bad blogger I simply enjoyed the meal. Phone away, camera encased and social media turned off. It was all due to an Australian friend of mine who I found stood quietly (very unsually for him) at the window, overlooking the London skyline and his quietly insightful "well, it's a moment to cherish as I may never find myself here again. I'm off again travelling, and who knows where it could take me." (If you want to revel in another Shard fail though, try this Shard-centric post from 2013...)

Funnily enough a year later - almost to the day - we both found ourselves soaking in the sunshine between rain showers and learning how to play croquet on the perfectly manicured lawns of Raymond Blanc's 2 Michelin starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

A 2 Michelin starred lunch at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons Adventures of a London Kiwi A 2 Michelin starred lunch at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons Adventures of a London Kiwi

Life has a funny way of taking us down paths we don't quite expect, sometimes quite literally.

9 July 2016

The lost art of asking "how are you"?

“Hey, wassup? Not much, you? Er, yeah nah not much.”

I occurred to me the other day that in a general sense we may have lost the art of genuinely asking after people. It’s an easy cop out to just blame the internet for the lost skill of caring. Blah blah interactions are just about showing off and hashtags are connecting us with fellow showoffs blah blah. Excuses, excuses. We have more media methods for connecting with people than our Grandparents could ever dream of, hilarious gifs for days and a billion different ways to say you care.

Hi, hiya, alright, yo, wassup (if you’re a 90’s kid), hello ciao, heeeeeey, yo, herrow. There are hundreds of words we can begin a greeting with, but what usually follows? “How are you?" "Fine thanks, you?” Deflection, sorted. The most common non-answer to a non-question.

6 July 2016

Nine travel essentials that I won't leave home without...

Having zipped around the globe as much as I humanly could fit into annual leave for the last 10 years (HOW HAS IT BEEN THIS LONG ALREADY?) including 3 flights last year to my own Kiwi home - aka almost as far away as you can get from England without cozying up to Antarctic Penguins - it's safe to say that I think I've almost got this travel packing thing down to an art. (I'll have you know that it was my husband who left all of my bathroom kit behind in England on a recent trip - thankfully it was only Belfast and I could buy almost everything I needed in any case.)

In the vain hope of wrangling yet another trip on our way home from the last one, I always leave a little bag of essentials tucked into my drawer. I like to think of them as emergency travel ninja supplies that I could pick up at a moments notice - and it's the first stash of things that go into my suitcase.

Well, actually, this was going to be 10 travel essentials list, because as a spectacle wearer since the age of 11 - long before fashion made wearing spectacles respectable, even cool - I would always have to tuck my glasses case and a large stash of contact lenses for special occasions and emergencies into our suitcases. However, Vision Direct approached me to share their international contact lens delivery service (taking only 2-3 days delivery to most parts of Europe) that is going to be a game changer for our holidays. We will be much less stressed about accidentally knocking our glasses off the bedside table and having to wander around beautiful places squinting in annoyance because everything is blurry...

My carry-on essentials that I can't enjoy travelling without are:

4 July 2016

15 of the best London Brunches for under £15

It is well-document that Kiwis are a little obsessed with a crazy little thing called Brunch. Some might almost accuse us of an almost cultish obsession with the luxury, inbetween meal worshipped mainly on the weekends. I get teased at work for a seemingly never-ending string of weekend blates, almost somehow managed to triple book myself in recently and simply revel in the meal where eggs, cocktails, burgers, dessert and well poured Flat Whites share the same altar table.

15 of the best London Brunches for under £15 Adventures of a London Kiwi

When I say £15, I'm usually thinking my classic favorite combination of a plate of eggs benedict and a good coffee - more than just a pastry and a caffeine hit. Occasionally I stray from the path of week day salvation, but attempt to wrangle at least one a week, even if it's a carefully curated plate of bacon sandwiches (I'll have mine on untoasted bread with ketchup. Heaven.)

1 July 2016

Home, and a few expat musings. July Travel Linkup...

We searched through a long abandoned cupboard shelf the other day, and discovered a plethora of forgotten things. A Union Jack paper lantern that we had bought to take on a picnic (it was an optimistic purchase even when we first saw it), a leather passport holder still in the embossed box (shortly after buying it, in a tiny New Zealand shop I found covers that actually looked like my pretty passport) and a box full of art supplies that I had enthusiastically purchased intending to brighten the world one randomly sent homemade card at a time (properly nice, non-froufrou ones FYI).

And it got me thinking about home.