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


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.

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.