25 April 2017

ANZAC Day, Lest We Forget.

Pre-dawn on the 25th April, families gather around the world. Quietly they huddle in their jackets, their antipodean accents muffled by the chilly air.



Slowly in the darkness the crowd begins to thicken, take shape, many around weatherworn memorials thousands of miles away from their birthplaces.

22 April 2017

Aqua Shard: Brunching in London clouds

The Shard and I have a tempestuous on again, off again relationship. On our first rendezvous this bastion of the London skyline was moody and somewhat icy, our second dalliance was a touch more blue sky and secretive (an unbloggable lunch at the Shangri-La), and the third a cheeky twilight drink - but on this particular date, we managed to enjoy an early brunch cementing our liaison as an everlasting London romance.

Aqua Shard Brunching In London Clouds Adventures of a London Kiwi
 Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Aqua Shard but my (very many) thoughts are only ever mine and more repeat visits on lovely days are going into my diary. Ps. Sister restaurant Aqua Kyoto has a bottomless brunch reader special until 28th May if you click this sushi treatise about our visit... (#notspon, just delectable)

After a flurry of activity organising a secret trip in honour of Aftab's birthday, 3 of the self-named Angles (sorry, random insider joke) gathered around a table with one of our American favourites (she is definitely not square, I promise) to breakfast and gaze over the London skyline full of anticipation for our incipient journey. Laden with weekend bags full of mischief and a train booked for 11am, early on the Sunday morning we checked in with the restaurant front staff (who didn't even blink an eye at how much clothing we had packed) and took our seats over the London city skyline.

18 April 2017

Claiming my travel dreams

As a typical millennial - in fact even worse, one from the antipodean shores of New Zealand - we've been taught by our baby boomer parents that everything we dream is possible. But then why shouldn't we have careers that span our passions? Why shouldn't we aspire to be the best people we can be and live the lives that we dream about?


But, there is a catch. There always is. You have to be willing to work for it and hope that you get a couple of lucky breaks along the way.

13 April 2017

Cornwall roadtripping: our favourite places to explore

Both my friend and I had eyed up the beautiful scenery, cozy thatched cottages and wild beaches of the Cornish coast often enough to each have a wishlist of places to explore, so on our long weekend we tried to fit in as many places as we could.

Result? The best road trip we could have hoped for, complete with excellent tunes, copious snacks and occasionally crazy weather conditions. Full of pirates and smugglers, intriguing history, rampant gardens, cream teas where we discussed the big questions (cream then jam, or jam then cream, obv) and weather conditions that changed by the minute from hail to beaming sunshine.

Road trip itinerary Cornwall Adventures of a London Kiwi
Road trip itinerary Cornwall Adventures of a London Kiwi
Important disclaimer: I've only visited Cornwall the once so I can't ever call myself an expert, and ideally we needed an extra day to spend in St Ives properly, but these were the places we loved.

10 April 2017

10 of the best unique UK daytrips (when you've done all the usual ones)

We've all been there. The chat around the office water cooler is of exotic European jaunts, talk in the tea point is of tropical destinations and patter in the pub is all glamourous stays in luxurious hotels and spa pamper sessions. And there is nothing in your diary.

10 of the best unique UK daytrips Adventures of a London Kiwi


It's bank holiday season again.

7 April 2017

Legging it to Land's End, Cornwall

According to ancient Maori mythology at the northernmost tip of New Zealand - Cape Reinga - the spirits of the dead travel on their journey to the afterlife to leap off the headland, and climb the roots of the 800-year-old pohutukawa tree and descend to the underworld to return to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki, using the Te Ara Wairua, the 'Spirits' pathway'.

Land's End What to do in Cornwall Adventures of a London Kiwi

In true British style, Land's End (or in Cornish: Penn an Wlas or Pedn an Wlas) is a headland and holiday complex near Penzance where tourists flock to witness the Western most point of the UK and enjoy a cream tea.

4 April 2017

The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall: A sumptuous seaside spa stay

We arrived just as the sky turned ink blue over gentle waves. Stopping the car in the middle of the deserted road we rolled down the window and simply swooned at our cliff top view. Below us the beach stretched out, softly hugging the foam crests of the incoming tide. (And then we instagrammed because you can take the bloggers out of London...)

Luxury Hotel Cornwall The Scarlet Newquay Adventures of a London Kiwi
Luxury Hotel Cornwall The Scarlet Newquay Adventures of a London Kiwi
 Disclaimer: We were very relaxed guests of The Scarlet Hotel but all of our blissful enjoyment and thoughts were very much our own...

We navigated the curving road around, heading further and further away from the surfing epicentre of Newquay and with one last hairpin bend worthy of Top Gear slow motion panorama, we found our home for the evening. Snugged into the cliffs, the Scarlett Hotel is a peaceful retreat, hiding away from the clanging updates of the world.

31 March 2017

Cornwall Roadtripping: St Michael's Mount #travellinkup

inspiration

ɪnspɪˈreɪʃ(ə)n/

Middle English (in the sense ‘divine guidance’):
via Old French from late Latin inspiratio(n-), from the verb inspirare
 
1.The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
2. A sudden brilliant or timely idea.
3. The drawing in of breath; inhalation.

St Michael's Mount Cornwall RoadTrip Adventures of a London Kiwi

Our recent long weekend in Cornwall provided all three of these definitions of inspiration - quite literally. A small but mighty peninsula to the southwest of England, Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon over the River Tamar, Cornwall has human history dating back to the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.

28 March 2017

Egerton Hotel: A pawfectly luxurious doggie afternoon tea.

My cutest afternoon tea date (ever) arrived at our Egerton Hotel rendezvous wearing a blue bow tie and his salt & pepper hair suavely combed - just right for a Kensington afternoon tea. 

Luxury Afternoon Tea Egerton Hotel Kensington Adventures of a London Kiwi

Paws down, this is the cutest afternoon tea I've ever done. Ever. And I shan't be apologising for the litany of puns about to litter this post. #Sorrynotsorry

25 March 2017

Staying at the Old Vicarage, a luxury guesthouse in Cornwall

When an intriguing proposition to review the Old Vicarage near Truro landed in my email inbox, I knew that it was all the excuse I needed to book in a long weekend and breathe in the fresh air of Cornwall, somewhere I've been meaning to explore forever.

Where to stay Cornwall The Old Vicarage St Clements Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were excited guests of Jon and Marilyn at the Old Vicarage and eviivo
but all of our enthusiasms are very much our own...

From London we plotted a 4-day weekend beginning with two nights at the Old Vicarage, around 2 miles from the Cathedral City of Truro in the small but lovely hamlet of St Clements. The six bedroom luxury guesthouse dates back to the 1500s and is a literal stone’s throw from the banks of the beautiful Tresillian River.

20 March 2017

Pocahontas and her connection with Gravesend, Kent

Sometimes I feel that this country isn't real, that Britain is actually a storybook tome, disguised with trees and chimneys to fool the reader into thinking that we are living on a rock. In actuality perhaps if we prodded it a little bit harder and peered a little bit closer that we would see the seams between worlds. (That got a little bit Matrix in style, sorry!)

Pocahontas Gravesend Kent Unique England Adventures of a London Kiwi

But seriously, it sometimes seems as if each corner has a knight on pure white steed about to charge (Temple Church), damsels defending their land (Queen Boudicea in Epping Forest), incredible feats of daring (Bletchley Park) or wizards ready to enspell the world (Stonehenge) and the tales are such a rich tapestry of fascination - especially for an expat like myself.

18 March 2017

Finding the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

Playing with loaded weather dice, also known as booking a UK mini-break in early March, my favourite Australian and I left London behind for a long Cornwall weekend roadtripping through the old haunts of Pirates and smugglers.

 The Lost Gardens of Heligan Cornwall Adventures of a London Kiwi
The Lost Gardens of Heligan Cornwall Adventures of a London Kiwi

We had both eyed up the beautiful scenery, cozy thatched cottages and wild beaches of the Cornish coast often enough to each have a wishlist - and at the top of mine was visiting amazing sculpture of a sleeping goddess entitled ‘Mud Maid’, nestled amongst the boughs of The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

15 March 2017

11 Cadogan Gardens Restaurant - an elegant St Patrick's Day celebration

Leprechauns, or so the Irish faerie stories go, are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.

Taking a meander through the vibrant (some might stretch the metaphor to say, a rainbow) mews of Chelsea, I definitely know what I would spend my wishes on should I ever find the end of the rainbow, especially this week in the lead up to St Patrick's Day.

 11 Cadogan Gardens Restaurant - an elegant St Patrick's Day celebration
 Disclaimer: We were invited but my (very many) opines are only ever my own.

One would be another evening spent in the company of Madam Kings Road Rocks. One would be for World Peace. And one would be a repeat of the iontach (Irish for wonderful) meal that we enjoyed recently as dining guests of the stunning 11 Cadogan Hotel.

13 March 2017

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races

When I'm an old* lady**, I want to look back on a life that looks like a patchwork quilt, embroidered with tales of adventure, contrasted with silver stitches of quiet reflective moment and panels of laughter. I want to explore stories, live in escapades and make my own kind of history. And, when I'm an old lady, I want to be able to say that I lived life to the utmost in my own unique way*** free from competing with the Jones' and full of contentment.

Secret London Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races Adventures of a London Kiwi
Secret London Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races Adventures of a London Kiwi
(For the best resolution of the images, click them to open the slideshow.)

So it is with great pleasure that I finally, finally, finally made it to the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races accompanied by the gorgeous Annie of MontgomeryFest fame - the taco-adoring Southern belle who helped us plan our Louisiana roadtrip escapades making it our best holiday ever. With her and her husband having moved over to London from Louisiana (via Brussels and San Francisco), I wanted to share with her some of my London, that crazy traditional history side that keeps the magic of my adoptive city alive (and if you don't agree you are a muggle, fact.)

11 March 2017

A luxury staycation at the elegant Langham Hotel

To say we were ready for our Langham Hotel staycation was an understatement. As you get older, everyone says that time simply gets faster and faster, and Christmas simply seemed like a blink of an eye ago. Luckily enough we had a magical 24 hours inked into the diary based in this bastion of timeless London elegance.

Luxury Hotel Stay Langham Hotel Marylebone Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the beautiful Langham Hotel but my (very many) opines on feather bolsters and rolltop baths are only ever my own.

On a grey, Sunday day we began with the farmhouse brunch in the Roux at the Landau, as all good everythings do (I was going to say weekends, but who would I be kidding?) before we gave in to the temptation of whisking our bags up to the plush comfort of our junior suite.

9 March 2017

A letter to my 18-year-old self.

I did a straw poll (read: asked a couple of friends over a glass of wine) and asked them what they would tell their 18-year-old self. Most people I asked generally answered ranging from finish your qualifications to moisturize generously.


Honestly, I know that hindsight is 20/20, but I wouldn’t change much at all about my journey so far. Ok, there are a few situations that were completely out of my control and I would change them for all of the money in the world, but I can’t.

6 March 2017

Roux at the Landau, Langham Hotel - a luxury brunch.

Recently I've been dreaming of our honeymoon in the South of France. I think I can firmly blame my friends who have been planning their post-wedding dream holidays, jetting off on their own honeymoons and starting their families (join the thought dots for that one.)

We spent 10 days sampling the markets that French gourmets take for granted and inside the 150+ year old Victorian bastion of British luxury that is the Langham hotel, the opulent flavours of the Farmhouse Brunch served in the Roux at the Landau evoked our honeymoon all over again.

Luxury Brunch Roux at the Landau Langham Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi
Luxury Brunch Roux at the Landau Langham Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Roux at the Landau, Langham Hotel but my (very many) opines on eggs benedict and champagne are only ever my own.

Instead, a hashtag of bloggers settled in for a balmy Sunday in the shadow of the iconic BBC building, to enjoy an elegant weekend meal in the magnificent Langham Hotel. (Well, I actually spent 24 blissful hours there, but more on that another day.)

4 March 2017

The best US road trip EVER - Texas and Louisiana


Where do you even start with a road trip through Texas and Louisiana like ours? 

15 days, 2 US states, 3 cities, 800 miles of driving + 1 internal flight, a serious amount of Texan Bar-B-Que, 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 usually like to make a single central base), a goat called Max, lasso lessons, 80s TV shows and as much Iced Tea as we could get away with.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

People keep asking why we chose Texas and Louisiana for a roadtrip, and it’s mostly down to fascination and the amazing live music scene in both Austin and New Orleans. There are big festivals in Austin, but not knowing the bands we decided that a trip outside the chaos of tourists flocking there would be the most fun - intentionally out of hurricane season - so we booked our direct return flights to Austin and began planning.

1 March 2017

Harewood House, West Yorkshire - March Travel Linkup

Many moons ago, I tripped Up North to spend a weekend with my favourite purple-hued American and her sweet boy (look, not all my friends are bloggers but the best ones definitely are or were, there's something about scribing on the internet that makes for interesting people) and feeding our dual-obsession for all things English history, we packed the car for a road trip to one of her favorite spots.

Before you roll your eyes and click off yet another post about a gorgeous stately home that features heavily in dream home pinterest boards, let me just say: Humbolt penguins, a man carrying a lion on his shoulder, flamingos and pygmy goats.

Harewood House, West Yorkshire - March Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi
Harewood House, West Yorkshire - March Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi
(Psssst scroll to the bottom of the post for the travel linkup widget!)

There we go. That got your attention didn't it?

26 February 2017

Becoming a Cowboy at the Beaumont Ranch, Northern Texas

Do you ever find yourself having a literal 'pinch me' moment? At the end of our fortnight we hit the tarmac, rolling out of the gleaming Dallas city centre - on our way back to Austin to sadly fly home - we headed for one last adventure to round out our Southern America roadtrip.

We cruised along the long, smooth highways tucked in behind a semi-truck or two (how I preferred to drive whilst in the States that is slowly and smoothly) along dusty highway shoulders that definitely had a tumbleweed or two for decoration.

Where to stay in Texas Beaumont Ranch Road Trip Adventures of a London Kiwi
Where to stay in Texas Beaumont Ranch Road Trip Adventures of a London Kiwi


The longer that I've been blogging, the better that I think our travelling choices are getting - and the more fun that the researching that we do becomes. However, this revelation flew quite out of the window when totally by chance I discovered that it's actually possible to stay on a working Texan Ranch as a tourist and set about booking us into an accommodation experience, rather than just another beige hotel.

23 February 2017

Bottomless brunching at Aqua Kyoto

Every monumental expedition should be celebrated with a victory feast.

Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay as they summited the jagged peaks of Mount Everest, Susanoo-no-Mikoto (the Shinto god of the sea and storms) defeating the eight-headed dragon Yamata no Orochi, and, er, me conquering the shoeaholic shopping crowds that crest the busy shops in Oxford Circus and Regents Street - we all had reason for jubilation and a touch of bacchanal merrymaking.

Aqua Kyoto Luxury Sushi Bottomless Brunch Adventures of a London Kiwi Aqua Kyoto Luxury Sushi Bottomless Brunch Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Aqua Kyoto but my (very many) thoughts are only ever mine and my repeat visits, I mean victory feasts attest to simply how much I enjoy their cuisine. 
Ps. there is a reader special if you make it all the way through this sushi treatise...

But, I wasn't alone. Luckily, after an epic Saturday journey battling through the rising tide of jubilant shopaholics, a resplendent crew of brave* bloggers gathered high above the famous fashion draped crevasse** of Londonium, metaphorical swords pens at the ready.

21 February 2017

Quirky London - the BallieBallerson Adult Ballpit in Dalston

How would you react when someone sends you an excited message about a bar in East London that has 250,000 clear balls, 10,000 coloured lights, not to mention ice, fire & helium cocktails? Well, luckily for me, my gorgeous (and slightly insane) partner-in-mischief Sam, simply answered 'Yes yes yes'.

Quirky London Adult Ballpit BallieBallerson Dalston Adventures of a London Kiwi (1)
Warning: Contains bright neon colours and slightly burry photos...
 
So, on a recent Thursday evening we shook off our old lady personas (ok, my old lady persona and her normal outlook on life) and we found ourselves in the very trendy East London suburb of Dalston.

18 February 2017

US Roadtrip Diary: A serving of Dallas glamour and cowboys

It really is true. Everything is bigger in Texas, from people’s hair to their pickup trucks.

Dallas Glamour Texas Road Trip Adventures of a London Kiwi

If we're being totally honest we made our way across the northern section of the Louisiana/Texas border intent on uncovering a slice of JR Ewing's family home city - for you younguns, Dallas was an 80's TV show that even I was too young to watch, charting the wheelings and dirty dealings of a mega rich oil family in the world's first uber soap.

15 February 2017

7 Ways To Love Yourself

In the (slightly misconstrued) words of the Beiber, baby, you should go and love yourself. Valentine's Day is all about appreciating our nearest and dearest, but sometimes we forget that a little bit of personal TLC time is good for the soul too (and if you're feeling kind, invite your Valentine along with you).

7 Ways To Love Yourself Adventures of a London Kiwi


It can also be quite difficult to achieve in our busy lives overwhelmed with distractions, demands and diverting notifications, but it is possible. Even for just 20 minutes. These are a few of my favourite things to chill out when life is getting stressy.

13 February 2017

A handful of unusual London foodie destinations

Do you ever find yourself in an out-of-the-ordinary corner of London, and hankering for bite to eat? How about when you have to run an unusual errand or meet up with a friend halfway between your place and theirs?

Trafalgar Hotel's Vista Bar Adventures of a London Kiwi
Kurobuta Japanese Cuisine Adventures of a London Kiwi
Nb: Post contains a couple of blogger invites**/discounts##.

Or even, when your friends have left it up to you as the 'foodie' to pick a venue for dinner in an awkward part of town not known for gourmet credentials? That's when restaurant selection can run a little bit creative and come up some unusual discoveries. (Pssssssst. To jump on the thematic bandwagon, these would make great surprise Valentine's Day spots with partners, friends or family.)

11 February 2017

US Roadtrip Diary: Our Louisiana Plantation Stay

Leaving behind the zooming traffic of the motorway, we turned from the busy I-110 to a gently curving US Highway 61 shouldered by dark trees and the occasional Mom and Pop business. The late afternoon sun broke over the horizon and our SatNav announced that were almost at our destination, the Butler and Greenwood Plantation.

Having followed the Mississippi River upstate from New Orleans slightly past the historic town of St. Francisville, we steered Bonnie along the curving driveway arcaded with Spanish Moss draped Live Oak trees, parting to reveal the kind of house that only seems to appear on movies. A deep wraparound porch hugged the timber frame and the late afternoon sunshine dappled the lawn.

Where to stay Louisiana Roadtrip Plantation B&B Adventures of a London Kiwi
Where to stay Louisiana Roadtrip Plantation B&B Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were excited guests of the Butler and Greenwood Plantation but all of my enthusiasms are very much my own...

We were greeted by two of the real owners (a tabby and a grey cat respectively) before the porch screen opened and our friendly host for the evening peeped out. Welcoming our grateful selves to sink into her verandah sofa, Anne Butler gave us a map of the St. Franvisville area alongside a few recommendations before telling us a short history of her beautiful family home passed through the generations, before arriving at the current iteration of B&B cabins in the grounds.

9 February 2017

7 Ultimate Long-haul Flight Hacks For Comfort

I wouldn't call myself an expert, but having flown 3 return flights to New Zealand in the space of 12 months one year, you could say I've learnt a long-haul thing or two. For each of those trips I spent over 50 hours hurtling through the clouds, cruising through 4 hemispheres, over several continents and hours staring at a screen roughly 8 inches in diameter.

7 Ultimate Long-haul Flight Hacks For Comfort

But, it was totally worth it for the smiles at the end of each journey. 

6 February 2017

Chiswick House Chinese Lantern Festival - a magical mystery tour down the Silk Road

Something all of the long-term expat guidebooks don't tell you, is how one of the problems living in London is how simply much there is to do. Literally every night presents a cornucopia of options - shiny new restaurants to eat in, recently launched clubs to try out, established theatre performances to re-watch and the wonderfully terrible problem of decided whether to go back to an old favourite or try something untried. How do you pick what to do in London?

Hello FOMO my old friend.

Chiswick House Chinese Lantern Festival Adventures of a London Kiwi

On any given weeknight - let alone the offerings on the weekend - it's possible to spend a night at the opera, partake in a variety of art exhibitions, wander through museums, chortle in comedy clubs, pop to the cinema or sing along to a musical. It can be so overwelming that you miss things out due to sheer choice.

4 February 2017

US Roadtrip Diary: Louisiana Plantation Exploring

With heavy hearts we watched New Orleans disappear from the rear view mirror (well, ok, I kept an eye on the road with glances every so often Dad) and we began our roadtrip in earnest. With a car full of snacks, a few tunes on the radio and the satnav set to ‘wander’ we headed north along the 'Ole Miss' River.

After a few hedonistic (and rain-soaked) days in New Orleans soaking up the Jazz (not to mention beignet accompanied Hickory coffee) and gator spotting, we were ready to explore a little more history.

Oak Alley Plantation Louisiana Roadtrip US History Adventures of a London Kiwi

Whenever you decide on a a new destination to visit, there are always preconceived notions that float through your mind. Power suited business people striding through Manhattan, the striking, scretive  peak of Mount Fuji, bowler hatted civil servants drinking pints in London, the cream hued stone of Paris and the golden minarets of the Middle East.

1 February 2017

5 of my most hilarious travel bloopers - February Travel Linkup

Our blogs often share the glossy end of the travel experience - our favourite photos, moments and of course, only ever the best scenic views accompanied with a dewy glass of wine. But how about those times that everything isn't quite so peachy?

 Hilarious Bloopers Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

On our wedding day(s) we laughed at the stuff that went wrong, knowing that we'd look back fondly at the silly things that slipped out of our control, and only last year we went out for a civilized brunch and ended up traipsing for nearly an hour through a muddy bog, before emerging onto the edges of a luxury golf course looking guilty. I suppose this is where the 'adventures' part of my blog name comes to the fore - and of course that little narrating voice in my head perks immediately up, preparing the story to come.

30 January 2017

Rowley's Steak Restaurant Review, St James

A decade ago, almost to the day of publishing this post, Mr Kiwi and I met on our first official date. Having spent a couple of months in each others company but with the expanse of a bar top separating us and crowds of fellow office revelers, we decided that a more intimate evening where we could properly get to know each other was required.

Whisking me to Picadilly Circus where my expat heart was set a-flutter (by those iconic lights) we stood near the Eros Statue (to get a picture of said iconic lights, nothing more risque), he escorted me to a charming restaurant where the lights were romantically low and the tables are perfect for an nice date.

Rowley's Steak Restaurant Review, St James Adventures of a London Kiwi

And I panicked.

28 January 2017

A Louisiana bayou swamp tour - our incredible experience.

"C'Mon Gators! COME AND EAT US" screams our captain as he lobs chunks of meat over the side of the boat.

Mr Kiwi and I swap uneasy looks with each other, both wondering if going on a swamp tour was such a brilliant idea after all. Miles from New Orleans we were floating on a glorified tin can, surrounded by rusting steel structures wrapped in mangroves and very little else as far as the eye could see.

Cajun Swamp Tours New Orleans Bayou Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

We wait a just a little bit longer in apprehensive silence*. The smooth surface ripples, two prehistoric eyes appear before an elongated snout rises out of the murky waters. His** jagged back sways through the water as he gets closer and closer to eating us, sorry, start nibbling on the scraps of treats our captain threw in the water.

26 January 2017

Hello, it's me. That @londonkiwiemma lady.

Hello there, Kia Ora! Thank you for visiting Adventures of a London Kiwi, and welcome. Grab a cup of tea or a flat white (depending on your country of origin), sit yourself down, and settle back. It felt like time for a mini-refresh whilst the world is changing and with an influx of new readers in the last few months, a reminder chat about the things that fire my writing passions seemed apt. New Year, New Me, right? More like New Year, Same Old Me With A Slightly Worse Rambling Habit, but what can you do.

Hi. Lovely to e-hang with you. *awkward half hug and air-kiss on each cheek*

Travel and Food Blog Adventures of a London Kiwi

My name is Emma (aka London Kiwi Emma as I seem to have become known), and this is my personal travel experience and culinary adventures blog where I share my escapades as a long term expat, living in one of my favourite cities in the world. Though you probably won't tell from my developing English accent, I originate from New Zealand, also known as Aoteoroa, hobbitland or Land of the Long White Cloud. Us New Zealanders are known around the globe as 'Kiwis'; not necessarily the small furry brown fruit, but named after a small flightless bird who lives in our forests.

23 January 2017

Why my heart has shattered in 2017 #womensmarch

As a rule, I don't get political on my little blog. It has always been intended as a religion and political neutral zone that I can share what makes my soul happy. A little travel here, touching on a bit of history and a few tasty dishes there - some of the lighter things in life as a refuge for when the times get tough, hoping to make someone smile.

That's not to say I don't have opinions. I do.

President Trump Womens March 2017 Adventures of a London Kiwi

The American people and the US electoral college have officially appointed Donald Trump. It was almost impossible to miss the 45th US President's inauguration ceremony which has sparked international uproar. In response, 57 countries held Women's Marches this weekend as a reaction to the appointment and to defend the rights of the people it affects. From Washington DC all the way to Antarctica, an estimated 2.5 million men, women and children peacefully marched for every generation that could be affected by this change.

21 January 2017

23 of the best places to go in New Orleans

Please excuse the somewhat clickbait style post title, but I was at a bit of a loss how to describe our time in this magical Louisiana city. The home of Jazz is heavy with music spilling from each corner, the buildings are redolent with French-style balcony railings perfect for people watching and Mardi Gras beads literally hang from the Jackson Square trees year round. Creole and cajun spices imbue meals with history, a melting pot of cultures mingle in amongst music notes that hover in the air and everyone we've ever known to visit talks about the city their eyes light up remembering the joie di vivre.

Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

We wanted to love New Orleans. And we most certainly did. We adored our side trips (blatting on a boat through the Bayou to track down the coal-black eyes of alligators and a walk through the history of two quintessential Louisiana Plantations) but the city well and truly stole our wanderlusting hearts. With only 3 full days to spend in the city (2 full and 2 half to be utterly precise) we tried to fit in as much as we could, all the whilst dodging the rain drops that followed us over from Austin. After a 2-month drought.

18 January 2017

A Texan brunch at The Big Easy, Canary Wharf

Reliving our roadtrip through a couple of American Gulf Coast States lately had me Hank Marvin for a taste of the Southern hospitality that we enjoyed in each leg of our holiday. Scheduling in a touch of more refined culture afterwards (learning about Lady Emma Hamilton at the National Maritime Museum) the one and only Claire and I tee'd up a post-New Year catchup over cocktails and and a helping of Bar-B-Q.

American Bar-B-Q Brunch Big Easy Canary Wharf Adventures of a London Kiwi
American Bar-B-Q Brunch Big Easy Canary Wharf Adventures of a London Kiwi

Life is all about balance after all.

16 January 2017

Visiting the National Maritime Museum: The Emma, Lady Hamilton - Seduction and Celebrity Exhibition

She was the Kim Kardashian of the early 18th Century. No, actually, Kim K wishes she was half the person that Emma, Lady Hamilton became. Rising from a penny-scraping existence on the wrong side of the law, she won the heart of national hero Lord Nelson (that's where the allegory doesn't quite match), became friends with Marie Antoinette, developed from a household chattel to a titled Lady, was a household celebrity mauled in the press, saved a Royal Family from danger, was a muse to artist George Romney and sadly died in penury despite her perceived services to the realm.

Maritime Museum Greenwich Emma Hamilton Exhibition Seduction and Celebrity Adventures of a London Kiwi
Maritime Museum Greenwich Emma Hamilton Exhibition Seduction and Celebrity Adventures of a London Kiwi

I've long been fascinated by this historical character whom I (and about 15 people in my high school at any one time) shared a name with. After reading most of the books published about Emma Hamilton, when I heard that the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich were running an exhibition, I did a typical Londoner thing and made a mental note before forgetting entirely about visiting. Luckily, Twitter came to the rescue, and when the museum ran a special whereby Emma's could visit the exhibit for free one weekend I managed to lure the lovely Claire into a spot of brunch and a wander through history.

14 January 2017

The Whitney Hotel, New Orleans - Luxury hotel review

New Orleans. Home of Jazz, revelry, voodoo, beignets and hickory coffee - quite simply the stuff of travel legend. Smooth on the surface, 'Nawlins' is a historic city reaching back into the turbulent past of the deep South and the more recent devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina (still on the lips of the locals) and further natural disasters, if you delve a little closer New Orleans wears her scars alongside the celebration of Mardi Gras beads.

The Whitney Hotel Review Four Star Luxury New Orleans Adventures of a London Kiwi

When we were researching from the comfort of our London couch, we were hesitant about booking a hotel that we would be exploring from. Not so young anymore, we didn't fancy staying in the tipsy tourist-filled French Quarter but equally we couldn't bear to be too far away from the fun.