19 November 2017

Spying Seal Pups at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

It's a direct result of not being from this country, but I really love it with all of my wanderlusting heart. Sometimes I also hate it - which is part and parcel of a long-term relationship - sometimes misunderstanding of the culture and other times frustrations that you would get living absolutely any where rear their head. That's the joy and challenge of expat life in a nutshell - even for a long-termer like myself.

Seal Colony Donna Nook Grimsby Lincolnshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

It's funny though, it means that I view the country with travel spectacles. A case in point? I was watching a documentary a couple of months ago that highlighted a seal colony that migrates to a certain cove once a year to have their babies in safety, away from predators of the ocean. To my husband, Donna Nook is a RAF base. To me, it's a seal slumber party spot.

16 November 2017

My Ultimate List of Desserts in London

We all joke about bloggers having separate dessert stomachs - it's a necessary job prerequisite - but as I sat here thinking about my next blog post, I realised that a) we didn't have any dessert in the cupboards without getting my baking tins out,  b) I had a space in the blog calendar and c) I'd never actually thought about which of the London puddings have been my favourite.

These are the ones that we've gone back time and time again for - occasionally popping in late in the evening just for a sweet bite or planning a whole evening around that crowning pastry.

The best desserts in London Adventures of a London Kiwi

The most unfortunate side effect of writing this post is the realisation that it doesn't change the state of my cupboards....

13 November 2017

Gambolling Through Ghent; A Wanderers Guide.

As a day trip from Brussels (only a half hour train),  I've found that either many people haven't heard of Ghent, preferring to explore the chocolate box streets of Bruges, or they adore Ghent so much that when a blogger (me) visits, they spam them via instastories with recollections of days spent there and memories made. True story.

Things to do in Ghent Belgium on a city break Adventures of a London Kiwi .
Disclaimer: I was a press guest of VisitFlanders in Ghent
but all planning, mischief and thoughts are all mine.

We fell into the former camp on our trip to Brussels and explored Bruges, but genuinely regretted only being able to fit one city in, vowing to return one day.

11 November 2017

A Salisbury City Break: Exploring the UK in a Meandering Manner

A medieval cathedral city in the southern English county of Wiltshire, 9 miles south of the iconic prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge. The city’s ornate 13th-century cathedral has a 123m spire, a working 14th-century clock and an original copy of the Magna Carta (the Great Charter), a key document from 1215 A.D. And Fudgehenge (keep reading, it'll become clear.).

Things to do in Salisbury on a city break weekend Adventures of a London Kiwi


9 November 2017

A Two Michelin Star Lunch: Hélène Darroze at The Connaught Hotel, Mayfair

Approaching birthdays seem to strike terror into the hearts of many people that I know - for a huge variety of reasons - but I've always just seen it as an excuse to hang out with the people that I love and as a reminder that life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Last year I celebrated a milestone birthday, and managed to eke it out to 6 weeks of celebrations (which is ludicrous, I know - but we had to wait for Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to finish their renovations. Honestly, Heston, really did you have to make us wait so long?) so this year as it wasn't a milestone, I managed to tamp things down to around a week - which I think is totally reasonable in the scheme of things.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught Hotel Mayfair Michelin Starred Adventures of a London Kiwi

Booking in a few lunches and dinners with a load of good people who helped me to celebrate, first up was a leisurely (ahem, four hour) lunch with Shikha (Why Waste Annual Leave) and Connie (Connie Consumes) at the luscious Connaught Hotel.

6 November 2017

An Iconic Luxury Hotel Review: Raffles, Singapore

A raffia fan slowly spun as motes fell through the heavy sunshine. Seated in the gorgeous foyer, I was welcomed to the Raffles Hotel first by the immaculately liveried Sikh doorman and then checked in smoothly with a Singapore Sling in hand.

Raffles Luxury Hotel Review Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi
Raffles Luxury Hotel Review Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: As a guest of Raffles Hotel I paid a press rate for my suite,
but my swooning prose is very much original and unaffected.

After sitting for less than 5 minutes, she ushered me through the marble corridors to my very own suite, and welcomed by Li, my personal butler for the duration of my stay. She smiled from ear to ear,  welcoming me effusively to her home of Singapore.

4 November 2017

The Bulford Kiwi - a 130m tall piece of Graffiti near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

High above the Salisbury Plains one of the biggest pieces of New Zealand graffiti in the world overlooks an army base. (It's to the left, out of shot.)

Bulford Kiwi Salisbury Wiltshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

Forget the Westbury White Horse in Oxfordshire or the Cerne Abbas Giant over Dorset both cut into the hillsides by the Celts (possibly dating back to 500BC) as pagan worship to their gods; a giant Kiwi was dug into the rolling hills above Bulford Army base just after World War One and attracts curious locals and crazy visitors to this day.

1 November 2017

Magical Train Journeys Around the World - A Few Of My Favourites.

It may be a cliche, but sometimes the journey can be just as astonishing as the destination.

Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

I love catching trains. The ease, the ability to wander around whilst speeding through the countryside, the sweeping corners, the friendly people dispensing hot tea, staring out the windows for hours as the world chugs past, generous luggage allowances and the whistling engineers with grease smudges in their eye and rosy cheeks.

30 October 2017

Where to eat and drink in Chelsea - 10 of my favourite places

Chelsea began life as a Saxon village some miles from the thriving town of London (the name derives from Saxon words cealc hythe, the word hythe meaning a landing place for boats) and has long been a sought-after area. So sought after that in 1536 Henry VIII built a manor house in Chelsea but it was demolished in 1760.

10 of my favourite spots to eat and drink in Chelsea Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: Any of these that I was a press guest at some point are indicated with a * in the title. 
As ever I review as if I had paid for them and only share the ones that I have loved, 
(too) often returning on my own dime.

Fast-forwarding to modern times, much hasn't changed in Chelsea. The beautiful stone and brick buildings that could tell juicy enough tales to make your hair curl, the roads which still occasionally host horse & carriage and there is a delightful selection of places to spend a few hours with friends; to eat drink and be merry.

26 October 2017

Beneath The Colour: The Hyatt Regency Hotel Marylebone

The pianist started to softly play a familiar tune. My friend Kate turns to us, and exlaims 'oooooh, it's someone's birthday!' Guiltly exchanging glances as the waitress got closer and closer - birthday cake crowned with merrily dancing candles in hand - my other friend and I tried to stifle giggles as realisation dawned on Kate that the cake was floating closer and closer to her, and that we had schemed a way to celebrate her birthday whether she liked it or not.

Beneath The Colour: The Hyatt Regency Hotel Marylebone | Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: This time were invited guests of the Hyatt Regency Hotel
but all previous visits, errant thoughts, and misuse of literary quotes are entirely my own.

This was in the Montagu Restaurant, the main restaurant of the Hyatt Regency hotel, our usual haunt for a ladies only monthly catch up. Not only a plush place to enjoy an evening, it was so conveniently located in Marylebone that we could all assemble easily, fresh from a long day in our offices. Now that we have all changed jobs, we don't meet quite as often, but every time I walk through the doors I think of those friends who made the long days bearable.

23 October 2017

9 Confessions of a Terrible Travel Blogger

We all present these glossy lives to the world; coffee cups presented to dewy sunrises, champagne in airport lounges, luxurious restaurants that cost more than they should and share the blue skies days of exploration. I'm as guilty as anyone.

But, what about behind those scenes? Those days where the wind is so strong you can't instastory for talking (I'm looking at you Cornwall), when travel mistakes happen (like in Vienna where I accidentally booked our trip a day short) or when everyone asks you what your next trip will be and you sheepishly have to answer 'er, not sure'.

21 October 2017

A luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

When I had planned a few days in Singapore, I knew there were only two hotels that I wanted to stay in. They couldn't be more different in almost every way, and both of them fascinated me.

A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi
A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

For my first night, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel called my name. The striking three tower edifice has 2,561 hotel rooms, a 120,000-square-metre (1,300,000 sq ft) convention-exhibition centre, the 74,000 m2 (800,000 sq ft) The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, "celebrity chef" restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world's largest atrium. Crazy, no?

19 October 2017

Date Night: Galvin At The Athenaeum Hotel

Do you prefer the hubbub of a busy restaurant or the slightly sleepier buffer hours around opening and closing times when you have the whole place practically to yourself?

It makes me feel kind old to admit this, but I really prefer an early evening repast; one where we are tucked around a corner that makes our meal a cosy, intimate evening - whether with the long-suffering Mr Kiwi or a group of friends who I haven't seen in ages.

At The Athenaeum Hotel Luxury Restaurant Adventures of a London Kiwi

Also, if I had to wait until 8/8.30pm for dinner (without strategic mealtime planning) hanger would undoubtedly kick in, and I can not be held responsible for the results.

16 October 2017

A Cup of Tea in Eastcote House Gardens

Flitting about London is a bona fide passion for me - I love any excuse to discover a new suburb,  turn a new corner or a unveil a new story, so a few weeks ago when I was meeting someone near Pinner - a suburb of North West London - instead of going into a S*******s or C***a, I quickly Googled for somewhere a little more interesting and discovered 'the Gardeners Cafe' at Eastcote House and Gardens.

A Tea or Coffee in Eastcote House Gardens Pinner Adventures of a London Kiwi

Eastcote House Gardens is a beautifully tranquil award-winning green space, with Grade II listed buildings, including a historic Walled Garden, wildflower meadows, a Topiary garden and a newly planted Jubilee Orchard, linked by a footbridge over the River Pinn to Long Meadow, an ancient water meadow.

14 October 2017

A Gathering Of Gastronomic Suggestions In Ghent.

Eating frites smothered in mayonnaise, nibbling fresh waffles under a mountain of freshly whipped cream and drinking glasses of beer outside in the sunshine is practically inviolable law when visiting Belgium. (In fact, if you look under a microscope at your Belgian passport stamp 'proost / à votre santé / prost' may or may not be etched under the flag.)

Enjoying their exquisite pralines is obviously the fourth law, but one I managed to fail miserably, thanks to a bag of Bolognaise flavoured crisps for lunch - but I did take some home to the UK, which totally counts, right?

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: I was a press guest of VisitFlanders in Ghent
and our dinners were complimentary but all thoughts are very much my own.

While we spent our long weekend exploring the medieval city of Ghent, we also uncovered a few local specialities and places to explore, quenching a quota of wanderlust. The city is small enough to feel cozy, but vibrant enough to feel fun and have something going on - a perfect long weekend break. With 97 Michelin-starred restaurants in Flanders, the quality of local cuisine is rather high - and these were my favourite tastes of the weekend.

11 October 2017

Modern Brunch : Percy and Founders in Fitzrovia

Jay Rayner doesn't like this place. He called it "an evolutionary dead end".

Modern Brunch Percy and Founders Fitzrovia Adventures of a London Kiwi

But, sometimes of a morning, you just don't want a fuss. I've been into Percy and Founders a few times - entirely intentionally and pre-planned - but this time we had fallen afoul of our booked restaurant not actually doing brunch and found ourselves a few streets away.

9 October 2017

English Traditions: Bell Ringing in Churches

One of the moments in my life that I'll never forget is hearing the Church bells pealing as Mr Kiwi and I took our first steps as a married couple.

Bell Ringing in English Churches Quirky Traditions in England Adventures of a London Kiwi

Our favourite song was playing, many of our favourite people around the world were smiling all around us and that bloke who had just vowed to stand beside me through thick, thin and endless photographs of doorways (that wasn't in the vows, it was implied) took my hand.

7 October 2017

Getting Lost in Ghent, Belgium

From my hotel window, I can hear the sliding scales of a bluesy jazz saxophonist, children softly singing a nursery rhyme and the occasional tinkle of coffee cups from a nearby cafe.

I should be parading around the town, hunting out all of the medieval gems with the keenness of a panther, but instead, as it's a Saturday morning, I've simply snuggled in further into the covers (more like a house cat in truth). There is a soft breeze floating through the ajar windows, I have a hot cup of tea cradled in my hand and no concrete plans for the morning.

What to do on a long weekend in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: I was a press guest of VisitFlanders in Ghent
but all planning, mischief and thoughts are entirely mine.

This is what I call a blissful city break.

5 October 2017

How To *Not* Explore Manchester {Warning May Contain Cats}

Most antipodeans come to the UK lured by quick, amazing jaunts to Europe, and can often miss some of the best cities in the British Isles. Goodness knows I was guilty of that for the first few 'temporary' years that I lived here - bar a week exploring Bath, Salisbury and a quick wander around Stonehenge.

Having been here so much longer, I have loved exploring more of the country - from ancient estate houses to walking through the hills hugging The Lake district.

What to do in Manchester Adventures of a London Kiwi

Unfortunately, we had never made quite it to Manchester despite having family living there, and um, I'm not sure that with Emily and I's visit there a little while ago that we've actually explored it properly still. I blame the cats.

3 October 2017

My Favourite London Coffee Shops To Work From

When I initially went freelance, I had intended to launch a mini-series on the blog, sharing the best cafes I was discovering. I love using the change of scene to ward off being stuck at home, and to make the most of not being tied to a desk - and I failed to journal it spectacularly.

My favourite London coffee shops to work from as a freelancer Adventures of a London Kiwi

Fortunately/unfortunately it's because I’ve been super busy that I haven’t put fingers to keyboard, so thought I’d put that right. All of these have been trialled several times - for quality testing purposes obviously and nothing to do with a raging coffee addiction...

30 September 2017

Travel Companions - the #TravelLinkup

Travelling with people often tests relationships. Exhaustion, delays, mistakes, lost luggage, scary situations and worst of all, very early mornings where you can’t find good coffee.

How to choose travel companions Adventures of a London Kiwi

But, when you find friends and loved ones that you can travel with, hold them close. Or just steal their passports so that their diaries are all yours. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to trial a few different levels of closeness; from travelling to America and sharing an apartment with a Kiwi lady we really didn’t know all that well, to turning up on the doorsteps of friends who have moved countries and abandoned me. You know who you are.

28 September 2017

9 Places To Explore In Greenwich

Greenwich. It is the home of time, possesses a myriad of historic royal ties and panoramic views of London. What more could you ask for in a borough?

What to do in Greenwich Adventures of a London Kiwi

I keep meaning to do these area round-ups as a series, but always seem to be distracted. So far I've managed to sneak in an ode to Marylebone, a gastronomic guide to Kings Cross and a literal meander through the mossy pathways of Richmond Park.

25 September 2017

A Pocketful of Porto Recommendations: Eating and Drinking

With the time we had in Porto, and a definite manifesto of nothing much with a side of custard tarts, we sampled as much of the local cuisine as we could. Especially as we were in the namesake city of my favourite fortified wine. Known as a hub for foodie travellers, for the most part we simply let local recommendations and google guide us, and in the process discovered a few lovely spots to settle into that didn't break the bank (in line with the challenge we were set).

Where to eat in Porto Portugal Adventures of a London Kiwi

Nb: when planning your days, everywhere we went was really lovely, but rather laid back - so don't expect London-style hustle - except in tourist haunts where they'll want to flip tables as soon as they can (but why would you want that?)

23 September 2017

Portugal: A Peaceful Long Weekend In Porto

One of the few regrets I had about my long weekend last year exploring Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais was not being able to fit a trip to Porto into the diary. I mean whilst you're in Portugal, you should be exploring as much as possible, right?

Or is that just being greedy?

What to do on a long weekend to Porto Portugal Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were press guests of Cheapflights in Oporto, but all planning, mischief 
and thoughts are totally mine (and to be fair, Rebecca's). 

Luckily enough, a few weeks ago I was set a challenge by Cheapflights to book a long weekend away in Porto for two adults for the princely sum of £550. Nope, not each, that's split between us. Keeping things easy, breezy and on the affordable side for a slice of sunshine, all for the cost of a night in a gorgeous luxury hotel, or pair of designer shoes, we spun out a lovely little break from London.

21 September 2017

How To Move To The Other Side Of The World: A Retrospective

I honestly can't pinpoint exactly when I actually decided to move 18,764 km away from the only home I'd ever known, all on my own.

I was the ripe old age of 19, and not really enjoying my architecture degree. My grades were pretty good, but I remember being frustrated at only learning from books and idealistically thinking 'how on earth am I supposed to create these amazing spaces if I've never actually experienced them?' 

18 September 2017

Dîner en Blanc: Somerset House, London 2017

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the mystique of Dîner en Blanc.

Dîner en Blanc: Somerset House, London 2017 Adventures of a London Kiwi

In a nutshell, Dîner en Blanc is a worldwide event spanning six continents, in which people flash-gather in a public space and set up a temporary, chic dining area. Guests from around the city meet in a variety of designated points, coming together all dressed in white to enjoy gourmet picnic food, wine and the rather magical atmosphere.

16 September 2017

Wandering Through Karangahake Gorge

All we could hear was the soft crunch of our shoes on the path gravel, the occasional click of a camera lens and birdsong echoing around the valley.

Things to do in New Zealand Karangahake Gorge Adventures of a London Kiwi

We made our way up the gradual rise of old mine tracks, with an occasional flurry up a flight of sturdy steps. Stopping every so often to grouch at our cameras, and then crouching to read the information boards posted in front of moss covered mining equipment, we simply followed the path.

14 September 2017

Ladies Who Lunch: Bronte Restaurant on the Strand

"The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, Whose charms were broken if revealed."

Wrong Bronte in this particular instance, but we know that as soon as we walked through the blossom draped archway entrance to Bronte on the Strand, that our Instagram timeline hearts would be getting a thorough exercise.

Bronte Restaurant The Strand For Ladies Who Lunch Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Bronte
but all thoughts and misuse of literary quotes are entirely my own.

The splendiferous Angie and I met for a leisurely ladies lunch - one of the best things about being a freelancer is the ability to move my hours to suit my social diary. Bronte is tucked away in plain sight on the Strand; I must have walked past the arches for years without taking a thought for what they contained.

11 September 2017

9 Lessons I Have Learnt In 3 Months As A Freelancer

Freelancer. Freelancer. I still can't quite believe that I'm a (MacBook wielding, coffee drinking, flatly photographing, stereotype embodying) freelancer, running my own business and helping other professionals market their wares.

9 Things I Have Learnt In 3 Months As A Freelancer Adventures of a London Kiwi

It's still only early days yet - I set myself 3 and 6 month markers to look at how I was doing in my venture, but I'm pleased to say that things are looking fairly healthy at the 3 month mark. I'm establishing my portfolio with some brilliant clients (*waves*) and every day I get out of bed looking forward to coffee crunching through my to-do lists.

9 September 2017

48 Hours Sashaying Around Singapore

When I planned my round the world trip (the New Zealand one - don't worry, I'll get to my recent US/Canada trip sometime soon, maybe) I plotted my journey around a few of the brilliant people I've met over the years.

Hopping through Doha, Australia and New Zealand, my last stop was Singapore. And, in only 48 hours I managed to take 983 photos.

What to do on a 48 hour stopover to Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

Arriving into Changi Airport at 7am, I freshened up in the spa and then shot to my home for the first night - the horizon dominating Marina Bay Sands. With only two nights to spend in Singapore I made sure to make every moment count, and dropping my bags off with the concierge, I took the 57 floor lift and enjoyed a breakfast with an incredible view.

7 September 2017

A Bedazzling Brunch at Berners Tavern

A good 75% of my friends are bloggers (not bloogers as my confused fingers seem to think) and online based lifeforms who have transcended the matrix. The other 25% are fellow expats. It makes sense, right? Friends are with you for a reason, a season or a lifetime and when your conversations are littered with algorithm references (jokes, we aren't that smart) or cultural frustrations it makes sense to hang out with kindred spirits.

Luxury Brunch at Berners Tavern Fitzrovia Adventures of a London Kiwi

Why am I blathering about my friend type ratio and not the lovely brunch we enjoyed at Berners Tavern? Honestly, it's probably because this beautiful corner of Fitzrovia is so pretty that it is often fully booked out - and I don't want you to take my table. You would be more than welcome to join us next time though.

4 September 2017

Ladies Day At The Goodwood Races

A few years ago I was very, very lucky to receive an invite to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, but it left me with a rather unusual problem: a surfeit of beautiful millinery.

Ladies Day At The Goodwood Races ¦ Adventures of a London Kiwi

Languishing in a box and dust bag combination on the top of my wardrobe, a navy blue brimmed hat, trimmed with a gauzy bow waited. Waited for a reason to be lovingly dusted off again for a special occasion that never seemed to present itself. I had tossed up the idea of a hatted afternoon tea for my 30th birthday, but my lazy busy self didn't quite organise it.

1 September 2017

10 things to do in Wellington, New Zealand

The capital city of New Zealand is my spiritual heart (I fell in love whilst at university there) and with more cafes per capita than any other city in the world, it always feels like home. Walking down Wellington streets, my mind overlays so many memories - and I'm always amazed at how after a decade I still know how to get around without a map. I suspect it is indelibly etched on my heart.

10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

I could actually suggest a zillion different reasons to visit Wellington, but for me, the most important ones are my brother, sister-in-law, two rosy cheeked nephews and my best friend (who I managed to also get to see up in Auckland!). Even if you don't possess such filial ties, Wellington is a brilliant city.

30 August 2017

How to brighten up a rubbish day (with thanks to Vanilla Ice)

All right stop, Collaborate and listen / Ice is back with a brand new invention

 How to brighten up a rubbish day (with thanks to Vanilla Ice)

I was dreamily listening to one of my random playlists the other day, and it segued into an 90s mix that not only made me smile (hello Backstreet Boys) and made my heart a little bit sad (Spice Girls Viva Forever). After a few songs Vanilla Ice somehow crept in, and my over analytical mind picked up a possible subtext to his hip hop lyrics.

28 August 2017

Unique London: The Old Royal Naval College Painted Ceiling Hall Tour, Greenwich

Do you ever have those moments where you realise that you are a square peg in a round hole, and you are absolutely ok with that?

Things to do in London Old Royal Naval College Greenwich Adventures of a London Kiwi
Things to do in London Old Royal Naval College Greenwich Adventures of a London Kiwi

Most modern ladies, they buy handbags and dresses off Instagram, but having spotted the Painted Hall ceiling tours on a good friend's instastories, I knew we had to make our way down to Greenwich to take in this unique tour.

24 August 2017

Celebrating my blog anniversary: A luxury travel accessory giveaway - NOW CLOSED

A couple of months ago my little blog passed quite an astonishing milestone - it's 5 year birthday. I never thought that I would reach two months, let alone half a decade of writing things in this online diary.

It was never intended to be anything but my little happy space that was done in-between life, and somehow this blog has taken on an identity all of its own.

Luxury Travel Acessory Giveaway Adventures of a London Kiwi

The skills I've learned along the way have been invaluable, the people I have met have changed my life, I have done things I never though achievable and this strange little habit has also given me a confidence I never thought possible - I am so proud to call myself a blogger.

22 August 2017

Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand

"You spin me right round, baby right round" Ahem, sorry.

In my experience over the years, restaurants with amazing views have more often than not have low quality food. There have been a few exceptions; Hutong at the Shard, Duck and Waffle brunches and Peninsula Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel. It seems as though the restauranteurs know they can get away with this because the view is so beautiful and restaurant goers are usually tourists who have money to burn and won’t go back any time anyway.

Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand

Sorry, grouch over. The Auckland Sky Tower is totally different (and that’s not just national pride kicking in). I’d been there a long while ago for their sumptuous buffet, but my sister visited a couple of years ago and pronounced that it hadn’t lost any of the quality.

19 August 2017

My 10 favourite London afternoon teas - 2017 edition

Someone, somewhere in the universe has designated this week national afternoon tea week (only the best week ever to reminisce about afternoons of luxury and who needs more excuse to book a few more?)

My 10 favourite London afternoon teas - 2017 edition Adventures of a London Kiwi

It has almost become a blogger cliche, inviting the girls to a few hours of decorous luxury, but one that I rather adore. As I'm getting on in years (feel free to feel sorry for me...) I've swiftly come to the conclusion that I'd rather don a pretty dress to spend a little more on sandwiches and scones, than prop up a pub bar and feel very sorry for myself the next day.

16 August 2017

That time we went out for brunch and accidentally hiked the Rangitoto volcano crater

Nothing seems to surprise my husband anymore. I must come out with ridiculous scenarios so regularly now, he doesn't even lift an eyebrow. Case in point, when I video called him from New Zealand. (He knew I was in NZ by the way, my whereabouts haven't become that surprising. Yet.)

Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

"How was your day?" 'Good thanks, we went out for brunch with Ginni and Alice, and then hiked up a volcano crater.' "That's nice dear. It rained in London today" (sic)

14 August 2017

An Ode To Afternoon Tea for #AfternoonTeaWeek (in collaboration with Buyagift)

As a meal, afternoon tea doesn't make a great deal of sense. Delicate slivers of sandwiches, scones slathered with cream (not to mention jam depending on partiality) and a top tier of jewel-like cakes twinkling from a slender stand.

This is even before the champagne menu is presented, and a bouquet of tea flavours is spread before the beautifully manicured guests. Meanwhile, a harpist gently strums in the background and fellow enthusiasts murmur over the gentle tinkle of tea-cups. Oh, and then you get bloke-orientated teas with sliders, hot scotch eggs and a tumbler of ale.

10 August 2017

The Luxury Brunch Afternoon Tea at Le Meridien Hotel (warning: this is not a typo)

Brunch is somewhat of a religion in New Zealand, and Afternoon Tea is rather a genteel worship of tinkling tea cups in England. They are both altars that I spend an inordinate amount of time at, both in London and away, and more than once I've declaimed them to be my favourite meals.

Luxury Afternoon Tea Brunch Le Meridian Picadilly Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Le Meridien but all thoughts, 
flavour sentiments and brunch chants are entirely original.

Somehow, the stars aligned to not only find an afternoon that both Becca (of Runaway Kiwi infamy) and I had free, and coincide with an invite to try out the Brunch Afternoon Tea at Le Meridien Hotel in Piccadilly. Living our best lives indeed.

7 August 2017

Visiting the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple, Watford.

Back in February 1973, a property known was Piggott's Manor was donated to the Hare Krishna movement in by former Beatle George Harrison, after the Radha Krishna Temple in central London had become inadequate to house the growing number of devotees.
Hare Krishna Temple Bhaktivedanta Manor Watford Adventures of a London Kiwi
Hare Krishna Temple Bhaktivedanta Manor Watford Adventures of a London Kiwi

A mock Tudor Hare Krishna temple was the last thing I'd expect to see in the Hertfordshire countryside - but then there is the stunning Neasden Temple, a Wimbledon Buddhist temple and several mosques across London, so why am I surprised?

5 August 2017

Eneko at One Aldwych Restaurant Review - Adventures of a London Kiwi

I mentioned in a previous post about Barcelona, that Spain seems to be cropping up in my psyche a lot at the moment. All that sunshine and sangria just seems to be beckoning. So, when an invite to Eneko landed in my inbox, I knew it would be a great chance to slake that wanderlust, and also manage it without any airport security queues.

I've seen a lot of reviews around and about, so I was most intrigued to try out their modern take on traditional Basque cuisine.

Eneko at One Aldwych Restaurant Review - Adventures of a London Kiwi
Eneko at One Aldwych Restaurant Review - Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Eneko at the One Aldwych Hotel, but all thoughts, flavour opines and misuse of Spanish are entirely our own.

Eponymous chef Eneko Atxa is the man behind Azurmendi in Bilbao, the three Michelin-starred restaurant voted no. 16 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Luckily for us, he has opened this Aldwych branch and trained all of the handpicked chefs who run the kitchen in his absence. Luckily he was in the evening we visited, so we had fare prepared by the very man himself (after popping out of the kitchen to say hello.)

2 August 2017

A few musings on Barcelona (in conjunction with Thomson Cruises)

5 years ago we visited Barcelona.

We spent a long weekend exploring the undulating architecture of Gaudi, nibbling pintxos and soaking in the sunshine. Hours were spent admiring the incredible Sagrada Familia arches, we meandered along the city beaches and rode the furnicular up into the misty peaks of Montserrat.

Thomson Cruises contacted me recently about sharing a new video series that Larry Lamb has filmed, where he meets a host of 'cruise mates' sharing their home cities of Barcelona, Ibiza and Palma. They have genuinely inspired in me one of the most wonderful problems of travel blogging; to return, or not to return.