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...