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.

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.