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    Beany Green, Liverpool Street Brunch review

    Sometimes all you want to do is spend a morning in the sunshine with a friend. Living in London definitely has downsides, and one of them is most definitely trying to get a girly date in the diary with less than a month’s notice. Sometimes, though sometimes you get a hankering for a gossip, the stars align in an incredible way and after an afternoon of messaging, a golden date appears in the diary for a good old catch up.

    We then played the inevitable ‘what’s central to both of us, and where do we fancy’ game (bonus points for each additional player you involve) which was surreptitiously solved by the crew at Beany Green inviting us for a sampling of their bottomless brunch in the Broadgate Circus branch. (Try saying that 10 times in a row).

    Spoiler, it was amazing and features a Banana Bread tower, read on.

    Beany Green, Liverpool Street London Brunch review

    Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Beany Green, but my (very many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn’t happily revisit – in fact I’ve also frequented their other London branches several times on my own dime.

    Tucked unassumingly in a selection of eateries an entire 50 seconds walk from Liverpool Street Station – yes, I timed it – Beany Green is another of those secret discoveries that I never want to share with anyone else (it happened to my Shepherds Bush favourite, and now they have queues out the door sigh). But if I must, this Melbourne-style cafe hidden in a modern edifice is a rather lovely combination of convenient tube line convergence, smiley staff, quirky decor and locality to the creative blogging hipsters of Shoreditch.

    Beany Green, Liverpool Street Brunch review 

    We began as all good brunches do, with Monmouth beaned Flat Whites and gossip. I hate to admit it, but us antipodeans do a rather good Flat White. So good in fact that we forgot to photograph the first round, and the second round barely made it into blog history.

    Good coffee near Liverpool Street Station London

    Their menu has a little something for everyone; granola & berries, a good old British breakfast, a salmon royale, broccoli gluten-free bread and a smattering of other hard to choose from options, but we went traditional.

    Well, traditional for us anyway. I opted for the broccoli and corn fritters (adding a cheeky side of bacon) and was really rather surprised. We kiwis aren’t fussy about many things, but the texture of sweetcorn fritters are one of them. They have to be perfectly crispy on the outside, but reveal an unctuous center dotted generously with chunks of sweetcorn. These were lovely, and went up a notch when generously daubed with fresh lemon juice, chilli pesto and a sliver of avocado. (As an aside, the sharp-eyed will note that the fritters aren’t gluten-free, but sometimes I give into the tempting lure of gluten even though I really shouldn’t. There is a scrummy sounding gluten-free broccoli bread however…)

    Where to brunch Liverpool Street London 

    If this isn’t #yolkporn I don’t know what is. Even my non-bloggy date was impressed.

    Egg porn brunch in Broadgate Circle London

    Egg porn brunch in Broadgate Circle London

     …aaaaaaaaaand relax…

    My date went a little off-road traditional, in her search for eggs benedict ordering a deconstructed salmon royale (substituting the salmon for bacon – seriously the bacon was perfection). Her eggs came a touch later than planned, but nothing was too much trouble for our smiley waitress (including her rather determined fixing of a table wobble).

    As we tucked into our brunch feasts, a jazz duo struck up in the corner providing a lovely soundtrack to our natterings.

    Egg porn brunch in Broadgate Circle London   

    Beany Green brunch London restaurant review

    With our appetites and vitamin D fixes rather sated, we fired up our dessert appetites, and ordered their famed banana bread to share. Again not gluten-free, but when you’re going to be naughty, be naughty with a vengence.

    The Beany Green banana bread is getting rather infamous, and needs a sonnet written to it. It. Is. Incredible. The tower of heaven is homemade, grilled, drizzled with honey, topped with fresh berries and sandwiched with pillows of Marscapone. Possibly the embodiment of all the reasons brunch is the best meal of the day – after all once you wander into that sunshine you have at least another 8 hours to walk it off (except when on a birthday meal marathon like this lady and I have been known to partake of on occasion).

    Beany Green brunch London restaurant review

    The bottomless brunch option is 2 plates of deliciousness and a variety of bottomless glasses for each person – they offer reviving Bloody Marys (for the day after the night before), Prosecco, local craft beer, refreshing smoothies and juices – depending on your appetite and wallet delectation – at the time of writing a bottomless brunch varying from £28-38.

    Beany Green brunch London restaurant review

    I found you hiding there in the corner Beany Green. I’ll be back again soon to try your coconut bread and Shakshouka baked eggs. Yes I will.

    Beany Green brunch London restaurant review

    …and people wonder why I endorse Brunch as one of your 3 meals a day, all of the above are the reasonings, you just can’t beat a little everyday luxury!

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    Luxurious London Lamingtons | Radio Lamington

    Asking an antipodean to describe a lamington is like asking a pre-coffee person to describe a dream. It’s childhood weekends in the sunshine, filled with laughter and your mum snatching a second one out of your hand. It’s spending time with your aunts & grandma on sleepy winter mornings all cosied up with tea. It’s popping to the local bakery with your Dad, on the hunt for a pie and something sweet to get you through a busy day. It’s sending your little brother into the neighbourhood cafe with $5, and him coming out with a fistful of cakes and $10 because the owner adores his dimples. [Disclosure: I was gifted lamingtons by the newly launched Radio Lamington crew.]
     
    London Lamingtons
     
    At its heart, it’s an individual sponge square, cut through with jam, rolled in chocolate icing and dappled with coconut. But, actually, lamingtons are so much more than that. 
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    An unexpected journey to Colchester – June #travellinkup

    After a morning of passing wizard exams*, I was intending to
    spend a leisurely afternoon on my own with my book in hand, snuggled in a nice nearby
    London coffee shop. But, unable to choose where to go, I had found myself
    staring at the train departure boards of Liverpool Street Station and buying a
    ticket almost all the way to the East Coast of England.

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi (4)

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi (4)

    This isn’t a normal person behaviour, I know, but the
    combination of a sunny afternoon and a terrible case of wanderlust in my soul,
    Colchester – the oldest town in England – was selected almost at random based
    on having a castle, length of train journey and fascinating history.

    If only
    all life decisions were so easy to settle on.

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi (4)

    Letting my better half know I was fleeing London, and
    wishing (much too late) that I had left the house with a coat and phone
    charger, we hurtled through the lush green countryside as I hurriedly googled
    ‘what to do in Colchester’ before we pulled into the train station.

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi (4)

    “The castle?” The bus driver looked at me blankly. Slightly
    befuddled I answered “Er, yeah, Colchester has a castle according to Google
    Maps doesn’t it?” (Because of course Google Maps is the holy grail of
    directions…) “OH, yes, you mean the High Street stop really.” Only in the UK
    are castles are so common to the locals that an ancient structure isn’t
    considered a landmark anymore. To be fair the castle is on a small slip road
    behind the shop (and a hilariously wonky Estate Agents office.) #SoVeryBritish

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Colchester Essex  Things to do Adventures of a London Kiwi

    With no real plans in mind, a dying phone (and camera
    battery) and the onset of mid-afternoon very much in the forefront of my mind I
    simply meandered along the High Street, wandering down along steep side roads
    lined with pastel homes, through Wisteria draped archways and along the floral
    paths of the Castle Park.

     What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    As I mooched (the locals must have thought I was homeless or
    something) and snapped away, I discovered a few back roads of cool graffiti, an
    Andy Warhol exhibit in an incredibly modern building and modern follies tucked in
    amongst suburban homes.

     What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Serving as the first capital of Roman Britain, and claiming to be the oldest recorded town in Britain, Colchester has been home to the Romans, Saxons, Normans and Victorians all leaving their mark on the landscape.

    What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Claiming to be the birthplace of several nursery rhymes – Humpty Dumpty (Richard III’s defeat in the battle of Bosworth Hill), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (written by Jane Taylor in the 19th Century) and Old King Cole (a derivation of Cole’s Castle) – even the High Street is rather fascinating.

     What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I also stumbled on the cutest tea rooms tucked behind an
    archway; complete with daisy studded lawns, kids birthday parties and warm
    scones served with clotted cream and local jam. The sun ducked behind a cloud
    as the Mums began to round up their tribes and I attempted to improve my
    flatlay skills – much to their amusement.

    What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I wish that I’d had a little more foresight and a little
    more battery for planning, but as far as on the hoof adventures go (I’ve managed
    to get at least 9 action words into my sleepy little afternoon description) it
    was a pretty cool little place.  


    And then, then I discovered the Victorian Water
    Tower.

    What to do in Colchester Essex Adventures of a London Kiwi


    An InLinkz Link-up


    Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place?

    *Not an everyday occurance
    sadly, but a brilliantly themed escape room. The only upset was when Miss
    Runaway Kiwi declared that I was of Slytherin House – I’m not entirely sure if
    our established friendship is going to survive such a character assasination but we’ll see.
    We’ll see.

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    Beltane Summer Festival at Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire

    It began with the pounding of drums.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi (1)

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    As we crested the hill, the patchwork Hampshire countryside of Butser Farm and the rolling South Downs spread out at our feet. Over green fields of waving maize, bright yellow bobbing blooms of rapeseed (#aliterationwin), baby lambs were bounding and trees gently swayed.

    We were bound for Butser Farm hosting their annual Beltain (or Beltane) festival, an ancient Celtic celebration of the beginning
    of summer, with music, dancing and the burning of the giant Wicker Man. Not quite sure what we were letting ourselves in for, we jumped on the train in London bound eventually for a spot 5 miles out of Petersham, Hampshire.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    We wore beautifully handwoven daisy chains, carried our cameras with care and picked our way carefully down the hillside path. Queuing up with caped pagans and hunter-wearing tweed families we held out our carefully printed tickets at the farm gate, for e-readers to be brandished and QR codes scanned.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Our mission was to witness the ancient Celtic ritual of burning the Wicker Man, for the Beltain festival ushering in Summer from the mischievous clutches of spring. This year the Wicker Man wore the woven form of a 45ft Stag, towering over the fields and adorned with ‘wishes’, wool-tied missives rolled in white paper.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Our fabulous 2016 Wicker Man.

     Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Making a couple of leisurely loops of the tented pastures we made a beeline for the beer tent to the tune of Ozzy Osbourne floating on the breeze, interrupted only by wishing on the Wicker Man, a brief time-travelling trip to the Stone Age and slipping into the Storytelling tent for fireside tales of King Arthur retrieving Excalibur from nearby Winchester boulders.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    We admired a 10-year olds fairy-light laden walking staff, beribboned and festooned with greenery; clutched barbequed burgers served by girl guides and wandered through the festival with a pint in hand.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Around us flame-haired dancers jigged to Irish fiddles while the sun began to dip below the horizon and as the temperature began to drop we broke out the brandy infused hot chocolates (the queue for tea actually doubled back on itself much to our amusement.)

    May I introduce the The May King & Queen, watching the festivities & Morris Dancers. Not sure who the dude on the left is…

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    When we do something like this, I can often be found stood
    quietly simply watching the goings-on. Really, it’s my internal blog
    narrative recording ephemeral sensations, adding them to the bank of
    experience. I often think feeling too many emotions is a bad thing, but then
    the writer in me exalts in wrangling a few words later to express that inner delight.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    As the light fell, a red green & black clad cadron of drummers ranging in age from ten to their fifties hammered their hearts out in a tempest of rhythm, whilst filing up the crest of a small hill towards the Wicker Man. Lining up either side of the effigy, they pounded in unison as a raffle ticket winner (hello England) and his mum(!) carried a burning torch from a small fire. By the time they reached the peak and touched the naked flame to the feet of our Wicker Man, the drums had escalated in tempo driving the ancient Celtic ceremony to a peak.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Essentially Beltane is a fire festival: “the ‘good fire’ was burnt for purification, for healing, for light, for growth.” The biggest, best known Beltane festival is held in Scotland on Carlton Hill where the May Queen and the Winter King arrive at the Acropolis
    surrounded by handmaidens (who are guardians of the May Queen, who can be
    portrayed by either sex), and drummers to process them around and down
    the hill. As they travel, they are interrupted by the red men – spirits
    of chaos and disorder – who try to distract the May Queen.(Guess where you’ll find us next May Day?)

    “Beltane is a rural pre-Christian prehistoric tradition which saw
    communities come together after long winters of isolation,” anthropologist Pauline Bambry says.
    “It marked their connection not just to nature but to each other. That
    need to belong to something or someone hasn’t changed. We can be just as
    isolated living in the city or in a town as the ancient Britons were in
    their round houses.”

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    Around me (and I was equally guilty) the watching masses pulled out
    their smartphones, and watched/filmed as the flames
    flickered and caught on the dry wood woven in the shape of a stag. The crowd
    ooohed and aaaahed as the blaze

    And this is why I love, love, love England.

    Beltaine Beltane Summer Festival Butser Ancient Farm Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiw

    (And incidentally my friends who also adore hare-brained reasons to meander into the countryside.)

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