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Wellington

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites – a delicious trip down memory lane

    You know that thing parents where are encouraged to introduce their children to studying foreign languages are youngsters – their minds are like sponges, they aren’t jaded by the pressures of the world and learning is fun. Well, brunch is the language I learnt as a young, fresh out of High School student skidding along the pavements of Wellington.

    Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Brunch at Fidels with the lovely, just returned Jenna

    I was young, I was poor and boy, was I impressionable. Luckily, and much
    to my parents relief it wasn’t drink (even though I worked in a pub),
    drugs (the hardest thing us architecture students took was caffeine
    tablets to keep up all night to get the work done and attempt to get creative juices
    flowing) or the fire poi dancing I spasmodically did (on weekend
    evenings when I definitely should have been sleeping). 

    Fidel's Cafe - Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    It was however a growing appreciation for creamy Hollandaise neatly
    ladled over golden muffins, oozy beautiful poached eggs and prefectly
    crisped slivers of bacon. The Art Of Eggs Benedict.What is it about eggs
    Benedict, Sweetcorn Fritters and Bacon & Egg Pie that so captures the heart of antipodeans?

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Soho Brown’s – a new to me cafe.

    Is it the ability to rise a little later after a full evening out, and
    eat a luxurious meal with good friends? Is it the perfectly legitimate
    ability to drink pints of ice cold vitamin drinks or champagne? Could it
    be the sheer possibility of eadible joy – muesli? sure! pancakes with
    maple syrup? sure! hamburger? go for it! Or could it just be the
    enjoyment of lingering over a leisurely meal with loads of laughter at
    the previous evening’s antics? I reckon it could also be the divine flat
    whites promising energy and flavour. I’m no expert, but I’ve certainly tried to work out the answer. Practise makes perfect after all!

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    To the left, the kiwi classic Neenish Tart, to the right Ginger Crunch.

    All I do know, is that walking through the streets of Wellington was literally walking a foodie road of memories. The infamous Fidels where we argued the finer points of architectural theory, insane art psychology and where to buy the best paint over Eggs Bene. Midnight Espresso where we spent many a late night, hunched over the best milkshakes trying to work out why our lives were just so random. Espressoholic who had hands down the best Ginger Slice in Wellington.

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    Wellington is blessed with a plethora of delicious eateries – especially when you head up Cuba Street – just go hungry.

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Espressoholic
    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Midnight Espresso

    And the best hangover/fire poi dancing cure? Satay Kingdom. Tucked down a tiny alley, it’s a place where you think might give you 3 strains of salmonella but native Wellingtonians simply swear by it. It is impossible to get a weekday lunch there if you don’t rock up super early or super late and weekend brunch hours can be even worse. Their Roti Chanai is simply out of this world.

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    And a new, rather interesting addition – the Homies cosy teahouse. I’m only disappointed I didn’t get to properly pop in…

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    And when all else fails? Bake your own & take them down to the waterfront on the glorious days of sunshine (where the wind mysteriously dies down) and enjoy the view. My favourites?

    ANZAC Biscuits
    Bacon & Egg Pie
    Fudge Slice
    Ginger Crunch Slice
    Sweetcorn Fritters 

    Lolly Cake 

    Melting Moments (Gluten Free, with Pumpkin Spice Icing)

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    How could you ever say no?

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    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo – an experience I’ll never forget

    A week or so ago I posted about a Eureka moment I had about becoming a tourist in your own hometown. Basically, it occurred to me that once leaving my home country all I could think
    about was travelling to see the world, explore new cultures &
    experience the unique and infamous *activities* of the exotic,
    unfamiliar
    cities we come across. It’s taken a few years to occur to me, but how
    often do we travel-lusting lot sit back and explore our
    own hometown backyard?

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A faux Kiwi egg!

    With this in mind, a 101 in 1001 goal list swiftly nearing to completion
    date and an afternoon pootling around Wellington, I utilized my mate
    Google Search and stumbled upon something amazing. 

    Something incredible –
    Wellington Zoo offers animal experiences where you can find yourself up
    close and personal with a selection of their zoo pals.

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    Zoos are a marmite institution. Some people hate the caging of animals,
    some love being able to educate themselves of the many wonderful species
    Mother Nature offers, and some like me can’t help but see zoos from an
    ecological need perspective. Like it or not, humans are awful; poaching,
    eroding natural habitats and changing the strata of long-established
    animal kingdoms.

     

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    Tiger, where?

     Good Zoos, to my mind and to my very limited experience, play an
    integral role in helping these animals. Breeding programmes helping to
    keep species from dying out, drumming up fundraising and PR awareness
    for wild animals, and provide carefully thought out sanctuaries that
    earnestly care about the welfare and happiness of their animals. Not all
    institutions are created equal, and not all do as much as they can for
    the happiness of their inhabitants.

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London KiwiWellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    A Tuatara – a New Zealand native and one of the last dinosaurs in the world

     Wellington Zoo, and for that matter London Zoo where I acted as a zookeeper for the day,
    try to look after their animals the best they can. They also allow for
    humans to interact with incredible animals through experience days (ps.
    this isn’t a comped post, just something I’m incredibly passionate
    about) in ways that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    At London Zoo
    I’ve had
    Ringtailed Lemurs scamper across my lap, been eye to beady eye with
    penguins and experienced mucking out & saw-dusting the Zebra &
    Okapi pens. I was also warned that my handbag would be checked on exit
    for Penguins, but that’s a story for another day.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    My love for animals has always however been of the feline kind.
    Ranging from a childhood dream of working with big Cats, but having to
    settle with volunteering at the RSPCA, owning a wee tabby
    beastie cat and hanging out with office monkeys – sorry, I mean
    colleagues – I set a goal of patting a big cat on my 101 in 1001 goal
    list, never thinking that it would happen in the hilly surrounds of
    Wellington.
    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    Zulu and I having a moment

    Oh yes, it really happened, and what’s
    more, we got to feed treats during behaviour training with two enormous,
    utterly beautiful male Lions; Malik
    and Zulu. Hanging out in the medical pens at the back of the Lion
    enclosures, we assisted – read: stared at the magnificent cats – the
    keeper with behavoural training, that is getting the Lions to move into
    certain areas of the pen for weighing, check-ups and for their daily
    health checks.

    Feeding a Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    In
    case you were wondering, a Lion’s licking your hand just feels like a
    drier cat’s tongue on a much larger scale. Stick that with the rest of
    the useless facts from this blog! 

    We openhandedly fed them meat, stared into their big eyes and eventually
    got to pat their beautiful hides through a gap in the cage walls
    (mostly so they didn’t accidentally turn and crush our fingers). I don’t
    think I’ve ever been more awed at raw power and feline beauty.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    They really are like enormous, very dangerous housecats; they rumble and roar, have hairy slightly oily coats and get up to all sorts of mischeif; Malik likes to wee on unsuspected keepers in between highly essential naps.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    This isn’t my hand… she was harrumphing at us as she’d missed out on meaty treats

    Once we tottered of the back area, not before we said hey to one of the upset Lionesses, we explored the rest of Wellington Zoo, dodging kids and ploughing up the steep hill. But hey, just check out the incredible views not to mention the Momma and baby Campuchin monkeys…

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

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    Wellington, New Zealand and the siren call of home to a longterm expat

    It had been too long since I’d been home. Home (New Zealand) that is, rather than Home (London). Four years of adventuring on the high seas, fitting long haul trips into annual leave allowances and using Skype as a crutch to replace hugs were my main excuses (and the fact that travelling to the other side of the world can leave a serious dent in your bank balance).

    This was until a surprise call featured a sonogram and I found out that the ripe old age of ….(hah, that’s a state secret…) that I was going to be a proud Aunty. Confession time: I’m not particularly maternal myself; call it being selfish, call it having an unusual childhood, call it a lack of weird hormones bouncing around, whatever, it’s not in our life plans at the moment (or ever) but I surprised even myself by becoming incredibly homesick.

    New Zealand Christmas & New Year - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Homesick enough for my lovely other half to suggest calling off our planned Christmas/New Year break and send me to the other side of the world. 

    And how could you not, when you get to have sleepy cuddles like this.

     Wellington, NZ - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    And heartbreaking images like this of my brother and his son holding hands, not to mention the adoration his zen-like Momma has for him.

     Wellington, NZ - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

     
    He is one loved little dude. (He also already has a Liverpool Onesie from his Uncle Mr Kiwi and a pile of baby clothes and toys you wouldn’t believe.) Needless to say I fell head over heels for him – a divine little munchkin who has the curiosity of a cat, the brightest bluest eyes and an adoration for bathing.

    I’m still not broody – heck no, this Aunty doesn’t do nappies, but loves from a clean distance – he is without doubt the most beautiful little fella. Not that I’m biased or anything!

    Wellington harbour, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    It also meant I got to visit one of my favourite cities in the world – Windy Wellington. It’s New Zealand’s capital city, right in the middle of the country, boasts one of the highest cafe-per-capita populations and is as funky as they come.

    Wellington harbour, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat
    Windy Wellington, living up to it’s nickname like a pro!

    Most people who have visited say it has a vibe like San Francisco, Paris (without the beautiful buildings) or Seattle. Alls I know is that I lived there during University, falling for Wellington’s charms hard. The harbour views, funky friendly cafes, great public transport, infamous bucket fountain, compact navigating, quayside artwork and best of all the coffee. Ooooooh the coffee!

    Wellington harbour, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    New Zealand wishes 1 through 4 complete – A family Christmas / A day at the beach / Visiting Hobbiton / Cuddling my new nephew.

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat
    The infamous Cuba St. bucket fountain.

    Wellington Parliament, the beehive, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat
    To the left, our New Zealand Parliment aka. ‘The Beehive’ for obvious reasons.

    An afternoon wandering these streets brought the realisation of Home (New Zealand) vs. Home (London). New Zealand is a wonderful old jumper that I’ll always be able to blissfully snuggle
    back into (even though it doesn’t really fit anymore because of all the kiwi biscuits I always when I land!) but London is my home. It’s where my heart is, where the cat sleeps and my favorite Englishman is. I love New Zealand, but I’ve changed I guess. This wanderer still has many miles to cover.

    Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    I’ll always love a country where Santa wears candy cane striped flip flops, the traffic lights (temporarily) celebrate the fact that New Zealand suffragettes were the first women in the world to win the right to vote and spending celebration New Years on a friends’ farm is the best kind of crazy fun.

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    I am one lucky girl. But wait, there’s a little more to come…

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    New Zealand, Aoteoroa, Land of the Long White Cloud #travelthursday

    Home of the mighty Kiwi, how many ways do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

    It’s pretty gorgeous if I do say so myself.

    View of White Island from Ohope Beach, Whakatane

    It’s a tiny but beautiful island waaaaaaay over the other side of the world that more than makes up for it’s size with sheer passion and friendliness.

     

    Auckland’s Sky Tower: tallest building in the southern Hemisphere that you can eat in, gamble in and pay to jump off (attached to a zip wire).

    The exhilarating opportunities for extreme sports are too numerous to be sane. 

    Rotorua on the Luge.

    It’s full of misty mountains, Hobbits, sheep and friendly people.

    Wellington (aka Wellywood after the Lord of the Rings workshops) has an amazing view from the cable car and gardens)

    We love our pop.

     

    Eight-metre bottles of lemon-ish-pop. World famous in New Zealand.

    The surrounds are pretty geothermic, volcanic and all sorts of excitement.

    The sights, sounds and smells of sulfurous geothermally active Rotorua

    The views, well, they’re ok I guess. 

    The hills and peaks of our mountainous countryside.

    And oh, the beaches. Probably the aspect I miss the most living in this country. Some smart person calculated that no-one living in New Zealand is more than 3 hours drive from a beach.

     …and of course our natural icon, the Kiwi himself (this pic is terrible, but they are nocturnal which is rather hard to photograph.)

     

    Have I convinced you to fly 12,000 miles yet?

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    New Zealand – #travelthursdays

    I’m a bad Kiwi. I realised today that after more than a year of tweeting, and a few expat blog posts here and there, I’ve never really shown you anything of my homeland. Aoteoroa, Land of the Long White Cloud, God’s Own.

    May I present a photo-essay of the North Island on New Zealand. It’s pretty gorgeous if I do say so myself (sorry about some of the photo quality).

    View of White Island from Ohope Beach, Whakatane

    It’s a tiny but beautiful island waaaaaaay over the other side of the world that more than makes up for it’s size with sheer passion and friendliness.

    You have been warned. 

     

    Auckland’s Sky Tower: tallest building in the southern Hemisphere that you can eat in, gamble in and pay to jump off (attached to a zip wire).

    Rotorua on the Luge.

    Wellington (aka Wellywood after the Lord of the Rings workshops) has an amzing view from the cable car and gardens)

    Eight metre bottles of lemon-ish-pop (which has just released a mash-up with Whittakers – yum!!)

    The sights, sounds and smells of sulferous geothermally active Rotorua

    The hills and peaks of our mountainous countryside

    And oh, the beaches. Probably the aspect I miss the most – some smart person calculated that no-one living in New Zealand is more than 3 hours drive from a beach.

    …and of course our natural icon, the Kiwi himself (this pic is terrible, but they are nocturnal which is rather hard to photograph.)

     

    Have I convinced you to fly 12,000 miles yet my English readers? This is of course New Zealand biggest drawback (though without the isolation the countryside and animal population would have been totally different.

     

    For further indepth ideas of what you can do, check out my blog friend Dee’s blog. An American expat she is living in England, but lived all the way in my home country. How did you get all the way over there again Dee?

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