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    Friday figments and photos: Oops I did it again

    In the famous lyrics of Britney Spears;

    You see my problem is this / I’m dreaming away
    Wishing that heroes, they truly exist / I cry, watching the days
    Can’t you see I’m a fool in so many ways

    But to lose all my senses / That is just so typically me
    Baby, oh

    that and I got rather too carried away with the fun of blogging, and let
    drift my favourite section of the blogosphere – remembering to journal
    life as it comes.

    There have been many catchups, many many cups of coffee (and a couple of instantly regretted energy drinks), a slice or two of cake, the appearance of eggs benedict and the definite chatter of lovely peoples.

    Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Afternoon Tea Dalloway Terrace Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We have gadded about the Hampshire countryside, sipped champagne in beautiful afternoon tea settings, discovered a floating piece of naval history

    HMS Belfast Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …solved wizarding clues, sliced into #eggporn in unexpected settings…

    Sketch for Cake Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …and settled in for some serious blog chat about how much we love our hobby over the tinkle of tea cups, enthused over my 10 favourite quirky day trips from London and admired the glory of Chelsea garlanded in blooms.

    Chelsea in Bloom Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Oh, and we announced this month’s travel linkup topic if you fancy joining-in between the 1st and 7th – Unexpected Places – it could be a surprise, last minute trip, somewhere you thought would be better, a place that you surprisingly loved or…

    Are you also feeling like time runs away?


    10 reasons YOU should Blog (and why I love mine)

    Anyone will tell you that I am the blog world’s biggest cheerleader. As an expat living on the other side of the world to her established friends (and long-suffering family), blogging gave me the impetus to get out of a work>home>work rut and continues to inspire mischief long after the honeymoon period of a new hobby wore off.

    Sitting behind a computer kinda changed me. Far from retreating into myself and the unique loneliness that a big city like London can bring, blogging became the last piece to complete my expat puzzle. It took a long time to come about, but it turned me from the quiet mouse who admired outgoing characters into a ballsy adventurer who discovers intriguing things to do that keeps us fascinated with our home city, and discovered a new side to New Zealand.

    10 reasons YOU should Blog (and why I love mine)

    So, when Dell contacted me to share the passion that I have for blogging and what makes it unique and special as a creative medium, I jumped at the chance. The below is pure Emma prose – and inspiration for the next time blog-guilt strikes and I begin to wonder why I chose such a full-on, indulgent hobby.

    Adventures of a London Kiwi has become a gathering place for all of my favourite hobbies
    (reading, exploring, brunching, taking pretty pictures of flowers,
    history…) I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I can’t play an instrument in front of an
    audience and I can’t put together an outfit to save my life. I have
    however discovered a love of photography, I can usually
    sufficiently express myself through writing and can hack blogger widgets
    like a pro. I’ve also discovered a joy in food flavours that turned my
    plain-jane kitchen spice shelf into a wander through exotic climes I
    never knew existed. Sure, some of those containers are half-used and
    wait dustily for another day of glory but hey, I’ve used them at least
    once to tart up a boring meal.

    10 reasons YOU should Blog (and why I love mine)

    1. ¦ Journalling
    I always get asked what I’ve been doing lately, and often draw a blank. Somehow I’ve spent all those hours during the week out and about, but as soon as we’ve left the threshold my mind tends to flit onto other things. Not only does it become a reference-able diary (and recipe book) but it also helps you really delve into the history of a place and appreciate deeper nuance. Use it for you and you only – sure, you could write a personal journal but

    Having a public forum keeps you accountable and not lapsing into old
    behaviours of couch potatoeing (potatoing? potatoism? Chip-itis?)
    b) Printing photos on a massive scale is bad for the environment
    c) How often do journals actually get pulled from under coffee tables
    d) Friends get sick of bragging facebook albums full of sunsets & wine glasses, cute local cats & magnolia blooms.

    Right, soapbox moment over.

    2. ¦ Coffee + Cake
    Cake becomes a legitimate breakfast choice (bressert anyone?) especially when you’re away from home and the lure of a European café in the sunshine, complete with fresh strong coffee and a beautiful waiter is too irresistable to reisist. I mean for instagram. #anyexcuse

    10 reasons YOU should Blog (and why I love mine)

    3. ¦ Inspiration
    It will open doors – forget the commercial tidbits that occasionally pop up – but you may just find yourself herding sheep across London Bridge, sipping tea in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, meeting strangers in New York City for lunch and gazing out over the sun rising over Dubai desert sands. I have.

    Where does this particular corner of blogging begin or end? I guess it’s
    an inherent part of every aspect of this addiction that makes me smile
    from ear to ear (we are not a cult, I swear.) You find yourself with a finger on the pulse of social media, the first to know about quirky events, friends begin to suggest crazy things to do and every blog you read will give you honest wanderlust.
    4. ¦ Community
    Yes, it’s totally clichéd, but aside from the occasional cliques that form, the travel community is such a welcoming and supportive collection of passionate writers and photographers who embrace everyone who strikes up a conversation. One of the freelance travel writers for big name broadsheet posed the
    idea that blogging is a small bubble community of highly interactive
    bloggers who learn off each other, feed off each other, interact with
    each other and have an incredibly niche platform to share with the
    world. I’m actually perfectly ok with that (though as a sidenote they
    didn’t account for the other 99% of readers who don’t feel the need to
    leave comments and aren’t bloggers).

    Why shouldn’t there be a hugely
    supportive community of creative addicts who have an outlet above and
    beyond their boring day to day duties? (nb. I repeat, we’re totally not a cult
    even taking into account our scone addictions, weird amusement about
    ridiculous hashtags and slightly crazy squeals of excitement when
    meeting each other by accident in person).

    10 reasons YOU should Blog (and why I love mine)

    5. ¦ Creativity
    You begin writing in a very self-aware manner, agonising over each word and although that may never really change, you learn to accept that it’s a part of the process and a proof of passion. In the process, I’ve ended up unintentionally developing 3 writing styles; “Waaaaaaaah this thing I did was amazing”, “third person lyrical” and “hippy-style inspiration” (see current post for example). Sure, my blog is full of OTT enthusiasm, but that’s just me. Heart on my unfashionable sleeve.

    6. ¦ Buzzwords
    You’ll become so down with the kids. You’ll snapchat, invent hashtags, send Kim K gifs via DM,
    and then get told that YOLO is so last year that you shouldn’t really be flinging it about with abandon…

    7. ¦ Confidence
    Ever found yourself feeling nervous at walking into a room full of strangers? Book yourself in for a blogging conference/meetup/day trip/coffee and you’ll find a group of people just as nervous as you are, with common interests and a Twitter addiction as bad as your own. (I’d always recommend wearing a statement accessory as an ice-breaker.) There are days that I still hesitate to step over thresholds thinking that I’m not good enough. Then I re-settle my scarf, flick my hair in a manner worthy of shampoo ads and walk in like I own the place. It works an absolute treat – fake it ’til you make it.

    8. ¦ Skillz
    There are so many offshoot skills that come with a blogging addiction. Want to learn CSS & html? Want to hack widgets? Learn to edit photos? Want to see the world in a completely different ways? Want to have an incredible array of real travel tips and suggestions?

    10 reasons YOU should Blog (and why I love mine)

    9. ¦ Envy
    Listed as one of the seven sins, as Kelly Clarkson sings “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Living with envy is hard to crack, but it also makes you strive a little harder, pushes the comfortable envelope and opens your eyes to the opportunities that the world can offer.

    One of the hardest things to overcome is becoming hung up on numbers; it will always seem like someone else
    is doing better than you. I just began by assuming that my Dad (and
    husband when nagged) would be the only person to read my corner of
    t’internet and anyone else was a bonus.

    10. ¦ Enjoyment
    There is something incredibly freeing about
    finding your voice, learning to shape your opinions and the highly
    addictive game of researching. You learn to tell a story, appreciate the
    good along with the bad, make some lovely friends who share your
    hobbies, are able to make recommendations and have a crash course in
    grammar that’ll improve every single thing you do. Walking into a room
    of blogging strangers is wonderful as they literally have a plethora
    weird addictions usually very similar to your own, so why be nervous?

    I’ve also learned how to admit mistakes, apologise, be gracious, that
    envy is stupid, you need to make luck, to have patience, dedication is
    important and that wise men learn from being a fool (which is in no way
    dig at anyone but my very foolish younger self). I’ve also learnt that
    you are your very own worst enemy. Be brave. Be strong. Have fun. The
    haters will only be chewing their own liver as they watch you enjoy

    Oh, yeah, and blogging gives you something to do & read on those commutes. It is a creative gift that keeps on giving…

    So, what about you. What makes blogging such a joy to your life?

    This is a collaboration with Dell to celebrate the launch of their XPS 13 Laptop, but all thoughts and wandering sentences are very much my own.


    Lessons I have learned over 1,000 blog posts

    I can’t actually believe I’m writing this. If someone had told me in June 2012 that years later I would be still typing away at my little corner of the internet, I would have laughed. In their face.

    Setting myself a goal of daily blogging for 1001 days seemed foolhardy to a girl who can only just commit to reading a full book (and usually cheats on it with at least one, maybe two other novels along the way) and struggles to watch a whole movie without wandering off. Bizarrely enough I managed it (at the rate of 6 posts a week) and at the end of the challenge still enjoyed blogging enough to continue on.

    Lessons I've learned from blogging

    Furthermore, somehow all this time down the track Adventures of a London Kiwi is something I am immensely proud of.

    Along the road I’ve learned a few life lessons, many of them the hard way.

    > You have to blog for YOU. It’s YOUR journey, YOUR view of the world and YOUR loves that will keep you loving blogging.

    > It doesn’t matter what everyone else does.

    > Bloggers are some of the kindest, best fun, most mischevious people I’ve ever met.

    > You’ll develop the most incredible skills. Photography, creativity, problem solving, confidence, the power in a written word, html coding, social media tactics,

    > Blog guilt is a thing.

    > Lists are almost as addictive as blogging.

    > ‘Things’ is a word you will overuse even through you hate it.

    > Not every blog will be your favourite – some just won’t fit your square. And that’s ok.

    > There are no shortcuts, and if you don’t share your passion it will show.

    > Your blog will attract some strange old keywords.

    > The world will never look the same again.

    > The topics/images/tweets/ you think might amuse people as you put them out into the www world won’t, and the ones you dash off will.

    > Bloggers are slightly nuts. In the best kind of way.

    > Just say yes. What is the worst that can happen?

    > Go with the inspiration muse when it strikes (and it will strike in random places, often last thing at night or in very inconvenient places. I highly recommend emailing ideas or making notes in a smartphone app for later.)

    > Blogging is hard work and spelling/grammar is complicated.

    > Sometimes you’ll hate blogging. But mostly it’s an addiction that’s hard to give up whilst realising that not every post will be perfect. Actually, most won’t.

    > You will find yourself narrating every day life & travel escapades inside your head.

    >  Blogging WILL take you amazing places.

    > Editing a post is hard. So hard.

    > Remember to enjoy the ride.

    > There are so many real world effects your blog will have on your life, it is worth every second of love that you pour into it.

    How about you?


    10 reasons I hate blogging – a rant.

    Over the years I have come
    to a firm belief in karma (and I was bullied as a school kid – are you reading this Janine?) so try to live by
    the motto of ‘be nice’ where I can in my life. I try not to complain about
    things that I can change, put as many good vibes out into the cosmos (*hippy
    alert*) and generally try to live without any regrets.

    But, there are rare days where I really hate blogging – yes, the opportunities are
    immense, I’ve learned so many skills and met some wonderful people – and some
    days that I just fancy a little grouch. Unfortunately the latest mood occurred
    just when I had a blog post space, so here goes…

    10 reasons I hate blogging – a rant.

    • Envy, there I said it. Envy is the greatest issue I have
      with blogging – reading someone else’s fantastically phrased post (even worse
      when you were at the table with them), when a someone spots a great viewpoint
      that you had your eye on and don’t want to look like you are copying or when you compare someone else’s amazing photographic talents. We all struggle with our demons, I know
    • How can you love succulents in an emotional
      capacity? I have one inside pot plant, an orchid rescued from near-death and
      when it flowers I am always amazed (that it’s still alive despite my lack of
      green-thumb) and slightly awed at the curving beauty that unfolds every so
      often. I have nothing against succulents individually as it were…
    • Auto spell check. I think of them as little red underscores
      of doom.

    10 reasons I hate blogging – a rant.

    • A lack of punctuation and capital letters. Yes, I get that it’s chosen as a stylistic medium but it makes my head hurt. Yes, my punctuation (certainly my capitalization) is often found wanting and yes, it doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things, but a complete lack just doesn’t work for me.
    • I have ugly, wide feet and short little Hobbit toes that
      will never, ever look good in a shoefie mostly because I can’t wear the
      beautiful, delicate sandals everyone else has. Also, I only ever seem to be
      wearing the same few pairs of shoes when the idea for a shoefie occurs to me!?
      C’mon shoefie gods (and there must be some because of the amount that are being
      taken these days) sprinkle some magic on me!
    • There are blogs that I adore
      reading just because they are sprinkled with snippets that make me laugh out
      loud, even when the main subject matter doesn’t apply to my own life in the
      slightest. Sometimes (only very occasionally, this is a blog severely lacking
      in the patience for editing) I read back my own posts and realise they are as
      interesting as watching paint dry. Good thing they have shiny pictures… (nb: this
      is not badly veiled hope for nice comments in the slightest, just stating a

    10 reasons I hate blogging – a rant.

    • Non-disclosure. If it’s free and you’re recommending it, that’s awesome, just tell us! It’s usually fairly obvious in any case…
    • Losing the muse for a particular blog post despite loving the visit – often. And er, resurrecting said post nearly a year later despite the shonky photos because your friend thinks it’s hilarious to tease you into it via a variety of social media platforms.
    • Blog widows/Instagram husbands expect to eat hot food!? Look, it’s simply not the blogging way…and yes, I need to have a bite of your meal (nb: I unconditionally offer you mine back, but it’s your decision not to try…)
    • The cat has figured out the best way to drive me crazy is to
      sit right in front of our computer screen whilst I’m mid-blog paragraph, and
      stare. I’m 99% sure the stare is trying to telepathically communicate “Human, I
      can see the bottom of my food bowl through the gaps between cat biscuits” or
      “Human, stroke me until I randomly decide it’s too much and I’ll bite you.”
      Actually, no make that 100% sure. If it wasn’t for blogging, I wouldn’t spend enough time behind a screen for this to annoy me.

    Ahhhhhhhh, I feel much better for that. Unfortunately I’ve also just realised I’m guilty of a multitude of blogging midemeanors myself… damn.

    Do you have pet hates?


    9 ways to make living in London easier

    Over the years I have called London a lot of deserved names. Tempestuous, stunning, old, demanding, fantastic, incorrigible, sassy, boring (which was unfair of me), mischievous, inscrutable, over-the-top, busy, magical and usually wonderfully ridiculous.

    You can go to up to Charing Cross for a greasy full English breakfast, over to Paris for lunch and party at the Ritz for dinner. What’s more, with only a short hop out of the city, you can sleep in a 14th Century Castle, drink your way around Europe and
    attempt to find the Loch Ness monster. The flipside is that the UK, and London in
    particular can be a demanding place to live.

    9 ways to make living in London easier

    Over the years I’ve found that the secret to London is accepting that happiness does take work (and occasionally a little luck) and there is one key thing to keep in mind when coming
    over: you will still probably have to wake up to an alarm and work the daily grind.
    But if, you are courageous, the benefits can be immense. Why be poor,
    tired and unhappy in a rural backwater when you can be poor, tired and
    happy in a City where your potential can be immense?

    So, I though I’d share a few of the small ways that have made my life easier and that I recommend to every one who moves here.

    1. Make a bucket list or goal list
    Refer to this list occasionally and on the rainy days that you hate this city of ours. These down days happen, and when they do you need a reminder of why you moved here, something to rekindle the magic. Feel free to borrow a couple of ideas (or all of them) from my first or second 101 in 1001 goal list, google a ‘things to do in London’ list or let this Pinterest board inspire you.

    9 ways to make living in London easier

    2. Get out there
    Actively push your self to make new friends, improve yourself, find your tribe and make plans. You’ll be surprised at how many people will say ‘yes’ when you suggest something…

    3. Order your groceries online
    Seriously (and stop laughing at me for this inclusion like Mr Kiwi did until admitting I was right) unless you have a car – normally an unnecessary expense in the capital – let someone do the hard work for you. Forget hauling heavy essentials down the street, pick the grocery store that fits your lifestyle and pay an extra couple of quid to get it delivered once a month or so. It will make your life so much more hassle free.

    9 ways to make living in London easier9 ways to make living in London easier

    4. Annual travel cards
    Hear me out. Traveling in London is expensive, so people often end up buying point to point (literally home to work) transport passes, often just monthly. Sure, this is good for your wallet in the short term, but long term costs you more that an annual pass. It’s a pretty big outlay, but over the long term an annual pass is going to save you money. And whilst we’re here, get it put onto Oyster. SO much easier than trying to feed a paper ticket through barriers… (I’ve even learnt a few London commuting tricks over the years as well.)

    5. Twitter & Instagram
    For London inspiration, Twitter & Instagram simply can’t be beaten.

    9 ways to make living in London easier

    6. Download a few London-centric apps
    Every man and his wife now has apps on their phone, so get downloading. Transport apps that help you avoid commuter chaos (even down to the best door to get on the tube train), good coffee apps that will help you avoid mass-chains of grossness, apps that tell you about eccentric activities, apps that have amazing restaurant deals in any flavour region you can think of, apps that will enable you to play scrabble with your nearest & dearest (I can’t be held accountable for any arguments) and just about any thing you can think of.

    7. Invest some time in a local cafe and pub
    Explore your neighborhood and find one of those gems where the food is amazing (even though you only ever order the same thing because it’s so good), there’s a barista that smiles when you come in all disheveled and grouchy, and the bartender starts pulling your drink as soon as you cross the threshold. Treasure them like gold dust.

    9 ways to make living in London easier

    8. Run. Away.
    Get out. Organise a last minute little day trip away, go for a wander in the countryside, find a new park on a sunny day, ramble over to that little coffee shop you’ve always meant to visit, book away and tick something of your ultimate travel bucket list or even just pull out an exotic adventure book.

    9. Revel in pyjama days
    They are what they say on the tin – days where you get out of bed after a sleep-in, hop in the shower (or bath depending on your poison) and straight back into a clean set of your comfiest Pyjamas. Lounge, drink hot beverages, watch movies, read trashy novels. Sometimes you just have to give in to your body and indulge in a little home-style luxury.

    Hey, most of these apply to any city in the world – what is your favourite trick?