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UK & Ireland

    Goodbye 2012

    As I write this, 2012 is over in New Zealand, and people all over the world are coming to this realisation, with probably a good percentage of them are in the process of getting drunk to mourn it, and are beginning to drink in celebration the new possibilities that 2013 can bring.

    Sidenote: Thank you to the Mayans for getting it wrong.

    I can’t quite believe that the blog has grown so much, it’s been a blast writing it, but the feedback is the best part & the people I’ve met through it.

    The top 12 posts of 2012;

    The first six are chosen by you, my lovely readers, and include a few great surpises;

    #6 – Race for Life – 5k

    #5 – Weekday Cocktails

    #4 – Foodie Penpals: September

    #3 – Creamy Pumpkin, Chestnut & Bacon Pasta

    #2 – Book & Theatre Review: Mort

    #1 – London Living: “Bull’s eyes and targets” say the bells of St Margaret’s

    and the posts I most enjoyed writing;

    #6 – Camping

    #5 – Battersea Foodie Festival

    #4 – Downsides to being the Right Way up

    #3 – Caravan, Kings Cross

    #2 – Race for Life – 5k

    #1 – London Living: Big Ben

    I’ve been asked several times in the last few days what New Years Resolutions I’m going to make. To be honest with you, I’ve never been one to make them. I have always thought that you should have goals, but they should be a little more focussed than the usual “In 2013 I will get thinner, stop smoking & quit drinking” which only last a few weeks before they get back on the usual cycle of mischief, guilt then more mischief.

    I am looking forward to the possibilities of 2013. Who knows where we will end up & what we will have done? I’m hoping to have completed a few more goals of my 101 in 1001 page. After a bit of number crunching we have calculated that we have completed 16% of the goals in 17% of the overall time which is pretty good going.

    With excitings plans in the pipeline, I can’t wait for 2013.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2013.


    The Tower of London

    Priceless Diamonds & Sapphires, Murder, Kings, Queens, 1000 years of history, Ravens, Torture & Beefeaters.

    I’m not sure how to do the Tower of London the justice it quite deserves in my woeful prose, or indeed within the length of a blog post. If you are an anglofile, a history buff, love london, a fan of knights, like your history with a side of gore, want to be a princess, love jewellery… go. Schedule a half day, and go.

    Did I mention that the British Crown Jewels reside here? They are stunning.

    Did also I mention you can buy a suit of armour here? The perfect gift for the man who has everything.

    One of the reasons why I love London – the old nestled with the new.

    The obligatory Raven pose shot;


    It is around £20 for an adult to go (at the time of writing) but if you use the trains, Days out Guide often runs 2 for 1 specials, subject to you having used the train services (not OysterCard), providing proof of ticket and you have to print out a wee sheet.

    Much, much more historical and opening information can be found here. They also do ‘the Ceremony of the Keys‘ which has been performed nightly for 700 years (you book this in advance by writing).

    I’d strongly advise you go early in the day to try beat the crowds, or go like we did on a miserably grey day.

    How are you spending your Christmas/New Year break, or are you having to work? I can’t believe how quickly it’s going past.


    Boxing Day

    Presents are unwrapped, a scrumptious dinner eaten and the pine needles are starting to hit the carpet already.

    With a self imposed offline day yesterday, it was quite refreshing to mostly be away from all electrical equipment (bar the TV when the kids started to dance Gangnam Style!).

    Favourite part of the Day? Gathering with almost all of my London family for Roast Turkey & Beef, Christmas Pud & a lot of laughter.

    Favourite memory of the Day? Grandad getting up & trying it Gangnam Style.

    Favourite (only) Photo of the day?

    Hubby gets a bit blue as the excitement of the impending Christmas season is over, and once the New Year has passed, we have to trudge through the grimness of January. I can honestly say I’ve never thought of it that way, but I suppose as a Kiwi with summer holidays in January, it was never a cause for sadness.


    We have been very retrospective today, musing the highlights of this year, and by anyones standard 2012 has been an amazing year. London especially has been a very exciting place to be.

    • The Diamond Jubilee – I got to see the Queen!! 

    •  Made some great new friends over the year – caused mischief camping & brunching to name but two instances 
    • Climbed the iconic Big Ben 
    • I completed a 5k – something I would never think I could do

    I also started this here little blog, which you are all so kind to read day in day out, and I’d like to thank you for this. Thank you for giving me a chance to share our adventures.

    We have a lot of exciting new plans for next year, and I hope you will stick around to join in them with us.


    Christmas Eve Eve Afternoon Tea

    We decided with Christmas day being a little hectic (15-16 adults + an assortment of kids) that us ladies would have a wee afternoon tea to chat and catch up.

    We ended up having such a lovely low key day. Bar a few (actual) nightmares the night before (you know, like the ones you have before an important job interview, and you get to the end and realise you forgot to put trousers on?) it was a dream.

    We had looked into the option of being shamelessly spoilt and going out for afternoon tea eg. like this afternoon, but decided it would be easier, better to organise transport-wise and, honestly, cheaper to do it ourselves.

    The Menu?

    Bite-size Sandwiches:

    Egg Mayonnaise & Cress on fresh White Bread

    Chicken & Sweetcorn on fresh White Bread

    Ham, Rocket & Chipotle Sauce on Wholemeal Bread


    A variety of Savouries hot from the oven

    (the only real let down was the Ketchup served in Tupperware!)


    Cherry Scones with Devonshire Clotted Cream


    Jaffa Slice

    Cherry Bakewells, Lemon Sponge Slices, Festive Caramel Slice

    White Chocolate Penguins, After Eight Mints, Snowballs (Marshmallow with a Chocolate shell & Coconut)

    ((Lolly Cake should have made an appearance, but I got a bit creative with the recipe & instead of being a slice, it’s more of an ice-cream topping))




    Cranberry Juice with Mulled Spices – such a beautiful non-alcohol drink – literally get some of the mulling spice bags from your nearby supermarket, and heat the cranberry juice on the stove with the bags steeping. Absoloutely lush – it tastes like it should be alcoholic!




    Written up, it looks like it would be a lot of work, but to be honest we we allowed the supermarket baking companies to help take most of the strain. The drinks and sandwiches took the most work, but with three of us in the kitchen, drinks in hand, it really was a lot of fun. I wanted it to be low-key, and that’s what we got. The developing ‘Foodie’ in me wanted to handmake everything, but by the time we got to this morning, it wasn’t an option.


    A lovely, decadent afternoon with some of the loveliest ladies. We opened a couple of pressies with my cousin who is having an Orphans Christmas (with the rest of her Kiwi friends – something that is a London tradition – I can’t wait to see how their Turkey comes out!)


    It wasn’t over the top but just the right level of decadence, the conversation flowed, the food came out steadily and the drinks flowed.


    Can you tell we enjoyed it by the below ‘after’ pic?

    I hope you are spending some time with your loved ones, either over video chat, with an afternoon tea like the above, or at the Cinema, or just somehow.


    I think I need to host more of these next year. Maybe that should be one of my New Years resolutions?

    Right now, dishes to wash. Er, maybe I should reconsider the ‘at home’ business!!


    I’m a road tripper…

    To get to the game on Saturday, we braved the elements and the A4, crossing into another country, accidently losing a member of our kiwi posse in Cardiff due to terrible reception and relied on a sometimes mischevious SatNav.

    We tracked down an infamous barber shop – the only recommendation for fun things to stop off and see on our way over made by a Welsh friend. But, we found it.

    Made a new friend or two…


    The only foodie thing we did, apart from drink tea & redbull, which doesn’t really count, was try a Fire Island Craft Beer in a new pub.

    So new in fact, the the paint wasn’t dry, the toilet doors were plain MDF & there were quite a few jobs to be tackled.

    The beer was nice though, quite Bitter (I want to say hoppy, but have no experience to back that claim!)


    Awesome day – full of rugby, laughter, good friends and a wee bit harebrained. Just how I like them!