Well, summer has descended with the promise of overnight thunderstorms and humid temperatures, so if we were having coffee I would actually be drinking Lemon, Lime & Bitters already – a favourite Australasian summer drink of lemonade (fizzy just to clarify for the Americans), lime cordial or juice and bitters that just hits the spot on a hot old day.
If we were having coffee, I’d be telling you all about my recent adventures – a foray over to the Netherlands primarily by train – where I got to catch up with two blinkin’ lovely friends. (I also got to gambol briefly in Amsterdam for the afternoon – these are my favourite things to do in Amsterdam when I’ve got longer in the city and less wine to sip canalside.)
Choosing where to stay in Cappadocia was a tough decision. I’m not being hyper dramatic when I say that I probably spent more time choosing this hotel than I did when I was choosing a wedding dress – and in the end, I made a decision via the less than scientific method of asking Mr Kiwi for two favourites, and flipping a coin. (The hotel, not the dress.)
I love staying in quirky hotels – but they have to carefully tiptoe the line between bland and kitsch, and suit our travelling style. I adore the hotels that have a keen sense of place (it’s also a bonus when they come with animal custodians like our stay with Jasper at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall or the Pygmy goat neighbours in Austin, Texas) and are lovely to come back to at the end of the day.
The lushly appointed Grosvenor House Hotel has a lounge in which you’ll want to linger a little longer, overlooking the leafy boughs of Hyde Park. Especially when the table in front of you is set with a glass of champagne and afternoon tea winks at your from it’s silver stand. Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the Grosvenor House Hotel, but all dreamy metaphors are very much my own.
Every element of the decor and delectable tea stand are a poetic ode to the tree boughs across Park Lane – they seem so close that they’re almost touchable.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. The days are lengthening, the Royal London parks are heavy with blossom and there is that indescribable feeling of summer in the air. To celebrate this – and as an ode to the Chelsea Flower Show – Aqua Shard have launched their Floral Five menu. Disclaimer: We were guests of Aqua Shard – but I visit often on my own dime. (I think this is really important for authenticity!)
They’ve collaborated with the botanical maestros at Camellia’s Teahouse who have created five unique tea blends featuring British flowers, which have in turn been incorporated to accompanying cocktails and desserts.
The beautiful Vintry and Mercer hotel has a beautiful sense of place that is obvious from the moment you step over the threshold. With foundations laid on (the fantastically named) Garlick Hill, this newly opened Small Luxury Hotel is full of moments where the local London history permeates. Disclaimer: We were guests of Vintry and Mercer, but all wistful story scraps, allusions to local history and words are very much mine and mine alone.
Located in the historic Vintry Ward, the hotel is inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area – where the Vintry Guild traded wines and the Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. I adored the references scattered through the hotel to these historic trades, from an evolving menu of wines to bespoke fabrics and old trading maps throughout the 92 individually decorated rooms, hallways and dining spaces. Often hotels struggle with the dance between being a beige box that you sleep in and tourist overload, but here it’s perfectly balanced.