Tips For The Best Vegas Trip

April 2015 Matt, I & another couple headed to Las Vegas for a week! 1 week in Vegas!

We LOVED every second of it, from the shopping, the food, the nights out, the attractions it was just fantastic. It is somewhere that we feel that we would love to return to one day as there is still so much we didn’t do that we would have loved to have done! Plus its constantly changing, there are new shows all the time and new exhibitions and hotels are changing so why not go back!

BUT this isn’t about my time there (although you will some of my snaps)! Its 10 things that not just myself, but friends and family would recommend for a trip to Vegas!

  • See A Show! We saw a Cirque Du Soleil show when we were out there and we both really enjoyed it. I also saw Britney Spears and I know a few people who have seen Rod Stewart as well as countless other shows and loved all of them. Quite often fantastic artists have residencies in Las Vegas hotels, so if you want the last chance to see your favourite artist Vegas is the place to go! 
  • Go To The Grand Canyon! Every single person I have spoken to about Las Vegas has said you cannot go and not go to the grand canyon. We went on a sunset helicopter tour which included a champagne picnic in the canyon, but there are so many different options and there is a suspended walk too that you can do which looks awesome!
  • See The Bellagio Fountains! Fantastic fountains that perform to music and they are spectacular, nothing can really prepare you for them at all! We saw them several times over the week were there but my favourite place to watch them was on the High Roller at The Linq. If you time it right, you can be at the top of the High Roller at the right time to see them in all their glory and it truly is a great sight!
  • Eat At A Buffet! Even if you do it just once, go crazy! We went for a breakfast buffet and had about 10 platefuls of breakfast each! You can could get everything from contiential cheese and hams to breakfast burritos! It was crazy but a good way to fill up until a late night dinner!
  • Downtown Vegas! For me it was probably the tackiest part of Vegas BUT you can’t got to Vegas and not experience it. Its the birth place and where it all began, go and eat at Heart Attack Grill OR Zip Wire through Freemont Street, place a bet in one of the oldest hotels. Honestly, its an experience you wont forget!
  • The Stratosphere! As a base its quite far out from the main strip for my liking, but as an oppertunity to get a 360 view of everything (a side from the high roller), it is the best place to go! Until I went up there I don’t think I truly understood just how much we were in the desert! Now, if you are a bit of a thrill seeker then there are rides you can go on at the top of the tower providing the wind isn’t too bad. It’s not my idea of fun, but it was a giggle to watch some of the rides.

 

  • The Hotels! It goes without saying that the hotels are truly amazing in Vegas, but the fact that your senses are catapulted into a completely different world in every hotel is just beyond belief. I loved the feel of the Bellagio but I also really liked The Venetian AND of course our hotel The Mirage. The fact that at every entrance there was a coconut smell, just tropical really set the scene for me! You could spend days just exploring what every hotel has to offer without doing anything else.
  • Have A Bet! Even if its just one, have a bet! I didn’t win anything, but Matt did a few times and we found a $100 dollar chip. You can do so much in Vegas and not place 1 bet, but I personally dont think you have had a true Vegas experience if you haven’t placed a bet! After all, its what Vegas is known for!
  • The Restaurants! Ok, I have already spoken about buffet’s but the amount of restaurants you can pick from is incredible! I reckon there must be well over 1,000 restaurants in Vegas to choose from so NOBODY and I mean NOBODY can say they didn’t find at least 1 place they liked! Here is just a selection of what we ate during our week there!
  • SHOP! If you are anything like me you love any opportunity you have to do a spot of shopping. If your man is busy in the casino’s and you have a girlfriend with you go and hit the shops, on the strip alone there are 3 malls I can think of straight away for you to spend hours in. But a short taxi ride away you have the choice of 2 outlet malls to explore and spend your money (or his winnings) in!

Well, there you have it, my personal 10 things to make your Vegas trip great! As with every holiday its your personal choice and some of these wont suit everyone, but isn’t that the beauty of getting recommendations? You can pick and choose what is right for you, or maybe even try something different and you might be surprised!

Love

Emma x

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New York Adventures!

Following some kind words and likes on my facebook page, I have picked a few places that I loved visiting and thought I would share with you some suggested itinerary’s as well as any tips I have picked up on my travels. Don’t get me wrong I am not a seasoned traveller, I am by all means a novice, but I know what I know and any help when planning a holiday is always a bonus!
First on the list, the place I have been the most (4 times) New York City, as the saying goes it’s so good they named it twice. Perhaps you refer to it as the Big Apple, or the city that never sleeps? However you wish to fondly refer to the island of Manhattan, I will share with you a few tips and suggestions for itineraries for your future trip!
Flights?
On the occasions I have been to New York, I have always favoured a morning flight out there so that I land between 12-2pm. It can take anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour to get from JFK into the city, so by the time you have landed and got into the city your hotel will be open for check in. That will then allow you to drop your bags, freshen up and make sure you have everything you need to explore and gauge your bearings on your first evening in the city. I have flown to New York most frequently with Virgin/Delta, they are currently offering a 10.10am flight from Heathrow landing at JFK at 1.32pm, if I was looking to go to NYC soon this would be the flight I would want to be on. Don’t get me wrong, I have used both Newark and La Guardia airports over the years and both airports are fine and have great transport links BUT for your first trip, you want to be flying in and out of JFK.
Where To Stay?
You may chuckle, but every time I have been to NY I have stayed somewhere different, not because I haven’t found a place I really liked but because there were good deals on for when I booked. However, I have found an area that I like to stay in, although as a “seasoned” traveler to NY I would probably switch things up a bit if Matt & I went again. So the area that I feel most comfortable staying in is around 7th Avenue and 57thStreet, it’s close to Times Square but not right on top and a short walk to Central Park and also not that far from The Rockefeller Centre too – if you are lucky you might even get a room looking out onto Central Park too!
So, where have I stayed? The Salisbury Hotel, it’s on 57thstreet opposite Carngie Hall and right by a subway stop if using this method of transport is your preferred choice when in Manhattan. I have also stayed at TheWellington Hotel, it’s on 7th Avenue between 56th and 55thStreet, in both hotels I stayed room only but there was plenty of choices for breakfast close by (and no I do not mean McDonald’s!). Matt & I were really lucky at the Wellington, we had a lovely sized room high up and had views over Central Park which was gorgeous when it snowed! For my 48hr trip to NY with my parents and brother, we all stayed in 1 double double room (a room with 2 double beds) at the Crowne Plaza on Broadway – the PERFECT location for first timers who want to be in the centre of the action, next door to Hershey’s, opposite M&M world and seconds from all the action in Times Square you can’t go wrong.
If I was to go back to NY I would have no issues in staying in any of these 3 hotels mainly because I know the area and I will literally just be using them as a base and somewhere to sleep, but I would probably start to look further afield and maybe stay in Lower Manhattan or Greenwich Village to get less of a Touristy feel.
What To Do?
Is that not the most open ended question ever? What isn’t there to do in NYC it pretty much caters for anything and everything! As I mentioned earlier I am a complete novice when it comes to travelling and I am sure there will be blog posts out there that are much better than this and host wonderful itinerarys for you to take snapshots from, but this itinerary is one I have put together following my personal trips to New York and I can hand on heart say that I have done all of the things in the interary I have shared with you below – none of it is made up of places I have dreamed of visiting on Pinterest, I have pictures of me at most, if not all, of the places mentioned below!
Arrival Day!

You have just reached your hotel of choice, dumped your suitcase (because no-one unpacks!) and freshened up ready to explore! What’s first? It’s probably around 4pmish and you are starting to feel a bit peckish, head out to your local neighbourhood grill Applebee’s on 50th street between Broadway and 7th, fill up on something from the grill or the massive Nacho’s with your choice of drink be it a pepsi, milkshake or cocktail, Applebees has you covered! Once you have stuffed your faces full of yummy food it’s time to head out through Times Square to experience all the Empire StateBuilding has to see at night. It’s about a 20minute walk from Times Square to Empire State, longer if you are taking in all the sights – you can get the subway, but why go underground when there is so much to see above it! I would definitely recommend purchasing all your tickets before you go, so the money you take out there is purely fun money! Empire State is open 8am-2am, 365 days a year and costs $34 to visit the 86th floor, if you time it right and get there for sunset you will get amazing photos, however my favourite time to visit Empire State is in pitch black so you can see the lights of the city and my favourite building, The Chrysler Building, all alight.

1st Full Day

Definitely a day of choices! After getting up early, either having breakfast at your hotel or hitting one of the many cafes local to you, head to Times Square and hunt down a tour guide there are plenty on offer! So, for me a shopaholic if I had 3 nights in New York the first full day would be outlet shopping!!! Grab some bargains and shop until my feet hurt, I have been to Woodbury Common 3 times and each time I have come away with a lot of bags full of goodies, however I have also heard there is another outlet in New Jersey but I have not visited there myself. Anyway! I have done some research for you and with City Sightseeing  you can book a trip to Woodbury Common for $30 per adult, that is for a bus ride there and back and when I last visited there was multiple trips each day.

Now if shopping isn’t your thing and you want to cram in as much sightseeing as you possibly can hit up a tour guide and book yourself a 48hr hop on hop off bus tour. Its cheaper in the long run than using taxis and you get a tour guide on your journey to your destination! Based again on City Sightseeing you can buy a 48hr Bus Tour for $59 per adult, however I am sure they will probably do you cheaper rates in person. Once you have booked your tour you are going to jump on the bus and head downtown, having prebooked your ticket to Liberty Island. On the City Sightseeing downtown tour, you want to get off at stop 10 so (if you wish) you can stop by 9/11 and pay your respects to those who lost their lives, I am a firm believer that until you have been there you cannot grasp just how large the towers were and how much of an impact it had on that area. Once you have spent time there, your going to have to use your feet and start walking down Broadway and you come across the famous Charging Bull! Now once you get to Battery Park just head for the signs of Liberty Island, prices are currently $21.50 for adult access to the Crown which is what I would have love to have done if we had the opportunity when we went to Liberty Island. However, if you are on a strict budget or timeframe you can hop on the Staten Island Ferry and it goes straight past The Statue Of Liberty and its quite fun to race the ferry on the return journey – can you get off and back on before the door closes?!

Now, when Matt & I visited Liberty Island we then headed down to China Town and hung out there for a few hours, you can totally do that (your bust ticket will take you right there), or you could stop off at South Street Seaport – I have always wanted to go but never been – perhaps you can tell me all about it!
2nd Full Day

Another day full of choice as there are plenty of things to see and do in NYC and after a chat with my cousin the other day, I have realised I have only just touched the tip of the iceberg with the things I have done! So, what would I do on day 2? It’s another full day, so I would get up at the crack of dawn, have some breakfast and then head to Rockefeller centrewhilst its still early – perhaps watch Good Morning America being recorded before heading up to the Observation Tower for spectacular day time views across Manhattan. As you spot Central Park and just the grand scale of it decide how far you want to venture in as that’s your next stop! Head across to Central Park and take a nice long walk up to The Lake or further if you get the feel for it, or perhaps head back to Midtown via the Zoo but for me I would head to Serendipity 3 on East 60th for some midday desert or perhaps hit up Dylans Candy Bar which is just a couple of shops down.

As you are in the area, why not take a nice stroll down 5thAvenue hitting Bloomingdales, Tiffany’s as well as lots of other famous brands – be sure to admire St Patricks Cathedral too! Now after all this walking on your last night you want to be sure to end with a bang, so pre-book some theatre tickets or head to a restaurant in Times Square – hell you have to get drunk at least once in New York!
Final Day

For me the last day in NY is the chance to pick up souvenirs or any last minute shopping that you didn’t get before heading on your flight home to blighty!
WOW! This is a long ass post, but hopefully a helpful one to anyone who is heading out to New York anytime soon!
Stay tuned; Rome is next!
Love

Emma xx

America Is Calling……..

I had such a lovely Saturday afternoon last week with my Bestie! It was so overdue and we had such a giggle as well as a proper catch up, there is nothing like putting the world to rights with your best mate. Sometimes you just a few hours to let it out to someone who you know isn’t going to judge you and no matter what you stay will still love and support you unconditionally. Don’t get me wrong, your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/husband/wife/lover may provide you with the same, but its not quite the same as your best mate is it??

We both said to each other that we feel like we need a bit of a break, we both have really busy work schedules, not to mention avid bloggers/vloggers as well as having a social life! Sometimes you just need a break from the daily life of being an adult, because it isn’t what you thought it would be when your a teenager wishing you could be an adult. You never realise that it means working hard, saving hard, spending money on things you don’t want to, its not all a big bunch of fun! Its been such a long time since the 2 of us last went away together, in fact I think the last time the pair of us went away over night as just us girls was Morocco in 2008! Jeeez, that is 8 years ago, dont get me wrong we have had a lot of fun in those 8 years, but sometimes you just want to get away.
March 2008! Canary Islands

So we decided a trip was on the cards, how when we are trying to save for mortgages and a wedding (hers not mine!) who knows, but we wanted to do it. Neither of us were too bothered about Europe, so of course as we always do, we set our sights high and decided Chicago may be the next place for us. Now if you don’t know either of us then you have no idea how organised we both can be or the fact that as soon as we come back from 1 holiday we are instantly looking for another. I think it helps us get over the holiday blues!

April 2015! Grand Canyon!

We were both disappointed when just a long weekend in Chicago was coming back at around £850 without spending money, that was so far out of our budget, so when I tweeted Steph the next day and suggested we look for the UK, giving up our hopes of getting some goodies from Target we joked about setting up a Go Fund Me page – well if Kanye West’s Go Fund Me Page can raise $7,000 in under a month we will be headed off to Chicago no problem! Obviously, we wont do that…..would we?!

It would be so lovely to have some girly time away from the normality that is life, do some shopping, sight seeing and of course there would be lots and lots of laughing and eating! It’s totally normal to just want to have a break every so often, so many people are so busy working they forget to live a life as well. I do work hard and I like to make sure I treat myself as well, currently I am not really having the chance to do it as I am saving hard too. Don’t get me wrong I am saving for something really special, our first house, but I wish someone would call me one day and say that I have a secret stash of money somewhere that I forgot all about and in fact it covers my half of the deposit and legal fees! That way I wouldn’t need to save any more haha, whilst writing this, my terracotta money pot has just caught my eye, its probably not even half full, but rumor has it that it holds £1,000 when full of £2 coins, so maybe that could fund my trip? At this stage the temptation to crack it open is so overwhelming, but I am going to leave it be! 
I am a 100% believer in the above quote, I have never been a credit card owner and have only ever had my cars on finance. It would be so easy for both myself and Steph to book a holiday and chuck it on the credit card. However, I don’t think I could actually enjoy myself whilst I was away, knowing that I would still be paying for it when I came back, there is something about buying something or going somewhere knowing that you have done it yourself and you don’t owe anyone or need to pay anything back. Its satisfaction, that’s what it is! 
I have just realised that this post doesn’t really have much of a meaning to it, I can’t end this post saying we have booked something or that we have a plan in place for what we are going to do. All I know is that we are 2 very strong willed young women and we will do something, we are not ones to give up on something just because its hard work. If we did we wouldn’t be in the positions that we are in today. We aren’t of the generation where we believe that we are owed anything, we have both been brought up to know to value what we have got and work hard to get it.
Do you have any idea’s on how we can get to America on a budget? Maybe we are setting our sights too high with a big city? Where is your favourite place to visit? 
Love 
Emma xx

Holiday Vlogging!

As you know Matt & I were recently in Vegas for 7 days with our really good friends Steph & Dan. We had such a great holiday and I am currently in the process of making a photo book of a once in a lifetime holiday! However, as I have mentioned to you all before, Steph has her own YouTube Channel Loved By Steph and she actually did some vlogging whilst we were away. Initially I was nervous about being on one of her video’s as I will quite often go without make up or not always look my best, but after a while you forget that you are being filmed and especially after a couple of drinks, just don’t care haha! I wanted to wait until both vlogs where up before I shared them with you, so here we go – here is our lovely holiday!

Please make sure you do a “thumbs up” if you like what you see and why not even subscribe to her channel!

Love

Emma xxx

Yummy French Toast!

As usual I did quite a bit of research on both Vegas & San Francisco before we went on holiday and there was 1 place in San Francisco that kept cropping up in blog after blog and it was Boudin. One blogger that I have been following for some time seemed to really enjoy it & she is a lovely lady so I knew she wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction!

When we were in San Francisco, it got to Wednesday and I genuinely didn’t think we would get to have dinner there. I decided that I was ok with that and would mean that I would just have to come back. However I was really happy when Matt suggested having a big breakfast there on Thursday before cycling over the bridge! So we got up early on the Thursday got the Muni Bus down to fisherman’s wharf & headed over to Boudin.

I Love The Sign

I Love The Sign

As soon as I looked at what was on offer I knew I wanted to try the French Toast with seasonal fruit, Matt ordered a egg & bacon sandwich and we were told to wait at the end and our name would be called when our food was ready. So as there was also a bit of a shop to look around we had a browse! There were so many cute little bits, Matt saw a lot of chutneys and jams but because we weren’t sure if we could take them home we had to leave them there. Here are a few cute bits that I liked the look of:

My name was called and we took a seat outside, both choices looked great, personally I think mine was more appealing, what do you think?

I took the first bite and I think my exact words were “Oh My God, this is so good!’ I ate the lot! I wasn’t sure what to expect with sourdough bread, but it was so yummy! Matt really enjoyed his sandwich too and polished off the lot! It definitely filled me up! We looked round at what others had ordered  (I often like to see what I could have had!) And there was a couple eating a chowder of some description out of a sourdough bread bowl. It look steaming hot and really yummy, I do wish we could have had lunch or dinner there, but it wasn’t meant to be! Maybe if we have a return visit we can try some more that they have to offer!

If you are planning a visit to San Francisco, as well as Pacific Catch make sure Boudins is on your list of places to eat, you won’t regret it!

Love

Emma

New Favourite?!

Anyone who knows me is going to read this and think “has she lost her mind?!” BUT I am going to put it out there anyway, I think San Francisco has taken the Number 1 spot as my favourite US City! I know, NYC has always been top choice, but there was something about San Francisco that just made me really relax and enjoy it. It may have been the Pacific Sea air, the relaxed atmosphere or just the kindness of everyone that we met, but it definitely made its way into my heart. So I thought, just like with Vegas, that I would share with you a few things that we got up to!

We stayed at the Chelsea Motor Inn, which is on the corner of Lombard & Fillmore Street. I chose this location mainly because of the price and the fact that when I was looking to book it said there was free parking and we were potentially going to rent a car! Well I am glad I made the choice, the rooms were spacious and we had a great view of the bridge from our room. There have been a lot of reviews on Trip Advisor about the noise from the street, we stayed mid week, but didn’t hear a thing!

Both Matt & I are not always ones for eating at ‘regular’ resturants and like to try out where the locals eat, so on our first day whilst waiting for the Muni (best way to get around town by the way $2.25 for a ticket that lasts 90mins!), a restaurant caught my eye called Pacific Catch and one a bit further down called Noah’s New York Bagel’s, I kept a mental note and the following morning, whilst Matt was still snoozing, I did a bit of research on yelp & trip advisor to see if they were any good and we weren’t disappointed! We had a breakfast bagel in Noah’s one morning and it was a little bit of New York in San Francisco – warmed my heart a little! Now Pacific Catch, that’s a different kettle of fish entirely. We were sat, unsure where to eat, we didn’t want to go back to Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf we wanted to stay local so I reminded Matt about the restaurant I saw earlier that week and decided we would head down there. We arrived at 6.30pm on a Wednesday and it was already booming, the few tables outside were full, the tables inside were almost full, the phone was ringing off the hook! We took a seat at the counter opposite the very open kitchen and had a browse through the menu. Watching the chef’s hard at work just fueled my hunger & trying to work out what they were cooking against the menu was great fun and looking at the food being produced we were expecting to pay A LOT more than we did! We had the Cabo Calamari for starters then for mains I had the Thai Coconut Shrimp and Matt had the 3 Taco Platter, the food was incredible the service was faultless. Just sat at the counter watching the chef’s and all the locals coming in to pick up their take-away’s and having a chatter with all the staff just showed how popular it really is! If nothing else in San Francisco, eat at Pacific Catch at least once! I do have another recommendation…..but I am going to save that for later!

If you fancy a nice walk and to get to see the scenery then head down to The Ferry Building Marketplace ideally on a Tuesday or Thursday, have a mooch round the farmers market first then head inside. Once you have had some free testers and maybe even some ice-cream, go back out side and turn right & start walking towards Pier 39! The views of Coit Tower and looking out at the bay is lovely, we just took our time and enjoyed a nice walk. When you reach Pier 39, its great to have a look round and look in some unique shops maybe have a corn dog or a churro. Don’t forget those cute Sea Lions, they are noisy and a bit smelly, but when you see them all curled up with each other they look so cute!

BUT I think I had the most fun on the day we cycled over the Golden Gate Bridge, the day was lovely and warm and it made the bike ride even easier! We rented our bikes from Blazing Saddles and headed off along the bay, we stopped took plenty of pictures then headed up a hill to make a start on the trek over the Bridge! We stopped a couple of times whilst cycling across to take photo’s, when we hit Vista Point we headed down the hill into the bay then back another GIANT hill. You start to cycle through a really cute seafront neighbourhood into Sausalito, we took a break and when you looked back at the houses set into the hills it reminded me a bit of Devon especially with the sun beaming down on my back. Sausalito is such a cute, quaint little town and reminded me very much of Nashville in Indiana. We had the best ice-cream there at Lapperts – make sure you take a visit and have the Cookie Monster flavour.

There is plenty more that I could share with you, but I think that is enough for now. Feel free to drop me a message if you want any more info or have any questions, I would be more than happy to share with you all!

Love

Emma

xxxx