Happy 4th Of July

6 years ago I was sat in Carmel Indiana watching an independence day parade before going to a demolition derby and fireworks. I have such fond memories of celebrating July 4th and if I could spend every year in America celebrating I would. I hope one day Matt & I can take our little bear out there to celebrate so she can enjoy all the fun things – its such a shame we don’t have any celebrations like that in England.

Anyway! I thought this would be a great chance to dig out the photo album and reminisce of memories of all of my trips to the states over the years.

I have made so many great memories, I can’t wait to make more over the years, there are still so many places I can’t wait to explore in America!

Where are your favourite places to visit & where would you recommend? You can check out all my blogs of America by clicking here!

Emma x

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

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

Shopping Haul!

This is, I think one of the first posts that I have done like this, so if you would like to see more or less of them PLEASE let me know 🙂

Me & my bestie that we went to the states with are big shoppers, so its no surprise that we put aside some time for us to just shop. I am also really lucky that Matt isn’t opposed to shopping either so we visited the outlets in Vegas and also some shopping in San Francisco! Although, I don’t think I came back with as much as I thought I would, but I still managed to spend all my money!

First up, clothes. Don’t panic I wont show you EVERYTHING, but just some bits that I think you will like!

Maxi Dress – From Forever 21! I love Forever 21, it took me a while to find something but this will be perfect for the summer!

Hooters Vest – Of course from the Hooters Hotel! My mum unfortunately turned my white one blue in the wash! Wont be happening with a Black one!

Las Vegas Vest – From PINK – was about $25 as its specific to the Vegas stores, but I thought it would be a perfect momento from the holiday and nice to chill in around the house

Mint Green Top – Ok this photographed really badly, but I think it is possibly my favourite item of clothing that I cam back with. Its beautiful in colour and looks great on. Its from Aeropostale and was about $10!

Blue Jumper – Of course from PINK! I love their jumpers and I really wanted a mint green one, but its just felt really solid (if that is even the right word!) when I tried it on. This one has almost like a comfy towel feel inside and is so comfy & was in the sale (it cost the same as my Las Vegas Vest!)

Next Stop! Cosmetics!

Victoria’s Secret – Pure Seduction & Coconut Passion Eau Du Toilette. I love Coconut Passion, it reminds me of summer everytime I wear it even in the winter! Pure Seduction is new for me, but I loved the scent and Matt liked it too which is a plus!

Revlon Polish – Gorgeous Baby Pink (Cardshark) and Diamond Top Coat. I got these in Target, they were on special offer 2 for $10

Essie Polish – I have been wanting a ‘barely there’ pink polish for a while now and this one definitely fitted the bill! I also seem to have a think about Mint Green at the moment & fell in love with the green the minute I saw it! The colours are Mademoiselle (pink) and Fashion Playground (Green).

EOS Lipbalm – Ok I did a really stupid thing, I ditched the packaging in Vegas! I have had a hunt online and the flavours are Coconut Milk, Vanilla Mint & Pomegrante Raspberry! I love them and always have one on my desk and one in my handbag!

YSL Black Opium – This perfume caught my eye when I was in Essex with my Aunty last year and was on my Christmas List! Unfortunately Santa didn’t manage to fit it in my stocking and I almost didn’t purchase this in duty free, but Matt talked me into it and I don’t regret it either. Its a very “grown up” scent for me, but each time I wear it I love it even more!

Bath & Body Works – They deserve their own section!

I first found out about Bath & Body Works through my bestie and I am glad she introduced me as I am now hooked! I came back with quite a bit, but tried to cull my list this time round! I did pick up a Car Smelly but I put it it back, I am thinking about asking my Godparents to pick me one up and bring it over when they are here in July.

I have 3 other big purchases that I would like to share with you, but I am going to keep them under wraps for another post!

Don’t forget, if you like what you read let me know and I will post more hauls!

Love

Emma xxx