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

Will I Leave My Heart In San Francisco???

In just under 3 weeks I will be saying goodbye to Las Vegas and getting on a plane to San Francisco. When we were planning our trip almost 2 years ago, I was quite happy to go to Vegas for a week and come home, however Matt was the first one to say ‘No, lets go somewhere else’ it was Matt who made the decision to go to San Francisco. If I am honest, San Francsisco has never been somewhere that I wanted to visit there was just nothing that really appealed to me, however Matt knew exactly what he wanted to do! So I thought why not show you some of the things we are hoping to do:

Golden Gate Bridge

When someone says ‘San Francisco’ to you, one of the first images that comes into your mind is that red suspension bridge (I’m still not sure why its called the Golden Gate Bridge when its red!). So of course this is definitely something we plan on seeing, we have gone over various different scenario’s of how we plan to go over the bridge. Initially Matt wanted to hire a convertible and drive across, we then discussed walking across or at least 1/2 way. Then when I was doing some research online, a lot of recommendations were pointing towards cycling across the bridge, you can rent a bike, cycle across stop off at vista point to take some snaps then cycle on a bit further into Sausalito have some lunch and a look around the shops before taking a ferry back to San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Ride A Cable Car

San Francisco is famous for its cable cars, so this is definitely a must whilst we are out there. We may even take a trip to the Cable Car Museum! I love the pictures that you see of the cable cars going up and down the steep hills, I know for sure I wouldn’t fancy walking up them, so a cable car is for sure the way to go!

Ferry Building Marketplace

So this place didn’t come on my radar until a couple of weeks ago, I have been reading about the farmers market in blogs and people buying some yummy goodies and heading off for a picnic. I think it sounds like a lovely idea, the farmers market is on Tuesday’s & Thursday’s, so perhaps we will head down there the day before we leave get some yummy food and head to a park and just watch the world go by!

Looks Beautiful!

Looks Beautiful!

Food Truck Foodies!

So anyone that knows me and Matt knows that we are both BIG food lovers! When we went to NY for Matt’s 21st one of the things he really wanted to do was to eat Chinese out of a box, unfortunately we didn’t quite manage it, but we did go to a Chinese deli and order food which was just done by guessing as no-one spoken any English and we sat in a park in minus degrees with massive coats on eating Chinese food!

A fellow blogger Las has been tweeting and blogging about Food Trucks in Houston (http://www.lasandcolgotexan.com/things-to-do-in-houston) and it really got the foodie in me excited, so I did a bit of looking and found a website called Off The Grid, based in San Francisco it shows you where all the food trucks are and what food trucks are there. I am going to keep an eye on it and I have started following them on twitter as well so I can track them down!

Those are just a few bits we have planned, I will make sure I do some blogging when I get back of places we have been and things we have seen! I wouldn’t want you all to miss out!

In the mean time, if you have any recommendations, please leave a comment below!

Emma xxx

Pro Vs Con – MOA

I really want to go to the Mall of America…….like REALLY want to go! It is like the biggest shopping mall EVER, it is so big that it has a theme park in there!

Now, I love to shop, like love it! I am an old school shopper, I prefer to go in to a clothes shop take 100 things into the fitting room and try stuff on, I cant be doing with all this online shopping, sending it back business. If I am shopping I want to see and feel what I am buying, a picture on a screen just doesn’t do anything justice. I will be honest with you, Mall of America wasn’t on my radar until about 2 years ago, when my godparents mentioned it, thinking it could be somewhere we could have visited whilst we were over last year. I looked online and straight away I knew I had to go there one day!

It may be sad, but I pretty much even know where I want to stay if I was to eventually get my butt there! It’s the cost that scares me slightly, I decided earlier this week that I wanted to go around my birthday next year and maybe team it up with a quick visit to my godparents in Indiana.

I had a look online and for a 3night stay at Radisson Blu Hotel and flights (including an internal one to IN) would cost approx. £937 (based on 2 people sharing) and when you are trying to save for a mortgage deposit, that is just over 1 months’ worth of saving……can I really give up potentially 2 months’ worth of savings (you can’t forget spending money!). So I did what all sensible people do and did a Pro Vs Con list!

PRO CON
Get to see another state in USA Looking at spending at least £2k
Potentially won’t be able to afford  to travel a lot when I move out Who will come with me? It’s a lot of money to ask someone to spend
Get to see my godparents Cost implement!
I have wanted to go to MOA for a while It’s just a shopping mall and a theme park!
Something else off my bucket list Can I really justify spending £2k of a holiday and not in my savings???

So as you can see the biggest con is the money aspect, I am really torn on this one right now and not too sure what the outcome will be.

Emma xxx

The Next Big Adventure

Myself and Matt last had an adventure to Rome in August last year for a long weekend which was fantastic! I was really apprehensive at first after not really enjoying Venice, but they are 2 completely different cities and I LOVED Rome and would definitely want to go back, not to do touristy things (as we did most of that) but just to relax and soak up the culture and people watch!

Fun In Rome

Fun In Rome

Our next big adventure is in April with my best friend and her partner, we are heading out to Vegas for a week then going to San Francisco for a few nights whilst they go to LA. I have been doing some research of things to do in San Fran and also reading up on some blogs and chatting to people that have already been. I have put together a Wish List of things for us to do on our next adventure and I wanted to share with you all!

FOOD!

So with everything I read, people are raving about the seafood, I am not a big fish lover, but I am not adverse to trying new things. I have also been reading about sourdough bread, ice-cream and burritos! So here are a few places I plan on eating at!

First stop Boudins Bistro, this place has been recommended by 2 different people so for me that straight away says we need to make a pit stop there! It looks to be right by Pier 39 and there is also a Museum and a Demonstration Bakery, the menu looks amazing and they seem to be the “Kings Of Sourdough!”

It Just Looks Yummy!

It Just Looks Yummy!

I cant go somewhere new and not try out some Ice-Cream, next on the list is Bi-Rite Creamery, who like to use local produce and as such their ‘Balsamic Strawberry’ is only available in the Summer. For locals that love this place the fact that flavours come and go dependent on the season, must make their trip there even more exciting! I have been taking a look at the Ice-Cream flavours and I have to say Banana Fudge Ripple and Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle and Milk Chocolate Pieces have definitely caught my eye!

Hmmmm Ice-Cream!

Hmmmm Ice-Cream!

Things To Do

The Golden Gate Bridge, do you walk it, cycle it, drive it or fly it? So many options and every option people seem to love! My fella wants to drive it, but I like the sound of cycling over it, taking some snaps of the bridge at Vista Point, then heading onto Sausalito take a look round the small town, grab a bite to eat and head back to San Fran on the ferry!

I Hope Its Not Too Foggy When We Visit!

I Hope Its Not Too Foggy When We Visit!

One of the main reasons Matt picked San Fran was because he wants to go to Alcatraz, I have been doing some research and one of the best tours to do is the night tour, but unfortunately it is only on Thurs-Mon and its going to be too tight to visit on the Monday evening so we will have to settle for a day tour!

Imagine Walking Through There At Night!

Imagine Walking Through There At Night!

So far, apart from go on a Tram, these are the only real things we have set out that we definitely want to do! So if you have any ideas or suggestions of places to go, things to see, where is best to eat then please please please comment below and help me out!

Love

Emma

xxxx

Review Of 2014

Wow, I can’t believe we are already in 2015! 2014 went super quick and soo much happened. I went a week without technology, had & threw up afternoon tea at The Ritz, saw a fashion show at London Fashion Week, Milked A Cow, went on a road trip to Ohio, went to a Rodeo in Ohio (in a maxi dress!), had a photo shoot with my mum, went on a spa weekend with Hayley and finally made my own Christmas cards!

As well as all of that I had 2 holidays, brought a new car, broke my foot, went to the grand national, reunited with old friends, lost new friends and caught lightening bugs in America. To say it has been a quiet year would be a bit of an understatement. However, for some reason whenever anyone says to me “oh what have you been up to?” I never seem have much to report back, which in actual fact is a LIE!

I cant really say what my favourite thing of 2014 was as I have a lot of happy memories and ones that I will treasure forever. There have been some sad times as well, Matt & I know people that have ended relationships, lost family members and experienced a lot of sadness this year.

I am really excited to see what 2015 has in store for me, I know that one thing is for sure I am fly to VEGAS in April! I cannot wait, I am sooo excited! I have also started number 24 – its a bit hard to find something to take a picture of everyday, but I am excited to look back on them in a years time! There are 2 more things that I would like to cross of this year, but I am going to keep them for myself and surprise you all when I announce them! People often ask each other, what New Year’s resolutions they are making; I cant help but feel that you are setting yourself up for failure, especially if they are diet or fitness related. I have made 3 resolutions for this year, but these are things I started doing at the beginning of December:

Be Kinder To Myself – dont put too much pressure on myself to hit certain goals, just enjoy life

Make More Effort With Those That Make The Effort With Me – I am not great at texting people back or calling people, but I am concious that I dont want to lose friendships that I have, so I am going to make the effort more, especially with those that always make an effort to reach out to me.

Save At Least 12k By The End Of The Year – I already have about a 3rd of this saved, so its a reasonable goal, but one that I want to achieve to get my own home!

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? what were your favourite things of 2014?

xxxx