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

Blogging To Christmas Part II

Part 2…….Christmas Movies

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas movie? Sitting by the tree and watching a classic on the TV! I was at the Christmas Ideal Home Show the other week and as we were walking round there was a group of people gathered on some sofa’a and bean bags, I wasn’t sure why at first, but as we walked past they were all sat watching Miracle On 34th Street! All of them, from young kids to grown men were completely engrossed in the movie & as we walked past, I felt comforted by the music and the section of the film as it’s one that I have watched as a young girl. That’s the thing with Christmas movies, they all start to eventually have a memory to them! Now trying to work out what are my favourites is a bit difficult, but I have listed a few that I would defiantly recommend watching with a hot chocolate!

Elf

Well why not! It’s one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, always puts a smile on my face. This has to be one of my favorite parts

The Santa Clause (and you have to watch ALL 3)

For me Tim Allen IS Father Christmas, I love all 3 films and I have to watch all 3 before Christmas as well.

The Polar Express

I have asked a few people about this movie and always get mixed reviews! I love the believing aspect behind this film, it is always something that my dad has drummed into myself and my brother, especially as there is 9 years between us, I had to keep believing because of my little brother when I stopped believing. So if your little ones are at the age where they are questioning is “he” real? Sit them down in front of this and I think it will help install 1 more year of magic!

Love Actually

Because LOVE is important at this time of year and everyone loves a rom-com that’s based around Christmas!

It’s A Wonderful Life

For as long as I can remember my dad has watched this every year when he is writing his Christmas cards. Mum & I always tease him because its an old black and white film, but without walking in the house and hearing this film on it wouldn’t be Christmas!

White Christmas

I only watched this film for the first time about 4 years ago, on Christmas Eve before going to church (more on that in another post!)So now I have to watch it every Christmas Eve before going to Church!

I hope this has given you some idea’s on movies to watch, perhaps there might even be some that you haven’t seen and are thinking you might give them a watch! I promise, you wont be disappointed!

Revisiting Number 20

20. Experience Christmas In New York

As you know when I came back from New York this year, I was in 2 minds as to whether I wanted to go back again, I felt that I had done everything I wanted to do in new York and that the only reason I wanted to go back is to see the Rockefeller Tree at Christmas. Now it got me thinking, is that a good enough reason to spend potentially £800+ for a long weekend in New York?? Each time I ask that question, I have 2 little people on each shoulder, 1 saying “yeah go for it, you only live once” and the other says “ you have been to New York 4 times now, do you really need to go again?!” Even now as I am writing this I am thinking I am going to keep it in the list! But it’s a no from me, yes I want to travel, but I don’t want to keep going back to the same place all the time.

20. Have A Make Over At A Makeup Counter & Buy The Right Make Up For Me.

So this is a bit of an unusual one, I am not a big make up wearer and the make-up I do have has been recommended to me by Steph (My Bestie). So I know I wear good products and I pretty much can make a bottle of foundation last a year. But I have no clue what I am doing, I don’t know how to work out what the right colour is for me, I don’t know what brushes to buy, what eye shadow will compliment my eyes and my skin tone. Don’t even get me started on what Primer is and when is the best time to apply it. When I put make up, it’s literally foundation bit of powder, bronzer or blush, eye liner, maybe some eye shadow and then mascara – and that’s if I am going out! If it’s just a normal day, I chuck on some mascara and that’s me done! But I would really like to have a box full of make-up that I know A) how to apply & B) suits me! So I am going to do some research on quality make up brands that you can find in department stores or Boots that offer make up sessions etc. There are 2 that have caught my eye so far, MAC and Benefit, I don’t know too much about them so I am going to do a bit of research and see what I can find out.

The Summer Without You

I have read all books that Karen Swan has written so far, so when I saw on twitter that she was penning a new book and I knew I had to read it.

I downloaded The Summer Without You pretty much the day it was released with the plan that I would read it whilst I was in the states, it didn’t happen then I took my kindle to Rome and I didn’t read whilst I was there! So finally last week, whilst staying at Matt’s and the rain was pouring down I curled up on the sofa with my kindle and got stuck in.

The book starts off and you are bang straight into the midst of a mid twenties long term relationship and Matt has just announced he wants a “Pause” in their relationship to allow him to go travelling and actually miss Ro. Straight away I connected with Ro and thought “what, how dare he just give in on the relationship” and I knew then I was going to like this book. I wont lie after initially connecting with the book, it took me a while to work out where the story line was going, but in the midst of Ro moving to the Hamptons and her relationship with her housemates and the growth of her business was enticing me into the story. Something kept niggling me, what was the point in Ted’s character? Why did he keep coming back into the story? I think I became frustrated with myself because I couldn’t work out where the story was going, then Ro did a photo shoot with Ted’s kids and I decided that night I was finishing the book, I couldn’t put it down and needed know what was happening.

I have to admit, when Matt turned up and the ring was on the table my heart was screaming “NOOOO don’t do it Ro!” and I have to say the last few pages I kind of gave up and then it ended and I just loved the way it all came together and I didn’t want it to end…I wanted more, which is the same with all of Karen’s books!

Whilst I know this review is short and sweet, I don’t want to give the story line away I want you to download/buy/loan the book and just fall in love with the book! Whilst your at it get all her other books – they are fantastic, but the only problem is, every time I want to know what happens after!

the-summer-without-you

Making Memories

About a year ago I made up 2 photo books of mine and Matts holidays and whilst I was away in the states I thought what a brilliant momento to make of our family holiday.

So once I was home and settled, I went onto the website for PhotoBox and was pleased to see that there was a 40% off offer for photo books, so I knew now was the time to place my order.

I started uploading my photos that I wanted in the book & my laptop crashed and I lost everything I had been doing, I was gutted & gave up. Not one to be defeated, I cam home from work the next day logged on and started all over again, saving every step that I did.

The process is really easy & the website is really easy to use, the hardest part is deciding what style of book, what colour pages, what layout for the photos & what fonts you want to use. If you don’t want to be as fussy as me you can push a button and it automatically does it all for you.

photobox web

Both myself and mum mum took over 1,000 each, so the original 26 page book I selected wasn’t big enough, I kept added 10 pages at a time and ended up with 86 in total! I placed my order and with 40% off it came to £56 with standard delivery. I have the PhotoBox app on my phone so kept track on my order. I placed the order on 16th, it was dispatched on 21st and arrived on 23rd! I couldn’t believe it.

I wasn’t disappointed when I opened the box that it came in, it was wrapped with a thick cardboard insert to keep it straight in the box as well. The quality of the product it excellent, every photo is clear and they all fit perfectly on the pages and all the text is in the right places.

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Everyone has been complimenting my photo book and asking where I have got it done, I have to say I really love the product and there is sooo many options on their website of personalized things to make. I would definitely be a return customer, there are lots of things on there that would make neat Christmas presents too!

All of the above views are my own & I am in now way affiliated with Photobox

New York Or Texas??

Since I have come back from holiday, I have been thinking about New York and if I really want to go again just to see some Christmas Lights and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, now I know some of you will be screaming at your screens saying “yes, go!” and others will be thinking “new York – again?!” and I have to say I am one of the latter….

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE New York, every time I have been I have seen different things, but I feel like I am done and need to explore else where. On bucket list is number 20 is Experience Christmas In New York I am thinking about changing it to:

Have Fun In Texas

I have been wanting to go to Texas sometime now and several times I have written up a list of things to do and even blogged about it in my Sunday Wunderlust blogs earlier this year….. https://butterflybucketlist.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/sunday-wanderlust-part-ii/ Its just getting there and doing it that seems to be a problem. Realistically I need to start saving properly to move out, and with the next 3 holidays booked and paid for, I am thinking about celebrating my 30th in Texas?

What do you think?? Why not cast your vote in a comment below:

New York Or Texas???

Em xxx

I’m Baaccck!

Good Evening Y’All!

Its been a while since I have posted on here and I would normally apologise, but I have been enjoying myself on holiday and recovering from my holiday then partying at the annual family party! I have crossed 2 things off my bucket list whilst I was gone, booked to do another & thought about getting rid of something else on the list!

Its all a bit crazy, but its been a good 3ish weeks away from blogging and I have had great fun! There are lots of things to share with you, but I think I will start off by sharing some photo’s from our holiday – there are over 2,000 and I don’t think you want to see them all!

In New York – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152736998341055.1073741838.501516054&type=1&l=f903de8dd5

In Indiana – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152737025441055.1073741839.501516054&type=1&l=32b85c16bd

I have to say I brought ALOT on holiday, some stuff for me & some stuff for others – I think I might do a blog post of all the things I have got that might be interesting to you! I will also admit that I gain 8lb whilst on holiday – I’m not ashamed to share it as I really let go and enjoyed it and made the most of the good food. I am back on plan now and trying to get in shape for Rome in August and my next adventure in April next year!

Well have fun looking at the photos and stay tuned for posts about the holiday within the next few days!

Love

Emma xxx