Tag Archives: New York

A Big Apple birthday celebration

10153675_10151979965082617_606819510619480673_nLast Friday, my parents and I jetted off to New York for a week of celebrations for my mum’s 50th birthday and for a chance to catch up with my sister who is studying fashion over there at the moment. It was an amazing trip – I still can’t believe how much we packed in and it certainly hasn’t sunk in that I’m back home – and a fitting celebration for my mum’s birthday! We started the celebrations early with presents and cake on the Thursday night as a surprise for mum before we set off in the early hours to Heathrow. She was spoilt with lots of lovely presents including jewellery, a pair of Ray Bans and lots of other treats, but the best present had to be the smallest one – a birthday badge I got for her which helped us out with lots of lovely freebies over the week!

984034_10151969151407617_2146575378_nAt the airport we continued the celebrations with a gorgeous breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and Prosecco, which definitely got us in the holiday mood and helped stave off the boredom when we ended up being early for our flight. Didn’t stop us spending a fortune on make-up and perfume in Duty Free though! The flight was great and with mum wearing her birthday badge we were treated to warm chocolate chip cookies from first class and constant top ups of wine and coffee – star treatment!

After the flight, we were excited to arrive in the Big Apple and to see the Manhattan skyline, we hopped in a taxi and arrived at the hotel where were greeted by the lovely chap on the front desk who straight away spotted mum’s badge and promptly went about reorganising the rooms so that we were all upgraded – mum and dad to a Queen-size room with a great view, while I was a few floors down in a King-size. What a treat! The rooms were lush and it was really lovely that he went to such lengths to treat mum for her birthday – more than you would ever get in the UK!

10015005_10151979964962617_1079715113244753862_nAn hour later we were joined by my sister who had come straight from college with a gorgeous Red Velvet birthday cake for mum – I tell you it was absolutely divine! The best Red Velvet cake I have ever tried. And mum was so surprised when she opened the hotel room to find us waiting to sing her Happy Birthday with cake and more Prosecco! We just had to dive into the cake there and then while we had a catch-up, then a bit later headed out to Times Square for dinner.

The birthday celebrations continued all week but we decided the birthday meal was to take place in our favourite restaurant in Little Italy – we have returned on four holidays in a row now because it is just so good! Mum finally got the incredible carbonara she had been craving, along with a nice glass of red wine. Here’s the birthday girl loving life in the restaurant – 50 years young!

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It’s not always about the destination, sometimes it’s more about the journey!

8103847155_1414a0ec7b_oI love to travel. Simple as. I’ve been lucky and my parents also love to travel across the globe which means I’ve been going on incredible holidays since I was just a baby. Despite this, the excitement of actually travelling never seems to go away, I get just as excited about the journey to my destination as I do about arriving and exploring. Clue is in the name, travelling is a big part of the travel experience, whether it is a road trip with your friends, settling in for a seven-hour flight with an in-flight movie, or catching the Eurostar. It’s that part that gives you the opportunity to daydream about the sights you will be seeing, the food you will be eating and the people you will meet over the coming days.

12886309_4f46dd7bb6_oThe journey to your destination is one part that always keeps the magic of travelling alive for me, I love any kind of travel and am usually the driver if my friends and I head to a festival or away for the weekend. I also love train journeys when combined with a good soundtrack, but it is plane journeys that really get me excited. I love airports and the way everything seems to be part of another world, a world where convenience rules and beyond the gate there are people who have arrived from all parts of the globe and about to set out on the next leg of their trip. It is exciting, a good opportunity to stock up on make-up and other treats in duty free, but also for one of my favourite travelling pastimes – people-watching! I find it endlessly fascinating to watch couples, groups and solo travellers going about their business in Departures and it certainly helps to pass the time for me after my dad insists we arrive hours before we are due to fly!

5336454900_d56e3cef08_bI’ve got travel on the brain this week because in just a few short days, I will be boarding a plane to New York with my parents. Our first family holiday in ages, we are heading out on my mum’s 50th birthday to visit my sister, who is already out there studying a semester abroad. This is the fourth time we will have been and I am more excited than ever before because now we have covered all of the usual sights and will have more of an opportunity to explore the smaller areas and make discoveries of incredible things, with the guidance of both our own experiences of previous visits and my sister’s top tips for where to go. I can’t wait to explore and to experience this incredible city once again and will be capturing the whole thing for you to read and check out my pictures when I return. Before I go, we’re having a few days of travel-oriented posts which I hope you will enjoy.

Also, if you have any recommendations for things to see/do/eat on my trip, please do share below!

Start spreading the news… I wish I were leaving today!

Me and Laura in Central Park on Christmas Day

Me and Laura in Central Park on Christmas Day

I think it’s about time I started writing about my plans for the year, and what better to start with than where I’m headed in around eight weeks time – I’m going back to New York City baby!

I’m so unbelievably excited now that it has sunk in that I’m going and can’t wait to head over there with my parents to visit my younger sister, Laura, while she is over there studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology for a semester. We’re actually flying out on my mum’s 50th birthday so she is very excited that she will be in NYC by tea time – perfect for a big fat juicy steak! My parents booked the trip a couple of weeks ago, but with everything going on I just haven’t really had the head space to thinking about or register that we are actually going, so here is a post to show my appreciation.

The Statue of Liberty, we didn't get the boat out to Staten Island on this visit but have previously

The Statue of Liberty, we didn’t get the boat out to Staten Island on this visit but have previously

As a family, we have been to New York three times before, twice flying out on Christmas Day and once in the October half term. All were amazing and we have spent a lot of time there walking around the city, checking out the sights, eating A LOT of amazing food and of course, shopping! We’ve been to the United Nations, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Trump Towers, Times Square, Ground Zero and the building sight that followed, plus countless other must-sees. We’ve been to amazing broadway shows such as Mamma Mia and The Phantom of the Opera. I’ve eaten more cows than I can count in steak and burgers, fajitas, pancakes, cheesecake and the rest – all delicious!

I’ve had the most amazing time of previous visits, but am looking forward to doing completely different things this time – would love to check out the markets and try some sushi, I must go back to Little Italy, but would love to check out a cabaret show. I would also love to go to the Central Park Zoo.

Does anyone have any suggestions for things to check out that I might not have already covered? Any hidden gems you’d like to share?

Me and Mum trying out American hot dogs

Me and Mum trying out American hot dogs

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Banksy Better Out Than In map: see where the street artist has painted

Banksy Better Out Than In map: see where the street artist has painted

British street artist Banksy is keeping New Yorkers on their toes this October with a surprise “entire show” cropping up on the streets of their city. The exhibition, of sorts, is called Better Out Than In. Its first installation appeared near Manhattan’s Chinatown on Tuesday, October 1, and depicted two boys with a spray can. Amazing, poignant and powerful work by a contemporary artist who has created some very interesting pieces that silently comment on modern-day society by subverting our expectations.