The latest investment : Chanel

For many the word Chanel brings many different thoughts, classic, timeless, quilted, and even Karl Largerfeld. It was not so long ago that I used to believe that I was too young for a Chanel, my mum and aunt were more likely to be seen with with one, obviously this is not the case. Perhaps I thought it was way too out of reach for me, a much higher price point than any other bag I had ever bought before. From a young age my mum and aunt have been been my fashion influencers if you like. I remember the first Louis Vuitton which entered our house is one which I will never forget and the packaging opening and the dust bag uncovering the screams of excitement. Once I began going shopping with mum and seeing the service and packaging…my addiction started. Making a luxury purchase is just that, luxury. It’s not one that is done everyday and when I do it, it’s really special. Believe it or not I once started with a Burberry pochette when I was 16, more than 10 years ago. The collection has grown from there. I’ve discovered new designers along the way like Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Gucci, YSL but Chanel had always remained the pinnacle. 

Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy, when I was in Heathrow Terminal 3 earlier in the year and spotted a Chanel, I had a quick browse but made no purchases. Afterwards mum spouted some sh*t about how it wasn’t the right time, I was changing the kitchen…blah blah blah….but it played on my mind. She talked me down that time but I couldn’t be talked out of it this time. 

A couple of weeks ago, I made the longing decision and took the plunge to buy a Chanel. I have been thinking about this for a while, as many of you know I travel with work, and when a trip to the states flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 popped up, I began to think of my next purchase. Terminal 5 doesn’t stock core Chanel stock so I knew the 2.55 was out of the question. To make the first step I would have to start smaller. I wanted something small and classic. TaaDaa…the Classic Quilted Wallet on Chain was the perfect choice to start, well classic was in the title, how could I say no. It is a versatile bag, that is surprisingly deceptive, it can be worn as a clutch, cross body bag or the chain doubled up for an evening bag. It’s much bigger than I first thought. It fits in all your everyday essentials, I can easily fit my phone, lipstick, concealer & sunglasses as well as money and cards. There are 6 credit card slots with a zip pouch for coins. Not to mention the secret long compartment in the opening flap! There is also a small pocket on the back of the bag. Albeit, I’m not able to keep my 6 lipsticks and diary that I have in my normal day to day bag but for this I am willing to make that sacrifice.

Now what colour. Lots of people choose black but I have a number of black bags so I needed something that would do with navy, I really wanted nude but was happy to settle for navy. Hardware, if nude it had to be gold by if navy it had to be silver. 

In the end, as you can see, the nude wasn’t available and as I have learnt from Chanel, taking what’s available is a good choice. Lamb skin and calfskin is a decision to be made before you arrive. Lamb skin is the classic soft Chanel leather, but it does mark very easily. The calf skin is a much more durable leather but it is grainy. I could live with grainy leather, as I know I need a tough bag to deal with my clumsy ways. From first sight, I was in love, but really I was rushing for my flight so I was trying to act cool, despite the fact I was sweating with both excitement and nerves that I may miss my flight. 

Now on to pricing, some of you may be wondering why I keep mentioning Heathrow Terminal 5, that’s because you get the bag duty free there…my own justification to buy it. Brag my Bag is the best place to find out prices about Chanel items, whatever it is you intend to buy and it’s spot on. Chanel website leaves much to be desired but then that is the allure, the desire. 

No matter what, like all my bags, they are an investment…or so I keep telling Chris. Even I’ve surprised myself just how much use I’ve got from it, dinners out, runs to Tesco, even a walk in the park with Stormont (no poo bags were added to the harm the Chanel in this walk!). It has been worth the saving for the short lived splurge. The price of these bags are only going to continue to increase so choose life and go and buy the Chanel. 

Lashings of Love, 

K xo

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Travel | Overcoming Jet Lag

After just returning from a trip, I am beginning to feel back to normal. I spent the week on the west coast of America, 8 hours behind my normal time zone. Travelling west seems to be much easier, as I just head to bed earlier and walk up earlier but when I’m away that’s fine, I spent most early mornings out for walks or runs to prevent tossing and turning. Travelling east long haul to come back home can be tough and in the beginning I found it tough, much more difficult than my more experienced and well travelled colleagues. Honestly I found it tough to bounce back to home time without being completely exhausted but I have come up with a few tricks to shake myself out of it. 

Prepare before you go

Make sure your home is ready for your return. Clean, tidy and ready for you to relax. Coming home to a clean and tidy house makes it easier to get on with unpacking and getting the boring return home tasks done. 

Before you leave pack your flight bag to make sure you have your cleanser, moisturiser and tooth brush to run through as normal of a night time routine for you as possible. I always like to travel with no make up on so my skin is as clean and moisturised as possible with the rubbish air conditioning my skin dries out so quickly. 

Night flights are your best friend 

Use the flight to get rested as much as you can. Night time flights usually serve dinner and drinks before dimming the lights but I’m well prepared and have eaten in the airport. That means more time for shut eye. I always bring a eye mask, ear plugs and cosy clothes so I’m nice and warm and get relaxed as quick as possible. 

I don’t really enjoy flying but I’ll be the first to say that a sleeping tablet has revolutionised my long haul travel. Now I use the term sleeping tablet loosely, I use a melatonin supplement, which is the natural hormone that your body produces to make you feel tired and fall asleep. It’s great for travel to get you over to sleep on a flight. Realistically sometimes flights are full and there are no spare seats and sometimes you don’t even get a window seat. 

Drink Lots

Try and drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated throughout your travels. Ideally in the airport so your not up and down through the flight which is your vital sleeping time and if your on a window can be awkward to get in and out. I would avoid alcohol as much as possible, it often dehydrates and gives me lots of energy. 

Eat Regularly 

When it get home it’s important to eat at regular times. Get up and have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on what time your flight is it’s important to eat to ensure you get back on schedule. Let’s face it though, airplane food is rubbish. The choice of chicken curry and pasta really seems to get boring. They are carbohydrate rich which I think makes me lethargic and really full.  This is perfect for breakfast but for other meals throughout the day it just doesn’t suit me. Go grab a tasty meal in the airport when you land if you have a transfer or head to a local eatery if your at home. 

Keep Busy

Once you land and arrive on home ground try and keep yourself busy. It’s easy to sit on the sofa and fall asleep quickly (I’ve honestly done this more than once) but it really makes things worse. By doing that I can’t sleep at night, then could easily sleep all day. As soon as I get in I put a wash on (or Chris is more likely to do that) and then I’ll go for a nice long shower to wash my hair and freshen up. This helps me waken up and feel ready for the rest of the day. I’ll tend to go for lunch or dinner and walk Piper getting as much fresh air as I can to stay away until it’s night time and I’m ready for bed. 

Set Alarms

If you have stayed awake your first day home, you’re winning. Now getting up at a regular time will also get you back on track. I always have a lazy day around the house in sweats the next day always give me time to catch up on how tired I am from the night before. 

Travelling is one of my favourite things so jet lag is just an uncomfortable result of travelling so far to see these amazing things in the world. I’ve seen times where I’m unreasonably grumpy as a result of having to do all these things but in the long run, I know it’s worth it. 

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Food | Simple Lemon Posset

Since the installation of our new kitchen we really can think of nothing better than hosting our friends and family for lunch or dinner. Unfortunately, I’m not a great cook but fortunately Chris is an excellent cook so I count my blessings. I don’t like to leave everything up to him so I always try to contribute and other than buying something pre made and with me being a sweet tooth, I thought I would give this recipe a try for lemon posset.

I began by doing a trial and error with Chris and a few of  my friends to make the necessary tweaks but I think I have it down to a fine art now. From someone who has come from a background of fussy eating and minimal cooking, it can be scary cooking for people as you wait and watch their faces to gauge their reaction. I always just want to impress. One of the things I love most about cooking now is how individual I can make it. Some would even say my confidence is growing and I’m getting a little more experimental.

It takes 15 minutes to make and only has 3 ingredients…couldn’t get much more simple than that. This serves 4 people but it’s easy to double or even triple for as many people you need.

Ingredients
  • Double Cream (300ml)
  • Caster Sugar (75g)
  • 1 1/2 Lemon Juiced
Instructions
  1. Juice the lemon and leave this at the side whilst you prepare the other 2 ingredients.

  2. Put all the double cream and caster sugar into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer whilst stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the saucepan – it can turn into a cream volcano when it boils so be sure to not have the cooker on to full heat.

  3. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice to the boiled cream and sugar mixture and stir in well.

  4. Pour the mixture into individual dishes, I used ramekins which I collected from one too many GU puddings but you could use a shot glass or wine glasses – it is very rich so a smaller serving is better and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

    Decorate with berries and you can also serve with shortbread, but I haven’t got as far as making my own shortbread yet…let’s just say that my confidence just isn’t there yet. 

    Have fun! This is the perfect simple summer pudding to impress. 

    Lashings of Love,

K xo

Happy 2nd Birthday 

So today I’m celebrating the Little Lash Room turning 2, yes 2! The first year was filled with twists and turns and I learnt so much along the way. I suppose this year I feel like I’ve got my sh*t together and let’s face it, things come better in twos.

Why lashing? 

This is without a shadow of doubt the most frequently asked question. When girls first uncover that lashing is not my full time job they are immediately inquisitive, and understandably so. A couple of years ago I wanted to do something just for myself, prove to myself that I can do just about anything I set my mind to. I had just finished my masters degree which I had been studying part time for 3 years so I had a lot more time on my hands so couldn’t just sit down. I had been getting eyelash extensions for a while and became obsessed with them, never having them off. I wasn’t happy in my last job and really that was the push to make me go for it, something new. I took the plunge. I went for the training and quickly became addicted to my new craft. Looking back now, I needed a lot of practice but I was content with my progress. It took a long time but I pushed myself. Fast forward 2 years and I’m fully booked every evening forweeks and months in advance and couldn’t be more delighted with what we have achieved.

Sometimes I think it’s just me doing it on my own, but really it isn’t. There are lots of people in the background. I can’t go without mentioning my friends and family who have supported me along the way, I don’t know where I would have got to with out you. The likes, shares and telling all who listen. Mummy the eternal guinea pig who will let me try out any new product on her, so I knew exactly what I was offering. Chris, the receptionist and chief tea maker, many of you will meet Chris when he answers the door to tell you that I’m running late, usually because I’ve nattered on for much longer than I should, but hey, that’s all part of the experience. I’m so grateful for each and every girl who has ever crossed my door and given me your time, you girls are my therapy and when I’m asked how I do it, my answer really is you!

I now feel like I could do just about anything. This time 2 years ago I was sitting with no likes, followers and an appointment book with a lot of empty spaces. Honestly I didn’t really know what I was doing. This is my baby and I’ve watched it grow into something way more than even my expectations.

But there is more…Guess what, there is more than lashes, I’m no longer just the Little Lash Room. Along my journey you will have seen me reach some of my mile stones, I’ve bought a house, got engaged, planning my wedding, got a puppy and now celebrate 2 years of the Little Lash Room. Where did time go hey! Did I miss anything, probably yes, I spend very little time reflecting and look forward to whats ahead. But equally every day isn’t about milestones, some days it’s just having a good old moan about life, a walk in the park or a ginsecco with friends. Milestones are just a reference point on the road to show us how far we have come, but there is a big open road ahead and who knows where that can take us!

Looking back I can reflect on where I started and what I was and how I have evolved. I’ve become a real life adult, adulting all day long. The amazing girls I have met over the last 2 years and the friendships that have flourished! I’ve found my voice. It’s not just lashes, I’m so much more. I found my passion in so many other things than lashing and it’s honestly given me the confidence to try just about anything!

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Home | Footstool Frenzy

This week Chris and I enjoyed the bank holiday off, right in the middle of the week. It was such a beautiful day, we had a few things that we needed to do outside so thought we would take advantage of the sunshine.

The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
The basis for this project was this wooden palette. I thought I would try and making a fabric footstool for our living room. Chris and I did it together and this is definitely a 2 person job!

Materials you’ll need:

  1. Wooden palette: whatever size you want your footstool to be. I got mine from work but you can find them just about anywhere.
  2. Legs: I chose the gold caster legs to match my sofa…and my new sofa which I’m ordering soon. I bought this from eBay but you could get legs just about anywhere.
  3. 5cm thick foam: to fit the size of the surface area of the footstool…I used several thinner pieces but the thicker piece is definitely better as I used more than I expected, it worked out more expensive and took much more time.
  4. 2cm thick foam: to fit the surface area and around the side of the footstool with enough to be stapled underneath
  5. Fabric: a little bit extra then the 2cm thick foam to cover the buttons
  6. Push together buttons

Tools you’ll need:

  1. Drill
  2. Saw
  3. Hammer
  4. Staple gun & staples (lots of staples)
  5. Long upholstery needle
  6. Thick thread

How to:

  1. Once you have found a wooden palette that’s the right size or cut it to the correct size, work out how many buttons you will want and the distance they should be. I chose to put a row in each of the pieces of wood. I measured out and drilled a hole while they should be placed. You may not want buttons in yours, and if not you’ll save about half the time in making this. Make sure that you give the palette a brush down now before it’s covered. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  2. Place the 5cm foam on top (where you have drilled holes) and staple, as close to the bottom of it as possible, the entire circumference of the wooden palette to ensure it stays in place. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  3. Lay the 2cm foam on the ground and flip wooden palette rover so the 5cm foam is laid down on the thinner foam  then pull it really tight and staple to the bottom. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  4. Do the same process for the fabric making sure it’s pulled really tight and lots of staples are added around the base. Once the fabric is added cut off any excess and use this excess to cover the buttons. This can take a bit of time depending on the number of buttons you have. Mine were by no means perfect but once they were in the fabric on the stool I didn’t notice. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  5. Add the buttons by threading through the holes you have drilled. Make sure you have an extra long needle to make sure it passes easily through the foam. Leave about half of the thick thread on the sewing side so you can tie the tread on the underside. Once you have threaded the button, tie the two ends and make a large knot. Pull the thread tight and staple down. This creates the dimples in the cushion. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  6. Add the legs and you’re done! Test it out before anyone sits on it to make sure the legs are secure…

The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman

It didn’t take us as long as I thought it would. It’s probably one of our most successful DIY projects we have completed to date. It was not expensive to complete, definitely much cheaper than buying. My friend Lindsey has put her order in for use to make one for apartment. I’m delighted with the result and hope you give it a go.

Nothing left for us to do than to put our feet up on our new footstool relishing in our efforts while thoroughly enjoy this beautiful Sunday.

Lashings of love,

K xo

Life | Taking time

If you hadn’t already guessed it from Instagram, I spent the weekend by the sea. The beautiful tranquil sea. The sound of the roaring white horses never sounded so good, well that was until we went to watch the sunset and I heard a bottle of prosecco pop! Two golf widows headed to a part of the world that means so much to me. Fresh air, beautiful views and a dog to walk we set out on our adventures. Now I feel totally relaxed. That’s another Monday over, but why the Monday dread?

There is absolutely no doubt that life is stressful in all aspects. People feel stressed for so many different reasons whether thats work, family or relationships.  I spent most of my time counting down the week and days until I’m off and can finally relax but why.

I love my marketing job, I love doing lashes and I love doing things around the house. These are the things that drive me, make me tick. So why do I count down days and weeks when life is already so short. This year has went by so quickly and maybe that’s just a sign of getting older. Months feel like weeks and I can’t believe 2017 is already over half way through (like when did that happen)!

It got me thinking, I know a very dangerous past time for those who know me. I have worked out the problem. I get stressed. I see stress as a sign of weakness, which of course it isn’t. To overcome that weakness I need to be busy to ensure that everything is running to plan. I’ve begun to understand that stress actually means I care about what I’m doing whether that’s work, home or play. It is not that I can’t do it. It is more about my determination to prove myself right. There are just a lot of balls to juggle and I really don’t want to drop one.

I’ve found that by taking myself away from the city to the seaside over the last couple of weekends has been a welcome relief. Not that I’m anymore stressed than usual. I think I just jump from one stress hurdle to the next, I can see the build up coming, I reach the peak and then I make the jump. Escapism is key. Whether it’s an episode of Love Isand (yes I love it…no shameful ) or a weekend away. We are very lucky to have the luxury of a seaside getaway. Now I need to find other ways to relax, whether thats yoga, mediation or just a walk with Piper. When I’m at home I actually find things to do that don’t really need to be done. I just can’t sit down, but that’s the problem. I need to sit down and enjoy life more. I really think we all do. In a world where I see more of my phone screen than my boyfriend, answer more emails than calls to my family and never switch off, I think I’ve found a new way to relax and it’s just bloody brilliant. Counting down to weekends like this really aren’t too bad. Every weekend won’t be like this, but it’s good to know I’ve somewhere to go to totally relax.

Let’s all go out and enjoy life a little more! Next step is a digital detox…maybe not just yet.

Lashings of love,

K xo

Travel | In flight essentials

Today I’m off travelling again, this time with work. Travelling is one of the most rewarding things we can do, no matter where your destination is or what the purpose of the trip is there is always something to learn and pick up along the way. Not to mention, even if it is a busy work week there is always duty free to keep you motivated eh! Travelling with work is probably my favourite aspect of my job but it can really take its toil and although I don’t mind when I’m travelling by myself, but it can get lonely. Now travelling alone doesn’t really bother me at all, it’s more the flight that I’m just not fussed on and let’s face it Northern Ireland isn’t flourishing with direct flights so there is usually stop overs and that’s were it can get a little more challenging. I once had a terrible fear of flying and although not completely away, one turbulent and my knuckles begin to turn white and I start to say a prayer. All that being said, once I’ve landed and I get to finally enjoy my destination I can see that it’s all worth while. Through my travels I have found that there are a range of things which I need to not only to keep me entertained but keep me on top form to ensure when I land I am ready to roll quickly.

Cleanse & Moisturise 

As soon as the fascin seatbelt sign is turned off I skip out to the bathroom to give my face a good clean and moisturise. Before we land I love nothing more than to wash my face again to remove any dirty from the artificial air to try and prevent any break outs. I have found that a facial spray really will help to reinvigorate the skin as well as the beautiful scent which makes me feel much fresher.

Endless Entertainment 

Most long haul flights will have a tv in the head rest in front of you but it’s more for the boring lay overs and terminal hanging around. I always bring my iPad with movies and books galore and a couple of magazines so I’m well entertained while I’m waiting. Patience isn’t an attribute I possess so I really need to make this as enjoyable as possible. I make sure to pack my Belkin charge pack to be sure that I never run out of battery on my iPad or phone…now that really would be a crisis.

Home Comforts

Sitting for an extended period of time in economy can get a little uncomfortable. I always bring a pair of leggings, hoodie and some fluffy socks. Getting comfortable with a pillow and blanket makes it’s even better. If it’s an over night flight I bring along an Optrex Warming eye mask to help settle me over to sleep.

Relax & Rehydrate

Once you’re relaxed it is important to rehydrate. I wouldn’t travel without berroca. I allows find planes are really dehydrating and with the air conditioning coughs and sneezes can spread infections s quickly. I always bring a berroca and have one on the plane just before we land. Trips work or pleasure are usually hectic so I take one everyday to be sure I stay at my peak during the trip.

Travelling is amazing but most importantly, if you are travelling alone, be safe. If you don’t have a transfer organised, be sure to ask the taxi driver how far away your hotel is if you don’t already know and then call (or at least pretend to call) a loved one, then they will know that someone is waiting for you. Most importantly enjoy it, take in the new cultures, try new foods, see something you have never seen before. My philosophy on travel (if you can even call it that) is to get up early and stay up late to maximise your time there, just think about the next week you’ll be back home and there is plenty of time to catch up on Netflix when you get home.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Beauty Edit | Sephora Splurge (again)

Upon landing in America, it never takes me long to sniff out a Sephora and as I find it I can almost hear the money falling out of my bank account.

My perception on beauty has changed since I have got older. Naturally enough. I’ve began to work out that no matter how much I conceal and powder over, nothing will help if your base isn’t in good condition. I’ve learnt a lot about skincare of the last year of so from countless YouTube videos and even more articles. Maybe my budget has changed as I’ve got older and I really won’t fall into the new products so easily and I’m more keen to spend a little more on a good cleanser and moisturiser than a foundation. First thing I purchased was the Clinique 3 step guide after I watched Leigh’s Instagram story on just how good it was…influencers alert…I’m easily persuaded. I started using it straight away and I can tell you Leigh knows exactly what she’s talking about it. I’ve since bought full sizes.

Keeping in the theme of skincare, I picked up a number of face masks to help with dehydrated skin when I got back. The Sephora face masks are super cheap but really good quality. I haven’t found a comparison in the UK yet so I’ll have to keep stocking up each time I go.

I also had to pick up another IT cosmetics your skin but better foundation. I bought a medium this time thinking that I’ll be a little more tanned throughout the summer. I find this foundation divine after I first purchased it back in January when I was in New York. I’m still not finished my first tube which I use every single day. With my increased use of retinol, each morning I use a factor 15 SPF and then add the CC cream which is of course a factor 50 SPF, perfect to help defy aging skin and reduce the number of freckles I start collecting throughout the summer. I’ve also just seen that we can now get IT cosmetics in the U.K. so I’m delighted that I don’t need to stock up when I’m in the US.

Although I absolutely love this foundation, I journeyed into the Make Up For Ever territory, Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation. One of which I’m not as familiar with but seem to see on just about every YouTuber who then he beautifully flawless skin and has a much fuller coverage and I believe has a longer staying power (18 hours I’m told by the Sephora assistant however I’m sceptical but I’ll put it to the test). Of course no liquid foundation would be perfect without a setting powder which of course I bought. I’ll be keeping this for nights out as it’s a bit heavy for me everyday but I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I bought another Tarte eyeliner which is my favourite. I don’t usually wear eyeliner everyday but I do have a go at the weekend at a flick. I first bought this is January, with my IT cosmetics CC cream, and again it’s not yet finished but I love that it has both a kohl pencil, perfect for tight lining, as well as the perfect liquid liner which slides on so easily and allows an easy flick, even for an amateur like me. Most of my lovely lash ladies will ask me about eyeliner and I do have to say when my lashes are about 1 week before infills I do tight line most days just to fill in gaps rather than using mascara.

Finally I love the section in Sephora around the checkout where you can pick up sample sizes to try products that you maybe don’t want to invest in right away. I picked up the tarte blush and lip stain, I haven’t tried them out yet but I’ll be giving them a go this weekend. I also picked up a Caudalie set of moisturiser and serum to try out since I love their beauty elixir spray so much.

A non Sephora purchase (!) but it kind of falls into the beauty category was this canvas bag I got from Sugarboo & Co. they have the most gorgeous slogans and it was so difficult to pick just one. Just go and have a look and imagine decorating your house with all of their lovely items.

Until next time Sephora.

Lashings of love,

K xo

Stars & Stripes (well more stripes)

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Orlando, for work not pleasure, I just happened to be staying a short distance from a premium outlet (YAY!). Of course after a long day, I just had to journey over. Premium Outlets in the US are ideal for people who love a bargain from a premium brand, like the idea of TK Maxx but who don’t like going through the rails. These shops are in pristine condition, very tidy, organised and there are lots of everything in each size. Some of the shops are huge and the entire outlet will definitely have you making your step count for the day. There are so many sales people in each shop, the cut throat world of sales in America is one which us Brits can feel a little intimidated by, if you have never experienced it, upon entry you’ll be greeted with “how are you today”, “that’s a really cute outfit” or “can I help you with anything” and these questions flow constantly throughout your time there. Some people love this, I am not one of those people. I enjoy isolated shopping, thinking on my own and when I need help I’ll ask, this culture is very different. The bargains make it all seem a little more tolerable.

Now with a limited amount of time, I had to be strategic, I first found a map at the information booth and marked out all the places I had to go to then others I wouldn’t mind visiting if I had time. This should be everyone’s first point of call, here you will receive a discount book, some outlets there will be a small charge for this, but it’s worth it.

Basically I went to all the shops that mum and I had enjoyed when we first went to a premium outlet in New York a few months ago. This one was slightly different but all the core shops I needed were there. I first went to Tommy Hilfiger. Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy right? When in New York, I seen a pair of espadrilles and for some unknown reason I didn’t buy them, maybe I’d already spent too much money or maybe I wasn’t thinking about summer when I was freezing in New York, whatever the reason, I have thought about them ever since so I knew I had to try. I made a dart for the shoes and thankfully there they were, I couldn’t have been happier and despite it being 11pm at night in the UK, I called mum to confirm they were in my possession. I looked around and picked up a few things for others and moved on. No time to waste.

Next stop Ralph Lauren, I wasn’t here for myself as I think I have every colour shirt that you could find or I will ever need. I picked up a few things for Chris, mum and my brothers and went on my way. When I’m here I like to make use of gathering up some items for what I refer to as ‘The Buffer’, these are items which I gather throughout the year for Christmas and birthdays so I won’t feel the pinch, especially at Christmas.

Kate Spade was next on the list and what I needed was a light grey bag (I use the term ‘needed’ loosely). I love the leather of these bags which make them perfect for a night out. No spill is a problem. I found a cross body bag which had both a long and short strap and could be used as a clutch for only $60…now that’s a bargain no one can turn down. It isn’t as grey as I would like but for that price I almost ran out of the shop with it.

I made a few other stops, Nike, Adidas, Converse but nothing there that really interested me.

I finally stopped in J Crew and I never have been into this shop before (!) but it’s lovely, quiet a few things caught my eye. I ended up with two stripped tops. Yes you got it, I’ve added more to my breton collection. I’m a breton addict and I admit it. By this time it was 10pm and ready for me to head home and settle with all the shopping I had obtained.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Stars & Stripes (well more stripes)

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Orlando, for work not pleasure, I just happened to be staying a short distance from a premium outlet (YAY!). Of course after a long day, I just had to journey over. Premium Outlets in the US are ideal for people who love a bargain from a premium brand, like the idea of TK Maxx but who don’t like going through the rails. These shops are in pristine condition, very tidy, organised and there are lots of everything in each size. Some of the shops are huge and the entire outlet will definitely have you making your step count for the day. There are so many sales people in each shop, the cut throat world of sales in America is one which us Brits can feel a little intimidated by, if you have never experienced it, upon entry you’ll be greeted with “how are you today”, “that’s a really cute outfit” or “can I help you with anything” and these questions flow constantly throughout your time there. Some people love this, I am not one of those people. I enjoy isolated shopping, thinking on my own and when I need help I’ll ask, this culture is very different. The bargains make it all seem a little more tolerable.

Now with a limited amount of time, I had to be strategic, I first found a map at the information booth and marked out all the places I had to go to then others I wouldn’t mind visiting if I had time. This should be everyone’s first point of call, here you will receive a discount book, some outlets there will be a small charge for this, but it’s worth it.

Basically I went to all the shops that mum and I had enjoyed when we first went to a premium outlet in New York a few months ago. This one was slightly different but all the core shops I needed were there. I first went to Tommy Hilfiger. Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy right? When in New York, I seen a pair of espadrilles and for some unknown reason I didn’t buy them, maybe I’d already spent too much money or maybe I wasn’t thinking about summer when I was freezing in New York, whatever the reason, I have thought about them ever since so I knew I had to try. I made a dart for the shoes and thankfully there they were, I couldn’t have been happier and despite it being 11pm at night in the UK, I called mum to confirm they were in my possession. I looked around and picked up a few things for others and moved on. No time to waste.

Next stop Ralph Lauren, I wasn’t here for myself as I think I have every colour shirt that you could find or I will ever need. I picked up a few things for Chris, mum and my brothers and went on my way. When I’m here I like to make use of gathering up some items for what I refer to as ‘The Buffer’, these are items which I gather throughout the year for Christmas and birthdays so I won’t feel the pinch, especially at Christmas.

Kate Spade was next on the list and what I needed was a light grey bag (I use the term ‘needed’ loosely). I love the leather of these bags which make them perfect for a night out. No spill is a problem. I found a cross body bag which had both a long and short strap and could be used as a clutch for only $60…now that’s a bargain no one can turn down. It isn’t as grey as I would like but for that price I almost ran out of the shop with it.

I made a few other stops, Nike, Adidas, Converse but nothing there that really interested me.

I finally stopped in J Crew and I never have been into this shop before (!) but it’s lovely, quiet a few things caught my eye. I ended up with two stripped tops. Yes you got it, I’ve added more to my breton collection. I’m a breton addict and I admit it. By this time it was 10pm and ready for me to head home and settle with all the shopping I had obtained.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Home | New kitchen 

For the last 8 months we have been planning a new kitchen and honestly for my friends and family it has been relief as it has taken a huge focus on our life for the last number of months and now it’s complete. YAY! I’m so delighted, we had our ups and downs with this development and for new home owners this had probably been the most difficult job we have taken on so far. 2 months ago if you asked if I would do it again I would have said no, now I would happily do it all over again now that it’s finished and of course now  I know what I know.

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Before

Firstly I’ll take you back to show you what our old kitchen was like when we first moved it. I called it 50 shades of green. It’s ironic that this year Pantone said greenery was their colour of the year, I couldn’t agree less. After living with our previous kitchen the colour green has absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. The green kitchen cabinet was a different green from the tiles and they were a different green on the walls, it really frustrated me.

I decided that we needed to change it but we would have to save, other rooms got the priority and we began researching how we would go about getting a new kitchen and thankfully I had friends and family who were able to advise the person to do it and all it entailed.

It all started by reading a few country living magazines and pinning like crazy. I had the luxury of seeing my aunts and friends kitchens so I had a good idea of exactly what I wanted.

Not only was the aesthetics of the kitchen important but it also had to be practical. Despite the fact I rarely, and I mean rarely, cook we had to take into account that it had to be a better solution to what we had. Initially we had an L shaped kitchen but we needed to use the space we had better and also more storage, would be ideal. We designed a U shaped kitchen for more countertop space and more cupboard storage. One of my biggest pet peeves with the old kitchen was that there was so much sitting around on the work surface so it always looked messy, extra storage would definitely help with that. Plus the colour, oh the colour, was my greatest hatred. Changing your kitchen on a budget, sounds easy right, not so much, I think this has taught us both so much.

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With completely changing our kitchen shape that involve a lot more preparation before the cabinets could even start to be made. We had to lift the whole floor, change our radiator and more some electrical sockets and add in the function for the lighting as well as remove all the tiles and completely plaster all the walls. We had a electrical but our regular plumber was off working in England so we needed to find a new one…here begins the problems.

Lesson 1
You will be let down a lot!  

Getting a plumber seems like such a simple task but trust me it wasn’t. We asked countless plumbers to come to our house and very few actually showed and when they did we had one guy who was so inexperienced we couldn’t have hired him another who couldn’t do the job for a long time and another who was so expensive we thought he was trying to price us out and chance his arm. Quotes in, now lets get the job done…not so much, we were told on so many different occasions that they would be there some not showing up at all and others messaging to say they  had to complete another job. When I spoke with one of my lovely clients whose family owns a construction business she gave me this advice, make it worth their while. These construction companies are the bread and butter for the contractors we relied so heavily on so we would always be the second preference. Perseverance is key in this game.

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Lesson 2
Your timeline is not realistic.

With let downs and changes along the way it can be an ongoing battle for quiet a while. Be patient. We thought this would be complete within 4 months but in reality it took twice that time, maybe more. Really sometimes I just wanted to give up, I’m very impatient, firstly I wanted it done before we celebrated our first year in the house (November) then I wanted it done before Christmas then I gave up setting a date for it. We had arranged and rearranged work men to come and complete jobs before a final measure of the cabinets could be done.

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You can change your mind, it isn’t too late. 

When we first began all the final decisions hadn’t been made but we did had a good idea of exactly what we were going for. I had a style in mind so we had to make all the major decisions but there were details I was not sure of. Maybe because our final design wasn’t drawn on  piece of paper, there were no auto cad drawings and colour schemes, everything was kept in a folder, clippings, quotes and design ideas, nothing formal. We didn’t decide on the final colours, door design and the tiles until about 2 weeks before. Picking the colour for the kitchen was one which I thought about a lot and the Farrow & Ball How to Decorate book became my bible. I remember the days of just picked a colour I liked but this book explains exactly what colours suit which light and gives groups of colours that work together. In the end we choose to paint out bottom cabinets purbeck stone, top cabinets are wevet and the walls are painted blackened, all of which are easy neutrals. We had wooden boards painted and checked the colours at different times of the day to see how the light in the kitchen affected them. With a north face kitchen we needed a light kitchen as the sunlight doesn’t come streaming directly through the windows at any part of the day. This of course paired with a light grey marble worktop make it light and bright no matter what time of the day it is thus making it appear bigger that what it actually is.

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You will spend more than you originally budgeted. 

It didn’t take long for us to do the sums and soon realised exactly what we wanted would be way more than what we had budgeted for. We were sourcing everything ourselves rather than one contractor who does everything so its easy to get carried away. We added more cabinets, made them ceiling height and changed from a wooden worktop to a granite one, definitely an increase in budget. At the start we thought we would just make the kitchen look better, it’s not our forever home so really we didn’t need an expensive kitchen. The difficulty with this ethos is that once you go in to look the most expensive thing always looks the best. Chris got used to my eye wondering to the most expensive thing without even knowing it, he seems to think I have some sort of gift (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think it’s a gift but that’s what I like to call it!). Some things we did have to compromise on. Our washing machine and dishwasher are not integrated because we would have had to buy a small version for it to be integrated in and they were much more expensive that what we originally paid for our new dishwasher and washing machine. Really we couldn’t justify spending the same amount of money again although when we spoke to our kitchen maker he said it was something we could do later if we wanted so maybe we will get that done.

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Lesson 5
Let the dust settle.

It takes time but after each task let the dust settle and see what’s next. If your organising yourself its so important to keep in contact with everyone to let them know your timelines, we didn’t do this very well and I think that is why it took so much longer. Our kitchen maker came to our house to give us an idea of what we could do with the space, once we had a better idea we had some work to do. Firstly we had to get an electrician to move a light switch and out heating switch to make way for the new radiator. Then a plumber to get a new vertical radiator and move the heating pipes then of course another visit to actually fit the radiator. Then the electrician had to come back and wire the lights for under the cabinet cupboards. Then all of the disgusting green tiles had to be removed then we needed a plasterer to plaster the entire walls. Chris painted the entire kitchen and then we were ready for install. Getting the kitchen installed seemed like the end but it wasn’t, we could just see the light at the end of the tunnel. It then took a few days for the granite to arrive (once the kitchen is fitted they then take final measurements for install) and the electrician fitted the under cabinet lights and plumber had to return to fit tapes and plumb the sink…thankfully this all happened in the same week so our house was a complete mess. Dad then came a few days later and laid the floor. In all honesty we won’t keep this floor as now it is laid it is one of the most difficult floors to keep clean, not just because of our four legged friend but in general, one rainy day (and we have lots of these in NI!) and the floor is a mess. We are in talks (with each other of course) about getting a new floor in our living room and hallway so we may just change the kitchen floor when we do that. Even with it finished there are still things that need to be done, we need to change the microwave to a much smaller one that can fit behind the cupboard door which we had to remove to get the old microwave in. Its a work in progress and even when it’s ‘done’, its not really done!

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It will all be worth it in the end (this is the only thing that will get you through)!

 

 

The result, a kitchen not only that is aesthetically pleasing but also one I actually want to send time in. I’ve now found myself watching Mary Berry and writing down the recipe and planning it for dinner or dessert. I really have found a space which I enjoy spending time in. I even enjoy doing the dishes in out Belfast sink and I never thought I would say that, although I’m sure that novelty will wear off. Although this isn’t our forever home (we will still be here in a few years time) I think its a neutral kitchen which anyone can move into and enjoy. With real wood we have the ability to change the colour as we like, although the mention of this may send Chris over the edge if I suggest another project for him to complete. We have much more space now as well as much more light in our kitchen which makes it look it look so much bigger than what it was before. We built cupboards up to the ceiling and this has really increased the amount of space we have, although it most certainly isn’t for those everyday essentials, I can barely reach. More space has lead to a less clutter worktop which was exactly what I wanted, I’m absolutely delighted with it.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALashings of Love,

K xo

Wedding | DIY Save the Dates

Today marks 1 year until we get married, I can’t believe how quickly the time has rolled around!! Initially when we first got engaged I knew exactly the theme I wanted my stationary to take and working in marketing, stationary was important to me as this is the first impression that your guests get of your wedding. I know that we live in the modern world and lots of people send emails and set up websites to send wedding invitation but really there is nothing nicer than receiving something beautiful in the post which stands out from the ordinary (and boring) bills. When I did a mood board for own wedding, I pinned luggage tags, flowers and materials to get a better idea of how everything goes together. I always loved the brown rustic invitations and for me it was a perfect. I bought some luggage tags for our save the dates and although I wasn’t exactly sure of the design I knew I would use them and print something onto them.

Luckily I’m surrounded by a few of my close friends who are also getting married around the same time as me, so my lovely friend Rachel sent me her save the dates and told me that she had bought a stamp and added it to the paper she had individually cut out. I knew that was exactly how to make my save the dates with my luggage tags.

I had a look on Pinterest and found the ‘pencil us in’ save the dates and I knew I could adapt them with my luggage tags by using some string to attach the pencil. I got in touch with Rob from STAMPREO on their eBay page who adapted stamps that they had, to match the font I wanted – I would definitely recommend, they are a really good quality, price and fast to deliver their stamps while maintaining communication throughout to ensure your happy. I went a little stamp crazy and ordered a C&K stamp for the back of our envelopes and thought I could use them in other places for decorating. The pencils I got were small enough for the top of the tags otherwise they would have looked completely ridiculous! I stamped each luggage tag, and I made sure I had a few spare for the ones that didn’t turn out well. I then tied all the pencils to the top and this was what took so much time.

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I bought my envelopes from ebay but I had to add the names and addresses for everyone. I began looking up ways to write names and address on the envelopes but I then bought some avery labels and copied and pasted our list to each label, it was so quick and easy, I am now the labelling Queen!  I then stuck each label and stamp on and sent them off in the post.

You don’t need to do save the dates but it is a good idea for guests who need to travel much further than people at home and it’s a good time to begin gather addresses which I think will help with the administration closer to your wedding when I’m pretty sure I will have lots of other things to get on with.

We sent out our save the dates in time so they would arrive 1 year before our wedding, it’s so nice to get everything out and now I can move on to some other bigger things.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Being my mum

I am surrounded and follow some of the most amazing mums around and that got me thinking about my mummy this Mothers Day. Everyone has their ups and downs with their mum but now and for a long time you really have been my best friend.

When I was younger, my mum was one who gave me freedom, telling me that she would never clip my wings. This in itself, is probably one of the greatest lessons as it has taught me that trust is one of the most important aspects of any relationship and it’s important to let go, so you know how valuable you are and then they will come back, if not they were not worth it.

Despite my obvious imperfections, there is something about a mothers love and support that will always make me feel perfect again, well at least in her eyes. She takes on lots of different jobs including cheerleader, personal assistant, confidante, support system, cleaner, chef, shoulder to cry on, bank manager, careers advisor, decision maker, travel companion, teacher and friend. Sometimes I wonder just how she does all of these jobs as well as having a successful career and I’m still trying to get my sh*t together.

With all this in my mind, mum has made me the most driven, confident, motivated, independent person but without her, I probably wouldn’t be this way. There is nothing I want more than to make my mummy proud and not for major events in my life but for small day to day things which just shows that she has brought a decent human being into this world.

When I first told my mum that I wanted to start my own business, while I worked full time, she just said, ok lets do it, how do we get started. No matter what the obstacle is, she will always find a way around it, the ultimate problem solver. She had always been the person I turn to no matter what the situation and drives me on to be the best I can be while she larks in the shadows. It’s strange, moving out of home and buying and creating my own home, I thought I would become less reliant on my mum, but really I need her more than ever and our bond has probably never been as strong.

Being a young women, I think back on all of the things my mum has and still would do for me and honestly it makes me want to cry, how could someone be so selfless. As I get older, my appreciation and admiration towards you will continue to grow tremendously. Each and every single day, I realise how much of an impact and inspiration you have been (and always will be) on my life.

Today I not only think about my mum and the amazing mums I know but soon to be mums, can’t be mums, don’t want to be mums, without a mum and everything in-between. Some of you lovely ladies I have met over the last few years have really given me perspective on how lucky I am to have my mum and we have chatted about the challenges of becoming and being a mum.

So I lift my hat to all the amazing mums out there, who do just as good a job as my mum does. With all that being said, go and give your mum and massive hug this Mother’s Day and show her just how much she means to you. You only get one mum and no matter what your relationship is, trust me its worth making her feel special because you have been special to her your whole life.

Lashings of Love mummy,

K

Louboutins…worth the hype?

Last night I journeyed out in my Christian Louboutins, nothing special I know but last week someone was asking my advice for buying their first pair of Christian Louboutins. I initially wondered why, everyone’s style is completely different, and then I thought, this isn’t a new handbag, this is a pair of shoes which need to be worn there are more factors than does it look nice, can I afford it and is it practical. So are they worth the hype?

When I decided to buy my first pair of Louboutins there was no question of what I would get, the Prigalle 100, Christian Louboutins most classic high heeled pump. I decided on the nude Prigalle 100 as they are the most classic colour in my opinion and can be worn with just about any colour, black, navy, red, white the works. If this is your first pair, I can not recommend the nude colour enough as they really do go with just about everything and I can’t think of one outfit that I wouldn’t pair them with. I didn’t even consider the 120 heel height because frankly I’m not crazy and know they would not have been on my feet for a second without complaining.

No doubt they are beautiful, the stunning fine heel, shiny patent leather, the extreme pointed toe and of course the scarlet red sole, I was sold. On first inspection these are the perfect shoes, perfectly made, not a stitch out of place, and of course you would like to hope not with the cost of these.

All this being said they are sore, easily the most painful shoe I have ever had on. From the moment I put them on they pinched my feet. I would highly recommend going a half size bigger, the shoes are small fitting and narrow so that extra bit of room will definitely come in handy when you’re crippled walking. In other shoes when I go a half size bigger I notice my heel is falling out of the back but not with these, they are a snug fit, even a perfect cinderella fit if you will.

Worth the money?

At £425, its pricey and it’s where you wear them that is so important. If you fancy a night out were you dance the night away, have one too many glasses of prosecco and struggle to get a taxi home at the end of the night then loubs aren’t for you. Firstly I commend you if you can make it to the end of a night like this with loubs on. Secondly if you have bought shiny shoes then they will be get scuff marks, the high heel is so fine like a needle that the cap will come off if you walk over cobbled streets at all. If you intend to get a taxi from your home to your venue and you will have the opportunity to sit down most of the night, these are perfect. If you are buying a classic pair of shoes like these they NEVER go in the sale so don’t wait, only seasonal shoes go in the sale. I bought mine from Harper Belfast, they are fabulous, if a seasonal pair does take your fancy, they have a sale twice a year, around the first week of June and just after Christmas, although you have to be quick they have limited sizes and can only be bought in store, the sale is not included online.

The red sole – yes it gets scuffed which is heart breaking the first time you take them off however in Belfast (and I’m sure all of the UK) there are people who can add a red rubber sole. This rubber sole not only protects the sole of the shoe but also they are extremely slippery. The heel is also very delicate, I wear mine for a limited period of time and within 6 months I needed it replaced, again I have found the perfect cobbler who can fix them for me. It’s important to note that these shoes are not a life time investment, they are certainly an amazing quality but will need some TLC every time you wear them if you want them to stand the test of time.

Toe box and toe cleavage…say what!?!

Maybe I’m secretly an old women (not even a secret) but I didn’t know what toe cleavage was until someone mentioned it, I thought it was some kind of foot fetish, maybe it is but now I know its the area of the toes you can see when you are wearing your Prigalles. This is caused by the toe box, as it is very small. This small toe box is exactly what makes the shoes painful, you will feel a nipping from the toe box and really I am still waiting for this to be alleviated *prays*.

Would I buy again?

Of course I would. When I first got them, on the first night, I could barely take them off my feet were in so much pain. Does this pain deter me from putting them on at every available opportunity, of course not! A friend of mine has told me that she would like a pair for her wedding…now that is were I draw the line – more then 12 hours in these shoes, I can just about last 4 hours and thats with minimal walking around. The beauty of these shoes are sitting in a cocktail bar slowly sipping away the pain, I’m in a dream world, but honestly they are beautiful and take some time to get used too but once you do they are well worth it, well for an few hours anyway.

Lashing of Louboutin Love,

K xo

How to spend your time in New York

This day last month mum and I were enjoying the sights of NYC. When I came back from New York, I went to bed at 7pm and woke up the next morning at 7am, 12 hours sleep, it was almost like I was in a coma, I have never slept for that long. Clearly I didn’t miss anything in rainy Belfast and the exhaustion when I got home was well worth it. When I look back at everything we seen and did in New York, I’m so glad I came home absolutely exhausted with very little of our feet left, they truly had been walked off us both. Each day we walked no less than 10 miles with the longest day being 17 miles! In January it is freezing in New York but we hardly noticed with all the running around we managed to do. With tourist attractions and locations of interest on every corner, we journeyed out of our hotel with a map that has ended up dog-eared and folded in so many different ways. Mum is without a doubt one of my favourite people to take a city break with, every moment is precious and she really likes to get lots packed in so there was no time to settle into the room we headed straight out for a wander.

Day 1 : Thursday

Our hotel, The Wellington, was just off Time Square. We walked down at around 4pm and under the red stairs there was such a long queue for the Broadway tickets, we thought we would come back later and see if we had any chance so we headed off to our first stop, Ground Zero. Ground Zero was a subway ride away to Wall Street and all I can say is that the subway was an experience not my favourite form of transport, plus it is no London Underground. The London Underground has an amazing map and directions within are great but the New York subway was a nightmare to work out with very few staff available to answer questions. We eventually got the hang of it and hoped we were on the right way to our destination.

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Ground Zero did make us completely forget the subway experience as it is the quietest place in New York which is so peaceful. No matter what your thoughts are on 9/11 more than 3000 people died there, and the saddest thing was the women who were named with their unborn child. The size of the buildings around and the close proximity of the two buildings, it was the first time I felt that New York was small. This set a high for the trip, it was so moving and mum and I reflected on where we were when we heard about this momentous event and thinking about how our lives have changed since then. After Ground Zero we went for a walk around Wall Street and Courtland Street then got the subway back to Time Square.

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Time Square was our base point so we would always get the subway back here and then walk to our next destination. We walked a couple of blocks over to Rockefeller Centre, stopped for a coffee and watched people ice skating and took in the scale of Rockefeller Centre itself, standing at the bottom, we couldn’t see the top. It was beautiful with the evening setting in and the twinkly lights of New York City. It was here we stopped by Anthropology and I picked up a candle from my previous blog post. We then walked over to 5th Avenue and stopped in Saks. I had a look round while we were there but with the exchange rate and New York tax it really was much more expensive to buy any of the luxury items I had my eye on. We went back to Time Square to grab some dinner and this was when Time Square really took my breath away, it really looked like the city that never sleeps, in fact it was so bright, I could have put my sunglasses on. We made a quick stop to Sephora, and you can see what I bought in my last post, I really went for a tangle teezer because I forgot to pack one, and after a day of wearing I woolly hat, my hair was in great need of a good brush. After an exhausting day of walking around we made our way back to the hotel to get a good night sleep before another busy day. We grabbed a cup of tea in our hotel room and went straight to sleep…rock and roll!

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Day 2 : Friday

Friday was our main shopping day. I had asked lots of people about the outlets and did a bit of research to see which shops where at which outlet, where they were and how we would get there. After careful consideration we decided to go to Woodbury Common and after lots more research we decided to go by the bus at Port Authority. The bus is pretty cheap from there and it runs every 30 minutes from 9am with the last bus leaving at 9pm, lots of time for us to get our shopping fix. When we arrived at Port Authority we were advised by what I can only describe as the most unhelpful information desk ever…he proceeded to tell us to go in the opposite direction to buy a discount book from a random man but I refused not only because it sounded dodgy but because I had been advised that if we arrived with our passports we would get it from free the information desk at Woodbury Common…we went on our own way despite his disgust. When we eventually found the ticket desk (Port Authority is the biggest bus station in NYC) we were delighted that we made the first bus and were on our way. Woodbury Common is about 1 hour outside of New York and it’s crazy how quickly we left the high rise buildings and travelled through suburban New Jersey, I just loved looking at the different style of houses and gardens and thought about the number of people who travel into New York every single day, it really makes my journey to work seem so simple. When we arrived we called at information and as expected we showed our bus ticket and passport and got a free discount book, now it was time to see what discounts would be worthwhile and come up with a plan for how we would tackle the day. We stopped for a McDonalds breakfast and made a plan. I had thought about buying a pair of Valentino Rockstuds while I was in New York and with a Valentino in this outlet, I would have a look there, we made that our first stop. I left disappointed with the shoes from previous season more expensive than they are at home plus they didn’t have any in my size…oh well more to spend in some of the other shops. Initially we walked in 3o lots of different shops and didn’t buy anything so we decided to focus.

The sheer magnitude of this outlet is a lot to take in. I made a stop to Thomas Pink and picked up a shirt for Chris, The Cosmetic Company, which was such a good find, and picked up a few past season items, Estee Lauder Doublewear and a Mac Lipstick as well as a few gifts it really was a bargain. We went to Kate Spade and I picked up a cross body cream bag and again a few gifts for people. Things got serious when we went to Ralph Lauren, it’s a personal favourite for mum and I, not only did we pick up somethings for Chris and my brothers but we also managed to pick up a lot of bargains for ourselves, so much so that we came back again later. We skipped over to Tommy Hilfiger and it was brilliant and with a breton or two later we left and went to Under Armour, Levis and Nike. We made a stop in Jimmy Choo to have a look at wedding shoes but without a dress we couldn’t really make a purchase although we do have a better idea of what I’m looking for. Honestly we went into so many shops I couldn’t even name them all but overall I really enjoyed Woodbury Common. We left at 7pm on a full bus, meaning we had bags at our feet and our lap we had just bought so much but never the less I was glad to be on our way back to our hotel. We walked straight back to our hotel and reviewed our purchases, my feet were well and truly sore after a day of very little rest.

Day 3 : Saturday

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After a busy few days of walking more than 10 miles a day we took the morning easy. New York is like every other city or town on a Saturday morning, its got the Saturday hustle, not as busy as normal but still errands to be run. We grabbed breakfast and took a walk around Central Park, it was a really relaxing walking round, surveying all the Park Runners, dog walkers and a wedding photoshoot, taking every moment in. We kept a spot that we would be able to come out of again, the magnitude of Central Park is huge, I thought we had walked the length of it in an hour but really we had only walked the width. Signage wasn’t really great in the park but we did find our way around so it was fine.

We walked out of the park and walked to the New York City Library, it was just getting close to 10am so we had to wait outside for a couple of minutes on the steps but of course that wasn’t a waste of time, there is always a photo opportunity. Walking up the steps to the NYC Library I remember seeing this very scene in Sex and the City. I just love reading and the stories this library held, we took a walk around and see the various different rooms and the best part is that it’s free to walk around and see. We took our time walking around reading the tourist information and their was an art exhibition while we were there so we got to see something extra. Serious marble envy, the walls were amazing and the interior alone made me want to stay. There is a gift shop but nothing really we were interested in so we left and went on our travels.

Back out in to the freezing cold and we wrap up warm and got walking again. We walked around to Grand Central Station, a pinnacle point for New York and seen in many movies, initially when we walked into the Grand Hall of the station I was shocked at how small it was, although it wasn’t until we tried to find the subway that we got a little lost, it really was huge, I had completely underestimated its size.

Finally getting on the subway we made our way to the bottom of Manhattan and walked to the Staton Island Ferry Port, it was really busy with sales people and well I guest we just looked like tourists so we were hassled while we were trying to walk in. We were told it would be a 2 hour wait because we had not pre booked so we decided against it. We walked outside and walked over to the see the Statue of Liberty from the end of the Island, it was absolutely freezing so we were pleased that we didn’t do the boat tour but still got to see the Statue of Liberty.

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After we walked to the Dead Rabbit, where we seen the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, which was just a few streets away and was a welcome relief from the cold. Walking along a quirky street, we couldn’t have missed it, it stood out for all the right reasons, not to mention the sign at the very top of the building, worlds best bar. The street was quiet so it was a great opportunity to get some pictures and then we went in to the heat. On entry to see the sawdust on the floor and the pictures around the wooden bar, it felt like a bar from a small town at home, it was comforting after a few days in the US. It came as no surprise that this was were Irish people came to gather, when we walked in there was only one group of people sitting a mix of Irish and American but then we were later joined by another couple from Belfast who, like us, were visiting the bar for the first time. Mum and I perused the cocktail list and chose one, such a tough decision as there were so many that looked delicious. We stayed for the drinks and then left, it was starting to snow outside and we wanted to get back to Time Square to see about a Broadway Show.

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After getting lost trying to find a subway and with no cabs around we wandered around and eventually got the subway back up to the Centre of Manhattan and somehow ended up on 5th Avenue and walked past the Empire State Building, Trump Tower, made a stop in Tiffany’s, for looking only, then walked past the Paris Theatre and off into Central Park again. This time we wanted to go for a walk to see the Dakota Building where John Lennon was shot and the Strawberry Fields Gardens back in Central Park. Walking through Central Park at night was beautiful and gave us a completely different perspective of just how big it is.

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We walked back to Time Square about 7pm to see if there was any chance of tickets, we went to see The Perfect Crime, an off Broadway Show. This by far was the busiest night at Time Square where we seen a proposal, multiple street artists and a multitude of selfie sticks on the red stairs. By 10.30pm when it was over, my eyes were feeling heavy and we headed home to pack our bags so we were ready to leave the hotel in the morning. I checked my Apple Watch and we had walked a total of 17 miles in 1 day and now we were really starting to feel every step.

Day 4 : Sunday

A later start than normal but we had a lazy breakfast in the Hard Rock Cafe after packing and getting ready to leave. The last 3 days had really started to take its toil on us and we definitely were not moving as quickly as we previously had.

We walked around Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue, seeing Andy Warhols Original Factory, Marilyn Monroe’s famous subway grating and Studio 54 which is now a theatre. We walked past Trump Tower and were amazed to see the level of security outside, mum had never been inside a Trump Tower before so we went in and had a look at the tacky insides. Shops were just beginning to open and we went into Diptyque and Aesop, my new favourite shop!

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We continued walking up until we got to The Met by this stage we were both so tired from our previous few days we sat on The Met steps *Gossip Girl Fangirl* and soaked up the rays. This was the first time we really seen a lot of sun and it really was such a good day we just enjoyed the sunshine, it was so warm so we grabbed a cold drink, people watched and rested for a while. We didn’t have time to go into The Met so we eventually walked through Central Park back to the hotel to collect our bags and make the journey home which was seamless.

I had such an amazing time in New York and my top tip is, do your research first, when you get there, there are so many people who are trying to sell things to you on the street plus your hotel is helpful but they have sources who they work for and more often than not they were more expensive. When we wanted to go to Woodbury Common we could have got a mini bus from our hotel which would leave at 11am and collect us at 5pm and it was $85 each whereas the bus from Port Authority just a few blocks away was $82 for the both of us plus we didn’t know if we would either be there that long or if we would require more time.

If I were to go again, firstly I would go at a different time of year, when it is much warmer and I would like to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and also take the Staton Island Ferry there and back to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty.

Until next time New York!

Lashings of Love,

Kerrie