Travel | New York City Take 2

This year Santa Claus (aka mum) bought me a trip to New York City with mum. I bought mum this trip last year so who know who will be buying a travel gift next year. Last year I had never been to New York, but mum had lived there for a short time. If you wanted to know what we got up to last time, you can read all about it here. This year, I feel more Carrie Bradshaw than carrying my head in the sand, honestly I didn’t have a clue, I hadn’t really done my research because I thought I’d seen enough movies.

*Beware this blog post is picture heavy

I started by making a list of all the things I wanted to do before we went, then on one piece of paper, wrote down all the days we were there and started looking at a map, what made sense and when. I should note at this stage we have 4 days in New York, but storm Emma had other ideas and we had to leave the next day on a much later flight that was also delayed for hours, not to worry, perfect time for mum and I to have a good catch. Plan in place, we used the delayed time to make some changes and also to note the things we wouldn’t be annoyed if we didn’t get to go.

Book before you go

This year by being more organised we were able to book things before we went. I booked the NYC Airporter bus from JFK Airport to Port Authority (it also makes a stop at Grand Central), this was $70 for two people return on a coach, depending on traffic its about an hour into Port Authority and honestly the cheapest (we paid $100 for one way trip to and easiest way to get from the airport to your hotel. We walked to our hotel (it was 5 blocks up, so super close) but you could get a taxi, it’s fairly easy to hail a cab.

Once we arrived it was late at night so we checked in and straight to bed. Annoyingly if we had got our original early morning flight we would have arrived at lunch and had the rest of the day but oh well nothing we can do about delays and a storm.

Sunday

I woke up so early on the Sunday morning, like 4am, what is there to do in New York at that time! I tossed and turned for a while and then got up about 6:30am, mum and I got ready at our leisure and got breakfast from Starbucks. When they say New York is the city that never sleeps I can’t say that’s right for Time Square at 8am, it was so quiet.

We grabbed our coffee to go and got the Subway from Time Square down to South Ferry. This is the closest subway stop to the Staten Island Ferry. We walked over and into the terminal. Last year we arrived in the afternoon and there were so many tour sales people there and they told us that the ferry was booked up, this is a load of rubbish and probably the one thing I’ve learned from my trip is don’t believe everything that they tell you there. The Staten Island Ferry is a free service run by the New York department of transport. It runs every 30 minutes to and from Staten Island and provides you with a great view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. When you arrive at the terminal, walk in, past all the tour sales people and straight up the escalator and you will see the glass doors which open when the boat is ready to board. Simple. It does feel like a bit of a cattle market getting on to the boat. The temptation is to walk the whole way to the back on the boat as your heading over to Staten Island but don’t, stay at the back as this is the perfect place to get a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. You will also be able to go outside and take it all in, you are not able to go outside the boat in the direction that it is heading for safety reasons so be sure that you get outside on the way over to Staten Island as you won’t be able to get that gorgeous Manhattan skyline view on the way back as well. Once we arrived in Staten Island we walked off the boat, downstairs and straight back on to head back to Manhattan.

Once we arrived back in Manhattan we walked up to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. This is the most delightful walk over to Brooklyn. I wanted to walk round to the pier when you can take a picture of the Manhattan but we ended up walking around an area called Dumbo.

Dumbo is an uber hipster place to go shopping and grab a coffee. We walked to the Brooklyn Park. If I had to move to New York this is exactly where I would love, lots of coffee shops, restaurant and the streets are really clean. There is a sense of tranquility here that was difficult to leave.

Then of course I had to go to West Elm, one of my favourite interior shops. We grabbed a coffee and planned our next stop.

We decided to walk back over the Manhattan Bridge, it is not as busy as the Brookly Bridge but there is a reason for that. One of the trains goes over the Manhattan Bridge so it is very noisy and a little wobbly at times, which to say the least made me feel nervous.

One the walk over we seen Chinatown. It looked amazing to see this community that was set in the middle of New York. The signs are all in English and Chinese and one Sunday they had fresh fruit and vegetables on sale on the streets.

We walked through Chinatown as I wanted to go to Glossier (I’ll write a little bit more about my purchases soon).

One thing about heading away with mum is she loves clocking up the miles when we go away, crazily this means we decided to walk to the Meat Packing District. I use the term crazy as mum was on the navigation with a paper map and we ended up walking about 10 blocks in the wrong direction. Luckily we walked around the Financial District, we seen the Federal Building, Wall Street and September 11th Memorial. Once I got Google maps on the go we started walking in the right direction. The weather was so beautiful it was a lovely walk to the Meat Packing District. We went to the Chelsea market and then walked the High Line. Once we finished the High Line we walked back to Time Square.

We wanted to see if we could see a show with some last minute tickets but unfortunately there wasn’t anything of interest so we headed to dinner. I got a recommendation to try the Burger Joint, a secret burger bar in the lobby of the Parker Meridian Hotel. You wouldn’t know it was there, in fact we walked past it in the beginning only the burger light indicated where we needed to go.

It’s behind a curtain and you walk along the curtain into a small room. When you initially walk in you wouldn’t know what to make of it, The menu is written on cardboard, there are random posters over the walls and the walls are written over. Its simple, just burgers and chips, you decide what you want on the burger, cheese, bacon, salad or sauce and how you want it cooked. There are 3 beers on tap so the choices are limited but that is what makes this place so good. We grabbed a table and waited for our food. It was a quick wait and it was so worth it! Easily the best burger I have ever had and I don’t say that lightly.

The atmosphere is amazing, it was surreal that this is in the lobby of a hotel. This is definitely one thing I would say you have to do if you head to New York. After walking 15 miles that day and an early start at 8.30pm, I was ready to head back to the hotel. We walked through Time Square and took in the sights but headed for an early night ready for the next day.

Monday

Monday we went to Woodbury Common Premium Outlet. Again we bought the tickets before we went on groupon. Shortline Coaches is the service that runs from Port Authority to Woodbury Common which is about 1 hour 15 minutes away. With this groupon deal you pay $25 dollars instead of the $42 you would pay if you just arrived at Port Authority, plus you will be able to redeem a saving passport when you arrive at Woodbury Common. As you can imagine, Port Authority is massive, so head up the escalator and round to the left and you will see the Shortline Coach desk where you redeem you groupon vouchers. Then walk to 110 depot and you can board the bus. The coaches are regular with the first one leaving at 8:30am. This is about perfect timing to get there on time for the shops opening. We grabbed breakfast and made a list of the places we wanted to go. I’ll bore you with everything I bought but this place is good for casual clothes and gym wear. I actually ended up buying more things for Chris as it’s great for mens clothes. There are also a number of designer shops, they don’t keep any core lines and usually the colours are quite elaborate so no bag purchases for me this time. We walked around all, stopped in a few shops before we took the plunge to buy anything then there was a shopping frenzy. Mum wanted to stop in Levis to see about a pair of jeans, an hour and $300 later we left the shop heavy ladened with bags. My one tip for outlet shopping is bring a 4-wheel suitcase. Its easy to pack everything in and also lots of the shops use paper bags and when you have so many they easily rip. Its also much easier to get back to your hotel without forgetting any bags if it’s all in the case. We got back pretty late, when to Walgreens for some sweets and a quick bite to eat then went to Sephora to pick up a few things and then back to the hotel. Another day of walking over 8 miles so its bed for us.

Tuesday

Last day and we have ticked off everything that we set out to do on this trip so this day is much more relaxed. We start the day with a run round Central Park, we ran over 3 miles and mum has run in years so it was amazing that she ran the whole way with me.

We went back to the hotel got shower, changed and packed up and checked out leaving our bags there for the day. By this stage we had done enough walking so today was definitely a little slower after the run. We walked to Anthropology then Rockafeller Centre and people watched really.

We then began to get peckish so we walked to Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side. A small little bakery with the freshest cookies you will ever have. They are a small shop packed full of people. There cookies are made fresh and hot in the middle with the chocolate, plus they had Earl Grey Tea so I was happy. They have a lovely little bench outside where we enjoyed baguette with butter and jam (yeah!) and then our cookies! They are so rich, one between two is more than enough.

We walked back to Central Park for a walk around then back to Sephora for another quick purchase (I wouldn’t want shoppers regret) then back to the hotel to go to the airport.

So another trip to New York ticked off the list. I just love that city so much and could go back again but after I have a big long nap to recover from the lack of sleep from this trip. I enjoyed doing a few more of the non-tourist things attractions and there is so much more of New York that I still need to see.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

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Shopping in New York | Beauty Edit

New York is amazing for sightseeing but we also did some shopping while I was there (it would be rude not too!). I did see the usual Zara and H&M but with limited space in my suitcase I reserved the room for brands that we cannot get in the UK, I’m going to make a statement that maybe won’t sit well with some people but I don’t really like the women’s clothes in the US, other than brands that we have at home, they just really aren’t for me. I had imagined Olivia Palermo fashionistas walking the streets but I didn’t see it, maybe because it was so frigging cold! Honestly I didn’t buy as much as I anticipated (I’m sure Chris is delighted), most things that I can get at home were much more expensive in New York and when the exchange rate isn’t in our favour that really doesn’t help either. In saying all this it didn’t stop me from heading to a few of my favourite shops!

First stop Sephora, as we were staying in Time Square, where there was a huge Sephora and there is a beautiful older building which Sephora is in on 5th Avenue, the options are endless. Having been to the US a few times in the last 6 months, initially I went mad but this time I was very specific in what I was looking for. Thanks to the Anna Edit I had to try the It Cosmetics, your skin but better, a creamy full coverage with my favourite feature, a pump, to dispense the product. So far so good! Of course I bought it on the first day and couldn’t wait to try it on the second. It didn’t feel heavy but covered my pigmentation and give a glowy finish, something I’m not used to with full coverage foundations.

While in Sephora I also picked up the Becca Highlighter. I haven’t really got on to highlighters, I spent a small fortune on the Anastia Beverley Hills contour and highlighter kits and although I love the powder and the cream contour, unfortunately I have yet to use the highlighter more than a few times. My highlight doubts changed after Simone said it was the holy grail of highlighters so I most certainly had to give it a whirl. I love the consistency of the product and have started to use it differently to other highlighters -if I’m not wearing much make up I will put it under my skin to fake a natural glow…it works a treat!

The last thing I bought in Sephora was their face masks, I just love the dry skin mosturising face masks so I made sure I stocked up on them while I was away. Now I have my next few Sunday night facials sorted! I also picked up some Bumble&Bumble sea salt strap and a tangle teaser, silly me, I completely forgot to pack them but another one won’t hurt.

With the weather being so cold outside and inside being so hot with heaters my skin has really felt the consequences. It has been so dry, flaky and altogether gross! While I was in Woodbury Common shopping outlet I called in to the Elizabeth Arden to get some 8 hour cream. At only $10 I bought two, for that price it was well worth it!

aesop-store-by-architecture-outfit-new-york-03

Last beauty stop, Aesop. This was a definite on my list as the last time I stopped by, the shop was closed for lunch and I was devastated. Someone had told me how amazing this brand of skincare was but with a higher price bracket, I didn’t mind, I had read such good reviews I had to give it a go. Plus seeing it around Rebecca from Roses & Rolltops house and it just looked so beautiful, it was the perfect edition to my bathroom, packaging really does mean a lot. We wandered up Madison Avenue and eventually we found it, a quaint store with no fuss, from the moment mum and I walked through the door we were in love before we had even said hello to the girl who helped us. The industrial walls with an old mismatched tiled floor, dark wooden shelves and black rails with an old sink, it was to die for. This was the first shop that I didn’t feel pressured to buy something. The girl asked what we were looking for and I told her about my very dry skin and she picked out a few items and tested them on my hands. No harsh chemicals or alcohols insight. I decided to get the Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil and the Damascan Rose Facial Treatment. They left my skin feeling clean, soft and most importantly hydrated. Since I have started used the oil every couple of days for the last couple of weeks, I have seen a huge change in my skin with no flaking and it seems to be less inflamed. The last thing I bought was the mouth wash, an unnecessary purchase I know, but I just loved the bottle, it looks so medicinal, I doubt it will be used very much just because I really just like the look of it but maybe when I start using it, I may just love it.

Not at all beauty related but I did make a stop in Antropologie *PLEASE COME TO BELFAST*. I easily could have decorated our home with the gorgeous items in store but I kept it to a minimum with very little room in my case, buying a gold initial mug and one of their candlefish candles, it’s official I’m a candle fiend! Anthropologie candles are without a doubt my favourite in terms of burning and smell, I think they burn so evenly throughout and the smell is divine around the house, I can easily smell it upstairs when it is burning in the living room (no offense Jo Malone or Diptyque, I still love you too!). I did spot a ‘Hello Lovely’ marble chopping board but it was easily 3 kilograms so it would definitely have put me over weight…I’ll maybe order it online now I’m home!

Lashings of Love,

Kerrie xo