Tag Archive: Travel

Feb 13 2015

Postcard From: New York – 7 Things I Love To Do

new-york-snowglobe-Another New York Fashion Week has begun and it’s another season where sadly I’m glued to the livestream and the social media commentary rather than being there in person. I’m lucky I get to experience London Fashion Week and I’ve even done Paris, although not as much as I would like, but NYFW always feels like the one that keeps getting away. I came close last February, but with the wedding planning it just wasn’t the right timing, I just keep hoping that the opportunity comes around again as it always seems so much bigger than LFW, not just in-scale, it has a lot more shows, but also the labels that present, and the characters that go just for the street-style. 

So to cheer myself up I thought I would revisit my snaps from November, when I got my married, which led me to this post sharing my love of New York and the 7 things I adore doing when I visit, which fingers crossed will happen next year during fashion week, well a girl can dream. 

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Of course, I enjoy doing a lot more than 7 things when I am in New York, to be honest the list is so long I decided for both my sanity in editing and yours in reading that I would just pick my fun things to do:

#1 Top of the Rock

I normally like to stay clear of tourist traps, they are generally expensive, and not normally worth the trip, however, Top of the Rock is one of my favourite things to do in New York. This city is like no other, the skyline is so memorable and the view from the Rockefeller Plaza is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, a trip up the Empire State Building is still an experience everyone should do, but Top of the Rock is less crowded as they do timed slots and it is bigger, and it gives you a new view of the Empire State building and Manhattan.

I suggest that you go on the cusp of the sun setting, then you get to see the cities lights go on, as well as get some incredible snaps of the city in the day, plus you might also be treated to a stunning sunset.  

Top of the Rock, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112new-york-top-of-the-rock new-york-empire-dinner

#2 Empire Diner 

Brunch is fast become my favourite meal to eat out, well after afternoon tea of course, and New York has some amazing spots, one of my favourites has to be the Empire Diner. They only do brunch at the weekends from 11am until 4pm so be prepared to queue, it is worth the wait but I would totally suggest getting there for when it opens as then you don’t need to worry. 

I love everything about this place from its Art Moderne exterior and monochrome decor to the food and service, and the brunch menu is delicious, especially the fluffy buttermilk pancakes, which taste even nicer washed down with a Pims cocktail.

Empire Diner, 210 10th Avenue, New York,  NY 10011

#3 Central Park

Granted not original, but if you go to New York without taking in the beauty of Central Park, you really have missed out. I go each time I visit, it is so big you can always pick out something new to see, as well as revisit memorable spots, and just sit back and take in the sights and watch New Yorkers going about their days. 

There are lot of spots I recommend from the Bethesda Fountain to the gorgeous Minton Tile Ceiling at the Bethesda Terrace, to a walk down The Mall and Literary Walk, which brings a Parisian vibe to NY, as well watching the model boats on Conservatory Water.

After a spot of lunch or drink, check out Tavern on the Green, which after a multi-million dollar renovation reopened last year and it is super. You can either relax in the gorgeous bar area with a cocktail or have a spot of lunch in the light and airy restaurant and in the summer you can even seat out on the garden terrace and look out into the park. The food here is amazing, I can’t wait to go back.  

Central Park, 59th and 110th Street between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue // Tavern on the Green, 76th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

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#4 Champagne Bar at The Plaza

If you are after someone to celebrate a special occasion, or to just toast an amazing trip in New York the Champagne Bar at The Plaza is a must. This place is pure luxury, I love the gorgeous chandeliers, the cosy seating, the vibrant atmosphere, and the views over Fifth Avenue. The menu is incredible from the various champagnes on offer to its signature cocktails, wines and if you want you can also get beer.

It’s the little touches that I adore at The Plaza from the impeccable service to the never-ending cheese, popcorn and pretzel nibbles, trust me these really add to the champagne flavour, and the fact that you never know who you might bump into, I ran into the lovely Serena Williams.  

The Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

#5 Sephora

When will Sephora make the jump to the UK? I love this beauty emporium, it basically stocks everything you can possible want, things you have never heard of that now you need, and most importantly things you didn’t think you needed. Its make-up counters are huge, plus I love that they give away samples a lot easier than here, but for me I always head straight to its perfume collection, especially its range of rollerballs, as I love handbag size versions of my favourite fragrances.

I also love that they do nearly everything in miniature, another addiction of mine – I love mini versions of everything, and it comes in handy when you want to test out a new product or looking for travel size versions of your favourites. There are lots of stores dotted around New York and I find myself popping into any I go by.

Sephora all over the city – check out the store listings on its website

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#6 The High Line

After some peace away from the bustle off the city then the High Line is a great place to recharge and see the concrete jungle from a new perspective. The elevated freight rail line has been transformed into a beautiful walkway, running from the Meatpacking District to the northern edge of Chelsea, and I love that it is sandwiched between buildings, sometimes so close you can spy into people’s apartments, and that it has gorgeous pieces of public art installations dotted about from sculptures to giant graffiti street-art and bleacher-like seating to view traffic, buildings and pedestrians.

I would recommend grabbing a hot drink before you go up on the High Line in winter as it can be a little nippy, also keep you eyes peeled near the Chelsea Market for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty in the distance, I don’t know why but I get giddy each and every time I see it. 

The High Line, Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues

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 #7 Jack’s Wife Freda

 

A photo posted by jackswifefreda (@jackswifefreda) on


Coffee is huge in New York there are tons of places to go but one of my picks has to be Jack’s Wife Freda purely because it is an instagramers dream, which can also mean that it is very busy and you might have to wait to get a table. If you go here and don’t snap your coffee, your pastry and the cute slogan sugar I don’t think we can be friends anymore!!!

As well as coffee, this place also does a great breakfast, the waffles are a favourite of mine, it also has a lovely dinner menu, I really wanted to try the vegetable curry bowl last time I visited New York but I didn’t have time. 

Jack’s Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette Street, SoHo, and 50 Carmine Street, West Village, New York

What are some of your favourite things to do when visiting New York?

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Feb 27 2014

Postcard From: Berwick Lodge Hotel In Bristol

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I am a huge fan of boutique hotels, I love staying somewhere with a touch of character, so when our good friends were getting married at the Berwick Lodge Hotel in Bristol I was excited to stay as it has only 10 suites, each with its own ‘signature’ style.

Of course before we arrived I checked out the hotel’s website, sometimes when places say individual style to each suite it just means a change in wallpaper, when it comes to Berwick Lodge is means that literally everything is different in each suite that before we left we all had to check out each others room. It was hilarious as some of the rooms are so big that we could have all slept in there comfortably.

We were in ‘Ionia’, one of the superior suites located in the eaves of the house and on one of the windiest nights it did sound like we might get blown away at any time, but that all added to the charm of this luxurious stay.

First thing we noticed when we entered the room was how huge the bed was, the hotel claims it is just a super queen size bed, but it felt so much bigger and was so comfortable I slept like a log. But what really wowed me had to be the stunning bathroom with its free-standing claw foot bath, unusual and gorgeous tiling, and the massage shower that was the perfect pick-me-up – oh and every bathroom should have underfloor heating it was lush.

When we arrived the weather was horrible so I didn’t really take notice of the fact we had a balcony, I would have probably blown straight off, but the next day was calm and sunny and it was nice looking out over the incredible garden and seeing across the channel to Wales. I just wish we had more to time to take it all in.

As well as loving our room, it was nice to wander around the 18 acres of garden and woodland, in the summer I bet this place is great to read a book and just relax next to the striking fountain. In February, when it is cold it was just pretty to look at and then retreat back inside the great house with its inviting fireplaces and dramatic chandeliers.

We didn’t have chance to have an evening meal here or afternoon tea, which was a shame as I have heard great things, but I did get to enjoy the blueberry pancakes which were delicious.

If you are after somewhere a little different just outside Bristol and close to the motorway definitely look into this hotel. If you live closer to Bristol that try out the extensive À La Carte menu, the chef was a semi-finalist on MasterChef: The Professionals.

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Berwick Lodge Hotel, Berwick Drive, Bristol BS10 7TD.

Oct 05 2013

Postcard From: Anglesey, Wales – My Top 5 Things To Do

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So I have shared where to stay on the beautiful island of Anglesey in Wales, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called home for a number of years, now here are my five top things to see and do:

South Stack Lighthouse

This lighthouse on the rugged coast of Anglesey is so close to Ireland that my mobile phone informed me I was in another country – not quite but the views of endless sea and cliffs is a spectacular sight. The lighthouse itself is on an island – 400 steps down, and when you realise that you are more unfit than you are you really can take in the beauty of this landmark attraction. The only problem is that once you are down you have to climb back up – thankfully there are a lot of resting points that I pretended were great spots to snap the horizon!!!

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Beaumaris Castle

Billed as the greatest unfinished masterpiece and the most technically perfect castle, Beaumaris Castle is full of history. This is one of the best Edwardian castles around due to its symmetrical concentric ‘walls within walls’ design and even though it was never finished as money and supplies ran out you can still see that this would have been a beast of a building to attack.

After you’ve climbed the walls, walked the full circle around the castle, and taken in the view head down into the cute town of Beaumaris which has a great selection of cute boutiques and cafes.

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Llynnon Windmill

I am kind of obsessed by windmills, I am not sure why, maybe it is the calm motion or the fact I have always wanted a round room, but if I know one is the area I have to go visit. This mill, built in 1775, is the only working mill in Wales and even with hardly any wind it still managed to rotate its sails around. I really could have sat there for hours watching. As well as still producing its own wholemeal flour using organic wheat it also has a great cafe – the food was delicious – so makes for a perfect rest spot.

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Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens

Overlooking the Menai Strait, this elegant National Trust house not only offers beautiful views but also a gorgeous 1930s restyled interior. As well as admiring the grandeur of the house, Plas Newydd has an exquisite romantic mural by Rex Whistler, which takes up the whole dinning room, but what I loved most about this place though are the gardens and outside space. There is a lot of explore from the ornate terrace gardens filled with wild flowers to the woodland walk along the coast.

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My fifth thing to do in Anglesey isn’t an attraction – just simple to admire the views, the scenery and the tranquil nature of the island. With views of Snowdonia, the Menai Bridge, the Irish Sea and the largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales there is always something to see from heather-covered cliff tops, cute coastal towns, sandy beaches, and you’ll be surprised by how blue the sea is!!!

Anglesey might not be large but it is beautiful and was the perfect place to take a relaxing short break.

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Want to see the island in 30 seconds? Well check out my HTC Zoe I made of my visit:

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Oct 05 2013

Postcard From: Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel and Spa, Anglesey

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Before the madness of fashion week I headed off to Anglesey, Wales for a mini spa break at the Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel and Spa for a spot of relaxation with my boyfriend. This luxury retreat has a touch of the Downton Abbey grandeur, with its mansion exterior, exquisite grand hall filled with a staircase made for Lady Mary to walk down, a grand piano, incredible artwork, and luxurious leather sofas to enjoy a spot of tea on.

This place is like stepping back in time with its traditional feel and elegant touches, huge rooms, gilded wallpaper, a library, and more clocks than I have ever seen before from ornate mantel clocks to a huge grandfather clock at the top of the stairs.

The outside of the hotel was just as exquisite with tranquil grounds filled with interesting sculptures that lit up at night to gorgeous flowers and even palm trees, which looked amazing in the sun. It really is the most beautiful location for a spa.

As well as possessing all the traditional elegance of a country mansion house this four star hotel also has all the modern comforts – with great size rooms, a spa with a thermal suite and a great selection of holistic and beauty treatments by Decleor and Guinot, as well as two restaurants – a fine dining experience and a more relaxed bistro, the hotel also offers a great afternoon tea.

If you are after a hotel with a touch of elegance, a tranquil location, but great amenities then you have to try the Tre-Ysgawen Hall – it really did act as the perfect base to explore the tiny island of Anglesey.

To show off all elements of my stay I have put together a short video on my HTC One:

Want to know what to do while you are on Anglesey? Well stay tuned for my second blog on my five things to do!!! 

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Tre-Ysgawen Hall Country House Hotel and Spa, Llangefni, Anglesey, LL77 7UR. Tel: 01248 750750.

Aug 13 2013

Postcard From: The Grove Hotel In Herfordshire

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A couple of weeks ago I was treated to a night away at the luxury hotel The Grove, a golf, spa and beach resort in the Hertfordshire countryside by Lee Cooper, and I loved my relaxing break so much that I thought I would share some pictures I took.

As a five-star hotel you would expect The Grove to be fancy, and it is, but what surprised me the most was just how friendly the resort was, and how even though it is huge with more than 200 room it felt boutique in its quirky appearance with art installations in the corridors of cows, rubber ducks and even feathers – and its picturesque location really made my overnight stay feel like days it was so relaxing.

Located just 30 minutes outside London, this hotel is a perfect hideaway to recharge your batteries, and with 300 acres to explore you will definitely find a quiet spot to relax. What I loved about this hotel, other than the amazing service and gorgeous room, had to be the incredible gardens, pieces of art dotty around the estate, and the fact that it has an urban beach complete with volleyball, an outside swimming pool, lawn croquet and table tennis all hidden behind the walled garden.

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There is something special about The Grove, they really have thought of everything from making the rooms feel homely complete with arm chair, a large TV and a desk for doing work, stocking up the bathroom with cosmetics from The White Company, and even coming into my room to turn down my bed and put a pair of slippers out – which was a lovely touch after a long day.

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It is the grounds of this hotel which I enjoyed the most, it was lovely to walk around the well-kept gardens, the lovely water installations, and be surprised by random pieces of art including a sculpture made out of recycling, a metal skeleton figure, and a gorgeous glass tree that looked simply divine in the sunshine.

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As well as taking walks around the grounds, I also enjoyed the facilities at the Sequoia Spa, which has an extensive treatment menu using ESPA products. As I was driving back soon after my appointment I didn’t want to go for a uber-relaxing massage or a facial, I will definitely have to go back to experience those, instead I went for a luxury pedicure complete with a leg message, which was the perfect end to a night away.

Granted this isn’t a cheap break, rooms are around the £300 price bracket per night, but if you are after a relaxing hideaway close to London with someone to walk, enjoy the picturesque views, maybe enjoy a round of golf or even indulge in a spa treatment or two I would most certainly recommend it as a luxury treat.

I think I will have to try and find an excuse to go back as I would love to try their afternoon tea – I heard only good things while I was there but didn’t have the chance to taste for myself.

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For more pictures of my stay at The Grove, Hertfordshire head on over to my Facebook page.

**Fashionista Barbie was a guest of Lee Cooper**

[Pics: all by me, Fashionista Barbie]

May 31 2013

Seaside Style: Bank Holiday Day Trip To Felixstowe

Felixstowe-my-style-14What are Bank Holidays for if not a trip to the seaside, especially when it is sunny, and a chance to top up on ice-cream, candy floss, make sandcastles and play in the arcades. My boyfriend and I like a day trip, and living near Cambridge means we have a lot of gorgeous coastline in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, which isn’t that far away in the car.

Over the years we have done a lot of the beaches in Norfolk including Hunstanton and Cromer so this Bank Holiday we thought we would give Suffolk a try and head on over to Felixstowe, a seaside town we both hadn’t been to before.

Quieter than say Blackpool and Brighton, there is a charm about Felixstowe with its colourful beach huts, sea front gardens and miles of beach to stroll down while eating an ice cream. And in the sunshine this was such a great day for testing out my new Canon 650d camera and having my style snaps taken by some palm trees makes it look somewhere tropical and warm.

What did you do this Bank Holiday?

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My Style: Oh La La Tee, Zoe Karssen (similar one) // Hudson Jeans Bacara in Vancouver, Jeanography (c/o) // Straw bag, Cath Kidston, (similar one) // Gladiator flats, F&F for Tescos // Silver bracelet stack, New Look // Tiffany’s bracelet // Glasses, Retro54 // Orange wrap watch, Guess // shot with Canon 650d //

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Mar 16 2013

Weekend Fun: A Wander Around Arundel With Friends

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Weekends are all about relaxing, doing something fun, taking a trip away and spending it with friends, well that is my goal each and every weekend *not that it always happens*. A couple of weeks back I spent the weekend with my good friends Jim and Sarah down in Chichester, just for the night, just because, and it was the most fun I have had in a long time.

What’s great about Chichester and Arundel, a town close by, is that they are literally a stone’s throw from London, perfect for a weekend away, and so far from the hustle of London that it is the perfect place to relax, wandering around the sites and do a spot of shopping.

I hadn’t been to Arundel before, but basically this market town is famous for its castle and cathedral, is filled with gorgeous architecture, quirky shops, art galleries, cute cafes, and more antique shops than any place I have ever visited.

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When one bell wont do!!!

arundel-cathedralarundel-castle-1 arundel-my-style-2Pretty much like this weekend, it was cold, sorry scrap that it was freezing, a little damp, and generally very wintry, which means only one thing my Barbour parka comes off the coat hook! As we were just out for a walk, being a tourist looking at all the sites, and rummaging through dusty antique shops I kept my look simple, relaxed, comfortable and most of all warm.

Jazzing up my skinny jeans and biker boot look were my winter warmers, my fun pom-pom scarf from Bank, which is completely OTT but super warm, my matching hat that Very.co.uk gave me at their Catwalk on Ice event earlier in the year, and my new knitted multi-coloured gloves that were a gift from my friend Laura, her dad knitted them aren’t they amazing – the pink colour in them is so me!!!

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My Style: Parka, Barbour //  Dark grey skinny jeans, Uniqlo // Kimmi black studded Biker Boots (c/o Tribeca Shoes) // Black jumper, New Look // Pom pom scarf, Bank (c/o) // Hat, Very.co.uk (c/o) // Glasses, Retro54 // Gloves, gift from my friend Laura // Brown leather bag, River Island //

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As well as admiring gorgeous buildings, posing to take an outfit piccie or two, I love finding quirky shops that are filled with unusual gifts, home interior pieces, and generally pretty things.

In Arundel that shop is Sparks Yard, which had the prettiest displays in town, Easter is just so adorable – made me want to buy all the chicks and bunnies. Not only that it had the cutest pieces – like this ‘Suitcase for really short holiday’ case, ‘Owl will always love you love’ heart decoration, and the best range of quirky clocks I have ever seen – my favourite being ‘What’s red sticky & licked all over – this!’ – genius!!!

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As the town is filled with antique shops it would have been rude not to look and there are four things I always look for – vintage tea cups, you can never have too many, Singer sewing machines, I know I have one already but there are just so unique, jewellery, I love old brooches, and typewriters, the one thing I want but can never seem to find.

Well thanks to Paulie I am now the proud owner of a Royal typewriter, which is in fully working order and comes with an adorable case complete with travel stamps. I am going to do a full post on my new beauty soon but I couldn’t help sharing now – is she cute – after a clean up and a new ribbon I will be going Mad Men style and typing up letters!!!

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A fun weekend isn’t dependent on the weather, or even the location, but the people you are with, and of course I love that Sarah like me also loves to do a selfie!!!

What makes your weekend fun?

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