So here we have my New York photo diary, take a minute to grab a cuppa as its a long one, but a wonderful one all the same.
Two weeks ago I headed off to New York City with Air France for a week long trip to my all time favourite city.
Having visited once before after my wonderful family surprised me with a trip for my 18th birthday I have been desperate to return to the city I've been infatuated with for many many years.
The reason for my trip; My bladdy lovely boyfriend George and his business parter Terry were hosting a week long pop up restaurant out there which I was lucky enough to attend on my first evening in New York. It was a really wonderful and intimate event with just 18 people each evening in attendance. Several courses of British classics served with that Check On twist, it was a truly spectacular and delicious event and I can't tell you how proud of them I am... Roll on the next one I say!
My second day in New York saw Georges first day of holiday after closing up their restaurant, so that meant plenty of fun was on the cards. Heading straight to the Rockefeller Centre for an hour of the most breathtaking of views. It was such a serene and peaceful atmosphere up there, which was strange seen as we were viewing one of the busiest cities in the world from a high. But it was simply idyllic, we lapped up the views with doses of fresh air and sunshine beaming down on us, it was the perfect way to get into holiday mode after a week of hosting and cooking for George and a busy day of shooting with Heather Hazzan for me on the previous day.
Once we'd had our Rockefeller fix I introduced Gee to my favourite part of New York, Greenwich Village. As the gathering point for many a musician including Bob Dylan and Jimmi Hendrix, it is brimming with creativity and the ultimate cool vibes. Our first port of call was cocktails, so we set up camp in a near by bar which was conveniently offering happy hour... Happy hour then turned into happy four hours and before we knew it the afternoon had past and so had many hilarious cocktail fuelled moments with it.
Stumbling from the bar, we went in search of food, opting for a super cool Taco Bar located on Bleeker Street. A seriously delicious meal of beef, fish and pork tacos, with complimenting guacamole, chips, refried beans, rice and the most scrummiest corn! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Now suitably fed, we headed back into central Manhattan and for Times Square.
By night Times Square is seriously chaotic; incredible but seriously chaotic, a place to be ventured into carefully.
It's such a fun and vibey place with all the colourful flashing lights and reems and reems of awe struck tourists.
Several cocktails later, we booked tickets to catch the School of Rock musical on Broadway, the same theatre of which I watched Mama Mia over four years ago.
The School of Rock musical pays homage to the hit film, featuring all key scenes, characters and of course lines... I was VERY happy to hear the words "you're tacky and I hate you" that's for sure.
It was the most amazing show I've ever seen, a show of sheer happiness that received a standing ovation from the entire audience; if you're heading to New York anytime soon then I absolutely urge you to check it out, you will not regret it, the talent from the kids within the show is phenomenal.
Day three brought with it a nasty hangover but that certainly did not stop us. After a good ole McDonald's breakfast, of which is served all day long FYI, come on England keep up lads, we were good to go once again.
By foot we decided to head to Ground Zero from central Manhattan. Whilst on route we stumbled upon the awesome Chelsea Market.
A super cool and totally Pinterest worthy indoor market dedicated to the most awesome independent retailers and boutiques along with some seriously delicious food from a variety of cuisines, a must for any of you heading to New York and looking for something a little different as a true New Yorker.
From there we did what we do best and headed for the nearest bar which then led us to a comedy night. It was a standup night featuring several New York comics. As is with every comedy night, some were good, some were bad and some were toe-curlingly terrible, but it was a fun night all the same and something different to do on an evening which is always nice.
Monday reared its ugly head but this Monday was different. This Monday we were in New York and this Monday we had planned to finally hit the shops!
Having shot with my photographer on Union Square the previous Friday I'd noticed an array of stores that I was keen to hit up. So after a delicious breakfast at Egg in Williamsburg which kindly offered crayons with every meal, we hopped on the subway and headed straight for Sephora on Union Square. I had a huge list of products that I wanted and had heard about from the likes of Lily, Anna and Suzie with a huge list of Christmas presents in mind for some lucky ladies indeed. And guess what, Sephora did not disappoint, in one smooth swoop, I picked up everything on my list and left the shop a happy girl, having taught George a lot about the world of make up (see this post to see what I'm talking about... LOL)
Once we'd left Sephora I headed straight for Nordstrom Rack; a treasure trove of discounted designer pieces from a HUGE variety of designers. Think Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Kate Spade, Hugo Boss, Zadig & Voltaire and many many many more.
I was very lucky indeed when it came to bargain designer pieces. I left Nordstrom Rack with a spring in my step after bagging the most delicious burnt orange Burberry Trench coat and a super cool leather blazer by Alexander Wang, both of which I'm sure will appear on here very soon indeed.
Bags in hand we left Union Square and foolishly headed for China Town. By this point the weather had seriously dropped, going from Tshirt and coat weather to Tshirt, jumper, coat and scarf and still being freezing weather within just 3 days.
We decided to walk which was mistake 1... Much further than initially thought, and in the cold New York wind... Not ideal at all. And mistake number 2 came when we arrived at our desired restaurant to find the closed sign... Note to self, always check opening hours online before trekking 1 hour across town...
So after that epic fail and with tummies rumbling we hopped into the nearest open and busy restaurant within China Town... HUGE mistake number 3. It wasn't good at all, I didn't eat anything but rice, but it was an adventure and lesson learnt all the same.
After a day of successful shopping and unsuccessful eating, we decided to head back to our cosy apartment in Williamsburg for a chilled night in with pizza, sushi, beer and Wes Anderson films... Very lovely indeed.
When I woke to my alarm on Tuesday morning I was completely devastated, our last day had arrived just as the jet lag was setting in, but I wasn't about to let that ruin our last day in my favourite city.
We headed out as early as possible and straight for Madison Avenue, the home to all the designer shops. We popped in and out eyeing up all the "imagine ifs" and dreamworld pieces before going back to a purse friendly reality with 5th Avenue. Another Sephora and Urban Outfitters spree and Starbucks peppermint mocha later we chose to spend our final afternoon in what had now become both mine and Georges fave place in the city, Greenich Village.
Heading straight for Murrays which, in all seriousness was a super cool restaurant devoted entirely to cheese!!!
After explaining how we love strong and gooey cheese, they had the experts do the hard stuff, selecting 6 different cheeses with complimenting accompiniments of honey, chutney, pickles and more it was an absolute delight. A bottle of red and tonnes of cheese later it was time to head to Little Italy to meet our good friends Terry and Lucy for dinner to celebrate Lucy's birthday.
What Lucy didn't know was that this was a decoy, what Terry had planned was out of this world amazing.
He surprised her with tickets to see Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Gardens, a surprise that both George and I were in on and attending alongside.
It was a truly incredible evening and a serious night to remember.
The best way to finish a perfect trip to the most incredible of cities with the most wonderful of company.