21 February 2018

New York, New York!

If you follow me on Instagram you might have already had a glimpse of my half term shenanigans. I've had a few requests to do a blog post on what we did and what I bought! It was family trip. I've been before (about 15 years ago) but it was one of the husbands #2018goals so I sat back and let him take charge of our stay. I did have a hand in the choice of accommodation though after seeing lots of recommendations for The Ludlow Hotel on Instagram last year. The Ludlow is located on the Lower East Side. I would describe it more as a boutique hotel in a rather hip area. If you want a more central location closer to Central Park and Times Square this wouldn't be the place for you. I stayed very close to Central Park the last time I went which meant lots of the sightseeing stuff was within walking distance. I loved the fact that this time that I got to explore an entirely different part of the city.  

Just to warn you, this is going to be a picture heavy post so I can show you NYC through my eyes.

Let's kick off with the gorgeous interiors at The Ludlow.

It's the little things!

We arrived at our destination at 3 in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day getting our bearings by checking out the local area. We just ate in a local diner and had an early night on the Saturday. We woke up to a very rainy Sunday......it was a very good job that I'd checked the forecast and threw in my Protected Species parka and Fulton mini umbrella at the last minute. The renowned Katz's deli was on the corner of our block so we went there for breakfast where I was served up the 3 biggest pancakes I've ever seen.....I only managed the one! Then we hit the streets again. The rain meant that anything that involved a view or ice-skating would be off the agenda so we set off to find Grand Central Station. I remembered I was in awe of the place when I visited last time......my two were not disappointed! It is stunning! My pictures do not do it justice at all! 

There was only one thing to keep fairly dry do once we'd finished snapping away......shop! We hit 5th Avenue which is a bit of a High Street Mecca with the likes of Zara, Uniqlo & H&M......think Oxford Circus! We spent an age in Macy's buying up North Face jackets and Ralph Lauren polo shirts for the husband with great reductions and taxes deducted! The DD was after a Calvin Klein sweatshirt and she found one that was brilliantly discounted. My treat came a little later in the day! ;0)  I shall reveal my purchases a little later.

On Sunday evening we went to Lombardi's which was another recommendation. It's reputation is for being the first pizzeria in the United States. It's very rustic decor-wise (code for a bit rough and ready) but the pizza did not disappoint as you can see......

Thankfully on Monday the weather looked a little more promising so we headed off early towards the Staten Island ferry so that we could get a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. As we were on foot we happened across the Ground Zero memorials. The last time I visited this area was still just rubble but it was extremely moving. The sorrow was so very tangible. All I can say is that the twin memorial pools are such a fitting tribute. 

So on towards the Staten Island terminal. This turned out to be the piece de la resistance for our daughter. Digressing a little here but my daughter is an avid follower of The Ingham family on YouTube. She knew they would be in New York at the same time as us and even left a comment for them. So what luck! That they just happened to be queuing for the ferry at the same time as us! This just made Gracie's holiday......I think you can tell by her face, the sheer delight of it all. They were absolutely lovely......gawd bless them!

Needless to say in the throes of excitement of it all I didn't get a single pic of the Statue of Liberty to share. 

We took the subway up to Central Park, which in it's self was a bit of an adventure. We were entertained by some male dancers.....by what can only be described as pole dancing! Thankfully we were far enough away to spare any blushes.....I felt sorry for the poor chaps sat right in front of it as there was nowhere to hide and set the rest of the carriage off in hysterics! It could only happen it New York right? Anyway, once we arrived at our destination we decided the best way to see Central Park was by rickshaw. We had an hours tour with a few stops for photo opportunities. I did the horse and carriage last time.....I didn't take in as much. Our rickshaw driver was a mine of information, we learnt so much!

After a stroll from Central Park down to Times Square where we eventually found ourselves in China Town where we stopped for some food at HK Wonton Garden. I would also recommend.....beware again though as the portions are very generous and we ordered way too much.

And so as quick as a flash it was Tuesday and our final full day. We were up and out early as we had a full day planned.......the weather fairies were smiling upon us as although it was freezing it was a glorious sunny day. We stopped in Wholefoods grocery store for breakfast........I'll let the picture do the talking!

Toast with chocolate spread and summer berries. This was Gracie's I hasten to add! I like to think mine was slightly healthier being almond butter and jam! In a nutshell.......delicious.

We then got on the subway again (no performance this time!) and headed back to Central Park. The highlight of my first trip to New York 15 years ago was the night time ice skating which was just magical....think of the film Serendipity. But skating in beautiful sunshine was really the cherry on the cake for me on this whirlwind trip.

The day just got better and better as we then hit the Rockefeller Centre. On my last visit I'd done the Empire State Building but the Top of the Rock came highly recommended. We managed to nab a 1pm slot, the queues were not too bad. It was just over $100 for 3 of us, so  about 25 GBP per head. I think I'm feeling a trifle aggrieved at paying that now as our cabbie to the airport on the way home mentioned he had been a bar tender in the Rockefeller on the 64th floor. He reckoned you had a better experience by enjoying the view whilst sipping a cocktail for half the ticket price. What's not to love about that!

You can see all the sights from the Top of the Rock including the Empire States Building!

Even the inside of the Rockefeller is pretty impressive! And there is some great shopping to be had inside and outside of the centre. I picked up a couple of J Crew classic v-neck tees, almost half the price you would pay in the UK. It'd be rude not to wouldn't it!

After seeing the whole of New York from the Top of the Rock we were left with just a little bit more time for shopping! Off we set again for 5th Avenue. We all made some last minute purchases. I had set my heart on a Zara green oversized hoody that was sold our in every other store we went into.....thus making it that much more desirable to me! Eventually I got to go back to the original store I'd seen it in and thankfully there was one left in my size! We also schlepped back to Macy's where I bagged a pair of Converse red hi tops that had been on my list to get whilst we were in the Big Apple. I'm sure I could have bagged them at a discount in the UK but I was happy to get about a third off as they have happy memories attached to them! 

The haul....

My darling husband also completely indulged me by hailing a cab to take me to the Glossier showroom on Lafayette Street. Boy....what an experience! I wasn't confident I was even in the right building....but yes, a ride up to the penthouse and you've hit make-up heaven. 

What did I buy? On my hit list was their Stretch Concealer.....then I had an open mind! I also plumped for the Brow Boy and the Haloscope (highlighter) duo. Now I've been using the products for a week I am confident that I'll be placing an order for more. The concealer is excellent....and I've tried a few. I'm sadly allergic to YSL Touche Eclat so it's been a revelation to find something just as good and not overly expensive too! I love the brow boy as well......I'm still getting to grips with the highlighter.

And, the romantic devil bought me one of these to add to my lovely Bella Jane Jewellery stack. Tiffany & Co is significantly cheaper is the US. 

We had our last super at the super cool Black Tap just across the street from our hotel. In essence a burger joint that played some great music and served up some mean food. If you stay anywhere around the Lower East Side do check it out......it got the thumbs up from all of us. If you need a little evidence of what you can expect check these bad boys out......

The house speciality milkshakes.....that's a meal right there!

Here are a few more mementos of my trip.

Kicking off with street art. 

This was on a lamp post!

Did I pitch the packing right? I think so. As I mentioned I did throw a hooded parka in at the last minute which proved to be a smart move given the rain. And although I dithered about taking 3 pairs of shoes as it seemed a little excessive so I'm glad I packed the Topshop boots as they were excellent in the rain and comfy enough to walk around in all day.

I wore all of the coats, the down jacket was perfect under my new Peacocks bargain.

Peacocks Leopard print coat, sold out alternative here
New Look aviator, sold out alternative here
H&M down jacket, past season alternative here

I took too many sweater....but at least I had options!

Chinti & Parker Deja Vu sweater via Atterley, alternative here
Uniqlo cashmere rollneck, sold out alternative here
Donna Ida black stripe sweater, past season alternative here
Pringle green heart sweater via T K Maxx, alternative here
Clements Ribiero lips sweater via T K Maxx, alternative here

I wore all of the jeans, though I could have managed with just the Skinnies as they looked best with the boots and hi tops. The Topshop straight jeans complimented the Stan's.

Left to right
Topshop Cain, past season style, alternative here

And the footwear....my main dilemma but that turned out to be spot on!

Nike Blazers, past season similar here

The outfit posts were thin on the ground. Long gone are the days where the 11 year old is the designated photographer. And besides the trip was all about some precious family time......making the memories as they say.

Well that turned out to be a gigantic write-up.....hope you didn't switch off halfway through ;0) Just a little flavour should you be off to New York, I hope it's been helpful!

I will be back shortly with another in my top 5 series. Til then #happyhumpday .....it's almost the weekend :0)



  1. Thank you so much Lorraine xx

  2. Brings back a lot of good memories from a trip I made with husband 2 Easter’s ago now- we did a lot of similar things to you but not as successful on the shopping, I thought everything was more expensive and didn’t find any bargains :(
    Would love to go again!

  3. Super round up! We were there in July and it was great to see the sites through your eyes :)

  4. A really enjoyable post! New York is a consideration for our 25th anniversary (gulp!) in September and your post has just bumped it up the list. I haven't been since I was a child, so I'd like to re-visit as an adult - thanks for your fab suggestions. And I'm about to order myself the green hoodie despite imposing a spending ban on myself because I spent way too much in Sezane the other day...It is a very nice hoodie.

  5. Thank you Michelle, just read this as we are off in 2 weeks and can’t wait. I wasn’t sure shopping would be any good with the exchange rate but you have reignited my enthusiasm for the shopping!! Thank you x