Sunday, 24 November 2013

New York

A few weeks ago, I finally got to visit one of my dream cities.

Financial District 

After the drama of missing our connecting flight and running through Amsterdam Airport like the McCallister's (Home Alone) we finally arrived in New York on the Monday night. After a long day we decided to go straight to bed and wake up fresh the next morning to explore NYC.

Day 1

We were staying in the Lower East Side of Manhattan so were able to walk to China Town and Little Italy within 10 minutes. As it was before 9am not many places were open so we had to walk to the Soho area where we found a great little place for breakfast.

Blueberry Pancakes

Once we finished breakfast, we walked down to the Financial District which took around 15 minutes from Soho. We checked out the new World Trade Centre buildings which were pretty spectacular.

World Trade Centre

From the Financial District it was only a short walk down to Battery Park where the ferry takes you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The ticket was priced at $17 which included the ferry and the audio tour. The price didn't include entry to the Statue of Liberty but Ellis Island was free to enter.  Both were amazing to see and reminded of movie scenes in Splash and Hitch.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Boat Trip

Statue of Liberty

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

In the afternoon we headed back up towards China Town and Little Italy. We had lovely lunch in one of the Italian restaurant's on Mulberry Street then to Toby's bar for Happy Hour where 2 beers and a cocktail cost $14! We also got free pizza which kept me quiet for a few minutes. We headed back down to Little Italy in the evening for some Mexican tapas which was amazing. Out of everywhere we ate in New York, Little Italy was my favourite for food.

China Town
Day 2

We went to see the Empire State Building then took a bus tour of the Upper East, West Side and Harlem. We got off the bus at times Square and walked down to Madison Square Gardens to see if we could get our hands on some tickets to see the New York Rangers who were playing the Pittsburgh Penguins that night. We were in luck, I got two tickets and they were $100 cheaper than I seen online before we had arrived.

Empire State Building

That afternoon while my man watched the football, I hit the shops. First stop was Victoria's Secret and while purchasing a few items the shop assistant informed me I could come back at 5 o'clock and have my photo take with Victoria's Secret supermodel Candice Swanepoel. I thought to myself, do I really want to stand next to a supermodel and have my photo taken? No thanks! Next I hit Macy's. I only got as far as the beauty floor and ended up with a make-over from one of the Laura Mercier make-up artists which resulted in me looking like a hooker. I did manage to get a few bargains though.


My Purchases

We went to the Rangers game that night which I loved. I was hoping J Zay would be in the audience but we had to settle for Run DMC.

Madison Square Gardens
Day 3

We went to the famous Katz's Delicatessen for breakfast as it was only 5 minutes walk from our hotel. If you didn't already know, Katz's Delicatessen was where they filmed the very famous scene in the film When Harry Met Sally. It has also been in Donny Brasko and the TV programme Man v Food.  The wall is lined with pictures of famous folk who have visited the Deli. Surprise surprise I had pancakes for breakfast again and my man had their famous pastrami sandwich. This place is definitely worth a visit if you are in New York. The Deli can be found on 205 E Houston Street in the Lower East Side.

Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen

After breakfast I was on a mission to find Carrie Bradshaw's apartment. In the programme, Carrie's apartment is meant to be on the Upper East Side but it's a 5 bedroom house (worth $9.5) in Manhattan's West Village. When I looked up the address on the internet it said it was 64 Perry Street but it's actually the building next to no 64, you will recognise it was soon as you see it.  And of course I got my picture taken on the famous steps! While in the area, we discovered the amazing Chocolate Bar just off Perry Street which has won awards for it's chocolate. Definitely one of the best hot chocolates I have ever tasted! 

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment

In the afternoon we checked out the Rockefeller Centre, Fifth Avenue, Trump Towers and Central Park. Central Park was amazing to walk round as there have been so many movies set there, you recognise just about every inch of the park. We finished off the day with dinner at Times Square and then back to our favourite wee bar (Toby's) on Mulberry Street.

Central Park

Times Square

Day 4

This was our last day but before heading to the airport we managed to fit a visit to the 9/11 memorial. They ask for a donation of $5- $10 and the signs ask for photo ID, however, we were not asked for it when we went in to the memorial site but I'd have it on you when visiting (just incase).

9/11 Memorial

Top Tips

- The subway is the cheapest and fastest way to get about the city. You can buy a subway card for $1 and top it up as you go. It costs $2.50 per journey (no matter how far you travel).

- Don't forget they add the tax and an 18% service charge on to the bill so be prepared to be pay about 30% more than the price you see on the menu.

- Tickets for sporting events etc. can be cheaper to buy in New York than online.

- Be careful when buying bus tour tickets. There are loads of company's competing and some are better are than others so do your research with them all before you purchase to make sure you get the best deal.

- Tours such as the Sex and the City tour can easily been done yourself. The internet tells you all the destinations it stops at and where they are.

- Cheapest and easiest way to get to and from the airport is using the Air Train and then the Subway. You will need to purchase a metro ticket ($1) and top up $5 for the Air Train and $2.50 for a Subway ride.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Beauty Kitchen Workshop

A few Saturday's ago, on a wet and miserable afternoon, I headed along to Beauty Kitchen for the Beauty Kitchen Experience to make my own body scrub.  Beauty Kitchen, a Glasgow based company found in the Saltmarket area, hand make beauty products using only natural ingredients and ethical packaging. They also offer workshops where you can create your own product while learning about the ingredients that go into your product. The workshop lasted 2 hours and includes a hand treatment and refreshments.

I went along to the workshop with 3 lovely bloggers, Naomi, Kayleigh  and Lynne who I met at FABB Glasgow. We all made completely different scrubs which was interesting as I thought some of the ingredients we choose said something about each of our personality's.

Before we made our scrubs the aroma therapist talked us through the ingredients explaining the benefits of each one.

First up we choose our essential oil:

Spoil Me - Indulging and soothing

Refresh Me -  Cooling and tingling

Love Me - Uplifting

Chill Me - Relaxing and calming

Inspire Me - Vitalising and rejuvenating

Wake Me - Energising and uplifting

Arose Me - Sparkling and provocative

Next was our scrub base:

Brown Sugar - Best for sensitive skin and eczema suffers as it's gentler on the skin, also great healer for cuts and grazes.

Sea Salt - Best for acne suffers as its antibacterial, also rich in minerals and nutrients.

Epson Salt -  Great for detoxing and improving circulation, also packed full of nutrients.

Himalayan Salt -  Best for dry skin and considered the most pure salt in the world, containing 84 minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Final ingredient was the herbs:

Rose Petals - Skin softener

Sage - Antibacterial

Marigolds - Cleanser

Heather buds - Soothes & relieves aches and pains

Seaweed - De-stressor

Sting and Nettle - Comforting and calming

Cranberry - Rich in anti-oxidants

Rosemary - Skin healer

Bitter Orange - Enhances breaks down of cellulite

To make my scrub I choose:

Arouse me essential oil, Himalayan salts and rose petals.

The Ingredients
Hard at Work
The Finished Product

To get the best out of a body scrub make sure you start from your feet, moving up towards your heart in circulation motions. This will help improve circulation, reduce the appearance of cellulite as well as smoothing skin.

*The Beauty Kitchen Experience 2 hour experience costs £40 but this was gifted to me in my goody bag at FABB Glasgow.