Obviously, you know what I got up to while I was there because I didn’t stop going on about it (sorry, hehe) but I don’t think I mentioned how much I felt I’d changed since going. As someone who goes to the same place on holiday every year and before September had never left the comfort of their tiny hometown, New York changed me massively.
I’ve not said this before, but I’m not a huge fan of central London. I find it hugely overwhelming, stressful and just plain busy. Of course, having these feelings towards the capital meant I was a little worried about visiting the USA’s city that never sleeps…how wrong I was. I know this is going to sound oxymoronic (get me with the big words) but somehow New York was heaving but also insanely chilled out. It had this sense of relaxation that is really hard to describe unless you’ve already been there
The only place that was painfully busy was Times Square – where my stepmum was dreading when we went to see The Book of Mormon. While I wouldn’t want to see Times Square on my daily commute, I didn’t actually find it too bad. All in all, the busyness of New York was something that made me love it even more…despite it being what makes me hate London.
Oh, and let’s not forget all the amazing things I did. My project for the summer is to finish the scrapbook full of our activities (because I somehow don’t have the time in my hectic 8 hour uni week) and it’s amazing to be able to reflect on the adventures we went on.
Would I do anything differently if I went back? Not really. Maybe get up earlier(oops) and I would really like to visit the National History Museum because we definitely didn’t have enough time when we went. Other than that, I’d do near enough the same…definitely another Broadway show, another art museum and of course I’d head up the Rockefeller again.
Overall, heading to New York made me open my eyes to the world a whole lot more and made me realise that I’m really not made for small towns. It’s wishful thinking, but I would love to live there in the future – donations will be highly appreciated. Have you visited New York? Or, have you been anywhere that really changed you? Let me know!
Overwhelmed by the options of rooms, we settled on the Cursed Carnival (I’d usefully forgotten about my fear of clowns until we arrived) as it had a three star difficulty rating and only one of us had done an escape room before. In hindsight, we should have probably gone for a higher difficulty, because there’s nothing like challenging yourself.
Of course, once we were in there we were scrambling around for clues and some of them were actually pretty simple, but only made it more difficult for you to get to the next step and there were a few duds that just aimed to waste your time – much like some lectures, may I add. The creepy carnival music that I forgot I love (Read: LOATHE) added that extra bit of tension that’s always needed when you’re under pressure.
You’re probably wondering how we did? Well, with two chemistry students and me and India (who almost have a brain between us) we managed to escape with a whole 15 minutes to spare. With that said, there was a screen in each room that gave us clues every so often and I think we would have been stuck in the first section if it weren’t for that. I’m not sure anyone would be able to get through it without some help – we did very little on our own accord. The screen also shows you how much time you have left, in case the music and general pressure of having to escape wasn’t enough.
My verdict? I absolutely loved it. There were no “jumpy bits” and the only clowns in sight were us- and some masks, but they can be removed on request. Breakout’s rooms are much more puzzle based than just rushing around to find a key, which I really enjoyed as it was nice to stretch my brain and not have to think about my course for a while.
A quick disclaimer: My friends and I were given free entry to Breakout in exchange for an honest and accurate review from me; as usual, all views and words are my own. I have had to nab the pictures from Breakout, though, as I wasn’t allowed to take photos in there.
The two staff members who I engaged with, Hazel, who looked after us while we were there, and Rei, who is in charge of PR and I had the pleasure of meeting at a bloggers event the next day, were both wonderful and super friendly. I can’t wait to go back!
After the stress of results day and university planning (a post will be up eventually, I promise) my mum and I headed to the seaside for a few days to visit some family. It was definitely well needed and really helped me clear my head.
We arrived in Bournemouth late on Monday afternoon and managed to settle in after a bit of a screw up with our hotel (they hadn't got our booking even though mum booked through their site). Once we'd switched off for a little bit, we headed for dinner at my great aunty and uncle's house.
On our second day, we headed to my favourite beach. You have to get there by a little ferry and it's covered in beach huts that people stay in for the summer. I managed to fall asleep for an hour or so and get really sunburnt, but the nap in the sun was definitely worth it.
For as long as I can remember, my dad and I have gone camping for a few days over my summer break. I always love these little trips because I always chill out loads and they're always so much fun, and this time was no different! We headed to Shell Island, a campsite in Wales, this year as it's somewhere we used to go when I was much younger and I thought it would be great to go again.
On our first day we chilled out at the beach and I (finally) started a new book. We arrived early-evening so headed back to the tent for some food and then enjoyed the amazing sunset.
Do you enjoy camping, or do you have other annual trips with your family? Let me know!
If you're new here and you didn't already know, I spent ten days in New York last month and I had the best time. One thing I haven't managed to talk about yet is the amazing food I enjoyed while we were there, so here are a few of my favourite places that we visited.
We went here twice while we were in New York due to it being so conveniently close to where we were staying and to all of the shops. We enjoyed lunch at the Mercer Kitchen on our first day and also headed out for breakfast there one morning, too. While the food was amazing, this restaurant isn't exactly kind to your wallet. The atmosphere definitely made up for this, though.
When we went for lunch, I enjoyed my first taste of America by having a hot dog and fries. It was delicious and I definitely appreciated the new found energy after all the walking we did! For breakfast here I indulged in a salmon bagel which was incredible. I am a huuuge fan of nice breakfast foods and this definitely did not disappoint.
I didn't expect to be putting a fast food chain in my 'favourite meals' post either, but here we are. We had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast a few times while we were in NYC and to be honest I could have had one every morning. Obviously not for those wanting to eat healthy, but definitely for me! I had their turkey sausage muffin and a pack of hash browns (which were better than McDonalds', may I add).
The Standard Grill
We visited The Standard Grill in the Meatpacking District for a meal one evening and I loved everything about it; from the way it looked to the atmosphere to the lovely waiting staff, and obviously I can't forget the food. I enjoyed a delicious portion of squid to start and then a burger which was so big that I didn't manage to finish it. I would have loved a dessert, but I was way too full.
I can't wait to go back to New York soon and enjoy this delicious food again! Where's your favourite place to eat on holiday?
If you've read any of my posts about my trip to New York, you will know that I got up to a lot of costly things that were typical activities for tourists like us. What I haven't mentioned yet is that we also got up to lots of cheap and fun things to do, as well. Here are some of my favourite cheap(ish) things to do in New York City.
The Highline is an old railway line that has been turned into a beautiful walkway with a lovely view of the Hudson. It's free to do and it gives you lots of lovely views of the city. We only had to take a stroll there as it's located in the Meatpacking District which is near to where we stayed. The ice cream and cold drink vendors were highly appreciated in the scorching weather (I definitely burnt!).
I've already written about my visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, but I don't think I mentioned the pricing. The memorial itself is obviously free to look at and pay your respects and entry to the museum is $15, which I think is relatively cheap considering the event and all of the proceeds go to charities for the victims. If you don't want to pay, the memorial itself is incredibly moving and I think it's something you have to do when you visit New York.
When I say there are parks everywhere in New York, I mean everywhere. We spent a lot of our time at Washington Square Park, which was local to our accommodation and we fell in love with. A visit to Central Park was also vital and I think it would be easy to spend a day there, there's so much going on - we did get the subway to Central Park but it's only about $2 each way so it hardly breaks the bank.
Visiting the parks of New York is obviously free and I felt that they gave a really nice vibe and truly showed the sense of community in New York. I found all of the parks very friendly and I enjoyed watching other people socialising - be it playing a game of baseball or sitting having a coffee.
These were my favourite 'cheap' things to do in New York, and I'm hoping I can go back soon to do them all over again! What are your favourite things to do in the city? Let me know with a comment! As always, thank you for reading.
One thing I absolutely wanted to do when we went to New York was see a show on Broadway. I've always loved going to the theatre and was desperate to see an amazing show performed by the best of the best. I wasn't particularly picky about what we saw, but I think we definitely made the best choice in going to see 'The Book of Mormon'.
The show itself was absolutely hilarious, but definitely not for the easily offended or the very religious. It follows two 'newly trained' Mormons on their journey to Uganda to convert the citizens of a small, deprived village.
We laughed the whole way through the performance and there were a few moments where I struggled for air. I thought my knowledge of the Mormon religion (thanks, GCSE History) would be useful in understanding the plot, but it was covered very easily in a few catchy songs. If you want a good laugh alongside some music that will be stuck in your head for days, 'The Book of Mormon' is definitely for you.
We also headed to Times Square as it was just around the corner from the theatre. It was definitely a lot busier than anywhere else we'd been but I didn't find it too overwhelming. It's just what I imagined it to be and everywhere you look there is a billboard or a street performer. It definitely gives you the 'chaotic New York' vibe.
As always, thank you for reading. I'm sadly home from New York now but I'm already looking into going again. Have you been? Let me know your thoughts on it with a comment!
One thing I definitely wanted to do when I visited New York was go to an art museum. I've always been a big fan of artwork and I've loved going to art museums since I was a child, so I just had to see some of the work that New York had to offer. So, we headed uptown to visit the Guggenheim Museum to have some time away from the city heat and to look at some work.
The architecture of the Guggenheim is sort of what makes it so special - the building is circular and you're meant to start at the top of the museum and walk downwards using the spiral walkway. It was definitely nice to not have to use any stairs!
There was a pretty good range of art in the museum (obviously) with some side rooms showing different exhibitions. My favourite pieces were some of Picasso's and a painting named "Tall Nude" by Giacometti. There was also an exhibition named "One Hand Clapping" by a collection of Asian artists which was much more modern than the rest of the art in the museum.
Here are some of my favourites!
After the museum, we headed to Central Park which was just over the road and enjoyed an ice cream. So, overall it was a very good day. As always, thank you for reading!
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New York is amazing, and it's even better from the sky. We visited the top of the Rockerfeller centre a few days ago to see what the city really looks like from above and the views certainly didn't disappoint.
We had our tickets booked for 7:35pm so that we could watch the sunset, which was unreal. It only took a 45 second elevator trip to reach the top and you could walk the whole way around the ledge, so the views were 360. I was really blown away by how incredible New York looks from above and was shocked at how huge Central Park actually is (I hadn't visited there yet). If you follow me on Instagram, you will have definitely seen these pictures before.
There's not a lot to write about my trip to the Top of the Rock but I just wanted to share the view with you, so thank you for taking a peek.
Trigger warning: terrorism, 9/11 attacks.
I am having the best time in New York and I have definitely fallen in love with the city. Between doing the really big tourist-y things we took a few hours out of our trip to visit the 9/11 Memorial, and I'm so glad we did.
I didn't take any pictures in the museum other than the two I've posted here, mainly because I just felt disrespectful to be experiencing the museum through my camera lens. There was just something about these two pieces, though, that really hit me.
The blue mosaic was done by an artist who, over time, watercolored each of these pieces of paper with what he thought the sky looked like that day with the words "No day shall erase you from the memory of time" written in the centre. This mosaic was enormous and took up a whole wall, so was very overwhelming and emotional to see.
The podium in the second picture is called The Last Column and was rightfully named due to being one of the last pieces of infrastructure to be standing after the attack. The graffiti and photos you can see on it were done/placed there by families and friends of the victims as tribute to them. For me, it was a very beautiful piece.
I'm so glad I visited the memorial and museum for the 9/11 attacks because it made me so much more aware and educated on the event, and reminded me how ignorant I/we can sometimes be to the things happening around us. I could have made this post a lot longer, but I'm aware that the event is very morbid which is why I decided to focus on less negative aspects, such as the mosaic. However, if you do have any questions feel free to email me or drop a comment. As always, thank you for reading.
Want to read something a bit cheerier? Take a look at my last post.
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As some of you may know, I'm heading to New York soon. I've never travelled long haul before so I've tried to pack some important pieces in my hang luggage bag to keep me comfortable and entertained. Have a peek what's inside my hand luggage!
That's everything in my bag for my flight to New York! Knowing me, I'll throw a load more things in last minute but these are definitely the essentials. Make sure you stay tuned because the New York posts will be endless, I'm sure. Thanks for reading!
After a stressful year and an even more full-on fortnight of exams, my stepmom and I thought it would be lovely to spend a few days in Lanzarote to switch off and relax. I'd like to say we got up to a lot, but we really didn't!
I'm lucky enough for my dad and stepmom to own a little apartment on the island, it's only a one bedroom but we don't spend a lot of time there anyway so the space doesn't bother us too much - plus, we can't complain about having a property in the sun!! We arrived very early on Monday morning and left even earlier on the Friday so we had only had a few days to switch off, but it was definitely enough time for me to burn.
We spent most of our time relaxing by the pool and I managed to read a book for fun for the first time in two years (shoutout to A Level English), but we went for some lovely food too and we even spent one evening at the outdoor cinema, which is one of my favourite places in the world. I also managed to sneak some shopping in!
We had a takeaway from our favourite local Italian on our first and final night and headed out for a meal on our second night to a lovely restaurant on the harbour. The view was absolutely amazing and so was the food! I did have to be careful with my drinking, though, as I felt myself getting drunk after one cocktail which I'm pretty sure was 95% alcohol.
On our third/penultimate evening we headed to the outdoor cinema at the shopping centre that's about two minutes away from our apartment and we watched Ferdinand. Even though it was a kids' film, I still blubbed. I always love going to the cinema in Lanzarote because the film starts at sundown, so you get an amazing view of the sunset before you watch the film.
Overall, we had a lovely few days and it was so nice to finally relax after such a tense year. It was also super hot and I managed to burn my backside on the first day after (stupidly) falling asleep in the sun - good one Soph. I'm not back on British turf for long, though, as I'm heading off to New York in just under a week!