6 Aug 2017

NEW YORK: BROOKLYN & 9/11 MEMORIAL


Just when I didn't think New York could get any more incredible we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and was greeted with this view. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a MUST if you are visiting New York as you absolutely get the best views of the city and the hudson. Once your across head down the tunnel, then the stairs and turn left and keep walking - you will then stumble across an area of Brooklyn called Dumbo (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) which you will 100% of seen on someone's instagram at some point... 

After taking many failed 'Dumbo Instragram' photos we decided to head for pizza - Grimaldi's to be specific which is the best pizza in Brooklyn (so we are told). With queues as long as the streets there was no way we could hold out, so we strolled back to under the Brooklyn Bridge and found Ignazio's which certainly gives Grimaldi's a run for their money with their Pepperoni Pizza. JUST WOW. 

Once our bellies were full of carby goodness we did the walk back along the Brooklyn Bridge and walked the 15 minutes to the 9/11 Memorial. I came to NYC back in 2004 but my family and I had originally planned to go in 2001 just shortly after the 9/11 attacks so it was really surreal visiting the site of the twin towers, experiencing the beauty of the memorial and also witnessing the enormity of the Freedom Tower. I really cannot explain how it feels when you are at the memorial - it genuinely is one of the most beautiful memorials I have ever seen and also unbelievably sad which made me cry uncontrollably. After debating for a while Karl and I decided despite the heafty price tag we would visit the 9/11 Museum and we were 100% glad we did. 

The museum is located at the World Trade Center site where the Twin Towers stood. Nothing can prepare you for seeing the destruction which was caused on that fateful day and hearing in detail from loved ones as they try and locate family and friends in the towers. I strongly advise you not to listen to the voicemails which were recorded from the second tower saying they are all OK after the first tower was hit. It is the most heartbreaking thing I have had to listen to and the flow of tears was uncontrollable. But as someone who watched the planes crash into the towers from my living room after my first day of secondary school, this is part of our history and I feel I genuinely paid my respects to those who lost their lives and recommend anyone else to visit if they are in NYC.
















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30 Jul 2016

GETTING TO KNOW NEW YORK



I first visited NYC with my parents and brother in 2004 when I was 14, so to come back 12 years later with my husband-to-be and visit some of the same places was pretty special. I surprised Karl with this trip for his 30th birthday as it's a city he has always wanted to visit and frankly I couldn't wait to get back on US soil. 

We flew with Virgin Atlantic who are definitely one of my favourite airlines and we stayed at the Hudson Hotel near Columbus Circle. The hotel is very dark but with seriously stylish interior, a rooftop bar and an outdoor garden (dream!). I have to mention that the standard double rooms at the hotel are VERY small as space is limited in the city! I 100% recommend staying near Columbus Circle as it's a gorgeous area, just a minute's walk from Central Park, only 7 blocks from Time Square and 3 blocks from 5th Avenue. 

Something to mention if you are planning to visit NYC is it's around 20% more expensive to eat and drink here than London and they usually expect around 18% for a tip (this is quite steep so I think you need to judge for yourself). Portion sizes are also astronomical so after the second day of huge breakfasts we went on the hunt for a deli for something a little lighter and found 'Fluffy's' which if you turn left when you exit the Hudson Hotel is on the corner. They have been going since 1975 and I seriously recommend their bagels or egg white breakfast wrap!

When travelling from the airport to your hotel you MUST grab a yellow cab (as cliche as it sounds it is the best way to see the city). We flew into JFK and with traffic (it is mental!) it took around an hour and a half and for airport runs it's a flat rate of $60 which is so worth it. We unpacked and headed straight to the rooftop bar for a complimentary and very strong mojito before jet-lag kicked our butt. 










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22 Apr 2016

Kew Gardens



Kew Gardens is somewhere my mother has talked about for years and how she went often when she was little and would love to take me. At the time I just thought it was another Royal Park in London, so after researching and finding it has the world's largest collection of living plants I was sold - just a shame it is almost at the end of the District line a whole 2 hours away from my Essex surroundings... 
So it was quite fortunate that I have two weeks job-free before starting my new adventure and am certainly making the most of it. My mother and I set off yesterday where I would finally visit this stunning exotic-jungle in the outskirts of London. When you go through the gates at Kew the vast scale of the gardens is breathtaking - you are greeted by a huge greenhouse lined with rows and rows of colourful tulips on the lawn in front which overlooks a stunningly quaint lake.
Make sure you grab yourself a map but don't walk around with your head lost in it as you'll miss all the best bits! My advice is to lose yourself in the gardens as there is something different at every turn. You can go from walking through the Canadian mountains stretching your necks to see the top of the Redwood trees to skipping through the english countryside laced with bluebells and English Oak trees. 
Be sure to venture inside the smaller greenhouse to the left of the larger 'Palm House' to see the largest range of cactus' I have ever seen (serious plantslut envy!) it looks small from the outside but don't be fooled. I really hope you chose to see Kew Gardens this spring/summer if you haven't already been as it is a national treasure. We spent a whole 4 hours walking around and I am still sure we didn't quite see it all..

Try to go in Spring to catch the Cherry Blossoms!




















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