Bidding a Fond Farewell to New York!

After the busy few days we had had, Matt and I decided to have a bit of a lie in on Sunday. Some people had agreed to meet for breakfast but we just knew we wouldn’t make it in time, so we decided to do our own thing and would meet up with everyone later.

After lazing in bed for too long, we finally got up and decided to head to out for breakfast. We weren’t really in the mood to be walking around trying to find somewhere, so we decided on Applebee’s before we had even left the room. There was no particular reason for choosing there, only that we had noticed it from our window, I had vaguely heard of it and they had a big sign saying they did breakfast. Sold!

It was really quiet and empty which shocked me however the servers seemed friendly and I loved the decorations they had put up for graduation. I really wish the UK would go all out for celebrations!

I decided to go for waffles (as usual!) with a cup of tea and Matt went for an orange juice and egg and bacon sandwich. When the food arrived, for once we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the portions it was just 1 round waffle and that was perfect for me, it did lack fruit though as you can see by the picture they could use a little more! I don’t know if I would rush back to Applebee’s again though, as the food wasn’t that great.

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Over breakfast, Matt was in contact with Bruce and the rest of the group, and we decided that we were all going to meet up around midday to get a ferry over to Brooklyn for lunch. So once we had finished, we headed outside into the sunshine to find the closest subway station. We had had enough of taxi’s and wanted to try something different, plus we had some time to spare.

The subway is so easy to use and so cheap! So much cheaper and less confusing than London! For a 1 way trip it was $2 each. I believe that was any trip, anywhere but correct me if I’m wrong! We got the number 1 red line from a station in Times Square all the way down to South Ferry, which took roughly 30 minutes maybe quicker. It was air conditioned (another luxury London is slowly getting), clean and we both managed to get a seat. It was just nice to be on the move and not stuck in the traffic!

Once at South Ferry, we took a walk through Battery Park and along the waterfront. The weather was so hot! Which I was a bit unprepared for, jeans were not a good choice! But still, I love being near the water and in the sunshine. The friends we were meant to be meeting were running late as their breakfast/brunch had run over, so we could have actually joined them all along, but oh well! We then realised we were walking the wrong way, so turned around and headed back along the water in search of Pier 11.

Pier 11 is actually on South Street, a bit of a walk and not near Battery Park or the day trip boats. But we finally found it! and our friends! Only to be told that not everyone was here and so we wouldn’t be getting a boat quite yet. So what to do on a Sunny Sunday? Find a bar of course!

We all walked along together chatting about our breakfast experiences and quickly found Nelson Blue a New Zealand Bar and Grill. We grabbed some stalls along the large window which was actually all open so you could still feel the breeze and the sunshine and took a quick scan of the menu. We were only looking for drinks and the friendly waitress happily recommended a wine for us ladies and beers for the guys and I must say the wine she chose was delicious!

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We could have easily stayed there all afternoon, but the rest of the group caught up with us and Erin recommended an outside bar around the corner (I’m really sorry I didn’t get the name) On walking around the corner, we seemed to have stepped into some sort of market or festival day. I don’t know if this is a usual Sunday thing or if something was going on but it was a lot of fun. There were clothes stalls, outdoor bars, dance classes, live music, the list goes on. So we grabbed a picnic bench and settled down to enjoy the atmosphere and more wine 😉

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^^ How cute is consuela, Bruce and Erin’s dog!? She was adorable but a bit of a diva 😉

It was now around 2pm and a few of the group had to leave as they were flying back to the UK that night! Which was a bit of a shame, so at that point the rest of us decided to head back over to Pier 11 to catch the water taxi over to Brooklyn.

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^^ The View of Brooklyn Bridge from the taxi queue

The queue was quite long and so we waited a while to get onto the taxi, however they are free to use at weekends, so you can understand why a lot of people were using them! Once on the boat, we quickly sped across the water over to Brookyln, taking in the sights of Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty along the way.

Once off the boat, it was only a couple minutes walk to Brooklyn Crab, where we would be spending the rest of the afternoon.

iBtvkm5tPrmI^^ Don’t you just love the look of this place? You could smell the seafood straight away, I had salt in my hair and the sun was shining brightly. It was bliss and I felt like I was on an Island in the middle of nowhere.

We had to wait for a table as there were so many of us, but jugs of beer and all the arcade games, kept us happy, along with friendly competitions of basketball hoops and air hockey! If we had to wait longer, we most definitely would of had a game of mini golf!

Below Deck Bar, Brooklyn Crab

We were seated upstairs so had a lovely view of the sea and New York skyline. Now let’s take a look at that menu..

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We decided to get a few starters to share which included the oysters, fried calamari and popcorn shrimp, all of which were delicious. For mains, I won’t go through everyone’s, but Matt got the Blue crab roll and I got the shrimp basket. I love shrimp! We all received so much food so it was well worth the money, I couldn’t even finish all mine and it was so yummy.

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^^ Phil and Jess

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^^ Dan and Sarah

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^^ Group Shot!

It was such a lovely afternoon spent with friends, that I was sad our trip was coming to an end. I would love a place like this, near to home, that I could visit every weekend in the sunshine. Shame the UK weather is so unpredictable!

As usual the time had flown by and it was now early evening, so we headed back to the taxi.

11009945_10155576995750092_6614511406053429241_n^^ The boys enjoying the ferry back

11140749_10155576994995092_6226463662456738064_n^^ The ladies enjoying the ferry back

Day turned into dusk and Erin took us to a cute little wine bar, which literally looked like someone’s house and we sat outside, drinking cocktails, watching the sun go down. What a perfect last night in the city.

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We got a taxi back to Times Square around 11pm and I just stood taking in all the atmosphere and buzz for the last time.

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Monday morning we packed, had breakfast at the hotel (I had pancakes for a change ha) and then we headed out for one last look of Times Square.

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^^ Matt and I on the Red Steps

We popped into a few shops like The Disney Store, Hershey’s World, Levi and Forever 21 and also grabbed a few last minute gifts for friends and family back home. We decided to have lunch at Planet Hollywood, before getting a taxi to JFK, for our flight home.

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^^ Final buffalo wings of the trip

Sat at the airport I was so sad to be coming home. We had had such a great trip, done so many things and met so many lovely people that I just wanted it to continue. In all honesty it felt like we had been away months not 11 days! It was also nice to experience New York in Summer, as many people including us only really visit in Winter.

But as they say all good things must come to an end, so thank you New York, until next time.

And here’s to the next trip……. Dubai in October hehe.

Love, Chloe xx

P.S. If any of you have any good recommendations for Dubai please let me know, I’m so excited, I’m researching already! 😉

A Sunny Saturday in New York!

After a very disturbed sleep, I blame the fireballs entirely! 😉 We woke up on Saturday to sunshine and the excitement of Times Square below.

We had separate Boys and Girl’s Day’s planned. So while Matt rushed to get ready for his early start, I leisurely lazed in bed and watched my favourite guilty pleasure.. Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Matt left and I finally managed to get myself out of bed, oh how I wish I could have stayed there all day! I had a cereal bar (all I could stomach), a large glass of water, jumped in the shower and then got dressed ready for Soul Cycle.

I have never been to a Soul Cycle class before, however with all the hype surrounding it and all the celebrity followers I was very excited to try it out. Even if I did have a massive headache and slight hangover. So I grabbed the first taxi I could and headed to Union Square to meet the rest of the ladies.

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^^ Soul Cycle, Union Square, NYC

I must admit I am not a gym bunny. I have tried a couple of classes before including spin, so I knew what to expect but I was a bit worried that I would look out of place and wouldn’t be good enough. However I needn’t have worried, the people who worked there were very helpful and after filling out a form and being given proper shoes to wear (the type that clip into the bike, we don’t have those at spin!) I met up with my group of friends and we found our bikes ready for 45 minutes of intense workout!soulcycle021

Oh all while the boys were playing baseball and eating and drinking all day……

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Wow Soul Cycle is hardcore! I don’t think I have ever sweated so much in my life. But I felt so good afterwards and I think it even helped shift my hangover. The class was full, but everyone was super friendly and it almost felt like you were part of some sort of team. The room is quite dark but I liked that, no one could see my bright red face, muffin top squishing out of my leggings or the beads of sweat constantly dripping off me ha, how lovely. But I just kept thinking how good this was for me and I really enjoyed it and the time flew by. Our instructor was amazing and so motivating, if a little OTT at times and I loved all the club music and how you rode to the beat. Half way through the class you use hand weights while cycling which mixed things up a bit. I found the stretches at the end a bit difficult as she uses the bike to help you but I think I was too small/short as my legs couldn’t even reach the floor haha. But all in all I had a great time and would so recommend it and would love to try it out again over here.

After the class Erin had to leave to do some last minute party prep. So the rest of us went back to our hotel’s and had a much needed shower!! I decided to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon just leisurely looking around the shops including Macy’s, as we needed to buy Bruce and Erin a wedding gift. We got them some Kate Spade His and Her’s tumblers in the end. They didn’t ask for anything, already live together and have been on their honeymoon so I thought this was just a cute gift.

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I also popped into a gorgeous cupcake shop on my walk back, called Crumbs Bake Shop. I really couldn’t resist or decide what to have once I was in there, way too many good cakes and biscuits to chose from!

In the end I went for The Blackout for Matt as he loves anything chocolate and a raspberry flavoured one for myself, although I was so nearly tempted by The Grasshopper as I love mint choc chip!

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^^ Blackout – Chocolate cake filled with fudge mixed with vanilla custard, topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate crumbs drizzled with chocolate. Yummy!

I slowly walked back to the hotel, soaking up the sunshine and taking in the atmosphere of Times Square. I just love standing in the middle of Times Square, it makes me feel like I’m in a movie or something. Just me? OK 😉

Once back at our room I completely crashed on our bed. My legs, bum and feet were really aching by now, what had that spin class done to me?! The next thing I knew I was being woken up by Matt coming back to the room and we both got ready for the evening.

As I have mentioned before Bruce and Erin had already eloped and got married in February, so this was basically the after party and a chance for us to all celebrate with them!

We got a taxi to STK Downtown in the Meatpacking District and I was excited for the night ahead. We arrived at the venue and were told to head all the way upstairs to the Rooftop (yay just what my legs needed more steps 😉 ) but once we got to the top it was so beautiful, lots of sleek grey and white sofas and umbrellas, good music and a small bar area exclusive to the wedding party.

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Matt got us a couple of drinks and we mingled with all the other guests and friends. Erin looked stunning in her white, floaty wedding dress, totally her 🙂 Below is a pic of the happy couple on their actual wedding day, doesn’t it look gorgeous?!

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After mingling and drinking for a while, we all headed inside to a private room which was pretty large, with 2 sections, one with a bar and dance floor, the other set up with tables for dinner. I loved the décor very goth glamour my favourite! We all sat for dinner, picked our food choices and then listened to all the speeches.

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^^ Matt and I enjoying our evening at STK. My dress is from ASOS.com

The food was really tasty. To start I had the kale salad, Matt had the Tuna Tartare. For mains I had the grilled half chicken and Matt had the steak and to finish I had the cheesecake and Matt had the brownie.

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^^ Our table, apologies it’s so dark but it was so dark in there!!

After dinner we spent the rest of the evening dancing the night away and chatting with friends new and old.

It was such a lovely evening and we were so happy to be a part of it for Bruce and Erin. Here’s to the newlyweds! ❤

Love, Chloe xx

Bye Chicago – Hello NYC!

Friday morning started early, finishing our last minute packing and saying goodbye to Jason and Christina.

This was emotional, well for us girls anyway! I hadn’t seen Christina for 9 months and now our 6 days together, which we had both been looking forward to for soo long had just flown by. They were a lot of fun, but had made me realise just how much fun we used to have together and how much I miss her back home! She is most definitely my partner in crime!

Jason will be popping back to the UK in September for a friend of our’s wedding, however Christina couldn’t get the time off work which is a real shame. I don’t know how American’s deal with the lack of holiday days it’s just crazy! They will, however both be back over the Christmas period, so I really hope we get a chance to catch up with them properly again then.

After lots of hugs and tearful goodbyes, they left for work and Matt and I had a quick breakfast before getting a cab to the airport. I know I should have been happy, as I was heading off to NYC for the weekend, however I still felt sad that our time in Chicago was at an end and I was leaving one of my best friends behind.

I’m not a great fan of flying, especially in smaller planes that you use for shorter journeys, I just think that you can feel everything more. If that makes any sense at all ha. So to me our 2 hour long flight, felt like forever, and I just wanted to get off. To make matters worse we seemed to constantly be in cloud which made the plane a little bumpy again something I hate. Maybe I was just in a bad mood still from breakfast, but I just wanted to be in New York already!

We finally landed, grabbed our suitcases and jumped in a cab outside. The sun was shining brightly, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was hot. This made me very happy!! Sunglasses on and taking in the new sights, sounds and smells of NYC I felt like I was truly on holiday. Unfortunately we had landed smack bang in the middle of Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, so it took us nearly 2 hours to get to Times Square! But I was just excited about what the weekend had in store for us!

We stayed at The W Hotel on Times Square and were greeted by super friendly and helpful doormen who took our luggage. I was in awe of the hotel right from the start. Take a look at the 360 degree water fountain in the hotel lobby!

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The décor is ultra modern and the staff are friendly and helpful and check in was a breeze. We had a room on the 28th floor, overlooking M&M World and Hershey’s World (see pics below)

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The room was also pretty spacious for a NY hotel as I know some can be tiny! We had a large long wardrobe, a big double bed, plus a sofa under the window. Then the bathroom had a large double shower, toilet and sink area. The shower head however was a little low for Matt who is 6ft 6! It was one of those which was fixed on the wall so you couldn’t move it, but he seemed to manage OK in the end! We quickly unpacked, freshened up and then headed out to meet friends for dinner.

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We walked into Rosa Mexicano (Union Square) and headed straight to the bustling bar and ordered 2 mojitos. I loved the atmosphere, everyone seemed to be excited it was the weekend. The place was packed, full of friends catching up, couples on date nights and many groups who had come straight from work. The Mexican music also made me want to start dancing the night away. We found a table to perch on and waited for our friends to arrive.

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First up was Andrew, also known as Kiwi, Matt had met him on Bruce’s stag do, but I was yet to meet him. He works with Bruce in NY and seemed a really nice, down to Earth kind of guy. Then Phil arrived with his girlfriend Jess. Phil went to uni with Matt, however now lives in LA with Jess. I have met Phil many times and he is a good laugh and fun to have on a night out. This was the first time Matt and I were meeting Jess, but she seemed really sweet and also up for a fun night!

We ordered more cocktails and then headed to our table. The cocktails were really good and you could tell they use all fresh ingredients, but be prepared they are pretty strong! They also do a mojito made with Tequila, known as a Mojito de Coquito, if you fancy trying something a little different!

40cfd53b9aac5ba428bc85b5e266066c_full_sizeWe ordered some nachos and guacamole dip to share to start. This was made freshly at our table by a chef who could slice avocados so quickly, I was scared he was going to lose a finger! It was delicious though and very hard to stop eating it all!!

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Even though the whole place was super busy, it had a really relaxed vibe and we were never rushed into ordering food, it felt like they were more interested in making sure you were having a good time and experience. I loved this, however this did mean drinking quite a few cocktails before our food was served! 😉

In all honesty I can’t remember what everyone ate for dinner and I was too tipsy by this point to take photos, apologies. But the food was really good! For dessert we shared the churros which melted in your mouth and came with a variety of dips. We also decided to end dinner with a shot of tequila. Have you seen the size of American shots?! Crazy! At least twice the size of ours! eek. With full bellies and an excited tipsy feeling we headed to a bar to meet up with everyone else.

From then on the night is a bit of a blur, I don’t know what bar we went to but it was cosy and played good music. We met up with Bruce and Erin whose wedding celebrations we had come over for and we were introduced to all their family and friends. All I remember was, a lot of toasts, a lot of shots and being introduced to fireballs.

Fireballs are shots of cinnamon whisky I believe (please correct me if I’m wrong!) These don’t seem to be big in the UK yet but I’m sure they will be soon! I actually noticed a bottle of this in Sainsburys this week! So it’s coming ha. These shots are lethal! I loved the taste, I think I described it as Christmas in a shot haha, I love anything cinnamon. However after a couple, along with other shots and drinks, I had gone from being tipsy to full blown drunk and then I don’t remember the rest of the night or getting back to our room. Oops. It must have been a good one though! Needless to say I was a little bit ill when we got back to our room. I don’t think I’ll be having fireballs again in a hurry!!

Love, Chloe xx