Friday, 30 September 2016


Getting there 🇮🇪➡️🇺🇸
We boarded the aerlingus flight from Dublin airport to Newyork JFK at 7:20am and arrived at 10:20am Newyork time. The flight went really smoothly with FREE food and drinks throughout (non-alcoholic I must add!). Every passenger had their own personal TV with a host of films to enjoy...everything from game of thrones to bride wars. This was the game-changer between American Airlines (no TV) and Aerlingus which really made the difference. The 6 hours and 30 minutes flew by as I was glued to the TV, watching any ROM-COM available. On the device are films that have just hit cinemas in the UK/Ireland which is a big bonus for someone who goes to the cinema every weekend religiously like myself. The flight couldn't have gone any better with the most friendly and helpful staff on board. 

I had no memory of what the terminals were like in JFK but to my surprise it was really easy to navigate our way around, finding the baggage claim without any hiccups. It wasn't the big, scary and crowded airport I imagined. When we got to the terminal we used the online check in of our shuttle company, SuperShuttle. We had to register when we had our bags and were ready to leave. We boarded the shared van around 25 minutes later which dropped us to the door of our hotel with a few stops on the way. We booked this in advance and it was $24 including tip. The only disadvantage with this is the fact that you will have to stop off at a few other destinations on your journey to accommodate the other people in your van. If you're in no rush or don't mind the slightly longer journey - it's perfect! 

Our hotel for the night was ideally located in Times Square which allowed us to make the most of our time there. We set off for lunch and just happened to stumble on the most talked about diner in New York - Ellen's Stardust Diner. Anyone going to New York this is a must see. The difference is that in the diner there are Broadway standard performers singing all our favourite Broadway and Disney hits. It is honestly a fantastic experience and especially brilliant for children. They stand on the table and belt out Broadway ballads and then serve you your double cheese burger. The only thing I will say is that you do pay for the performance, averaging around $20-25 each for a good meal. 

It really is what you see in the films! It's atmosphere is truly indescribable. The bright lights, the buzz of the people pacing the streets and the beaming colours is something you'll never forget. That's when you feel like you're really in NYC!

I would have happily spent my ten days here. It was any makeup junkies heaven. Though I have always loved makeup the last time I was in New York I focused on MAC and Bobbi Brown etc. In recent years so many amazing brands have emerged and the competition is fierce. Sephora has a whole host of brands - BECCA, Kat Von D, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Nars, Laura Mercier, Stila, Makeup Forever and Sephora own brand to name just a few. People always say to me that they don't know what to buy when they get in there and feel overwhelmed by everything so I'm going to do a separate post on that. The girls were dragging me out because I was so engrossed in conversation with all the staff sharing advice and experience. 

My purchases (mostly presents):
Kat Von D Lock It Foundation Medium 53 
Sephora Green Colour Corrector 
Laura Mercier Translucent Powder
Urban Decay Foundation 3.5 
Tarte In Bloom Palette 
Sephora Avocado Mask 
Dr. Jart Anti-Aging Mask 
Under the red steps is a ticket office where you can buy tickets for that night ONLY at a reduced rate. We were determined to see a musical and so queued for around 15-20 minutes to get 50% tickets for Finding Never Land. This show had been recommended to me and we loved every bit of it. Next it was time to hit BROADWAY. I think no matter why you are in New York you just have to do a show, even if you think it's not your thing or you wouldn't enjoy it - it's magic 

When we emerged from the theatre it seemed like everyone's musicals had just ended. There was an amazing atmosphere in Times Square. We made for Fifth Avenue (every shopaholics dream). Some of the shops were closing at this stage, we were most disappointed about Victoria Secret (BUT we will be back)!!! Right beside it was the glowing Empire State Building. The last time I was in New York we opted for Rockafeller Centre but being the gossip girl fan that I am I needed to see that Chuck and Blair spot. It was breathtaking, we were looking out on the whole of New York City. It felt like we were part of a film. It was a pricey experience at $30 so we made the most of every minute. There can be huge crowds so going at night time was definitely an advantage. It was still busy but nothing like during the day. I would recommend getting it as part of a deal with other experiences/gray line bus tour. 

On the way back we were stopped by the most beautiful aroma from Cupcakes by Melissa. Niamh had told us all about them and so we immediately stopped to sample. Inside it is gleaming white with mini cupcakes lining every window. I am such a foodie so was delighted try everything, one mini cupcake was $1 including tax (what a profit). And by my standard the cupcakes were SMALL, I could have had 10! But they lived up to every expectation, Annie and I tried chocolate fudge and Niamh cotton candy. I can't wait to sample the Chocolate chip pancake, red velvet and cookies and cream. So naturally when we arrived back at Times Square we were peckish but on a budget so settled on a reliable mc Donald's. I wouldn't recommend the Times Square McDonalds and if you are in search for one - don't go to the main one. I was quite small, dirty and had very little to choose from. 

WARNING: If there is one thing I've learned in New York this time it is to bear in mind tax. This time coming to New York was definitely different as this time I am managing my own finances. We are constantly trying to get a deal because we want to experience everything. Food is probably the most expensive part and if you have an appetite anything like mine - you're in bother. I need my three solid meals a day and you pay for every bite. I am going to do a separate post on everything I have learned about eating out in New York. 

But Quick Tip: if you're in a tourist area go down a side street not on the Main Street (noticeably cheaper)! If you like Italian or even if you don't - little Italy is absolutely B E A U T I F U L!! I am as passionate about pizza as I am about politics and have one everywhere I go! A little restaurant called Grotta Azura does the BEST pizzas for very reasonable (% off when you book a gray line bus).

The next morning we headed for Washington DC, but you already heard about that but if you didn't here's the link...

On the Sunday night when we returned from our adventures in DC we were so lucky to be able to stay with Annie's cousin Ashlin and her family for the rest of our trip! They could not have done anymore for us and we had the most amazing time staying with them. It really was the most idyllic place and their home was just GOALS. The next day we had a pool/shopping day which was just what we needed after trekking around for the past four days. We headed to Palisades Mall which is definitely worth a trip (est. 1 hour out of the city). It has all the shops you could want Victoria Secret, Sephora, Target and Macys. Our purses were definitely lighter when we arrived back. 

Bikini: Riverisland 
Sunglasses: $10 in Palisades at a counter 

Woodbury Common
The next day we opted to head back for more shopping but this time to Woodbury Common. There is a lot of marketing and advertising for Woodbury Common in the city so I'm sure most of you have at least heard of it. I didn't really know what to expect as the last time we decided against and went to Jersey Gardens Mall instead. It's similar to Kildare Village if anyone of you have visited there! It's comprised of lots of separate houses for each shop (really cute)! 

The main shop I was excited about was Tommy Hilfiger, not for myself but for presents. There were some AMAZING bargains, my mum would have been in her element. My dad lives in the polo shirts at the weekend which retail at £90 and I was able purchase them for like $30-40. I also loved getting into Calvin Klein as their underwear is so much cheaper there than in the UK. They have high end designer shops like Prada and more affordable designers like GUESS, Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden and Kate Spade. There's everything you could possibly want there! I would recommend bringing a suitcase if you are going with a group and plan on buying in things for christmas or just want to splash the cash! You get so many coupons too for extra discounts. 

I did make 1 purchase (obvs) this discounted GUESS watch at a reasonable $70=£52/€62

Back to the Big Apple we went to tick off the last few things on our to-do list. We headed in on the train which was such a smooth journey minus the panic that we had boarded the wrong train home. We got off at the famous Penn Station which I had never seen before. 

We wanted to use the Subways to get around the city as it was the cheapest option. Initially we were apprehensive about the whole thing but it really is so easy to use when you get the hang of it. 

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. We laughed for hours about our experiences in China Town. It is certainly not a place you need to spend a lot of time in. I think once you've seen it, that's enough. However, if you're looking to purchase anything there, it really is eventful! There is people bombarding you with counterfeit goods brochures, urging you to meet them in the closest McDonalds and people trying to get you into their stores to see their basement filled with the newest designer handbags. We really played the game, we saw everything. Unfortunately Annie and I were conned on a pair of sunglasses and handbag respectively. But the entertainment provided made it all worth it. 

Dress and Shoes: Riverisland

Central Park
This is definitely my favourite place in all of NYC. I never got to experience it properly the last time I was there because it was so bitterly cold. This time I got to see it in all it's glory. We hoped in a tuc-tuc with the best peddler (lol) who pointed out all the Gossip Girl and movie spots. Ofcourse we grilled him on what celebrities he has seen (Jennifer Aniston to name a few). We learned so much from him about the park and the upper east side for such a small price. 

Nate's house from Gossip Girl just off central park

Where Chuck and Blair got married!!

 He let us stop off and take pictures at lots of different stops and even snapped a few for us! 

The 'YES' Bridge (where everyone gets engaged, could you really say no?)

Where the FRIENDS opening credits was filmed, resisting the urge to get in!

You can rent boats around the lake at Central Park which looked amazing, it was on our to-do list but there wasn't enough hours in the day. I would definitely recommend this because it looked unbelievable. 

One of the most famous hotels on the planet worth an estimated $4 billion was our next stop. You can wander around this famous landmark, where you could grab something in the food hall or have their famous afternoon tea, neither of which suited our budget. 

Featured purely because I was thinking of food - how amazing is this MEDIUM take-away pizza we had. 

We went back and forth about going to the game but for less than $20 it was worth every penny. We didn't have a clue what was going on and still don't but the atmosphere was unbelievable. We ate ice-cream and looked on as people sat engrossed in the game. We think the Yankees won in the end but we were too busy eating oreo cones and taking photos with Annie's overpriced foam finger (priorities). 

Our main motivation for going was the fact that we had spent more on these hats and tops than our tickets. Still, worth all the fuss. 

On the Saturday we went to Six Flags Adventure Park outside New York with everyone. It was amazing, I would definitely recommend this park, there was so much to do and see. It was so hot the day we went but it was beautiful to see all the lights after sun down. Definitely book your tickets in advance!!

 Our final day was spent in the city mainly to be closer to the airport. Annie had a field in Victoria Secret which is a must-see even if you don't want to buy anything. I think it's the prettiest shop I've ever seen. 

We had our last supper in Little Italy which was beautiful. There is such a relaxing atmosphere there, it is so peaceful. We ate pizza and had a glass of prosecco (life could not get any better). Every restaurant has someone standing outside trying to charm you in, of course, we fell straight for it. 

We ticked the last thing off our to do list as we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. First things first though, you have to get to the other side if you want to walk towards the city and see the lights there. It was a bit of a disaster getting there but the view was so worth it. UNTIL... Niamh spotted a rat running towards us. The cops who were watching found our reaction hilarious as they laughed hysterically. 

 The Bridge was nothing like I expected, I definitely thought it would have been a lot stronger and sturdy. I know for a fact my mum would have hated it because it made a noise every time we stepped on it. There is also a cycling lane which cyclists race through, so you really have to be careful not to get in their way (I learned the hard way). But the views were priceless, it was like something out of a film. I couldn't believe the lights, you see all the planes circling above. It definitely is something I would highly recommend and there is no better view of the city than from Brooklyn Bridge. 

This trip was definitely once in a lifetime and one I'll never forget. We made so many memories and I couldn't have done it with two better girls!

Thanks so much Ashlin, Collie, Georgia, Ben and Patrick x

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