Sunday, 25 January 2015

3 Things I Love about New York City!

Accor Hotels are currently running an amazing competition to win a fabulous European trip and more, You can find out more info here. To enter you must write a blog post or film a video on the three things you love about your favourite city. 
It isn't such a secret that after my visit in 2012 for my 18th birthday, I fell head over heels in love with New York City. Here's three reasons why I love the Big Apple.
The city that never sleeps..
As once sung by Frank Sinatra, New York truly is the city that doesn't sleep. Although I'd been told this many times, seeing the hustle and bustle of Times Square at all hours of the day and evening is mesmerizing. 
The city really looks beautiful at night, millions of lights twinkling throughout Manhattan, we took a late night trip to the top of the Empire State Building. The view is breathtaking.
The city that's full of surprises..
When you think about visiting New York, places such as the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square and The Statue of Liberty come to mind. In a city like NYC, it's full of unique surprises. Here's a few unique places that I'd recommend visiting;
I never thought I would end up at the beach but Coney Island is actually the home to New York Aquarium and over 50 funfair attractions (as featured in Queen Bey's 'XO' music video).
A great place to chill out and bask in the beautiful scenery is South Street Seaport which situated by the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a lovely little area with shops, bars, live music and food.
Alice's Tea Cup is a hidden gem which I highly recommend. A charming little tea room on the Upper West Side inspired by Alice In Wonderland. The menu was filled with delicious pancakes and scones and a large selection of tea's. My whole family loved this place and it was truly delicious. 
If you're looking for an American Diner experience with a twist, Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway is the place. The waiters actually were singing Broadway numbers whilst serving the customers, the food was brilliant and overall it was pretty entertaining. 
I also want to mention Magnolia's Bakery (as seen in Sex and the city) which possibly had the best cupcakes ever. 
Shopping! Shopping! Shopping!
New York is the place to get your shop on and as a self professed shopaholic, I was in heaven. Bloomingdales, Bergdorfs, BendelsMacy's and Saks are all places not to miss and they are worth the visit even if you aren't little miss shopping queen ;) I'd also recommend going to Tiffany & Co. on 5th Avenue, It's a beautiful building and if you want to treat yourself or treat a special someone in your life, everything is just amazing. I ended up getting a 'Return to Tiffany New York' bracelet to commemorate my trip.
I also really loved the Soho and Greenwich Village areas for shopping. There was lot's of independent boutiques and american favorites like Victoria Secret, Brandy Melville and Sephora. I personally loved Marc Jacob's book store 'Bookmarc' on Bleecker Street, filled with the best fashion books, stationary and accessories. 
The brilliant conversion rates between the pound and dollar means your bound to pick up a couple of bargains. Century 21 and Gabay's Outlet are two stores I would recommend to find discounted designer garments. If you're really determined for a bargain and don't mind going on a day trip, Woodbury Common Premium Outlet which is an hour outside of Manhattan is the place to go. It's like Cheshire Oaks and Bicester Village but even cheaper!  

I really am in love with New York, There's no place like it in the world and I'm desperate to take another trip there. As you can imagine, there's plenty more incredible things to be discovered and explored in the city that never sleeps.
Have you ever visited New York City? What's your favourite city?

*All photo's are my own*

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Radisson Blu Hotel & Filini Restaurant, Birmingham

Back in December, I was kindly invited to go stay at The Radisson Blu Hotel in Birmingham but unfortunately I was caught up in dissertation hell but I managed to visit this week. After finishing a big final year presentation, a little break at the Radisson was perfect timing - Even if it was only 10 minutes down the road...
Alex and I headed over to the hotel on Thursday night which is a couple minutes walk away from New Street Station and right by the O2 Academy, Hippodrome, New Alexandra Theatre and the Mailbox. It's really hard to miss the hotel as I'm pretty sure it's one of the tallest buildings in the city.
On arrival we were greeted by a receptionist in the lobby who handed over the key to our 13th floor room. The room was pretty great, it was huge and one side was just floor to ceiling windows! The bed was huge too and very comfy. The room was fully equipped with a TV, Hairdryer, iron, trouser press, mini fridge and even free Wi-Fi! Although the Wi-Fi was slightly a pain to get on to but it eventually worked!
Around 7.30pm, we headed down to the Filini Restaurant and I used this as an excuse to dress up a little and wore my new Topshop dress (as seen in this post). The Restaurant specialises in Italian food and has a pre-theatre menu which we chose from. The waitresses were really nice and helpful with advising us on food. We decided to skip the starters and dive straight into the main courses, I got a margherita pizza and Alex went for the Tagliatelle pasta. The food was on another level, presented beautifully and tasted amazing.
I can never refuse dessert, I chose the Lemon and Thyme tartlet which was served with a sorbet and cream. Alex got three scoops of ice cream; pear, bitter chocolate and forest fruits. Overall, the meal was amazing and the service brilliant and I would recommend the restaurant even if you aren't staying there. 
When I got back to the room, I enjoyed a little bath using the 'this works' products provided then snuggled up for a lovely night's sleep. I woke up around 7.30am to a very unique view and got ready for breakfast. Anticipation levels were very high for the breakfast, I was raring for a good fry up and I wasn't dissapointed. It was all on-point. Pastries, Cheese, Cereals and Fruit were also available and I was utterly full after stuffing my face. 
It was a lovely evening/night, Me and Alex thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I was really grateful of the experience. Thanks to the Radisson for having Alex and I! If you are interesting in booking your own stay, you can find more information here.
Have you ever stayed at the Radisson? or want to now?


*My stay at the radisson was complementary but all thoughts are my own*

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Qantas & Jean Paul Gaultier Blogger Challenge

I recently was contacted to be involved in a pretty amazing blogger challenge with Qantas Airways. The incredible prize being a trip to Melbourne, Australia for three nights, tickets to the new Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria and this also includes return economy flights with Qantas Airways.  
The brief for the challenge was to put together the best flight outfit for the trip to Melbourne. Obviously, comfort is key when travelling, especially when it's 22 hours to Melbourne! Sitting there in six inch heels and a body-con dress maybe isn't the best outfit choice. 
I opted for this Khaki bomber jacket to keep me warm on board the flight, I always end up chilly due to the air-con! I also took in to consideration that it's actually summer over in Australia, so I didn't want a big winter coat and jumper. In honor of my favorite jet-setters, The Kardashians - I picked up this over-sized namesake slogan tee from Primark. It was only £4! I chose my Nike Free Run's as they are super comfortable and I'll be able to wear them round Australia too! I finished off the ensemble with my Chanel bag and Ralph Lauren cat-eye shades. You always need shades for your stylish arrival! 
I can be quite over ambitious with my ideas, I was actually planning to shoot my flight outfit at the airport. That was until the snow came, so instead I'm prancing about with my suitcase in my usual spot.
(This is my "toodle-oo, i'm off!" pose)
Tee - Primark
Bag - Chanel
Suitcase - TK:Maxx
I'm quite the over-packer and on long-haul flights I need to have enough to keep me busy. Whilst Qantas have a variety of entertainment on board, I thought I'd also show you what I would bring to keep myself amused for 22 hours! Let's not forget the must-have beauty products for a long haul flight. 
Technology: iPad Air - An essential for me, filled with a few of my favourite TV Shows like Modern Family, Gossip Girl and Hart of Dixie. You can download a few games to pass the time, catch up with TV on 4OD or with Spotify premium listen to your playlists offline.
Books: #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso and Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella - Two books I'm desperate to read but I haven't found the time, so this would be the perfect opportunity to get these read.
Accessories: I always take a eye mask on flights to get a little shut eye, this Wildfox 'Love You' one is mega cute! Staying organized is really important and there is some great travel wallets on the market with different sections for money, passports and boarding cards. A big handbag to keep all this in is a must have, my Chanel bag is really pretty but this ASOS holdall is more practical but still stylish.
Beauty: Having a little skincare routine on-board a flight isn't for everyone but it can really help your skin with the air been very drying on the skin. It's also important to remember that the products should be 100ml or under, so samples and mini's are handy. Everything mentioned is to keep you refreshed and moisturised, I use all of these products on a day to day basis and really recommend them. 
Bioderma can be used to take off existing make-up and cleanse the skin before applying Elizabeth Arden's 8 hour cream  which is a great for dry skin and even on dry lips and hands. I'd also use Nuxe's Reve De Miel (stick version) on the lips, it's really moisturising and smells lovely. For a hand cream, my favourite to use is the L'Occataine's Cherry Blossom Hand Cream.
To freshen up on-board Caudalie's Beauty Elixir is great to spritz on the face and really hydrate the skin. For the hair, I'm a really big fan of the Label.M dry shampoo for brunettes (others are available), It's great for dark hair and you don't have to use too much but it add's a lift which can transform your look. Finally, the Travalo means you can bring your favourite perfume to freshen up with you in a small compact bottle. This is a total winner for me and TK:Maxx currently have been stocking these for £8!

A pretty long post but that's my final 'flight look' and everything I would take on board with me. What did you think? What's your go to travelling outfit? Cross your fingers for me, jetting off to Melbourne would be a pretty incredible way to start the year!


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Key To My Heart

I didn't actually buy much in the sales this year but I have another one of my bargains. I buy most of my food from M&S and as I'm passing through the clothing, the Limited Collection section always grabs my attention. I had my eye on a few dresses to wear over Christmas and the one I chose ended up not suiting me. Thankfully I spotted this lovely chiffon number in the sale for only £19! 
This dress is really cute little black number with golden keys embroidered on. It's a really great dress that will be perfect for any occasion, it's a failsafe dress!
Dress - Marks and Spencer
Faux Fur Jacket - Miss Selfridge (Similar)
Bag - Chanel

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. I've cocooned myself indoors to get on with uni work and stay out of the cold! Don't forget my arcadia giftcard giveaway ends tomorrow night, Enter here!


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