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New York

Packing for NYC

January 29, 2020

Hey guys.

I regularly get lots of messages asking what the weather is like in New York and what you guys need to pack if you are coming on a trip. Today in the blog I’m going to take you through what I think are your best options and the top 3 things to bring on an NYC holiday right now.

The weather has been pretty good at the moment. Some would say REALLY good! 2 weeks ago we had the warmest weekend with temperatures of 18 degrees. Considering it’s January and its only snowed once this year, we’ve been pretty lucky. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing prettier than New York in the snow, but it can also be a nightmare when you’re trying to get somewhere in a hurry and you’re trying not to slip on the ice! Not to mention how cold it gets. The weather is very questionable at the moment and not your typical NYC winter weather. So in my opinion the best thing to do, is to prepare for all kinds weather. Layers are going to be your best friend. So when choosing your wardrobe I would pick pieces you can layer under and over each other, that way you won’t be stuck.

Thermals

If it’s going to be cold, thermals are amazing. I have only just discovered these and I appreciate them a lot on a cold day. Wear them under your outfit to stay cosy and no one will even see them. Best part is, most thermals are also really comfy so you won’t even notice you’re wearing them.

Coats

Obviously a good coat is essential. Nowadays there are so many stylish but also very practical winter coats which is great. A coat with a hood is probably a good idea incase of random rainfall. Also when its cold a hood is the best for keeping your head warm if you’re not wearing a hat, and of course most importantly protecting your hair.

Shoes

A comfortable pair of shoes is probably the most important thing you should pack on your New York trip. You are definitely going to get your 10,000 steps in everyday, probably double or triple that! I would advise a pair of comfy, waterproof boots. Trainers will also work but if it’s snowing they’re probably not your best option. Wellies work great for snow and rain. Or if you want to invest in snow boots then that’s another option.

For Winter accessories, don’t forget to check out this blog I posted here for everything else you will need. Hope you enjoyed this post guys and hopefully this has been helpful if you are planning a trip here to New York anytime soon.

Chat soon,

Louise xx

*This post contains affiliate links meaning I can make a small % commission if sales are made as a result of this post. It does not affect the price of the item

New York

Travelling to New York? Best Airports & Where to Stay!

January 23, 2020

Hey guys.

A lot of people have been asking me recently for advice and tips on getting to New York and the best places to stay. In todays blog I have taken some time to tell you about about the different options out there and everything I know about visiting the Big Apple.

AIRPORTS & FLIGHTS

There are 3 airports you can fly into from New York. The 2 mains ones are John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. LaGuardia Airport in Queens is another but this one is mainly domestic.

In my opinion the key to looking for flights is to start looking about 6 months in advance to get the best price. Obviously visiting in peak season aka Christmas and Summer is going to be more expensive so be prepared for that. Aer Lingus fly twice daily from Dublin to JFK and daily to Newark direct which is great because you have no layover. They also fly direct daily from Shannon to JFK.

You can also look at other cheaper options with other airlines. Some of the best places to look online are Skyscanner, Kayak or the app Hopper. You can also keep an eye when prices go up and down. Apparently Tuesday is the best day of the week to book flights but this could just be a myth.

TRANSPORT FROM THE AIRPORT

Once you land in either of these airports you have many choices on ways to get into Manhattan.

Trains

From JFK the cheapest option is to get the subway. First get the air train which costs $7.75 plus a $1 metro card fee. Once you transfer to the subway you can either buy a weekly pass which works out a good deal especially if you plan on taking the subway a lot to do tourist things or else you can top it up with how ever much money you want. A single fare costs $2.75. Visit this website to learn more.

From Newark you also get the air train first and then transfer to the NJ Transit train. AirTrain Newark costs just $5.50 as you enter or exit the system at the Airport Station. The fee is included when you purchase a ticket from NJ Transit their train stations. One ticket does it all.

Buses

Bus service is available from Newark Airport through NJ Transit Bus Lines. For schedules and information, visit the NJ TRANSIT website. An Express Bus runs between Newark Liberty International Airport & New York City. The Express Bus runs from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m./ 365 days. The cost is $18 for one way, or $30 for round trip.

The MTA (NYC transport authority) also provides regular bus services between JFK Airport, Brooklyn, Queens and beyond with subway connections. It takes between 50-75 minutes and costs $10.50.

Taxis

If you don’t want to take public transport another way to get to Manhattan is by taxi. If you’re taking a taxi to Manhattan from Newark you will be charged a metered fare (approximately $69-75) plus tolls and a $15 surcharge. 

JFK to Manhattan there is a flat fare $52.80, plus any applicable toll (about $8)

*If you take a taxi don’t forget to tip. For good service the taxi driver should be tipped approximately 20%.

Apps like Uber or Lyft can be a cheaper way to get taxis to the city and not have to worry about dragging your luggage around. Especially if you select their carpool option. Most airports have free wifi you can connect to if you want to do this – and they have special Uber pick-up points (separate to where the yellow cabs are) – if you ask in the airport or google it you should be able to find it.

HOTELS

There are sooo many hotels to choose from in the city – so many amazing ones. It actually wouldn’t be fair to say I have a favourite. I don’t, it just depends what you want.

I think for site-seeing Midtown/ Times Square is a good location, it’s also where you’ll get more reasonably priced hotels.

For eating, drinking & hanging out I love Soho. The last two times I came to the city I stayed here in the Citizen M & I loved it!

The city is so well connected by the subway that it doesn’t really matter that much where you stay as long as you have access to a train! I’ve broken some hotel options down into luxury hotels, budget hotels & centrally located hotels – hopefully this will help you narrow it down.

Treat yourself to a stay at a famous New York hotel

New York definitely has some of the nicest and most luxurious hotels in the world. Renowned for their design, service, and fabulous amenities. If you have a little more to spend and want to splash out and treat yourself on your New York experience, there are many famous fancy hotels to stay in. Below I have listed a few of my favorites in the city.

The Plaza – 5th Ave

The Standard – High Line

The NoMo SoHo Hotel – SoHo

Mandarin Oriental – Upper West Side

Ritz Carlton – Central Park

Public Hotel – Soho/LES

Budget Friendly Hotels

If you want to save your money for shopping, fancy dining experiences or maybe a Broadway show and don’t want to splash out on a hotel, there are plenty of cheaper options too. Below are some hotels that won’t blow the bank but are still really nice and in good locations too!

Citizen M – Bowery/ Soho (for solo travellers or a couple)

Pod 37 or Pod 51 – Midtown (for solo travellers)

Best Western Soho

Row NYC – Times Square

Chelsea Inn – Chelsea

The Frederick Hotel – Tribeca

Embassy Suites by Hilton – Times Square

Best Location

If location is the biggest draw to which hotel you choose, then below I have listed some for you. All are centrally located for top sights and tourist attractions. If you want to be in the heart of it all, my advice is to look in neighborhoods like Midtown or the Theatre District (West 42nd Street to 50th Street) While there’s much to see everywhere in the city, the most sights in one neighborhood by far are those in Midtown, the heart of New York shopping and theater and home to some of its most iconic buildings. Especially if its your first time.

Merrion Row Hotel – Times Square

Fitzpatricks Grand Central or Midtown East

W New York – Midtown West

The Westin – Times Square

Arlo Nomad or Arlo Soho

I hope you found this helpful guys. If you’re looking for things to do check out my last blog post here and check out the New York tab on my website which has lots of recommendations.

If you have any of your own tips you think would help others please write them in the comments below. Happy travels!

Chat soon,

Louise xx

New York

NYC Restaurants

January 10, 2020

Hey guys!

Nearly done with our first week in February already, how crazy! Today I thought I would do an updated post on restaurants in New York City. One of things I love most about living in New York is the variety of food you can get here. NYC has some of the best restaurants in the world. If you are visiting I highly recommend adding some of these to your list, you will not be disappointed!

BREAKFAST & BRUNCH

Brunch is somewhat of a tradition here in New York City. It is definitely something that New York does very well.

Bluestone Lane – The Upper East Side location is in a church which is very cool.

The Blue Box Cafe aka Breakfast at Tiffanys – If you’re looking for a fancy breakfast for a special occasion, this is such a cool experience.

Penelope – All I’m gonna say is, Nutella French toast!

Juliette – Highly recommend if you’re exploring or staying in Brooklyn/Williamsburg.

Rubys – This is practically my local in the city. I love it here and you can also come here for lunch and dinner. It is an Australian restaurant with a great vibe.

Butchers Daughter – Plant based restaurant with many vegan and gluten free options.

Sadelles Soho – They do afternoon tea style bagel toppings, so good.

Bubbys – Massive portion sizes so come hungry.

Citizens of Gramercy – Try the pulled pork benedict.

Restoration Hardware – A rooftop restaurant as well as a furniture shop so as you can imagine the decor is amazing!

DINNER

Whether its catching up with friends, a girls night or a romantic meal with your other half, dinner is always the a good idea. There is always somewhere new to try here in New York.

Black Tap – The Milkshakes here are out of this world so leave room for dessert. Check out their Instagram for amazing pics.

JG Melon – Apparently Gigi Hadids favorite burger spot in NY.

Mole Mexican – Get the nachos with guacamole!

Delicatessen – Really great comfort food. Amazing burgers and truffle fries.

Eately – The pasta is incredible. You won’t leave hungry.

Momoya – The best sushi restaurant. The crispy rice rolls are sooo good!

Mercer Kitchen – I’m drooling just thinking about the truffle pizza and pasta.

Uncle Boons – Delicious Thai food.

Lure Fishbar – If you are looking for a meat free alternative.

Pizza Beach – Because you can’t go to New York and not have pizza!

FASTFOOD

If you are looking to try some American fast-food, there are definitely options to try here that we don’t have at home. These are also pretty high standard takeaway restaurants, not your typical grease bar and they have healthy options too.

Shake Shake – Highly recommend visiting the original one in Madison Square Park. It’s outside and really pretty with fairy lights and views of the Empire State.

Chick-fila-A – If you’re a chicken lover, like the name suggests, it serves all the chicken.

Chipotle – Mexican fast food.

Five Guys – The cajun fries are so good and they always give you way more than the portion size.

DESSERTS

I have to say, the desserts in New York are out of this world. There are just so many options, sometimes too many. If you have a sweet tooth, I would most certainly recommend any of these.

Momofuku Milkbar – I dream about the birthday cake truffles!

16 Handles – American style self serve fro yo, with all the flavours and toppings you could wish for.

Levain Bakery – The biggest cookies ever. Definatley try the dark chocolate peanut butter.

Pop-Bar – Hand crafted gelato on a stick. Check it out if you are visiting in the Summer.

Sprinkles – Try the cookie and ice cream combo. They also have a cupcake vending machine!

Georgetown Cupcake – So many flavours to choose from and they do daily specials with even more new flavours.

Sweet Corner Bakeshop – Try the red velvet Nutella bomb cookie or the sea salt chocolate chip cookie.

Magnolia Bakery – Sex and the City made it famous. Although there are almost always lines, there is no question that it is worth the wait!

Thats it guys. I actually struggled to narrow it down to this list. If you have any of your own favourites, don’t be afraid to leave them in the comments below for me or others to try. Also if you need more recommendations check out my other posts here and here and my dessert post here.

Chat soon,

Louise xx

New York

Touristy things to do in New York in Winter

January 10, 2020

Hey guys,

Since moving to NY in September there has definitely been a lot of questions about things to do in New York, where to stay, where to eat… all that kinda stuff. So I’m starting a new mini series with lots of recommendations for you all!

If I’ve left anything out do let me know and I can add it!

Hope it’s helpful for any of you planning a trip,

Lots of love,

Louise xx

Things to do in Winter in NYC:

See the views from above

The observation decks at Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and the One World Observatory. No matter what the weather these famous skyscraper buildings will always provide breathtaking views from the top. You will also have an easier time getting tickets and won’t have to fight the crowds to get to the windows.

See a Broadway show

Winter is off peak time for Broadway shows so you may find cheaper ticket prices. You can also experience the madness of Times Square whilst you’re there. It really is breathtaking, especially at night. Lots of photo opportunities.

Winter sports events

Now is a very good time to go see a Winter sports game. Ice skating, basketball and football are all very popular American sports over here. The atmosphere at the games is electric.

Staten Island ferry

See the best view of the Statue of Liberty as well as the Manhattan skyline from afar. Bonus is, it’s free!

Museums

New York has many incredible museums. Visit The Met, The Natural History Museum or the 9/11 Memorial and museum to escape the cold.

Shopping

If you’re coming to do some shopping and get some good deals now is a very good time because of the January sales. Visit the post Christmas sales at Woodbury common or Jersey Gardens. As you maybe saw in my recent vlog there are lots of bargains and discounts to be found at the outlet malls. Or if you want to stay closer to the city there is plenty of shopping to be done at Herald Square, 5th Ave and Times Square.

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Central Park

Even though it may be chilly outside Central Park looks different every season of the year. Grab a takeaway coffee, wrap up warm and stroll around the park. Especially in the snow, you will see how really stunning it can be.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge or the Highline

If you want to get some steps in then I highly suggest walking the famous Brooklyn Bridge or The Highline in Chelsea. Neither take a very long time and both provide incredible views. Just remember to layer up.

Hop on Hop off bus

If you’re stuck for time Hop on Hop off bus tours are a good way at any time of the year to see a lot of the city in a little bit of time. In Winter a bus tour has the additional feature of keeping you warm on days when it’s especially cold outside.

Go iceskating

The number of iceskating rinks in New York grows every year. There always seems to be a new one popping up. The three most popular are Wollman Rink at Central Park, Rockefeller Rink and the Rink at Bryant Park Winter Village. These are all open in Winter. You can even go ice skating at night for a magical experience.

Heated rooftops and patios

If you want to enjoy the view whilst also enjoying a drink during Winter, heated rooftops and patios are the one for you. The Lodge at Gallow Green, La Birreria at Eately, Clinton Hall, Bookmarks Lounge, The Lodge at STK and Orsay are all great heated spots to stop in at during the cold Winter months.

Fashion, New York, Travel

New York New York

July 13, 2017

Hey guys,

As you may have seen on my social media, I spent the last 5 days in New York City and what an amazing week we had!!! With having just finished work last week, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend a few days. We literally spent our time eating, drinking, laughing, dancing, sunbathing and catching up with friends – both of our favourite things to do!

New York is without a doubt my favourite city in the world. I spent 3 summers out there before moving out for a year in 2014. I was reminded as soon as we arrived absolutely everything I loved about the city: the lights, the energy, the weather, the people and most importantly, the mindset. I actually got emotional walking around the first day, just remembering all the (mostly) good and (occasional) not so good times I had while living in the city, away from all my family and friends. I grew up a lot in New York and when I left in 2015 I definitely wasn’t ready to go.  Continue Reading…

New York, Travel

The Best Free & Paid Tourist Activities in New York

August 29, 2015

Last weekend marked the completion of my New York to-do list for the year. New York is the most exciting city in the world to visit so after taking part in almost every tourist activity this city has to offer over the past year I thought I would do a recap of some of them – my favourites both free and what you can pay for.

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Continue Reading…