New York Solo 2017 - Part 4: Day Clubbing, Aladdin, Comedy & 1OAK

This is the final installment of my solo NYC trip as you'll have to forgive my lack of photos from here on in! I always seem to do this; I'll be the super keen tourist as a holiday begins but once you're totally in the zone, I'm too absorbed in being in real time to pick up the camera. After my eventful Thursday and Friday, Saturday was a totally different vibe as it was again super hot in Manhattan, and West Village was heaving with people. 

I haven't touched on my hotel for a while but it was still as small as ever, and was feeling more and more cramped by the day. The daily routine of the shared bathrooms had become even more of a hindrance as I tentatively checked each day what sort of state I would find it in, despite there being cleaners constantly in there throughout the day. Transporting all of my toiletries each time was getting old and my teeny room served no comfort. The only option was to head out each day but after a few busy ones, I was deflating in energy. If I were at home, I would have spent some still time after hectic days pottering around my room, visiting my nan or chilling out, but the onus of being in NYC is to go, go, go. If I were with friends, you bounce off each other and brighten the mood, but solo travel means its all down to you. 

It would have suited better if I'd have arrived on a busy weekend and then had the quieter weekdays to continue exploring, but this Saturday was bright and bustling, and I could feel the energy crackling outside on the streets. I selected my coolest, breeziest outfit of an off-shoulder crop top and crochet trousers, and headed off into the still heat. I planned to stroll around West Village, Soho and onto East Village, but after browsing a few stores, I headed back to By Chloe for a guac burger, though the line was huuuge. I took it as take out and sat in nearby Washington Square Park amongst the chatting friends, musicians and board games. I would have loved a pal to chat with too, but I chilled with a book and snacked. 

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The day took a wild turn as my friend was at a day party at a club nearby. Yes, essentially clubbing in the day. When travelling solo you need to be much more forthcoming, so I basically invited myself to this and shoved away that little voice that no one likes me! The club was every bit as identical as an evening event, even up to the stern bouncer. I hadn't actually anticipated this and when met with the typical closed barrier initially, I strutted up and declared I was here with the promoter, even though the doormen did ask if I was lost. I was granted access and luckily my friend was at the door waiting to bring us back to a table complete with a bar cart-worth of spirits, girls continuously bringing more out, old school '90s tunes and a heaving crowd dancing as though it was 2am. I'd been to this club last time I was in New York (one of Rihanna's haunts), but it wasn't as busy as today's mass of partiers. Quite surreal to spend hours in the dark club and then emerge into daylight later in the early evening but hey, only in New York! I also took my polaroid camera and found that's a truly easy way to make new friends.

After my completely random Saturday, I had a few tasks ahead of me on Sunday. It was still super warm and I booked another blow dry to save from the horror of trying to sort my own hair out in the communal bathrooms. Waking up and having to gear up and gather your things before you even pop to the bathroom was still rather annoying! I'd had such a lovely experience meeting Nathan for my last blow dry that I booked another with him, even though I wondered if he'd really want to see me. In hindsight, I'm not sure my self belief levels were heightened enough for an extended trip. Sure, I was full of confidence and gusto but also I only had myself to contribute and care for my energy levels, and not having a comforting place to rest didn't help, nor did the silence. When experiencing something new alone, I realised you have to have such an open, strong mind, ready to take hold of every opportunity and assert yourself enough to not get shy or lonely. If you doubt yourself for a second, it's easy to curl away. There's strength in numbers, so you must know yourself inside out and always be highly aware of your needs. It sounds strange, but when you have no schedule, it's easy to get caught up in your battle instead of assessing how tired/hungry/thirsty you are. I put the pressure on myself to go, go, go instead of taking time to chill in a safe space and not feel so swallowed up by the city.

An example at this point was not feeling hungry for breakfast, not being able to decide what to tempt myself to eat, and wandering around until I stopped at an awkward juice bar. It's small, but in those moments when you're flagging, you need that familiar face, that friend to take the reigns, the mood to be lifted by chatter, and the energy to be reset. Booking the blowdry was a great choice as seeing Nathan was like seeing a friendly face and as he did my hair, we got on so well that he gave me his number and invited me to hang with him and his boyfriend if I had any more free time in the city. I texted him after just how his kindness really made the difference to my trip! That's the thing about New York, there's no British shyness - it's very forward!

My mission next that day was to head for Broadway to see Aladdin! Being bustled into the crowded theatre full of tourists and taking a seat alone is quite an odd experience, as though you have lost your friend or are indeed yourself simply lost! I styled it out as I took my circle seat, and got ready for a grand show. This won't be a popular opinion but I wasn't really feeling it! I hoped Aladdin would be a flurry of exotic colours and would dramatically transport you to Arabia, but it felt more like a kid's pantomime with a heavy dose of artificial gloss. The characters were so perfect that it almost took the emotion out of the performance, and as we all already know the storyline, it played out simply. The soundtrack is amazing and I loved the inclusion of Proud of your Boy, but it didn't lift me up, and as I left the theatre I felt drained. I think I walked all the way back to West Village after grabbing some quick food as I had plans for that evening.

I love the Sorry About Last Night gals (if you know you know) and there wasn't a podcast show that night, but Corinne Fisher was doing a stand up comedy show at The Stand in East Village called The Comedienne Project. I was delighted she was in town and had booked the ticket before coming, despite eyeing up the Travis Scott show that night. It's weird but I'd been hoping Travis Scott was touring at the time I was visiting as I'd been listening to his stuff non-stop around the time, but something stopped me from getting a ticket. Going to an insane show alone was potentially a step too far and would have meant I'd really have to fake it in the look-completely-casual-and-normal-while-having-no-friends department, and I knew I could get a ticket from a tout on the day if I wanted to go. I was happy with my comedy show though, and also I still had my dress to wear. The dress. Before my trip, I was searching sites and shops for hours to find great clothes but nothing amazing surfaced until I saw this iiiincredible SCK the Label dress on Naked Dresses. Yes, I own this dress and it's insane. Truly!

As I hadn't worn it yet, I put it on over dark tight skinny jeans with ripped knees, super tall lace-up sandals and threw over a huge, oversized denim jacket that hung around my shoulders, the sleeves pushed up. I hope that doesn't sound too crazy but it seemed to work in some way, looking effortless but slightly revealing this major statement dress behind the casual jacket. Definitely a Carrie Bradshaw moment!

I took a cab east and walked into the comedy club, heart beating but feigning that I knew exactly what I was doing. I think that was the most draining aspect of the holiday - constantly having to appear like you weren't completely clueless, sometimes for safety reasons and sometimes to not look like a bumbling idiot. Maybe I put too much pressure on this, but I was here to live as a New Yorker and not a tourist, or at least appear to be. I was strapped with a wristband and sent downstairs to the basement, where a small stage was surrounded by around ten small round tables. I took a seat against the wall facing the stage so I would lean back and have the view of the room, and observed the cool groups out on a Sunday night. I was there in my extreme plunge dress and high heels, casual jacket slung over, and felt pretty damn cool. In moments like that I did feel in my element, a mysterious solo girl about town. The show was awesome; I've never really watched live comedy and each act was hilarious, especially Corinne, who felt such a privilege to see live after listening to absolutely hours of her podcasts. The show closed up just as my friend messaged me that he was heading to a club that night - 1OAK to be precise, for none other than the Travis Scott afterparty. I was there! I couldn't leave without approaching Corinne and gushing a little, before chatting with some girls in the loos and inviting them to 1OAK too?! They had work but I was seriously feeling great after a few hours of laughter and chill, and jumped in a cab back to my hotel to ditch my jeans, as the club was right around the corner from my hotel in West Village.

I was a gal with a plan as I cobbled my bag together and headed back out into the night - so New York. I met my friend near the club and we walked past a huge queue to the side of the barriers, where the promotor met us and attracted a bouncer to let us in. It was like a military operation. My friend randomly asked if I had my ID and oh noooo, I hadn't packed it! In my haste it had slipped my mind and I felt so stupid! The doors are SO strict in New York, you can't just queue up to a club and walk in even; you have to be invited or on the guest list. True to my luck, I was asked for my ID right away by the bouncer. I shouldn't have really said anything but in those tense few milliseconds of decision, I shook my head loftily in what I thought was my best Made In Chelsea-style, cool girl vibe and said in a posh accent 'In England we don't need ID', looking at the bouncer as though this was a strange forgein occurance and I was quite outraged and bemused that was being questioned for my ID. I hoped I looked like a cool actress or model or just a somebody and somehow my guardian angel was looking down on me and we were let in. YESSSS!

I was kicking myself but it didn't matter because IN! We strutted acros the club that two years ago I was in with Miley Cyrus and Rumer Willis at the next table. This club is lit! I was so happy to get in that I bought my friend and I a drink, which ended up being £80. EIGHTY Great British Pounds for two drinks!!!! Luckily I paid by card so I didn't realise this horror until my return, but this club is seriously in the big leagues. What ensued was plenty of dancing, being part of a table that was constatly showered with drinks, and partying until the wee hours.

There was talk of Travis Scott and Tyson Beckford (!!!!!!) turning up but I had already seen another club was boasting his after party and wasn't too concerned about a sighting. However when we spilled onto the buzzing street a few hours later, my friend shouted 'Tyga!' and turned around shouting hey. Yup, it was the Tyga, just strolling down the road! Embarrassingly my friend shouted 'she's a big fan!' about me (I'm certainly not) and my face probably looked like a cross between a freshly caught fish and a deer in headlights. I was pleased to have at least one celeb sighting though!

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I slept into the morning of the next day, and woke to take on my final hours. My flight was the next day so I wasn't so sure what to do. There's of course plenty to do in NYC but I didn't have anything specific on my list, and so I walked the High Line as the entrance was right by The Jane, and sat for a while looking out onto the water, knowing I was soon to leave this crazy place. If it was now I would have listened to music or a meditation, but I was exhausted from the series of events the past days had offered! If I'm going out-out at home, I'll prepare to spend the next day relaxing at home, but my hotel room really was a coffin of despair at this point and being in it for more than 5 minutes felt like it was closing in on me. I did some last minute souviner shopping and grabbed my final pizza slices, where embarrasingly as I ordered I said 'we'll have a slice of this and a slide of that' and the guy responded 'erm, you're not with anyone...' to my mention of 'we'. I was so without company that I was inventing people at this stage!

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I paid a last minute homage to SATC hotspot Magnolia Bakery (bonus points if you know which episode it was featured  - 'I have a crush!') and spent the evening packing and watching TV with those awful medical/addiction adverts, before bedding down for my final night after a last visit to that damn shared bathroom!

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I was truly ready to go home by the end of the trip and I don't always feel like that on holiday, but this one had me feeling some kinda way! I've reflected on the experience a lot and realised a few things.

I can look back now and see that not having a comfortable base made the difference when I was recuperating from the day or setting myself up ahead of one in the mornings. I didn't think it mattered much before I went, but when you are alone in a big city, you need a place to call your own. I arrived with confidence but it was rather daunting to do everything by myself. Now before another solo trip, I'd make sure I was absolutely hyped up to take anything that came my way. I'd take fabulous outfits, plan a stricter dining itinerary, stock up my hotel with snacks and drinks, keep in touch with family and friends at home more, and book in even more 'people time', whether that's watching shows or hanging out with friends. Eating and going to attractions alone wasn't so fun for me, but going to shows and museums, and of course shopping, was great solo.

I'd probably only take a number of days rather than a week, and I'd go with no expectation or comparison to any other trip, as travel is such a different experience when it's just yourself. I'd choose my seasons wisely and either go for summer vibes or Christmas magic maybe, rather than an in between, generic season.

It was certainly a learning curve! Would you ever consider solo travel? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I hope you enjoyed my posts.

New York Solo 2017 - Part 3: MoMA, Cha Cha Matcha & Flower Shop

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My second full day in NYC was damn HOT. Even at 9am on this Friday, the sun was beating down in a dangerous way and every step was tiring. I aimed to start out with a breakfast from nearby Chelsea Market but it was more chic than grab-n-go, so I continued on to the subway up towards the MoMA. A perfect way to spend the warmest portion of the day, I grabbed a ticket and started from the top! I watched a few rounds of a documentary before circling the levels.

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I asked another tourist for this photo, complete with audio guide and backpack! I wore this cute matching set from Motel, which I almost didn't bring as I wouldn't usually have a chance to wear anything like this, but it was ideal for the boiling day as I didn't even need to wear a bra. I also wore sunflower cat ears because, well, why not! My blow dry had fallen into loose waves so gladly I didn't have to worry about any frizz epidemics.


I have a few photos of this Lichtenstein because I painted this painting (sic) in school! The exhibition hadn't opened yet so it felt fateful this was on display. Also an old lady said I looked wonderful in the bathroom which made my day! A compliment from a chic New Yorker enjoying a day at the museum herself was so cool.

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While I was uptown, I crossed off a few markers on my list, from the Cupcake ATM to a trip to Wholefoods. I slightly underestimated the walks between these places, as my goal was to stroll around as much as possible, but all of those blocks was actually a decent way to walk in the sunny, busy streets, although a model-esque guy did say 'hey beautiful' as he walked towards me and turned his head, which was so SATC. I was channeling Carrie hard!

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I took my Whole Foods lunch and headed into Central Park. It was crammed with moms, cyclists, groups of teens, snacking 20-somethings and a few solo people sitting against trees with headphones in. I could have ventured further but I was starving so I parked up on the nearest patch of grass and admired the views as I ate.


Soon it was mid-afternoon and time to head to Cha Cha Match in Chinatown to meet Erin of Spikes and Sequins! A babe on every level possible and (at the tme) a soon-to-be blushing bride, we met last time I was in New York as OG bloggers and internet pals. I hopped on a stuffy subway and we had a fabulous reunion as we cooled off and gossiped with her gorgeous BFF Kenia too.


It was such a bright, buzzing afternoon that it seemed every New Yorker had burst from the office and was ready to soak up what was left of the day, taking advantage of the glorious weather. On impulse, we headed East for dinner in a Mexican place that I can't even remember now but lots of cocktails and wedding chat later took us right into the evening. It turned out the friend I had caught up with at The Jane was at a nearby bar called Flower Shop, so we jumped in the car and pulled up to a small bar with a secret downstairs layer for pool and rosé. Keeping in mind I hadn't been back to my hotel since the early morning but was invited to head onto another place, so as the girls bid goodbye to head out of Manhattan, I jumped into a cab with every intention to spruce up and come back out into the night.

Once in my hotel though, the tiredness literally hit. Jet lag and 12+ hours of walking and talking across town meant my cogs just slo w e d to a hault and I was cloaked in sleep. I suppose when you're in a group on holiday, you're constantly stopping for drinks and food and compromising against everyone's schedule, but being alone meant I was hauling myself all over the city until I literally dropped! Every ounce of me wanted to embrace this night but I couldn't even bring myself to start the cycle of getting ready all over again, so as annoyed as I was, I admitted defeat and called it a day as New York fizzed around me. 

New York Solo 2017 - Part 2: Shopping Heaven & a Celeb Blow Dry

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I woke up in New York - woohoo! Well, I woke up in my cupboard under the stairs but hey, I was back in the city of dreams ready to take on the day. And first on my itinerary was to shop! Covering ground around West Village and Broadway with different stores as my pit stops meant I would totally have a Carrie Bradshaw-style day, and I LOVE shopping alone. Perusing at your leisure and taking as long as you like is my damn happy place.

Getting ready actually look much longer than needed really as it took some guts to use the shared bathrooms. It also took courage to step out into the quiet West Village and be in NYC. I can't explain it - maybe I was shy! I did feel super self-conscious as I strutted out of the hotel after making sure my bag was packed with my essentials, my makeup was just so, and I'd locked my room properly. The streets really were quiet and still as I walked past huge brownstones.

My first destination was actually Carrie Bradshaw's apartment! Like a pilgrimage, I felt I needed to spend a few moments in the setting of the show that totally inspired this trip, and gain a little positive energy from an iconic spot. There was literally no one there while I vlogged near the stoop, and nearby are the Friend's apartments too! Sadly Central Perk isn't at the base but as I was taking a snap, a fire alarm started going off and a chain of the cutest little toddlers came out of a building, all holding hands. 

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After that adorable encounter I headed for some fuel. Honestly I was still overwhelmed by this entire situation and stepping into the uber cool Jack's Wife Freda was like I was in a hipster dream. I took a seat at the counter as I wasn't quiet ready to sit by myself in a cafe of chatty tables, and ordered a tea. The 'singles at the counter' is quite the US phenomenon as the other solo diners next to you tuck into their eggs and flick through their papers. As I was perusing the menu, a young guy sat next to me and randomly asked if they served alcohol. Then turned to me exclaiming he's seen me on the street and started to chat me up! He looked around 19 so I made small talk and then said I was leaving the next day. After I waved him on his way, the barista and a gent dining adjacent to us were asking if I knew the guy, and it was just one of those bizarre situations that proved I was rather far away from home and who knows what was still to come!


Nothing on Jack's menu caught my eye actually so I continued down the block to by Chloe. I am so glad I did! This had a light, feminine vibe that welcomed me in and led me to order the best. salad. EVER. This salad. Oh my gosh this SALAD! I still think about this salad. And I still talk about this salad. And I still dream about this salad. OK the last one is an exaggeration but wow, the Kale Caesar is life and I've been meaning to make my own version ever since.


I chose a window seat for ultimate people watching and absolutely devoured this mix of soft kate, avocado, maple croutons, shitake bacon, almond parmesan and caesar dressing. The entire menu is vegan and natural and just delicious. I hear it's opening in London and I can't wait! I'll need to take a trip.

Overjoyed with my brunch, I continued towards Broadway and hit the shops! Urban Outfitters, Victoria Secret, Nike, Forever 21, basically every shop I came across I browsed and they really were so quiet on this Thursday! This led me nicely towards the Glossier showroom, which means the rather strange exeperience of checking in with a modelesque door lady and taking a basic elevator up to the level that opens right into a small room with products dotted around.


It was quite busy with mums & prams, or student typed swatching the samples on show. I wasn't in the market for any makeup but I purchased a few skincare bits, packed nicly into those pink bubble wrapped ip lock pouches. It's really fun to be British in New York as everyone you speak to will have a friendly chat and Ireally savoured those moments talking with makeup artists and store assistants as I guess I wasn't talking to anyone else!


My wanderings took me towards high-end stores and I dared to step into Miu Miu and admired the bags. I was so up for buying one but I'd rather do a little more research so after trying on a few in the mirror, I told the sales lady that I just needed to get my 'boyfriend' in the shop next door, hahaha! Instead of collecting my imaginary bae, I took a cab up to Blo Blow Dry Bar for, you guessed it, a blow dry! I soon realised that spending the hours it takes to sort my own hair was wasted time, and the communal bathrooms at my hotel only warranted minimal time spent using the shared facilities.

This was one of the best decisions I made because the salon was the perfect osmpoloitan escape from the city and my stylist Nathan was a ray of sunshine! A testemony to all of the fantastic people you can meet in NYC, we spent the time discussing his move from LA, his celebrity clients (Hillary Clinton's daughter!), New York life, and he even took a snap for me.

He was so enthusiastic and kind that I left not only with an awesome blow dry but feeling like I'd made an actual friend. Despite loving my own company and travelling across the world by myself, having that genuine connection on your level made a huge difference in my day.

Hair refreshed, I visited Dough for, you guessed it again, doughnuts, Bath & Body Works for Colgate whitening strips, various Maybelline and LO'real products you can't find here, and loads of snacks as gifts. I'd walked miles and miles by now and it was time to head back to The Jane, grabbing a few HUGE and competely delicious pizza slices on my way home.

I was doing fairly well on the jet lag front as on Thursdays, The Jane hosts the party that I had originally attended two years prior. I got ready and chilled out until a New York friend arrived, and it was rather fun to step into the elevator from my room and land in the club! If I was visiting with friends, it would be super handy to have it as a pre-drinks or all-night party on your doorstep every weekend to make the most of every evening. The old school hip hop and dancing on plush arm chairs or tables was the scene I remembered fondly and we partied for a few hours before I popped back up to my dorm!

New York Solo 2017 - Part 1: Heading to NYC alone!

I've actually been quite nervous to post about my solo trip to New York. The trepidation wasn't around sharing the experience with you lovely readers, but actually to relive the visit myself and put it into words. It was such a learning experience and was as fantastic as it was challenging. But let's start from the very beginning. Why did I go all the way to New York by myself?!

Now some may feel it's quite extreme to travel alone but actually it felt really natural to book up by myself. You know all about my first whirlwind visit to New York in 2015 as I wrote all about it, and it was such an unbelievable experience. The fact that I was actually living my dream was exciting enough, and when it was even more exciting than we had expected, it made it the trip of a life time! We blagged our way into so many exclusive clubs every single night, mingled with celebs, and saw the legendary sights from New Jersey to Coney Island to Brooklyn. It felt damn amazing to bounce down the sidewalk and totally feel the buzz of the city.

I've wanted that feeling ever since. Every other year I end up watching the SATC box sets and imagine myself as Carrie, dashing down the fictional East 73rd Street in $500 heels and a $5 vintage dress, dating the city. And I had the same feeling as I did in 2015. What am I working for? If I am able to jet to my dream destination, why am I not doing just that right now! There may not be  many other times in my life when I can head somewhere solo, and in early 2017 I started entertaining the thought of spending a few indulgent days in the city that offered so much. It actually appealed more to go alone and treat the trip exactly how I wanted, choosing to do just what I pleased. It felt like a personal challenge and almost like a pilgrimage. It also took some of the edge off a group trip as I could book things on a whim and selfishly plan obscure activities such as visiting the Glossier showroom, getting a blow dry or meeting friends. 

Booking the flight was a fantastic feeling. I was on the way! I booked a hotel pretty quickly too as I had one in mind for years. On my last visit, we'd tried to get into the Standard Hotel but the reception said there was a "private party" on. The next night we realised that was just code for not letting any old person in and managed to blag our way in, but that day we literally walked onto the sidewalk and asked a passing group of hipsters if they new a nearby club. We were actually in West Village surrounded by them, but we were clueless tourists and after calling us the Spice Girls, the strangers sent us off to The Jane. A grand brick building on the edge of the Hudson river, we proceeded straight to the rooftop bar and tagged onto a group of British DJs to get past the doorman, before meeting some Wall Street bankers and being directed back to the club in the lobby. Dancing on plush arm chairs in front of grand fireplaces to '90s hip hop was a night to remember!

As I knew it was a hotel and I'd already been there, I felt a pull to the place, and it was one of the top rated hostel-style accommodation options. In New York you're looking at £150+ per night for a cheap hotel room and as it was just me footing the bill, I shelled out £500 for 6 nights at The Jane which meant a teeny room and shared bathrooms. The reviews said they were always spotless and the cabin inspired rooms seemed a safe and secure option for a lone traveller. I was concerned about long corridors in anonymous hotels so wanted somewhere that felt safe enough.

Next was my itinerary, and this step positively overwhelmed me. Planning to see the typical well-known sights is easy but I had already visited them all. I was looking for cool eateries, unique shops and fabulous neighbourhoods. I was actually hoping to catch the Travis Scott tour and coincidentally it did fall during my visit, but I had to weigh up the things I was brave enough to do on my own, and a crazy show pushed the mark. I made lists and lists of things to do, watched endless videos, and tried to group them into areas, but New York is so huge that it really is a challenge to figure out. I prebooked a few things, planned to see a few friends, and left the rest to my lists. I was spending time organising my trip around my own demanding job so I had to leave some decisions to nearer the actual time! Organising every tiny detail yourself means you can't drop the ball on anything, and it does take a lot of attention and care.

I had booked to go in April because during the start of the year, I always get itchy feet. Until spring properly flourishes, the winter months can be so dull and endless, which did mean I wasn't actually feeling super glam and my wardrobe felt a little sluggish. However I made a few purchases after trawling literally every online store I could think of and rammed my suitcase with options.

The night before travelling I remember sitting in bed thinking 'oh my gosh, I'm putting myself on a plane tomorrow and jetting away?!' It was a huge surge of nerves and excitement, and there were no friends to text last minute packing checklists to or ask who was bringing hair straighteners - I was all on my own. My flight was conveniently at 9am so I breezed through the airport in my own world, calmly waiting to board while making sure my eyes didn't leave the departure screens. There's none of the school-trip style comradery you have when you're travelling in a group of besties so that initial excitement is missing, and the flight was a pretty straightforward affair of reading, napping and movie guzzling. I felt a little like I was in a film too, flying mysteriously solo.

It was possible to fly direct from Birmingham to Newark, which meant a shuttle and train into Manhattan. It's a pretty naff airport so I did not feel any NYC glamour yet. When you're in a group you can faff at every turn but when solo, I trust my instincts and journey on, confidentially arriving to Penn Station even though there were some points I wasn't even sure I was on the right train, and jumping in a yellow cab to The Jane. I had finally arrived!

I can't quite say it was the warmest welcome - there were no fireworks apart from those popping in my head as I tried to make it sink in that I was on the other side of the world in the city that never sleeps. The Jane was oddly familiar and after a monosyllabic welcome at the reception, I was shown my room. Or rather, my broom cupboard as it shall now be referred to.

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I did know that the rooms at The Jane are famous for being ship-style cabins, and I thought it would be rather novelty to have my little bunk, but it really was teeny! I tried to capture this in the photos above, as you can see the edge of the bed in both. The mirrored wall could not disguise that I could almost touch each wall with my arms outstretched, and despite there being decent storage under the bed for clothes and a suitcase, there was nowhere to actually be in this room. You were either sitting on the bed looking at the mirror, or lying horizontal on the bed asleep. The window was a stiff A4 sized shutter looking out onto another brick wall. It felt very closed in and was almost an effort to leave this tiny enclosure and burst out into such a huge city. The contrast did have a strange vibe and the hotel itself was very still and quiet. I ventured out towards the bathroom in the central corridors which indeed was always spotless, although the shower room was more of a huge, damp wet room; the kind where you don't quite want to touch anything!

It was around 7pm at home but still mid afternoon in the Big Apple, and my first plan was to head to Times Square and get some serious shopping done as long as I could stay awake. I originally booked a show for that evening but swapped the dates and I couldn't predict how tiring the journey would be, but I was raring to go! I quickly changed in my box room, took a few deep breaths, and walked all the way to Mid Town from West Village, taking in the hustle and bustle of the place. Wow!

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It was grey, hectic and noisy as dusk set in, and I strutted the sidewalks as though it was most natural to be rubbing shoulders with the tourists and commuters heading home. I definitely dropped a few $$$ on Elizabeth and James perfume, face masks, lip masks, and Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder (which I dropped a few months later - gutted!). There's something about swinging that black and white striped bag that is so satisfying!


I also wondered all of the floors of the Forever21 and hit the beauty section of Duane Reed, though most of the shelves were empty. It was getting dark by then and the noise, car horns and bright lights were weighing down on my tired shoulders. I wasn't ready to face a sit down meal by myself just yet so I hit a deli, bought a delicious salmon Caesar salad and a huge slab of fluffy strawberry New York cheese cake, and hailed a cab back to my hotel. I ate in bed watching TV until as late as I could, but might I say American TV is so bizarre and not so pleasant! You could say British TV is similar as there were ad breaks every 5 minutes but the relentless commercials on various diseases, addiction hotlines and medical side effects were wild. Hindsight learning #1 was that I should have brought my laptop or ideally an iPad and caught up on YouTube or my favourite shows. I didn't really want to do the things I would be doing if I was sat at home, but actually that shouldn't matter while you are relaxing and refreshing yourself to take on the next day's adventures. See you next time for my first full day!

Face of the Night with IT Cosmetics

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If you've watched my vlogs you'll know I can achieve a lot in an hour, even though that does usually mean another 30 mins faffing for heels and ordering the taxi. When it comes to getting ready for a night out, often I have planned my outfits and my makeup look so I can dive in and speedily pack on a lot of makeup. I can't just go with the flow as who knows what kind of pastel, shimmery, smokey eye I could end up frantically rubbing off while my mate is on her way round! I always have an inspiration screen shot or YT video at the ready so I know which colours to pick, and you can see mine below from last weekend.

Any new purchases take centre stage as I'll plan a look around them, whether it's a new shadow palette or liquid lipstick. I received a surprise parcel from IT Cosmetics in the post and have been pondering the products, waiting for the right time to dive in. A morning before work is not the time to experiment, especially when you'll have to wear something throughout the day in unforgiving daylight, but night time is the right time!

The Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer is heeeeavy duty. I usually use the Maybelline Under Eye Eraser which can't exactly be called thin, but IT's offering is the consistency of tacky paint, and a little goes a long way when warmed up with finger taps. That tacky consistency allows it to stretch without you rubbing it away, and welcomes a light dusting of powder over the top to blend with your foundation. This is everything!


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Shout out to the Brow Powder too, which is actually a wind up pencil so that's rather confusing. The best this is that it's strong enough to make bold strokes without it snapping, and thin enough to be precise. I don't want to go back to a brush and powder, it just doesn't have the control!

Unfortunately I'm not sure where this inspiration image is from but I didn't quite go as golden or shimmery, so I'll definitely be using this image again over the festive season!


The Budapest City Break | Day Four: Széchenyi Thermal Bath on Valentine's

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Alas it is the final day of my Budapest trip! I hope I've shown so far how rich with history, fun and charm the city is, all wrapped in a stylish, casual vibe that made us feel completely at home. The apartment continued to be a dream with its spacious rooms and quiet surroundings, and we began the day at our favourite vegan haunt for some much needed stodge after the previous night's 4am finish.

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Hair buns secured and a huge plate of ten delicious and different veggie dishes later, we hopped on the metro for a few stops to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. We'd left this event to our final day as it seemed the most relaxing and effortless!

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We hadn't booked as it was out of season, which meant we took our own towels and flip flops, and headed into the steamy underground group changing rooms. I'd definitely suggest prebooking a cabin room as it certainly riled up any germophobe tendencies! But soon we were stepping out into the freeeeezing air and plunging into the 25 degree baths. 

And it truly was like taking a bath with your mates and a few hundred strangers! I never go swimming and don't even have a bath in my house so being in the water was pretty lush, and we chilled for a few hours. We did jump out to get our cameras for tourist snaps, and diving back into the steamy water was totally satisfying compared to the chilly air! It was Valentine's weekend though so we were mostly surrounded by couples!

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I can see how the night time parties they have at the baths could go totally crazy as sometimes the steam totally fluffed up in the air and you could barely see the person next to you! It was interesting to see a wide range of ages there too and a laid back vibe.

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After our day of relaxing, though our skin was so dried out by the cold air and streamy water, we got dressed up again and revisited the most well-known ruin pub, Szimpla Kert. It was a Friday night so it was more of a party atmosphere, and when we pulled up there was a long queue but it decreased quickly and we soon had £1 glasses of wine in hand!

I've recommended Budapest to so many people; it was the best value city break I've ever had and would suit party goers, history buffs or cute couples. I hope you consider visiting soon too!