Tuesday, 30 December 2014

'Tis the Season to be Jolly!

As the festive season is coming to a close, I thought all of you lovely readers will be far too busy playing with new presents and eating as many leftovers as you can get your hands on to want to read a proper blog post. Therefore, I thought I'd let you all off lightly with this: Christmas in pictures. Enjoy!

Winter sunshine in London

Durham Christmas lights

Fruit panettone 

Christmas day walkies

Lights on the King's Road

Lumley Castle Christmas ball

Winterville, East London

Christmas morning breakfast

Lulu trying to be taller than Sarah

The Natural History Museum 

Shiny shiny new shoes

Merry Christmas and I'll see you in the New Year!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

New York: Lunch at Bergdorf's, Central Park, Gansevoort and Chelsea Market

The following day and a half in New York were a little more relaxed than the former. First up, after spending the morning in search of a good florist, we headed to lunch at BG in Bergdorf Goodman with one of Mum's best friends for her birthday. Here, we joined the ranks of 'ladies who lunch,' while gazing over Central Park, glasses of bubbly in hand. Mum and her friend caught up on over a year's worth of news while I concentrated on eating my food and settled down for some good old people watching. BG was obviously the place to be. There were groups of young ladies, chatting and gossiping away on one table, while at another, older ladies wrapped in their furs and botox sipped at their cups of tea. Even an impeccably dressed elderly couple shuffled in, both pushing along zimmer frames, entourage of helpers in tow! I happily nibbled on my oriental salad while playing a surprisingly entertaining game of 'spot the facelift' with myself. As it turned out, BG's food was good, but the people watching was just top notch!

After having spent our incredibly extended lunch gazing out over the leafy expanse of Central Park, we decided to go for a wander among the trees...

....and spotted some rather unusual wildlife along the way!

Lunch had turned into such a long affair that after a relaxed walk around the park, the evening drew in surprisingly fast. So before long, it was time to go back to our hotel, pack our cases in preparation for our flight home the next day and plan our last morning in New York!

The next morning we rose early. I wanted to show Mum The High Line, an old elevated train line which has been transformed into a long, thin and rather pretty public park.

We walked from its start, right the way down to the Meatpacking district, where we then visited Gansevoort Market and I got introduced to a 'bruffin,' a fabulous foody invention which essentially involves soaking deliciously savoury muffins in soup. Each muffin was themed, its ingredients reflecting a different country. I had a cheesy French muffin, soaked in French onion soup.  I have to say, initially I was a little skeptical, but it turned out to be simply delicious and something I may even try and recreate at home! (Watch this space for a recipe!)

After having eaten our fill, we wandered the area before ending up in Chelsea Market, a fascinatingly quirky arcade of shops. There seemed to be a number of sample sales being held, as well as lots of individual shops to poke our noses into, all which made for a rather entertaining shopping.

Suddenly we realised that it was getting perilously close to our departure time and so it was time to dash back to the hotel, pick up our bags and head to the airport! Almost before we knew it, we were sitting in an aeroplane and flying for home.

New York, as before, had been a whirlwind trip- we'd seen so many new things, revisited some old favourites and discovered places that I know I'll just have to go back to. Our whole trip, from Costa Rica to New York had been absolutely fabulous, a real once in a lifetime experience and one I won't be forgetting any time soon!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

New York: The Met and the Rockettes

Since we only had a short break in New York, our days were jammed packed from start to finish. We started our day with a brisk walk through the city, heading for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Autumn had hit the city hard and all the trees along the edge of Central Park were stunning shades of orange, gold and red, glowing warmly in the bright sunshine.

 The smell of cooking pretzels wafted over the 'sidewalk' as yellow cabs whizzed past us, honking their horns. There was no doubt that we were in the Big Apple!

Before long, we reached the Met. Determined to have my Gossip Girl moment, I took a second to pose on the steps....

Blair Waldorf eat your heart out! 

....before delving inside to view all of the museum's treasures!

One of my favourite exhibitions was 'Death becomes her,' which was a collection in the Anna Wintour Costume Centre, showing the evolution of mourning dresses over the years! It may sound a little morbid, but some of the dresses were just stunning!

Another absolutely stunning exhibition called 'Treasures from India' was one showing off some of the Al-Thani (the ruling family in Qatar) collection, which contains beautiful pieces of jewellery, some of which were centuries old! Some of the pieces on display were simply dazzling, set with hundreds of diamonds and other precious stones.

The Met is home to more beautiful pieces of art than I could possibly mention and I was so excited to finally get to visit. I only wish we'd had more time as there was far more there than could possibly be seen in one day and we'd only had a few hours to spare.

Luckily though, we still managed to have time to see a few of the highlights and pose for a couple of silly pictures!

Next, it was another quick dash back downtown to Radio City where we were going to see their Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes!

The show was fantastically kitsch and wonderfully gaudy. We were taken on a 3D adventure with Santa, before lines of perfectly synchronised ladies dressed as reindeer, elves and the Sugar Plum Fairy high kicked their way through the performance, while spreading the magic of Christmas. There was even a real live camel in the nativity scene!

The show was brilliant and the dancers showed some incredible skills. For example, in one scene, the dancers (dressed as toy soldiers), managed to collapse onto each other in almost painfully slow motion after being shot with a toy cannon, while in another, a pair of ice skaters performed graceful tricks on an  impossibly small rink!

 It really put us in the Christmassy mood which was pretty damn impressive given that it was only November!

Upon leaving the theatre, we found ourselves to be rather on the hungry side so, directed by a fellow friendly Brit, we headed to a couple of New York hot spots for dinner and cocktails.

We started in Lavo, where we tucked into a selection of interesting Italian dishes, before finishing our evening over the road at Tao (Kim Kardashian's 30th birthday venue) for a little drink in the shadow of a giant Buddha.

All in all, we had an absolutely fab day, having managed to squeeze everything in from art and culture to good food and beautifully scenery. But hey, we were determined not to waste a second of our time in the city!