The City That Never Sleeps!

I can say hand on heart, I had the best 21st birthday EVER! I was showered with the most amazing and thoughtful presents. It’s so lovely when people get you something that sums you up, shows you they really care and know you. Whether it’s a present that costs £2 or £2,000. The thought really does count.

Saying that, I was lucky enough to go to New York the weekend after my birthday with my mummy. My family arranged it as a surprise and I had a wonderful time. It was everything I imagined and more, there is something magical about New York. So, I’m relocating… I wish.

We went and did some of the touristy things like; went on a pony and trap ride around Central Park, visiting 5th Avenue and all the big department stores, Marcy’s, Barneys and Bloomingdale’s, rooftop drinks, and going to Times Square. But I think my favourite part of the trip was going to the 9/11 memorial and museum. It was breathtaking and really inspirational, sometimes I think we lose faith in humanity as the news seems to surround us with such negatives events happening all around the world. Even though the memorial was filled with so much sadness, it was also great example of how many good people there are in the world.

Our hotel, The Viceroy, was in such a good location, between 6th and 7th Avenue so near the fancy shops on 5th, but also only three streets in from Central Park. The Viceroy also won best rooftop bar in the city, so you can imagine the views. The food was delicious, Kingside is the place to be, 1920s diner feel to it. Not to mentioned we saw James Nesbitt!! The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the portion sizes, but that’s America for you. Long story short, what I’m basically saying is, stay at The Viceroy if you venture to New York and you WON’T regret it, I promise. Not to mention the dishy Concierge!

These are my top five things to do in New York…

1. Visit Time Square, even though I do think Piccadilly is better, it’s worth a look just to see the lights and feel the hustle and bustle of the city. I was like a moth to a flame.

2. Central Park, you’re able to see where so many movies were filmed and enjoy a walk around the man made park.

3. Go to a rooftop bar, the views are picture perfect.

4. Magnolia Bakery, need I say more? (I am the BIGGEST Sex and the City fan)

5. Go do something cultural that only New York has to offer, whether it’s visiting the Met, 9/11 memorial, the Brooklyn Bridge etc.

I really can’t wait to go back! I miss it already. Oh and their bars stay open until 4am, what’s not to love?

Take care,

B x

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Springtime!

How lovely has this sunny weather been? Generic and terribly British, I know! I’m not really one for sun, unless I’m on holiday and don’t have to do something strenuous. But, wow! I had such a great weekend in it.

I went to meet some friends I haven’t seen since the summer, so the weather made it feel like we hadn’t really been apart. We went to this quaint little restaurant just off of the King’s Road in Chelsea, called Bumpkin. Don’t you just LOVE the name?! I had never been before, but we fancied sitting in the sun and that seemed like the perfect answer. They have a gorgeous outdoor area, which has flowers in teapots, different colour chairs and tables, fake grass and even a little canopy to cover all bases due to our unpredictable weather.

We devoured two bottles of rosé, as it felt very summery. Then some delicious food, I had the soup of the day, which was great. I recommend going there for dinner, as for lunch it seemed quite heavy. Although the menu changes seasonally, so when summer finally comes around I’m sure it’ll be lighter. As they have a special grill with – BBQ ribs, burgers, fish and chips etc. So well worth a visit on an empty stomach. The decor just finishing it off, creating a buzzing atmosphere. It was such a nice catchup with friends, I was really quite sad to leave them. Life seems to get in the way sometimes, when one is free, the others aren’t, visa versa. When leaving we always seem to say, ‘we need to do this more often!!‘ so I’m going to make a conscious effort to do so.

Here are some photographs from Bumpkin, there is a sister restaurant in Nottinghill too!

The Potting Shed BAR

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After a brilliant luncheon, I then jumped on the tube to meet the rest of my family in Kentish Town. It is my sister’s birthday on Monday, so we all decided to go out for dinner. As I’ve mentioned before about House Seven, they have recently opened a new restaurant called The Chicken Shop. Now, I know what you’re thinking – NO it is not the Chicken Shop that appeared on Channel Four. Think Nandos meets Soho House. This was the best chicken I’ve ever had, and that is a bold statement, I know. But, honestly! The menu is very limited, it’s written on the wall, which adds to the relaxing atmosphere in the restaurant. Now, in my experience, you probably will over order, but that’s good means there’s some to take home. Oh and the apple pie is to DIE for. Even the wine is served to you in a jug like water, old skool. The only downside is that you have a limited amount of time on your table. Even when we left at 9pm, the queue was ridiculous, so get in early.

The decor is 1950s American diner, whoever does the interior for House Seven seems to get it spot on every time. The little touches from the cutlery to the brown paper bags you take your leftovers in, they always seem to get it just right. They also have a sister restaurant in Tooting. Oh, and PizzaEast is next door to The Chicken Shop, which is also owned by House Seven. So you can guess how good those pizzas are!! I feel like an ambassador of House Seven, don’t take my word for it, go! You won’t regret it.

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So, after all that eating yesterday exercise was needed today. I did a workout from Windsor Castle, up to the Copper Horse and home. I felt a lot better! Made me appreciate where I live, I mean there aren’t many places you can sit at the top of the Queen’s land and see Heathrow, the City in the distance, the Mars Factory and where Queen Victoria was buried. I love Windsor.

Hope you guys had a great weekend, and have been enjoying the nice weather as much as I have. Let’s face it, it won’t last!

Take care,

B x

PostSecret

The last few weeks have been pretty maniac with university assignments and presentations, as well as settling into the runnings of work. So right now, I’m doing the things I love – laying in my comfy bed, drinking a hot chocolate, blogging and internet shopping, whilst listening to the pitter-patter of rain on my windows. Bliss. 

I thought I’d dedicate this post to one of my favourite things – PostSecret, for those of you who have never heard of it, it is an organisation set up by the artist Frank Warren. Where people from all over the world can send in their deepest secrets, all anonymously, then a certain amount are published in his books or on Secret Sundays. They vary from funnier secrets such as – “I give decaf to customers that are rude to me.” or darker secrets, “My mom killed my dad, long before he killed himself.” – they hold a special place in my heart as my Alevel drama group and I devised our final piece of drama on several secrets and because they make me have faith in humanity every time I read them. Even the really harrowing and distressing ones, we all have secrets, just some of them are easier to share, than others. Even if it anonymously.

When I was on the tube earlier I was thinking about this, whilst reading my book and looking around the carriage at rush hour (I love people watching). No one really knows what our lives are like. We see things at face-value but actually don’t know what someone is feeling or going through. It is one of the most rewarding feelings when you feel like you know someone, what makes them tick, their stories, their birth marks, their favourite Disney film and best birthday present. Everything. So, if you have someone like that in your life, I’d say hold onto them. They’re a rare commodity, and you’ll probably not find another, you’re one of the lucky ones. 

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And yes, I have sent my own secret in. Shhh. You should too! 

Wrap up warm, winter is definitely on its way. 

Take care,

B x

Southbank

I love Southbank. I think it’s one of the most exciting parts of London. There is so much to do there, the array of galleries, graffiti, bars, architecture and exhibitions are my idea of heaven. Not to mention it all being sat on the river thames. For my birthday I was a lucky bunny and was taken to the Strength & Vulnerability Bunker at the Royal Festival Hall. It was not like anything I had ever seen before, the exhibition was created by a young prisoner, consisting of art created by offenders, secure patients and detainees.

Some of the inmates have such an extraordinary talent. A lot of the art could have been displayed in The Tate or National Gallery it was that amazing. It really highlighted that one seriously wrong choice can turn your life upside down. There is an extremely fine line between sanity and insanity. I can only relate to this in the way that- whenever I go on holiday and stand on the hotel balcony that’s on say, the 8th floor. I sometimes get the urge to jump off, not in a suicidal way at all. Just what would happen? But it’s then your rational thought that brings you back to reality and tells you that it’s not a good idea.

We were given a form to fill in at the end of our favourite piece and why. The card was then given back to the prisoners so they could receive feedback about their artwork. Part of me felt really sad walking around and seeing how skilled some of these people are, and how they have wasted so much of their lives due to their wrong action.

But then, as my mother always says, “we may not have the ability to control our emotions, but we have the ability to control our actions.” – yes, she’s a wise lady.

After the exhibition we walked along the river and had a drink (a gin and tonic was calling). It was so lovely! Then I took a long look at the book market. Six, 10 foot tables covered in books! Ahhh. Then to top the day off we went for a yummy dinner and a few cocktails at Burger and Lobster, in Mayfair. Another must-go in London, similar concept to Bubbledogs. I was uncomfortably full afterwards though, but again, it was so worth it.

My best friend has just arrived down from Nottingham, as a surprise!! So we’re off for a Sunday lunch together at The Windmill, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll let you know how the food is. God, I’m having the best birthday and it’s not even my birthday!

Hope you have a great weekend and don’t get blown away by this storm.

Take care,

B x

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John Mayer, 2013 Tour

I apologise for being a really bad blogger recently. Second year is torture already, I’m currently drowning under a pile of assignments, presentations and readings. But come next week it should settle down a little, fingers crossed.

It’s my birthday on Monday, yippee! I don’t usually get that excited for my birthdays, being a twin kind of relaxes the whole celebration I think. It’s just a day my brother and I get presents and spend time with our family, then go for a yummy meal. So, because it’s nearly my birthday one of my best friends got me an unbelievable present… Tickets to see John Mayer last weekend!! We absolutely love him, so what could be better then going to see him live at the 02 on his Paradise Valley Tour? Nothing.

He was everything I expected and more. Yes, his voice sounds EXACTLY as it does on all his albums, flawless. Yes, he is just as gorgeous in the flesh and yes, he is an exceptionally talented man. I love live events, especially music. I think it’s really difficult to not enjoy a live music concert, even if you don’t like the genre or know the songs. The whole atmosphere is electrifying, it makes you feel like you’re a part of something special. Well, I think it does anyway!

The set was awesome. It almost had a 3D affect of the wilderness and then background, the sky, changed depending on the song, with stars, the moon, sunlight etc. He didn’t talk to us that much throughout the show, just every now and then to tell us occasionally about the song. He said that we were there to listen to him play and if we wanted to know his thoughts or views on things then we could find them on the internet, although he’s not sure how true all of them are. He came across as very humble and passionate. If you’ve not been lucky enough to go to his tour then YouTube them, you’ll be amazed! (One of them he played the guitar backwards, yes backwards! The guitar solos are breathtaking.)

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I know the photographs don’t look too good, they certainly don’t do the show justice! I can’t recommend going to see him live enough. You won’t regret it! I promise.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Take care,

B x

“I know a girl, she puts the color inside of my world.
But she’s just like a maze, where all of the walls all continually change.” – John Mayer, Daughters