Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016

Wow, a year goes by so quickly .. I can hardly keep up! It's been a busy one again with lots of trips revisiting old haunts and discovering new ones.

The Holiday Hound has been a new addition and although he hasn't ventured far from home yet, my wish is that he will get out and about more in 2016. I know he loves the water and any chance he gets he'll just plunge in. I have yet to introduce him to the beach so can't wait to see his reaction when he dives into the sea!

Next year is sure to bring at least another trip to the Caribbean plus the usual jaunts to Milan, Dubai and New York. Ibiza is part of the plan too and the year hasn't even begun yet so I'll be working hard in the day job to make it all happen.

Highlights from 2015 .. 


All that's left for me to do is wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the very best for the coming year! Health and happiness high on the list. I'll be back very soon!

"Limits exist only in the mind"

#travel #blogger #nolimits #adventure

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Barbados - the perfect place to relax and unwind

If I lived in Barbados I would like to think that I would appreciate it as much as I do when I visit. It's always warm with the same temperatures throughout the year so you know exactly what you're going to get - even if it rains! The pace of life there is just how I would like mine to be - relaxed- but not tardy. The locals are friendly and welcoming.  
I like a morning swim before breakfast, reading on the sun lounger, and enjoying an afternoon swim and watching the sun set. Then back to the hotel for a shower and a cocktail or two before dinner .. my idea of a near perfect day. That's what vacations are about .. a break away from normal working life.

Sunset at Payne's Bay
The sunrises give a wonderful morning light and the sunsets are different every day and quite simply beautiful. I never get bored of them. Would I though if I had them every day? I'd like to think I would enjoy every single one. In England we have some stunningly gorgeous days but also a lot of dull grey ones. So when we do see a sunset on those seemingly rare evenings we marvel at the sight of it.

Ready for a morning swim
I have written about Barbados before and also had my friend Nigel's guest posting a few months ago, so if you have been following this blog you will already have a sense of what it's like. You will know that the island is relatively small (you can get around it in a day) and there is lots to see and do if you want. There's also the pale sands of the beaches and the warmth and beauty in the colours of the Caribbean Sea.
Shades of turquoise gradually darkening to indigo blue on the horizon, contrasted with the clear blue sky dotted with occasional white fluffy clouds.

I'm reminiscing while I sit here writing looking out from a 15th floor window as the rain clouds build up in the distance ... sigh.

Lunch at the Beach Club
If you are a foodie like I am, my recommendation is that you book your restaurants well in advance. That way you always get priority seating which is usually on the beach/sea side. If you don't book it doesn't necessarily mean you wont get in but it's definitely worth the effort of a little planning to avoid disappointment. I booked all of mine a few weeks before I went and left one night free at the end of the week just in case we wanted to revisit one or find a completely new one. Most reservations can be made by email except at The Cliff. They require a credit card to secure the booking so you need to phone them directly. Bear in mind that if you do not turn up they will charge you for the full amount - that would be an expensive mistake!

Fortunately, a new restaurant 'The Cliff Beach Club', right next door to The Cliff restaurant, opened back in June and was less than a five minute stroll from our hotel. We walked in at lunchtime on the day and managed to get a reservation for that night - at the owner's table (as we kept being told by the staff)!! It was the best table, set on an upper terrace out of the way of everyone else, so you never know your luck. Their aim is to turn it into a bit of a nightclub after 11pm and they are trialing it with DJ's, singers and bands. I hope it works out .. it's a great venue for it and somewhere to go after dinner.
We enjoyed it there so much we went back for lunch on our last day. It was such a delight sitting at a rail side table with the waves crashing against the cliff edge, the sun twinkling on the ocean, watching the boats sail by and listening to smooth afternoon jazz .. I felt like I'd been transported to the 1930's! It had that retro kind of feel.

The way that I planned out the restaurants was to start off earlyish (i.e. 7ish) to get into the swing of the time difference and build from there. Also a good idea to bear in mind the locations so you know how far you have to go and how long it will take to get there. The first night we opted to stay at the hotel and get a few snacks and drinks from the local supermarket and stock up our fridge. If you already have an idea of what you'll be doing during the day whether it be lazing by the pool or on the beach, or taking a trip somewhere you'll know if you want to make the effort to go out to eat or stay in and relax. Of course the reservations you make can always be cancelled last minute (apart from The Cliff) so nothing is set in stone - you can do what you want.

These are the restaurants we went to this time and the contact details - I'd love you to try them yourself - they were all fantastic. Lone Star is my new favourite .. exceptional service and great food with an extensive wine list.

Cin Cin by the Sea https://www.cincinbythesea.com/contact-us/
Lone Star http://www.thelonestar.com/contact.html
The Cliff http://www.thecliffbarbados.com/CR/Public/Reservations.asp
Tides http://www.tidesbarbados.com/contactUs.php
Sandy Lane (for afternoon tea) http://www.sandylane.com/st-james-private-dining.php
Fish Pot http://www.littlegoodharbourbarbados.com/Contact/
The Cliff Beach Club https://www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk/media-room/blog/2015/june/the-cliff-beach-club-opens-in-barbados#.Vmht6Msnzct

We flew there direct with British Airways from London Gatwick. The return flight was delayed by two and a half hours but they let us know in good time meaning we didn't have to go to the airport and wait around. We were able to enjoy a few more hours by the beach .. win-win all round! 

I can't wait until next time.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

What's in my suitcase? Wouldn't you like to know!

Crane Beach, Barbados
It's that time of year again .. in less than 2 days time I'll be heading off for some early winter sun in Barbados. I can't wait to get on that plane, catch up on some movies I've not had time to see, and arrive safe at the other end - stepping out of the aircraft and into the warm Caribbean sea air. It's a brief encounter initially because customs and immigration is indoors and there is usually a long line of people waiting to get through. After baggage collection you can buy local rum and other goodies at the duty free shop, so a good time to stock up if you're that way inclined.

Barbados has some fabulous places to eat - it's strongly recommended to book ahead with all the good ones if you want to make sure you can get in - so I've reserved most nights in advance. Most good restuarants have a dress code - smart casual, no shorts or flip flops which I quite like although each to his/her own, but there's nothing more offputting than someone sitting in your eyeline not suitably dressed i.e. straight off the beach. There's a time and place for everything. 

With this in mind I like to take a few little dresses (nothing too dressy) with a splash of jewellery .. there's no point taking high heeled shoes as there could be cobbles, decking or even sand to walk on. I like strappy sandals, ballerinas or low wedges. My flip flops are purely for the pool and beach.

During the day it's swimsuits and cover ups. Again there's no point taking too much as you end up wearing pretty much the same few things all the time. I have a few different swimsuits which I alternate. Who would want to wear the exact same thing every day in normal life? It may be useful to take some good walking shoes too just in case there's a day trip involved.

Make up wise, less is more and so my personal kit is as small as I can make it. No need for foundation although I've found it's always worth taking some or tinted moisturiser in a small bottle just in case you need to cover up a blemish, bite or dare I say a little sunburn! I concentrate on my eyes for evening so a bit of my favourite shadow, some eyeliner, khol and mascara and a couple of lip glosses and I'm good to go. Hopefully the healthy natural glow from being outdoors will suffice. I also try to remember to throw in a nail varnish to match my fingers and toenails just in case any chips need patching up. And not to forget that all important sun screen and perhaps some insect repellent just in case.

I never really trust the toiletries at hotels (although some do provide high end brands) so I always take my own. Shampoo, conditioner, hair oil (to stop frizz) and shower gel all dispensed in travel sized containers. Sometimes I treat myself to some duty free Jo Malone body wash and body cream at the airport. A real treat after a day on the beach. My usual cleanser, toner, moisturiser and lip balm come with me too - at the moment I'm using the Indeed brand which I quite like. I don't bother taking a hair dryer - I air dry my hair and restyle with my GHD heat stylers if I have to.

Of course it goes without saying that you need your passport and travel documents, hotel vouchers etc. local currency and I highly recommend a currency card which you load before you go - saves carrying cash and you don't pay exchange fees. Remember to pack chargers for your all your electronic devices - and a universal power adaptor.

Oh, and a hat!

Now you know what's going in my bag .. I hope I haven't forgotten anything!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Paradise awaits ...

I usually don't leave it so long between posts, but I have been busy with the day job so no time to think about my next planned jaunt. In exactly 4 weeks HQ and her pals head off to the beautiful Caribbean warmth and the island of Barbados. This time we will be staying on the West Coast at Beach View.

I can never foresee a time where I tire of this island and it's people, not to mention the amazing food and guaranteed sunshine. I've been proactive and booked all my favorite restaurants in advance, as it can be disappointing if you can't get a reservation when and where you want it.

In the meantime, there may be a couple of day trips on home soil with a week of work at the ATP Tennis finals before I go.

While it's cold and grey outside, I'll be dreaming of the turquoise sea, the gentle breaking of the waves against the shore, the blue skies .... hmmmm pure bliss ... please take me away.


Sunday, 20 September 2015

New York .. a lot of work and a little play

My make up station
I have just spent almost 3 weeks in New York - working 2 of those weeks in my day job as a make up artist for a television broadcaster at the US Open tennis, and grabbing a little down time for the rest of my stay. This year it was particularly hot and humid for the first 10 days and it was hard to decide what to wear as I'm not used to working in temperatures of 90+ degrees Fahrenheit! I'm usually on holiday in that kind of weather! Lie on a lounger, get hot and plunge into the nearest pool or ocean! Given also that I had a lot of walking to do I had to do it in comfortable, work worthy shoes .. no flip flops allowed on this job! Anything cotton or linen works and trainers/sneakers or rubber soled shoes are the absolute best in my humble opinion. And not to forget a good sunscreen - those UV rays are brutal!

Our 2 main presenters
Each day I had no less than 4 people to make up, sometimes more .. so I would arrive, set up my station and turn on the air con and electrics and nip across the compound for a quick breakfast before returning to start my day. It was always full on .. various locations around the grounds each day ranging from our studio at the end of the practice courts to being court side, by the entrance, fountains or anywhere else that was decided (sometimes last minute) on the day. I opted to track myself on a pedometer and was surprised to see it ranging from between 5,000 and 12,500 steps a day! Some days we didn't see lunch until 3pm so it's definitely not for the feint hearted. 

The final presentation
It was fortuitous we finished on time most days - apart from the last day .. the men's finals - the rain decided to make an unexpected appearance and delayed the start of the match for 3 hours. Our anticipated reasonably early departure turned into a rushing-for-the-last-bus-at-midnight run but at least we didn't have to stay on and work an extra day.

It was so good to sleep in the day after we finished .. no more early alarm calls, no rushing for the bus. Just rest and recreation for the next 4 days for me. I had no real plans other than to move from my hotel to stay uptown with my best friends. 

Hudson River
We spent the first day visiting their family upstate New York on the Hudson River, about an hour's drive north of the city. It was such a beautiful afternoon and evening and being by the river was a great way to come down from the 2 grueling weeks of work. Great views, great food and great company .. what more can you ask for? The simple things in life are invariably the best.

I can't say I did anything too exciting over the next few days .. a little walking, a little shopping and eating in the East Village, a movie and hanging out with friends. It was just so good to relax and recoup in readiness for going home and going back to work again.

New York, I absolutely love you and it's always sad to leave but I also love going home .. See you next time - I will be back!!

There's a lot of green in NY
The street steam vents

Sunset and the new moon

HQ flew World Traveller Plus with British Airways and stayed at the Kimberley Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Recommended restaurants include Hillstone E53rd and 3rd, Quality Italian W57th Street and B4 235 E4th Street, East Village.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Shopping and eating out in Milano

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
If you follow my blog you will already know that I go to Milan the second to last weekend in August every year. It has now become almost a tradition as my friend and I have been going since the year 2000 without fail. 
The primary reason for going is to shop the upcoming winter collections but also to enjoy girl time - good food, wine and of course, the good weather is usually a given! The most noticeable thing is that everyone now speaks English which wasn't the case 15 years ago. Some of the shop assistants also speak Arabic, Chinese and Russian as the tourism has increased substantially from those regions.

As each year passes we have come to the conclusion that the only things worth buying as far as good value goes, are Italian brands as they can be
Window display Prada
considerably cheaper than the UK and most definitely the USA which hikes up the prices by more than double. Most cities around the globe are pretty similar when it comes to big name brands and although there are slight variations in collections, you may as well shop for them at home. Of course there are always independent boutiques which are worth browsing and for finding something unusual and stylish. With the Euro being weak right now, the exchange from Stirling gave us considerable savings from the prices quoted for the same items in England. And we're not talking a few pounds but up to £150 on a coat that I purchased. A bargain indeed!

Boutique in Brera
In my humble opinion, the collections this year were not that exciting .. they were a mishmash of slight variations from last year to a kaleidoscope of clashing colours with '70s undertones - great if you're 18-25. No clear direction that I could see and some of my favourite shops had nothing that I wanted. I like quirky and different but as you get older you have to be careful not to look too eccentric (unless you want to) and if you're young enough you can literally get away with almost anything. Having said that, I did find a few great pieces and I know that I am unlikely to see them on anyone else in London - I don't think I will look like a mad woman either! Happy HQ!

Half a club sandwich for lunch at Park Hyatt
Eating out is always a joy in Italy. Most restaurants give you a complimentary apéritif of Prosecco while you peruse the menu and wine list. We were able to eat al fresco on Friday and Saturday for both lunch and dinner thankfully, as by Sunday the weather had turned, starting off cloudy with drizzle, to showers all day, so we opted for an indoor lunch before we headed for home. 

Cobbled streets
Saturday night we ate in the Brera district ..at a restaurant we had been to before Osteria di Brera. The tables outside are very close together so be prepared to share your conversation with your neighbour if need be! The food was delicious and very reasonably priced although the service was a little lax.  

After dinner we strolled back to the hotel in the warm night air .. digesting our food, passing the tarot card readers and window shopping all the little stores along the way. Milan is quiet in the evenings .. not much traffic and just the sound of people walking along the cobbled streets chatting. 
To be fair, August is relatively quiet anyway as a lot of the locals are away on vacation for the whole month. It used to be that there weren't many shops and restaurants open but all that has changed. Even the department store La Rinascente stayed open till midnight on Friday and shops are open on Sundays now too!

I also love buying food in Italy - olives, oil, Italian marmalade and biscotti. The supermarket in the city centre has now closed so the nearest place to shop is the 7th floor at La Rinascente, and the lower ground floor at Excelsior - both stores are nearby the Duomo.

Looking forward, maybe next year the collections will be a bit more exciting - although it's good for the budget when it's not.

They love a dog in Italy

Italian brands that we like - 
Max & Co  
Max Mara
Penny Black
Liu Jo 

HQ flew from London City Airport to Linate, Milano via Alitalia

Dealing with your hair in the summer .. tips from top London stylist Conor J Kelly

Summer is almost over in the Northern hemisphere but these tips from top London stylist Conor J Kelly are great for now and any holiday you may take during the winter.. and of course for those of you south of the equator!

The sun can damage your hair just as it does your skin. If you add salt water and chlorine to the equation, hair that started out as shiny and easy to manage at the beginning of your holiday can quickly begin to look and feel fried. The damage can be more obvious if your hair is colour-treated but even if it’s not, UV rays can dry it out and cause the dreaded frizz.

Fear not, help is at hand.

Start summer with a trim. You'll get rid of split ends and refresh your style. You might need a mid-season cut too.

Shield your hair from the sun. Make a daily habit of applying a hair care product that contains UV filters (these can be in spray, gel, or cream formulas). These products protect hair from sun damage and help keep colour-processed hair from fading. If you intend to spend lots of time outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat. Not only will it keep your hair from getting scorched, it will also protect your scalp and ears, areas that we often forget when applying sunscreen.

Saturate hair before taking a dip. If your hair is drenched with clean water or leave-in conditioner, it won't absorb as much salt water or pool chemicals.  It's also a good idea to try to rinse your hair after a swim. If there isn't a shower nearby, keep a spray bottle filled with fresh water.

Switch to a moisturising shampoo and conditioner. You may be washing your hair more frequently to deal with summer's sweat and grime. If you are using a clarifying, or anti-residue shampoo once a week to clear away product build-up and chemicals, be sure to follow with a deep-conditioning treatment.

Skip the hot tools. At least once or twice a week give your hair a break from blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons.

Outwit frizz. Hair that's healthy and well-maintained is your best defence against frizz. Along with regular trims and conditioning, a drop or two of an anti-frizz oil or serum can help smooth hair and add shine. When the air is humid frizz is going to happen. Don't waste your summer trying to fight frizz. Instead, find an easy go-to hairdo like a slick pony, high bun, or side braid for those high-humidity days.

If you would like advice about which products would best suit you, please ask. At the salon I use KMS California which is an extensive range with products to suit all hair types and situations.

To make an appointment with Conor http://www.conorjkelly.com/appointments/

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Being a tourist in my home town and summer update ..

pink prosecco
Now that August is upon us, the days are getting noticeably shorter and darkness now falls by 9pm .. those hazy days of summer seem few and far between again this year. Granted we have had some beautiful days and a couple of scorchers but mingled in with some not-so-warm days and smatterings of precipitation - so our memories play tricks on us as we recall the perfect summers of our childhood. 

In two weeks time HQ will be in Milan, Italy again .. the annual girl's weekend for new season's clothes shopping has come around again so swiftly, there's barely been time to think about it! However, we are pretty organised when it comes to booking flight and hotels so that was sorted out months ago and the only funds we need take with us are purely for our entertainment and shopping! Yay can't wait!

Yesterday my friend and I played tourist in London and went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Audrey Hepburn exhibition Portraits of an Icon. We got a bus to Covent Garden and wandered through the market (something I haven't done in ages) and it was remarkably quiet which for me made it all the more enjoyable. We browsed a few shops and made our way to the gallery which is a short walk away in Trafalgar Square. The exhibition was relatively small but fabulous and if you like Audrey Hepburn then you really must try to get to see it. I have many books about her so I opted for a fridge magnet as my memento of the day! 

After a light lunch we walked to Embankment pier and picked up the Thames Clipper commuter boat and travelled on the river towards Greenwich taking in the iconic landmarks of London. I have to say I never tire of the view and there always seems to be more to see every time I take that trip. 

HMS President
Moored along the Victoria Embankment is the WWI ship HMS President which serves now as a bar/restaurant/conference centre. In July of last year a German artist Tobias Rehberger was commissioned to cover the ship entirely in dazzle camouflage design. The idea was originally used during WW1 as a way of distorting the appearance of the ship to make it hard for the enemy to target it accurately. An ingenious idea! I knew nothing of this before I'd seen this with my own eyes! You never know what you might learn day to day!

We had a lovely day out and have decided that we are going to try to do a culture day at least once a month .. there are so many galleries and exhibitions in town, it would seem rude not to!

#Hepburn #blogger #dazzleship

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Beauty of Barbados

Everyone who has read my blog will know by now that I have been to Barbados quite a few times, and it is one of my favourite places to chill out and relax.  Here is a piece written by my friend Nigel May and his take on his very first visit to this magical island .. it's always nice to see how others enjoy their time here.
Enjoy the read ....and don't forget to download his latest holiday blockbuster Scandalous Lies!

I’ll start this blog by being brutally honest. Barbados was never a holiday destination that I had really ever had any intention of visiting or desire to see. Not really sure why. Was it the thought of flopping around for a fortnight on a beach that put me off? Was it the thought of it being such a small island that there wouldn’t be a huge amount to see? Was it the fact that I thought I wasn’t the biggest fan of rum that put me off (that being the tipple of the island of course). Really I have no idea but any pre-conceived notion of what to expect from one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean was literally blown out of the clear blue waters of the Caribbean sea as soon as I landed at Bridgetown. Barbados is warm, welcoming and wonderfully alive and vibrant and a place that I could happily spend a lot of time in.

We stayed at a residence on Brighton Beach on the south west part of the island. Call it paradise, because that is what it was. The sand was powder soft, almost white in colour and the sea was iron-flat and the most tempting shade of blue. Crowsnest 2 (the home we stayed at) was to be our home for two weeks and I can honestly say that it was the most amazing place to rent. Check out the website (details below) but if you want the joy of hummingbirds flittering about as you eat breakfast in the morning and the view of an idyllic beach and the gentle lap of the surf sounding in your ears then this is the residence for you. There were nine of us and that was the perfect number to fill the two floors we occupied. The second-floor swimming pool for a cooling dip and a bake on the sand just a few yards away from your front door were a joyously hypnotic cocktail.

Barbados itself has many attractions that we were keen to visit. Hiring a car seemed essential (and as they drive on the same side of the road as the UK mercifully stress-free) so we ventured out to various destinations. Sandy Lane Hotel had to be done. I wanted to visit there as a setting for my fiction books and a personal tour from Ryan, one of the managers there, allowed us to check out one of the most luxurious hotels on earth. Chances are I will never stay there as I couldn’t possibly afford it but it was great to see how the other half lived. Just up the road from Sandy Lane is Holetown which was an eclectic mix of designer shops and sweet little eateries. We plumped for cake and coffee over couture and loved it.

For any party loving people on the island, then Friday night is your night, and there is only one place to go – Oistins. It’s a melting pot of food stalls serving everything from the classic spicy chicken through to the tastiest slabs of fish and the atmosphere is wondrous. People are filling their bellies ready to party as Oistins nightlife on a Friday is all about fun. Locals and tourists alike flock there to dance, party, smoke (a variety of things apparently as your nostrils will testify), drink and love life. Locals dance with tourists and if you’re not hugged constantly by passers by throughout the evening then I will be a very surprised man. The air was 80% proof with the heady aroma of rum too. It felt like a real slice of Bajan life and we loved it.

Sunday morning I would definitely recommend the Gospel Breakfast at The Crane hotel. Book in advance but the happy clappy nature of having a gospel choir singing away in the background as you plough your way through a sizable buffet was totally unique. As was The Cliff Restaurant. It’s not cheap (in fact quite the opposite) but if you fancy a real treat and what I call a ‘stick it on the credit card’ evening then The Cliff is the restaurant to venture to. The view from the terrace is simply breath-taking and the food was glorious. I recommend the barracuda and do not be put off by the word ‘dolphin’ on the menu. It’s not a Flipper steak you’ll be eating, but one of the local fishy delicacies, mahi-mahi. The Cliff is a one-off and a must-do for any visitor who likes to splash out and treat themselves.

A trip out to sea is definitely something else that should be on the menu of any visitor to Barbados. We chose a company called El Tigre who offered catamaran tours to swim with the turtles. A booze cruise with added extras if you like and it was well worth the money. You are supplied with drinks all day (alcoholic or otherwise) and snorkelled-up to swim with turtles and fishes of many different hues at two different drop off points. To see the turtles in their natural environment was a delight and to be able to stroke them, swim alongside them and be part of their world was beyond fabulous. Invest in an underwater camera beforehand to achieve some amazing shots. Talking of turtles, we were lucky enough to see turtles laying eggs on the beach outside Crowsnest 2. We never saw them hatch but many mornings we were greeted with the telltale signs of little flipper marks in the sand heading from nest to sea.

Barbados was a brilliant place to visit – cool places like Bathsheba on the west coast and the natural beauty of Welchman Hall Gully and Harrison’s Cave are all worth a look. But if you can, try and go for a fortnight because there are many, many days when all you will want to do is chill out, grab a lounger and rest to perfection under the idyllic Caribbean sky. I can’t wait to go back. It was amazing.

For info about The Cliff head to  www.thecliffbarbados.com
Crowsnest2 can be found at  www.crowsnest2barbados.com
For a day out sharing time with the turtles head to www.eltigrecruises.com
Experience nature at its best at www.welchmanhallgullybarbados.com

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Five days in New York - an itinerary

I originally created this for a friend of a friend who was visiting New York with her two children but it's great for anyone visiting for the first time or even again if you want to see the sights and go to some great places to eat! I have since shared with quite a few friends and thought I would share it with a wider audience! 
Here's some suggestions with the location of each in mind...

Lexington Avenue

Chrysler Building

Circle Line boat trip (3 hours around Manhattan on the Hudson and East River) http://www.newyorkcity.uk/boat-tours-in-new-york/
Pier 83 12th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Street - must book!

Lunch at the Empire Diner http://empire-diner.com/ (no need to book)
210 10th Avenue corner 22nd Street and 10th Avenue

Empire State Building – must book! http://www.esbnyc.com/
5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street

Times Square – “Times Square is a major commercial intersection and a neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It is located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets.”

Times Square

Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Boat tour from Battery Park http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/

Lunch at Ellen’s Stardust Diner – famous novelty restaurant http://www.ellensstardustdiner.com/ 1650 Broadway and 51st Street - must book!

Fifth Avenue! Drop off at Rockefeller Center. Radio City Music Hall same area. Walk up Fifth Avenue to the where the famous toy store FAO Schwartz used to be. It has unfortunately closed down. It has now been taken over by none other than Apple!  5th Avenue at 58th Street.  Walk across the road to Central Park – have a wander - there's lots to see!


Soho – shopping morning! West Broadway, Spring Street, Mercer Street, Prince Street – loads of high street and boutique shops

Lunch – Balthazar –  80 Spring Street

Taxi to Bloomingdales (take passport to Customer Services for 10% discount on the day)

Serendipity - http://www.serendipity3.com/ 225 East 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue  -  Great ice cream!


Guggenheim Museum – 5th Avenue and 89th Street (closed Thursdays) 

Sprinkles Cup Cakes – use ATM outside shop for a fab experience – gorgeous cakes! http://www.sprinkles.com/cupcake-atm Lexington Avenue between 60th and 61st Street

American Museum of Natural History – Central Park West at 79th Street
Metropolitan Museum of Art - Fifth Avenue between 80th and 84th Streets


Highline and Meatpacking District 

“The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. Inspired by the 3-mile Promenade plantée, a similar project in Paris completed in 1993, the High Line has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway and rails-to-trails park. It runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street – in the Meatpacking District, through Chelsea”

There are numerous boutique and designer stores in this area.

Lunch or Dinner – Pastis http://www.pastisny.com/ 9, 9th Avenue.  Booking recommended – very famous

Little Italy and Chinatown to have a mooch.

Other attractions/alternatives
http://www.viator.com/New-York-City-tourism/New-York-City-Bus-Tours-tours-tickets/d687-t8635?pref=204&aid=m3253 Best to pre book

Check out the link below for discounts on trips and attractions around New York

These days can be swapped around to suit .. depending on which day you start out on!