The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Monday 30 September 2013

Filled Up On Philly

While New York had that crazy fast paced "what the heck is going on-oh it's just finished-and hey now what's that"?! vibe, Philly was a little more like real life.  The weather was a little less melty-feeling, the views were a bit less built up (not much mind) and the people were definitely less in your face and just so darn lovely.

Baseball matches (good lordy but they are long!) trips to the city and seeing the first original Beatles LOVE sign were all highlights but there were other events that happened in Philly which I can only describe as momentous.

Life Ambition No:1 Visiting THE basketball pitch where the Fresh Prince opening scene was filmed.  By the way when Mr Prince talks about living in West Philly I'm afraid to tell you he lied, this scene was filmed in East Philly.  From what I can gather if it really was in West Philadelphia then the cameras and machinery used to shoot the scene would have been ripped off and sold before Fresh could utter 'Yo home to Bel Air'.  But that's OK as later in the trip I managed)...
Life Ambition No:2 Drink from one of those red plastic cups.  I genuinely have no idea why this makes me so happy, maybe cos I'm now one step closer to a hero of mine.
General Cool Thing: Not so much an ambition but wildly cool all the same was coming face to metal face with the statue of one Rocky Balboa.  We also ran up the stairs and jumped around singing 'Eye of the Tiger' (something no one else has ever thought of doing I'll bet).

All this took some beating but a trip to Chestnut Hill took my breath away.  Imagine any Sandra Bullock chick flick that's set in middle America.  You know the sort of town you see in the first 'few setting the scene' images? That's Chestnut Hill. 

The whole town was like an advert for the American Dream.  A high street with all independent shops (except one McDonald's and a Starbucks (which I didn't see that many people in) and it coming up to Fall, as they say, garden centres with pumpkins as big as your butt, if your butt was very very big indeed.

A genuinely dreamy place, if you don't believe me see for yourself...

Tis Gorgeous no?

Sunday 22 September 2013

New York Food, more than just big apples.

Other than the shopping (where if you show Bloomingdales visitors center staff your driving licence from outside of USA you get 10% off)  the architecture and Central Park, you can’t blog about NY without mentioning the food and drink. And whether decidedly dodgy or mouth-wateringly morish they know how to make a lasting impression with their grub. 


One place to try for breakfast is Café28 in Chelsea.  This place does a gourmet deli like we Brits could only dream of.  After a wildly overpriced breakfast at the hotel on our first morning Cafe28 became our first stop every morning for the rest of our trip. 

Fresh fruit platters, yogurts with granola and pastries as big as your head were all available along with a large selection of teas (not bad) and coffees (hazelnut decafe was well worth a try).  They’d also cook you up eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh pancakes in minutes (McDonalds eat your heart out)

Cafe28 also catered for a quick and cheap lunch with enough wraps and types of bread rolls to feed an army and a plethora of fillings.  If you fancied it you could even get your dinner here, I watched a Japanese sushi chef making fresh sushi in the morning and on the other side of the shop was soups, lasagnes, Chinese, even roast dinners were available. Now I know why you never see Americans cooking on TV, seriously why don’t we have these in the UK?!

Talking of dinner one of the best meals we ate was at was ilili (pronounced i-lilly), a Lebanese restaurant with panache and style also based in Chelsea.  Cubed falafels that were full of flavour and herby lamp chops where a real taste sensation. Yes it was quite pricey (meal for 2 came to over £100) and the ceiling was pretty low so the acoustics made it difficult to have a real conversation, but really there is nothing else bad to say about ilili.  For a special occasion this is tops.

For something a bit cheaper Lulu & Me was a cute little place (round the corner from ilili).  The waitress was a doll and the chocolate torte cake was completely morish. 

Over to Greenwich Village and Organika and their herbs salad gave me something else to rave about (no really!).  Not one to harp on about greens that much, the food here really stayed with us (in a good way and no it wasn’t because of the mojitos I was drinking that night!).  All their food is organic and the salad had an interesting mix of parsley, dill, mint (sounds odd, works a treat!) chives, caramelized walnuts, apples and gorgonzola cheese.  I WILL be trying this at home.

If you’re just out for a drink there were two places I would recommend (depending on your sup preference).  If its craft beers you’re after Blind Tiger in Greenwich was cool, dark and sold many different types of sweet sweet nectar.  The staff were so cool and it was here I met the most laid back bouncer ever, a total honey.

For something a bit more upmarket (and a Cosmo to die for) try 230 5th Avenue for the Sky Bar.  Wait till its dark but then haul arse over there before 9pm when the queue goes a bit nuts and falls out the door.  Up to the 20th floor and you see the Empire states building in all its glory as you hit the bar.  It’s a view and half.  And another half. 

New York. Doesn’t fail to impress does it?

Wednesday 18 September 2013

New York New York – so good she blogged about it (at least) twice!

It is impossible to be bored here.  Whether it’s sitting in fountains in near 100 degree heat or watching the tourists waiting for their turn in front of the Alice statue in Central park.  Maybe you’ll be taking in the view at the top of the rock (a personal preference over the Empire States building) or sailing past the Statue of Liberty, New York is a city for all your senses.

Now in order to keep a little balance and in true British style I feel I should at least make mention of the negatives.

I’m not sure who first decided the toilets should be so low and the water content so high.  Whoever it was is a proper joker as for women at the end of their time there is a real chance you could end up with wet fingers (not like that you dirty lot!).   Think about it and be careful on your trip.

Feckin’ scaffolding
I get that a city this big and busy needs a little upkeep now and then but seriously! The Plaza, St Patricks (inside and out!) The Brooklyn Bridge! even Bloomingdale's and Barneys had plaster boards on the inside.  Thank God Grand Central was still in its miraculously romantic splendor as I might have thrown myself off the top of the Chrysler had that too been surrounded by the ugly metal piping that covered a multitude of my favourite buildings.  No matter, as we all know New York is more than its architecture.

You know those shopping trips when you go out and nothing catches your eye and you head home dejected and feeling a little empty inside?  Well New York is the exact opposite of that.  Every corner of every area has something, some have many somethings, you will want take away with you.  Plus the air con is killer, which when you’re outside in New York Summertime is a basic human right.  While there are of course the seriously well-known brands, a couple of the cooler high street names I felt were well worth a mention. 

The minimalist silver type on white bags and pleasing layout of the store delicately whispers for you to come in a while away a happy hour browsing their goods.  Everything from clothes and gifts to staircases (a necessity for your New York loft apartment right?) and sofas are available.  Weary shoppers are allowed to perch on them but underneath are also neat little price tags for each item.  Now available in London and Edinburgh in the UK, the majority of their shops are still stateside, but no matter, it’s a great excuse to book another trip back (just don’t tell your other half about the online service).

Now I KNOW this used to be in the UK as I remember friends of mine, ahem ‘borrowing’ the odd item in my school days.  Now they are all across the pond however if you throw a quarter in any direction there’s a good chance you’ll hit a Sephora shop.  

Either that or an angry New Yorker.  Beware they’ll take you down which will really be your own fault for chucking coins around, but I digress…

Sephora has a serious range of beauty products as well as their own line of make up and perfumes.  My favourite is Urban Decay as their eye-shadows are silky smooth and glide on to give a flawless finish on all eyelid ages.  Their tools and brushes are among some of the best I have seen and enable even the clumsiest of us to apply precision eye makeup like a pro (that’s a professional not a prostitute, I really can’t speak for their make-up rituals).  

Returning to a sleepy village outside of Cambridge my trip seemed a universe, let alone a world away, but so much have I seen, that it’s left me with the inspiration to write again.  There will at least be a New York Food and a Philadelphia blog to come, fingers and toes crossed I can keep up with this New York’s Resolution.

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