New York: Why I Heart You

This time next week I will be walking the cold city streets of New York! For no reason other than to indulge my excitement, I thought I would put together a little city guide with all my secret haunts laid bare. We all know about Macy’s and the Ferris wheel in Toys r Us, but after visiting New York three times in the last couple of years, I sort of prefer to venture off the well trodden tourist path in search of something new.

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Speaking of the well trodden path, avoid Times Square at all costs. Yes it is a sight to behold but it is seriously, stupidly, ridiculously busy too. The restaurants are overpriced and unless you have a thing for body painted activists and blokes in questionable fancy dress, there really isn’t that much that warrants all the pushing and shoving your way through the crowds. There’s a reason New York natives don’t go near the place unless they have to!

First things first – THE SHOPS!

Century 21
I have a love/hate thing going on with Century 21. Love because it is a treasure trove of top end designer brands and the shoe section is epic (it was here that I was united with my $84 Oscar de la Renta loves). Hate because the clothes are so high end that they are still pretty expensive even with Century 21’s amazing discounts. If you have money to spend then this is the place to do it, with rails heaving with Lanvin, Miu Miu, Fendi, Chloe…the list is literally endless. The Downtown branch is the biggest but also the busiest, while the Brooklyn branch is smaller but seems to be a bit of a hidden treasure. As much as I always try to restrain myself, a trip to New York just isn’t complete without a visit to Century 21.

Nordstrom Rack
Located in Brooklyn’s busiest shopping area, Nordstrom Rack is another must visit if you are serious about designer names at teeny prices. We stumbled upon the consignment store on our way to the Barclays Centre and it is definitely worth a trip across the bridge.

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These Vera Wang boots came home with me for $119, while a pair of J Brand leather leggings almost joined them despite being 2 sizes too big – they were down from $995 to $100! Burberry heels in the most gorgeous wine hue were a steal at $189, and watches by Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Diesel and tons more were massively cheaper than the same ones we had spotted in Macy’s earlier that day. Go, go, go!!

Beacons Closet

Almost as much of a Brooklyn native as the Brooklyn Bridge, Beacons Closet is an institution where vintage shopping is concerned. Head to the Greenpoint or Park Slope locations for the biggest choice. Channel Studio 54 in gold lame, sequins, fabulous heels and ever funkier faux-furs. It is practically impossible to leave this place empty-handed (and absolute sacrilege if you do!)

Forever 21 and Sephora are American-borne wonders, with Forever 21 having much lower prices in NYC than the UK. Sephora is another institution that has bloggers raving. I’m not much of a beauty girl, but there are very few products from very few brands that can’t be found in this glitzy cosmetic bazaar.

The only place NYC falls short is due to the fact that there isn’t really any such thing as a high street. Here in the UK, we can splash the cash at Selfridges, Harrods and on Bond Street, or head to our beloved high street for River Island, Topshop, New Look, Primark…the list goes on and the merchandise is fierce. In NYC this simply isn’t the case – high end shoppers will have a field day among the boutiques of Soho, and those looking for acceptable quality will find the odd cheaper stores scattered between the department stores, but a high street as we know it simply doesn’t exist. Topshop is every American girl’s favourite British fashion export, but prices are greatly inflated to those here in the UK. A knitted gillet I bought in the UK for £58 was over $135 in the Soho store – a big difference! I’ll never say a bad word against Topshop as it is a veritable mecca, but stock up here and make NYC your runway, rather than vice-versa.

With every visit, I come across more and more places to spend my hard earned cash. I can’t wait to discover more gems next week!

BUT THERE IS MORE TO NEW YORK THAN SHOPS, RIGHT?

Oh SO right. Think of the most random thing you may ever want to do, and chances are you can almost certainly do it in NYC. Here is my pick of the best ways to spend what never seems to be enough day in the city.

Highline

Only New York would think to convert a decrepid railway line into a stunning park complete with modern art and an amazing seating area that puts just a sheet of glass between you and the hustle and bustle of the city streets. I’ve walked the Highline in summer and in winter, and both are equally as pleasing. Chelsea Market is located so close you can almost smell the incredible foods that fill it, and the boutiques lining the streets below are the perfect place to get lost afterwards.

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Williamsburg

As areas of Brooklyn get more and more expensive, the cool kids and hipsters are being forced to move their awesomeness to more affordable parts of town; i.e. Williamsburg. To say Williamsburg is up-and-coming would be doing the place an injustice – it is already up and it is going places fast. If craft beers, master cocktail mixologists and endless menus of incredible gourmet eats without a hint of pretention don’t make you fall in love, the amazing vintage shopping and handmade wares certainly will. The Artists & Fleas Market is located at 70 North 7st Street and pretty much sums up the whole Williamsburg vibe. If I could choose a place to live in NYC (one day!!), then I would choose Williamsburg. Plus, I challenge you to find a better freshly-made snow cone in the whole of New York!

Staten Island Ferry

A pretty standard looking ferry, going from a pretty standard ferry terminal…but the views are incredible AND IT’S FREE! You won’t get closer to the Statue of Liberty without actually paying to get on Liberty Island, and if you time your crossing just right then you will be rewarded with hands-down the most beautiful sunset over the Manhattan skyline EVER! There’s nothing much to see on the other side, so stay on for the return crossing, where you will see the city lights begin to illuminate in all their glory along the way. I am oh-so-jealous of everyone who calls this their daily commute!

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Fifth Avenue Christmas Windows

Christmas transforms New York City and there is nowhere on earth better to spend the holidays (in my opinion). If you are in the city for Christmas, head to Fifth Avenue and prepare to be amazed by the extravagent window displays that stretch the length of the shops. Unbelievable designer gowns adorn suitably festive mannequins, faux-snow is abundant and every single window is gasp-worthy (sorry, cheesy word alert). I’m a master window shopper but never before have I spent quite so long doing so.

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Basketball

New Yorkers love their sports and we have watched both American Football (Giants at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey) and basketball. Having been to both a Knicks game Madison Square Garden and Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Centre, I have deemed myself a loyal Nets fan. While there is no disputing that MSG is an iconic venue, the whole experience at a Nets game is far less commercialised and a bit more urban. You can tell Jay Z is largely involved that is for sure. Merchandise in the shop is really cool and wearable, and the stadium literally appears before you as you come up the steps from the subway. Add to this that tickets are available from about $40 and the fact that you could spot Jay and Yonce on the front row, and you’re on to a winner.

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MY TOP TIPS

Travel 

Lincolns, limos and yellow cabs line up to take you from the airport to your hotel. Ditch them all and take the train instead. Routes depend on where you are staying and which airport you are flying into, but all are easily found on the Internet and most have you at the hotel within 40 minutes and at a cost about $15 – MUCH cheaper than the $60-70 that most other modes of transport will cost you.

I know Uber is all the rage, but there is nothing quite like getting a yellow cab on the streets of New York City. There, I said it. Soz Uber.

The New York Subway system is one of the best in the world and will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. It’s also really cheap – $30 for a whole week of unlimited use. Use it, go places, see stuff, save money, thank me later.

Food

If you don’t eat at least one pizza slice when you are in New York then you are never allowed to go again. Maybe. In all seriousness though, the pizza joints might not look like the swankiest place in town but their slices are delicious. The notorious New York $1 slice usually only applies to Margherita, but for $10 you can get a couple of slices with more adventurous toppings and a couple of drinks at pretty much every corner of the city. Word of warning – don’t buy the whole pizza,no matter how hungry you think you are. We did so after a Knicks game, ate two slices each, remembered pizzas there are about 12 inches bigger than at home and rapidly fell into a food coma. Wasn’t half bad for breakfast the next morning though!

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Wolfgang’s Steakhouse – branches across the city but go to the one in Tribeca for amazing service and ridiculously good steak. Mashed potato is unreal, Jack Daniels and Coke are more Jack than Coke. My boyfriend has refused to eat steak anywhere else IN THE WORLD since we came back in September – and it was the place he booked to go for Christmas Dinner next week.

They better have crackers on the table or there will be trouble.

New York: Why I Heart You

Grey Is The New Black

My love affair with jumpers has moved on from a bit of a crush to a full-blown infatuation, and my obsession with finding the perfect grey sweater has become a running joke with those who know me.

The thing is, little says off-duty model like a slubby grey sweater and skinnies. Add heels for a smart but effortless appeal, or throw on leather leggings and Converse if you’re feeling more casual. My quest for the perfect grey jumper has often led me to H&M, where the selection is not only seemingly endless but also a little bit different – a knee length thick knit in charcoal grey is on my currently coveting list.

Here is some grey inspo for anyone who ever thought a grey jumper is boring…it isn’t, so there.

(All images from Pinterest)

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Grey Is The New Black

Am I Cara Yet?

So, you may remember (hopefully, as it was my last post ) that I was invited to go behind the scenes at the Burberry colour counter at Meadowhall (read all about it here)

Anyway, the lovely people at Burberry very kindly sent me a little surprise today in the form of their Fresh Glow BB Cream.

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As the proud owner of pretty sensitive skin I usually give new lotions and potions a wide berth, sticking with my beloved Revlon instead. However, as cliche as it really is, the Burberry BB cream really is fab.

I’m a full foundation kinda gal and have never been the natural beauty who can slick on a touch of mascara and waltz out of the door to a Taylor Swift song. Revlon Colorstay has served me and my poor skin well, and I will stick with my trusty favourite for everyday. Weekends on the sofa however, or nipping for a coffee on a Sunday is where the Burberry bad boy will come in. While it doesn’t give me quite enough coverage for every day, it does give my skin a gorgeous luminous glow that even Cara and co would be proud of (maybe).

Having tried other BB creams in the past and not being overly impressed, I must admit that this little beauty will be taking pride of place in my ‘no makeup’ makeup kit.

Am I Cara Yet?

Currently Coveting…

A very spur of the moment ‘Currently Coveting’ today; I’ve just come from a meeting, in which I was distracted beyond belief by this feather, bejewelled beauty. I’m in love…again.

Image courtesy of Selfridges
Image courtesy of Selfridges

I want to wear it right now with leather leggings (preferably slouchy and with ankle zips), messy hair and burgundy lips. And then again, with tanned legs and ankle boots.

It is by Michael Michael Kors and available in grey too.

Currently Coveting…

Behind The Scenes With Burberry Cosmetics At Meadowhall

Two words were enough to convince me that I needed to find out more about Burberry cosmetics: Cara Delevingne. The girl is a Burberry goddess and an absolute beauty, so when Meadowhall invited me to take a behind the scenes look at their new Burberry cosmetics counter I jumped at the chance (if only to get one step closer to those famous brows!)

Burberry Meadowhall

Meeting brand ambassador Chris at the Burberry counter in Boots, his passion for the brand was soon clear to see and in no time at all he was filling me in with all the gossip on Burberry’s new fragrance, ‘My Burberry’. Named after the iconic Burberry trench, ‘the past inspires the future’ to create a scent that personifies the brand. Whilst ambling through JFK duty-free in September, I snatched a glance of the My Burberry bottle out of the corner of my eye and instantly knew it was somehgthing special.

If a trench coat could ever possibly be communicated in fragrance form, this is that time; the horn-finish cap perfectly echoes the coat’s buttons (complete with the Burberry inscriptions) and the hand-tied knot is English-woven gabardine – the same fabric used to create Burberry’s trench coats. In a show of absolute dedication, Burberry trailed through the archives to find Thomas Burberry’s handwriting, recreating it perfectly in the ‘My Burberry’ script that decorates the bottle. The scent itself transports its wearer to a London flower garden, afte the rain has fallen. Gorgeous, feminine and most definintely on my Christmas list (although I think the 900ml bottle is a little much to expect of Santa).

I have a sneaky suspicion that a mens fragrance is lingering in the pipeline too!

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The hand-woven gabardine – ‘woven in England’ of course
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‘My Burberry’ in all its glory

After finding out the inspiration behind My Burberry, it was time for the main event: Burberry cosmetics. Boots are no stranger to designer cosmetics, with the biggest names in the industry represented in the Meadowhall store. The Burberry counter is brand new for November 2014 and its light and airy feel stands out a mile against the dramatic black counters around it. The Burberry check (one of the top ten most recognised patterns in the world) adorns the counter, while Cara and Kate perch beautifully alongside (in print sadly, not in person). The whole counter is very sleek, very cool and VERY British.

Packaging is the kind you can’t wait to pull out of your bag in the ladies room, all emblazoned with the Burberry check naturally. Lipsticks are offered in a variety of formulations, from the sheer Lip Mist, to the long wearing colour of Lip Velvet, and shades sound like they have come straight from a British flower garden; Peony Rose, Honey Suckle, Field Rose and Pink Azalea to name but a few. Fresh Glow Fluid pats into the skin either alone or over foundation, giving you that sort of luminous glow only a Burberry model knows.

Face powders and blushers are available in a great range of shades, and foundations cater for all skin tones; Grazia recognised the brand as the best around for dark skin.

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The Winter Glow Festive 2014 Collection
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The Brand New Burberry Counter at Boots, Meadowhall
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Suki Waterhouse…your brow game is strong

Finally it was time…for eyebrows. Suki Waterhouse peering at you is quite frankly enough to get you to buy anything and everything in the hope that you might become her, and I want her brows. The Effortless Eyebrow Definer was described by Chris as a game-changer and I kind of see where he’s coming from; angle edge for easier aplication, hardy colour that doesn’t smudge and give away the secret to your super brows, and it looks rather lovely in your handbag.

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I left not only with two very sweet My Burberry miniatures, but also a Burberry beauty wishlist as long as my arm.

Behind The Scenes With Burberry Cosmetics At Meadowhall

Crushing on Maja Wyh

From the don’t-give-a-shit ombré, to the perfect pout and the immense talent for layering; I am seriously crushing on Maja Wyh.
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I first came across blogger extraordinaire Maja Wyh on Pinterest while on my endless quest to work on my layering game, and her style is just incredible. She’s perfected the French Vogue editor-esque laid lack luxe to a tee and if I could pull off a jumper and jeans half as well as her, I would be damn pleased. The endless limbs and good face help some, but my god this girl has style.

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(All images taken from Pinterest)

Crushing on Maja Wyh

Currently Coveting…

My endless wish list and lack of designer budget leaves me with an endless catalogue of things that I have stalked online, almost purchased, debated sacrificing a kidney for and finally saw sense and left behind.

Nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy…or so the saying goes. So here it is – ‘Currently Coveting’

When putting together my first Currently Coveting post, it wasn’t difficult for me to choose. I’ve had my eye on the Saint Laurent Paris Python boots for months and even though they have popped up on The Outnet for a teeny £459 (an absolute steal when you consider an original price of £1,020!), they still remain outside the realms of reality for my pre-Christmas budget.

Santa, if you’re reading this…I’ve been a really, really good girl this year.

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Currently Coveting…