Month: May 2017

North America – we’re coming at ya!

Having now seen most of Europe, Phil and I have decided it’s time to branch out to a brand new continent. One that neither of us have set foot on. NORTH AMERICA. Fuck yeah!

On September 26th we start our three week jaunt down the east coast of North America, with our first stop in Toronto, Canada. I’ve been planning for MONTHS on what we will do and see and eat and experience and of course, have time for any unplanned excursions or sights that we want to do once we’ve arrived. We’ve finally secured all our hotels, B&Bs, flights and even a train from New York to Washington. We figured we could see the sights and EVERYONE recommended it. You know when you start planning a trip and you actually don’t know where to start and you ask a few people and then they all give you opposing suggestions? Yeah. That happened and it confused the hell out of me.

I mean, it’s slightly my fault as we’d thought we would be heading to NZ by this point but then quickly changed our minds and decided we weren’t ready when we moved into our own place. Now this trip has changed several times as we were originally going to do the west coast and fly to NZ direct from LA or Hawaii. Now, because we’re coming back to London, we’re only doing the east coast and will go back to do the west coast at a later date.

Our rough list of to-do’s in each spot are below; these are things Phil and I have had the desire to do and see, and also suggestions from friends who have been and lived in these locations. I wanted to tap on a bit of Mexico at the end too, but Phil nearly had a hernia (I have already squeezed New Orleans in) so I thought I’d let him win this round. So while we only have four cities to see – these are big cities, with SO MUCH to see. We didn’t want the trip to end up being a drive-by situation when we drop in for only a night or two. We want to immerse ourselves in the day to day and the culture. Sleep in, get up and stroll down Bourbon Street, picking up fresh coffee and beignets before dancing and drinking the night away in a jazz café or an impromptu party in the streets of New Orleans.  Just typing that makes me weep and sizzle with excitement.

Toronto

  • See: CN Tower, St Lawrence Market, Toronto’s Harbourfront, Entertainment District, Dundas Square
  • Do: Ice Hockey game, Casa Loma, Niagara Falls day trip
  • Eats & drinks: Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery, Woodlot, The One Eighty (for the view), Carisma, Rooster Coffee, Wish Restaurant, The Captain’s Boil

New York City

  • See: Fifth Avenue, West Village, Times Square, Little Italy, Chinatown, Battery Park, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, Grand Central Station, Walk The High Line, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, The National 9/11 Memorial
  • Do: Chrysler Building, New York Public Library, Rockerfeller Center, The MET, Madison Square Garden (basketball), Staten Island Ferry, Broadway show
  • Eats & drinks: The Rooftop, The Egg Shop, Murrays Bagels, Cheeky Sandwiches, Katz Deli, Tacombi

Washington

  • See: Lincoln Memorial, U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, US Capitol, Supreme Court, The White House, Arlington National Cemetery
  • Do: Nationals Park (baseball), Capital Hill tour
  • Eats & drinks: Whaley’s, Hazel, La Puerta Verde, The Bird, Colada Shop

New Orleans

  • See: Bourbon Street, St Roch Market, French Quarter, Jackson Square
  • Do: Plantation tour, jazz cafes
  • Eats & drinks: Morning Call Coffee Stand, Domilise’s Po-Boys, Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge, Café Du Monde

Tell me your suggestions, please! Are you a local to one of these cities? Any tips or recommendations?

Eyebrows are big game. A product review.

Sometimes I hate mine and sometimes I adore them. I’ve never known what to do with them. They were always my pet-peeve of personal maintenance and make up. I’d rather cut my toe nails any day! Most days I’d ignore my eyebrows. Which, looking back now, probably was the best thing I could have done. I’ve seen so many of the thin 90’s ‘brows. That thin line of lost hairs trailing over an eye – scary. I remember as a kid we once had a babysitter who had drawn on pencil-thin eyebrows. Oh the nightmares. In truth the poor woman probably had alopecia, but we were shit scared of her, and her angry eyebrows.

Scouse ‘brow

The fashion is definitely now leaning towards the fuller ‘brow which I’m keen on – but not too full. Nor that scary Scouse ‘brow trend that’s popular here in the UK. Mine are quite full and thick at the middle of my face, but spread out to bugger all at the end. I was getting them shaped and waxed, but have since decided to give them a break and try and grow back a bit of thickness.  I like to colour and ‘set’ my eyebrows and previously used Benefit’s Gimme brow (this eyebrow stuff clearly bothers me, two posts in one year!). I came across a new product by Maybelline, Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil, and it has changed my make up routine. I’ve had people COMMENT. On my FACE. Not so direct as, “woah, did you get new eyebrows?”, but they have mentioned my face looks “lifted”. I know right, cheap face lifts all around. A lot of my friends have always said eyebrows are their thing – a part of their face they always pay attention to. I guess, once again, I was just slow on the getting the memo.

my new ‘brows in action

From this photo I see I next need to work on my frown lines. Hello, botox! Anyone tried it? I’m too nervous – but I feel like using it now would prevent any deep lines. If I wait too long, surely it’s too late?!

I get involved, Gary.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a person who jumps in. Puts my hand up, even when it may not be wanted. Or simply reaches out to help. I don’t know where this has come from – whether I’m overly confident or due to my upbringing of my Mum always telling me I can do anything.

STOP RAMBLING WOMAN AND EXPLAIN.Read More

Next island intake, please

Do you ever wish you could just pack a bag, a few of your loved ones (not all, we want this to be tranquil) and jump aboard a plane or ship to a small island somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean? Somewhere you could set up a new village, eating only local produce and fish from the sea. Cut off from technology, politics, underground hot-boxes that transport you from A to B (I mean you, London Underground tube), people who piss you off, people who inflate anxiety and stress. SO MUCH. So much one could escape from.Read More

IDAHOT 2017

Today is IDAHOT day; International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. A day that my workplace is 2000% behind. I am happy to work for such a large Bank in an industry that is very old-school in so many ways, but yet is completely inclusive and forward thinking. To mark IDAHOT day, the Bank are globally dressing in purple, having a bake sale of charity, hosting parent and family events, movie sessions, handing out purple candy floss, putting up posters for awareness, having external speakers share their stories and placing photo booths about the globe.Read More

Back in the zone… watching Great British Menu

After a fantastic start to the year with my gym month of February, I very quickly slid down the slide of doom back into old habits. I used the excuse of moving house and subsequently cancelling my gym membership for just over six weeks.

Following the six week period of eating and drinking (all the alcohol – even tequila shots were not off limits) everything in sight, and admitting to my recent purchase of a maternity top, I decided it was time to get back on track. Plus, every time I log into ASOS now they show me maternity clothing and it’s goddamn depressing.

It started slow, with Phil even admitting he didn’t think I was going to get back in the zone. But I showed him, and myself. Signing up to my new gym helped get me on track. I also dusted off my MyFitnessPal (MFP) app and started to track my food and exercise so as not to cheat myself and really open my eyes up to those weeks when I think I’m eating super healthy, but am instead scoffing down the odd biscuit here, a bottle of beer there and two mint Magnum’s one afternoon because it was hot. Excuses. We’re basically on a paleo/Whole 30 food plan again, as I find it works best for me – no sluggish feeling. I’m not giving myself “cheat days”, because that’s when I fall off the wagon – it’s more if it’s a special occasion meal, then I can enjoy myself, so long as I’ve been to the gym.

I’m one of those people that loses sight of their goals and plans so quickly. Wave a glass of wine in front of me and all my self-control goes SPRINTING out any window, door or crack within a 100 metres. So I need to keep the focus. I also find that MFP and Instastories keep me accountable. I love sharing. I share too much. Although, so far I’ve only had positive feedback on my sharing! I’ve recently discovered that I can time my gym workout with an episode of Great British Menu, which they show on the telly at the gym. I jump on the treadmill, plug in my earphones and get lost in my food passion.