Wednesday, 17 October 2018

New York, New York

New York is somewhere I've wanted to visit for a long time, but somewhere that's never really been affordable to us and somewhere we actually dismissed as a honeymoon destination for that reason. However, it turns out that people are rather generous when you get married and despite not asking for gifts, we did receive quite a bit of money. 

So obviously instead of putting it to any sort of good use around the house/garden/savings account, we booked a holiday to New York.

As a first-timer, I wanted to do all the stereotypical New York stuff so we decided to buy New York Passes, which would cover everything we wanted to do. As well as just have a general chit chat about what we did, I'll let you know my thoughts on whether the pass was worth it or not. We actually got ours in a sale, and from keeping an eye on them for a while I can tell you that they do have sales fairly frequently so it's definitely worth waiting for one of those so you get even more money off. 

D A Y  O N E  |  We had very sore feet at the end of day one and when I checked my steps on my phone it turns out that may be because we unknowingly walked 15 miles...

Day one began with an early wake up at 5.30 because our body clocks were obviously still attuned to UK time. It was actually quite nice to wake up so early to the view of the city through our hotel (huge) window and actually feel awake, then be able to get ready at leisure and still be out on the street at 7.30.

The first thing we did was head to The Rockefeller Center, via Times Square just to see it (anti-climatic during the day FYI) and we were some of the first people in the (non-existent) queue to head to the Top of the Rock. It was a bit foggy, but despite the fact that we probably couldn't see as far as you usually can, I thought it added a certain breathtaking atmosphere to the experience.

As the Museum of Modern Art is pretty much next door, we headed there next and we also visited The Met on our first day too. The MoMA is quite quick to wander around, but The Met is similar to The V&A (i.e. absolutely huge and full of so much stuff you could be in there all day). We grabbed a map and decided which sections of it we wanted to see as well as googling any paintings we definitely wanted to see to see where they were.

It's worth mentioning that we didn't pay for anything apart from food on our first day because everything we did was covered by the New York Pass. One thing we did that I don't think we would have if it hadn't been included (simply because we wouldn't have thought of it) was hire bikes to cycle around Central Park. 

Central Park is absolutely huge and a bit of a labyrinth so a cycle ride was an excellent way to take a lot of it in without getting lost or spending a full day in there. I finally learnt how to use my gears properly too (three cheers?).

To finish the day we went to the top of the Empire State Building (via Grand Central Station to have a nosey - can confirm it's as beautiful as everyone says). The queue for the Empire State Building was a bit of a mare, but worth it for the nighttime views. I'd definitely recommend going up one of the tall buildings at nighttime because it's actually more impressive than during the day (I was v happy we did one of each though). 

D A Y  T W O  |  Day Two was a much more sobering day because we decided to do all the 9/11 stuff. It was so so upsetting, but I also feel like it's very important to see if you're in New York because it's such a massive part of everyone's lives there and obviously had an enormous impact.

We began with the 9/11 Ground Zero workshop, which is actually in Chelsea. It was a very small museum set up by the official photographer of the recovery operation, who also captured a photo of 9/11 happening from the top of the very building the workshop is in. A lot of his photographs, plus artefacts recovered from the rubble are displayed there and you're told the story behind each one. You will leave very humbled. 

For some light relief, we walked the High Line back to Midtown then hopped on the water taxi to take us round to the 9/11 memorial and museum. The memorials are an absolutely stunning tribute and the museum in between them tells the story of what happened on that day. Again, it's very upsetting, but important.

We hopped back on the water taxi in time for sunset, which takes you all around Manhattan and also stops off right next to the Statue of Liberty for a photo opportunity. 

D A Y  T H R E E  |  It absolutely chucked it down on this day so we needed to do something inside. Because the hop on/off bus tour was included in our New York Pass we decided to use that to get around and we caught it to Central Park where we visited the Natural History Museum. 

Again, this was huge and you could spend a long time there so we narrowed down what we wanted to see and wandered round that (drying off in the process) because despite catching the bus we got abolutely soaked walking through Central Park to the museum. 

Because there was so much of New York we still hadn't seen (and weren't going to get the chance to) we decided to do almost the full hop on/off bus tour in order to see it. A bus tour isn't something we would usually do, but it was actually a really good way to see the city (despite switching between the top and lower decks every time it started or stopped raining). The tour took about two hours in total and I was glad we'd at least seen some of the parts of New York we wanted even if we hadn't explored them.

Day three was also the last day of our New York pass, as we opted for a three day one. Absolutely everything listed above was covered by the pass so the only expense we had was food. We did tot it all up and if we'd paid for everything it would have been double the price we paid for the pass. That probably means we wouldn't have actually done all of it, so for both of those reasons it's definitely worth it (for first timers at least). We only scratched the surface with what's available on the pass; almost everything you'd want to do in New York is covered.

D A Y  F O U R  |  Our last day we didn't have the pass so we wanted to stick to doing free things and I wanted to get a bit further afield. We got the subway to Brooklyn, where we had coffee and a wander along the river. There's immediately a completely different vibe in Brooklyn and if I go back I think I'd want to stay that side of the river for sure. 

We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge (which I'm actually shocked that people sit on for photos because people were sitting on a ledge directly above the road, soz side note from sensible Amy but seriously). We then walked all the back from the bridge to our hotel in Midtown, stopping along the way in parks and for lunch (luckily it was a beautiful day). 

One of my favourite things to do anywhere is to just walk around because I always find you see so much of a place so despite really not doing much apart from walking and eating on our last day, I think it was my favourite. 

Have you ever been to New York?

Amy x

Sunday, 7 October 2018

See Yourself Through Someone Else's Eyes

When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you see?

I'd bet that you don't see the person you actually are. I'd bet you see the things you dislike about yourself without taking the time to appreciate the things you do. I'd bet you see someone very different to who everyone else sees.

I see a girl (well, woman I suppose, got to stop calling myself a girl at some point haven't I?) with an out of proportion body, boobs that are too small and thighs that are too big. I see a face with insignificant features, apart from a ginormous nose plonked in the middle for good measure. I see hair that doesn't quite know whether it's straight or wavy and never does what it's supposed to. 

But is that what I actually look like?

Posting pictures of myself on the internet (not like that you dirty noggins) has given me more confidence in how I look, but it's also given me an appreciation of what I might look like to other people because I'm pretty sure most people don't see what I see in the mirror.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: beauty is subjective and so are flaws. 

We all spend too much time focusing on our flaws, which is a word that I hate because what even is a flaw apart from something we imagine to be bad in our own heads?

Dress - Primark | Boots - New Look via ASOS (here *aff) 

Photography - Ashton Gibbs

Your friends don't see the things you dislike about your body because they're too busy worrying about their own insecurities. Your other half doesn't think your features are insignificant because they're what make you YOU and they think you're beautiful. Strangers in the street don't see your misbehaving hair because we all want what we don't have.

Try looking at yourself through someone else's eyes; what would they see?

We spend so much time being jealous of other people's features that we don't wonder what they may be jealous of us for. Everyone has been jealous of someone and that means that someone has been jealous of you. Take some time to think; what would they have been jealous of? What do you like about yourself? What do you not like about yourself that you think others probably do?

You might not think you're beautiful, but somebody does.

Amy x

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

A Set List Of Things That Happened At Arctic Monkeys

Four Out Of Five. Doesn't time fly? Months since we booked our tickets to see Arctic Monkeys, it finally happened on Friday.

Brianstorm. We got top marks for not trying and got right to the front.

Snap Out Of It. 15-year old fangirl Amy well and truly resurfaced on Friday and I still can't snap out of it.

Crying Lightning. One of the most surreal things I've experienced at a gig was the support act actually getting heckled off the stage, which consisted of the strange premature departure of the lead singer after repeatedly whacking himself on the head with his mic...yes, really. 

One Point Perspective. We quite literally lost our train of thought when the next day we managed to be half an hour early for our train only to miss it because we were too busy watching videos from the night before.

Teddy Picker. I was planning on putting something on Instagram stories the same night, but I was actually so overwhelmed I had to save it for the morning after.

One For The Road. Getting tickets for Newcastle was a double whammy of happy and such a nostalgic feeling looking around the arena knowing I've been here before because it was where I saw my very first concert (Smash Hits cause I was cool). 

Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair. I certainly didn't expect the middle aged woman behind me to start a fight and I certainly didn't expect her to try to strangle a guy...

505. Cue me and Ashton afterwards googling any other upcoming Arctic Monkeys gigs whether they'd take a seven hour flight or a 45 minute drive.

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. We popped on Arctic Monkeys while we were getting ready (obviously) to really get me in the mood.

The Ultracheese. As soon as the first song started the crowd surged forwards and went mad, which I haven't experience in a while, but didn't that used to be part of the fun?

Dancing Shoes. While we were waiting and waiting for Arctic Monkeys to come onstage I was whacked on the head, called 'huffy' and nearly deafened. I'm the innocent party here.

Knee Socks. I bought a sweater and some socks, despite the fact that I'll probably just wear them to walk around the house, although the sweater is only low key fangirl so who knows...

Do Me A Favour. I think I'm going to be mourning the gig for several hours or several weeks because it was just SO good. 

Cornerstone. Despite there being a lot of pushing and shoving like at any gig, we were luckily surrounded by mostly lovely people who apologised awfully politely whenever they were squashed up against us. 

Pretty Visitors. Sorry for fangirling (again), but you can't beat that moment they first came on stage and started playing. Everyone waved their arms. 

Do I Wanna Know? Ashton managed to catch my favourite part of 505 on her phone and I still play it on repeat until I fall asleep, much to Nick's annoyance.

Arabella. Forget that little lady Arabella, we've already decided that the next song Alex Turner writes is going to be titled Girl In The CrowdYes, it's about me.

Star Treatment. Golden boy's certainly not in bad shape. Those hips though...need I say more?

Mardy Bum. A perfect description of me getting sad before it was even over because I knew it was about to be...I'd certainly got the face on.

I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor. You bet wrong Alex. At this point, I'm pretty sure I was just a squished head poking out of the crowd screaming lyrics and holding onto Ashton for dear life.

R U Mine? R U Alex?
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