Tuesday, 26 March 2013

March madness ...

Before March passes us by in a flood of snow, blizzards and rain let me share some of my adventures. This months adventures feature lots of food!... Think I've been comfort eating to compensate for the fact that spring is in hibernation and winter is back with a ferocious roar. I have been feeling a little under the weather but a few treats have compensated for that. One of those treats was the sight of David Beckham running around in a tight suit in China on a football pitch... Brightened a dull day in the office!
Other highlights of the month included Hot Cross Bun baking at Fortnum & Masons, Afternoon Tea at Claridges, Dinner at Balthazar and Breakfast at The Wolseley
Let's hope we soon start to see some signs of spring and that this awful cold weather disappears .  

With Google Reader disappearing soon I have added a link to follow my blog via bloglovin... Feel free to follow Tx 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Baking Buns...

Last Friday evening I spent a couple of hours with Fred and Andrew at Fortnum & Masons baking Hot Cross Buns. For the last couple of months Fortnums have been championing British Baking with a number of events and British bakers hosting classes and demonstrations.
Fred and Andrew are Fortnum's bakers who have been in the business for many years and happily shared their wealth of knowledge with us.
On arrival we were shown into the work area which was alongside the baking shop on the 1st floor. It took a little time to get used to seeing customers looking at what we were doing ( I now know what a monkey feels like in the zoo now )
We had bun dough to work with, whilst proving Andrew demonstrated how the dough was made. We each had enough dough to make 12 buns, which we rolled using the cage technique and proved.
After proving we then had the job of piping the crosses onto the top.
We then were taken downstairs to the bakery ovens to bake our buns... We had lots of fun and I learnt lots... hot Cross buns will now be on my Easter baking list...as they came out of the oven we glazed with egg wash, we got to taste Andrews hot from the open and they were delicious.
I've had toasted hot cross buns for the last few days and they are scrumptious... I'm a converted home baked hot cross bun lady convert!..
Fortnums was full of Easter cheer and was a welcome spring feel from a cold wet winters evening.




Monday, 25 March 2013

An evening at Claridges

A couple of Fridays ago I was luckily enough to spend an evening at the elegantly beautiful Claridges. Afternoon Tea was a Christmas gift from a friend and I need to say it ticked all the boxes... I've always loved Claridges and fell in love with it a little more after the recent BBC documentary so was very excited to be going.
On another cold winter evening the greeting by the lovely doorman Roman Proboziak was a little ray of sunshine. On entering through the revolving doors you are greeted by this huge hallway entrance overhung by a stunning chandelier. The tea / dining salon in the foyer which was a buzz with patrons dining.The opulent surroundings are stunning, elegant and full of class.

After off loading coats we were taken to our table which was in the through the Foyer into the Reading room, where we had a great view into the foyer. The tables are staged in a way that you can talk without overhearing the surrounding tables and eat and drink in comfort.


Afternoon tea was a selection of sandwiches, apple & sultana scones with cream and preserve and a selection of delicious mini desserts and cakes. The food was delicious, one of the nicest afternoon teas that I have eaten.

The service was great, attentive without being overbearing. Even with a late sitting we didn't feel hurried to leave, even as they prepared for dinner service around us.
We were served by the young waiter who was seen starting his first day on the TV programme who talked to us about how much he is enjoying his time at Claridges.

I loved my time at Claridges, the perfect escape from a cold Friday evening in London, we had lots of laughs, the people watching was fun and the service and staff were fantastic.


Breakfast at the Wolseley

I've wanted to breakfast at the Wolseley for some time and fortunately this month I managed to tick it off my food to do list. On a cold damp Friday morning the Wolseley was a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.Every table was full with an eclectic mix of people, business men / women, tourists, actors and me! I recognised a number of people,but couldn't remember their names.
The Wolseley is world renowned for its breakfast and I wasn't disappointed, the menu caters for all tastes, including Full English, a full range of croissants and pastries and my favourite Egg & Soldiers!... I opted for Eggs Benedict which I love and it was delicious. Along with the coffee in its silver pot it was the perfect breakfast.
The Wolseley is old school glamour at its finest, from its heavy velvet curtains, sweeping staircases,and black wrought iron chandeliers. The white linen clothes, siver polished accompaniments and über tailored waiters add to the glamour of this establishment.
The service, food and atmosphere were superb and I can safely say this wont be the only visit I make to the Wolsley.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Balthazar...

Is the name of all foodies lips this March, it's been the most sought after dinner reservation in London with food critics falling over themselves to talk about it. Balthazar is the brainchild of Keith McNally who's original Bistro opened in New York in 1997 and even 15 years later it is still one of the most sought after reservations in the city. London is quickly following in the wake of the success of its sister site in NY.
A couple of Mondays ago I secured an early evening dining spot to see if the London site was as good as the New York eatery.
Stepping in through the large wooden doors, I felt like I was in New York. The glamorous fixtures and fittings mirror the NY site. What Balthazar does really well is create a secluded atmosphere in areas amongst the large dining space.
Seated in a corner of the restaurant allowed me to people watch and even with an early dining slot the restaurant was soon full. With a complimentary glass of champagne and keeping the french theme I opted for the mussels and fries.
With a basket of freshly baked bread from the Balthazar bakery it was the perfect accompaniment to mop up the delicious juices from the mussels. The service was superb and the food delicious.
After a short hiatus my dinner was finished off with coffee and a gorgeous cheesecake with cinnamon swirl and warm apple doughnut.... Oh my I could have eaten a bowl of the mini doughnuts on their own... Melt in the mouth mini balls of perfection.
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Balthazar and look forward to its forthcoming openings for brunch and afternoon tea... Will be booking again soon!
If you can't get into the restaurant then head next door to its Bakery which is open between 7am & 8pm for the most amazing bread, pastries, and lunch treats. I picked up a box of raspberry macarons for work which were a huge hit, melt in the mouth moments of decadent deliciousness.
Both Balthazars were a huge hit for me and will be back again for future visits...

Saturday, 23 March 2013

From Nottinghill to New York actually

Is the fantastically titled sequel to Ali Mcnamara's debut novel From Nottinghill with Love ... actually. Since Ali's first novel I have got to know her via twitter / email and Coffee when she is in London. From Notting Hill  to New York Actually published a few days before my trip to New York so it was the perfect accompaniment for my trip.
The story follows Scarlett's life a few months after we left her in FNHWLA, living with Sean she embarks on an adventure with her gay best friend Oscar to New York. Here she uncovers a family mystery. Along the way it features a TV crew, Sailors, Tiffany's a movie star and a treasure hunt across Manhatten. It's a romp from start to finish....
Ironically there where many parallels in my trip to New York and the book and it became a great companion during my visit.... On my first night I sat down in Serendipity's whilst waiting for my order I opened my kindle to find Scarlett ordering a Frozen hot chocolate in the same venue... Whilst walking through Central Park I was interviewed by a local TV crew .. No breakfast at Tiffany's, but did fall in love with the Dragonfly design in the Soho store, which bared a spookily similar design to
Scarletts  brooch in the book. Unfortunately  no Sailors on this visit but plenty of excitement with the NYFD  ... Just needed to fall upon Bradley Cooper and my trip would have been complete!...
This book is a gret follow up to Scarlett's adventures in Notting hill and if you have lived and loved New York then you will love this.... Now anticipantly waiting for Ali's next adventure...
Here  are some more of my adventures in New York.... Enjoy x


Friday, 22 March 2013

Best Times in NY

This time last year my best friend J said that she wanted to take her partner D to New York for his 50th birthday and they would likely go on the run up to Christmas. They had been before but it had been some years since they were there. ... Several months later whilst chatting we realised that we had booked similar times and would cross over by a couple of days.... I was beyond excited. We don't get to spend much time together here due to work and stuff but was determined to get some together whilst in the city that didn't sleep!..
We decided to spend the afternoon walking the Highline eventually ending up in the Meatpacking district for an early supper.
I've enjoyed the Highline on my last couple of trips, here it is in.. Spring . The Highline is an elevated disused freight line above the warehouses and streets of the Meatpacking district which is now an urban park, with several different zones to compliment the area. J & D hadn't been to this area before and I though they would like to see a different New York.
As you can see we caught the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty and had great views of  the Empire State Building
The Highline ends above Gansevoort street which looks down onto the heart of the Meatpacking district. Visible from the line is Diane Von Furstenburg's workspace and loft apartment (famously seen in The City) .Gansevoort street is also the street that Samantha's apartment was in Sex & the City!
After a walk around we decided on beer and food was required. We decided on 5 Ninth which is a converted townhouse just along from Pastice. The ground floor houses a cool bar, stocked with 
bourbon of all kinds and great beer. The 1st floor is a warming restaurant eatery which big leather 
chairs and log fires... Perfect for relaxing away a chilly December evening in New York. The top floor holds additional eating space and a function area.
We opted for steak and I need to say it was amazing, melt in the mouth delicious... The service was great, atmosphere perfect.We had a great evening catching up and enjoying the vibe of New York.... It was the best time in New York that I had and the perfect start to Christmas x

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Serendipity

Means a 'happy accident' or "pleasant surprise"; specifically the accident of finding something good or useful while not specified or searching for.... It is also the name of one of my favourite holiday movies and the venue of the best frozen hot chocolate you are ever likely to taste whilst in New a york.
Serendipity is located behind Bloomingales on 225 E60th. It's a tiny venue which is a bit like a tardis (bigger on the inside than it looks)... kitsch, eclectic and twinkly... You feel like you are dining in Alice's wonderland. You often have to queue for a table but the desserts alone are worth the wait.
On my first night in New York I ended up in Serendipity's for dinner... Perfect burger followed by scrumptious iced hot chocolate.( so big I couldn't finish it!)
This wasn't my only taste of Serendipity during my week.....
Midweek during my trip my best friend and her partner where also flying into New York. We had mad loose plans to meet up on the Thursday afternoon and evening. On the Wednesday evening I was hurrying across 5th avenue after watching the Car fire .Whilst waiting at a stop sign i heard a couple behind me talking about the fire, when I turned round it was bestie J & Den... Over the 3 days without sharing plans we bumped into each other on 3 other occasions, Century 21, Bloomingdales and World trade centre... Serendipity of all kinds!


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Christmas at Tiffany's

A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to Tiffany's ... This trip I dropped into the world famous 5th ave store and the recently opened Soho store to pick up a couple of Chrstmas gifts.
Even after double digit visits I still have that sense of wonder when I enter the 5th avenue store via the unassuming revolving doors. Regardless of what you are wearing and how much you have in your purse you are treated like a guest from start to finish.
The store is as glamorous and as exciting as portrayed in any movie, who can forget Audrey Hepburn gazing wistfully through the window. This years windows featured a Tiffany house with artfully styled diamonds... Last year was the beautiful Tiffany Magic Carousel story, which has become a holiday favourite.

The store is spread across 4 trading floors and is gorgeous... from diamonds to die for to silver trinkets, there is a little something for everyone and who can resist a little blue box! I love the charm bracelet ...
The store in Soho has recently opened and has a different feel completely to 5th. It's a smaller store but still as artfully styled. I fell in love with the dragonfly themed styling, along with the beautiful bookcases.
Obviously at the time I visited it was full on holiday season with beautifully styled christmas trees complete with blue boxes tied with red ribbon.
As you can see a couple of things came home with me to add to my Christmas tree collection.....

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Shopping in the City ...

Any trip to New York is not without a little shopping planning .Working in the big yellow store I don't need to go for designer bargains that I can pick up at work... So I try to seek out fun things that I can't necessarily get at home
As previously blogged   Williams and Sonoma,features heavily along with Bloomies, The Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel.
My alternative shops of choice in New York are Target, TJMaxx, Michaels, Duane Reade and Century 21 along with Macy's
I hit Macy's on a special sale day equipped with a list of Martha Stewart requirements, Macy's stocks Martha's home range which I love.
I loved the spatula decorated Christmas trees.
Century 21 is a bargain label store sited opposite the World Trade centre, filled with affordable labels its a must ... Get there early ( it opens at 7.30am) for the Wall Street commuters on route to work.
Michaels is a craft emporium filled with lots of fun things to make, bake & create...adjacent  to Michaels is a TJMaxx and opposite is a HomeGoods (uk's tkmaxx & homesense) I picked up
lots of Christmas treats and presents from here at really affordable prices.
Duane Reade is a pharmacy located everywhere in New York... Perfect for stocking fillers, OPi at $5, and candy!... My favourite however is Target!    
Target is located in East Harlem and is easily accessible by bus from the city. It's a huge supermarket superstore similar filled with affordable treats.
On this visit I picked up lots of Candy, stocking fillers and Converse ($13) ... Along with lots of peppermint flavoured holiday treats.... M&M's, coffee and baking treats.
As you can see the suitcase was a little loaded on its trip back across the Atlantic!... Not sure how I can explain the bags of candy to the customs officers.



Believe in the magic...

So it's March, it's still cold and I'm still blogging about my week in New York!... Think it will be next Christmas before I finish!
Two things that are quentessentialy Christmas in New York are Believe and the Ballet otherwise known as Macy's and The Nutcracker.
Macy's is the department store that inspired the magic of Miracle on 34th Street and holiday slogan is all around the "Believe" message... It comes alive at Christmas and with its old wooden escalators you could be transported back to an age gone bye. With Santa post daily its a treat for children young and old.
On this visit a huge amount if the store was under hoarding with a huge 50million $ refurbishment programme underway.. It definitely felt that 'Mr Selfridge' was inspiring the new spaces opening... Exciting times for Macy's as outside the holiday season the store is tired and jaded.
After an afternoon shopping I headed over to the Lincoln centre on the upper west side to spend an evening watching the New York ballets version of The Nutcracker, my favourite seasonal ballet... The scenery was fun and the huge ever growing Christmas trees was a vision of wonder for the smaller audience...
A lovely evening in New York finished by a walk along the park to the hotel.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sirens in the City...

New York is most definitely the city that doesn't sleep and for any first timer in the big city nothing prepares you for the sound of horns blasting and sirens wailing, especially in the middle of the night. The first time that you hear the iconic wail of a fire truck you are transported instantly onto the set of a movie or tv drama.
There are fire houses or ladder companies on most blocks supporting their neighbourhood and community.
On the Wednesday of my trip I got caught up in two adventures involving the NYFD!...
Late afternoon I was strolling a couple of blocks from my hotel by the Hudson River when the sound of sirens came from all sides to draw alongside the river. I was standing on a walkway above the sidewalk looking onto the river. Several fire trucks pulled up below me. All crews jumped from their trucks and the fire office in charge started talking on a megaphone to a small yacht on the water. It seems a distress flare had been set off and the sailor was believed to have been in difficulty. A NYFD speedboat was soon seen speeding over the wash to assist in the rescue. It was all a little exciting, the man had become tangled off the side of his yacht in some rigging was pulled from the water and the event ended safely.
A couple of hours later I was heading up to the theatre district and had stopped off at St Patrick's cathedral to light a candle. On leaving I was standing at the top of the stairs when I heard a large bang. I looked up to see a people carrier type vehicle with its bonnet on fire. St Patrick's cathedral is situated on 5th avenue diagonally opposite the Rockefeller centre. It is not unusual to see dramas unfolding in the city and it took some IMO for people to realise that the situation was real and not a movie being shot!.. Even with the bonnet on fire traffic was still moving around the vehicle and heading up the avenue. It took some time for the fire trucks to get there and by this stage the vehicle was very much on fire. All traffic had now stopped and spectators were asked to " stand back 200ft" and stay behind the do not cross tape!.... As you can see there wasn't much left after the fire was extinguished....
In all the time that I have been visiting New York it was the first time that I had seen any real dramas.... The following morning as I left the World Trade Centre Memorial I walked past the NYFD brass memorial which spans the length of the firehouse wall on Greenwich street. The memorial is a tribute to all the fire officers that lost their lives in the city on 9/11. They just jumped in their trucks and rushed to assist, doing their job not knowing that so many of them would not be returning to their fire house with their ladder company later that day.Even just watching those two incidents the
previous days made me realise what an amazing and varied job they do.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

March madness ...

Before March passes us by in a flood of snow, blizzards and rain let me share some of my adventures. This months adventures feature lots of food!... Think I've been comfort eating to compensate for the fact that spring is in hibernation and winter is back with a ferocious roar. I have been feeling a little under the weather but a few treats have compensated for that. One of those treats was the sight of David Beckham running around in a tight suit in China on a football pitch... Brightened a dull day in the office!
Other highlights of the month included Hot Cross Bun baking at Fortnum & Masons, Afternoon Tea at Claridges, Dinner at Balthazar and Breakfast at The Wolseley
Let's hope we soon start to see some signs of spring and that this awful cold weather disappears .  

With Google Reader disappearing soon I have added a link to follow my blog via bloglovin... Feel free to follow Tx 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Baking Buns...

Last Friday evening I spent a couple of hours with Fred and Andrew at Fortnum & Masons baking Hot Cross Buns. For the last couple of months Fortnums have been championing British Baking with a number of events and British bakers hosting classes and demonstrations.
Fred and Andrew are Fortnum's bakers who have been in the business for many years and happily shared their wealth of knowledge with us.
On arrival we were shown into the work area which was alongside the baking shop on the 1st floor. It took a little time to get used to seeing customers looking at what we were doing ( I now know what a monkey feels like in the zoo now )
We had bun dough to work with, whilst proving Andrew demonstrated how the dough was made. We each had enough dough to make 12 buns, which we rolled using the cage technique and proved.
After proving we then had the job of piping the crosses onto the top.
We then were taken downstairs to the bakery ovens to bake our buns... We had lots of fun and I learnt lots... hot Cross buns will now be on my Easter baking list...as they came out of the oven we glazed with egg wash, we got to taste Andrews hot from the open and they were delicious.
I've had toasted hot cross buns for the last few days and they are scrumptious... I'm a converted home baked hot cross bun lady convert!..
Fortnums was full of Easter cheer and was a welcome spring feel from a cold wet winters evening.




Monday, 25 March 2013

An evening at Claridges

A couple of Fridays ago I was luckily enough to spend an evening at the elegantly beautiful Claridges. Afternoon Tea was a Christmas gift from a friend and I need to say it ticked all the boxes... I've always loved Claridges and fell in love with it a little more after the recent BBC documentary so was very excited to be going.
On another cold winter evening the greeting by the lovely doorman Roman Proboziak was a little ray of sunshine. On entering through the revolving doors you are greeted by this huge hallway entrance overhung by a stunning chandelier. The tea / dining salon in the foyer which was a buzz with patrons dining.The opulent surroundings are stunning, elegant and full of class.

After off loading coats we were taken to our table which was in the through the Foyer into the Reading room, where we had a great view into the foyer. The tables are staged in a way that you can talk without overhearing the surrounding tables and eat and drink in comfort.


Afternoon tea was a selection of sandwiches, apple & sultana scones with cream and preserve and a selection of delicious mini desserts and cakes. The food was delicious, one of the nicest afternoon teas that I have eaten.

The service was great, attentive without being overbearing. Even with a late sitting we didn't feel hurried to leave, even as they prepared for dinner service around us.
We were served by the young waiter who was seen starting his first day on the TV programme who talked to us about how much he is enjoying his time at Claridges.

I loved my time at Claridges, the perfect escape from a cold Friday evening in London, we had lots of laughs, the people watching was fun and the service and staff were fantastic.


Breakfast at the Wolseley

I've wanted to breakfast at the Wolseley for some time and fortunately this month I managed to tick it off my food to do list. On a cold damp Friday morning the Wolseley was a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.Every table was full with an eclectic mix of people, business men / women, tourists, actors and me! I recognised a number of people,but couldn't remember their names.
The Wolseley is world renowned for its breakfast and I wasn't disappointed, the menu caters for all tastes, including Full English, a full range of croissants and pastries and my favourite Egg & Soldiers!... I opted for Eggs Benedict which I love and it was delicious. Along with the coffee in its silver pot it was the perfect breakfast.
The Wolseley is old school glamour at its finest, from its heavy velvet curtains, sweeping staircases,and black wrought iron chandeliers. The white linen clothes, siver polished accompaniments and über tailored waiters add to the glamour of this establishment.
The service, food and atmosphere were superb and I can safely say this wont be the only visit I make to the Wolsley.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Balthazar...

Is the name of all foodies lips this March, it's been the most sought after dinner reservation in London with food critics falling over themselves to talk about it. Balthazar is the brainchild of Keith McNally who's original Bistro opened in New York in 1997 and even 15 years later it is still one of the most sought after reservations in the city. London is quickly following in the wake of the success of its sister site in NY.
A couple of Mondays ago I secured an early evening dining spot to see if the London site was as good as the New York eatery.
Stepping in through the large wooden doors, I felt like I was in New York. The glamorous fixtures and fittings mirror the NY site. What Balthazar does really well is create a secluded atmosphere in areas amongst the large dining space.
Seated in a corner of the restaurant allowed me to people watch and even with an early dining slot the restaurant was soon full. With a complimentary glass of champagne and keeping the french theme I opted for the mussels and fries.
With a basket of freshly baked bread from the Balthazar bakery it was the perfect accompaniment to mop up the delicious juices from the mussels. The service was superb and the food delicious.
After a short hiatus my dinner was finished off with coffee and a gorgeous cheesecake with cinnamon swirl and warm apple doughnut.... Oh my I could have eaten a bowl of the mini doughnuts on their own... Melt in the mouth mini balls of perfection.
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Balthazar and look forward to its forthcoming openings for brunch and afternoon tea... Will be booking again soon!
If you can't get into the restaurant then head next door to its Bakery which is open between 7am & 8pm for the most amazing bread, pastries, and lunch treats. I picked up a box of raspberry macarons for work which were a huge hit, melt in the mouth moments of decadent deliciousness.
Both Balthazars were a huge hit for me and will be back again for future visits...

Saturday, 23 March 2013

From Nottinghill to New York actually

Is the fantastically titled sequel to Ali Mcnamara's debut novel From Nottinghill with Love ... actually. Since Ali's first novel I have got to know her via twitter / email and Coffee when she is in London. From Notting Hill  to New York Actually published a few days before my trip to New York so it was the perfect accompaniment for my trip.
The story follows Scarlett's life a few months after we left her in FNHWLA, living with Sean she embarks on an adventure with her gay best friend Oscar to New York. Here she uncovers a family mystery. Along the way it features a TV crew, Sailors, Tiffany's a movie star and a treasure hunt across Manhatten. It's a romp from start to finish....
Ironically there where many parallels in my trip to New York and the book and it became a great companion during my visit.... On my first night I sat down in Serendipity's whilst waiting for my order I opened my kindle to find Scarlett ordering a Frozen hot chocolate in the same venue... Whilst walking through Central Park I was interviewed by a local TV crew .. No breakfast at Tiffany's, but did fall in love with the Dragonfly design in the Soho store, which bared a spookily similar design to
Scarletts  brooch in the book. Unfortunately  no Sailors on this visit but plenty of excitement with the NYFD  ... Just needed to fall upon Bradley Cooper and my trip would have been complete!...
This book is a gret follow up to Scarlett's adventures in Notting hill and if you have lived and loved New York then you will love this.... Now anticipantly waiting for Ali's next adventure...
Here  are some more of my adventures in New York.... Enjoy x


Friday, 22 March 2013

Best Times in NY

This time last year my best friend J said that she wanted to take her partner D to New York for his 50th birthday and they would likely go on the run up to Christmas. They had been before but it had been some years since they were there. ... Several months later whilst chatting we realised that we had booked similar times and would cross over by a couple of days.... I was beyond excited. We don't get to spend much time together here due to work and stuff but was determined to get some together whilst in the city that didn't sleep!..
We decided to spend the afternoon walking the Highline eventually ending up in the Meatpacking district for an early supper.
I've enjoyed the Highline on my last couple of trips, here it is in.. Spring . The Highline is an elevated disused freight line above the warehouses and streets of the Meatpacking district which is now an urban park, with several different zones to compliment the area. J & D hadn't been to this area before and I though they would like to see a different New York.
As you can see we caught the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty and had great views of  the Empire State Building
The Highline ends above Gansevoort street which looks down onto the heart of the Meatpacking district. Visible from the line is Diane Von Furstenburg's workspace and loft apartment (famously seen in The City) .Gansevoort street is also the street that Samantha's apartment was in Sex & the City!
After a walk around we decided on beer and food was required. We decided on 5 Ninth which is a converted townhouse just along from Pastice. The ground floor houses a cool bar, stocked with 
bourbon of all kinds and great beer. The 1st floor is a warming restaurant eatery which big leather 
chairs and log fires... Perfect for relaxing away a chilly December evening in New York. The top floor holds additional eating space and a function area.
We opted for steak and I need to say it was amazing, melt in the mouth delicious... The service was great, atmosphere perfect.We had a great evening catching up and enjoying the vibe of New York.... It was the best time in New York that I had and the perfect start to Christmas x

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Serendipity

Means a 'happy accident' or "pleasant surprise"; specifically the accident of finding something good or useful while not specified or searching for.... It is also the name of one of my favourite holiday movies and the venue of the best frozen hot chocolate you are ever likely to taste whilst in New a york.
Serendipity is located behind Bloomingales on 225 E60th. It's a tiny venue which is a bit like a tardis (bigger on the inside than it looks)... kitsch, eclectic and twinkly... You feel like you are dining in Alice's wonderland. You often have to queue for a table but the desserts alone are worth the wait.
On my first night in New York I ended up in Serendipity's for dinner... Perfect burger followed by scrumptious iced hot chocolate.( so big I couldn't finish it!)
This wasn't my only taste of Serendipity during my week.....
Midweek during my trip my best friend and her partner where also flying into New York. We had mad loose plans to meet up on the Thursday afternoon and evening. On the Wednesday evening I was hurrying across 5th avenue after watching the Car fire .Whilst waiting at a stop sign i heard a couple behind me talking about the fire, when I turned round it was bestie J & Den... Over the 3 days without sharing plans we bumped into each other on 3 other occasions, Century 21, Bloomingdales and World trade centre... Serendipity of all kinds!


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Christmas at Tiffany's

A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to Tiffany's ... This trip I dropped into the world famous 5th ave store and the recently opened Soho store to pick up a couple of Chrstmas gifts.
Even after double digit visits I still have that sense of wonder when I enter the 5th avenue store via the unassuming revolving doors. Regardless of what you are wearing and how much you have in your purse you are treated like a guest from start to finish.
The store is as glamorous and as exciting as portrayed in any movie, who can forget Audrey Hepburn gazing wistfully through the window. This years windows featured a Tiffany house with artfully styled diamonds... Last year was the beautiful Tiffany Magic Carousel story, which has become a holiday favourite.

The store is spread across 4 trading floors and is gorgeous... from diamonds to die for to silver trinkets, there is a little something for everyone and who can resist a little blue box! I love the charm bracelet ...
The store in Soho has recently opened and has a different feel completely to 5th. It's a smaller store but still as artfully styled. I fell in love with the dragonfly themed styling, along with the beautiful bookcases.
Obviously at the time I visited it was full on holiday season with beautifully styled christmas trees complete with blue boxes tied with red ribbon.
As you can see a couple of things came home with me to add to my Christmas tree collection.....

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Shopping in the City ...

Any trip to New York is not without a little shopping planning .Working in the big yellow store I don't need to go for designer bargains that I can pick up at work... So I try to seek out fun things that I can't necessarily get at home
As previously blogged   Williams and Sonoma,features heavily along with Bloomies, The Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel.
My alternative shops of choice in New York are Target, TJMaxx, Michaels, Duane Reade and Century 21 along with Macy's
I hit Macy's on a special sale day equipped with a list of Martha Stewart requirements, Macy's stocks Martha's home range which I love.
I loved the spatula decorated Christmas trees.
Century 21 is a bargain label store sited opposite the World Trade centre, filled with affordable labels its a must ... Get there early ( it opens at 7.30am) for the Wall Street commuters on route to work.
Michaels is a craft emporium filled with lots of fun things to make, bake & create...adjacent  to Michaels is a TJMaxx and opposite is a HomeGoods (uk's tkmaxx & homesense) I picked up
lots of Christmas treats and presents from here at really affordable prices.
Duane Reade is a pharmacy located everywhere in New York... Perfect for stocking fillers, OPi at $5, and candy!... My favourite however is Target!    
Target is located in East Harlem and is easily accessible by bus from the city. It's a huge supermarket superstore similar filled with affordable treats.
On this visit I picked up lots of Candy, stocking fillers and Converse ($13) ... Along with lots of peppermint flavoured holiday treats.... M&M's, coffee and baking treats.
As you can see the suitcase was a little loaded on its trip back across the Atlantic!... Not sure how I can explain the bags of candy to the customs officers.



Believe in the magic...

So it's March, it's still cold and I'm still blogging about my week in New York!... Think it will be next Christmas before I finish!
Two things that are quentessentialy Christmas in New York are Believe and the Ballet otherwise known as Macy's and The Nutcracker.
Macy's is the department store that inspired the magic of Miracle on 34th Street and holiday slogan is all around the "Believe" message... It comes alive at Christmas and with its old wooden escalators you could be transported back to an age gone bye. With Santa post daily its a treat for children young and old.
On this visit a huge amount if the store was under hoarding with a huge 50million $ refurbishment programme underway.. It definitely felt that 'Mr Selfridge' was inspiring the new spaces opening... Exciting times for Macy's as outside the holiday season the store is tired and jaded.
After an afternoon shopping I headed over to the Lincoln centre on the upper west side to spend an evening watching the New York ballets version of The Nutcracker, my favourite seasonal ballet... The scenery was fun and the huge ever growing Christmas trees was a vision of wonder for the smaller audience...
A lovely evening in New York finished by a walk along the park to the hotel.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sirens in the City...

New York is most definitely the city that doesn't sleep and for any first timer in the big city nothing prepares you for the sound of horns blasting and sirens wailing, especially in the middle of the night. The first time that you hear the iconic wail of a fire truck you are transported instantly onto the set of a movie or tv drama.
There are fire houses or ladder companies on most blocks supporting their neighbourhood and community.
On the Wednesday of my trip I got caught up in two adventures involving the NYFD!...
Late afternoon I was strolling a couple of blocks from my hotel by the Hudson River when the sound of sirens came from all sides to draw alongside the river. I was standing on a walkway above the sidewalk looking onto the river. Several fire trucks pulled up below me. All crews jumped from their trucks and the fire office in charge started talking on a megaphone to a small yacht on the water. It seems a distress flare had been set off and the sailor was believed to have been in difficulty. A NYFD speedboat was soon seen speeding over the wash to assist in the rescue. It was all a little exciting, the man had become tangled off the side of his yacht in some rigging was pulled from the water and the event ended safely.
A couple of hours later I was heading up to the theatre district and had stopped off at St Patrick's cathedral to light a candle. On leaving I was standing at the top of the stairs when I heard a large bang. I looked up to see a people carrier type vehicle with its bonnet on fire. St Patrick's cathedral is situated on 5th avenue diagonally opposite the Rockefeller centre. It is not unusual to see dramas unfolding in the city and it took some IMO for people to realise that the situation was real and not a movie being shot!.. Even with the bonnet on fire traffic was still moving around the vehicle and heading up the avenue. It took some time for the fire trucks to get there and by this stage the vehicle was very much on fire. All traffic had now stopped and spectators were asked to " stand back 200ft" and stay behind the do not cross tape!.... As you can see there wasn't much left after the fire was extinguished....
In all the time that I have been visiting New York it was the first time that I had seen any real dramas.... The following morning as I left the World Trade Centre Memorial I walked past the NYFD brass memorial which spans the length of the firehouse wall on Greenwich street. The memorial is a tribute to all the fire officers that lost their lives in the city on 9/11. They just jumped in their trucks and rushed to assist, doing their job not knowing that so many of them would not be returning to their fire house with their ladder company later that day.Even just watching those two incidents the
previous days made me realise what an amazing and varied job they do.