I’m not sure if an outfit can technically count as a ‘#TBT’ post if the first time I’ve actually worn it is today but my NYC inspired combo reminds me of the New York trip I had back in October so there’s my tenuous link!
Now I’m a girl who loves a) a good print and b) a bargain so when I found this Peter Jensen ‘Central Park West’ print silk dress in the ASOS sale just before Christmas, it seemed daft not to make it mine. It goes brilliantly with the Orla Kiely handbag I treated myself to which I’d been lusting after since spotting it at Orla’s AW14 presentation. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a bag (even at 20% off) but it’s utterly perfect and been my constant companion through autumn and winter, giving a dash of colour to dreary days.
For finishing touches, I’ve added a colour pop of Sephora Cream Lip Stain in ‘Always Red’ and my amazing ‘NYC’ necklace by Virginie Millefiori. I’ve previously blogged about Virginie here (she’s the jewellery designer I Google-stalked and raced across NYC to find as I’d fallen in love with her pieces) and this ‘NYC’ necklace is my most recent purchase from her. You can choose from either the gold or silver plated brass version and the enamel detail also comes in a variety of colours (because choosing which of her pieces you want isn’t a hard enough choice already!). I love how the ‘NYC’ letters have been cleverly combined to create the Statue of Liberty’s crown, making this necklace the perfect souvenir reminder of my trip to New York whilst still being subtle and super stylish!
The question is though, can I get away with wearing a New York outfit in New York? As I’m currently in the process of booking a September return trip to NYC, I feel that’s another tenuous ‘#TBT’ post sorted come the autumn…
If you love Virginie’s designs as much as I do, she’s kindly given me a code to get 15% off her e-shop until the end of the year. Simply enter ‘HOLLY’ at the checkout to be the envy of all your friends…
Most people when they visit New York probably have a ‘must see/ do’ list that includes icons such as Central Park, the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty. My list however, whilst still including the utter *essentials* of New York site seeing (Grand Central – tick, Gossip Girl tour – tick, sitting on the steps of the Met giving my best Blair Waldorf face – MASSIVE TICK) also had, fairly high up too I might add, a trip to Orla Kiely’s NYC shop. Now I know what you’re thinking, why treck half way around the world just to visit the shop of a brand you could pop to in London?! Whilst in theory this is true, my visits to London over the last few years have been sporadic and so jam packed that by the time I’ve seen all my friends for a catch up, there’s barely time left to marvel at the wonder that is the Waitrose cheese room (trust me, it’s amazing) let alone cram some retail therapy in too which is why I was stupidly excited about *finally* getting the chance to visit Mercer Street and dive headlong into Orla’s world.
I have to admit that up until a few years ago, I was only aware of Orla Kiely as the designer who put 60s style stem prints on a vast selection of homewares and didn’t have a clue that she also designed clothes too. At some point during the cold days of February 2013 however, whilst hitting up Google to keep updated with all things London Fashion Week, I stumbled across a couple of blogs carrying photos from her AW13 presentation (beautifully styled by the amazing Leith Clark) and fell hopelessly in love.
It’s probably no surprise that my love for Orla Kiely started around the same time as discovering Wes Anderson’s films (again, *very* late to that party) as both artists share the ability to create entire worlds around their ideas that are so appealing and considered it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Orla’s Fashion Week presentations (and supporting campaign films) are never merely just catwalks of clothes but instead feel more like snapshots of some wonderful retro dream that the viewer has stumbled upon. This sepia-tinged aesthetic extends to the New York shop where offerings from the AW14 collection sit alongside homewares in a faux-domestic setting that includes a kitchen, lounge area (complete with TV showing ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ – always a good thing in my book) and erm, caravan resplendent in Orla Kiely print.
After trying on a few bits and pieces from the current collection, I discovered a rail of sale items including a skirt from the AW13 collection I’d been lusting after and having purchased it, was brave enough to ask the very lovely sales assistant if I could take a few snaps of the shop interior to share on here (is it just me who gets slight sales assistant fear when I’m in shops that my budget wouldn’t normally stretch to?!?).
Thankfully my limited American budget meant that I couldn’t walk away with the whole shop (although I’m sure the little brushwood fox would look right at home in my flat…) but it was a lovely excuse to have a glimpse into Orla’s world and add one or two items to my every growing wishlist…
Following on from my *slightly* photo-heavy last post, no trip to New York would be complete without a spot of shopping. Despite the majority of my holiday budget being reserved for food, sightseeing and rather a lot of craft ale, I still indulged in a bit of retail therapy and whilst I managed to avoid any extravagant splurges (I’m not counting the skirt I bought from Orla Kiely as it was in the sample sale so, erm, technically a bargain it would be rude not to have bought…), I still came away with a few bits and pieces to serve as mementos of my trip.
As a massive fan of a good red lip, I’d heard people banging on about the wonders of Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red for ages but, as they don’t have any UK stores, my New York trip was the first chance I had to get my hands on it. It dries to a bold, matte finish and whilst its classic red shade is darker than my beloved MAC ‘Lady Danger’ and therefore better for a more dramatic evening look, I can’t fault its staying power as it managed to survive an afternoon of burgers and beer in The Dead Rabbit without visibly shifting. The application can be a tad imprecise though so I’d definitely recommend using a lip liner to keep it neat and prevent feathering.
One of the joys of blogging is being able to bring designers I love to a wider audience and over the last year or so, I’ve written about a few of the jewellery brands I just can’t get enough of. Another name to add to the list is Virginie Millefiori who creates enameled pieces in brass, sterling silver and gold vermeil. I first stumbled across Virginie’s work at her stall in Chelsea Market on my second day in NYC but, as I was trying to be good and not blow all my spending money at the start of my holiday, resolved to return at the end of my trip and treat myself. Good plan had the stall not been part of a pop-up and therefore gone when I returned! Cue some frantic Googling (as I’d failed to actually write down her name!) and a dash across town on my last day to find a street market she had a stall at. Thankfully my quest wasn’t in vain and I managed to purchase this necklace (which reminds me more of a fox than a cat) which I’ve been wearing to death ever since. Next on my wishlist is this NYC necklace to go with the Peter Jensen Central Park print dress I picked up in the ASOS sale.
Every stylish girl needs a stylish boy to accompany her and thankfully I’ve found one who fits the bill perfectly. As a girl, I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to fashion but my other half bemoans the lack of decent, independent retailers selling affordable accessories for men and resents having to wait until Topman delcare dapper men ‘on trend’ in order to pick up the odd pocket square. New York however proved to be a treasure trove for the discerning gent with Chelsea Market offering cufflinks from Churoncalla as well as lapel pins and multicoloured shoe laces from Curated Basics. We also made pilgrimage to Fine And Dandy in Hell’s Kitchen, an Aladdin’s cave of stylish offerings where we picked up this cocktail inspired pocket square based on an original 1960s design.
New York shopping certainly caters for all budgets and is brimming full of big name department stores (I had a brief trip to Bloomingdales to pick up a NYC themed Christmas decoration as a gift), high street staples, pop-ups and quirky independents to suit all tastes. Sadly I didn’t get enough time to explore the vintage shops I’m told the East Village is brimming with but hey, a girl needs to leave something to do on her next visit doesn’t she?!
If you love Virginie’s designs as much as I do, she’s kindly given me a code to get 15% off her e-shop until the end of 2015. Simply enter ‘HOLLY’ at the checkout to be the envy of all your friends…
Since hitting the big 3-0 I have officially found myself at the stage of life where my entire yearly holiday allowance is spent attending friends weddings which is how a little over a month ago I found myself and the boy headed to New York for ten days of sightseeing, shopping and a Central Park wedding.
I will happily admit that previous to my trip, visiting New York was never particularly high on my ‘must do’ list. Yes I know it’s meant to be one of the best cities in the world and as a Gossip Girl addict and fan of all things Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Blondie related you’d think I’d have a burning desire to visit but for some reason the urge to jet across the Atlantic had never struck me. An invite to my friends’ wedding in NYC however finally gave me the push I needed to ‘cross the pond’ and I’m now kicking myself I never visited sooner as it’s now possibly my new favourite place in the world and I’m trying to figure out how I can justify another trip…
Having debated going down the Air B&B route when it came to accommodation, me and the boy eventually settled on Yotel which was located only a few minutes from Time Square and proved the perfect base for exploring the city. I’d heard nightmare stories of the tiny amount of square footage to be found in central New York hotel rooms but the clever use of space in our ‘Premium View Cabin’ meant that, although compact, it never felt cramped and gave more than enough space to stash away the multiple outfits, shoes, toiletries and books we’d both bought. Yotel’s bar also served a great selection of food, cocktails and craft beer (oh how I miss the happy hour!) which meant we didn’t have to drag our jet lagged asses too far to find nourishment on the first night. The Yotel was also just round the corner from a supermarket which was great for stocking up on yet more craft beer and nibbles as well as fresh croissants every morning.
Although we did a lot of the touristy stuff – Times Square, Top Of The Rock, Grand Central, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (which we definitely needed at least another day to explore it was so big!), Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, the ‘Ghostbusters’ Fire Station, a performance of Cabaret on Broadway and catching a free gig by the ever amazing We Are Scientists (seriously, those guys haven’t aged in 10 years!), the majority of our time was simply spent wandering around the city taking in the impressive range of buildings and sites it has to offer. We also decided to hit The High Line which is a public park built on top of a former freight rail line which snakes along the West Side of Manhattan and is a great way of getting a slightly more elevated view of the city. I’d thoroughly recommend hoping off at Chelsea Market for great food and even greater jewellery. It’s safe to say we definitely got our money’s worth out of our 7 day Metrocards which gave unlimited use of the subway and made getting around a doddle.
No write up of my NY trip would be complete without a mention of all the amazing food and drink we encountered. Aside from working our way through the US McDonalds’ menu and a good chunk of the Grand Central food court, we also ate and drank in the following amazing places – The Dead Rabbit, Blind Tiger, Hudson Malone, Beer Culture and Flatiron Lounge (fantastic for cocktails!).
Our amazing 10 days has cemented NYC in my heart and this is definitely the start of a beautiful love affair. xoxo
One of the reasons I love my annual trip to Edinburgh so much is that once you’re done with wandering the New and Old Town streets (although I’m not sure you can ever be ‘done’ with that!), it’s a brilliant base should you want to venture slightly further afield and sample the Scottish seaside. On previous holidays I’ve taken day trips to Burntisland (which includes a train journey across the iconic Forth Bridge), South Queensferry (a pretty little town located almost underneath the bridge and location of The Hawes Inn for fans of Stevenson’s Kidnapped), Cramond and Portobello (for amazing chips and ice cream). This year, I decided to visit North Berwick, a seaside town 40 minutes north-east of Edinburgh.
As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I’m a bit of a bookworm with a particular love of Scottish literature so whilst a day trip to North Berwick is worth it simply for its prettiness alone (and the Italian ice cream from Gelateria Alandas on Quality Street), for fans of Robert Louis Stevenson, it’s also the place where he spent his childhood holidays and provided inspiration for Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Catriona (for those with sea legs there are even daily boat trips out to the Bass Rock where the hero of the novel is imprisoned).
For those after a retail fix the main street of the town is packed with charity shops, independent retailers and quirky boutiques and plenty of tea shops to provide refreshment. The town is also home to the Scottish Seabird Centre which has a cafe giving fantastic views across to the Bass Rock (and is somewhere lovely and warm to thaw out should the weather for your trip combine glorious sunshine with the coldest, windiest wind imaginable as mine did!).
A few weeks ago I headed down to Cambridge for a long weekend of enjoying the sunshine and pretending I’m in Harry Potter (yes, I’m well aware that they filmed at Oxford but shh! Plus in order to get to Cambridge I had to go via Kings Cross, passing Platform 9 3/4 in the process!). Since the majority of my holiday budget for this year is going on a trip to New York in October for a friend’s wedding, the remainder of my holiday choices for this year needed to be on the cheap side and, despite its grand nature, Cambridge turned out to be a surprisingly budget friendly option. One advantage of visiting university cities out of term time is that it gives you the chance to stay in halls of residence which if you’re visiting somewhere like Cambridge or Oxford (where I’ve previously had a long weekend staying in halls) usually means staying somewhere pretty posh looking! I booked a double en-suite room at Downing College via University Rooms (which I’d previously used to booked my Oxford accommodation) which worked out at only £5 more expensive a night than a Travelodge AND included breakfast as well as being set in 20 acres of beautiful grounds (you know you’re in Cambridge when you have to walk past a production of Shakespeare to get to your room!).
With so many beautiful buildings and colleges to explore, the majority of my first full day was spent just wandering around the city, taking in the sites and getting my bearings (as well as trying to avoid the masses and masses of tour groups!). With so much to take in and so many little streets to explore, deciding what to do first can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully Cambridge has a plethora of excellent pubs to offer decision making refreshment including The Eagle (where the discovery of DNA was announced) and The Mill which not only offers a great view of the punting on the river but also fantastic food.
On the second day I decided to explore some of the colleges in more detail and made an early start in order to avoid the queues and mass of people at the iconic King’s College. Founded in 1441 by Henry VI, the college and its Chapel are emblematic of Cambridge and although the entry fee might be somewhat steep compared to the other colleges, the access to the iconic chapel and beautiful grounds that it gives you are well worth the money. After King’s, I then stumbled across Clare College which has the most beautiful gardens backing onto the river Cam and is where I spent several hours enjoying the sunshine and watching people punt along the river.
Aside from the colleges, Cambridge has a plethora of museums to visit (including the impressive Fitzwilliam Museum) as well as a great selection of high street shops, quirky boutiques and, every blogger’s mecca, The Cambridge Satchel Company shop! If all the college wandering, museum visiting and retail therapy leaves you feeling wiped out, you can always recover with a relaxing punt tour along the river followed by lunch and people watching at The Cambridge Chop House.
I found Cambridge to be the perfect place for a long, sunny, summer weekend and whilst I’m not sure I would ever have had the mentality to hack student life there (although I can completely understand why some who study there end up with a certain sense of entitlement), I’m more than happy to wander through the perfectly manicured college grounds dreaming of Hogwarts…
Taking full advantage of the brief spell of sunshine we had recently (my legs are still very confused by my lack of tights), me and my sister hopped on a train to spend the afternoon in one of my favourite cities to wander around, York! Growing up in Sheffield, day trips to York were always a staple of summer holidays as the mix of tourist attractions, impressive buildings and outdoor spaces to picnic/ run about pretending you’re a Viking in meant that it had enough to keep even those on the tightest budget amused. Day trips now that our school days are quite a bit behind us still seem to follow a familiar pattern of museum visiting, debating if we’re *really* too old to visit Jorvik and sneaky visits to Maccy D’s but now have the added element of shopping thrown into the mix as the city has a great selection of high street, high end (hello Mulberry discount shop!) and quirky boutiques.
York Minster is a breathtakingly beautiful building that towers over the rest of the city. Its newly refurbished Undercroft charts the history of the city and its inhabitants and for those with a head for heights, I’d also recommend climbing the Minster’s Central Tower to take in the spectacular views.
York has an abundance of tea rooms (aside from the famous Bettys) and on our latest visit we stumbled across Crumbs Cupcakery which is just round the corner from the Minster on College Street (an area which you might recognise from its numerous appearance on TV and film). It not only has fantastic cakes and refreshments but also great windows and outside space for people watching!
One of my favourite things to do in York if the weather’s good is to walk the City Walls which, if walked completely, give a great overview of the city as well as the chance to nosey in on some spectacular gardens and houses. Two of the walls’ four ‘Bars’ which acted as gateways into the city also house museums dedicated to Richard III and Henry VII should your history quota need upping even more.
Aside from the previously mentioned abundance of tea rooms, York also has some great places to eat and one of our recent discoveries is ‘Mr Chippy’ which does amazing fish and chips. With a takeaway branch on Church Street as well as a sit in restaurant round the corner on Swinegate, our York trips now feel incomplete if we don’t end up gorging on salt and vinegary fried goodness!
Hopefully now that we’re in June, summer is just around the corner to give us even more opportunities for trips to this spectacular city. Who knows, maybe next time we will brave Jorvik…