Travel: New York

I planned on writing a massive blog post on what we got up to in New York but having written out 28 pages in my journal I’ve realised there that we just did too much to put in detail – not that I am complaining, we had an absolutely amazing time!

I feel so so lucky to say that I have been to New York. My boyfriend surprised me with the trip as my 21st Birthday present and without him I’d still be day dreaming about going now. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I’d do anything to go back. It’s such a magical place.

Day One: After an 8 hour flight with American Airlines, we were pretty shattered. We stayed in the Riu Plaza Hotel which was two blocks away from Times Square. It was in such an ideal location and within walking distance of several subway stations meaning we could get to places so easily. We spent the first day exploring Times Square paying visits to Hershey’s, the Disney Store and M&M World. Everyday we’d walk through Times Square at some point so this became a routine. We were going to go for dinner at Blacktap which has been an internet sensation at the moment but the queues were too long, so we settled for a big juicy burger at Hard Rock Cafe.

Day Two: We thought it would be a good idea to start of with a view of the city from the river so we took a free trip of the Staten Island Ferry. I experienced my first Wendy’s burger and it was so cheesy and juicy, it was honestly my favourite burger of the trip. We then discovered the joys of Century 21 which is a discount designer store and it really is so cheap so I definitely recommend going there if you’re visiting and want to goodies. Next, we stopped off Wall Street to get a picture with the Charging Bull and maybe kind of expected Leonardo DiCaprio to walk past…. in my dreams! We then decided to the Top of the Rock which was my favourite thing of the whole trip – the view was incredible, I could have spent hours up there. At the bottom of the Top of the Rock was Nintendo World which is cool if you’re interested in Gaming. For Dinner, we decided on Little Italy which was SO good – the restaurant seemed so authentic and the food was delicious. I think everyone should have dinner in Little Italy at least once in their life!

Day Three: This was ‘Central Park Day’ – we started off with wholesome America McDonalds which in truth was nothing different to the British one! I really wanted to see the Love Statue so we stopped off at that on the way to hiring our bikes. Once we had our bikes we cycled the whole of central park – it felt smaller than I thought it would be but it was lovely to be cycling round when the sun was shining. Even though towards the north of the park, it does get a little bit hilly and you do feel the burn! We had a little bit of time to kill and because the weather was so nice they opened the boathouse and we were able to hire a rowing boat which I really enjoyed. It was a very physical day! After returning the bikes, we went to my must do bucket list of the ‘Levain Bakery’ to try one of their famous cookies and I was not disappointed! They were soooooooo sickly but well worth the $20 I spent on them (for 4)… I was truly in cookie heaven. We stopped off at the Modern Art Museum on the Free Friday where you do not have to pay for admission which was ok… I got to see some Andy Warhol but it was so busy that it was hard to enjoy. For dinner, we decided on China Town which is a very different experience to going to a Chinese Restaurant in the UK, they had dead baby chickens and live fish hanging in the windows which was a bit of culture shock. The food was still delicious though!

Day Four (My 21st Birthday!): After opening all my presents and cards in the morning, it was time for food. We decided to go for a classic New York Pizza shop called ‘NY Pizza Suprema’ near Madison Square Garden and it did not disappoint! The pizza slices were as big as my head and I greedily tried to eat two (and failed) – it was so cheap and I felt like I was getting the true New York Pizza experience! We decided that my birthday was shopping day so we went everywhere from Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Tiffany and pretty much every shop on 5th Avenue – our feet were killing, we shopped until we dropped! I bought so much makeup from Anastasia Beverly Hills including the Modern Renaissance Palette which has become my make up child. My boyfriend was in control of the evening of my birthday. Like typical Kate style is poured with rain as we was trying to get to the restaurant…. when I was wearing heeled sandals and a bodycon dress…. we arrived at the restaurant absolutely soaked! We went to Jack’s Steakhouse which was VERY pricey but definitely an experience I won’t forget. After that, we went to the Empire State Building. Although the views were AMAZING, I definitely enjoyed Top of the Rock better because the view was a bit more unobstructed and you could see the Empire State from it. It was such an amazing birthday spent in NYC!

Day Five: I originally wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty earlier on in our trip but due to booking problems, the 26th was the earliest we could visit with access to the Crown – booking in advance was vital. We decided our lunch for the day was hot dogs but we made the rookie mistake of buying them from Times Square so they were quite overpriced and not too great – despite this, I enjoyed sitting and watching the world go by. We then headed to Battery Park to catch the statue cruise over to the statue. It was cool to see Manhattan from the boat, I took a lot of pictures. Climbing to the top of the statue was quite scary, the stairs were spiralled, cramped and steep which put my nerve on edge. I find I’ve got worse at heights with age but I felt so lucky that we got to have that experience as not many people can say they’ve stood inside the Statue of Liberty’s head! It was pretty cool. We didn’t bother with Ellis Island or the Immigration Museum as by the time we had finished on Liberty Island it got quite late. Once we were back in Manhattan, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial. This was an overwhelming experience. The fountains themselves were very peaceful and I feel like having them where the old foundations were was such a lovely idea. I struggled with museum itself – you hear a lot about 9/11 on TV and through the media but actually seeing the ramifications in real life in the shape of an exhibition was surreal – you couldn’t help but feel sad and to be completely honest, I could not even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the victims and even for the families. After the 9/11 museum I discovered that there was a nearby Target which I obviously had to go to, I picked up some American Candy and cheap lip balm! I must give a special mention to the Chips Ahoy Chewy cookies, they are incredible and I want everyone in the world to try them. For dinner, we decided on an American Diner and pretty much convinced our waiter we were the fattest people going, we ate so much that when it came to desert we had one spoonful each and gave up. Our eyes were definitely too big for our bellies. One thing that my boyfriend and I really enjoy doing is comedy, so I thought it would be a really good idea to pay a trip to Comedy Cellar…. this was interesting as their sense of humour is very very different to the British sense of humour but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Day Six: We finally got to go to Blacktap for the most amazing milkshakes before catching a subway to Brooklyn to go a spot I’d seen on instagram called ‘Dumbo’ to take pictures. It’s really cool as you get to see Manhattan Bridge wedged between two buildings and it makes for a good bit of photography – we spent ages there. We then walked back across Brooklyn Bridge which was cool as it gave us another opportunity to see New York from a different angle. On the bridge were little stallls were I picked up lots of pop art style fridge magnets for 2 dollars! We then went for a late lunch at the Meatball Shop which was another recommendation I’d seen on the internet. It was ok, it literally was just meatballs which I don’t mind and as the sign said outside ‘you must not neglect the balls!’ Obviously, when you’re in New York, a must do is go to Grand Central and that’s exactly what we did, I’d seen it in so many films so it was weird actually standing there and you kind of forget it actually is a train station, it felt more like a film set to me. The most exciting part of the day was going to watch a basketball match at Madison Square Garden. For Valentines Day, my boyfriend brought us matching shirts which were personalised with our age and number on them. We must have looked SO cute but it was so much fun with our foam fingers, matching shirts and cheesy nachos. On the way home, we even got a picture with elmo, spider man and two woody’s in Times Square which just rounded the night off perfectly!

Day Seven: This was our last day so we left our packed bags with the hotel and did a final bit of exploring! We went to Ruby Tuesday for some fried chicken, we realised last minute that we hadn’t had fried chicken in America and we would have been highly disappointed with ourselves if we didn’t complete this mission. The chicken was so good and of course, we couldn’t finish it all. The service in Ruby Tuesdays was very good as well, I felt as if the girl actually deserved the tip! We spent the day tying up loose ends so went to the flat iron building, walked along the arty highline and visited Chelsea Market. All were very interesting. Our final stop was Planet Hollywood where we had one final milkshake before heading back to the hotel to get our bags ready for our flight home.

Overall, New York was THE BEST….. the tipping confused me, I successfully did not get lost on the subway, I explored every place I ever wanted to go, I ate until I almost exploded, I came home with so much american food and makeup, shopped until I dropped and just had the most incredible time ever. New York is a must and I definitely will return one day.

If anyone has stumbled across this hoping to find out about New York (I know I spent a lot of time on people’s blog posts trying to find the best places) feel free to comment if you have any questions or want to know more about some of my favourite places. I’d be happy to tell you all my tips and tricks!

This was a long blog post but one I really wanted to do. Congratulations if you have read it all, haha.

21 facts about 21 year old me

I celebrated my 21st birthday in New York on the 25th February. I look back to who I was at the age of 16 and the person I am now and realise how much I have changed in 5 years. I can imagine when I turn 26, I will not recognise my 21 year old self. So, I thought I would do 21 facts about me at the age of 21.

  1. I am at a point in my life where I do not know what is going to happen to my future – I am leaving university in May with no job lined up and no real plan and it’s scary as hell!
  2. I have the biggest urge in me to just travel. I absolutely love exploring new places and after my little mini year of travel last year, I have definitely caught the bug. I’d love to go to Thailand or do a roadtrip/adventure around America.
  3. All I really want in life is to create a stable, strong and happy family with a nice house, enjoy my work and just be comfortable. The whole childhood ambition of being a millionaire really doesn’t appeal anymore as I can now see the value of a loving foundation. 
  4. I really want a nose job and a boob reduction but it will never happen because I’m too scared.
  5. I get really down if I do not have things to look forward to – I see my exciting plans as little beacons to aim for which keep me going when I’m trapped in the library trying to write essays. e.g. I am going to the grand national and going for a little easter roadtrip round around the Cotswolds
  6. If I ever have babies, I have two girls names in mind – Luna and Rosie – but no boys names even though I think I’d like to have little boys.
  7. I wouldn’t say I’m a home bird – I never really get home sick.
  8. I’m very much an independent learner – I don’t enjoy lectures and would rather go at my own pace and teach myself the material for exams.  
  9. I am a very protective person – when it comes to someone demoralising me as a person or threatening the happiness of anyone I love or my relationships it’s like I get some kind of fire within me to just protect.
  10. I love creating itineraries and researching places to go on my adventures.
  11. Since meeting my boyfriend, I have become SO emotional and it scares me so much as I used to be quite a cold person.
  12. I’ve always been quite a creative person and I hope that I continue to incorporate that in my life at all times whether that’s through keeping my journal going or though writing this blog or even getting a job that involves some element of creativity.
  13. I have an awful obsession with bags, purses and shoes – I do not think that will ever change
  14. As I have got older and having nearly completed my law degree I have realised the benefits of speaking up for myself when I do not agree with something and being able to trust my beliefs. 
  15. On the other hand, I have also realised the importance of listening to people and making sure you understand and appreciate their point of view as having that insight is valuable when it comes to making decisions and forming your own opinions. 
  16. My favourite colour is khaki green – even though my best friend got me khaki green cupcakes for my 21st birthday and they looked a bit strange so maybe not for food items, haha.
  17. I feel more rewarded buying something for someone else and making them happy rather than buying something for myself. 
  18. I really wish I learnt another language when I was younger – I know basic basic French like the standard school pencil case and days of the week but apart from that I am useless. 
  19. My boyfriend took me to New York for my 21st birthday and I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. 
  20. I have come up with my own kind of energy theory when it comes to the spiritual world and out of body experiences. I always remember being told in Chemsistry at school that energy can never be destroyed, it just transfers to a different form. So when someone dies, then some of the energy may transfer to what we believe are spirits and that energy can be utilised when it comes to moving things, making noises, flickering lights, ouija boards, making a room cold or hold, sights and smells. It sounds a bit whacky but that’s the explanation I like the most. 
  21. By the time I’m 26, I’d like to be in a good job, living in my own place and perhaps engaged – we shall see!  

I hope if you’re reading this you have found it interesting. I’m sure I will reading it back in the future! 

LIFE: Valentine’s Day 2017

This Valentines day was the second that my boyfriend and I got to spend together – and seeing as it was such a great one, I thought I’d write a little post about it. We decided to venture to Manchester for the evening – he picked the restaurant and I picked the cocktails after (because no night out would be complete without a trip to the cocktail bar)

Dinner @ Tattu

The reason behind my boyfriend picking this restaurant was mainly for the decor – he said he knew that I’d love it and it was true! I think I was more excited about the beautiful tree placed in the middle of the upstairs of the restaurant rather than the actual food itself. We were meant to be sat in ‘the rose garden’ which was downstairs that was decorated with roses and giant anchors but we were fortunate in that our train was late and we were sat upstairs right in front of the beautiful tree. Although I was pretty much satisfied by the fairy lights, trees and decor alone the food was actually surprising good. I had chicken satay to start and fillet steak noodles for my main. They even have a cool cocktail menu and we even shared a smoking cocktail from a skull (how romantic!) I would 100% go back here – it really was amazing.

Champagne @ Épernay Champagne & Cocktail Bar

Due to Tattu being quite popular on Valentine’s day we were only allowed our table for two hours. This meant that we had a spare two hours to kill before our next reservation. I literally googled this place and asked if it was OK to just turn up – which they were completely fine with. They describe themselves as a ‘sleek venue for bubbly and balcony views’ so I was expecting a very expensive few drinks however I could not have been more wrong. It definitely was sleek and felt sophisticated but the price of the drinks were SO good. They charged around £6 for a cocktail and around £4 for their special champagne drink of the day – it was fantastic! It meant that we had the chance to try a few drinks from their menu including the ‘manchester tart’! – note my awful attempt at my selfie to try and win a cocktail masterclass there.

Cocktails and cakes @ Cloud 23 

I won’t lie – I was slightly disappointed by this place. It’s located in the Beetham tower near Deansgate station. The views were lovely and it was a very nice environment. Unfortunately, despite arriving on time we had delayed entrance via the lift and arrived to the world’s smallest ‘sweet treats’ platter… baring in mind that I had paid £20 each, I was most disappointed. The cocktails were pretty average too. I’m glad I got to experience it and it didn’t ruin the night but I doubt I will return.

So that was my Valentines evening out – it was lovely to dress up and experience a different city with my boyfriend. I really enjoyed myself. I also must not forget to mention the b-e-a-utiful flowers I received from him along with some yummy chocolates (that I may have accidentally eaten before he got to me, whoops!)


Note: I have updated my theme and my banner and I’m planning to upload a few more posts in the next few days.

New York Doodles

Last week, I got back from New York which was one of the best trips away in my life. I’m still trying to catch up with uni work and life and all the hype from my birthday – it was my 21st birthday and honestly the best birthday I’ve ever had in my life!

I do plan on doing a long blog post about New York and what we got up to but for now I’ve decided to post my doodles of New York which summarises what we got up to each day. I’m well aware they look like a 5 year old has done them but I kind of love them.

That’s all for now – just a quick post!

I’m thinking of doing a monthly photo diary almost but as with all my major plans with this blog, when do they ever happen?

Tips: Beat Exam Stress!

I’m not claiming to be the most sane person during exams. However, having just completed my last exam ever for my law degree, I have to admit, I felt pretty calm (which to me is worrying, and now I’m stressing I didn’t do enough because I’ve been basically close to mental breakdown for all other exams I’ve ever sat!) Despite this, I was very aware of how calm I was and I just kind of embraced it and went with the calm flow…

1: Be prepared 
When your university tell you that they expect you to do 120 hours of independent reading, you kind of roll your eyes and think ‘yeah, ok then!’ – but in truth, if you haven’t spent that time during term, you literally spent 120 hours in one big long marathon trying to learn the whole module before the exam. This year I think I matured and spent a lot of time in the library just writing up random notes for no real purpose during the year, when and if. In the end, future Kate ended up thanking past Kate so so so much when she discovered completed and summarised notes for whole topics that she could learn and didn’t have to faff with – being prepared was great. So, when they say do 120 hours independent reading/study, do it!

2: Make sure you have a plan and set goals 
This goes hand in hand with being prepared, really. Set realistic goals that you can complete on a day to day basis. For example, for one module I had to read 700 pages of my textbook to supplement my notes – therefore, I said to myself that I would read 100 pages a day in order to complete a topic a day and it went really well. If I finished 100 pages early on a day, I wouldn’t then go onto the next, I’d remove my sweet arse from the library and go home for some ‘down’ time (which, I cannot stress enough, is so important) (Not too much though!) (Work hard, play hard!) (Play hard = sit in my bed on my own stuffing my face with food)

3: Get enough sleep 
I spent so much of first year and second year literally working until 3/4 in the morning and then waking up at 9 and going again. I could feel it emotionally and physically. My body was tired and I was very easily upset and would cry A LOT. This year, I’ve made sure to be in bed by 1am at least and then awake at 9 so that I had a full nights sleep and I had time to get myself back in order ready for another day of learning. I feel like it helped so much, both mentally and physically and I just didn’t feel so drained meaning that I could hit revision at 70% rather than 50% (I still find it hard to motivate myself for revision, it will never be 100%)

4. Panic when you get your results, not the night before the exam 
My flatmate spent a lot of her time saying ‘that’s it, I’ve screwed my life up, I’ve failed, I might as well give up now’ before she’d even done the exam. I spent a lot of my time telling her to wait until she gets her results before she starts saying things like that. You don’t know how well you’ve done unless you sit the actual exam and get the dreaded piece of paper/email with your results on it. If you panic before hand, your just stressing yourself out for no reason…. stay calm and then panic when you get your results!

5: Make pretty notes
This kind of only applies if you’re an artistic person. I find it so much easier to sit down and write out notes if I’m creating some kind of masterpiece. I cannot stare at a black and white page with writing on it – it means nothing to me. I need bubbles and highlighter and diagrams and lines and arrows and doodles and colour – anything that makes my eyes go ooooo and I can show people my revision notes and go ‘look how pretty they are!’ – for some reason it just helps me? I don’t know if I’m just weird, but that’s probably what it is. But yeah, if you’re artsy fartsy, making it more into an art project than revision is a good way to go.

6: Accept your fate
No matter how much cramming I have done in the last 15 minutes before the exam I can honestly say that I did not remember a damn thing for that time. It gets to the point where you have done as much as you can do and that’s it. I think it’s better to have a calm and quiet 15 minutes before your exam to just let it all sink in and settle… otherwise you’ll go into the exam with facts and figures and academic commentary racing all over the place, in all the wrong directions. Just accept your fate, be calm, go to your exam and do your best.

I know all of these tips are easier said than done but if you focus on them as much as you can, I know for a fact you’ll feel much more chilled – I know I did!

Travel: Paris 2014

Back in 2014, when I was 18 years old, I visited Paris with my best friend. It seems so long ago now and it’s hard to remember exactly what we got up to, which is why I am so happy that I made a video documenting our time there: PARIS YOUTUBE VIDEO

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This is a screenshot, click on the link above! 

Although it isn’t the best quality and was filmed rather messily, I love being able to look back at it and see myself at 18 years old. My new years resolution is to document my life even more than I already do. I am going to New York in the next month and plan on trying to create a similar video, with me being 21 years old (or turning 21 in New York!)

If you watch the video, let me know what you think – I’ve got a lot more blog posts to come.


TRAVEL: Brussels March 2016

Yes, you read collectly- back in March I went to Brussels with my flatmates for 1 night! This all sounds a bit strange and to be honest, the whole experience was, but it was a lot of tiring fun. Back in the January, my flatmate and I were the last people with exams and so we were going a little bit crazy and looking for anyway to procrastinate. We had remembered hearing the story about a guy who could travel abroad for cheaper than it was to get train tickets home from university. Accordingly, we ended up on Ryan Air looking at the cheapest flights we could get… due to time, commitments, money…. we didn’t end up going to Brussels but plane – we went by coach and train!

Getting there (eventually) 
We started our adventure by getting a 9pm train out of Liverpool to Leeds. We then explored Leeds for a bit (mainly watched drunk people) before heading the bus station to catch our overnight 5 hour megabus (never again) down to London Victoria. We then explored London at around 6 in the morning which in my opinion is the best time as there are NO people… Buckingham Palace was deserted, it was fabulous. We then got to Kings Cross St Pancras to catch our euro star at around 11 which took us straight to Brussels! It was a very long trip… luckily our hotel was not too far away from a metro stop.

As it was such a long time ago, I’m not too sure where about ours hotel was but it was called Hotel St Nicholas. All I know was that it was chocolate themed and right near to the central square. The hotel itself was relatively cheap and around 23 euros each for a triple room which I thought we couldn’t complain about

What did we get up to?
We had made a little itinerary before we left of all the things we wanted to do as we knew we wouldn’t have much time to mess around whilst we were there trying to plan things. We literally did not stop! We squeezed in so many places the day we got there and then the day after before we had to catch the Eurostar.

Day One: Exploring, Atomium and Grand Place
As we were absolutely knackered from travelling we didn’t push ourselves too hard. We went to Atomium which is on the edge of the city and looks like an Atom! I couldn’t really see the point of it but I really enjoyed getting to go between all the little atom pods on the escalators and seeing the views of Brussels. We then, headed back towards the central city and had a wander, heading straight towards the Grand Place via little side alleys which lots of cute shops in them. Of course, we admired all the waffles and chocolate but decided to save ourself for dinner, which did not disappoint! We went to La Brouette which was an old tavern style brasserie. As you can see in the pictures, it was delicious and I convinced myself that it was going down nicely with my beer!

Day Two: Waffles, Cathedrals, Parks and Pissing Boys 
We decided to skill breakfast and headed straight for the waffles. We had heard a lot about Maison Dandoy and we were the first customers in there for the day. I had a lovely waffle with caramel sauce all over it. I absolutely loved it and it was a great start to the day. My flatmate bought some speculoos which are little biscuits that originate in Brussels – having tasted the Ben and Jerrys speculoos ice cream flavour I kind of wish I got some for myself now.

Of course, one of our main missions for the trip was to find the Mannekin Pis (spelt completely wrong) which is basically a statue of a little boy having a wee. It sounds very strange and to be honest it was when every souvenir shop had them in the form of chocolate, which I had to buy for my family. When we found it, I was surprised at how small it was but still find the whole concept very humorous. We then headed to Les Galeries Royales Saint Hubert which is one of the main shopping centres in Brussels which had very individual and unique shops in it – everything was so expensive so it was a case of having a quick look round before moving on. We went to St Michael Cathedral which was very ornate and beautiful – the only thing was my flatmates squeaky boots on their shiny floor which made me die with laughter.

We then headed towards a different part of the city where the EU buildings are. Being a law student, I thought that it would probably correct if I at least saw them. We did try to get into the Parliamentarium but the queues were very long and we were short for time. We did get to go to the Parc du Cinquantenaire which was very beautiful and we even managed to have a little sit down in the sunshine despite it being bitterly cold. We to the really expensive shopping area and took a picture of Tiffany, obviously. We also found a really nice high up point where we could see all over Brussels and take some pretty cool pictures. And in true Brussel style (sarcasm) we even got some churros before hopping back on the Eurostar.

All in all, it was a very tiring trip. I think we managed to do the whole thing on around £120 which I was quite proud of and I will definitely remember some of the the tired memories we created.