I’ve just returned from a wonderful and spoiling few days in New York. My husband and I fell in love with the city about ten years ago and we have been lucky enough to visit every couple of years, largely due to the fact that I have the most amazing mum who is happy to look after all three of my children, while we jet off and remember what it’s like to feel young and carefree again. This particular trip was an early birthday present and the highlight of our trip was seeing Adele perform in Madison Square Garden. Words can’t describe how amazing she was.
But back to the important details! Starting with what I packed. I am not claiming to be the best packer in the world but I am getting better all the time, especially now that I have a little more time on my hands. I started with footwear and worked upwards. Because Manhattan is actually quite a small island, you end up doing quite a bit of walking. It’s often the quickest way to get somewhere if the traffic is bad. So comfortable footwear is an absolute must. I went with the ‘four things’ rule of four items in each category.
My packing list – footwear
On the bottom
I always like to pack a smarter outfit and opted for a black jumpsuit and leopard heels.
I wore everything in my suitcase, so I’m taking that as a sign that my packing is improving!
Where I shopped
I had an urge to explore the thrift shops of New York this visit. The thrill of finding treasure in a thrift store can be far greater than the purchase of an item that everyone owns. But you either like this kind of shopping or you don’t. Let me loose in a shop like Beacons Closet and I could lose hours…I had a husband in tow, so I sent him for a coffee and did my best in the 30 minutes I deemed ‘fair’! What I love about this sort of shopping is the inspiration that it provides. Beautiful fabrics, amazing designs and fashion that has come full circle. I also love the idea that I’m buying something no-one else will have. I dream about who wore it before me and what kind of places it went. It’s a real reminder to hang on to beautiful pieces in your wardrobe as they inevitably come back into fashion.
In the thirty minutes I spent in the store, so many cool and fashionable New Yorkers came and went. Amazing for fashion inspiration and people watching.
I bought two items, a burgundy velvet smoking jacket ($17 ) and a vintage ruffle, eight dollar jumper which I have styled with my new Rag and Bone Skinny Boyfriend Jeans that I bought in Barneys. My only non thrift shop purchase I might add! And annoyingly, I have just realised that they are actually slightly cheaper to buy here…. Let’s gloss over that fact, shall we?!
Otherwise, my favourite area to head to for shopping is around Spring street. If you’re after designer, Kirna Zabete is definitely worth a visit.
Otherwise, Barneys is my go to store for inspiration and the best curated selection. We did go to Bloomingdales but over the years I have become less of a fan. I find it far too big, and it’s a bit scruffy with too many undesirable brands. I also find the make-up and perfume floor a bit like being hassled in the souk in Marrakesh.
With the terrible exchange rate at the moment, it’s no longer cheaper to buy things in the US, unless they are American brands. However some quick conversions in J Crew made me realise that this sometimes isn’t even the case.
Here’s an example for you. These Saint Laurent high heels, which have been on my wish list for a while now, were $795. We were calculating with 1.3 so that’s around £611. Here they cost £460. ANNOYING!
Where we ate
We are lucky enough to have friends who live in New York, so we had a few recommendations and none of them disappointed. It’s really hard to go too wrong in New York, there are so many amazing places to eat and depending on the location of your hotel, the best way is to wander and find somewhere that looks nice. My favourite areas to do this are the East or West Village, Chelsea, the Lower East side, Soho, Noho and Little Italy. I would probably avoid eating in the touristy areas around Times Square…
Combining both trips this year, here are my top restaurant recommendations.
BLT Steak -106 EAST 57TH STREET (BET. PARK AND LEXINGTON), NEW YORK, NY 10022 T- 212.752.7470
For the best steak I have ever eaten!
L’Esquina -114 Kenmare, New York, NY 10012
b/n Lafayette and Centre -for amazing Mexican.
Souvlaki – around the corner from the Ludlow Hotel … Excellent Greek at very reasonable prices.
Locanda Verde – Amazing italian restaurant, part owned by Robert de Niro. It never disappoints.
For ‘Sex and the City’ pre dinner drinks…
Peninsula Hotel or Kimberley hotel both have great rooftop bars. The drinks at hotel bars are expensive but it’s worth biting the bullet and having a cocktail because the views at night are incredible.
Where we stayed.
This trip we stayed at the Roger hotel, located in midtown. It’s a nice hotel, but it wasn’t my favourite and we had a slightly unfortunate experience when we checked out. They informed us of a 300 dollar charge for smoking in the room. Neither of us smoke, I never have and my husband hasn’t smoked for 5 years! We did have a slight issue with the smell in our room upon entering, but because we had a terrace we would just open the doors for fresh air. We didn’t complain, though in hindsight we should have done! We contested the charge and they produced photographic evidence of two cigarette butts in the toilet bowl. Definitely not us, and we could only deduce that it must have been a different room and the cleaning staff who reported it had got the room number wrong. They did take the charge off our bill but it left a bad taste and we were very cross that they hadn’t said something on the day in question which was the day of our arrival.
On our last trip we stayed in the Ludlow Hotel on the lower east side and I would give it ten out of ten for location, room and atmosphere. And there wasn’t actually that much in terms of price difference.
Other things to do.
The Frick Collection. This is the most amazing collection of art (pieces include Rembrandts, Vermeers, Gainsboroughs to name a few) which is housed in Henry Frick’s former home on Fifth Avenue. We have visited the Frick about 3 times and I am always blown away. It is not at all overwhelming the way some museums can be, but a tranquil experience that takes you back in time.
If you are planning a trip to NYC, feel free to ask any questions you might have. I am by no means the expert, but I would be happy to try and help! I should add that I have never travelled with the children, so these recommendations are probably aimed at those travelling without children.
Thanks for reading