Monday, 22 May 2017

New York, New York

Haha guess who skipped town a couple weeks before their dissertation was due. ME.

I've never done anything so uncharacteristic, but the trip of a lifetime was made possible for me so all responsibilities banished from my mind. I went to New York and had the best time ever.

It was actually about six weeks ago now, but with deadlines and exams I haven't had much time to write about it. But basically New York City is everything. I had the most amazing week and so I thought I'd tell you all about it.

We arrived late in the evening, meaning we got the most magical view of the city at night in the taxi from JFK to Manhattan. It also meant we were pretty exhausted upon arrival, but we managed to adjust to the time difference, waking at about 7am for a day of full on tourist fun.

We spent our first morning wandering Fifth Avenue, where we saw all the iconic buildings, from the Plaza and Tiffany's all the way down to St Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. It was a fairly dull morning but luckily by the time we got to the top of the Empire State Building (after a two hour wait!) glorious sunshine had emerged from behind the clouds. The views are next to none and it was well worth the wait. After a spot of lunch we headed further down to see the iconic Flat Iron building, before heading over to see the flower show at Macy's. All in all it was a very productive first day and we got used to the buses and subway as well as the grid system of Manhattan.

The following day was our one and only really rainy day, meaning we spent the day indoors at the Natural History Museum. In all honesty, I don't think it's one that's worth doing if you're really tight for time, but it was still a good day and a good way to avoid the poor weather outside.

The following day was still very cloudy but luckily there was barely any rain, as it was a jam packed day just like the first one. We started by heading across town and down to Grand Central Station, which was absolutely beautiful, but surprisingly seemed a lot smaller in person than it tends to in films. From there we moved on downtown and went for a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge, which was magnificent, with a nice view up and down the East River. We carried on down to the very tip of Manhattan, where we caught the Staten Island ferry to get a good look at the Statue of Liberty, which was standing tall and strong even though the weather wasn't too great. On the way back uptown we hopped off the subway to have a quick walk around Union Square, which was a nice quaint area, before heading to The MET. One hundred percent the museum to go to if you only have time for one, it was brilliant. You're taken through so many different periods and cultures, and we thought it was amazing.

We spent Saturday morning in Washington Square Park and around Greenwich Village, which was a really lovely area that actually made the city feel a little small and sweeter, cosier if you will. From there we headed up to the High Line, and I loved it there. It's such a unique and interesting way to see the city, as you tend to always be on the ground looking up or somewhere really high looking really far down, so it was a nice position to see New York from. From there we went up to check out the Lincoln Center and then to see Columbus Circle. We made our way back to the apartment through Central Park, exploring the west side of the park on our way up.

Sunday was spent almost entirely in Central Park, which I absolutely loved. It was glorious sunshine and the perfect weather for a day outdoors. We started by having a walk around the Reservoir and then headed down the east side of the park, catching up on everything we missed the day before. We saw everything from the famous Boathouse to the Alice in Wonderland Statue and had the most wonderful time in the sun. We actually got the bus back uptown from the bottom of the park, heading up to Harlem so we could also explore that area of the park. It was so nice and so much calmer than the more touristy south end of Central Park. We went back to the apartment to get some after sun (having not realised that we were a bit burnt before it was too late) and went back out at dusk to see Times Square. It was really cool to see how bright all the billboards got as the sun went down, and there was a great atmosphere there too.

On our final full day, we went downtown to the World Trade Center and went up to the One World Observatory. It was interesting to see the city from this point of view, as rather than being in the centre in Midtown we were all the way down at the tip of Manhattan, looking back up. The views were great and it's well worth a trip (the queue wasn't bad at all either). Whilst we were there we also saw the 9/11 memorial, which was very moving and made you think about just how dreadful that day must have been. From there we went over to Wall Street and saw the Charging Bull, with the wonderful Fearless Girl statue stood defiantly opposite. We also had a trip to Bloomingdales and got some great cupcakes from the bakery.

Our final morning was spent having brunch in a typical American diner on the Upper West Side not far from where we stayed. We had some great pancakes, but man were they filling. A pretty great way to end such an amazing trip.

New York is the most incredible city and I would highly recommend that absolutely everyone should jump at any opportunity to go. I know I certainly can't wait to go back and have already inspired one of my friends to book a trip this summer. A truly wonderful place.

Until next time.

Social Media/Contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: @abbielour

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

21 things for 21

I turned 21 a couple of weeks ago, so I've been thinking about some of the things I'd like to achieve in the next year - both the little things and the not so little ones. Here's what I hope 21 has in store me.

1. Cut my hair short (been a long time coming)

2. Graduate from university - cannot believe how quickly this has come around

3. Take more time to consider my small personal goals on a weekly/monthly basis

4. Pass my driving test (ticked this one off within four days of turning 21!), which leads nicely on to:

5. Buy a car - I've put a deposit down, so this one will be ticked off in a few more days too!

6. Stop caring what other people think of you - to an extent I've got this one sorted, but there's always a little thought in the back of my mind, and it's time it disappeared for good

7. Remember that not everyone will make as much of an effort as you, and try not to be so disheartened by this

8. Celebrate the small victories (they're often the ones you remember best)

9. Don't stop giving everything your all - the only regret you'll ever have is if you didn't do something to the best of your ability

10. Get a full-time job - I think I've got an area of focus in the field of job, but I'm still unsure

11. Continue to grow in confidence - university helped me so much with this, and I hope I can carry on growing both in confidence and as a person throughout my twenties

12. Make better use of my passport

13. Be proud of myself - I've already achieved more than I thought I would

14. Don't be discouraged by the negative attitudes of others

15. Become more active - when you're studying a book-based subject it can be difficult to find the time to get up from your desk and go for a walk/go to the gym, so I'm hoping once I've finished my degree this will be easier

16. Take every opportunity to look after friends' and family's dogs (nothing else will improve your quality of life so much)

17. Save, save, save

18. Breathe - everything seems like a big deal at this age, so just take a deep breath and keep going

19. Learn to not be afraid of the unknown, but to embrace the unexpected

20. Voice your concerns and upset - something I've never been fond of, but I know will make me feel better in the long run

21. Dream big - who's to judge

That's what I'm hoping my year involves, what are your aims for the next year?

Until next time.

Contacts/social media:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: @abbielour