NYC: Shopping Haul

Here are some (but not all) of the things I bought on my shopping trip to New York.DSCF2743

Let’s start with this butter soft leather rucksack from Corsia which I got in Century 21. It kind of goes against the grain to buy a utility bag in such a delicate fabric and a pale colour, but once I’d touched it and sniffed in the leather scent, I knew it had to be mine.  I walked around with it in my basket for a good hour before I took the plunge and went to the till.  I wasn’t cheap, but I can’t divulge the cost as my husband reads this blog!  Now I’ve got it home, I love, love, love it and hope it will last me a long time.

Next up: Books.   I do love a list, and I do love a project, so a book that combines both really appeals to the geeky organiser in me.  The 52 Week Project is a place to record ideas, inspiration and plans. I’m going to have lots of fun with this book! I bought it at Urban Outfitters, which incidentally is a fabulous shop: I wish they had one in Chester.

The next book is Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.  My interest has been piqued for the Kon Mari method as I’ve read about it in all the glossies this year, so I picked up this copy for a fun read.  I have to admit, some of it is absolute garbage, but a lot makes sense and I whizzed through it in a few days, enjoying the eccentricity and the inspiration to sort out my stuff.


This is the result of my first visit to Sephora (and hopefully not my last).  There is so much stuff to choose from in this place and it’s hard to know where to start.  Having dedicated product testing areas is a great idea and you are really encouraged to try before you buy.  I bought my usual Clinique City Block, a new foundation and this really handy foundation brush.

I bought a few clothes in Macy’s and Century 21 too, which I plan to include in an upcoming blog post.


Christine x


And All That Jazz: New York Day Four


We spent a contented  hour in the morning at Bryant Park which was simply glorious in the sunshine.  Having walked a fair bit already along Fifth (we’d popped into Grand Central to admire the ceiling) we had a bit of an appetite, so indulged in waffles while we watched the world go by.DSCN0665

The shops opened at 11, so it was a full on shop in Macy’s (we bought some really good quality cotton tops) followed by lunch in Planet Hollywood in Times Square.  Unless you are a big eater, I don’t recommend this place as the plates of food were huge and could have fed at least three people.  I left most of mine on the plate, not because I didn’t like it, but it was just too much to handle in one sitting.

Today was a big tick for the bucket list as we went to a Broadway show!  Chicago was huge fun.  We had seats right near the front, so didn’t miss a thing.  Roxy and Velma (and of course Mama) were on top form and I just loved the cast’s rendition of ‘he had it coming’ which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The Bob Fosse moves were just so polished, it was a delight to watch.


After the theatre it was time for another highlight: the night tour on the HoHo.  This starts in Times Square and takes you downtown and across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn from where we had an amazing view of the city skyline.  Everyone was snapping away with their phones, but I know from experience that for my little camera, it would be a waste of time, so I committed it to memory and bought a postcard instead.

So, apart from a final couple of hours in the shops before pick up next day, that was New York done and dusted! We were exhausted but happy and ready to plan the next trip!





Girls In New York: Day Three

Today was a designated Downtown shopping day, starting with the HoHo to Canal Street.  I’m not a fan of the Canal Street area and didn’t much like being approached by one after another ladies whispering ‘Chanel? Gucci? Mulberry?’.  If I’m having a handbag, then it has to be either the real thing, or an obvious cheapie.  I just don’t get the designer rip off thing.


We were strictly forbidden by Steve to wander around China Town as when the two of us were there a couple of years ago, we did get some dodgy druggy vibes, but Linda and I couldn’t  resist taking a look at some of the colourful market stalls piled with fruit and veg.  It was before 9 a.m. so all was calm and the vibe was good.

Right across from China Town is Little Italy and our primary destination was Ferrara’s Bakery for coffee and cake, followed by a mooch around the Christmas shop where Linda bought a personal tree decoration for grandson Elliott.


We then walked the length of Broadway as far as Washington Square Park, crossing onto Fifth and wandering all the way back to our hotel, stopping in virtually every fashion store and stationery supply shop along the way (including a Reiss sample sale which was very popular with the locals). DSCN0590.JPG

Exhausted by early afternoon we took the weight off our feet with an Uptown bus tour, skirting Central Park and taking in Harlem and the Museum District.


That night we popped across the road to the excellent Brendan’s Bar and Grill which has the most elegant interior and top notch food.  Then it was back up to the rooftop bar for drinks.


More to follow…

Girls In New York: Day Two

As predicted, we were wide awake at 5:30 a.m. which is the inevitable outcome of being asleep before 9 p.m.  We were at breakfast by six, only to find we were not the only insomniacs in the hotel.  Our breakfast of choice was muffins, cranberry, lemon, chocolate chip, red velvet, you name it, we’d tried the lot by the end of our stay.

We hopped on the hop on hop off bus at the Empire State, just a block away from our hotel, and hopped off again at City Hall, just a short walk from the 911 memorial.  Much has been written about this, so I won’t add anything, other than to say it is very moving.


After an excellent coffee in a scruffy café selling nothing but pizza (looked great but even we can’t do pizza before 10 a.m.) it was time for our much anticipated visit to Century 21.  We must have spent two hours in there and ended up with quite an impressive haul.


It was such a glorious day we decided to join the crowds and walk across  the Brooklyn Bridge to get our first view of the Statue Of Liberty.  It’s a great way to look back on the NYC skyline.


Then it was back on the bus for a downtown tour, culminating in a visit to the Empire State for a view of the city from above.


Right next to our hotel is a great bar/restaurant, Liberty’s, where they do a delicious New York strip steak with truffle butter. We ordered Moscow Mules and tucked in.  Feeling rather squiffy, we then took our drinks up to the rooftop of the Metro for a fab view of the Empire State all lit up for the night.


We actually managed to stay up a bit later too!

More to follow


Day One in New York

The long awaited girls only adventure to New York City started with a very early start at Manchester airport ready for our 9:30 a.m. United Airlines flight to Newark.  Despite the fact it was only 6:30 a.m. when we arrived, we managed to fit in a bit of shopping and our only healthy breakfast of the entire trip.

The flight wasn’t too bumpy, just excruciatingly boring as the TV screens didn’t work and the food was no distraction either as it was inedible (literally).  On arrival at Newark some seven hours later we were met with long queues for immigration then more queuing for the shuttle bus (joy!). Finally though, our taxi arrived and we were on our way through the Lincoln Tunnel and onto Manhatten Island.


Our hotel, the Metro, is a comfortable four star in the art deco style, on 35th.  The room was big: two doubles and a spacious bathroom on the third floor. No tea or coffee facilities in the room but free tea and coffee 24 hours a day in the breakfast room, plus free wine tasting and canapes between 5 and 6:30 p.m. (from here on referred to a wine o clock).  How very civilised and it would have been rude not to partake.

Bags dumped, we headed off out to make the most of the afternoon, starting with Times Square.  Having been incarcerated on a flight all day we had no idea that Prince had died until we saw the billboards (but every TV station was full of it for the next few days, so it’s fair to say we had the full insight into the situation by the end of the trip).


We wandered up towards Central Park and saw quite a few characters along the way, including ladies painted in the American flag, wearing nothing but a thong, (no pictures sorry) and an elderly man on roller skates, wearing a bikini.


Central Park was looking beautiful with lots of cherry blossom.  We did have to run the gauntlet to avoid cab drivers offering a horse and carriage ride (cost varied between $20 and $60).

Next stop was Tiffany to see what we couldn’t afford, then back to our hotel for a rest.  I’d like to be telling you about the dinner and drinks we had, but we were far too tired for anything except wine o clock, shower, trash TV and bed.

Day two to follow.




Holiday Shoes: Fifty Plus Style

I’m an unashamed shoe lover and have a pair for every occasion.  I wrote earlier this month about my resolution to get my travel mojo back and of course, I’ll need the right shoes for the job!  These are some of my travel choices.

Malaga Winter Break


We’re off to Malaga next month for a sightseeing break, so I’m packing comfy shoes.  No dressing up in the evening means casual chic with these nude suede Chelsea boots from M&S which go beautifully with jeans and any top.  The gold pumps are from JD Williams* and will be perfect for days out as they’re cushion soft, but sturdy, plus I love a bit of bling in the daytime for holidays!

Girls In New York


I’m really excited about my girls only trip to NYC in April and I think I’ve chosen the perfect shoes for the trip (although there’s sill time to acquire another pair).  I’m starting with red suede Chelsea boots from M&S which will give my evening outfits a bit of an edge, while ensuring that I can walk in comfort.  I’m just loving my Clarks calfskin walking shoes – I used to have shoes like these with seams on the outside, at sixth form and as soon as I saw them I knew they were coming home with me.  We’re going to be walking miles in NYC, but I still want to be stylish and I’m not a fan of trainers outside the gym.  These will go with my holiday colour scheme of black, grey and red. Finally, the sparkly pumps are an essential for slipping your feet into something comfy at the end of a long day when you just want to pop downstairs to the hotel bar for a quick nightcap.  I aim to always pack a pair of soft pumps in my bag wherever I go.  I’d like to be telling you that these are Pretty Ballerinas, but they are cheapies from New Look.  They do the job though!

Cruising The Eastern Med with Celebrity


I wrote recently about getting back on the ocean wave, so this is where glamour really comes into its own.   Cruising means dressing up to the nines, so enter my fierce stiletto Carvelas.  These are fabulous and (nearly) comfortable.  The calfskin pumps will be perfect for scooting round the ship during the day.  I bought these in a fantastic shoe shop in Malaga – they are super soft and were reassuringly expensive!

So this is my new year resolution illustrated by shoes!  JD Williams have some great shoes for taking you to where you want to be for 2016.  Take a look at the link here for some ideas.

*this is a collaborative post

Planning Our New York Trip


Have I mentioned that my friend Linda and I are going to NYC in a few weeks? Yes, I thought so!  More than once.  Well today, we had to pay the balance so now it feels like it’s really happening.  We have a few ideas on what to do, but I’d welcome any suggestions from your own ‘must do’ lists.  This is our plan:

  • We’ve bought a City Pass plus a Hop On Hop Off three day bus pass.
  • On our must see list is: Empire State, Grand Central, Brooklyn Bridge, 911 Memorial and museum, Central Park, Battery (for Statue of Liberty), Times Square, Little Italy.
  • On our shopping list is: Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Century 21. Tiffany.
  • On our food and drink list is: bagels, pretzels, pastrami, a visit to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central, cocktails on the roof of our hotel which looks out onto the Empire State, a burger at the Grey Dog Saloon, cannoli at Ferrari’s.
  • We’ve booked to see Chicago on Broadway.

So ideas please ladies and gentlemen, we have four days to fill.

Christine x

A New Year Message Of Hope For Fellow SCAD Survivors

DSCN0211It’s been almost five years since my SCAD and I wanted to let you guys know that things can, and do, significantly improve with the passage of time.  If you had your SCAD in 2015 then you may not believe me, as the first year is the hardest.  2011 for me was a nightmare of A&E visits, hospital appointments, anxiety and a feeling that life as I knew it was over.  Well, it was actually, but it turns out that it was no bad thing, as I’ve never been happier than I am right now.

The very best news in the last few months is that my wanderlust has returned.  I really thought my globetrotting days were over, but just recently we’ve been looking at holidays in Costa Rica, and maybe even Australia and New Zealand is no longer out of the question.  If you’d have told me this on my first post SCAD flight to Mallorca when I sat shaking in the departure lounge convinced that flying would stop my heart, then I would never have believed you.  Well, since then, we’ve travelled extensively, but mostly in Europe.

So, the big trip for 2016 is a girls only trip to New York (shopping yay!!) with my best friend Linda.  Following this, who knows where the new year will take me?

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016.



Finding The Courage To Fly Long Haul Again

This is an excerpt from my diary of a year ago:

‘I wonder if I’ll ever be able to fly long haul again, or go to a country where I’m not scared of having a heart attack and getting the wrong treatment.  I want to be fit and healthy, but getting my heart right is such an uphill struggle.  The right way forward is to live in the moment , do the things I want to do while I can still do them, and not plan to be some fabulous version of myself sometime in the future.  I have to be the best I can be right now because now is all we really have’.

Little did I know that a few months later I would win a holiday to New York!  Seven and a half hours away flying across the Atlantic.  Panic mode set in!  There was no way I was going to miss this prize but could I do it? Would I run away when we got to the gate?  Would anything happen to me on the plane?

I needed to access my inner strength.  The only way to deal with this was ‘head in the sand’ mode.  I just could not think past the holiday.  I was focused on getting myself to the airport and not planning any further than that! I didn’t think about anything I had to do when I got home because in the back of my mind I thought I may not make it! I know, drama queen!!

So we got to Manchester airport and I felt sick with worry.  To distract myself I bought a couple of magazines and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.  I refused to envisage myself boarding the plane or being in flight.  I just took it moment by moment.

And guess what?  I’m still here!  The flight was bumpy as hell, but I didn’t panic, I just buried my nose in my book and mags and focused on just being me.

The relief when we landed at Newark was quite something!  It was like a light had been switched on and all of a sudden I was the old me again, itching to explore.  We had a fabulous trip and I feel I’ve overcome a major hurdle in my recovery.  I would definitely consider another long haul flight – so roll on Barbados next winter!!

Time Square
Times Square