Tag Archives: New York City

Across the Pond

I was scrolling through lots of images of New York this morning after reading the news that the New York Marathon has been cancelled this weekend due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, curious to see the aftermath of yet another devastating event in the history of the great city and how people come together to restore the streets and parks to their former glory. I have been fortunate enough to visit New York a couple of years ago and fell in love with the city as soon as our car emerged from the Lincoln tunnel into Manhattan. As I’m sat here writing this I’m reminded how the weather was around 19 degrees the day we arrived, prompting us to peel off a couple of layers of winter clothes while snapping away in Times Square. We woke the following day to find a foot of snow on the hotel balcony and sub-zero temperatures!

I visited New York with my daughter who was just 2 at the time and so our activities we’re limited to daytime only pursuits, but that didn’t stop us spending hours in Central Park and FAO Schwartz! In fact my fondest memory of our trip was her waking up from a nap on the Staten Island ferry and through blurry eyes pointing out and shouting ‘Mummy looks, it’s Liberty’. I’ve already written my homage to the great city not long after returning from the trip, you can read it here.

If I could live anywhere, even just for a short time I’d love to live in New York. Like every big city it has worrying crime rates and ‘dangerous’ neighbourhoods but unlike every big city it has iconic architecture, beautiful wide-open green spaces and a breath-taking skyline. I want to sit in my fabulous Friends-like apartment eating Chinese take-out from those little white cartons that we don’t get here and stroll around The Guggenheim on my days off from working in anything whatsoever to do with fashion. Bit of a mix between Friends, Ugly Betty and SATC. Well, one can dream. On a day-to-day, and more realistic basis I am immersed in a lot of New York virtual culture, The New Yorker and NYDAILYNEWS.com are two of my current favourites. I’ve also started to amass a collection of American Vogue which is quite hard to come by in my rural Cumbrian village. On my next trip to New York (because I’m hoping there will be many return journeys in the future) I’m going to have to prepare a much more in-depth itinerary, pack sensible footwear and leave the kids at home!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? Tell NaBloPoMo they’d love to hear all about it too.

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The Bucket

Has it poured down all day where you are today? It has here, and there’s nothing like a boring rainy Sunday to make you contemplate where you’d rather be. A number of my friends are working away in sunnier climes at the moment and being their friend on Facebook is becoming increasingly difficult. The sunrise over the mountains in Bali is absolutely breathtaking, but it was six am and chucking it down outside when I saw the picture, way to ruin my day! It seems much easier to continue to travel once you’ve made the initial leap, a few have moved abroad for work then later taken trips to other continents which appear closer than the 12 hour journey they involve. I’ve been very lucky to see a small part of what the world has to offer outside of the UK and my eldest daughter has even experienced Las Vegas and New York before turning 3.

My parents have travelled a lot too, especially my mum who, now retired enjoys an average of four holidays abroad a year. We were discussing this earlier and she told me about one of her friends who made a life changing decision to go and work on cruise ships, age 50. The woman in question has raised her two children, put them through university, out-grown her husband, paid her mortgage off and retired after a long career in law enforcement. She felt that she had to put her duties as a mum and wife before being able to follow her dreams and tick off her bucket list. Now she has a year round tan, spends six months of the year in the Caribbean and flies her grandkids out for holidays.

I couldn’t help but feel inspired by her story and wondered if all those things that I’d wanted to do before I had children, would still be possible after their grown and living their own lives? The places that I want to visit and really immerse myself in the culture may not be suitable for a 7 month old baby and hyperactive 6-year-old. Even though I have tried to break down the boundaries of long haul city breaks with young children, it’s not always much of a holiday when nappies and sterilizing bottles comes before snorkelling and romantic strolls on the beach. I have a bit of an unofficial bucket list, most will find it boring as the majority of points are about travelling and seeing the world. Here’s a few points;

1. Visit Niagara Falls and pluck up the courage to ride on the Maid of the Mist. It would be great to not have to spend at least a few minutes each day watching the falls on the live camera feed online to see what it looks like!  You too can be mesmerised by it here.

2. Sit front row at a designer fashion show. Okay so this one is unlikely and definitely a no no with kids…but you never know!

3.  Attend the Cannes Film Festival. Don’t really mind if I don’t get to sit next to a superstar at a premier, but to be there during the festival itself would be awesome.

So probably not massively exciting to you but I guess I have devised my list based on what is actually possible and what (with a huge amount of luck and praying) could happen. There are also points that I’ve been able to mark off too, visiting New York was so much fun, especially playing in Central Park when my daughter was a toddler and working at the Sydney Olympics was also an amazing once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls (Photo credit: moarplease)

What is on your bucket list, and if you don’t have one yet what would you write on it? I want to be able to look back on my life and remember the day I peed myself going under Niagara Falls, sat next to SJP at Gucci and had my picture taken with Johhny Depp at his yacht party in Cannes. Or I could sit and laugh with my kids about our annual all-inclusive trip to Salou, I’m sure that would make me equally happy.

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There’s No Place Like Home

I was born on the other side of the world where the sun shines bright, the sea is warm and the beer is cold. The most popular question people ask me when they hear of my sub-tropical beginnings is ‘What on earth are you doing here’?

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912)

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The move to England was totally out of my hands, I tried as hard as I could to gurgle and blabber my wishes to stay in Aussie to my anglophile parents, but at just 10 weeks old communication wasn’t my strong point. The trip back to Blighty was fraught with the usual  tensions applicable to travelling 12,00 miles with a new baby and naughty toddler. During re-fuelling at Changi Airport, Singapore my elder brother, then 4 years old decided to sneak off in the duty-free toy shop and hide on a shelf behind a particularly large monkey teddy. This sparked a security alert, cue my Mum hysterically tearing the shop up, shouting his name and wailing like a banshee that someone had taken her little angel. On the verge of a full security lock-down the little sod meandered out of the toy shop where an eagle-eyed officer spotted him and an international air travel disaster was averted.

I recently moved house again but with my own little family, and just a few hundred miles away and not another continent. If I’ve reckoned it up right, and it’s taken consultation with 5 different people, I think I have now moved house 22 times. This includes various UK cities, as well as two moves abroad, and its only now that I can appreciate the military precision with which my Mum expertly organised and coördinated what we saw as ‘adventures’. For a long time it’s been hard to find a place to call home, I have emotional ties to many places but my roots are too entangled with trains, planes and automobile tracks to choose only one of my many past dwellings. One of my passports says I’m Australian, the other says I’m British, even the powers that be cant agree where I come from or more importantly where I belong.

Now I have similar plans for my brood, I’m keen for my children to see as much of the world as possible, my eldest daughter has been abroad 17 times in 6 years. I committed the ultimate sin and took her to the adult playground that it Las Vegas and to New York when she was just a toddler, trying to break down the barriers against taking young children on long haul city breaks. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she saw the Statue of Liberty, that made the 9 hour flight so worth while. (Ps, she did not bawl her lungs out during the flight, she was very well-behaved and the air stewardesses loved her….genuinely)

Newyorknewyork-corner

Newyorknewyork-corner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I may not have grown up with the same group of friends from nursery to university, but thanks to Facebook and other online social networks that’s hardly a worry. I believe that my gypsy-esque upbringing was an amazing adventure that has shaped me to be the out-going, friendly person I am today. To all of those who have a place to call their home town, cherish it, embrace its familiar ways and changing landscapes. To those like me, who are undecided, class yourself as a citizen of the world…always the new girl, never the veteran.

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New York, New York

When my boss asked me to nip across the water with some paperwork, I swapped my heels for ballet flats in anticipation of the trek down to the station for the cross-river train. Little did I know I would end up in Times Square not Trafalgar Square!  Last month I jetted out to New York to meet the NY team, and to take part in a spot of shopping of course!

Bryan (My boss) had arranged for me to meet the NY team later in the week to collect some design work, so my focus initially was being a tourist. With my ipod blaring out Odyssey’s hit ‘Native New Yorker’ I took in the sights and sounds of Manhattan’s most famous landmarks.  What struck me after walking 52 blocks in one afternoon was the amount of people and businesses crammed into such a small space…..And why the metro is a god send when you only pack heels!

English: Garment District, Manhattan

Image via Wikipedia

I studied HND Fashion at college and have been an avid collector of British Vogue for many years, so predictably my favourite part of Manhattan is the Garment District situated Mid-Town.  Seeing the giant button and needle statue on Fashion Ave and 7TH, transported me back to being 17 and dreaming I could be the next Stella McCartney or Amanda Wakeley.  There is a wealth of creativity just oozing out of the Manhattan streets and avenues, everywhere you look there are outlets whether it be fabric warehouses, fashion houses, PR & Media companies and design agencies. Whilst the opportunities are plentiful, the competition for that ‘chance of a lifetime’ role is seriously fierce.

Once I had exhausted my budget on 5th Avenue and the Liberty Island Gift store (tacky stationery for colleagues back in Blightly) I hailed a cab and headed over to meet the guys at the NY branch of our company.  For a media company based in a world advertising hotspot, they sure know how to rock the homely look. When I opened the heavy steel office door I was pleasantly surprised to find a cosy office, bookshelves fit to burst with design journals and photographs of this amazing city. The team were delighted, if not a bit puzzled with their bright yellow Superlambanana figurine, a gift from my fair city. Luckily I pre-empted this response and also presented the accompanying book all about our four-legged friend. Clearly they think I’m mad.

Superlambanana, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool, E...

Image via Wikipedia

With design work in hand I headed back to my hotel to pack up and fly back to reality. I really fell in love with New York, the people, the food and sights and sounds. But in all honesty I fell for the belief that my creative dreams could once again, come true, and if you can make it there… well you know the rest.

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Future Fashionista

My usual end of season sale shopping trip was something of a revelation this year, not only because half of the high street has been in sale for an increasingly long period, but because my 5-year-old daughter actually wanted to go with me into town, seeking in particular;

 “A sparkly top to match her black tutu that Nanna and Granddad bought’

 I am going to take a chance here and say that most kids hate going clothes shopping, especially sale shopping when it’s the equivalent of a rugby scrum in most stores, the heating is turned right up and the queues are ridiculously long. I also imagine that most children, during the summer holidays want to do nothing more than stay in their pyjamas, watch Nickelodeon and eat rubbish all day.

So imagine my surprise when my little girl (because she still is a little girl, each to their own and all but there are no brats dolls, make up, strappy tops or heels in her possession) comes into my room fully dressed at 10am one bright August day and proclaims she would like to go girly shopping for a top and then to McDonald’s! I’m all for her taking pride in her appearance and having an interest in fashion, especially when it’s been a major preoccupation in my life since a young age. However, it did make me wonder how young role models are becoming and at what age is it acceptable to make your own fashion choices?

It would seem that I am something of a dinosaur when just 20 minutes research into an array of famous tots offered a multitude of blogs, website and fan pages, and that was just for Suri Cruise! After what seems like an eternal wait for the Beckham’s brood to grow by one pink one, we can finally welcome the new girl in town as 8 weeks old Harper Beckham (according to mummy Victoria’s Twitter feed) is currently attending her first NY Fashion Week. The child is about 8 weeks old and has already got a front row (car) seat at the hottest venues/shows in town! And here is me wondering whether to brave H&M on a Saturday morning in the school holidays.

I decided to let go of the reins a little and allow my daughter some freedom to make her own clothing choices. To my utter delight she chose a Rolling Stones t-shirt and bright red ballet flats, which coincidently matched the huge ketchup stain down her Gap hoody after finishing up, as promised at McDonald’s. Not quite NY Fashion Week, but it’ll do for my little fashionista in the making.

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