Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll know how one of my go to products is Clinique Moisture Surge. I’ve been using it for about 3 years now. BUT I think that’s about to change.

I decided to try Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel as it seemed like a similar product to Clinique Moisture Surge. And yep, I think it is. It’s even better in it’s performance and in it’s price I think! SHOCK HORROR!!!!


The texture is beautiful and smooth. It absorbs well but still leaves skin just dewy enough. Foundation just glides on top with no problems. I have used it morning and night and love how my skin feels always. I don’t ever feel dry or like I need to put a refresher layer on during the day, which is a big deal when you work in an office with air-conditioning blasting.

According to Neutrogena, Hydro Boost Water Gel contains hydrating hyaluronic acid which acts as a sponge for dry skin cells, moisturising with up to 1,000 times its weight in water, resulting in more supple and smooth skin. This is a naturally occurring acid that’s found in everyones skin.

Personally I feel strange that the colour of the gel is blue…. I don’t like putting any more chemicals than are needed on my skin (I know that’s funny because this product is far from natural, but those blue chemicals could have been left out.).

Over all, I really have been enjoying this product and recommend that you give it a try too next time you’re in Priceline!

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel retails for around $25.

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Swisse Micellar Water Makeup Remover – Review

What is all the fuss about Micellar Water and what is Micellar Water?

All of a sudden lots of brands have released their own version. Including Garnier, Laroche Posay and Swisse.

Well, according to Laroche Posay, Micellar water takes its name from micelles, tiny round balls of cleansing molecules that float in the water. When you apply the Micellar Water to your skin, the cleansing agents come into contact with oil and dirt on your face, allowing them to be swept away quickly and efficiently.

Micellar cleansing water uses very gentle but effective cleansing agents. There is no tingling or tightening effect, and it’s powerful enough to remove eye makeup too.

Just apply a splash to a cotton pad and wipe off the make up and grime of the day.

I have been using the Swisse Micellar Water and I have been very impressed with the way it has removed my eye make up so gently and without any residue. The scent is light cucumber and it’s not oily at all. Its almost as if I washed my face with plain water.

Swisse says that this is a natural, gentle rinse free make up remover that is formulated to effortlessly remove all traces of even the most stubborn make up. It is enriched with Micellar water and cucumber.

In terms of performance, I have really enjoyed using this product and find it highly effective. Much better than Clinique’s Take the Day Off Make Up remover that I have written about before. I would definitely purchase the Swisse Micellar Water again. It’s great value for money and I’m sure this bottle will last me an entire year.

You can purchase Swisse Micellar Water at Priceline and Coles for around $12.

 

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Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi and Night Mask – Review

Warning: If the sight of gross feet and dead skin being gloriously buffed away offends you, please look away… but you will then not know the glories of how smooth your feet can be for very little effort.

Ok so who’s still with me? Let’s carry on!

Since I came back from my recent overseas holiday, my feet have been really dry from all the walking I did in sandals on hot cement. I have been trying to pumice my feet in the shower but that hasn’t worked out as well as I hoped. The Scholl Velvet Smooth Diamond Crystals Express Pedi roller machine thing has been catching my attention on TV and let me tell you, this is one wow of a gadget! Im even going to get one for my mum for Christmas, that’s how great I think it is.

Look at it! Pretty pink and ready to be the best hard skin remover ever! Foot care is important you know.

Ok here is where it gets embarrassing and gross. But I wouldn’t be a very good an honest blogger if I didn’t show you the realistic grossness that has become my feet.

Behold!

That’s the BEFORE photo.

So I sat on my bed and eagerly turned on the Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi. That little gem turned round and round like magic. It’s basically a pumice stone/ sand paper in electric roller form. You don’t need to have wet feet and I LOVE that I could just sit on down and hold my foot up to hold the Express Pedi against it gently. No more standing like a flamingo in the shower trying to scrub with a pumice!

You get your dry feet and let the Express Pedi work it’s magic. I will warn you that giant puffs of dead skin dust will go EVERYWHERE so I’d suggest doing this outside where it can just blow away and not gross you out.

I even took a photo to show you what I mean. It’s hard core fine dust! This thing is great.

After 10 minutes of holding the Express Pedi and moving it on the dry parts of each foot, and breathing in a lot of foot dust, my feet were so smooth and beautiful again! The roller is super gentle and you don’t feel it. Make sure you keep moving it and only put it on parts of your skin that are callused or have a build up of dry skin because if you leave it in one spot too long you will get a little pain if it’s close to new skin.

To clean the roller you can remove the roll and wash it under water. You can buy refills for when the roller eventually dulls down after it’s done a few jobs of cleaning up your hard skin.

Next up I applied the Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask. This beautiful cream worked wonders. If I applied this every night before bed, I probably wouldn’t need to exfoliate my feet.

Ta-dah! Here is the after shot!

Velvety smooth as promised! Thanks to Scholl I can now wear my wedge sandals without dry foot shame this summer!

You can purchase Scholl products at Kmart and all good stores.

Product was supplied for my consideration.

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Jamberry Nails in Australia – Review

Do you love wearing colours on your nails but hate how they chip and need so much maintenance through the week? Me me me!!! One of my friends in America has been telling me about these new nail wraps called Jamberry. Quite frankly, she’s been obsessed with them for about 2 years now and is a sales consultant and raves about how much the not only loves the products, but also the company.

Jamberry Nail Wraps have just launched in Australia and I was given some samples to trial. The best way for me to explain them is like heat activated stickers that attach to your nails and stay on for up to 2 weeks on fingers and 6 weeks on toes. Basically they are stuck there and don’t move, chip or scuff…. It’s like a miracle! 
How to apply the Jamberry Wraps:

  1. Clean unpolished nails with alcohol wipe (or just make sure they are completely clean and polish free) and push back the cuticles.
  2. Match nail (finger or toe) to the nail wrap that best fits. It’s really important that you choose the size that is a tiny bit smaller than your nail so that the edges of the wrap don’t touch your skin because that could make it peel off.
  3. Jamberry says to peel off nail wrap and warm with a blow-dryer for 3-5 seconds or until soft and flexible, but there are many other ways to do it. I found that my dryer warped the wrap. You can also try stick on the wrap to your nail and then using a 5 second blast of blow dryer to set it on your nail.
  4. When warm, press the wrap onto the nail. Apply firm pressure around edges to adhere the wrap to the nail. If you have one, use rubber cuticle pusher to seal the wrap around the base of the cuticle, but rubbing your finger over it will work just as well.
  5. Trim the top with scissors and file off remaining wrap using a downward motion to remove excess.
  6. Apply heat and pressure to the wrap again until it is bonded to the nail.

How to remove Jamberry Wraps:

From googling, I can see there are numerous methods for removing the Jamberry Nail Wraps, but these are the 2 that the company recommends.

QUICK REMOVAL PROCESS

Heat the wraps with a blow-dryer for 15 seconds. Then break the seal by getting under the edge of the wrap with your opposite thumbnail. Slowly peel the wrap from side to side. If the nail wraps are not peeling easily or the adhesive is still bonded to the nail bed, then follow the Gentle Removal Process.

GENTLE REMOVAL PROCESS

Soak the nail wraps in nail polish remover for 20-30 seconds and gently rub them off. Soaking will break down the adhesive bond and allow them to easily slide off the nail bed.

I HIGHLY recommend watching these videos before you apply your wraps. Ignore the mini heater and the alcohol wipes and extra gadgets they show you (they scared me into thinking I needed all kinds of gadgets to get them on but you don’t. All you need is a good nail file, a blow dryer and scissors).

How do they look?

Here is how the Jamberry Nail Wraps looked when I applied them to my thumbs. Because it was my first time using them and trying to follow instructions, I kind of messed them up a little by overheating them I think, but nothing too bad. Just a few little bubbles at the side. They stayed on nicely for the week that I had them on and I know they could have stayed on longer if I wanted them to.

I painted my remaining nails with normal nail polish (Orly, Monroe Red), to show the comparison to how normal nails chip and how well Jamberry performs in comparison.

After 1 week:

You can see the nail polish definately chipped heavily but the Jamberry nail wrap held on. It was a bit scuffed on the top edge (mainly my fault for not filing it down properly as shown in the videos from the beginning. I know i’ll be better at that next time now I understand how it works). The side is also a bit ragged (also my fault from when I overheated them and didn’t press them down properly when I applied them and from me picking at the bubble at the side).
jamberrywrap_1week

What do I think of Jamberry Nail Wraps:

Overall, I’m really impressed with how well the wraps stayed on and how they felt on my nails. I hardly knew they were there! Personally, I can’t stand having patterns on my nails and prefer plain block colours and thankfully Jamberry have plain colours too if you’re interested (although they are famous for their super cute patterned nail sets!). Who can be bothered spending hours doing nail art when you can just stick these little wonders on!! They release new patterns all the time like a new fashion collection and they even have sizes especially for kids tiny nails. Check out the cool wraps available this month here.

Jamberry works via a personal consultant sales method (Think Avon and Nutremetics), so you need to make contact with your local consultant to purchase some or you can also buy online and pay a postage fee. The consultants are super enthusiastic and my friend Bianca has already signed up to be a consultant here in Australia because she loves them so much! You can contact and purchase Jamberry Wraps through Bianca and receive buy 3 get 1 free with free postage HERE!!! Occasionally consultants will throw you in a few extra goodies and samples to try so that’s a good incentive! There are also parties you can host (think Nutremetics and Tupperware but with nails).

A pack of Jamberry Wraps costs around $22 here in Australia and that includes 2 sets of Manis, 2  sets of Pedis and some spares, but there are buy 3 get 1 free deals through consultants. Remember that they can last up to 2 weeks and will give you so much joy from looking at them. You’ll get so many compliments on the shiny patterned ones too! Win win!

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Clinique Take Off The Day Make Up Remover – Review

A good eye make up remover makes all the difference come bed time. One that doesn’t pull on your eyes and doesn’t require much effort to remove make up is always best. I was excited to try the Clinique Take Off The Day make up remover when I received a sample in a gift with purchase a while ago. The formula requires you to shake the bottle to mix up the top layer of oil and the bottom layer of…. not sure, and then saturate a cotton pad. I’ve tried one of these types of “need to shake” formulations before in the Garner Clean Sensitive 2in1 Waterproof Make Up Remover and I wasn’t totally impressed. Unfortunately, I also wasn’t totally impressed with the Clinique make up remover. clinique I find that I need to use quite a lot of the liquid to remove my mascara and eyeliner, but in the end it does get it off fairly cleanly. I like to try and use less liquid to get value for money personally. For the price that you would pay for this in store ($35!), I would recommend using a cheaper option that would do the same, or a better job to save money. I quite like the value and quality of the Body Shop Eye Make up Remover with chamomile or the Nivea Daily Essentials Extra Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover.

What eye make up remover do you love? Leave me a comment!

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Maybelline Plumped Up Colossal Mascara – Review

Do you want eyelashes that are thicker and longer without having eyelash extensions? Yup! I’ve found a mascara that can do that, doesn’t cost the earth and you can add it to your grocery basket at the supermarket.

The colleague compliment test has given this mascara two compliments and questions about if my eye lashes are real. They have both written down the name of the mascara so I think I should probably take our shares in Maybelline because I’m practically selling it just by blinking at people.

I’m going to let these photos speak for themselves:

Pre-mascara application and wearing Maybelline Master Graphic Eyeliner: pre mascara Mascara on the left eye only (see the big difference!!!):

maybelline pumped up mascaraMaybelline Pumped Up Colossal Mascara in Black on both side of lashes:

maybelline pumped up mascara  BOOM! Huge, beautiful long lashes!maybelline pumped up mascaraHere’s how the brush looks. Its a spooly bristle brush rather than a silicone brush that a lot of modern mascaras have (eg Covergirl Lashblast). I think these type of brushes do a better job of applying on the lashes. It tapers to a nice tip with allows you to get into the corner lashes nicely. I do find that the formula can have a tendency to get clumpy, but not too bad. Just pump in the bottle before applying and go over the lashes a few times to brush it in.maybelline pumped up mascara

I really like this mascara! It’s easy to get off with eye make up remover and is going to be your new favourite! You can purchase Maybelline Pumped Up Colossal Mascara in Australia in Supermarkets, Priceline and selected pharmacies for around $20 but keep your eye out for specials!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have tried it too!

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Things to do with a week in New York – The Ultimate guide!

times square

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world and I am lucky to have been twice. The last time I went, I asked one of my friends for a list of things to see and do, so she gave me her ultimate list that has been passed around her friendship circles. It has pretty much every attraction that is worth visiting, plus a bunch of great restaurants. I have added my tips and passed this on to a few of my friends too who have come back raving about what a good set of tips it is so I thought I’d share it with the world here on my blog!

Get your note book and printer ready – Here is the ultimate guide to New York:

Best Accommodation for Backpackers In New York

  • There are lots of hostels in New York, but I stayed at Hostelling International on the Upper West Side (891 Amsterdam Ave). It’s really good as far as hostels go! Its very close to the Subway and Central park in an interesting area. It’s a massive hostel and they have lots of cheap/free tours you can take, provide towels, have an outdoor courtyard, computers, lots of chairs and chill-out space, a kitchen, free wifi and have a nice cafe to grab breakfast from. I preferred to walk up the road to McDonalds or the Street Cart that did a coffee and donut deal (what? I was on holidays!) Get a map from the hostel check in desk and keep it on you at all times, it will be your bible! I first stayed at this hostel on my first trip to New York in 2006 and it has certainly improved since then (I love the new bathrooms!). If you are travelling around America, I’d suggest joining the Hostelling International Membership as it will give you cheaper accommodation at their other locations around the country and you get a coupon for one night for free (use it in New York if you can because New York’s hostel costs more than any other hostel in the other states I found).
  • If you aren’t on a budget, staying near Times Square is a good option to be close to everything. If there are a few in your travel group, check out Airbnb and book an apartment in Chelsea, Soho, Little Italy or there abouts.

Getting around New York

  • If you are in NY for a week or a bit less, get an all week subway ticket because you will be hopping on and off a lot around the city.

    One of the beautifully decorated subway stations

    One of the beautifully decorated subway stations

  • Wear comfy shoes because you can do a lot of walking, but if you get the subway pass you’ll be able to save some distance for yourself
  • Cabs are another option, but the subway is so efficient and cheap, you won’t really need to get in a cab unless you want the authentic NYC Yellow Cab experience.
  • If it’s your first time in New York, take a hop on hop off bus tour just to get your bearings and some background on the city.
  • There are 2 airports – JFK and La Guardia. If there are a lots in your tour group then getting a taxi or 2 will be economical for you to split the cost to the heart of Manhattan. If you are solo, take the Super Shuttle bus that you can book when you arrive at the airport and it will take you directly to your accomodation. Don’t forget to tip the drivers a few dollars (about 20% of the fare).
  • Buses out of town – I took a Megabus to Boston and it cost me about $30. You can even get fares for as low as $1 with this company around America. Amazing! The Megabus took off from the side of the road on 34th st between 11th and 12th ave. I was impressed with the coach experience for this short trip (although it was hot and tiring waiting in the sun on the pavement for the bus to arrive). There is also the option of Peter Pan (similar to Megabus) and Greyhound (ewwww try not to go on a Greyhound bus unless you want some really interesting stories to tell your friends – I’ve got a few interesting stories from my travels). Something to remember with bus and train travel in America is that you  must be there fairly early to secure your seat or someone else will get on and take it (even if you have booked a specific time to get on the bus and you turn up on time. Just be early and get in the line).

Shopping In New York:

Take empty suitcases because you’ll want to buy a lot!

    • Times Square and around the area is where you will find the huge stores. Toys R Us, Sephora, Forever 21, M&M World etc.

Times Square By Night

    • Go to Macys department store in Herald Square and go up to the mezzanine floor. Present your passport to the visitors desk there and they will give you a card to receive 10% off everything in store. 
    • Sephora (Times Square) is the best store to visit for ALL of your make up needs. Go bezerk with perfume, eyeliner, skin care etc. Try nail polish on and take it off as many times as you like in the store! You will find Sephora located at various places around New York and America in general.

      My Sephora purchases

      My Sephora purchases

    • Forever 21 is a HUGE  fashion store with  many cheap clothes to choose from. It’s more of a teenager/College student type of store but you could find lots of good things there.
    • American Eagle has great cheap jeans if you need any. They fit like a glove and so many of my friends have raved about them too.
    • Victoria’s Secret/Pink have a number of big stores in New York. I highly recommend getting a bra fitting from one of their specialists and buying a few pairs of bras. My friends and I spent at least 1 hour in there getting fitted for some every-day-wear t-shirt bras and I am so glad I did. I am in LOVE with my super soft and supportive bras (I adore the Victoria’s Secret Perfect Shape Tshirt Bra and the Pink Wear Everywhere Lightly Lined Bra)! The team in store are so friendly and helpful. They spend ages with you making sure you get the best fit. There is no service like it in Australia.
    • Century 21 –21- 22 Cortlandt St World Trade Centre Stop. Hit and miss, but always great for hosiery and underwear. And if you’re lucky amazing designer buys from last season upstairs. It’s a crazy big department store, where you try on the clothes on the top floor. You’ll find designer brands such as Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs cheap here. 
    • Shops on 5th Ave – best around Broadway, Prince & Spring Sts, All the big names such as Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys are here.
    • Soho – Spring Street and all surrounding streets (around 6th ave, prince, spring). Top Shop, Zara, Madewell. Soho markets on Spring street great for scarfs/ jewellery 
    • American Girl Dolls, 609 5th Ave (just down the road from Rockerfeller centre) – If you have a special little girl in your life, you need to take them to this store! Basically it’s like no other kids store you have ever been to. Girls can create their very own dolls that look just like them or are one of the American Girl hero characters that comes with a book series and history lesson. You can buy them accessories like dresses, glasses, even casts and crutches! You can take your doll to a tea party in the store too. My friends cousin had one of these dolls and it was so beautiful. She pulled a bunch of it’s hair out and sent it to the doll hospital. When it came back to her, she was in a hospital gown with a note. So cute and the attention to detail of this brand is amazing! If you have a little girl with you, allow at least 3 hours to visit.
    • Barneys- 660 Madison Ave & 61st. Brilliant one stop shop for everything. Barney Co op two floors are definitely worth a look. The shoes are to die for too.
    • Bergdorf Goodman- Department Store 5th Avenue and 56th. Another good one stop shop for everything clothes-wise.
    • Club Monaco- 160 Fifth Ave. It’s a similar price point to Country Road, but cooler stuff.
    • Marc Jacobs- 403 Bleeker St Meat Packing district. This is the Marc by Marc Jacobs mens and Womens stores. But they have fantastic bits and pieces, clothes. The main store is 100m up the road on the corner at number 385. Jeffrey- 449 14th St
    • H&M- 640 Fifth Ave (at 51st ). Cheap and chic clothes from Sweden.
    • Urban Outfitters- 526 Sixth Ave. Good for the boys too.
    • Zara- 750 Lexington Ave.
    • Intermix- 125 5th Avenue All the stars love this shop. Great designer bags, denim labels and clothing. There are at least three of these boutiques but this one is the biggest and carries everything from new edgy designers to labels like Chloe, Stella Mcartney etc.
    • American Apparel- 121 Spring St. Love the basics every colour under the rainbow…brilliant!
    • Steven Alan- 103 Franklin Street. Great mix of stuff from all over. Great shoes and bit and pieces.
    • Eva – 227 Mulberry Street. All around here is a great spot to wonder, lots of amazing shops more boutique shopping than high street.
    • Opening Ceremony- 35 Howard St between Broadway and Lafayette Streets. One of my friends favourite boutiques in New York! They always have AMAZING bags, shoes, clothes and good sales on too!
    • Top Shop – good for men, Soho
    • Loft, 770 Broadway – I really loved this store for affordable lovely clothes. http://www.loft.com/
    • Ann Taylor, 149 5th Ave- My friends and I shopped up a storm here! Lots of nice office type clothes. http://www.anntaylor.com/
    • Apple Store, 767 5th Ave – This is where people line up to grab the very first of any Apple product and you see the iconic glass building on TV a lot.
    • FAO Schwartz – Got kids? You need to take them here and be greeted by one of the big toy soldiers and play on the keyboard that you can dance on (remember in Home Alone?). I made my very own Muppet puppet here (I have been wanting one for years!) http://www.fao.com
Here's my Muppet that I designed at FAO Schwartz. I love him! His name is Emmett.

Here’s my Muppet that I designed at FAO Schwartz. I love him! His name is Emmett.

2 day shopping plan in New York – SOHO AND MEATPACKING DISTRICT:

  • The best shopping is in Soho and then walk into the Meat Packing District. In Soho, shopping is on Canal street and then you walk up towards Greenwich Village up Broadway and all the streets off to the left and right until you get to Houstston St. Then from Greenwich Village walk up Bleecker st which is the most amazing street (so leave lots of time) up into the Meat Packing District. My friends crammed Soho, Greenwich Village and Meatpacking all in one day but would allow at least 2 full days in Soho. Meatpacking shops dont open till 11am so go to Pastis for breakfast (9 Ninth Ave) and then have the afternoon shopping there. Its very small but concentrated, has brands but not like Chanel and LV, more like Alexander McQueen and DVF, much more fun.

Broadway and Shows In New York

  • TKTS booth – if you want cheaper broadway shows, go to this red booth in Times Square pretty much under the stairs in the heart of the square. It opens from 3pm and there is a line so be there early to get in the line. It only sells tickets for shows of that night. Have a look at the shows that are playing and choose what you want to see. I saw Jersey Boys and thought it was great. It’s not a very glitzy musical though so pick something else if you like shows with sparkles and girly things. Wicked and Mama Mia are classics!
  •  ‘Sleep no more’ – an amazing play where you wear masks and walk around a hotel which acts as the set and you can interact with the actors (can’t buy tickets from TKTS booth unfortunately)
  •  Look online in advance if you want to see some shows filmed. Classics like Jerry Springer and Dr Phil are filmed a few hours out of Manhattan but apparently aren’t too hard to get to. In Times Square you can get in to see MTV filming shows if you get there early in the morning usually.
  • The Today Show is filmed every weekday morning on the corner of 49th and Rockefeller Center before dawn. Get there at about 6:30am for a good spot and bring a sign with a “HELLO DAD” type of message if you like, and get ready to cheer, smile and wave to the cameras. This show is filmed outside so be prepared for the weather.

Attractions and Museums

  • Times Square – So many colours and things to look at! When you come out of the subway station, the grandeur of Time Square will hit you. It’s buzzing with people, shops, street performers (if you want to take a photo with a fake looking Hello Kitty, Elmo or a Minion this is the place). If you’re lucky you’ll see The Naked Cowboy. This guy walks around, rain, hail or shine, in white undies in a cowboy hat and boots while he plays his guitar for tips. He’s been doing it for years. There are hundreds of amazing shops here too. See where the ball drops on New Years (it actually looks tiny when you stand in the square. 

    Here's the Naked Cowboy in his prime back in 2006.

    Here’s the Naked Cowboy in his prime back in 2006.

  • Guggenheim – 5th Ave. Another famous art Muesum that people think kind of looks like a toilet. It has some interesting architecture.

    Inside the Guggenheim

    Inside the Guggenheim

  • Moma (Museum of Modern Art) –11 West 53rd Street. b/w 5th and 6th Aves. Great space and loved all the art they had there (Warhol etc). – It’s free on Friday nights from 4pm I think. Get there early there is a line
  • The Metropolitan Muesum of art (The Met) 1000 5th Ave – Lots of ancient artefacts and exhibitions.
  • Love Statue, 1359 Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave).

    Love Sculpture 6th Ave

    Love Sculpture 6th Ave

  • Chelsea market – (in Meat Packing District) great fresh food and cool things to buy
  • The Grand Central Terminal Building is beautiful and you can pose like Serena from Gossip Girl on the balcony.
Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

  • Top of the Rock – 30 Rockerfeller building. Make sure you go all the way to the top. There are 3 levels that you can go up to. First has glass surrounding it and the others up the stairs are great and very open. Better for photos. When you get there, buy tickets with card through the machines to avoid the human payment line. They don’t tell you that but it will save you time. Once you get your ticket, you’ll have to wait an hour or so for your time to go up the top depending on how busy the day is, sometimes it could be 2 or 3 hours wait so try and get there early. There are shops to look at and eat at in the complex while you wait your turn too. Also at Rockerfeller check out the big golden Prometheus fountain that you see in movies and they have an ice rink around in Winter. Stand outside the Lego store for a good view of it. Apparently Top of the Rock is a better view than the Empire State. The building has a very interesting history too that you will learn about in videos as you wait to go up the lift.

    In summer there are cafes in the forecourt of the golden Prometheus sculpture and in Winter it is an iceskating rink with a giant Christmas tree looking on.

    In summer there are cafes in the forecourt of the golden Prometheus sculpture and in Winter it is an iceskating rink with a giant Christmas tree looking on.

Top of the Rock - Facing Central park

Top of the Rock – Facing Central park

  • NY Highline walk – What used to be an old train track has now been converted into a nice park. There are some good photo locations through it and it’s very pretty.
My friend and I visited the beautiful New York Highline

My friend and I visited the beautiful New York Highline

  • Yankees games are apparently a fun experience. If the football is on that would also be fun to experience. Yankee Stadium is fantastic at night. Catching the subway to the Bronx is fine on game nights and walking in with the fans is an experience in and of itself. 
  • Central Park is a must. Make sure you are wearing comfy walking shoes and have a map (preferably your mobile phone so you can look at Google Maps because it is easy to get lost in there). Make sure you allow for 2-4 hours to look around and maybe pack a picnic, eat lunch at the Boat House or visit Wholefoods. Go to ‘Strawberry Fields’ where the “imagine” Beatles memorial is. The Dakota Building where John Lennon was shot is across the road. There is also a really beautiful bridge and cloister at Bethesda Fountain. You’ll probably recognise it from various movies set in New York. I thought the Southern end of Central Park was better than the Northern Part, so if you don’t have a lot of time, don’t bother with the top half.
Strawberry Fields in Central Park. This is the John Lennon memorial.

Strawberry Fields in Central Park. This is the John Lennon memorial

Central Park Bethesda Terrace

Central Park Bethesda Terrace

  • The Statue Of Liberty. There are 2 options for this one. Option 1 (the cheap scenic option) Get on the Statten Island Ferry and it will take you for a nice cruise past Ellis Island where Liberty is. You can stand on the deck and get some beautiful photos with her behind you. Option 2 (the more expensive option) Get a cruise from Battery Park that will take you direct to Ellis Island where you can stand in front of the statue itself or climb inside.

    Statue of liberty from Statten Island ferry

    Statue of liberty from Statten Island ferry

  • 9/11 memorial. Check out where the towers fell and the memorial water falls. It was about $25 to get in and apparently it is really good. You can get in free after 5pm on Wednesdays I think (check on that). I went to a little church called St Pauls down the road from Ground Zero and I found it really moving. It houses some beautiful memorials to the victims and workers of 9/11. The church provided a sanctuary and support network to a lot of the emergency service crews by providing places for them to sleep, eat and speak to councillors. It was a very human element. I highly recommend visiting St Paul’s and learning about the history the little church has to offer on it’s own.

    Tributes and badges  from 9/11in St Pauls Church

    Tributes and badges from 9/11in St Pauls Church

  • Flatiron Building 175 5th Ave- One of the classic buildings in New York. Situated on a corner, this building is in a triangular shape and has beautiful architecture. Just up the road is Madison Square park which is a nice place to sit.
The Flatiron Building on a rainy evening

The Flatiron Building on a rainy evening

    • Empire State Building – You can go to the top and look out at the view, but I’m told that Top of the Rock provides a much better view.
    • Check out the outside of the restaurant from Seinfeld (Toms Restaurant 2880 Broadway (cn W 112th st,) in the upper west side and then walk through Columbia University and check out the beautiful architecture. Barak Obama once attended this university.
Toms Restaurant - As seen in Seinfeld and the restaurant that the song Tom's Diner was penned about.

Toms Restaurant – As seen in Seinfeld and the restaurant that the song ‘Tom’s Diner’ was penned about.

  • You can hire bikes in various places around the city if you feel inclined. You can ride or walk East to the Hudson River and there is a great path that goes the entire length of Manhattan. You can ride your bike down the bottom of Manhattan to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty too near Battery Park. 
  • Wall Street Stock Exchange – take a photo with the charging bull statue and then you might want to walk down to Battery Park and visit the Statue of Liberty on the ferry.

    Wall St, New York

    Wall St, New York

Neighbourhoods in New York

      • Soho- really good shopping area. Best streets are Broadway (massive), Greene St, Prince St, Spring St. Easily a whole day of wondering around the shops and great hotels, architecture and restaurants/ bars. Very ‘New York’ looking area.
      • Meatpacking- Great food around here. Soho House, Pastis, good shops like Shelly Steffe, Jeffrey etc.Gansevoort St and Hudson and 14th are right in the centre of it all.
      • West Village- Main street to see is Bleeker St and around there. More suburban area. Really beautiful area just next to Meatpacking.
      • Chelsea – A really pretty little area to walk around in. It’s known as the gay hub of New York and there are some cute cafes and homewares stores. Visit Chelsea Market to pick up some nice food and hand made crafts.
      • Greenwich Village – take a walk around Washington Square park. There are always buskers and kids playing with their nannies on the lawns. Take a photo in front of the Stanford White Arch.

        Stafford Arch

        Stafford Arch

      • Nolita- (North little Italy) Like Melbourne there are real hubs for each culture. China town and Little Italy have great food. Great shopping. Just head to Mott, Elizabeth and Mulberry Streets. Really cute area with small cafes. And restaurants.
      • Lower East Side – more ‘artsy scene’. The artwork on the walls to the cool clubs and bars make it a fun area to explore. Main Streets Rivington, Orchard, Ludlow, and Stanton. St Marks Place is the main hub of the area and there are some punk type shops and hipster cafes around. If you like Jeff Buckley, you can walk past where he used to live 233 E12th st and see Arlene’s Grocery where he used to play 95 Stanton St.
      • Upper East – Where a lot of the rich people live as you would know if you ever watched Gossip Girl
      • Upper West- In a short time frame I’d leave this area alone. My hostel was in this neighbourhood and so is Columbia University and Tom’s Restaurant from Seinfeld, but nothing else worth seeing.
      • Brooklyn and Williamsburg – Think hipsters, warehouses, people who are too cool! I took the “L” Train to Williamsburg and looked around there in Bedford st which was cool and very similar to Melbourne I thought. I then took a green train near the Brooklyn bridge and looked around that area. You can see where Michelle and Heath Ledger lived. Next to it on the street near a fire hydrant is where he wrote his daughter Matilda, and dog, Hugo, in the concrete. 126 Hoyt Street (across from Dean Street).

        Outside the house that Michelle WIlliams and Heath Ledger owned is a fire hydrant where Heath etched his daughter and pet dogs names.

        Outside the house that Michelle WIlliams and Heath Ledger owned is a fire hydrant where Heath etched his daughter and pet dogs names.

Walk back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. I did this at around 5pm as the sun was setting and it was beautiful! I highly recommend it! Its a much better view walking back to Manhattan over the bridge than walking across it to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Bridge

  • Queens – I went on a tour to Queens that was organised by my hostel (Hostelling International New York). They took us to the Queens Museum (Don’t waste your money visiting it in my opinion), we saw the site of the Worlds Fair with the big globe (that was pretty cool) and we ate lunch in the big China town area. If you like Louis Armstrong, you can visit his house museum 56, 107th St. If you are short on time, I’d say skip Queens.
World Fair Unisphere in Queens

World Fair Unisphere in Queens

  • Harlem – I went to Harlem on a $10 tour with the Hostel I stayed in (Hostelling International New York). That was quite interesting and they took us to a gospel Church. My friend recommended that if you want a really different night, go up to the Abysinneium Church in Harlem on a Wed evening (6pm) for gospel – it is not in the tour books and is much better, more intimate than Sunday sessions (Sundays at 8am and midday). You get to sing along and the music is brilliant!! Then stay up in Harlem and go out to the Dinasour BBQ restaurant, then go to St Nick’s Jazz bar. Apparently Harlem is pretty safe these days so you can take the subway up and back… but as a solo single lady traveller, I wouldn’t go there without a group or after dark.

Food Recommendations in New York

These were all recommended to me by my friends, friends, friends from the pass on circle of this list so hopefully they are all still amazing and in business when you read this:

  • Street carts, There are lots of silver street carts around the city selling all kinds of things from hot dogs, to curry, to kebabs, to ice creams and drinks! You can eat from these and they are fairly safe…. but I didn’t risk eating any chicken from them.
  • You have to go to one of those typical American diners for dinner one night! Katz is one that was recommended to me but I never went.
  • Public- 210 Elizabeth St. Great atmosphere, really cool décor and fabulous bar for cocktails before dinner.
  • Pastis- Little West 12th corner of ninth Avenue. (212 929 4844) Always seen in Sex in the City. Great for breaky and world famous for the crowd that turns up constantly.
  • Soho House- Meat Packing District. Great roof top bar/ restaurant poolside.
  • The Mercer Kitchen- 99 Prince St Soho (corner of Mercer and Prince) bottom of The Mercer Hotel. Great spot in the heart of the shops. Amazing space and cocktails as well as fabulous food. Yummy lunch / brunch place when hanging out in Soho.
  • Balthazar- 80 Spring St Soho. A famous spot in Soho. Always busy, but the food is pretty good.
  • Au Pain- Great Breakfast or Lunch stop in Soho. They do ok coffee and great salads etc for lunch.
  • Tao – 42 E. 58th Street Telephone: (212) 888-2288 where the beautiful rich young people drink http://www.taorestaurant.com/ 
  • Magnolia Bakery – 401 Bleecker Street
  • Mandarin – for somewhere fancy for dinner, AMAZING. Go before sunset so you can have a few drinks watching the city as the sun goes down http://www.mandarinoriental.com/newyork/dining/asiate/
  • Olives – 201 Park Avenue South. Telephone: (212) 353-8345 (for lunch)
  • Sea Grill Rockefeller Center 19 W. 49th St. (5th & 6th Aves.)
  • Blue Water Grill 31 Union Square West (Flatiron/Gramercy/Union Square at 16th St.) Telephone: 212 675 9500 VERY NYC sit on lower level.
  • Da Silvano Restaurant 260 Avenue of the Americas, New York, (212) 982-2343.
  • Bar Pitti 268 Ave of the Americas New York, Greenwich Village (212) 982-3300.
  • Mario Batali Buddakan – 75 9th Avenue in Meatpacking District – 212 989 6699. Seriously great Asian Fusion restaurant. They filmed a scene from the Sex and the City movie there.
  • Kingswood – 121 West 10th St in the West Village – 212 645 0018 Owned by a couple of Australians. Great for drinks and then dinner and excellent value as far as NYC restaurants go.
  • La Esquina – 106 Kenmare Street – 646 613 7100 Mexican underground. Cool restaurant and good food if you like Mexican.
  • The Stanton Social – 99 Stanton Street – 212 995 0099 Good restaurant and bar. Good on a Saturday night.
  • Double Crown – 316 Bowery on the Lower East Side – 212 254 0350 Great for dinner and drinks.
  • STK Steak House – 26 Little West 12th Street – 646 624 2444. Steakhouse with a DJ. Very NY.
  • Butter – 415 Lafayette Street in Nolita – 212 253 2828 Make a reservation for late on a Monday night and then try to get into the club downstairs. The nightclub downstairs is THE place to be on a Monday night. Full of models and actors.
  • Morimoto – 88 10th Avenue Meatpacking. Trendy Japanese. Famous chef.
  • Katz’s Delicatessen – 205 East Houston Street at Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side You’ve got to have a NY Deli meal for lunch one day. Katz’s is an institution.
  • Barney Greengrass – Restaurant on the top of Barney’s department store – great for lunch or a break when shopping.

Bar recommendations in New York

  • 230 Fifth – A roof top bar that overlooks skyline of NYC – amazing you must go – the most amazing views/ cocktails and roof top bar. Go before sunset and sip a cocktail with a dressing gown on! (It’s on 5th Ave, number 230 – hence the name!). A MUST visit!
  • Rose Bar – Rooftop of The Gramercy Park Hotel. Great bar. Must visit.
  • Bowery Bar – 40 East 4th Street – 212 475 2220 Another Downtown Institution. Good for dinner and drinks. Has a big beer garden.
  • Employees Only – 510 Hudson Street at 10th street. Another really cool local bar.
  • Southside – 1 Cleveland Place Soho. Great on a Thursday night. Have drinks at Employees Only and head down to Southside around midnight.
  • Morell’s Wine Bar – Rockerfeller Plaza Yummy Pizzetta, great wine and fantastic people watching when you’re near Rockerfeller.
  • Zinc Bar (Jazz) – on a Fri night for live music – on W3rd street near Washington Square

2 day shopping plan in New York – SOHO AND MEATPACKING DISTRICT:

  • The best shopping is in Soho and then walk into the Meat Packing District. In Soho, shopping is on Canal street and then you walk up towards Greenwich Village up Broadway and all the streets off to the left and right until you get to Houstston St. Then from Greenwich Village walk up Bleecker st which is the most amazing street (so leave lots of time) up into the Meat Packing District. My friends crammed Soho, Greenwich Village and Meatpacking all in one day but would allow at least 2 full days in Soho. Meatpacking shops dont open till 11am so go to Pastis for breakfast (9 Ninth Ave) and then have the afternoon shopping there. Its very small but concentrated, has brands but not like Chanel and LV, more like Alexander McQueen and DVF, much more fun.

A few more tips for travelling in New York

  • Remember to tip pretty much everyone in the service industry! Hairdressers, bartenders, waiters, cab drivers, bus drivers, hotel clerks if they carry your bag, leave a few dollars on your nightstand if you are staying in a hotel as a tip for your cleaner every day. You don’t need to tip in fast food places such as McDonalds or Taco Bell. Remember that these people are usually paid only a few dollars an hour by the company they are working for and rely on tips to make a wage. Keep as many $1 bills as you can in your purse to use for tipping because they don’t like giving you change.
  • You’ll find New Yorkers are pretty blunt and a bit rude. They like to boss you around and be quite authoritative (you’ll notice this even before you leave the airport with the airport security yelling at you for not moving in the line fast enough or something!). Even asking questions to staff who are in customer service positions will get you blunt, un-friendly responses. I like to smile at them and be super thankful to see if I could crack a smile out of them.
  • Be prepared to be called Ma’am or Sir and be ready to call people that.
  • Here’s a handy map of New York from City Sights which is one of the hop on/hop off bus companies to help you with your planning.

Good luck planning your trip to beautiful New York City!

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