Tag Archives: Balthazar

My New York City trip!

I am tired.  Very, very tired, but happy.  Very, very happy.

My great friend, Cali, and I arrived in NYC at around midday on Saturday.  The weather was perfect – blue skies and a cool breeze.  We stayed in the Holiday Inn on Lafayette Street – which I have to say was the PERFECT location in the middle of SoHo.

travel attire

My travel attire: Sneakers – Stan Smiths // Jeans – J.Crew // T-shirt – Ted Baker (old but similar here) // Cardigan – J.Crew

on the plane

We headed straight out for lunch and found a fabulous place called Delicatessen for mussels and fries.  They also had a ‘Macbar’ so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to taste the mac ‘n’ cheese with confit of duck – as rich and amazing as it sounds!

lots of foodAfter a bottle of prosecco it was time to flex the credit card and we walked around the corner to AllSaints – how convenient that their sale had just started in store!  It hasn’t started online yet so keep your eyes peeled here.  I got a couple of great bargains along with the Rae dress that I just couldn’t resist.

Rae dress

That night we headed out for cocktails at The Pegu Club – of course the new dress was worn.  A fabulous conclusion to a great first day!

The pegu club

Sunday morning began bright and early with maybe the BEST breakfast I have ever had at Jack’s Wife Freda.  I had rose water waffle with fruit, and a lovely pot of tea – unfortunately we were even too early for mimosas to be served on a Sunday!

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My #selfie – sorry no full length outfit shot, but I was wearing the ASOS maxi dress and my favorite Nars Yu lip pencil.  The dress is perfect and even one of the assistants in Barney’s stopped me to tell me she had just ordered it.

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It was then time to head Uptown where we enjoyed pounding the streets and window shopping – but of course we also had to get some gifts from the American Girl Store and then head to Barney’s for a cocktail.  It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Cali and I selfie

Early that evening we rushed out to an Irish bar near Times Square to meet Avril and see the Belfast Community Gospel Choir perform.  We walked in to the most rousing, amazing sounds. Both Cali and I ended up in tears for the next hour – their singing was so amazing.  I have never felt so emotionally moved by a choir –  being with fabulous friends, in NYC created an incredible experience that I will never forget.  Of course I tried to claim a spot in the choir too:)

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crashing the choirCali and I departed and made our way back downtown…arriving back at our hotel at a little past 4am.  Yep we made the most of it – Russian vodka bars and Speakeasy bars included.

We managed to rally on Monday to meet up with Avril and Gemma Louise at Balthazars for Avril’s birthday lunch.  Cider with ice cubes helped the head:)

pals

Avril

So today has been tough to say the least, but amazing memories made with amazing friends have made it easier.  I feel very fortunate that I have such a supportive family that let me run off for a weekend of fun with brilliant friends who I love dearly – thanks for making it great Cali, Avril and Gemma Louise!

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IMG_8473Shoes – Ancient Greek // Bag – Alexander Wang Rocco (old similar here) // Jeans – J.Crew // Top – AllSaints Tiko tee // Jacket – my new AllSaints Walker jacket bought in the sale not online right now

 

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A Christmas to remember.

Firstly I hope Santa bought you everything you hoped for?

We have had an amazing week.  Christmas Eve was filled with love and friendship on our annual family visit to Church.  It’s a tradition I established a couple of years ago as I have great memories of singing carols as a child, both at Church and school.  Attending a public school here though means there is very little carol singing, if any, as we have all this separation of Church and State etc.  So in order for the children to appreciate the story of Christmas I have started taking them to Church on Christmas Eve.  The real miracle is that even MM – a true agnostic – comes with us and belts out a couple of carols.  This year we were also joined by friends and that made it really special.

For Church I wore my H&M dress, Boden chic leather biker jacket from last season and my black Isabel Marant Dicker boots.  I can’t see the dress online right now but it was recently in the sale here in store for just $10 – yes it’s synthetic and I wouldn’t stand anywhere near a naked flame in it – but I think it’s really fun and can be worn for a variety of occasions.

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On Christmas Day morning Santa was good to all of us – leaving us 4 tickets for a flight that lunchtime to NYC!  SO exciting!  Fortunately, Santa had tipped off Mom and Dad beforehand, so we had time to do a little under cover packing.  Note to self: don’t try to go to Church, pack bags and wrap presents on Christmas Eve again.

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Of course one of the joys of traveling Christmas Day is that there is no Christmas Dinner to cook.  My little ones were thrilled with their alternative Christmas Dinner and a trip to their first NYC McDonald’s!

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We anticipated that the weather was going to be colder up there but bl**dy hell it was freezing.  So much for me wondering which jackets to take.  In the end I made the right choice with my Patagonia Downtown Loft puffer – it was perfect for navigating the Rockefeller Center with the rest of the New York tourists.

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It was crazy there and if the crowds were overwhelming for me then they must have been for Hugh and Poppy so we headed to Bryant Park instead, which was far more civilized on Christmas night.  Another beautiful Christmas tree to see, ice skaters to watch and the Empire State Building lit up above us.  What a perfect NYC scene.

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Food featured heavily in this trip and that night we headed back to the hotel, weary from traveling and crowds, to enjoy the best Chinese takeaway ever.  I see a new tradition beginning.

Boxing Day was icy again, but intent on doing some more tourist attractions for the children’s benefit, we headed Downtown.  I wrapped up in the Boden Fairisle jumper, layered over an H&M vest dress, with my AllSaints Delors leather trousers, Zara scarf and Ash Bowie boots – which I have to say were the most comfortable shoes for walking up and down Manhattan – I was thrilled they’d made it into my bag!  (Carnage behind me in this photo – a family of 4 in a hotel room…).

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It was important for MM and I to pay our respects at the World Trade Center site, but not wanting to go into too much detail with a 4 and a 6 year old, we opted to wander slowly past Engine 10 Ladder 10 and the memorials.  Very moving and hard to keep it together all these years later.

We then headed to the Staten Island Ferry.  Not only the best way to see Downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty – but the deck of a ferry was also the venue for MM’s proposal of marriage one day early in December, 15 years ago.  After telling Poppy the story she now loves recounting the bit about me drinking a beer and eating a hotdog. IMG_2865 IMG_2866 IMG_2868 IMG_2872

After lunch we headed back Uptown, for a bit of culture and warmth, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We indulged the children with Egyptian Mummies then Hugh decided it was time for a bit of a meltdown – not surprising – the poor lad had walked miles.  I took full advantage of his meltdown to suggest it might be an idea if I sat with him in the café (read bar) so he could snooze (and I could drink prosecco) – I always have my children’s best interests in mind you see.  MM got to wander the corridors of art and Byzantine relics while I ‘parented’ – perfect for all of us I think?  Plus the snow began to fall as I sat there snuggling my 4 year old.  To say it felt Christmassy was an understatement – I was in heaven!

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That night we headed out to dinner to the Bryant Park Grill.  I wanted to take the children out for a nice Christmas dinner but obviously the location had to be child friendly and this venue worked out well.  We dined on oysters, rack of lamb, and classic New York cheesecake.  Don’t even think about the calories.  Unfortunately the weather was ABYSMAL and we got SOAKED walking home – but renditions of ‘My Favorite Things‘ kept us buoyant:)  I was very relieved that suede had not been my choice of footwear.  Instead I wore my Rag & Bone Newburys (in New York what else?), with Dorothy Perkins coated jeggings (now just $29, incredibly comfortable AND they turned out to be pretty water proof!), Forever 21 earrings (similar here – LOVE how cheap they are!), and my tie dye Target Converse dress.  On a side note it turns out that Rag & Bone put a lot of thought into designing the perfect boot for New York women – and they really do fit the bill perfectly.  Some heel height for a bit of sass, but a block heel for walking between subway stations, and a padded footbed for comfort.

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On Thursday we walked miles again.  Dressed in my Off Duty Boden jumper (possibly my favorite this season), AllSaints leather Delors trousers, and Frye Phillip studded harness boots with my H&M scarf we headed off for breakfast. After pancakes we started with a bit of shopping in Soho.  Bizarrely and quite worryingly I didn’t buy a thing, though I did worship for a while at the Isabel Marant and AllSaints stores.  It was also fun popping in places like Uniqlo that we don’t have here in Atlanta.  Fish and chips at A Salt and Battery was our reward for lunch before heading back Uptown to Dylan’s Candy Bar – Mom and Dad deserve a medal for braving those crowds.

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My absolute favorite meal/experience of the trip was our visit to Balthazar restaurant on Friday morning.  It made me wish we could stay and celebrate New Year’s Eve there.  MM had taken me there once before as a treat on my 40th birthday trip.  It was fun to go back and let the kids know we were eating at the Beckham’s favorite spot:)  I bet Victoria doesn’t order what I did – it was perfect with a Mimosa.

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So Christmas 2012 has been fabulous and we still have New Year’s Eve to go.  I am extremely thankful though that we left NYC as the revelers arrived – I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather NOT be on December 31st than Times Square!

Glad to be back blogging – thanks for all your emails and comments – I have read them all and will reply soon I promise!  What do you all have planned for Monday evening – and what are you going to wear!?

 

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