Monday, 28 January 2019

What I ate in New York

Now that my Christmas and new year blog posts are done and dusted, I thought it was about time I wrote another blog post about New York.

January feels as if it's dragged on for about a hundred years, and it genuinely feels like a lifetime ago since we experienced the magic of New York during the festive season.

We really love eating (shock horror) so we researched lots of places to eat before we went and plotted all the possibilities on a Trello board. We also added a few must-do-again restaurants to our list after falling in love with a few on our first trip to New York six years ago.

If you know me at all, you'll know that my days are always structured around food whether I'm at home, in work or on holiday. We started every day with a classic American breakfast which usually kept us full until mid afternoon, then we'd have a snack and a hot drink before going out for dinner a few hours later.

After reading the title of this post, I know you all just want see some food photos rather than scrolling through my ramblings. Your wish is my command...



Breakfast 

We ate breakfast at our hotel on the first morning. It was a good breakfast but was very expensive, so we decided to eat at Tick Tock Diner every morning for the rest of our trip. It was only a ten minute walk from our hotel, and we had a bonus view of the Empire State Building from our table if we were given a window seat. The pancakes at Tick Tock Diner are my absolute favourites, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm salivating just thinking about them.










Fast food 

One of the many excellent things about New York is the sheer amount of places where you can eat on the go. There's a huge variety of cuisines to choose from to suit every possible dietary requirement and appetite. Our most difficult decision was figuring out how to try as many places as we possibly could during our trip without over-eating and making ourselves sick.

We discovered a place that sold huge pizza slices for two dollars on our first afternoon so we promptly went there for our first snack of the holiday. Obviously you can't go wrong with a pizza slice for two dollars, so we visited a couple more times before the end of our trip.





We couldn't go to New York without getting a takeaway cheesecake to eat in our hotel room over three days, so we made sure we went to Junior's to get the biggest slice of cheesecake I've ever seen. True to form, it did last three days. 





The next two snacks were absolute must-dos after our last trip. The best hot dog I've ever had from the food court in Grand Central Station, and a giant burrito from Chipotle Mexican Grill.







Lastly on the snack front, no day in my life is complete without a hot chocolate stop. Although we tried to go to coffee shops we wouldn't find in the UK for the most part, I did succumb to a Starbucks one afternoon when I had a sugar low and was freezing cold. 








Dinner 

We'd scouted out all the restaurants we went to for dinner on TripAdvisor beforehand and they definitely lived up to the hype.

My favourite find was Bareburger on 46th St, and we ate here on our first evening and our last evening. If America does one thing really well, it's big fat burgers. And just look at the size of those onion rings! There are lots of sweet potato fries hiding under there too which were equally as delicious. 





After trying Junior's last time we visited New York and rating it as our best meal of the trip, we absolutely had to visit again. The photo makes my meal look a bit beige and bland, but I can promise you that it wasn't. However, I will grudgingly admit that it was far too big for me to eat the entire thing. 





Pure Thai, a little hidden gem on 9th Avenue, was another firm favourite. We would easily have walked past it without a thought if we hadn't looked it up on TripAdvisor. It was a tiny little restaurant with fewer than ten tables so we were lucky to get seated without a booking. The food was so simple but SO TASTY, and the service was fantastic. 







We splashed out on an expensive meal at K Rico Steakhouse, a few doors up from Pure Thai. We had three courses and a couple of glasses of wine, and it was well worth the price. The waiter helpfully warned us that the desserts were big enough to share, so I didn't eat that entire slice of cheesecake myself (just in case you were wondering). 









I well and truly miss New York and its amazing food, and I'm absolutely starving after writing this post. Have I inspired you to try any of these places if/when you visit New York? Let me know! 

Monday, 21 January 2019

Christmas sale bargains

It's become a bit of an annual tradition for me to blog about the bargains I've treated myself to in the Christmas and new year sales. You can read last year's post here in case it passed you by.

January always feels a bit gloomy in lots of ways so it's been nice to brighten it up with some discounted treats. I usually do the vast majority of my shopping online throughout the year because I find it less stressful, but I actually ventured in to Cardiff for some of the purchases below. There's something very satisfying about buying an item in-store and being able to use it straight away rather than waiting for it to be delivered.

I had £250 saved up in my eBay profit account so I decided to use that for my sale shopping. Using my eBay pot instead of dipping in to my current account made everything feel like even more of a bargain!

Let's find out what I bought and how much I saved...






This beauty from Kate Spade was my biggest treat to myself. I was on the lookout for a pink bag to replace one of my old ones so I was delighted when this one popped up in their sale. 

Saving = £146






I always end up buying a few things from the New Look sale over Christmas. This year I bought a pair of heels, a dressy dress and a jumper. 

Saving = £39






I ran out of proper hot chocolate just before Christmas so I popped in to Whittard to top up my stash. The pretty tin was a bonus. 

Saving = £5






I had quite a few gifts from Lush for Christmas so I didn't go mad in their sale, but I couldn't resist this bath melt at half price. The solid perfume was an impulse buy at the till because it was cute, yellow and also half price! 

Saving = £7






We went to Bridgend's McArthur Glen at the beginning of January and I picked up this cute polar bear jumper in Next. I also bought a pair of jeans for £8.99 (!) on the same trip, so the epic saving I made on those is included in the figure below. 

Saving = £40






These shoes were a complete impulse buy from Dorothy Perkins as I couldn't leave them behind when I clocked them in my size at Leckwith's Outfit store. They're so beautiful and sparkly! 

Saving = £12 






It's been a while since I bought a hoodie from Animal, so I treated myself to one a couple of weeks ago. It's a nice neutral colour and goes perfectly with my classic Ugg boots. 

Saving = £23 




I'm really pleased with my bargains and feel as if I bought a nice variety of items. I've also already sold a few things on eBay this year to make room for my new purchases and started replenishing my eBay profit account in the process. 

So, how much did I save in total? The results are in... 

Total savings = £272
Total spent = £236

I stayed within budget and actually saved more than I spent. That's the kind of result I like!  

Monday, 14 January 2019

Best of 2018

I always enjoy writing my 'best of' posts at the end of every year. In case you missed it twelve months ago, you can read last year's post here!

2018 had a difficult ending as we had some bad news just after getting back from New York. It's much easier to focus on the negatives when the chips are down, and these types of posts help to remind me that there were lots of good times to be thankful for in 2018.

You might notice that there's a definite 'food and Jessie' theme running throughout which pretty much sums up my day-to-day life. I'm perfectly fine with that.

I haven't been able to include every highlight which is always a good sign that it was a full and busy year, but here are some of my favourite moments from 2018.



Fake Christmas 




The annual Fake Christmas tradition with my university friends continued last January. Liz was my Secret Santa and I think you'll all agree that these gifts are perfect for me. 



Sunday lunch at the Vale Resort 



Neil's parents bought us a voucher for Sunday lunch at the Vale Resort for our third wedding anniversary, and we finally had the chance to redeem it last February. I blogged about it here



Went out for dinner with Sophie 




Sophie and I went to Penarth's Etc one evening in February for a nice dinner and cocktails. We left our husbands at home with the Playstation and takeaway pizza! 




Jessie's first snow




We had a crazy amount of snow at the beginning of March. Although she was extremely confused at first, Jessie loved it once her little legs had found their bearings.



Afternoon tea at Machynys Golf Club and Spa




I had a lovely week off before starting my new job last March. The week included a few days at my parents' house and afternoon tea and a manicure at Machynys with Nicola.



New job 




That leads me nicely on to one of my biggest highlights of 2018... starting my new job in March! I bought myself this 'celebration' necklace from Clogau as a treat to mark the occasion. 



Jessie's first birthday 



We celebrated Jessie's first birthday in April and she was spoilt rotten (even more so than usual). I blogged about it here.  



A weekend with my uni friends




I spent the weekend in Bristol with my university friends in April. We don't get to catch up very often so it was lovely to see everyone so soon after our Fake Christmas shenanigans.  



18 months all clear 




We had dinner at Viva Brazil in April to celebrate me being all clear at the 18 month mark. I had a procedure during the same week to get an irritating long-term eye problem sorted, hence the need for glasses in this photo! Horrible procedure, great result. 



Final support group meeting and lunch 




My support group sadly came to an end in 2018 due to funding cuts. The end of the group obviously wasn't something to celebrate, but we all had a lovely afternoon after our final meeting with a plastic jug of pink Prosecco... perils of eating out in Cardiff on a rugby day.  



Walt Disney World 



Neil and I spent an amazing fortnight in Florida's Walt Disney World in May. It's my favourite place in the world, and you can read a photographic summary of our trip here



My birthday 



We celebrated my birthday with lots of eating, shopping and more eating. I blogged about it here



Finished our major re-decorating project 



We finally finished re-decorating our house (for now), including a beautiful pink, grey and white makeover for our bedroom. I blogged about it here



Mad Hatter's afternoon tea with Sarah 



Sarah bought me a voucher for this amazing afternoon tea as a birthday gift, and we went together in August. I blogged about it here



Fourth wedding anniversary 



We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary with a meal in Llanerch Vineyard and some lovely gifts. I blogged about it here



Afternoon tea with Liz and Abbie 



I went back to Pettigrew Tea Rooms in September after a long (for me) absence and had afternoon tea with Liz and baby Abbie. I blogged about it here



Afternoon tea in Portishead with Amy 




I visited Amy for the day in September and we had an absolutely MASSIVE afternoon tea in Portishead. 



Weekend with Sarah




Sarah came to visit for the weekend at the end of September. We drank Prosecco, went for a nice walk around Cardiff Bay, and had pancakes in Bill's for breakfast. 



Llangennith 



Neil and I took Jessie on her first holiday and spent a lovely few days in Llangennith, followed by a day at my parents' house. I blogged about it here



Visited Fee in Milton Keynes 




I spent a lovely weekend with Fee and Liz in October. The weekend was obviously structured around food... always the best way to structure a weekend. We did do a bit of walking to make up for it. 



Two years all clear 



We had a spectacular meal at Pier 64 in October to celebrate me being all clear at the two year mark. I blogged about it here



Christmas shopping trip in Bristol 



I went to Bristol for the day in November for the traditional Christmas shopping trip with my university friends. I blogged about it here



Afternoon tea with Jo 



I caught up with Jo for the first time in ages in November with yet another delicious afternoon tea in Pettigrew Tea Rooms. 



Weekend with Nicola 




Nicola came to stay for the weekend at the end of November. We did lots of shopping and had afternoon tea in Pettigrew Tea Rooms (I'm sensing a bit of a theme here). 



New York 



Neil and I spent a week in New York at the beginning of December and were completely and utterly wowed by all the Christmas lights. You can read a photographic summary of our trip here



Work Christmas party 




I went to my first work Christmas party with my new colleagues in December. We ate a lovely meal in Las Iguanas then went on to Rum & Fizz before finishing off the evening at Dirty Martini. 



Christmas 



No highlights post would be complete without mentioning Christmas at the end. I blogged about it here, along with a summary of our new year celebrations.



Have you published a 'best of 2018' post? Let me know if so, I'd love to read it!