No summer in New York is complete without taking a trip to (at least) one of the islands.

They’re really easy to get to and (at certain times) some ferries to the islands are free!

The Staten Island ferry is always free and runs from 12am – 11.30pm. Buy a ticket to the Statue of Liberty and hop on a ferry for free to Ellis Island.

After (practically) throwing your cash out of the window on the flight — a free and relaxing boat ride is just what you need.

Today, I’ll be your tour guide and I’ll be taking you through Governors Island. Head to Governors Island before 11.30am on a weekend for $0 (summer only).

On route, you’ll be shown an incredible view of the concentre jungle, where dreams are made of, on a boat, there’s nothing you can’t do, now that you’re in New York.

 


Governors Island actually used to be a military base (it protected NYC waterways from British Invasion during the War of 1812) and they’ve preserved many historical goodies for you to see.

Today, it’s a social spot with occasional music festivals, outdoor art, games and 1920’s parties (which I’d definitely go to if I lived in NY).

It’s car-free oasis. I would recommend grabbing your bikes — or renting one out if you’re a tourist. Admire the pretty scenery and don’t forget to stop by the monuments for some very American history.

 New Jersey (left) VS New York (right).

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 Below is Castle Williams. A sign on the fort reads, “Castle Williams, with its twin fort, Castle Clinton in the Battery, was built to guard the waterway between Governors Island and New York City. Together these forts provided such a formidable defense that the British fleet never attempted to attack New York City during the War of 1812”.

Ooohh.

 This is the old Governors abode. How American is this house?

 Even though no one lives on the island, I think it would be an amazing place to live. It’s like a little community town: with a little hospital, church and (Wisteria Lane type) suburbian houses. Sadly, no one resides here whilst Mr Trump decides what to do with it.

New York, I love your islands!

God bless America.

Location: Governors Island, New York

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I love grabbing an iced frap’ and strolling around the shops.

Especially in New York.

There are many reasons why I love shopping in NYC.

It’s a destination of sartorial satisfaction.

With its wide, open pavements, glorious old buildings, fluttering American flags and every shop from Bloomingdale’s to Sephora, it’s a shopper’s paradise.

Grab your purse and hail a yellow cab — we’re going shopping!

Guys (and ladies too) if you’re not into shopping: get yourself dropped off at Barnes & Noble, put your feet up, grab a coffee and lose yourself into a good book.

 In the meantime, fellow shoppers — If you’re a scrimper with a thirst for designer goodies, I would take you to Century 21.

I warn you, it’s always packed with keen tourists. And with good reason — you won’t leave empty-handed. I fluttered past discounted Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton & Mulberry bags, Versace watches and Timberland boots.

Pleased with myself, I left with: a-very-American Tommy Hilfiger bag, some shiny statement jewellery, a pair of designer sunglasses and a huge grin.

Nordstom Rack is another discount haven — check it out online to avoid the crowds.

 Seeking the latest designer collections? Do your friends compliment you on your new season styles?

You’ll be squealing with excitement in Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.

 Did you know that Macy’s has 11 Floors?! I couldn’t cope.

 If you’re a make-up and beauty hoarder buff — you’ll heard of Sephora.

A department store dedicated to the likes of NARS, Urban Decay, bareMinerals, Bobbi Brown, Lancome and every beauty brand you can think of.

It’s a beauty blogger’s paradise.

 Cheers, Sephora.

Right ladies, it’s time to treat you to some underwear. You sexy thang.

What’s the most famous lingerie brand in the US? (Shh, I’ll tell you a secret Victoria, you’ll know it when I give you a clue: angel wings.)

Victoria Secret, obviously! See what I did there? (I’ll stop calling you Victoria now.)

 My lovely friend Tineal couldn’t resist a perfume purchase. During my uni years — I worked in A&F / Hollister, so I’m not really a fan of apparel store scents.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Victoria Eau de Parfum. It’s my kind of scent — it’s light, floral and summery.

Tineal and Ana also brought some PJ’s, bras and underwear.

I much prefer a different American lingerie brand.

It’s called Aerie.

Created by American Eagle. This is the first thing you see when you walk in.

 Besides Aerie’s engaging brand values, I much prefer their prints, touches of ribbon and lace on flirty shapes. I also brought a bikini — it’s like Seafolly but without the price tag.

 One of life’s greatest pleasures is strolling into a beauty salon after a long, hard day of shopping.

 You jump back into the world feeling and smelling a million dollars.

Welcome to Red Door Spa New York by Elizabeth Arden.

 Tineal is very happy with having her hair played with here. Bless her.

It was time to be released back into the streets that never sleep.

Are there any shops that you think I’ve missed out on this post? I’d love to hear from you.

Location: New York

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The food in New York. Ah man. Where do I begin?

New York City is a microcosm of the world, where you stumble upon four different ethnic eateries right next to each other.

You name it. New York has it. Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indian, American… The list goes on. With New York’s diverse population, if you come across the right spot (especially the local areas) the food is pretty damn authentic.

Ok, let’s list the food I would urge you to try. Let’s start with the all American fave’.

NEW YORK PIZZA!

I’m talking about the 1$ cheap takeaway-on-a-napkin kind. None of the gourmet stuff. Thanks to New York’s historic Italian influence, this pizza is just dying to meet you. It isn’t shy of hearty tomato sauce & elastic cheese. Carbtastic and oily as f**k. I love it. You can get it pretty much everywhere in NYC.

NYC Pizza 5/5.

 

 Another American favourite incoming…

The bagel.

The bagel is a New York institution so I had high hopes for this one.

I opted for salmon, capers, onions and cream cheese filling.

This is a vain picture of me holding a bagel. Yes I know this is lame. I’m expanding my readership to the Korean target market, there seems to be some online trend of watching chicks eat ATM.

 The New York bagel is packed full of flavour. I find bagels in the UK a bit bland.

But overall, I wasn’t massively over the moon about them. I wasn’t craving them afterwards.

New York Bagel 3/5

Next up.

Meatloaf.

I first heard about meatloaf in F.R.I.E.N.D.S and in some other random American TV shows. I’ve always wanted to try it. When I told a New Yorker about my latest life goal, she laughed and said, “…ewww why? That’s gross because we used to eat it in 5th grade and it’s the kind of meal your grandma would force you to eat”.

She accepted my plea and took us to Chat N Chew.

How American is this menu?!

 Meatloaf wasn’t what I expected to be honest — I thought it would have a steak-like texture and shaped like a piece of bread. It’s actually a big stodgy piece of mincey meat. I can see why the Americans eat it — it’s easy to make and makes great convenience food. It’s a bit like pate accompanied by gravy, mash and veg’.

Tineal had some good ole mac ‘n’ cheese. Can’t go wrong with that.

Oh, before I forget: meatloaf 3/5.

Hi battered Oreo.

I love Oreos. I love dipping them in breakfast tea.

 This is my reaction when I discovered these bad boys on the menu.

 

 Giggling to myself, I tried a battered Oreo.

 It’s so weird. You eat the first one and you’re like, ‘nah, this ain’t right’. And then you eat another and another and you’re like, ‘no actually, this is really good’.

 Crispy batter, warm melt-in-the-mouth biscuits with jammed icing.

 It tastes like the lovechild of a fat chip and a cookie.

 Battered Oreo 4/5.

Ok, so I’m really sorry about the next one. Because I ate it before I could take a picture of it.

It’s a cake from the famous Magnolia Bakery. Yes, I obviously got confused and thought I was in Sex In The City at the time. I licked the cream and then next thing I knew, it was gone. I know. Naughty Monica.

 Magnolia lemon cake 4/5

Magnolia chocolate cake 4/5.

Have you tried any of my favourite NYC eats? Whatdya’ think?

Have I missed any nibbles that you think I should try?

Location: New York

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Seaside beach town is not the first thing that springs to mind when we think of New York.

Pre-visit, I hadn’t heard of Coney Island. I was surprised to find that New York’s playground is only an hour from the city.

Grab your swimwear, sunglasses and lilo. I’m going to take you to Coney Island (yay!).

Famous for the Luna Park amusement hub, the Wonder Wheel and Cyclone roller coaster — if you’re a big kid like me, it’s the place to bring out your inner child.

This a follow-up from my Aqua post — where I pretended to be a mermaid for the day.

Ok, so the beach is no Bali — but in the summer, it’ll do a good job of charging your batteries after a long week of working in the city (which is what you need if you work in NYC).

Coney Island is famous for and home to the Nathan’s hot dog.

I had to try one of these bad boys for myself.

It is really good. Big, hearty and delicious. I’ve always said that there’s something different in the meat in the US in regarding the taste, texture and flavour, and this hot dog didn’t let me down.

Feeling naughty, I had chilli fries to go with it, I’ve fallen in love with this US classic since I demolished them in L.A. I mean, come on! Fries, creamy cheese and tomato soaked mince. I could just roll in it; it’s delicious.

Smiling (and pleased with ourselves) with our candy floss, teddies and hotdogs, we hesitantly trotted back to the subway to make our way back to the city.

Everyone has that place that brings them back to their childhood. C’mon spill! Where’s yours?

Location: Coney Island, New York

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I still remember as if it were yesterday. I was young, I was smart, I was dumb and audacious and really annoying.

Oh University, thank you for three incredible years of lame jokes, award-winning fancy-dress parties and sleepovers at the library.

They say it’s the best years of your life, it really was for me.

By the way, if you’ve already decided that university isn’t for you, fly over to my post on travelling. My ‘career’ post is currently climbing the corporate ladder (my blog feed) and is due a promotion.

It’s been a few good years since I graduated. For those of you who have just finished college, there are a few words of advice that I wish I had been given when I left home to become a ‘real, live, fully-functioning adult’. Hey, it’s ok if you haven’t reached the stage in your life where you can find your socks.

Network

I know, I know. You’re fresh outta’ college, and you’re a tiny bit nervous. I’ve been there. Don’t worry young Fresher. Everyone is as lost as you are. Fortunately, Uni’ has sneaky ways of bringing everyone together. You’ll naturally befriend your fellow peers in halls, seminars, lectures, coffee shops and societies. Oh and ladies, you know when you’re drunk, and everyone become your best mate? The student union toilets becomes the official networking zone*. I saw friendships blossom from a simple “I love your bag, where’s it from?”. Or (and here’s my lame attempt to guy speak), ‘Nice watch mate’ — you get the gist. Photos are an excellent excuse to add people on Facebook, without being weird about it. Strike up a conversation by asking for directions to your lectures. The best friendships start in the strangest places. You will meet your lifelong friends at University.

*Disclaimer: the student union toilets may not be an official networking zone. You may just be really drunk.

Societies

At the Fresher’s fair, scribble your name down on every club that interests you. Ok fine, I initially did it for the freebies. But, alongside the free stuff, you may end up picking up: life-long skills, friends and awesome experiences. I fell in love with cheerleading (don’t laugh — it involved extreme body flexibility), and it became one of my biggest passions.

Research

There is only really one thing I wish I did more of, and that’s some digging. I will pass on a little pearl for you: delve deep into your career prospects in advance. Find out what qualifications and experience you need to get your desired job — before some other sod gets there before you do.

Job

Unless you’re rinsing the bank of mum and dad (most of us aren’t), a part-time job is handy. For flexible working, your student union is a good starting point. Employers will be impressed with what you did with yourself alongside your studies. During the summer period, go and bag that scheme/internship, you’ll thank your grown-up self later.

Wonga

Every time my loan appeared in my bank account; I would scream, ‘Oh, f**k yeah! Come at meh Amazon!’. Yeh, I was a bit of a gadget geek. I was terrible at money management. I strongly believe that at school: we should have been taught about credit ratings, interest rates, bank accounts, mortgages, insurance, etc. and why you should start saving like £100 per week when you’re 18 because, by the time you’re 50, you’ll be like a quadruple-gazillionaire. But that’s a rant for another day. It’s a skill you will learn and value after you graduate. I don’t want to sound like your mother but always set aside some dosh for the future.

The not-so-serious survival guide (debatable)

1. Do not attempt to bring your whole room with you.

I brought absolute useless crap with me to my halls. It took five trips from the car to my new room. Not only were my new flatmates seriously confused, my dad (bless him) had to carry my stuff, with a lorry cart! You do not need, I repeat, you do not need five pairs of PJ’s and fifteen pairs of shoes. Pack wisely young’uns. Pack wisely.

2. Wash. Please.

It’s not sexy to let your personal hygiene go in the bin (I’ve Wheelie bin trying not to think up some rubbish puns, sorry). Aside from the obvious health implications, smelling like you’ve not had a shower for a few days is not a great icebreaker.

3. Don’t get with your flatmate unless you’re planning on marrying them. (And for the nosey posey, this isn’t from personal experience, I’m observant / watched the tears roll in).

I don’t care if he has a big room (wink), six-pack and looks like a Model. Guys, I don’t care if she looks like Mila Kunis. Oh wait but she’s so, no. If it doesn’t work out? Awkward. You have to live with them for the rest of the year. Mega lolz.

4. Freshers love rumours.

If you do something silly, expect it to spread like wildfire. You might even get a new nickname.

5. Make use of the time you share with your flatmates.

You will remember the fun times more than when you stayed alone in your room (obviously, organise your time to revise). I was lucky. In my flat, we all got on well as a house on fire (literally, we set the microwave on fire). We played pranks, cooked, watched films, went for meals and played silly games together. Don’t worry if you don’t get on with your flatmates; another flat will eventually adopt you.

You will be homesick in your first few weeks; there will be tears when your parents drop off their ickle pickle munchkin to grown-up school. Dawww. And there will be tears after that. Don’t worry, I swear, it gets better.

Pop your photos of your family and friends on the wall. Open up your boxes and lay out your duvet. Once you’ve unpacked your life in your new room, go and introduce yourself to your new mateys.

Plan a trip to Ikea with your new mates, avoid the temptation to play Narnia in the wardrobes, gobble up some meatballs and buy: extension lead, laundry basket, kitchen equipment and stationary.

When you’re skint, resist the temptation to wonder into town, search for bargains on eBay and buy your books from Amazon. Where else can you shop naked and it is appropriate?

My favourite places that offer student discount are ASOS, Topshop, Waterstones, New Look, Currys, Apple, HP, Spotify and McDonalds (free cheeseburger with every main meal, you’re welcome buddy). P.S I do not endorse McDonalds, but it hits the scrimp spot for your student cravings.

My flatmates got sick a lot (a few of us were in sports societies which had insane socials). Mummy Wong recommends lemon, ginger & honey in hot water. It works.
There will be times when you’re revising, and your inner crazy will come out to play. Don’t stress too much, work to the best of your ability and everything will eventually work out.
Time flies faster than you will ever imagine.

University has a way of slowly shifting your identity, like sea sand getting pushed around by the ocean, slowly accumulating into new contours to form the person you’re supposed to be.
Have a wonderful time and take lots of pictures. You’ll be entering the most life-changing chapters of your life.


Location: Everywhere
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Credits:
Photography: Craig Flemming, Stylist: Natalie Armin, Make Up Artist: Laura Gingell and photos from weheartit.com

 

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