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5 THINGS I WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOWN AT THE START OF MY FITNESS JOURNEY.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

I first joined a gym when I was 16, and looking back I probably didn't make much progress but rather just maintained my figure and weight. I definitely think there's a lot more information and resources now than there was back then. I just remember seeing a lot of keto diets in magazines and the outdated '1200 calories' rule! Fast forward to university, and somewhere in my 4 years away I managed to gain 10kg. When I finished university back in 2017 that's when I really started to focus on my fitness journey and getting into the 'best shape of my life'. If I look back at pictures of myself in 2018 I definitely had a lot less body fat and muscle than I do now, but I also remember how obsessive I was getting with calorie counting and getting mad when the number on the scale would go up even if I had eaten well the day before. Whether you're starting your fitness journey, or looking for some new found motivation, here are 5 things I wish I would have known when I started.

1. Progress isn't linear


You'll probably find that when you switch up your diet or start a new gym regime, you will see the pounds start to drop quickly and then suddenly you might hit a bit of a plateau where you feel like nothing is changing. This is because at first it's a shock to your body, but when you've been doing it for a while your metabolism adjusts. This can be un-motivating and make you feel like you won't make any more progress, but's important to just stay consistent and the results will follow. I also wouldn't suggest weighing yourself every day as an indicator of your progress, as there are many factors that can cause you to go up on the scale from one day to the next. Here are 12 reasons why you might weigh more the morning after. 

2. You can eat chocolate everyday and still reach your goals


I'm not suggesting you eat a mars bar for tea every afternoon, as there are probably things with more nutritional value that you can opt for and that will keep you fuller for longer. That being said, I do have a sweet tooth and I know if I cut sweets and chocolate out completely during the week I'm just going to pig out on the weekend instead. So I do have a few squares of chocolate here and there to curb the cravings! As long as you are eating in a calorie deficit, you don't have to eat clean all the time to reach your goals. 

3. Weights can be just as good as cardio for fat loss


I think a common thing for people to do when they want to lose weight is start running for an hour on the treadmill every day to see results. Even though cardio is good for you, it's even more effective when combined with weight training. This won't make you suddenly bulk up and get bigger, in fact the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn whilst resting. If you're just starting out, I suggest starting with 10 minutes on a cardio machine, followed by 4-5 weight exercises on a particular body part (i.e. upper body or lower body) and then finish with 10-15 minutes on the treadmill. 



4. Progressively overloading is key 


For ages I would stick to my workout plan of 4X12 at a certain weight, instead of slowly increasing the weight as soon as I began to find my current machine weight 'easy'. If you do this it will be harder to see changes in your physique as your muscles will adapt. There are a number of ways you can progressively overload, including increasing the rep range, increasing the weight gradually, or by having shorter intervals between your sets. 


5. No one else cares what you're doing at the gym 


Being a beginner at the gym can be daunting, but unless you're doing some wacko exercise throwing dumbbells around the gym, no one is going to be watching you! Everyone is too focused on themselves and their own form. My advice for feeling confident at the gym is to get yourself a good pair of noise cancelling headphones,  look up movements on Youtube if you feel like you need practice, and make yourself a fire playlist for your workout. 

For me personally, I also like wearing a nice co-ordinated gym outfit as it makes me feel more confident and subconsciously I feel like I have a better workout if I feel comfortable and good in what I'm wearing. A brand I am loving lately is Yvette which specialises in high impact sports bras. I've found that on the market a lot of high impact sports bras aren't as pretty as low support ones, which is why I was so impressed with the range of colours and design of the Yvette collection. Another feature I like about them is that they have non-removable moulded cups. There's nothing worse than the padding moving around in the washing machine and then having to try and get them in the proper place again! I also purchased some matching green leggings which passed the gym test - they don't fall down, they're squat proof and they even have a pocket for you to fit your keys, phone or Airpod case in. 

yvette high impact sports bra



Wherever you are in your fitness journey, I think it's important to reflect back and see ways that you can improve but also how far you've come. I may not be as 'fit' as I was 4 years ago when I was 23, but I love my curves now and still feel strong and healthy. 

G


* this post contains gifted items but all words and opinions are my own *





GUEST POST / WHAT ARE THE BEST CITIES IN WASHINGTON STATE

Monday, 9 May 2022

If you are planning to relocate to Washington state, you will want to do a little research on the options for cities you are considering. You will need to think about things like cost-of-living, weather, location in the state, and so much more.


When you begin to plan your move, think of the job opportunities in your new city, as well as the housing options. Consider other things like your hobbies and whether you prefer a larger city or a smaller one. Take in account all the variables of your life when considering which city you want to call home, and consider the following best cities in Washington state.




Seattle

The most obvious city, and the city you probably think of first when you think of Washington state, is Seattle. If you are hoping to move to a big city, Seattle is your pick for Washington state. While it is not the capital of the state, it is the largest city in the state and actually all of the Pacific Northwest.


If you are looking for a job, you are in luck in Seattle. There are many companies with headquarters in the city, including Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft. For sports fans, Seattle is home to the NFL’s Seahawks, MLB’s Mariners, and the NHL’s the Kraken. 


Seattle also has amazing art, culture, and music scenes, and is even considered the birthplace of grunge. Seattle has a lot of things going for it, and if you are looking for a great big city in Washington, Seattle is the obvious choice. 

Spokane

If you are looking for a city in the eastern part of the state, consider Spokane. The eastern part of the state is significantly different from the west, where most of the major cities you associate with Washington are located. Notably, western Washington is very rainy, while eastern Washington has a warmer and drier climate. Spokane specifically is protected on either side by mountain ranges, making the weather unique for the region.


If you love to be outside and relish outdoor recreation, Spokane is a great Washington city for you. You can ski in the winter, and hike and raft in the summer. There are several local ski resorts to enjoy. Spokane is a departure from the rainy western part of the state if you are looking for something different.

Bellevue

If you want to be near Seattle in a city with a similar feel, think about a move to Bellevue. Bellevue is situated right across Lake Washington from Seattle and can be considered a suburb or satellite city of Seattle. 


The city is known as a technology hub and has a bustling downtown for big city-lovers. If this sounds appealing to you, there are plenty of Bellevue houses for sale. If you like the idea of living in a busy city without actually being right in Seattle, give Bellevue a try.


There are many exciting cities to consider if you are planning a move to Washington state. From Seattle and Bellevue in the west to Spokane in the east, there are options that can meet everyone’s needs.


A GUIDE TO SPENDING 3 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK, CROATIA.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Dubrovnik has been on my bucket list for years, the interest was probably sparked when I heard Game of Thrones had been filmed there. The city has definitely milked this as you'll find GOT merch, tours and experiences everywhere. Nevertheless it is a beautiful city and it is the perfect place for a weekend escape or as part of a trip around Croatia! I'd love to explore Split, Zagreb and Hvar another time. Here is my itinerary for things to do and where to eat on a 3 day trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. 


tea with gi dubrovnik guide


Day 1 



Breakfast: Cele

Located right at the end of the Stradun (main street), you'll find Cele. It's a great spot for people watching and you'll get quite a range of breakfast options here. I opted for the french toast, my sister went for pancakes and my mother went for eggs benedict.

AM - Walk around the city walls

Here you will find some of the best views of the city and it is a great way to get your steps in! The first thing you'll notice about Dubrovnik is that 80% of the Old Town is made up of steps, but we still saw plenty of over 70s on group tours so it isn't anything for concern! 

The walls take between 1.5 - 2 hours to walk, depending on how often you stop to take pictures and how many people are stopping in front of you. You can enter from Pile Gate and entry for adults is around 30 euros. 

Lunch: Barba

I'd watched a couple of videos before our trip and obviously my main point of interest was 'must eats in Dubrovnik'. One place that popped up a few times was the small restaurant Barba, and specifically their octopus burger in a squid ink bun. A local had also recommended this place on our tour so it was definitely worth the hype! You can't book, but we went for lunch at 2:30pm and managed to get a spot on the windowsill. 


barba dubrovnik


PM: Kayaking Tour

For £21, you can take a 3 hour kayaking tour that takes you around the city walls at sunset and will also take you around the 'cursed' island of Lokrum. You'll also have a guide who will tell you about the history of Dubrovnik and some urban legends. You will also get 30 minutes on a private beach. Informational, relaxing and you'll also work off that octopus burger! 


Dinner: Taj Mahal (Bosnian Food)

I definitely recommend reserving your tables in advance for dinner because most of the popular places will be fully booked on the night. Don't let the name fool you, as Taj Mahal is actually a Bosnian restaurant! If you have any vegetarians travelling in your party then this probably isn't the restaurant for you as their menu is very meat heavy. We opted for the 'genghis khan plate' which consisted of cevapi, chicken kebab, pljeskavica, suńĎukica, rumsteak and chicken. The food was delicious, my only complaint was that they gave us the table right at the end of the alley way and there wasn't even a street light beside. So as the picture depicts, we basically ate in darkness! 


taj mahal dubrovnik


Day 2 


Breakfast: SNEK

What I liked about this place is that it had a number of healthier options on their menu such as chia pudding and protein pancakes, and it would cost you between £5-£10 depending on what you were eating. They also had an extensive cocktail list, so it’s a great place to come back to in the afternoon.


AM: Game of Thrones Walking Tour 

If you're reading this travel guide, chances are you still haven't got to Dubrovnik. Meaning there is still time to watch the show so you can experience this tour and know your Khaleesi from your Cersei. My mother and sister hadn't seen GOT but still found the tour entertaining as the guide has plenty of pictures, funny anecdotes and non-GOT related stories about the city to share. 



game of thrones tour dubrovnik


PM: Visit Lokrum Island

The small island of Lokrum is only a 30 minute boat ride away from Dubrovnik, and there isn't much to do there except for seeing the peacocks, an Iron Throne replica and a lake that you can sunbathe by and swim in. During your stay you will probably hear how the island is haunted because of a curse that was placed by the Benedictine monks. I'll leave that story for you to find our for yourselves!


DINNER: Gradska Kavana Arsenal

This was probably my favourite meal we had, as we were right by the sea and the food was delicious and moderately priced. They serve a mix of seafood, meat and pasta dishes. I had the fish stew, my mother had squid ink risotto, and my sister had the truffle and mushroom pasta. 


Day 3


As I mentioned Dubrovnik is a relatively small city, which means that it gives you the chance to explore neighbouring cities, or even countries. There are day trips available to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. We decided on B&H because it's somewhere we wouldn't necessarily do an exclusive trip to. 

Day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina 

For me the highlight of this tour was our driver, our pick up was at 7:30am so safe to say we were half asleep but he made the tour so entertaining and interesting. We drove for around an hour and a half before reaching a waterfall where we had an hour of free time, and then we continued on to the city of Mostar. 

I didn’t have any prior knowledge of Mostar or the Bosnian war in the 90s, so it was interesting to get the perspective from our Croat tour guide, and our Bosnian guide in Mostar. You definitely get the sense that people still feel very strongly and divided about what happened. 


mostar bosnia

Lunch: Restaurant Sadrvan 

This place was recommended to us by our guide, and a plate of meat, pita bread and chips cost us less than a fiver. They had a terrace so we got a great view of the bridge and river.

Mostar Day Trip from Dubrovnik (£41) 

Dinner: Mex Cantina 

The tour will have you back in Dubrovnik for dinner time, and if you fancy a change of cuisine then I recommend Mex Cantina. Half the menu was mexican and half was pizza, so we got a bit of everything and thoroughly enjoyed it.



If you have extra time...


  • If you need a pick me up on the go, try the coffee and a pastry (spinach and cheese burek) from Barcaffe in the main street. 
  • Head to Buza Bar, a cliffside bar that's a popular spot to enjoy a wine or beer and see the sunset. Note that this place only takes cash. 
  • If you fancy doing something alternative, try the 'Haunted Dubrovnik' Ghost Tour in the evening. 


We visited Dubrovnik at the end of September and we had perfect weather, aside from 20 minutes of light rain but that was the perfect opportunity to get photos with nobody in the background! I'd recommend going at the end of spring or at the end of summer as the heat can be unbearable in peak summer. 

I hope you've found this guide useful, and if you have any other questions about Dubrovnik, feel free to send me a message on my socials! 



tea with gi dubrovnik travel guide



6 SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FOR YOUR NEXT INCENTIVE TRIP

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Is there such a thing as a sustainable travel destination? All destinations require some form of travel to get to which immediately gets you in the carbon deficit before you’ve even arrived. However, when you do arrive, the place you’re in makes all the difference to whether your trip can be eco-friendly/sustainable compared to other destinations.

Destinations that can be travelled to via train can limit your carbon emissions before you even arrive. However, there are some cities that stand out from the rest with green spaces, electric transport and eco-friendly accommodation and activities. Here are some of the top destinations that place an emphasis on sustainability to create a better environment for everyone.




Copenhagen, Denmark




As a city that has won the title as the world’s most walkable and bikeable city several times, Copenhagen is considered by many as one of the top sustainable destinations in the world. Nearly all of the larger venues and hotels in the city have a 3rd party eco-certification as it aims to become the first carbon neutral capital city by 2025.

Copenhagen has also just finished the expansion of the metro’s City Ring that connects all parts of the city within 12 min. ride directly to the airport meaning you can be as carbon neutral as possible visiting this gorgeous city.


Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

This hotel takes the title of Denmark’s first carbon neutral hotel building. To obtain this result the hotel has cut down energy consumption via innovative solutions such as the largest building integrated solar panel park in Northern Europe, the first ever groundwater-based cooling and heating system in Denmark, intelligent light saving measures and water saving measures.


What to do

  • Take a bicycle tour of the city
  • Dry slope skiing on the Copenhill, the world’s cleanest waste-to-energy power plant
  • Visit Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world
  • Experience urban farming at an oyster opening workshop in a sea farm


Amsterdam, Netherlands




Another city that comes to mind when thinking of bikes is of course Amsterdam. Transport around Amsterdam is some of the most environmentally friendly in the world, with bicycles, canal boats, trams and e-scooters making up a large portion of the way people get around.

And with great train links throughout Europe, Amsterdam can also be travelled to using low carbon methods which significantly decreases your carbon footprint before you've even got there!

Where to stay: Hotel Jakarta

Hotel Jakarta is said to be the most sustainable hotel in the Netherlands. The construction uses natural wood as the main building material and nearly no non-recyclable products. There are also a number of energy-saving measures implemented such as collecting rainwater for the subtropical indoor garden, solar panels that transform solar energy into electricity to heat the shower water, and a warmth and cold storage system that regulates the temperature in the hotel.

What to do


Iceland




As a country that heats 85% of all houses using renewable geo-thermal energy, and provides nearly 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources (73% from Hydro, 27% from geo-thermal), Iceland is one of the top destinations that can provide for your trip in an eco-friendly way.

Iceland is also home to The Blue Lagoon, a geo-thermal spa that is rich in a unique combination of natural minerals, which gives the lagoon its soft, milky aquamarine colour. Enjoying a bath in the warm water of the lagoon, surrounded by black lava is the perfect way to relax without harming the environment.

Where to stay: The Retreat by Blue Lagoon


The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland encompasses a subterranean spa, a geothermal lagoon, a restaurant that reimagines Iceland’s culinary traditions, and a 62-suite hotel encircled by the Blue Lagoon’s mineral-rich waters. The Retreat is a place where guests can leave the world behind and enter a timeless realm of relaxation, rejuvenation, and exploration.

What to do

  • Relax and unwind in one of Iceland’s geo-thermal spas
  • Enjoy a wildlife tour in a kayak, getting up close and personal with Iceland’s most iconic wildlife
  • Hike up an icelandic volcano
  • Plant trees to offset the carbon emissions of your trip
  • Enjoy fresh hot bread at a geo-thermal bakery

Costa Rica




Tourism in Costa Rica has increased over the last couple of years, and with the country now letting in double vaccinated individuals from any country enter, it’s a great option for an incentive trip further afield.

Costa Rica is widely recognised for its sustainable tourism and its effort towards being more environmentally friendly. It actually was voted the second most sustainable country in the world by the World Energy Council. 99.2% of the energy Costa Rica uses is renewable, 78% from hydroelectric and 18% by geothermal. A quarter of the country’s land has been turned into protected parks and reserves, which is no surprise considering 51% of Costa Rica is forested.

Where to stay: El Silencio Eco Lodge

This 4 star hotel gives the illusion that it is floating like a cloud in the rainforest, and is situated near the Poas Volcano. You will definitely be able to disconnect at this hotel as you are surrounded by a tropical forest, waterfalls and wildlife. El Silencio features an array of sustainable programmes and initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint. It also aims to give back to the community through local employment opportunities, local purchases and energy conservation.

What to do



Oslo, Norway




Oslo has been voted in the top 5 most sustainable cities in the world, and has one of the biggest targets of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. As with other Scandinavian countries, the air and water are one of the purest and it is surrounded by nature (particularly the Fjords).

Another great thing about Oslo is that it is a gateway to exploring other beautiful and natural parts of the country. This includes a hike to Frognerseteren and Vettakollen, or a day trip to Bergen where you can find the Sognerfjord.

Where to stay: Hotel Bristol

Located one street down from Karl Johan in the city centre, the Hotel Bristol has earned its eco-friendly certification by using sustainable energy, environmentally friendly suppliers and limiting waste. The hotel has a gym, meeting rooms and conference facilities and has over 250 guest rooms.

What to do:

  • Visit the Nobel Peace Prize Center
  • See an interesting collection of sculptures at Frogner Park
  • Join a walking tour around the city to learn about the history and fun facts about the country
  • Take a fjord cruise
  • Kayak through the fjords with evening BBQ and overnight stay

Ljubljana, Slovenia




Ljubljana is becoming one of the top European cities for travel and it’s not hard to see why. The diversity the city, and country of Slovenia offers makes it perfect for anyone who is interested in nature, history or adventure.

The capital of Slovenia has previously been ranked the #1 European Green capital, and is also a beautiful location to visit in the Spring or Summer months. The city centre has been car-free since 2018 and provides locals and visitors free access to a bike-share scheme. There are also tons of green spaces including a ‘Bee Trail’ which consists of 4,500 hives placed around the city.

Where to stay: Zlata Ladjica Hotel

This 5 star boutique hotel is located just by the river, one of the most picturesque spots in the city. They are also aiming to leave a minimal environmental footprint, by ensuring that all the food and drinks they provide in their hotel are locally sourced and in-season. They use minimal plastic throughout the hotel and it’s also good to note that the tap water in Ljubljana is perfectly safe to drink. So much so that you’ll see plenty of water fountains around the city.

What to do:

  • Visit/Hike Lake Bled
  • Try one of their innovative tours such as the ‘Moustache Tour’ , Taste Ljubljana food tour, or the Beer Experience
  • Visit the abandoned Hotel Bellevue
  • Contribute to a wildlife conservation project


If you want to find out more about these destinations and the sustainable activities, hotels and restaurants that can be experienced there, get in touch with Zentive Agency at hello@zentiveagency.com




* This post was written together with Zentive Agency as a collaborative piece*


3 DAY GUIDE TO PARIS FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Paris is one of those cities you could probably visit several times and still find new places to explore. I definitely did not get through all the restaurant recommendations on my list! I had previously visited Paris as a child so my memories of it were vague, so it was nice to really see the sights properly and utilise my GCSE french. Whether you're travelling with your family, friends or partner, here are my tips and recommendations for your visit to Paris.

tea with gi paris guide



Where To Stay



Paris is made up of 20 'arrondissements' or districts, and as expected the closer you stay to the major landmarks the more expensive your hotel is going to be. The good thing is that the Paris metro system is pretty easy to use and each ride only costs you €1.90. We stayed in the hotel 25Hours Terminus Nord, which meant that the Gare du Nord metro and train station was right on our doorstep.

The hotel was beautiful and so quirky, it was very Parisian and full colour and artwork. It also had unique touches like a typewriter to send love letters out in the lobby. The bedroom decor had me feeling like I should have packed a feather nightgown, it felt so old Hollywood. We were also able to use Netflix and Youtube on the television in the bedroom which was great for when we were getting ready. Most importantly, the beds were so comfortable that skipping the sightseeing was tempting just so I could spend a few more hours in bed. 

In terms of food, I probably ate my weight in french toast at the buffet breakfast. One of the highlights was the option of champagne in the morning, which we had to take advantage of for the experience (when in Paris!). We didn't get a chance to have dinner in their restaurant NENI as they were fully booked, but we did have cocktails and some mezze plates at their Sape Bar and they were delicious. 






Where To Eat



I was travelling with my vegan friend so we did have to opt for some vegan friendly restaurants, which wasn't as difficult as we were expecting in France. I know the delicacies in France include escargot (snails) and Foie gras (duck or goose fat) but immersing myself in the local cuisine went as far as crepes and creme brulee. 

Hey Honey was a bit on the pricier side but the setting was lovely and the cocktails were shown on tarot cards. I opted for the duck breast with dauphinoise potatoes and I'm still daydreaming about how good they were. If you do want to try some classic french dishes, then Terminus Nord Restaurant has a selection of everything at decent prices.



If you're after some vegan cuisine, then Le Potager du Marais serves vegan alternatives of French dishes. I opted for french onion soup (which came complete with vegan cheese), and finished off with some creme brulee. The owner of the restaurant was lovely and took time to come and chat to us and talk about the dishes. If you fancy something different, then Jah Jah By Le Tricycle is a good shout. They only have 4 items on the menu which changes everyday but I thoroughly enjoyed my meal! It's a Jamaican vegan restaurant and I got a big plate of food for 10 euros.



If you have a sweet tooth, then definitely stop by Creperie Montorgueil and try their salted caramel and banana crepe. They also do a bunch of savoury options if that's what you prefer. If you'd like to take home some macarons, then Maison Laduree is the most famous place to get them, or you can also eat in and try one of their indulgent cakes. Lastly for some eclairs, Le Eclair De Genie offers a wonderful selection.



What to Do



The best way to start your first day in Paris is doing a walking tour of all the sights, either on your own or on an organised tour. Sandeman's offer a free walking tour that starts at 11am everyday starting from Place St Michel. If you'd rather do it on your own, save the points of interest in Google Maps. Make sure to include the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc De Triomphe, Pantheon and the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Once you're done seeing the sites, get a different perspective by taking a 1 hour cruise down the Seine river. The boats run every hour but the best time to go is at sunset.

Tickets: 1 hour Seine river (£12.50)

There are a ton of different museums to visit in Paris, but the most notable has to be the Louvre where the Mona Lisa is housed. It probably took us an hour to find her because we started on the opposite side of the museum, and boy did it feel like we were stuck in a maze! They say that even if you spent 3 months in the Louvre, you still would not get through every exhibit. If you fancy doing something a bit more unique, then head to the Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than six million people.




We also spent some time wandering through the districts of Marais, Montorgueil, Montmartre and the Latin Quarter. You'll find lots of cute cafes, bars (and happy hours!) and independent stores around these. 


In terms of evening entertainment, something I definitely recommend doing for the experience is attending a Moulin Rouge show. They first opened their doors in 1889 and you really do get immersed in the experience when you are there. Tickets cost £70 and this also included a bottle of champagne between the two of us. There were guests who were fully dressed to the 9s here, and others who just came in jeans and boots. 




If you have time, then head out of the city to visit the Palace of Versailles, it really is beautiful. Your other option is to, of course, visit Disneyland Paris which is a short 45 minute train from the city centre. Just make sure to check online which rides and shows are currently open as with Covid things are still slightly different. The best thing about visiting in January was that the queue for rides weren't longer than 30 minutes, although there weren't many shows or characters throughout the park. 

Tickets: Palace of Versailles (£44)



TOP PARIS TIPS

  • Don't pay with card in any corner shop, I actually got my card cloned and they tried to take out 300 euros but Revolut declined it. Lesson learnt!
  • Uber is cheaper than getting a taxi or pre-booked shuttle from the city centre to the airport (we flew to Orly).
  • Make your dinner reservations in advance, as most of the time they will be fully booked if you just walk in. 
  • If the majority of your trip isn't Disney based, stay in the centre as a train from the city to the park is only 7 euros and takes 45 minutes. 
  • Do not stop for a coffee near any of the attractions, they'll charge you 7 euros for a cafe con leche. The little coffee shops you find when wandering around the districts are all regularly priced. 

Whether you're planning a long weekend or a full week in Paris, you're never short of things to do!

G





10 THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN NEW YORK CITY.

Monday, 14 February 2022

I always thought I'd find New York overrated, but when I went it actually exceeded my expectations. It makes sense why so many movies and TV shows are filmed here! The big apple can be a big and overwhelming place, but once you get a hang of the subway system you'll be surprised how easy it is to explore the districts and pack a lot into your trip. If you're flying from London, you can reach New York in 8 hours, and sometimes you can get flights for as little as £300.  If it's your first time visiting NYC, here are 10 things you should experience on your trip.



 

1. See the Statue of Liberty

We'll start the list with one of New York's most famous landmarks, the Statue of Liberty. To reach her you'll have to take a boat tour, the journeys are 1 hour and take you through some other landmarks and Ellis island. I recommend getting your ticket online so you don't have to queue up in person, and if you can find a sunny day in your itinerary for it then even better!


Get your ticket: NYC Cruise around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island (£22)


2. Visit Coney Island


If you're a Lana Del Rey fan you would have heard her quote this place in a number of her songs. I definitely felt like I had been transported back to the 50s here and loved the whole aesthetic. There's also a small amusement park here but if you're not feeling very adventurous, it's also a great place to just stroll along the promenade with an ice-cream. 




3. Snap photos at famous filming locations


There are endless movie photo spots in New York, and you could probably spend a whole day finding them! The notable ones that we visited were the 'Friends' Apartment Building which is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street, and Grand Central Terminal. Which has probably been in hundreds of movies but we wanted to recreate the Gossip Girl scene where Serena firsts arrives and is looking over the balcony. 

If you know your pop culture, you may have also heard how Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols stabbed Nancy Spungen in the Chelsea Hotel, and the hotel was also the narrative of a Leonard Cohen song. If you do head to Coney Island you'll also see where parts of Requiem for a Dream were shot (coincidentally in the same spot as I took my photo prior to me watching the movie). 

4. Walk along the High Line


Found in Manhattan, the High Line is an old unused railroad converted into a public space and features art and clothing stalls. It was definitely one of my favourite things we stumbled upon! You can enter through Gansevoort to 34th Street and it takes you through to Chelsea. 


5. Visit the MOMA and MET museums 


Even if you're not a massive fan of art, these two are must sees when you're in New York. The Met is the largest art museum in the western hemisphere and houses over 2 million works of art. The MOMA focuses on modern art and is where you can find the famous Starry Night painting by Van Gogh. 


6. Choose from one of the many cheesecakes at Junior's


We walked 30 minutes just to eat here, and it did not disappoint. Junior's is NYC most famous cheesecake establishment, and offers over 20 cheesecake options. I went for the apple crumble cheesecake but the red velvet one was a close contender. 





7. Visit the 9/11 memorial museum 


The former site of the World Trade Center is now dedicated to the victims of the attack and the efforts that went into saving lives that day. There are some heartbreaking exhibits including phone transcripts from the people that were on the hijacked plane and stories about the individuals that lost their lives. There were also interesting manuscripts and documentation of the terrorists, such as their applications to get into flight schools in the US to prepare for their roles in the attack. 


Get your ticket: 9/11 Museum Entry Ticket (£22)


8. Walk across Brooklyn bridge 


Unless you wake up at the crack of dawn (and even then you'll be faced with all the morning commuters), be prepared for this to be pretty busy. Nevertheless it makes for a nice walk and the views around are great. Even if you stroll at a leisurely pace, this won't take you more than an hour. 

9. Watch a movie in Bryant Park


On Monday nights throughout the summer, free classic movies are shown in Bryant Park. You get the perfect backdrop of the skyline and it's something free to do if you're reaching the end of your budget!


10. Climb the Empire State Building 


If you're scared of heights then you might want to skip this one, if not you will get the chance to get a 360 view of the city from the 86th floor or the 102nd Floor of the Empire State Building. It truly is something spectacular! 

I wanted to include some alternative things to do in this list, but here you can find a further list of New York City attractions to check off your list. 

Whether it's your first or second trip to New York, you'll find there's always things to discover in the city. I'd love to go back in a few years and experience it at Christmas. Here's hoping!





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