Tuesday, 31 March 2015

NYC Day 6: Grand Central Station & the CitizenM Hotel

With my feet firmly back on English soil I thought I would complete my New York City diaries with all the details from our final day and a little overview of our home for the past six days in the Big Apple. With a late flight we had a leisurely morning enjoying our final lay in without the sound of the dreaded alarm clock to wake us up before attempting to re-pack our suitcase, strategically making room for those extra few purchases coming home with us! All checked out and with our bags in storage for the day we headed out to Grand Central Station which is such a majestic landmark in the heart of Manhattan I would urge anyone visiting NYC to pay it a visit. With an incredible 44 platforms, monumental space and meticulous detail everywhere around you - it is a breathtaking sight.

We then popped back to Macy's to admire the gorgeous flower show in bloom again and pick up a final few treats before heading back to our hotel. On the way back I dived into the nearest Duane Reade drugstore and picked up a plentiful supply of EOS lip balms as requested by some friends back in the UK (and a few for my own handbag of course!). With the rain coming down and only a few hours left before our Uber taxi arrived to take us to the airport we decided to just chill in the hotel, have a drink at the bar, catch up with the world on social media and rearrange our suitcases, again! We stayed in the boutique Citizen M hotel in New York and had such a fantastic time there I would completely and wholeheartedly recommend the hotel to anyone looking for a jumbo-sized bed in a prime location. The rooms are cosy but expertly designed to actually give you more storage than you first think. There is a fab rooftop bar on the 21st floor with spectacular views along with a little gym, a mezzanine level with iMACs to use plus a 24/7 bar and canteen. It is the hotel that never sleeps right in the middle of the city that never sleeps. It is funky, modern and luxurious in all the right places and with our thoughts already turning to when we can hopefully return to New York we know we will be guaranteed a perfect stay here again.

*Citizen M treated Rob and I to a press rate/complimentary stay with them
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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Nars Dual-Intensity Eye Shadow & Blush, Contour + Lip Palettes

NARS is a brand that has slowly crept more and more into my makeup collection over the past few years. First it was the iconic powder products such as Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer. Then I branched out and just had to try their much-raved about Sheer Glow foundation which is one of my all time favourite base products now and then I picked up a couple of their cheek Multiples which are great for adding colour and highlight. One area I had never really tried out though was their plethora of individual eyeshadows and gorgeous palettes that get launched with every new collection. With news of a great consistency and amazing colour payoff I was intrigued. Therefore I was thrilled to attend a recent NARS event and get a look at NARS latest offerings - their new Dual-Intensity Eye Shadow Palette* (£45) and the sweet, compact Blush, Contour and Lip Palette* (£35) both limited edition and both completely fabulous with their mirrored, sleek packaging and modern look.

First up is the Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow Palette which brings together eight dual-intensity eyeshadows which were released individually last year and caused quite a stir. Soft and velvety to apply with the option to wear them dry or wet, they are a great choice for subtle daytime looks or a darker, more intense finish for a night out. The range of shadows in this palette is lovely and work together well to give you plenty of versatility, drama and sophistication. The eyeshadows are really pretty when applied dried but the real beauty of the dual-intensity shadows is when you add water and transform the powder to a luxe, reflective finish on the eye. Truly mesmerising.

However if eyeshadows aren't really your thing then I think you will fall in love with this handy little face palette from NARS, the Blush, Contour and Lip Palette, (exclusively available from Space NK) comprising of three blushers on the top row (Enrapture, Enthralled and Roman Holiday) along with a dinky lip gloss in Istria. As you lift the blushers up they reveal the perfect contouring duo - Albatross Highlighting Blush and Laguna Bronzing Powder. This palette contains practically every must-have shade from NARS to colour and contour in the most fabulous of portable cases. I adore palettes that are travel-friendly and this is the best travel companion for your complexion with blush, contour and a sweet pink lip sorted!

What do you think of these new limited edition NARSissist palettes? Which one would you love to pick up?
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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Illamasqua To Be Alive Collection

You can always rely on Illamasqua to push the boundaries where makeup is concerned and continue to bring up fresh new ways of approaching beauty. Illamasqua has always been a bold brand that makes us question what is 'normal' when it comes to choosing a lipstick shade or contouring our cheekbones and this is why I love everything that the brand stands for.

Their latest launch could possibly be one of their boldest statements yet and although I might not be sporting a blue lipstick anytime soon, the concept and the products are definitely worth a second look. To Be Alive is described by Alex Box (Creative Director) as "a raw state full of living, movement, life, feeling, spirit and emotion. It is the freedom to surrender and to be still. A maelstrom and a moment. The forces that move us to be chaotic yet peaceful. We are always in emotion and in motion." To Be Alice celebrates the colour blue - a colour that is synonymous with a pure mind, healing clarity and stillness.

This new collection* (launching 1st May) comprises of four new products, all tainted somewhat with the blue hue. First up is the Eye Palette in Spirit (£34) which includes a mixture of cream and powder finishes to help create a variety of looks. There is an iridescent white to highlight and a rich royal blue which would work well to line the lower lash line for definition and a slight change to a generic black liner. The matte navy shadow is probably one of the most wearable from the palette and works perfectly to create a smoky eye with a slight twist. Finally there is the cream shadow in Awaken which is a shimmering icy blue. Great if you just want a little pop of colour to help ease you in to the blue movement. There is also a new nail varnish in Prismatic (£14.50) which offers a highly pigmented, two-tone effect on the nails and is a gorgeous aqua shade with slight shimmer that is a lovely choice for a fun, Springtime manicure. The new Shine Lipgloss in Iridesce (£18) is beautiful new formula from Illamasqua that gives the lips a reflecting, spell-binding shine. It is a clear gloss with flecks of blue shimmer that enhances colour and adds definition. It can be worn alone or over another lip colour to add a slightly icy shimmer and glossy veil without a tacky finish. Finally the product that everyone will be talking about is Illamasqua's new Glamore lipstick in Vendetta. (give it a google) It is an electric blue lip colour with an intense satin finish. It is the ultimate cobalt blue statement and you know what, it oddly works. Just look at my gorgeous Zoe embracing the blue!

Makeup is meant to be fun and sometimes it is nice to throw away the rulebook and enjoy colour, embrace something a little different and realise blue shadow shouldn't just be stuck in the 90s! I see so many girls executing awesome makeup looks filled with colour and excitement, I just know that this collection will definitely appeal to many of you.
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Thursday, 26 March 2015

NYC Day 5: New York through Instagram

Day five in New York City has definitely come around far too quickly for us and I cannot believe we go home tonight. The weather was pretty miserable today with that annoying fine rain drizzling down all day so there was only one thing for it - a morning run and then an afternoon of light retail therapy before hitting Shake Shack in the evening. Well, it would have been rude to leave NYC without sampling the crinkle fries!

If you follow me on instagram (@pinkpixiedoll) then you would have seen some of my NYC photos of the bright lights and famous sights going up sporadically throughout our trip but if you happened to have missed them then I thought I would share a few of my snaps on here. From top to bottom: the beautiful flower show in Macy's. A spot of beauty shopping in Bloomingdales. The best pizzas in New York at Don Antonio. Catching up on some blogging and enjoying my new purchases: the iPhone 6+ and several EOS lip balms. The bright lights of Radio City Music Hall. Reese's cups or Hersheys Kisses? The Paris theatre outside The Plaza. The fantastic lobby area of our Citizen M hotel. Shake Shack - the strawberry milkshake was well worth the wait! A few New York purchases. Selfies at Grand Central Station.

Right, must dash and finish packing our bags before our Uber arrives to take us to the airport. The final few details from day six will be up tomorrow. See you back in England!
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

NYC Day 3+4: Basketball, Modern Art & the Skyline at Sunset

So we have had another couple of incredible days in New York and the past 48 hours have been such a hectic, fast-paced whirlwind of sight-seeing, exploring, soaking up some culture and of course eating I have decided to put day three and four together in one post so grab a cuppa and enjoy.

Day three started off with our, now what feels like, routine run around Central Park before getting ready to brave the icy winds and head out for another day in the Big Apple. First stop was the Museum of Modern Art which had been on my to do list ever since we arrived. We previously visited the Guggenheim on our last trip but the MoMA is a great thing to do if you fancy a leisurely morning of colourful culture and funky artwork and a reason to head indoors to warm your chilly fingers. In the afternoon we decided some retail therapy was in order so we spent a few hours diving in and out of shops, grabbing coffee as we went and getting lost in Macy's and Bloomingdales. That night we put on our foam fingers and went to cheer on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It was such a fun evening with the half time entertainment being as flamboyant and over the top as you would imagine - cheerleaders in spangly leotards, the tee shirt toss and the half court shoot out!

After another dreamy sleep in the biggest beds ever our Citizen M hotel we decided to check out the much recommended Sara Beth's for breakfast and we were not disappointed. Possibly some of the fluffiest pancakes I have ever had I opted for the buttermilk pancakes with fresh strawberries whilst Rob had the cheddar and jalepeno omelette with pumpkin muffin. It was incredible and meant we were suitably fuelled for another day walking the city. We wandered south all the way down to the financial district to see the 9/11 memorial and gaze up in wonderment at the new Freedom Tower. It was a very moving and reflective moment of the day but something I would definitely recommend doing if you are visiting New York. On the way back we zigzagged through the West and East villages to check out a few boutique shops we had pinpointed to visit and just enjoyed a moment away from the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan. That evening we took advantage of the beautiful clear skies and crisp night and went to see the sun set over New York from the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Plaza. As people skated on the ice rink below we whizzed up to the 67th floor and stepped out to this spectacular view. Personally I think the view from TOTR surpasses the sight from Empire State Building purely because you have the ability to see the natural beauty of Central Park to the north and then the concrete jungle of New York unfolding all the way South to the bottom of the island, with the Statue of Liberty standing proud in the distance. As the sun set and cast a warm amber glow over the New York skyline it was a breathtaking moment and one of my favourite memories of the trip so far.
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Monday, 23 March 2015

NYC Day 2: The High Line and Cupcakes on Bleeker St

So day two in the Big Apple started like every Sunday should begin - with a brisk 5km run up 5th Avenue and around Central Park followed by a saunter back to the hotel, Starbucks in hand. Despite being on holiday Rob and I still love to squeeze our daily fitness fix in and there is honestly nothing better than starting the day with a run together. If I had one tip for anyone travelling to New York then I would say ditch the taxi rides and subway tickets, pop on your comfiest shoes and walk. There is nothing better than exploring a city like New York on foot as every street and avenue has something new and interesting to take in and discover that you won't want to miss.

After we had warmed ourselves up after braving the icy temperatures in our finest lycra we headed out to walk the High Line which is a historic freight rail line elevated high above the streets of West Side Manhattan. The walk offers some spectacular views of the Hudson to your right and the Meatpacking District to your left and gives you the opportunity to hop off at various points which we did once we hit Chelsea Market. Despite being to NYC twice before I had never ventured to Chelsea Market before, and neither had Rob, so we were both really looking forward to seeing what this indoor urban food haven had to offer. Comprising of shop after shop of interesting food delis, stalls and restaurants, not to mention a section selling trinkets, flowers, jewellery, clothes and interesting homewares, it is a great place to visit if you are hungry and want to while away a hour or two. Every sweet and savoury treat is here for your delectation from crepes, waffles, cupcakes, artisan breads, Mexican tacos, hearty soups and fresh pastas. It even had a Anthropologie store at the very end. We also popped over to Gansevoort Market which is much smaller but equally as tantalising!

Suitably fed and watered we carried on heading south towards the West Village and then onto SoHo which are some of my favourite areas in the city for simply wandering around and doing a spot of window shopping. Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery on Bleeker Street was a must (we shared a Red Velvet and Vanilla Buttercream and ate them on a bench in the sunshine) before paying Kate Spade Saturday a visit to see if any great bargains were to be had. Having been on our feet from 8am to 5pm now and feeling the need to counteract the sugary injection of cream cheese frosting from earlier we stopped off a The Butcher's Daughter which is a green, veggie-friendly cafe and juice bar that whips up a mean fruit smoothie. Colourful, fresh and nutrition it was just what we needed after pounding the pavements all day.

Finally back at our hotel we took to the internet to find us something light and relatively healthy to have for dinner and our radar landed on Bareburger which was only four streets down from our hotel. Organic, natural and eco-friendly, this burger joint really has it all with plenty of veggie choices, the option to design your own burger and mouthwatering sweet potato fries! I would definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area and craving a black bean burger in a brioche bun with handfuls of alfalfa and tomato fig jam (my personal creation!)
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