TRAVEL: Why I Want To Go Back To NYC

New York city is one of those cities that is like no other. The buzz of bright lights, imposing skyscrapers that look like they're reaching infinity and beyond and the drizzle of American culture, makes it all the more satisfying and delicious. After visiting the city at Christmas, it was the perfect taste of New York, a fantasy land mixed with magic, festive vibes and inviting cosy bars.

It isn't just one of the most popular cities in the world, but it is also the hub of art, fashion, film and theatre, with Broadway of course being the most popular place. I was undoubtedly captured by its beauty. It is definitely a concrete jungle and finding a quiet spot or place to think in New York can be difficult but Central Park is so vast that there is bound to be somewhere to retreat to. So here are some reasons why I want to go back to NYC and why you will want to also.

Hudson River
W 57th Street
It Will Inspire You

The big magnificent city of New York is home to so many business people, young and old, entrepreneurs. The taxi honks, the vibrancy of people and the fast city life is inspiring. It gets you feeling creative and of course there is always something to explore in New York. No matter your profession, it gives you a taste of the elite and success and it's dripping in money, which is also another huge inspiration. It'll leave you feeling utterly satisfied, perhaps a little tired too, but it'll give you the feeling that anything is possible; and any dream can be a reality.

It Is The Place For Foodies

All those new Instagram photos of exciting new food trends have probably started in New York, or if they didn't originate there, they probably have begun to recreate them there. Take a trip to stylish Soho for some incredibly amazing vegan cafes, there are so many rooftop cocktail bars, to suit all styles, from lower budget to high budget all out luxury, and the street food is incredible. A slice of pizza in New York is a must, or one of their famous pretzels that you can find on street corners. Sadly, I failed to try any of the street food which is another reason why I need to return!

Shopping & More Shopping

The shops in New York are among the best in the world. There isn't a shop you can't find in New York City, and the one good thing is that you can find good high street brands in New York, such as H&M and Sephora. The variation is huge and this is what makes it such a fabulous city. There is something for everyone. You don't of course have to buy anything; the window displays are incredible on their own, and are incredibly artistic visions in themselves. New York is the fashion centre of the world and around every corner there is fashion, art and culture. It's a fashion lover's dream! Take a trip during New York Fashion Week to see even more art around the city!

So let your next trip be one to remember, and one to savour, without a doubt, it is one of the most fantastic cities in the world. For ways to find good bargains for tourist attractions, take a look at Vacation Pass and make your holiday a very special one.

Luxury Treat At Thorpe Park Hotel

I have had the delight of visiting Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa before but it had been quite a few years ago. The quality was top notch then and today, its consistency in style and treatment is still as wonderful, if not better! Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa is in Colton, Leeds, just off the A1 so it is conveniently located, with Leeds and York being in reasoable driving idstance for day trips. It is a beautiful hotel, stylish, modern, impeccable service with lots of reasons to stay. In fact, Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa are nominated in the World Luxury Spa Awards and after experiencing the spa to its full potential, I can easily see why. For my little pre-birthday treat, myself and my best friend Janine decided to take full advantage of what Thorpe Park Hotel has to offer!

The Hotel & Where To Relax

Before or after your spa day, you can have a cup of tea, afternoon tea, light lunch or a quick coffee break in one of their lovely sitting areas. Overlook the pool with an afternoon tea, or perhaps have a light lunch in this outdoor inspired courtyard sitting area, it's so lovely and airy in there! Lunches are available, and it would also make a brilliant place to bring a work colleague or have a quiet meeting, as the environment is incredibly chilled out whilst still keeping a chic vibe!

The Treatments

There is a huge list of treatments up in the spa. Check in to the spa is easy, you're given a lovely robe and slippers, and a wrist band that gives you access to your locker. We headed up for a taster session; we both opted for neck, shoulder and back massage, the treatment was 25 minutes long. You can pick and choose, and the list is endless, including beauty treatments which I was highly impressed with, and would definitely try out second time around! A pedicure would be heavenly!

The relaxation lounge can be taken full advantage of before and after your treatments, with hot herbal teas on tap and little snacks as well as magazines and lounges, chairs which are perfect for stretching out on, or even a nap, which is definitely what we felt like doing. The lady who did my massage was lovely, worked on the areas of my shoulders that were incredibly tight and knotty, and the environment was lovely and quiet, with a choice of two beautiful oils - I picked the fitness oil, perfect for tired muscles. I then retreated to this quiet corner with a herbal tea and chats with my best friend; it was an easy, relaxing experience.

The Pool Area

I've always been in love with the pool here. It has a beautiful Grecian feel, with tiles and ornaments, it is relaxing, clean and easy to get around. There is a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, including a lot of little areas to relax, nap or even work. It would have been a brilliant place for me to set up office for the afternoon. The sauna is a great way to start out to relax those muscles and a good way to end your spa trip too. The steam room is lovely, very hot and definitely clears your head and sinuses. The jacuzzi is very warm but not too overpowering with the bubbles - a great place to have a good girly chat! The details of the pool area are exactly what I love in a spa, miminal but classic.

You can easily spend a full afternoon alternating from pool to jacuzzi and then another stint in the steam room, all with a glass of prosecco or coffee - whatever takes your fancy, drinks are on tap! Saunas and steam rooms are renowned for being good for aching msucles and good for your circulation. Thorpe Park Spa is such a relaxing environment for seasoned spa goers or people who like to take things a little slower paced. There's no pressure, and the changing rooms have good facilities, with little areas to redo your hair and make up (a must after a spa trip), and good amenities.

This was a lovely day, and would be a wonderful treat for someone's birthday, to allow them to step out of their busy lives, and enjoy a little bit of luxury! I know it was truly a relaxing experience to remember, you could even kick it up a notch with an evening meal and overnight stay, where the pool facilites are complimentary.

If you would like to vote for Thorpe Park Spa in this year's award, then you can click here and support them!

Click here to explore what Thorpe Park has to offer!
Follow Thorpe Park Hotel on Instagram here.

*My experience was kindly provided complimentary by Thorpe Park but all opinions are my own

BEAUTY: Q61 Pamper Session

There is always a good excuse to pamper yourself. Whether it is to shake off the weekend blues, treat yourself after a little bit of good news or maybe you want to treat someone else to a little bit of luxury, going to a nail and beauty studio is a brilliant way to do it! Keeping groomed and looking elegant is probably a big part of a lady's everyday routine. We pop on our make-up, we put a few curls in our hair, or run the sizzling hair straighteners through it, chuck on one of our handbags that matches our outfits, and out the door we go! Take a little time to pamper yourself, and feel the benefits, mentally and physically, you can never truly be happy in yourself, until you feel confident in yourself.

Photo Courtesy of: Q61
Photo Courtesy of: Q61
If you're Leeds based or in the vacinity of Leeds, then you need to take a little time to look at Q61 Nail & Beauty Studio, dedicated to pampering and beautifying their customers, creating the best version of themselves, and this is such a brilliant working ethos, that it has me converted. I received a manicure and pedicure, a delightful experience with the lovely Joanne. My gels have been on nearly two weeks, and there is no lifting and no sign of chipping or damage. The salon itself is run by a gorgeous husband and wife duo, who came up with the concept whilst on their honeymoon, and the studio itself is luxurious, the interior design is cool toned yet opulent purple tones which make it feel very upper class. There is a vast array of nail polish colours, almost too much to choose from, but I decided to choose a deep red, as it is such an incredibly classic colour that can be dressed for any occasion. For my toes, trying something a little different and opting for a deep purple was perfect and the pedicure came complete with a little massage with the most divine smelling foot cream! For all the sweet lovers, the coconut one I tried was heavenly.

The team are unbelievably friendly, with a professional attitude to work and the prices are within good range for a city centre luxury salon. Go find them over on Twitter and Instagram for more gorgeous photo and details of all their treatments.

Cute cupcakes at Q61
Deep red nails

*I was a guest at Q61 but all views and opinions are my own. 

Cycling In The Lakes!

It is the best thing in the world to take that deep breath of clean countryside air, escaping city life and really immersing yourself in natural beauty. My favourite part of the country has to be the Lake District. It's sprawling countryside, and plenty to do and see, it's a perfect holiday getaway, but there are plenty of ways to see the country that don't involve driving everywhere! Some of the best hotspots that offer lots to do and places to shop, drink and eat is Windermere, the main hub, and then higher up is Penrith. Both quite large spots that can get very busy, so here are some tips to see some of these incredible views away from the crowds, and in a more innovative way!

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
Bike It 

Cycling is not just great for your wellbeing, but it's also a brilliant way to see the places in the countryside that you can't reach in a car, and see them twice as fast than walking, therefore you get to kill two birds with one stone. If you're searching for a new bike, your first bike, a bike for your kids, or parts for your bike, or even bike accessories, then pick these all up on a budget with Latest Deals, so click here and find some brilliant priced things! It's always my go to when looking for travel gear, but if you're on your bike (no pun intended), then you can get around the large lakes much quicker, and here are some of the great tracks to look at.

  • Coniston Cycle Trail - Lake Coniston is a large incredible lake, and perfect to go biking, either alone or with a group, it is realtively long but worth it for those lake views! 
  • Hawkshead to Claife Heights - This route takes in both Coniston fells and also Windermere! 
  • Kentmere - a quiet relaxing route, beginning in Staveley and with plenty of cafe stops in between! 
  • Duddon Valley - not for the fainthearted, this is more of a mountain trek and is long and hard but the Duddon valley stretches around the north of the Lakes 
  • Ullswater North Western Falls - Ullswater is huge, and it is definitely reminiscent of Scottish beauty, but it's definitely one to try for the more hardened bike rider!
  • Askham Fell - more of a family route, not overly taxing and great if you want to take the kids on a fun day out! 
For more information on all the routes for bikes in the Lake District you can click here.  

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay 
So has this at least slightly wet your appetite for a more exciting trip? Biking is a brilliant form of exercise, in fact some of its health benefits include: increased cardiovascular fitness, improved joint mobility, decreased body fat levels, strengthened bones and much more. You can make your cycling journey even easier with finding the best deals over at Latest Deals! I raved about them back in 2015, and they have gone from strength to strength with better deals than ever and they have all your bike needs covered! Happy shopping and happy travelling!

Ways To Spruce Up Your Spare Room

If you are lucky enough to have additional space in your house such as a spare room (or even two) then it can often be difficult deciding what to do with it. More often than not, the spare room doesn’t have any particular use, and it is in fact, just that. Spare. Filled with odd bits and bobs that have no proper home, ceiling high ironing piles that you like to close the door and forget about and that hoover that broke three years ago. So if you’re guilty of treating the spare room more like a tip than a living space, then here are some ideas that might inspire you to transform that space into something a little more useful.

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

A Gym 
Ok, I’m not talking a state of the art studio filled with all singing, all dancing equipment, but the popularity of home workouts are on the rise and are also extremely accessible from all kinds of fitness Youtube channels. Why not empty the space out, add a few yoga mats, dumbbells or kettlebells, a skipping rope and maybe an exercise bike and you have your very own makeshift studio. Shut the door, turn up the speakers and get that heart rate going. This doesn’t have to cost a lot and will probably save you more money than a gym membership in the long run!

An Office
Ok, this isn’t a very creative concept because a lot of people have home offices in the spare room, but if you do work from home or need a space where you can concentrate, it is vital that you create a productive workspace. An old desk chair and computer isn’t exactly motivational. Ensure your office space is painted in light colours, has a lot of natural light but also the right lighting when working after dark. A comfy desk chair with the correct back support is essential and I found a lovely one over at LionsHome. Desk organisers are also great for ensuring that your workload doesn’t get on top of you – working in a clutter-free space is far more effective.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay
A Pet Room
This might sound a little ridiculous at first, but if you have your pet’s beds in the kitchen and find yourself falling over them/not wanting to go downstairs for fear of waking them up to wreak havoc, then why not transform your spare room into a calm, safe place for your pets to sleep? There is plenty of advice available online about how to successfully create a relaxing and playful space for your animals and it will probably do them good to have a space they can associate as their own - not to mention you being able to enjoy a hair-free carpet!

Walk-in Wardrobe 

Unleash your inner Kim K and turn that spare bedroom into a closet. Although walk-in wardrobes are usually associated with A-listers, it doesn’t have to be expensive to overhaul an otherwise empty space into somewhere you can store, clothes, coats and jackets, shoes and accessories. LionsHome{link to specific page} have some excellent shoe racks and clothes rails that can be strategically placed around the room to make storing your clothing a decorative venture. Walking into a room with your clothes and accessories all on display might make finding something to wear that little bit easier!

*This is a collaborative post