Why Rome is the perfect weekend getaway..

Rome is the perfect weekend getaway, it has something for everyone, museums, art galleries, great food and depending when you go, great weather!

Top 5 Things to Do in Rome

Rome is the perfect weekend getaway, because there is so much to see and do, so I’ve compiled a list of my Top 5 Things to See and Do..

  • The Vatican: book your tickets in advance online to avoid the long queues. Go early in the morning to as this is when the museum is quietest.  There is so much to see, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it, we spent around 3 hours exploring, but if you opt for a tour it will take you most of the day.
  • The Colosseum: again book in advance, all the major tourist attractions in Rome get busy, and you can end up wasting a lot of time queueing if you’re not organized.
  • EAT EAT EAT! This is a pasta lovers dream (aka my dream!). Avoid eating at any of the tourist trap restaurants in St Marks Square. My favourite restaurant was Le Jadin de Russie. Go for an early dinner and sit dine in their beautiful courtyard.
  • Walk this is the best way to absorb the energy of the city, and enjoy the ancient Roman architecture.
  • Shop all the best European boutiques can be found near the Spanish Steps.

The costs…

Flights from London Heathrow – Rome were £150 per person with British Airways travelling at the end of May.

Two nights at the St Regis booked with American Express Travel cost £540 for a superior room.

IMG_5494IMG_5490

IMG_2971IMG_2972IMG_2973IMG_2975IMG_2976

Falling in Love with Positano

The moment I arrived in Positano, I fell in love.

Positano is a gorgeous tiny town on the Amalfi coast, with a population of around 4,000. It’s a charming town full of boutiques, amazing restaurants, luxury hotels and medditeranian views. You can walk everywhere in Positano, everything is close, and there are no cars in the centre.

We visited the town of the last May Bank Holiday, which we were told was the best time to visit, the weather was warm and perfect for sunbathing. Although it was busy when we were there, the summer crowds hadn’t yet arrived, so it was a ‘nice busy’.

Our hotel was wonderful – Palazzo Murat. The rooms are old fashioned and charming, each with their own balcony which allows you to enjoy the beauty of the grounds from your room. The hotel was everything we expected it to be, it was beautiful, the service was great and it had a beautiful swimming pool, but be warned, it’s freezing!

We ate so much good food, our favourites were Le Tre Sorelle and Chez Black, both recommended to us by the hotel.

Getting there… it’s a 2 hr drive from Naples, and the it’s a perfect way to see the splendour that is the Amalfi. Its impossible for cars to get right into the heart to the town as the roads are so narrow, so your driver will walk you with your bags down to your hotel.

We travelled via train from Rome to Naples, which took just over an hour. The train was inexpensive and it was much cheaper than flying directly to Naples, which tends to be pricey as it’s the closest airport to chic destinations such as: Capri and Ravello.

The costs…

Positano is relatively easy to get to, it’s around an hours drive from Naples airport. Flights to Naples can be expensive, especially during the warmer months, as everyone is flocking to various glamours locations such as Capri and Ravello. A good way to cost cuts down is to fly to an alternative airport, we went via Rome.

Flights from London Heathrow – Rome were £150 per person with British Airways.

We paid 990 euros for 3 nights staying at the Palazo Murrat  in a garden room, this rate included breakfast. Hotels in Positano are really expensive, and get booked up fast, we booked around 9 months in advance and we got the last room!

The taxi from Naples to our hotel was booked with Euro Limo and it cost 110 euros each way. This sounds expensive, but I shopped around before booking and realised it was a pretty standard price. If you’re a confident driver then there is the option to hire a car and drive yourself, but parking may be an issue once you arrive.

Eating out was comparable to that of eating in London, so it wasn’t a massive shock to me, and I didn’t feel as though I spent all that much.

IMG_2962IMG_2964IMG_2966IMG_2967IMG_2968IMG_2969IMG_3427IMG_3428

IMG_3420

IMG_5486IMG_5493IMG_5495

My Top 10 Things to Do in NYC

My cousin and I spent a fabulous, yet freezing long weekend in New York in March. Here are my Top 10 Things to Do in NYC

  1. Top of the Rock: this will give you be the best views of the city, plus you can get some brilliant pictures of the city with the Empire State Building in them.
  2. Staten Island Ferry: this is a free commuter service between Manhattan and Staten Island, but it’s also a great way to see the Island of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The round trip will take you just over an hour. If you have more time and are interested to learn more about the history of Ellis Island, there are lots of tour options.
  3. The Jewish Museum: a brilliant place to learn more about the global history of Jews and their migration and influence in NYC. There’s also a brilliant café/ deli serving traditional Jewish and Kosher treats –Russ & Daughters.
  4. Cocktails at The Standard High Line in the trendy Meatpacking District. This iconic penthouse bar and restaurant is super cool and offers panoramic city views.
  5. Go to a Live TV show – I’m a massive fan of the Wendy Williams Show, so as soon as I booked my trip, I booked my tickets to see the show live. Tickets are free; it’s just a matter of booking them in advance. There are lots of other live shows, have a look here www.nycgo.com
  6. Clubbing: NYC has a great night life, there are lots of clubs to chose from, it just depends what music you’re into, we love hip-hop so we picked: Lavo and 1OAK. Both were amazing, entry can be expensive, so my advice is to reach out to club promoters via instagram and see if they can get you on their guest-list.
  7. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge obvious one, but a good one!
  8. EAT! There are so many amazing places to eat in NYC, here are some of my favourites: Prince St. Pizza -BEST PIZZA EVER! Levain Bakery, these are the hugest, most delicious cookies in the world, and it’s clear the whole city agrees, as the que is around 30 mins.
  9. Williamsburg Brooklyn this is a super cool neighbourhood full of independent restaurants and shops.
  10. Central Park…

The hotel – The Westin Grand Central was perfect for what we were looking for. It was inexpensive and centrally located. The service was friendly and polite, this is by no means a design hotel, but the room was spacious, clean and functional.

Getting around the city is really easy once you figure out the subway, and it’s cheap. My only advice is not to take it late at night as it doesn’t feel particularly safe, but it’s absolutely fine during the day as it’s packed with commuters. Depending on the weather, I recommend walking as much as you can as it’s a great way to get a sense of the city and it means you can stumble across places that aren’t in the guidebooks.

The costs…

We booked our holiday with British Airways as part of a package deal. We paid £610 per person; this included 5 nights at the The Westin Grand Central and direct flights from London Heathrow to JFK. The great thing about BA Holidays is that you can book your holiday by putting down a small deposit, and pay the remaining balance 5 weeks before departure.

IMG_7116IMG_7166IMG_7300IMG_7135

IMG_5478IMG_5482IMG_5483

Istanbul Soho House

 

Istanbul Soho House, beautiful decor, amazing facilities and a fantastic location..

We stayed at Soho House Istanbul, for a long weekend in July.

This is one the groups largest houses, it operates as a hotel / spa and a private members club.

The costs.. We opted for a Tiny Room, which at the time was an unbeatable €80  per night.

Non-member rates for a Tiny Room range from €225 to €240

And if you’re going all out, The Playroom will cost you between €1000 to €1200 per night

What I LOVED…

  • Beautiful design
  • The Turkish breakfast was OUT OF THIS WORLD!
  • Convenient location, close to shops, restaurants, metro links
  • Guests staying at the hotel get full access to the club which is located right next door
  • The wonderful Cowshed goodies in the room
  • Hair dryer and straighteners can be found in the bathroom
  • Great TV selection, I know, I know these things shouldn’t matter, you’re on holiday, but we know they do!

Cowshed Spa

We booked various treatments at Cowshed felt and found the staff to be kind, professional and the treatments were just as I would expect from any of the other Cowshed Spas.

Book the Traditional Turkish Hamman Experience; leave feeling pampered and squeaky clean!

hamam.jpg

Where to Eat

Cecconis- All my friends laugh at  me, as I’m OBSESSED with Cecconis, whichever city I’m in, I hunt it down: Miami, LA, Berlin, London and now Istanbul.

Everything about this restaurant is delicious, the food, the scenery, the Peach Capirinhas’s…

My love for Italian food has no end, even in what I can only imagine is the epicentre of Turkish Food I managed to eat at Cecconi’s twice throughout my stay!

This beautiful courtyard restaurant attracts the uber glam crowd of Istanbul, I recommend making a reservation in advance and dressing to impress.

Where to Visit

There is so much to see in this bustling city, and I’m probably guilty of spending too many hours on the roof working on my tan, and not as much time as I could of exploring!

But here are a few of the places I did get round to seeing.

  • Sultanahmet (The Blue Mosque)
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Süleymaniye (the Magnificent)
  • The Grand Bazar

Please note, during times of prayer you won’t be allowed to go inside the Mosques, but you can still walk around the outside and take in the magnificent Ottoman architecture which the city is famous for.

 

11326547_931442763542647_1272420955_n11410732_567942606678608_1759185104_n924668_1516387225250315_283935804_nIMG_9728