My 18th Birthday Trip To New York

img_2705img_2709New York has to be one of the most amazing cities in the world, and being able to experience it, for the first time, to celebrate my 18th birthday, is something I will always remember. It’s way beyond anything you will have ever experienced before and anything that you thought it could possibly be. The only way I can truly describe it is that it’s so magical and honestly is the city that never ever sleeps. It’s constantly buzzing with people, shows, traffic and is the home of over 198 Starbucks. They’re literally everywhere you turn and are a true staple in every New Yorker’s day.

New York may only be 12 miles long, however it’s packed full of different streets and avenue’s; meaning there’s always something to see or do. One of the most iconic, but also the most busy and vibrant parts of the city, is Times Square. The place most well-known for towering skyline buildings and numerous digital advertising boards. It’s also home to a number of Broadway shows and if you’re looking to get a good bargain on a pair of tickets to see a show, then the large red step building, in the centre of Times Square, is a really great place to start. Personally, I found it a bit tacky and very focused on tourists, but it’s still a very iconic part of the big apple and somewhere that you definitely need to go and experience. We started our open top bus tour, from Times Square, and it really allowed you  be able to know more about the city, view it at a higher level and also learn more about each different part individually. So, I would really recommend doing that, as an essential part of the sightseeing section of your trip.

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Sightseeing was an essential part of our trip to New York and being able to see and experience everything that the city has to offer. The bus tour, which I mentioned previously, enabled us to go around the whole city, both Uptown and Downtown.

Downtown is the home to most of the iconic places, which New York is known for, and is the more financial and tourist side of the city. At the top of downtown is the likes of Times Square, Soho and home to the Empire State Building. We visited this separately and went up to the observation deck, to see the amazing views across New York. Not only is the art deco building so beautiful, but the chance to go up there really is once in a life time and the pictures you can take are unbelievable. Soho is the home to a beautiful variety of shops and the Kardashian sisters DASH clothing shop. Right at the bottom of downtown Manhattan is where Lady Liberty looks over the river and Brooklyn bridge, which we were able to get really close to on a Horn Blower boat trip that was included in our Big Bus Tour ticket. Again, being able to see her is quite a touching experience because she is such an iconic symbol for New York, as well as freedom and peace between the US and France.

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The top of the Rockafella centre was another one of the amazing observation decks that we visited in New York. The actual centre is a weird and wonderful combination of everything, from shops, to café’s, to restaurant’s and an observation deck, on one of their highest floors. We went on Saturday evening, just as the sun was setting, and it truly was one of the best experiences I had whilst I was there. You were able to see the whole of New York light up and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Each building has it’s own unique architecture and lights up in it’s own way. The dark blue and orange sunset also created the most gorgeous backdrop for the first photo’s of my holiday. This isn’t such a well known observation deck, however I would really recommend it, especially in the evening, when the sun’s setting.

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Of course there is also a wide variety of shops that run throughout New York, some that are available in the UK, such as Victoria Secret and Pandora, but also shops that are exclusive to the US, such as Bath and Body Works. If you like a good shop, especially a department store then you have to visit Macy’s. It’s 7/8 large floors full of clothing, accessories, makeup, home wear, and much more. So, make sure you bring plenty of dollars, as you will definitely need them. You can also get 10% off the price, or buy it without the added tax, if you take your passport to the information area. Bath and Body Works is also another really great shop to visit, if you love all this body and skincare. The products smell amazing and they come is so many gorgeous smelling scents. So, be warned as you may spend a lot of money and luggage allowance on their lovely body washes, soaps, candles and much more.

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Rachel x

My Wonder Lust List

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Wanderlust: A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.

Right from a young age, when my mum and dad took me on a trip to France at just over a month old, I’ve always travelled. My family are real travellers, and have probably visited most of the gorgeous countries around the world, between them all. So, that’s what inspired me to really want to travel and see everything that the world has to offer. Experience new cultures, try amazing new foods and most of all to be able to have lifelong memories to be able to treasure and share with my own children. Even though I do really just want to travel wherever I can, there’s a few places I would really love to go back to, or particularly visit, and that’s why I thought I would share my Wonderlust list, with you all.

Paris

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My parents both had a real love for France and that’s what lead us to go on so many family holidays there. It’s a place that my late dad really loved and it’s somewhere I feel particularly close to him. So, it’s a country that I know I will always travel to and I feel like it will always have a special place in my heart. Paris is such a gorgeous city, full of love, life and so much beauty. There’s so many amazing places to visit and in nearly every corner you turn there’s a story and an adventure to be had. That’s why I really want to visit again. I want to experience the real side of Paris, away from all the touristy places and be able to delve into true Parisian life; especially the super chic Parisian style. France brings me so much closer to my dad and I know he will be so proud that I’m trying to live out his passion for travel.

Greece

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Greece is somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for such a long time know. I’ve seen so many gorgeous pictures of Greece and heard some lovely stories about it, and that’s what really leads me to want to experience it for myself. The clear blue sea, the quirky cobbled streets/ village’s and the gorgeous weather; you couldn’t ask for anymore. I’d love for all the islands, however Mykanos and Santorini have to on the top of my list. They look like such lovely, relaxing places to have a holiday and I’m sure I’ll fall in love with as soon as I have my first real glimpse.

Africa & India

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Africa and India are both places that I feel are a must visit, during my life. I really want to be able to experience a culture that’s so much different to mine, and make me realise just how lucky I am to have such a privileged life. In Africa, being able to see such a gorgeous part of the world and to experience the amazing wildlife so close up, is what attracts me to want to visit to much. The busy street markets, the amazing food and completely different way of living, is what I know I’m going to love about India. They’re both such life changing places to visit, that I know will impact me in such a powerful way. I really want to go and volunteer and experience the real Africa and India.

*This post is dedicated to my late dad and his true love wonderlust.

Rachel x

#SS 6 | 10 Reasons Why I’ve Loved Summer This Time Around

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When it comes to my favourite seasons in the year, summer doesn’t normally come into that list. The lack of sun that we usually have in the UK, the variety of interesting summer dressing that appears and the lack of really good TV; makes summer one of my less favourite seasons. However, I think summer 2016 may have finally been able to bring me around to changing my opinion, on the hottest season of the year. If we’re lucky. So, I thought I would share 10 reasons why I have loved summer, this time around…

1. In the UK we have actually had more sun than rain. Usually UK summers are absolutely nothing to talk about and definitely not anything you could really enjoy. If it’s not raining then it’s unbearably hot, there’ s not normally any in-between. But, this year has been different and we’ve actually had lot’s of gorgeous sunny weather, to the point where I’ve even managed to get a bit of tan.

2. I think I’ve finally found my perfect summer style. Summer dressing is something I’ve always struggled with, and even up to a few months ago I’ve found it really hard to nail down what trends and style’s I love for summer and which ones I’m going to give a miss. However, I feel like now I’ve really got my summer style semi-nailed thanks to finding some of my ultimate summer wardrobe items and putting it all together to create my ideal holiday wardrobe.

3. Spending time with my mum. When it comes to who I love to spend time with the most, my mum is always someone who comes out tops. We love doing the same things, which is usually shopping, have the same interests and just love spending time together. I think it’s so important to care and take time to really look after your family, especially your mum, as you only get one after all. You can find about more about me HERE.

4. Really enjoying photography and using Instagram. These two things come hand in hand, because this summer I’ve loved documenting my summer through taking beautiful photo’s to share with all of you on Instagram. Why don’t you go and give me a little follow @rachelydia? I’ve got a little theme going on and I’ve just really enjoyed taking lovely photo’s, from my holidays and fun things I’ve done during the summer, to document on my Instagram. Although, I don’t know what I’m going to fill my Instagram with when Autumn hits.

5. Getting a good work balance. This is one of the more boring reasons of this post, however if you have a part time job then you will know where I’m coming from. Sometimes you end up working way too much and have no time to enjoy summer, even though you’re going to have a massive pay cheque at the end of the month. But, this year I’ve been lucky and managed to get a good balance, with a bit of work but also free time.

6. The #SummerSpecial blog series. If you didn’t already know, for the whole month of August, I decided to embark on a new blogging adventure and create a monthly series inspired by summer. I’ve loved challenging myself to keep to my blogging schedule, even though this post is going to up a bit late today, and experimenting with some better content. You can go and catch up on the series HERE.

7. Changing up my hair and makeup. This summer I’ve really loved changing up my hair and trying out a few new different hair style’s to wear. My go-to one, at the minute, has to be having a scalp braid in the top section of my hair and then having loose waves/curls, in the rest of my hair. Make up wise I’ve been addicted to changing up my eye makeup and buying new palette’s. I’ve really been loving the more rose gold vibe and a lighter crease colour.

8. Party planning. This is almost a bit of a cheat, because the party I’m planning for is not actually in the summer, but I’ve still been making plans for it, during the last few months. I’m having a party to celebrate my 18th Birthday in October, and so I’ve really been enjoying doing all things party related. Designing invitations, making and getting decorations and ultimately finding the perfect venue.

9. A new series. I’ve really loved watching an original BBC comedy called ‘Boy Meets Girl’. It’s an hilariously funny drama that follows a young couple, and their family, through life and preparing to get married. I’ve really been enjoying having a good laugh and I just think you can’t beat a really good comedy. The new series of ‘Friday Night Dinner’ on channel 4 is also amazing as well. I really recommend you go and have a watch of both of them.

10. Having holidays in the UK. I usually think that in order to have a really good, sunny summer holiday, then abroad is the only way to go. However, this year I was proved completely wrong ,as I went on my summer holiday to Eastbourne and Brighton. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and Brighton is such a vibrant and amazing place to visit, I really recommend a trip. Also, a trip to the Sherwood Center Parcs proved to me that you can have a really good holiday in the UK, with the amazing accommodation and sub tropical swimming paradise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and are loving your summer so far. You can go and catch up with the rest of the #SummerSpecial series HERE.

Rachel x

15 Things To Do This Summer

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As we’re well and truly into the summer season and the summer holidays are literally just around the corner, I thought I would share 15 ideas, of what you can do to occupy some of your time this summer.

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1.Build a den | It’s something that we all loved doing when we were children and now it’s time to re-create those childhood memories, but with a bit of a twist. I recommend getting plenty of Pinterest-friendly cushions and throws, a few sets of fairly lights and of course a laptop and a good film, to whittle the day away.

2. Have a road trip | Everyone loves a good road trip, and they’re even better on those long, hot summer days where you can really have a full day filled with road trip antics. Whether you want to make a day of it, or just travel an hour away, from home, the key to a good road trip is a killer playlist that you can listen to throughout the whole journey, some of your favourite snacks and treats to keep you going, and of course some great company.

3. Host a garden party | Whether you looking to having a chilled out evening reminiscing on old times, with the people you love the most, or choosing to host a pool party and get all your friends over for a good gossip, a garden party is something you need to throw this summer. In England we don’t get much chance to be in the garden and enjoy the weather, so try and make the most of it. Check out THIS post, to see how to plan an amazing party on a budget.

4. Have a lazy day | No summer is complete without at least one lazy day, where you just chill at home and do exactly what you want to do. My favourite things to do on these days is to go makeup free, pick some of my favourite TV Series or films and just chill out in my pyjama’s all day.

5. Create your own cocktail | Summer is all about cocktail’s, and mock-tails of course, so creating or working out what your favourite summer drink is, will ensure that your thirst will always be well quenched. This will also help you create a drinks list for any summer party you may be throwing.

6. Do a D.I.Y Project | Pinterest is absolutely full of d.i.y ideas, and this summer it’s the time to finally choose one. Whether it’s as simple as a little bit of paper craft and creating your own cards/stationary, or a more complex fashion d.i.y, it’s all about having fun and doing something different this summer. Check out my D.I.Y Crafts Pinterest board to get your creative juices flowing.

7. Visit a water park | I’m really obsessed with visiting a water park this summer, and just chilling out in the pool with some of my best friends. So, I thought you might be too, and that this summer should be dedicated to having lot’s of water park fun.

8. Go to a festival | Summer is the official festival season, and there’s one out there to suit everyone. The key to festivals is being super prepared, being ready to ruff it for a few days, and most of all to have an amazing time with friends/family.

9. Bake something | You really can’t underestimate the power of a good baking session, and how much fun it can actually be. It can keep you entertained for hours, and all you need is one of your favourite recipes, a kitchen and a bit of amazing company. Check out my Food Pinterest board, for lot’s of lovely foodie ideas.

10. Learn something new | You always have so much time on your hands during the summer, and it’s the perfect time to learn a new skill. You could decide to learn how to play an instrument, how to nail a new makeup trend or even just a new way to style up one of your favourite wardrobe items; it’s up to you.

11. Go to a new exercise class | There’s so many different exercise classes out there, and summer is the time for you to try out a new one. Whether it’s Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, or a new dance class, just take the plunge and do something different. You never know, you may fall in love with it.

12. Go to an outdoor cinema night | These evenings seem to be super popular at the minute, and I’m really loving their old fashioned Grease Vibes. The best way to enjoy them is with great company, a good picnic and plenty of blankets and throws to keep you warm, during the evening.

13. Explore a new place | Whether that’s in this country or abroad, it’s all about experiencing a new place full of different culture, traditions, food and quirky little shops and villages. Travelling and exploring is one of my favourite things to do, and is something you can never get bored of.

14. Start a blog or YouTube channel | As the internet is now becoming full of such talented people, from across the world, it’s a great time to think about joining the fun. Whether it’s beauty, fashion, travel, food, lifestyle, or just general life, that you’re passionate about; then that’s all you need to get started. If you just want a project for the summer, you could just do a travel or summer blog, and only document a small section of your life instead. It’s completely up to you.

15. Spend time with family and friends | I can’t explain how much family and friends mean to me and it’s so important to enjoy their company and make amazing memories with them. At the end of the day, they’re the most important things in life, and you should always treasure them.

Rachel x