In pictures (and some words): NYC roundup 

Finally catching up and I can reassure the faint hearted among you that this is my last holiday post! Normal infertility-adoption-random-blethering will be resumed shortly… 😉

This is the final installment in our gripping saga* – previous installments are here:

  1. Pre take off
  2. Magic Kingdom
  3. Animal Kingdom
  4. Be Our Guest dinner
  5. Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs
  6. Epcot
  7. Orlando roundup
  8. Washington DC
  9. Food Tours of NY

(*I may have fibbed about gripping.)

So… Our final days of our holiday (“vacation” to my American buds!) were spent in NYC. We stayed in an Airbnb in Brooklyn, which was our first ever go at Airbnb. Don’t believe the scare stories! Really it was very straightforward and well organised and we didn’t even meet the hosts in real life! It was all done via electronics (whatsapp, Airbnb, emails) and we just rocked up and the keys were in a lockbox and the apartment had been cleaned.

We had a whole “Parlor floor” to ourselves in an old brownstone. That floor, for any non Americans reading is what we call the ground floor – but you walk up steps (the stoop!) to it. The basement is not all underground and still has plenty of windows although is a bit lower than street level. We have places like this in London but they’re not brown! Anyway the conversion was great – big open plan space including a living room, kitchen/diner and bedroom plus a bathroom off the bedroom. It was larger than most places in London!

The reason we decided to stay in Brooklyn is that we wanted to experience a different neighbourhood. I kind of think Brooklyn is a bit analogous to where we live in London – an “up and coming” neighbourhood! (Note we were in Bed-Stuy, not the trendier Williamsburg which is already up and come!) It was fine, although I have to say I’m not quite understanding why so many people seem to walk around talking to themselves…! And the commute on the metro is not much fun – we realised our tube in London for all its sins is a lot better! We had a lot of interrupted journeys because it would stop working or whatever. Usually we are fine with that – as Londoners we are used to walking a lot – but T had hurt his foot badly in Orlando and couldn’t walk without pain so that wasn’t ideal. I think we were spoiled the last time we were there as we stayed in a really central area (the meatpacking district by Chelsea market) so it was weird not to have everything on our doorstep like it had been there, but then you can’t compare an apartment to a 5* hotel! It’s a different experience and just as fun!

On our first full day there we did the food tour (pictures on my previous post) and then we headed off to meet…


The Ashley of Ashleykyleanderson / In pursuit of a family blog fame!

It was so nice to meet up. We decided to try and catch up because she wasn’t too far away from where we were. When I told T that I wanted to meet someone who I knew via blogging, he was just like okay then! I think he’s used to my somewhat unconventional ideas! Anyway we were relatively nearby to each other (at least, a lot closer than we usually are, across the Atlantic) and so we met up and it was awesome. I hope I’m right in saying it wasn’t awkward and the four of us had a good chat! And don’t worry, it wasn’t just about infertility! (Ashley will be able to fill you in on her considered opinion, haha.)

None of us really knew the area so we wandered around and came to a little café and we ended up staying there for a while. What you can’t see in this picture is the wine/beer that the Brits had! We couldn’t really manage a lot of extra food after the tour but I managed to scoff a burrata on the strength of the fact that I had passed a few of my tasters to T because I’m fussy, so he’d doubled up and I’d saved some space! Basically I always have space for burrata. (It’s like soft mozzarella and really creamy.) Yup, food tour may be over but we can still do food…

Anyway it was fab to meet up and have a natter to some real live Americans. 🙂 Ashley also brought me some hot chocolate from Ghirardelli which I mentioned in my Epcot visit was possibly the best hot chocolate I had ever tasted! How cool is that?! I’m saving it for the cold weather hitting the UK this winter! (I am a total hot chocolate fan so I was very happy with this!) For all the Brits who moan on about Hersheys, let me tell you that Ghirardelli makes up for Hersheys in a big way. It’s more like Belgian chocolate. We bought a few squares in a selection pack when we were in Brooklyn and they were really nice!

Maybe it’s just me as I’m used to meeting people from t’interweb but it didn’t really feel like meeting strangers. I feel like I “know” quite a few of you on here. And we were so excited about being in America and doing loads of stuff that we probably yakked their poor ears off about Orlando and America in general! Finally we had to stop talking (poor Kyle… I think he was starving and we Brits had been focusing on the liquid embellishments rather than the food ones) and we had our next appointment to get to, a short walk away. Thank you to Ashley and Kyle for coming to meet us nearby and not making us negotiate the subway again!

A few blocks away from where we met, we headed for our next stop. The Moth Club is this amazing monthly (I think) event which is sort of an open mic for storytelling. It is massively popular and the last time we were in NYC last year we tried to go but the queue was round the block and they cut it off and said people after a certain time wouldn’t get in. So T was really keen to go this time as he’d been once before and said it was really good.

The tickets only open up a week before which was when we were in Orlando so we logged on straight away and already the VIP/premier tickets were gone, where you get a guaranteed seat. We could get a standard ticket with no guaranteed seat and you have to queue up with the hundreds of other people who have bought those tickets! When we got there about 40 minutes before, there was already a long queue.

Anyway, we got to the front of the queue and who should be (wo)manning it but M, that cool girl I mentioned that we met at Murray’s Cheese! It was so funny – she was standing on the steps fielding the queue (“line”) and I hear this yell “Hey! What are you doing here?” and it’s M! It took me a while to register who it was, because I didn’t expect to meet anyone I knew, let alone someone I’d met the night before. Ha! We decided it must have been fate for us to meet twice in a row and so we had a quick chat and let her get back to her work, not before friending each other on Facebook. (It’s the modern way!) Coda: We half expected to meet her the next day, but it wasn’t to be… However, we did then see one of the storytellers on our next day in Brooklyn! This set me off on a whole everything-is-connected thought… but I digress.

The idea of the Moth Club is that it’s a “storyslam”. It means that people get up on stage and tell a short story based around a certain theme – this month’s theme was Sacrifice. They had 2ish hours which translated to 10 people with a 5 minute story each. You have a warning bell at 5 minutes if you’re going on too long (actually I think it was someone twiddling on the recorder!) and then you get cut off at 6 minutes. It means you get these great, bite size stories. The fun is in how different people interpret the theme, and the atmosphere in the room which is kind of electric… all these people on tenterhooks concentrating on the relatively old fashioned way of transmitting information for entertainment. It’s like a big change from staring at our devices (which the compere insisted we turn off!).

We’d actually been to a storyslam before in our local (pub, to my American friends! You’ll soon realise that British society revolves around drinking!) and so I vaguely knew what to expect, but this was so much more slick somehow. The venue itself was a bookshop which is run for a charity which helps those who are homeless and affected by AIDS – I think maybe the Moth Club is held at different venues so it depends where you go. The whole night is staffed by volunteers so all the profits went to this charity, which is pretty awesome when you realise how many people attended (hundreds). They also had an absolutely hilarious compere who was this massively pregnant lady (but of course… I wouldn’t expect anything less on an infertility/loss healing trip!) – she was really funny and I was actually just enjoying the night too much to feel bad about not being pregnant.

The level of stories and storytelling was amazing. The one in our local was kind of an enthusiast’s endeavour, based on this idea… This one was a fully formed, oversubscribed event with people who were dying to tell their stories and so many attendees that half of them were standing. Imagine how intimidating it must be to get up on a stage under a spotlight and tell your story when the place is bursting at the seams with expectation. People sitting on the stairs, in the aisles and on the floor and standing at the back,all because they want to hear what you have to say.

(Actually only 10 people were able to do it but there were 13 names in the bag which were picked out on a sequential basis… That means three people had their story all prepared, the adrenaline running – “I wonder if it will be me next?” and they didn’t get to tell their stories! Brutal! I mean, it takes a lot of guts to get up in front of hundreds of people and speak, let alone tell a story of your own.)

That’s the idea, the stories have to be your own and nobody else’s. I’m in awe of anyone who does this – I love writing, but my idea of hell is public speaking. I’m terrible at it – if I ever have to give presentations at work (the type where you stand at the front and talk) I go to pieces. Which is funny as I’m quite opinionated “confident” most of the time. I can sit at a table and talk in a conversational way with even quite important people, but there’s something about standing up with all eyes on you which makes me cringe.

I think the difference in America, possibly why I love the place, is the there’s this presumption of confidence and a “you can do it” mentality. All the people who spoke – even if they were nervous – did it so confidently and so it wasn’t just about the stories but also the performance. The best ones weren’t just telling a story but performing it; using their hands, gesturing, acting out parts in a way that makes it far more compelling. You could tell they’d really thought about how to tell a story rather than just standing there like a rabbit in the headlights (my preferred method).

And I didn’t even mention yet that they get scored on it and the scores get written on a board behind the stage! They’d apparently picked three sets of judges in advance who had to hold up scorecards after each performance. Actually it was sort of funny as they had decimal points so it was always 7, 8 or 9 point something – they kind of all normalised to 7.5 – 9.3 or something like that – I guess it feels as though they’re being less brutal by always giving a score above 7 out of 10, but in reality it seemed that most were 8 point something with a “bad” one being 7-something and a great one being 9-something. Coincidentally the last few did get 9s and we wondered if it was because the judges had had a few drinks by then!

It was a great event and I loved hearing all the stories. I thought the best one “won” (it was a tearjerker about his dead brother) but there were many memorable ones. People really laid themselves bare, too – one memorable one (not the winner) was a young girl who’d met a guy in Ireland when she was in her college placement year there, fell in love with him, worked and saved up during her final year at college here, never going out and working extra jobs and giving up her extra electives and graduating early – all so she could get back to this boy in Ireland. Turns out when she got there after this year of wishing and hoping and saving and not doing fun stuff that he didn’t love her in the way she loved him! There were other great stories too and even the lowest scored one was not bad – it was more an advert for his company though (his “sacrifice” was that he left a well paid job to set up his own company) so it seemed a bit like self-promotion and I guess people didn’t love that as much as the heart-on-sleeve ones. The other thing I noticed about the American one was that they knew how to inject humour into their stories – in the British one some were funny, and some weren’t funny at all – I think that’s definitely a learning for the audience.

I still think scoring it was brutal (we didn’t do that in the British version – they judged the winner by a clap-off!) but perhaps it’s nice to feel validated in some way. The winner doesn’t win anything but the admiration of the audience (and possibly a sense of catharsis in telling their story, or relief when it’s over!). It’s really great just to do stuff like that once in a while. I have a pretty busy life when I’m at home, because I’m at work fairly late every night and then I tend to rush home because I feel bad that Dog’s at home waiting to go out. So having that life of leisure on holiday-cation, we try and cram in as much as possible!

After the Moth Club had finished, we decided to get a pizza because pizza. As you know, I love pizza. And when you’ve been on a food tour you get pointed out a load of establishments and you get ideas. (My ideas always seem to equate to pizza.) One place we’d been past earlier was Lombardi’s, which is apparently the oldest pizza place in New York. Apparently they were the originators of the New York slice! Lombardi was the first person to cut up a pizza and sell it by the slice, because the workmen working down the blocks didn’t have enough (5c!) to buy a whole pizza. This is something I’ve been droning on about at work, that there’s nowhere that’s commoditised the New York slice to sell for lunchtime in the City! (My coworkers will tell you how much I go on about City grab and go food and what we’re missing… I predicted porridge and I’ve told them the next big thing is pizza slices. And I’m not even going to tell you my other idea because one day I might quit my job and do it!)

We decided to share a pepperoni and red onion pizza and it didn’t disappoint. I’m still thinking about it actually… It’s exactly how I like my pizza! The pepperoni was crispy round the edges and the mozzarella was stringy. The dough was fantastic. My iPhone picture doesn’t do it justice (nor any of the pictures and their subjects really, but I’m not a photographer but a food paparazzo!). It was soooo tasty that even after a food tour in the morning and a burrata in the afternoon we were still able to eat the lot!

The other thing to mention is that this is the place where Buddy of Carlo’s Bakery CAKE BOSS fame (I think I mentioned I’m a bit of a baker in my spare time so I am a big fan of Buddy!) made the giant pizza cake. Well we talked to the waiter about it and he told us all about it. He was amazed we got Cake Boss in the UK and I was like, we love Cake Boss! They had a whole load of pictures of when Buddy came in and made the giant pizza slice cake. It was cool!

Anyway, if you are ever in the Nolita area of NYC, you should check this place out. I had a lot of pizza in the US and I would say this was my favourite. And it was probably the cheapest! (I like all sorts of pizza – Italian, American, home made… This was the American sort. Even though Americans confusingly always say they’re something else like Italian!)


The next day, and our final full day, we decided we’d have to stay out of Manhattan and explore Brooklyn. Our hosts had given us lots of ideas of where to go so we knew we should head to their favourite restaurant, Manny’s. It was a sweet neighbourhood place decked out in the hipster industrial kind of way (very East London… I wondered if East London modelled itself on Brooklyn or they came to this aesthetic independently? It’s pretty much identical, down to the beards and bicycles and stag heads…). We ordered breakfast because I love breakfast. I’d go so far to say that it’s my favourite meal of the day, generally. I love pizza but breakfast is fun, probably because when you’re busy at work you don’t have time for breakfast. Breakfast means weekends and holidays and bacon… and who doesn’t like bacon? (Vegans and vegetarians. How do they manage it? I always think about going vegan and I’d really like to but I just can’t give up bacon.) I ordered buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and a side of bacon. T had eggs hollandaise. They were both great. I couldn’t even eat a whole pancake. I don’t know how Americans manage the food, honestly. The servings are ginormous. Anyway, T made a valiant effort to finish mine and that set us up for a day of walking.

We made our way about quite slowly because T was still suffering with his foot. We had bought crutches back in Orlando and we did use them (well, one of them) in DC but T didn’t want to carry it around with him so we just kind of hobbled and meandered slowly. It was fine although I am a Londoner and we like to walk fast. It is so funny because everyone in London walks fast because we’re always running late. You can tell a tourist because they walk to a different speed and you’ll probably see a Londoner behind them doing that dodge-fake thing trying to pass them and swearing under their breath. (Or is that just me?) Well, that day we were tourists. It was actually fine because we noticed in America that people don’t like to walk fast! (Some of them in Orlando don’t like to walk at all! They even have mobility scooters for people who don’t like to walk, not just for people who can’t walk!)

We walked across from our neighbourhood to Williamsburg via the Williamsburg bridge. It is pretty long! We did the Brooklyn bridge last time we were in NYC so this was a different one and a bit more gritty!

So once we arrived over the bridge, we wandered around the shops in Williamsburg. I don’t know if there is a great deal to say here because there wasn’t food so I didn’t take pictures of it! We had a nice time. My main priority was to go and get a manicure as I still had my Disney nails after almost two weeks. They were gel nails so I had to get them removed or pick them off! So I was on the lookout for a nail bar. When we stayed in the West Village, I knew where one was but this time I didn’t, so in the end I went to a random one we came across on our travels. It was really funny because it was run by Asians (or “Chinese” in the UK) and they didn’t really speak English, so I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do for most of the time.

Going to a nail bar in the US (or Brooklyn) is a different experience from in the UK. For one thing, it costs waaaay more in the UK to get your nails done. I was prepared to pay so I didn’t ask how much it was (and anyway, my lady just communicated in gestures mainly so I couldn’t really tell what was going on) and so I was pleasantly surprised when I went to pay and it turned out to be 15 dollars! Sheesh! The place I go to in London is probably an average price and it costs upwards of £40 for anything but the most basic, which is something like $60! (It is a very fun nail bar which is themed like an airline and if you’re ever in London and feel like a splurge then check it out. The ladies wear air hostess uniforms and the chairs are old airline seats and you can even get a glass of bubbly whilst you’re having your nails done!)

Anyway, the whole experience was slightly discombobulating (as I didn’t know what to expect at any point) but it was great. If I knew I could get a manicure for $15 I would probably have one a week! And it wasn’t even a quick-and-dirty – it took quite a long time as they first had to soak off the gel varnish, remove that, file and shape, and do the new colour. Actually felt that she did a better job of it than a lot of the nail bars in London do – it was super neat although my terrible iphone picture probably doesn’t do it justice. (T was impressed. Although maybe just knows it’s better to nod and agree when I ask.) I decided to go for non-shellac (because I always find it a pain to have to find somewhere to get it taken off) and a neutral colour because I knew I had to go back to work. Usually I like dark nails but those show up every chip and scratch, so I went for the low maintenance look. It was really good and T was impressed even though he had to wander off around the shops on his own for a while! I ended up giving her $20 because I wasn’t sure how much to tip and anyway I’d expect to pay more than $20 for a manicure so it didn’t seem like a bad deal at all. Bye bye Disney nails!

Incidentally, this whole thing about tipping in the US is completely perplexing for Brits. I don’t know how you manage it because the sticker price is so far from what you end up paying! We don’t have sales tax added on to the sticker price – it’s included. (Actually if you go to Jersey – it’s a tax haven island near the UK – you pay less than the sticker price because they don’t pay tax like we do! Win win!) So we are used to paying what’s on the price tag, and then we don’t have a massive culture of tipping.

In the UK tipping is by no means universal. Like before I moved to London we just weren’t used to tipping large amounts at all – it’s all optional and it’s pretty much limited to tipping in a restaurant if you have food, and that’s pretty much 10% at the most (because that’s what people can work out in their heads!). Also you tend to leave it as cash so if you don’t have the exact change it might be slightly less or more than 10%, to the nearest pound or whatever. In London it is different as they’ve cottoned on to tipping in restaurants and now they add a “service charge” in most places which is 12.5%, which is considered more than what people would usually give so people never give anything else – it’s just added to the card. But most other British places I’ve been, they don’t include the service charge on the bill. You can also ask for it to be removed if you think the service hasn’t been good.

The other places people sometimes tip are hairdressers (though I never have; I get a haircut once every three years or something and my last one was this year after the miscarriage and I have a massive phobia of hairdressers so I went to a really expensive place and ended up paying about £180, and I really felt that an additional amount wasn’t necessary!) and taxis (people round up to the nearest pound or pay the bill and give them a one pound coin). Also, T has this thing where we have to tip the Dominos pizza delivery guy – he gets a quid (pound) too. A pound is about $1.50 by today’s exchange rate. (It used to be $2!) In a bar/pub, we rarely end up leaving a tip unless we are sitting at a table and we’ve been there a while. People might leave the change on the bar after they’ve paid for drinks but I’ve never seen people leave tips as a matter of course. Also in hotels people sometimes leave tips for housekeeping but that is pretty rare too. I travel for my job and so stay in hotels a lot and I’ve never felt obliged to leave a tip for housekeeping unless there is some mess they have to clean up. (I once got my period overnight and felt terrible about the sheets so left a lot!)

In the US it is apparently obligatory to tip, and people tip for everything. Which means you have to have a stash of $1 bills to hand out to everyone. I found it quite anxiety inducing, not knowing how much to tip. I’d read up beforehand and I knew it’s meant to be 20% (which to us seems like a massive amount considering our “good” service is 10% and our standard service charge in a table waited restaurant is 12.5%). So we did probably end up over tipping – like we got a few Ubers and we always tipped until our friend in Washington said not to bother. Confusing!

Anyway, I digress (again!). It got a bit chilly so we headed for a hot drink (me) and a cold drink (T). I am a massive Starbucks fan. I think because they do hot chocolate and they have cinnamon on the side. I’m easily swayed by anything cinnamon and American (as it’s perceived in the UK). The Williamsburg Starbucks was open in the evening and it had gotten quite cold outside (relatively, I mean, not enough for a coat) so we popped in for a hot drink. The funny thing is that it is so huge and open in the evening (ours in the UK are not) and the other funny thing is it was so hipster. Like someone had tied up their trendy dogs outside and people were sitting on the wooden benches outside and smoking, and then we went in and literally everyone was sitting at the tables with their iMacs open and the Apple signs glowing! So funny. I should have taken a picture.

(I did spend most of my NYC time feeling decidedly unhipster… I am usually a tad more trendy but I’d tried to pack “light” which meant all my wardrobe was Disney themed… which I would never wear in day to day life! When we met Ashley I was wearing a hoodie we got at WDW which had Minnie Mouse ears! Felt like a right lame-o but you gotta embrace the Disney on holiday!)

The Williamsburg Starbucks had some evening snacks and events too… They even served wine! But we decided we didn’t need wine… It’s Starbucks FFS. We had a frappuccino (T) and a hot chocolate (me) and a side of bacon wrapped prunes, because bacon. They had chorizo in too which was weird. It was okay as a snack but prune and bacon rolls (“devils on horseback”) are like an institution in my family (we have stacks of them at Christmas and people eat loads per person) so it was kind of strange. Actually I have a feeling they might have been dates. Maybe that’s why they were strange.

I had to take a picture of this. In the bathroom they had this “window” onto the old building. The ultimate hipster industrial chic.

Finally after a lot of wandering around the shops (and trying not to buy anything because we already had had to buy another case in Orlando just to accommodate the shopping we did there!) we decided to round off with another Italian in Williamsburg. This was the result of a walk in and we did really well because after we got the last table, a queue formed! It was a great Italian, probably more Italian-y than Lombardis and the pizza was another gigantic one. I think on balance I preferred Lombardis because I prefer pepperoni to salami, even though the salami in this pizzeria was probably the expensive Italian sort! We also had a plate of antipasti. (I did take a picture of the giant pizza but it had me in, and I’m still that anonymousish blogger so you don’t need to see my grinning chops next to a giant pizza… Just imagine it!) We treated ourselves to a bottle of prosecco and agreed we had had a fantastic trip.


But it wasn’t over yet! After a final night in “our” Brooklyn pied a terre, we packed up our cases and headed off to Manhattan for The Lion King matinée. Now, seeing the Lion King has been an ambition of mine so it was super exciting to think we were going to see it on Broadway in my favourite country! (If you can’t see it then you should go and see the show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom which is different but awesome!) We stowed our cases in a left luggage place – the whole thing was quite stressful as we had to get an Uber into town (we didn’t dare do the subway with T’s bad leg and all the stairs and two heavy and unwieldy cases) and then find the left luggage place. But once we’d dumped our luggage we were freeeeeeee!

Entrance to the Lion King. It’s the Minskoff Theatre, not the ***koff Theatre! 🙂 I had time to get a quick Starbucks in anticipation but we then had to dump a bit of it because there was a bag search on the way in. That doesn’t happen in London! There were tonnes of people there and a lot of them had dressed up too. I think London is a bit more casual in that way.

View of Times Square from the theatre upstairs. Ahhhhhh.

You’re not allowed to take pictures during the performance. Here’s Scar’s outfit.

No photos during the performance! I figured this meant you could take a cheeky one beforehand. I was so excited.

It was brilliant! I don’t know how to do justice to things like this really, because you can’t describe how it feels to engage with a performance. You just have to sit back and enjoy the show, which we did. The one thing I would say is I think in any good musical (movie or live) there is a song which kind of gets you, and sometimes more than one song. For me in the Lion King it is Circle of Life, and when all the animals/performers came on and they were singing that, I totally welled up and cried. (I actually did during the same song at the Lion King show in Animal Kingdom… It is no less moving when it’s more Disneyfied.) I guess it’s the Let It Go moment, you know, when your heart catches and you feel super emotional without quite knowing why. I’m not a musical person but I know there’s a science to it and even if it’s a bit cheesy and you know it’s totally not real, like a cartoon baby Simba or a puppet Simba in the show, there is something in me which just sort of went to mush.

(Please note: I am British and what’s more I went to “public” school, which is private school in anywhere else than the UK, and it’s all about stiff-upper-lip and never ever showing your true feelings. I would never cry at a thing but I’m one of those people who can totally do the escapist thing and cry at a film or a book or a play. Because I’m not going to be seen to be crying!)

Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s all those layers of feelings about infertility and not knowing if I will ever complete my own circle of life, and losing our first baby and this trip being for healing and commiseration for not being pregnant now, and getting away from all the people having babies, and the idea of starting again when we get back to real life. Going through all the chemicals and hormones and injections and interventions. And the fact that my brother’s wife gave birth to my niece whilst I was away. All of those feelings are probably buried in there somewhere. But even before all of that, I found the song moving. Just as I find Let It Go moving, even though it’s super cheesy…

Anyway. We enjoyed it. On balance I’d still say my favourite musical is Matilda but this was a great experience and one to tick off the list of lifetime (or adult) ambitions… to go and see a show on Broadway. We’ve been to NYC before and seen musicals but they were Off and Off Off Broadway or something so not quite the big production. (This wasn’t actually on Broadway but I think it counts as Broadway… or maybe it doesn’t… It’s all very confusing!)

And then that was it! Our holiday was at an end… Sad times, although we were super excited to get back to Dog. (Maybe I was more than T was, but actually we kept talking about him and I think he was excited too.) It takes a long time to get there though! We picked up our cases and then went through a convoluted process to get to the airport involving the subway to Penn Station and then the New Jersey Transit. We were flying from Newark airport – we’ve flown from JFK before but that’s how it worked out and it usually doesn’t make that much difference (though would have been better from Brooklyn!).

Our very first trip together we almost missed the flight back to JFK and it involved us running frantically through the airport after they said the gate was closed – we managed to get the flight at the last minute as we only had hand luggage, but we’ve been somewhat paranoid ever since about missing flights. So we turned up super early! It was such a relief to get rid of the cases as we usually like to travel light. We had one case we’d brought and one we bought in Orlando to hold all the shopping and gifts so two unwieldy rollers plus a guy who should have been on crutches = madness. We checked in and headed to the food court to get something to eat… I wonder what we got?! 😉

Goodbye EWR! Goodbye New York slices!

Goodbye New York! (Or is that New Jersey?) Goodbye USA!

Airline food! Teriyaki chicken was okay. Cheesecake was good! (Salad I gave to T and bread roll could have been used as a doorstop!)

After not much sleep, and a few films (American Sniper… strange exciting/depressing film; Amy… strange depressing-punctuated-by-a-sense-of-inevitable-doom-and-sadness-that-she-always-seemed-likely-to-die-no-matter-how-talented-and-brilliant-she-was film) we were getting ready to land in what seemed like a very short amount of time.

Almost at England! Sadly no full English breakfast.

Morning! Hello London!

And finally… back to real life. I can’t describe our reunion with Dog, who was staying with our friends, but it was good. We had to grab a couple hours sleep at home before we headed out to get him as we were almost dead. We took them some nice presents (hopefully – they seemed happy) – we got them a Kate Spade purse (wallet – not handbag) and a little snowglobe from Washington. Dog was so funny when we went to collect him – when he saw it was us, he ran up to me, jumped into my arms with his tail wagging and licked my face for ages. (I’ve trained him to “kiss” or at least commoditised his natural inclination to lick people’s faces.) Insofar as a dog with a sad expression can look happy, he looked happy. (That’s not to say he didn’t enjoy staying with our friends – by all accounts he snuggled up with them and they spoiled him, but he knows who his humans are! I was worried he wouldn’t recognise us but he definitely did!)

And from the heat of the US, even the relative coolness of NYC… Back to autumn weather. I felt a little bit better that I could wear some of the winter clothes I’ve been stockpiling. On Monday, my first day back at work, I finally wore my Sanctus clothing coat – my goth coat! It’s very extravagant/theatrical and it’s made by a local designer in small batches and to order; mine was 40/100, and it’s all made out of vegan “leather” and “fur”. I feel like a right goth in it. I usually get an opinion on my clothes in the morning from T and like the excellent boyfriend he is, he tells me I look lovely. Our exchange on Monday went like this:

Me: How do I look?

T: You look like the wicked witch of the west!

Me: That’s exactly the look I was going for! [Heads out with a smile]


You decide… 


I know this was a long post but this wraps up my holi-blog. Until next time… Be good! 🙂



    • Nara

      Aww thanks! We did cram a lot in! Funny thing is, we would have been happy just to do one of any of the things we did! I guess nothing really makes up for the sadness of losing a pregnancy, but we gave it a good shot!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. patientsubfertility

    I HATE getting my nails done in Europe. They have no idea what they are doing and it costs a ridiculous amount. Asia is awesome though. Hairstylists are similar in the US, way way cheaper, and usually on the new stuff before most of the Europeans. Spa services like facials and massages and stuff are way cheaper in the US too.

    One of my favorite places in NYC is Drybar, where they wash your hair, massage your scalp for a while, and then make your hair look fantastic for days. The blow dry bar near me isn’t nearly as good. And it’s 50$!

    Funny thing is, the tipping is most important for Uber, depending on your city. In Chicago, at least the current version, the city takes $1.75 off the top. Uber takes 20%. If it’s a short ride, your driver doesn’t get much at all.

    Also, Uber is my absolute favorite app ever, so my tip setting is on 20%.


    • Nara

      Ha! We did tip on uber until we got to see our friends in Washington and one of them (a US native) told me not to tip uber! I always tip in taxis in the uk (black cabs). Haven’t used uber in the uk more than once and that time I didn’t tip him as he took ages, was rude and played loud music for the whole journey (which was expensive as it was a long journey).
      You are so right about the nails though. We do have nail bars but they’re so expensive and on many the finish is poor and they take ages! That’s why I go to that airline one for a treat, but I generally find that it’s not much better than doing it myself.
      Drybar sounds awesome! I had a proper blow dry for the first time at the aveda salon where I had my last haircut. It took a while but everyone was really impressed! I am totally up for regular blow drys but they don’t really do that here! They’ve started doing it in London but it’s not cheap. I would do it on a night out if it was cheaper but to go to aveda and get the stylist who cut my hair to do a blow dry, it would cost £65! As she was a senior stylist! I kid you not! That ain’t happening!


  2. ashleykyleanderson

    You guys should quit your jobs and do a travel food blog! (I actually tried to convince Kyle to do this last year, though centering on history and not food as I am not as cool as your are). And then on the side you could plan food vacations for people! It’s perfect.

    And haha, I don’t think I’ve ever been described as *the* Ashley before! We had a great time meeting you guys– thanks for finally getting us into the city now that we have been here for 2 months! The little gifts for Sweet Pea are so nice and I already have them set up in his room. The magazine was also perfect for the train ride back and we got great treats from that bakery for the way home. 🙂

    Hmmm, I feel like there was a million things I wanted to comment on as I was reading through this, but I forget them all now. I did see later that Jimmy Kimmel Live (a late show on a different channel from the Tonight Show) was being filmed from Brooklyn while you guys were there and he walked out into the street during one of the shows and I was like, “Kyle, look for them in the background!!” But we sadly did not see you or your minnie mouse sweatshirt, which I think is really cool and not lame at all!

    I’m glad that you guys had such a great time on your much-deserved trip. Also, I know we only talked about the IVF stuff briefly before parting ways, but I did want to say that I will be thinking of you over the next few weeks as you begin your next round and I am rooting for you! My fingers will remain firmly crossed until I hear that good news! ❤


    • Nara

      Awwww. It was so good to meet you and lovely to know that Sweet Pea is almost here and the next time we see you, we’ll get to meet him too! *The* Sweet Pea! 🙂

      It’s a shame we didn’t see Jimmy Kimmel as we do watch him on YouTube in the UK! That would have been really funny to do.

      Thanks so much for thinking of us on the IVF… It’s not happening for a few weeks although it seems so soon after our holiday. I’ll have to get back into the IVF mindscape… Not looking forward to the drug side effects! I’m still trying to get back to work! I would totally do food planning holidays… That would be so funny! Can you imagine all the tasting we’d have to do in advance of sending people on our holidays? We’d never get anything done! 🙂


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