Newbies Guide To New York #2 Wine & Dine

If you haven’t read my first blog post about my favourite sites in New York click here to check it out!

This post, as you can imagine, is all about the top spots we found while running around NYC! The city really has something for everyone whether it’s burgers and chips, Asian noodles or pizza slices as big as your head….

1. Juliana’s Pizza

As mentioned in my previous post this amazing pizzeria is run by the pizza legends themselves….the Grimaldi’s of New York! This dining option is perfect for those of you wanting to check out the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s nestled in the cool district just over the bridge called Dumbo which is also well worth exploring.

This restaurant is so popular that you cannot book in advance, so prepare for a little wait (worth it)  or visit outwith the main dining times.

Just  note that they are closed between 3:15pm and 4pm to “stoke” the coal-fired pizza oven.

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2. Kimoto Rooftop Garden Lounge

If you spend more time in Brooklyn and looking for a rooftop bar experience head to this place! Kimoto is a good priced Asian fusion restaurant that also serves AMAZING cocktails. I think we were just incredibly lucky because we had almost the whole garden lounge to ourselves when we visited!

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  3. Joe Allen

If you are looking for a pre-Broadway meal check out this gem! Joe Allen’s is an intimate restaurant popular with locals. Everything on the menu looked excellent when we went and it changes frequently so there’s always new flavours to try!

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4. Tick Tock Diner NY

This retro little diner was situated in our hotel, The New Yorker, but is for non-guests too! If you know me you would know why this was one of my FAVOURITE meals I had in NYC. I have a MASSIVE SWEET TOOTH and heard that the pancakes in here were incredible so of course had to try them out….

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Not just orange juice…..

5. Chelsea Market

This quirky market is open from 7am to 2am Monday-Saturday and us filled with food outlets from all over the city! I would suggest heading there for lunch then walking the High Line as the access point is very closeby.

I wanted to eat EVERYTHING….

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6. Carlos Bakery

How could you walk past THE HOME OF CAKE BOSS everyday but not go in for a slice??! I know it’s impossible as it sounds…

There are so many different cakes and cannolis to chose from and they come in cute individual slice containers!

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Red Velvet cake anyone? 

7. State Grill & Bar

If you want a night to remember book a table at the State Grill & Bar in the Empire State Building! 

This really was a special night for us in New York that had been planned well in advance. We dined in the grill and had some cocktails before taking the lift up to the Observatory Deck at the top of the Empire State Building. 

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I know what you’re thinking….how could I fit on the plane after my week of indulging in New York! All I can say is we walked…..A LOT!

I hope you enjoyed my posts about my time exploring one of most amazing cities in the WORLD!

Dugi Otok – Croatia Series #4

This is my 4th instalment in the Croatia Series, here is number 3 if you haven’t checked it out!

Translated Dugi Otok means the “Long Island” in Croatian and it’s the 7th biggest island in the Adriatic. We loved our time on this island and could have easily spent a couple more days exploring the many hidden spots!

We stayed in Jura’s Guesthouse for 2 nights in Luka which is South of the island. He really was the perfect host and we could not have discovered so many secret parts of the island without his knowledge.

Day 1

We travelled from Zadar to Dugi Otok on the car ferry which was very straightforward despite the stormy weather. The journey lasted roughly an hour and a half and we sailed into the port at Brbinj.

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Thankfully once we got onto the island the weather brightened up!

Our first stop on the island was to visit the lighthouse at Veli Rat which is North of the island. I think we enjoyed the swing more than the kids did…..

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Veli Rat Lighthouse

By the time we got to the Jura’s B & B we were ready for dinner. He recommend we try the restaurant that was a 5 minute walk from the accommodation and it was amazing!

If you would like £25 off your first Airbnb stay use my personal link when booking.

I can honestly say it was one of the best meals I had on the whole holiday. Konoba Supina had the most perfect outside dining area right next to the marina and served the freshest fish!

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Day 2

Unfortunately we had only 1 full day on the island which was extremely busy because Jura gave us ideas for so many places to see!

A little piece of advice…there is only 1 petrol station on Dugi Otok and it’s located in Zaglav!!!

After we filled up the car we headed first to the Golubinka Sea Cave which can actually be found on google maps! Jura said that this was the perfect place to snorkel and swim into the cave. Make sure you go before 12pm as that is when the sun is hitting the hole in the cave to make everything illuminated! It was such an incredible experience (wish I had a GoPro to capture the moment)!!!

I would not recommend this activity if you are not a strong swimmer of claustrophobic. 

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After the snorkelling we drove to one of the submarine pens in Dragove that were used by the Yugoslav People’s Army. This spot is now freely accessible to the public by foot or boat.

By the time it got to the afternoon we were just wanting to relax and Veli Žal was the right place to do it. Even though the supposedly most “beautiful” beach on the island (some say even in Europe) is Saharun. I loved this beach even more as it was less crowded and I would say cleaner.

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Veli Žal

Obviously we had to check out the hype at Saharun beach as well! It has been named “Croatia’s secret beach” and can be found at the North of the island between Bozava and Veli Rat. It was a lovely change because this was the only sandy beach we visited in Croatia. The turquoise bay was very calm and perfect for easy swimming!

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After our day exploring we wanted to have dinner at what was known to Jura as the best restaurant on the island, Koniba Regula. However….of course we did NOT book in advance and it was fully booked so we headed to a tasty pizzeria opposite.

Unfortunately we had to leave the island in the morning to journey back to Germany via Lake Bled and Salzburg.

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Until next time Dugi Otok!

 

 

 

What’s In My Summer Suitcase

Hey Guys!

It is ALMOST the start of my SUMMER!! FINALLY!

I am packing to go to Croatia and Germany until September and moving into a new flat so I thought packing was a good theme to write about this time.

This post will highlight some of the items that are essential in every summer suitcase!

Summer Wardrobe

I LOVE SUMMER CLOTHES! They are just so much cuter than winter clothes and I feel much more comfortable in them. As I was abroad for most of last summer I already had quite a good summer time wardrobe but another few dresses and shorts won’t put me above my luggage allowance right?!  This year I loved shopping online at PrettyLittleThing for pretty dresses and bodysuits.

A little bird told me that palm leaves were trending this summer and I found a gorgeous dress on boohoo.com

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Health & Beauty Essentials

I’m not going to bore you by writing a big list of everything I have related to health and beauty in my case but here are some of my MUST HAVES!

Suncream 

This year I have gone with boots own brand factor 50 face lotion which is a great alternative to an extra moisturiser and the Nivea factor 30.

Waterproof Mascara

Who wants panda-eye photos?! I have brought with me my Maybelline Volume Express Waterproof mascara which was only £7.99 in Superdrug!

Maybelline Superstay Matte Lipstick 

I hate having to constantly reapply my lipstick for every photo while travelling so this really is the ANSWER. It comes in gorgeous colours and really does stay on ALL DAY from ONE application!

BB Cream

This is the perfect solution for girls who want slight coverage without having to worry about it becoming patchy during the day from the sun. I like to use the Garnier BB Cream that you can get in most large supermarkets as well as Boots/Superdrug.

Insect Repellent

I love being in hot temperatures but hate the insects that come as part of the package! The trick is to be prepared before you go….I learned this the hard way last Summer.

I would recommend a repellent that you can plug into your bedroom wall as well as a roll on/spray.

Beach Towel

As per usual I cannot recommend the brand SandCloud enough for beach accessories!

If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

Tech

Travel Adapters

Make sure you pack enough travel adapters for you electronics. If you forget to pack these on occasion like myself you can easily pick them up at the airport.

Camera 

I love taking pictures of my new surroundings with my Sony DSCH400B Digital Compact Bridge Camera (£162 on Amazon). This has been my favourite present ever and really steps up my photography game with the 64 optical zoom feature.

Kindle

One of the only times I can spend hours reading in chilling by the pool on holiday. The Kindle is a great way to take advantage of your portable bookshelf and purchase books on the go!

Weekend in London – Day 2

I hope you all enjoyed reading my Day 1 post about London but if not click here!

We started off our second day in London by flying high on the Emirates Air Line  which gives you a unique view of the River Thames and the skyline. It’s a cable car experience that only opened in 2012 around the time of the London Olympic Games. The ride only costs £4.30 and can be paid for via the contactless machine (just like the underground stations) or you can purchase them from the attraction’s ticket office.  It definitely felt like the first class experience  minus the champagne unfortunately. However, they did make up for the lack of fizz by offering us a free souvenir photo at the end of the trip. You can pop into the photo booth, pick your destination (eg Maldives) and magically your photo looked like you were enjoying your holiday at the other side of the world!

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After our long flight to the Maldives we decided that we needed some brunch to recover from the jetlag. Sophia knew of this gorgeous garden cafe that sits inside Regent’s Park, Regent’s Bar & Kitchen. I can honestly say this was my favourite place we went for food in London, it was perfect! Just watch out what time you go because we wondered in at 11:30am and apparently breakfast was no longer being served and their lunch menu didn’t begin until 12pm! We said that was fine and enjoyed a muffin and an iced coffee in the garden while we waited patiently….

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Al Fresco Lunch in Regent’s Park
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Regent’s Bar & Kitchen
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Regent’s Park

Our next stop was the Rose Garden within the park and it did not disappoint! This area was beautiful and had quirky names for all the types of roses….ice cream was my favourite….

Like I said we came to London in a heatwave, so it was ideal weather just to lie amongst the roses for a couple of hours!

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Rose Garden ft SandCloud Wanderlust Towel

If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

After enjoying the rays at Regent’s park we headed towards the crowds in Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Piccadilly Circus reminded me of what I imagined a mini Times Square to be like….hectic, touristy and full of large screens!

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Piccadilly Circus 

We didn’t spend much time in Piccadilly before moving onto Chinatown! This is such a cool area of London, especially the decorated gateways. If we were’t so full from the pizza we would have grabbed something from one of the takeouts, everything smelled AMAZING! 

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Chinatown

After walking through Leicester Square we went to a quirky courtyard area that Sophia knew about called Neal’s Yard. I would have quite happily stayed all evening discovering the independent eateries and bars in this little garden space. Not far from Covent Garden and just off Monmouth Street you will find this secret little alleyway full of colourful buildings and places that you wouldn’t want to miss!

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Nearby Neal’s Yard we found a pretty little bar called Boki

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We found seats at the botanic-styled cocktail bar and chatted to the bartenders as they created our recommended concoctions….

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We spent the night partying at a rooftop club called Queen of Hoxton, which was in the up-incoming Shoreditch area of London.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my second day in London, stay updated for my final instalment!

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR BLOG PERFORMANCE

I would like to start this post by thanking you for supporting my blog so far! I have only been blogging regularly for 6 months now but I am proud to say I am now sitting at 118 subscribers, 2K views, 391 Instagram followers, 969 Twitter followers and 2 brand collaborations.

This blog post is all about how I got these results! 

1.  TWITTER 

I can honestly not thank the followers on Twitter enough! They have been a MASSIVE help and I would not be sitting on 2K without them. By bloggers reading my posts, liking and retweeting my content  I have managed to reach a much bigger audience than I ever thought imaginable. I’ve had my blog for over a year now but have only been active on Twitter since March and I have had 1,500 more views since then. That may not seem like much to people sitting on 10,000 views but trust me from going from on average 25 views a month to 500 really is something!

In addition, Blogger Trains are GOLD! They are a great way to get more readers as well as gain inspiration from other bloggers. You never know what you might find……or who might find you.Untitled design (24)

2. HOOTSUITE

Okay , this one is still Twitter related… but it’ll become your blogging best friend!

This is an app on your phone that is designed to make your life as a blogger or social media influencer EASIER.

FORGET the days where you come home from work and are disappointed about how neglected your site has been. Download the app….spend a few minutes with a cup of coffee scheduling your tweets for the next day (even the next week) and the engagement will come rolling in without you even lifting a finger.

I usually try to schedule around 5 tweets a day. Don’t worry about it being new content! No one could do that!! Just pick a few different blog posts each day, maybe even ask a question so you will get more interaction and feedback from your viewers.

 

3. FELLOW BLOGGERS

I have only been part of the blogging community for a short time, however I’ve found out that it’s full of THE MOST supportive people. As soon as I started putting my content on other social media platforms I managed to gain a great group of “blogger friends” who are always sharing and feed-backing on my blog posts.

In addition, I have joined various blogger groups such as Blogger Support created by Ellie Louise and Intrepid Entrepreneurs Community , created by the worldwide travellers, Hannah and Nate and UK Influencer Opportunities. These are the first places I go to for blogging related advice and to hear about oaid blogging opportunities.

Another reason why I RATE the Blogging Community is that you are often asked to feature as a “Guest Blogger”. This is when another blogger asks their favourite bloggers or people who fit their niche to write a post on their blog. This is an excellent way reach more people and gain a larger following!

As well as increasing your blog views you can also gain so much from other bloggers. I get lots of inspiration from reading these amazing blogs!

http://savingjoyfully.com/

http://svitforyou.com/

http://ellelouise.co.uk/

https://offtotheworld.com/

 

4. CANVA

 

Who doesn’t like a blog with pretty pictures right?! Well… lets top that and make pretty smartphone pictures look professional.

Canva is one of my favourite apps! I use it for my Instagram, blog images, Pinterest and Facebook cover-art.  It is completely free to use and has a million ways to enhance your your own images. Spend a few hours playing about with all the features and you’ll get the hang of it in no time!Untitled design (25)

5. AWIN

 

I’m not saying this is the way to make your millions…but it’s somewhere to start!

Awin as a website designed to promote and partner companies that offer affiliate programmes with bloggers. This website only has a £5 joining fee and can link you to thousands of companies around the world. The cliched phrase that comes to mind is “the world is your oyster”….but it really is!

At the moment I have joined the affiliate programmes offered by TripAdvisor, Trivago and Booking.com.

One of the best things about this site is that it works both ways! As well as bloggers taking the initiative to ask to partner with companies, companies can also find and offer programmes to bloggers! Give it a go at https://www.awin.com/gb

As I said at the start of this post, I am still a newbie! Thank you for your support so far, I can’t wait to learn new ways to improve my blog…who knows….maybe there will be a Part 2 to this post!

 

 

 

 

Mystery Blogger Award

Firstly I would like to thank Brigitta Jesica who writes Roam Terra blog for the nomination. Bloggers like you make the blogging community so valuable because you support and share other bloggers successes. We all know that we can spend a lot of time and effort writing a post, making it the best it can be, to only receive a few views. At the start of my blogging journey this happened  to me a lot. It was such a disappointing and demotivating feeling that made me question why I was writing in the first place. However, my blog success improved dramatically when I actually started getting in contact with bloggers such as Andrea at Saving Joyfully

To quickly summarise how the support of other bloggers has helped my viewings, I say that I hit 1000 views on my blog after having it for almost 1 year….3 weeks after I hit that milestone I have managed to get 400 more views!

Okay! Here are the questions I was asked by Brigitta Jesica to answer….

1. Who is the movie character that inspires you most?

Oh this is such a hard one! I don’t think I have actually ever been asked this question before… I would have to say Noah from the Notebook. He never gives up on getting his true love back. If someone is loyal enough to write letters every day for a whole year (without getting a response…because her Mother binned the letters), never fall in love with someone else, build a dream house for their loved one that they planned when they were 17 years old (blue shutters and all) and read their own stories of the life they shared together back to them when they were too ill to remember themselves, that is inspirational.

2. Two favourite things about blogging?

My two favourite things about blogging….

  1. Like I highlighted earlier the community is extremely supportive of one another which makes it a joy to be part of. As well as increasing my viewings through the community I love reading other people’s blogs in my spare time. Whether it’s about places that I never been before, places I will soon visit or just general lifestyle posts that I can relate to it’s definitely one of my favourite hobbies.

2.  I have kept a diary for as long as I can remember so I have always enjoyed writing and reflecting on past experiences. Therefore my travel blog is really just a focused extension of what I would write in my diary to remember the amazing places I have been. Also, I am a MAJOR  foodie so I LOVE giving restaurant reviews (especially to hidden gems I find)!

3. What is the best decision you have ever made in life

Wow….from movie characters to the big questions…it’s getting serious! Okay…I am going to be brutally honest. The best decision I have made so far is to cut certain people out my life. Yes I know that seems awful and dramatic but I’ll explain.

What I mean by this is that life is too short to pretend or to be unhappy. So by cutting ties with certain people who have made me repeatedly unhappy with their actions I am a lot happier.

I have learnt that you can’t change people, so it is wasted time wishing that you can. If you are not happy/satisfied with the way someone is treating you, whether it’s in a relationship, friendship or other circumstance it’s better to walk away. It gives you more time to focus on enjoying life, with people you would want have by your side for years to come.

4. Pick an object that in some way resembles you

Hmm… in a former life I was 100% a mermaid so I would have to say a seashell. I love being in the sea…preferably not in 15 degrees weather. However, growing up in Scotland has taught me valuable life lessons, like if you run in quick your body becomes numb and you don’t feel the cold anymore…never mind your legs…win win…..?

5. In which environment do you feel most productive? 

9/10 you will see me writing a blog post or essay in my dressing gown in my flat. I tend to work more productively in the morning and with some chilled background music. I use the nights for more research based work like looking for flights and accommodation etc.

6. If you could date anyone, in the entire world who would it be? 

Zac Efron obviously

Just kidding…my boyfriend is going to read this post in a few minutes and I can honestly say it would be him!

We kind of just….found each other on a night out and the rest is history!

At the moment we are doing a long distance relationship. We met in Edinburgh when he was doing his half year abroad and now he is back in Germany. Even though we can’t have date night every week or hang out as much as “normal” couples the best feeling in the world is when we get off the plane. We have been in a relationship for 5 months and have visited 8 places together and planning many more adventures!

Cliched I know… but he honestly makes me the best version of myself. He supports my ambitious ideas, encourages my dreams and has learned the difference between a playsuit and a jumpsuit. What more could I ask for…..a teleportation device would be useful….

Wow…. I feel like if you didn’t know me before you definitely know me now!

Thank you once again  Brigitta Jesica for my nomination! Please check out her blog at https://roamterra.wordpress.com/!

Here is a list of my favourite bloggers, have fun checking them out!

Saving Joyfully

Elle Louise

Seeking Sammy

Svit For You

I’m Just A Girl

Marky Marc’s Blog

The It Girl Blog

Clemloves

Now proceeding to the rules!
1. Put the award logo image in your blog.
2. List the rules
3.Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4. Answer the questions you were asked.
5. Nominate 5-10 people and notify.
6.Ask your nominees any six questions of your choice and one weird or funny (specify)

Here are my questions, have fun answering them!

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time and what are you doing?
  2. What is one thing you would definitely like to do before you die?
  3. What is your biggest weakness?
  4. What is your favourite song lyric?
  5. What is your dream destination
  6. What would be your perfect date?