NEW YORK CITY

New York is a city you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. We decided to spend a long weekend in style and thought what better way to do so than in the city that never sleeps!

NYC has one of the highest rates of any tourist attraction in the world, with around 60 million people visiting each year. There are around 800 different languages spoken in New York making it the most diverse city in the world.

We had the best time and have made so many memories, there was only one issue though and that was the weather. It was absolutely freezing! The coldest we’ve ever felt in our lives. We highly recommend layering up if travelling during the winter months, we’re talking thermals lol! 

We decided to spend a long weekend in NYC but we will definitely stay longer next time. There was so much to do and see with such little time, so if you’re travelling to New York for the first time we suggest writing up an itinerary before you travel with the places you want to see and eat. It really does help organize your day ahead.

This is the second trip we arranged through Travel Counsellors (here) who specialise in luxury travel and really look after you, making sure you have a trip to remember. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel (here) situated in the best part of town! The hotel is located at Madison Avenue in the centre of Midtown Manhattan which is great as it is a short walk from Times Square and very close to Grand Central station. We were taken aback by the decor of the hotel which is very grand and looks more old school glamour which is so nice to see as hotels are a lot more modern nowadays. We fell in love with the chandeliers but The Roosevelt’s is on another level.

Times Square

It is actually a crime to visit New York and not see Times Square (just joking). During Times Square’s busiest time around 460,000 people walk through the iconic streets. Known for the massive billboards, sparkly advertisements and not forgetting the yellow taxis which constantly drive through the busy New York traffic. The home to many great Broadway shows Times Square has so much to offer. From loads of clothes shops, the M&M store, Mac make up, sweets and milkshake shops, Disney stores and loads of bars and restaurants, there is definitely something for everyone. 

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station is the most beautiful and picturesque stations we have ever visited. Located at Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Grand Central opened in 1913 and is one of the busiest stations in the world. We loved the turquoise decor to the ceiling.  

It was great to experience travelling on the subway as we’ve seen the Subway featured in so many films and music videos. Shout out to Jlo ‘On The 6’ album lol.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is the 28th tallest building in the world, standing at 1,454 metres tall.

We took a lift to the top of the building and as it was so cold, being on top of a tall building…the wind was ridiculous! It was a struggle trying to take pictures battling the wind and cold, but being up there made up for it. The views are just breathtaking, we could see the whole of NYC!

NYC Sightseeing Cruise

A fantastic way to explore New York is by taking a boat trip. We took a ferry cruise from Midtown Manhattan on the Hudson River and it travels to the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. We were lucky that it was a very sunny day, so although we had to brave the cold it was a really lovely way to see New York on water.

TAO

If you fancy a spot of fine dining, we highly recommend TAO restaurant. The Pan-Asian dim lit restaurant was full of the most delicious food and cocktails. We dined at the TAO Uptown which has a ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it. It is known not only for its amazing food and cocktails but the giant Buddha centerpiece in the middle of the restaurant. Once you have finished your meal, why not head downstairs to the main bar area, for some more cocktails and good music that has a club like ambiance.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

If you want to experience a unique dining experience, you have to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner. You can enjoy your food with singing waiters/waitresses. It is not that cheesy stuff either, the staff are true performers that will blow you away. It is a family friendly restaurant and is worth a visit if you are ever in NYC. Also, the cocktails are so good!

Sylvia’s

We could not go to to New York and not visit the ‘Queen of Soul Food’ Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem. It is truly Southern home made comfort food and is a place you have to experience. The restaurant has a home like feel and the walls are filled with the likes of Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg and Nelson Mandela who are few of the famous faces who have eaten at this famous restaurant. From warm biscuit, chicken wings, ribs, macaroni and cheese to peach cobbler, there is something to suit your taste buds. Sylvia’s is a place not to miss!

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Shelley & Michelle xx

EIGHT REASONS TO STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISE

Whilst working out over the years we’ve noticed there are people that don’t stretch before or after working out. This is one of the worst things you can do when exercising as it can result in muscle tear and injury.

Stretching should be an essential part of your every day workout. Below we have listed reasons why you should always take the time to stretch.

1. Stretching before exercise allows your muscles to loosen and prepares your body to take on the impact of exercise you have chosen to do.

2. Your muscles are less likely to become injured by sudden movement when undergoing an activity. Whilst stretching you reduce the risk of injury.

3. After working out, stretching your muscles helps loosen the tightness effect that can lead to post-workout aches and pains.

4. Stretching actually improves your posture. When you stretch the shoulders, lower back and chest it helps keep your back in alignment which will improve your posture.

5. Tense muscles can cut off circulation which can result in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients. Stretching allows your muscles to relax and increases blood supply to your muscles and joints.

6. Stretching reduces and manages stress. Well-stretched muscles hold less tension and can help you feel less stressed.

7. Regular stretching routines can help prevent future back pain by strengthening your back muscles and reducing the risk of muscle strain.

8. Stretching not only increases flexibility, but can also calm the mind. When stretching focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises which is done during yoga and pilates.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR GO TO GYM WORKOUTS

Exercise is great for your health and fitness and is also a good way to clear the mind. If you make new year resolutions and one goal of yours is to keep fit and healthy, then to stick to it is to not be in the gym from January 1st and give up by March. The best thing is to wean yourself into working out slowly and mix up your workouts so you don’t get bored. It’s always great to push yourself. So if you start by going to the gym once a week, the next week try twice a week, then three times a week and see how you get on.

Below are a few of our favourite gym workouts. We hope you enjoy and Happy New Year!

Boxing

If you want to have fun whilst working out and change up your routine then boxing is the one for you. Boxing requires strength, endurance and power. Boxing isn’t just for the hard-core athletes, it’s a great way to strengthen and tone the entire body.

Running Machine

Running outside or on a running machine is a good way to strengthen and tone your legs and glutes. If running is too much for you then begin walking, jogging and gradually start to run.

Seated Cable Row Machine

The Seated Cable Row develops the muscles of the back and the forearms. It is an excellent all-around exercise for developing mainly the middle back while offering useful arm work as well.

Air Walker Machine

The Air Walker Machine provides a total body, calorie-burning workout that is low-impact and is a great aerobic exercise. The machine is an alternative to walking or jogging. This form of low-impact aerobic exercise can burn a surprising amount of calories.

Skipping

Who would have thought that a skipping rope had so much benefits. Skipping is simple, easy and a whole lot of fun, plus you get to burn a lot of calories while doing so. It’s one of the best ways to shed fat as well as improving your heart rate and building stamina.

Exercise Ball

There’s nothing quite like stretching your spine on an exercise ball after a strenuous work out. The benefits of using an exercise ball is to improve back and spine health, core stability, posture and muscle balance. Training with an exercise ball, whether during Pilates, yoga or simple stretching is an excellent way to work your abdominal, back and lower-back muscles.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

WINTER WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: JUMPER DRESSES

Hi everyone!

We hope you all had a lovely Christmas filled with peace and joy.

As the weather’s pretty chilly outside It’s a time where you can experiment with different outfits and darker colours. From over the knee boots to ankle boots, from leather aviator jackets to long coats. You can be cosy yet stylish in your winter warmers. That is why this season, jumper dresses are a must. Simple and easy to wear, jumper dresses are the perfect staple for your winter wardrobe. They come in various styles, from short, to midi, to long, to over sized or fitted, long sleeved, short sleeved or off the shoulder, the list is endless. We are fans of a short jumper dress with long sleeves but this winter we have fallen in love with the longer jumper dress.

Michelle’s wearing:

 Zara jumper dress (here) – Zara coat – Zara ankle boots

Shelley’s wearing: 

Zara jumper dress (here) – ASOS Coat  – Vintage boots

We hope you enjoyed one of our favourite winter wardrobe essentials.. the jumper dress, which is a winter must have. As always feel free to share your best winter wardrobe essentials.

You can follow us on Twitter here

Shelley & Michelle xx

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT CUBA: PART TWO

Good weather, idyllic beaches and beautiful sunsets are just a few of the reasons to spend the New Year in vibrant Cuba.

In part two of our Cuba travel guide we highlight some of our favourite places to visit, where to stay and enjoy some relaxation outside of the busy capital Havana.

Museo Hemingway

One of our highlights on our Cuba trip was a tour of American novelist Ernest Hemingway’s villa. Located in San Francisco de Paula – 15km southeast of Havana – the author lived in his home for 20 years before returning to the US in the 1960s during the Fidel Castro revolution. He donated his house to the Cuban people and is now a museum which has remained relatively untouched.

Visitors are not allowed inside the house but there are plenty of open doors and windows to get a glimpse of the interior of the property. Hemingway’s home boasts a swimming pool, a fishing boat and a three-storey tower next to the main house. You’ll be blown away by the views in the heavily wooded grounds.

Jibacoa

If you are looking to spend some time away from the Havana buzz, discover Jibacoa. A perfect place for nature lovers and diving enthusiasts, we stayed at Memories hotel which is located along the northern coast and is in the heart of the beautiful Cuban countryside.

It is an adult-only resort and offers guests plenty of fun activities to take part in. You’ve got mountains, a powder-white beach and an impressive coral reef. The hotel sits on Arroyo Bermejo Beach and sits in 17 acres of lush gardens and is an hours drive away from Havana.

When you’re not sunbathing you can spend your time scuba diving, snorkelling or playing volleyball. Also, if you want a work out we would definitely recommend mountain climbing in their lush forests. If that tires you out be sure to pamper yourself at their in-house spa.

Rum, fun and cigars

When you embark on your Cuban adventure it would not be a perfect trip without enjoying some of their famous rum and cigars. There are plenty of tours where you can visit cigar factories and see first hand how they’re made on the production floor.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

SOHO’S DUCK AND RICE

With it being minus degree weather outside there is no better way than to spend a Friday evening relaxed in front of a log fire, eating great food and sipping on Sangria. We did exactly that and chose to do so at Duck And Rice which is a London pub located in the heart of Soho. As you enter into the dim lit pub you’re drawn to the vibrant atmosphere. We fell in love with the spiral staircase which leads you upstairs to the dining room which serves Chinese dishes. To our delight we had the best seats in the house! We were sat in front of a toasty log fire which made our dining experience nice and cosy.

We ordered small dishes to share starting with the sesame prawn toast, salt and pepper squid, crispy duck roll and roast duck with steamed jasmine rice & cucumber.

Sesame Prawn Toast
Salt and Pepper Squid
Crispy Duck Roll
Roast Duck and Jasmine Rice

The food was mouthwatering and we could not wait to devour everything on our table. We are getting hungry now just looking at the pictures!

The sesame prawn on toast served with sweet chilli sauce was soft in texture and had just the right amount of crunch. The salt and pepper squid was full of different flavours as it was cooked in garlic, chilli peppers and onions so it had the right amount of spicy zing to it but was not overpowering.

The pastry of the crispy duck roll was crunchy and the duck was moist but very tasty and was served with a sweet plum sauce. The roast duck was succulent and melts in your mouth. The duck was cooked to perfection and the meat was very tender. Absolutely delicious!

Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream

Green Tea Matcha ice cream is now our favourite ice cream of all time!

We are so surprised that it is not so readily available but you have to try this desert. It tastes so creamy and is a sweet treat to end your meal.

All of the dishes that we ate we can not fault as everything tasted amazingly good. The great thing about this dining experience is you don’t have to go crazy and buy loads of dishes. Also there is a lot of variety so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Check out the website (here).

It is definitely worth checking out Duck and Rice for yourself. It is in a great location with neighbouring Leicester Square (if you are checking out some theatre shows) and other nearby restaurants such as Dishoom and The Ivy, you are in a prime location.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR PARTY SEASON LIPSTICK ESSENTIALS

As the party season is in full effect we all want to look and feel our best. When the outfits are chosen your make up just completes your look. There is nothing quite like a rouge lip during the festivities. We are fans of the lighter matte rouge but do like a plum lip colour (depending on how we feel that day!). Below are our favourite lipsticks we have been using this season.

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint

All we can say about this product is WOW! We are obsessed with Fenty Stunna lip paint.

Rihanna debuted her make up line Fenty in 2017 and we haven’t heard anything less than great reviews. We decided to give Fenty Stunna lip paint a try as we love adding a POP of colour to glam up our festive look.

The lip paint comes in a sleek and stylish bottle equipped with a wand to apply to your lips. The packaging itself sets the lip paint apart from other brands that are currently out there. The design and its ease of use make it a unique product. An added bonus, Fenty Beauty says that this product works for all skin tones.

The Stunna paint is an intense red but looks absolutely gorgeous when applied. You may suffer the shock factor at first (as we did) for the level of brightness you get from that first stroke as it is like actual paint. But once you have finished applying the lip paint it dries within seconds and gives you a stunning matte finish. We recommend having a few cotton buds at hand to tidy up the corners of your mouth.

What we love about this particular lip paint is the lightness of it. Some lipsticks can make your lips feel a bit heavy and drying. The Fenty Stunna lip paint does the opposite. You hardly feel there is anything on your lips. Also, we find with other products when eating and drinking you need to constantly reapply your lipstick. You don’t have this problem with Stunna Lip Paint. We both can agree that we only topped up once. The lip paint literally stays on your lips for 24 hours. A definite 5 star rating. Click here to purchase!

Maybelline 757 Naked Brown

This product is not only a great lipstick but smells so good too! The lipstick is one of those products you can carry in your handbag and whip out to glam your look when you are on the go. We use the Naked Brown as the colour works really well with our skin tone and is the perfect autumn/winter look.

The colour is a deep burgundy and of course has been an on trend colour for a few seasons. We must say a super dark lip never goes out of style.

If you fancy a darker colour to party in during this festive period this is the lipstick for you as its smooth finish will compliment your look. Click here to purchase.

Sleek True Colour Lipstick Russian Roulette 795

This has to be one of our all time favourites. It is a gorgeous matte red that is bright, light, easy to apply and carry around in your handbag. We are big fans of Sleek’s matte range as it pretty much lasts all day without having to constantly touch up.

So if you want that high impact look with a touch of a sophisticated red you should not go any further than Sleek’s Russian Roulette. Packed with Vitamin E, this lipstick keeps your lips hydrated and soft.

An added benefit is that it works well with a variety of skin tones. It is extremely well pigmented but you will need to add a few strokes to get that bright red in your face pout!

It is pretty inexpensive and lasts all day. So if you want to look chic this festive season give Sleek matte lipstick a try. Click here to purchase.


We hope you enjoyed our festive favourite party season lipsticks. So glam it up this Christmas and New Years with our top three picks that will be sure to have you red carpet ready when you are under the mistletoe!

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Shelley & Michelle xx