Friday, 27 May 2016



After Anne C's accident we managed to make some commando style visits to various locations working in a relay so she wasn't alone for any length of time.  The biggest disappointment of all was that she wasn't with us for this part as we had made so many exciting plans and had all been looking forward to our time in New York together.  We have had many holidays together when the girls were younger so knew we would have had the best time and so many giggles.  


New York City has an atmosphere like nowhere else in the evening, and no more so than around Times Square.  It isn't necessarily somewhere I would relish late at night and on my own, but the ambience is electric and I think these pictures capture that quite well.  I was really surprised to see near-naked girls with just body paint covering them, parading around on our visit there during the day - all painted in the US colours but none the less I thought it a little distasteful and exploitative. 


Times Square, NYC

On our drive back to the East Village we went past the Helmsley Building on Park Avenue which was designed by the same architects as Grand Central Terminal - Warren and Wetmore.  I think it is so pretty and loved the blue lighting effect, highlighted by the over-shadowing MetLife building. 

Manhattan at night


Lizzy and I were also lucky enough to go to the top of the Rockefeller and Bar 65 at Rainbow Room - definitely worth booking to ensure you get a table outside, but be aware of the minimum $50 per head cover charge.  We had taken the lift with a mature couple who had been going for a number of years and were lamenting the lack of enforcement of the dress code.  We had seen there was a dress code and had made sure we were smartly dressed - but that was definitely not the case for anyone else.  Whatever the dress code is it allowed for jeans and shorts - a shame I think that they do not keep to it's true original standards. 

Bar 65 Rainbow Room

Top of the Rock NYC

We enjoyed a signature G&T and burger for our dinner and both were fabulous.  The service was attentive and efficient, but because they allow people to stand around the edge of the eating area it wasn't the most relaxed of dining experiences.

Bar 65 Rainbow Room NYC

But the view was amazing and it was such a clear evening we could see for miles.  The original booking had been for all four of us to go for 8.45pm and it would have been so amazing to see the view at night with all the lights.  Next time we will all be there!  

Top of the Rock NYC

Top of the Rock NYC


Wednesday, 25 May 2016


On our second full day in the city we split up with Anne C and Louise doing the Statue of Libery tour and visiting Central Park and Lizzy and I taking in two of our favourite places, before meeting up again on 5th Avenue.  


SoHo has always been one of our favourites, having a really neighbourly atmosphere, with the added advantage of some amazing shops.  Top of Lizzy's list was a visit to Tibi on Wooster Street.  As an American designer brand it is cheaper to buy in the US than in Europe, and Lizzy made the most of this buying both shoes and some amazing culottes - both of which she has featured on her lookbook (follow this link to view) on You Tube.  I visited a fabulous optical store Ilori on Spring Street and purchased some new optical frames, which I am sure will feature on this blog soon, followed up by a must do visit to Dean & Deluca, the greatest Deli ever.

SoHo Manhattan

Before going into SoHo we had walked from the apartment into Greenwich Village and re-visited Jeffrey's Grocery on Waverly Place for brunch. And it did not disappoint - it was as good as the last time we were there in 2014.  

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village

The picture below really just says it all.  Such a simple, fresh breakfast but beautifully presented and oh so tasty. 

Greenwich Village eateries


After visiting SoHo we had taken a cab back into Greenwich Village to pay a special visit to the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street and W 11th Street as it had been recommended by a friend.  Gosh, it has the most incredible cakes and I couldn't even finish the amazing carrot cake I am seen eating here as it was soooo large.  Definitely worth a trip - and there are a number of them in Manhattan so make sure to check out the website for the locations.  
Greenwich village
Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village


Later that afternoon we met up again with Anne and Louise and having taken in the Rockefeller Centre and 5th Avenue shops we dropped into Grand Central Station for a look around.  It is a destination in it's own right, with beautiful architecture and a real buzz with people coming and going, it also has various eateries and bars.  Most famous of all is the Oyster Bar but we were a little simpler in our tastes and on Lizzy's insistence we joined the queue for a Shake Shack burger.  Oh my, it was a queue worth joining - truly one of the best fast food burgers I have ever had, and putting that other famous burger joint to shame!  

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station


Friday, 20 May 2016



There is nothing more iconic when visiting New York, than the Rockefeller Centre and the Statue of Liberty with Ellis Island thrown in - which we managed to see on our second full day. The Rockefeller Plaza has appeared in so many films - with the skating rink in winter and the lovely sunny setting for lunch and drinks in the summer.
The sun was definitely shining as we arrived and took in the beautiful golden bronze statue of the Titan Prometheus, but there are other statues dotted around the plaza, with intriguing 
artworks from statues to friezes above the entrance to the ComCast building.

Rockefeller Centre

The view from the Top of the Rock is just amazing - well worth the $32 it costs to whizz up in the lifts (and we don't particularly like heights), but it was an experience not to be missed.

Rockefeller Plaza

You will see from the photos that we both had our lovely (but very different) daughters with us for the trip - Lizzy  (23) is a fashion blogger and you can read more about her New York fashion experience on her blog

My daughter Louise (25) is an HR administrator and was so excited about coming to New York for the first time - something she had been nagging me to do since her early teens - possibly something to do with her obsession with "Friends"! This was to be a trip of a lifetime for her.

Rockefeller Plaza


As Anne had previously told you, I haven't been to New York for 30 years having spent a fabulous six weeks there in the 1980s, when I won a travel scholarship studying internal communications, and spent some time with AT&T.  That was a tremendous experience - particularly since I had a small apartment on Madison Avenue and walked to work each day down those famous streets.  However, at the time, the Statue of Liberty was undergoing major refurbishment and was closed to the public, so I never got there.  This was the highlight of my visit this time.

Again, the weather was perfect although it had started chilly in the morning - but as the sun came out it became rather hot, so I ended up lugging my coat around all day!

A couple of tips about visiting Liberty Island - if you want to go inside the statue you must book in plenty of time.  We were there in early May and there were no inside tickets available until June. Once booked, you get a confirmation email which you can screenshot on your phone and show in the pre-booked ticket hall.  However, we were happy to just be there and walk around the grounds since it was such a beautiful day. Your ticket also includes an electronic device detailing the history of the statue and stories from the families who have passed through.

Also - try and go early in the day as the later tours are absolutely packed - we were slightly unnerved by the number of people on the ferry particularly as everyone automatically stood on the right hand (starboard) side of the boat as they approached causing it to look as if the boat was listing. I'm sure they're used to this however, as they do limit the numbers on board. Jump back on board and the second half of the tour includes Ellis Island and the immigration halls and museum.

Security getting on the ferry is extremely tight and we had to go through airport style security, including taking out cameras, keys, phones etc and even taking off our shoes before we were allowed onto the ferry.

statue of Liberty tourState of Libery tour

Statue of Libery Tour

Statue of Liberty tour


This was another truly amazing experience- again as touristy as it could possibly be, but so very enjoyable! We paid $50 for a 20 minute ride through the park in a horse-drawn carriage - and there were plenty of carriages so no need to book (possibly advisable during high season though). Our lovely coachman was a twinkly Irishman named Patrick - what else - and he had been in the US for 11 years.

He pointed out where all the A-listers live or have apartments - Lady Gaga, Jude Law, Bono, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett (he's even a bit before my time) , and where Demi Moore recently sold hers for $57Million - and where all the filming for our favourite movies had taken place - including Home Alone and the final Santa scene from Elf.

Central Park

Louise and I then took a walk down Poet's Walk, also known as Literary Walk, with its statues of famous authors, writers and artists, and sat on a bench dedicated to Duncan and Eleanor and obviously donated by family members, as we soaked in the atmosphere and the glorious weather.

Central Park

We met up with Anne and Lizzy to wander down 5th Avenue as Lizzy was in search of shoes - one of her passions!  The traffic here was insane! We wandered through Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's but they didn't have what she was looking for, so decided to head to Times Square to try and get tickets for Chicago that evening - which we succeeded in doing, (at a cost of $300) but then unfortunately never got to see it as I was involved in an accident outside the theatre and landed up in Roosevelt Hospital!


Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Welcome to the first of our four New York posts giving you a flavour of our visit to the Big Apple, and sadly that covers both good and bad aspects. Anne C hadn't been to the city for nearly 30 years, having last been here when she was with BT and having won a prize went to work at AT&T for 6 weeks.  I (and yes, it is Anne H talking here) have been here a number of times. lastly in 2014 with my daughter Lizzy.This time we travelled with both our daughters and this was Louise's first visit to the city. We had some lovely days and took in a lot of Manhattan in the first two days but then we experienced a side of New York that we had not expected when Anne C had an accident on our third evening in the city and landed up in Roosevelt Hospital.  She is going to explain more about that in her post this Friday, but suffice to say she had to come home earlier than expected and miss her much anticipated trip to Las Vegas, and is now on the mend.    


We had rented an apartment in the East Village on East 10th Street, which gave us the benefit of being in a residential neighbourhood whilst being in walking distance of SoHo, Greenwich Village and even the Empire State Building - albeit a long walk.  

We really loved the buzz of the area with its cafes, restaurants and bars and felt safe and comfortable in our surroundings.  Nowhere on earth does fire escapes that are as beautiful as New York and our street did not disappoint.  

We had a fantastic cafe opposite our apartment called Cafe Silan, which served the best iced latte ever.  We even tried one of their take out Popeye Salads with chicken, which was delicious.  Louise has tried to re-create it since coming home, but says it was not as good. 


For our first meal,  which happened to be on Mother's Day, we had booked a table for brunch at Edi and the Wolf on 102 Avenue C, just a short walk from our apartment. It had a really unusual decor using reclaimed wood, a rope salvaged from a church, loads of plants and various antiques to create a rustic Austrian tavern vibe.

We had the most amazing meal with poached eggs on sausage hash with bacon, fries, fresh orange juice and loads of coffee. It is making me hungry just thinking about it.    

It is really worth the visit - the staff were lovely and atmosphere relaxed and friendly and it is also reasonably priced.


We'd all come to the city with a bit of a bucket list and first on all our lists was a visit to Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial Plaza.  There are two one-acre sized reflecting pools, the largest manmade waterfalls in the US,  sited on the footprints of the two towers and surrounded by bronze etched with the names of those who lost their lives on that fateful day.  And all overlooked by the One World Trade Centers Freedom Tower. it was a truly moving experience and we thought the memorial was an amazingly beautiful testament to those lost, striking a perfect balance between remembrance and renewal. 

From here we took a wander down through the financial district towards Wall Street and onto South Street Seaport.  There is nothing stranger than a financial area on a Sunday as it is so quiet and almost soulless, but once we got to South Street Seaport and onto the Brooklyn Bridge we were amazed by the number of people who were  enjoying the sunshine and walking across the bridge to and from Brooklyn.  

I think Anne and I were channelling our inner Morecambe and Wise in this shot!

And it was lovely to have Lizzy and Louise with us for the visit - something we do not take for granted as they have busy lives.  But the lure of New York was something they couldn't resist.

From the Brooklyn Bridge we got a cab to take us back uptown to the Rockefeller Centre and the wonders of 5th Avenue.  Oh yes, shops!.  More on this on Anne C's post on Friday.


Friday, 13 May 2016


We've been shopping!  Not something we do all that often, but during trips to Manchester and Leeds recently we were rather taken with some of the new Spring/Summer offerings and even succumbed and purchased some items that we thought we would share with you.

Starting first with Anne H and her purchase from Zara of this light duster coat, something they call a flowing trench coat, made from lyocell (never heard of that before) and linen, it is reasonably priced at £59.99 and is shown here in the colour Ash, although it is also available in Beige.

Anne has teamed this with a simple black T from COS, skinny jeans from ACNE  and a necklace from Simply Devine Hats.  The silver cuff is from the White Company and watch is from Cluse.  

Anne really likes the soft flowing lines of the coat and thinks it will perfect for both evening and day wear adding just a touch of drama to an otherwise simple outfit.

We both ventured into Marks and Spencer and for once were pleased to see that they had some things that we wanted to buy.  I don't know about you, but we are desperate for them to get their merchandising back on track and be clear about who they are appealing to.  We've both been loyal M & S shoppers all our grown-up lives and have struggled recently to find even the staples we relied on them for.   So, come on M & S we are all rooting for you but won't be forever, our daughters and ourselves shop in Zara, H & M and COS so a multi-generational appeal is achievable but Per Una does not wash it!  If you agree with us, do add a comment and let's see if they pick up on it. People power, grey power, shopper power - use whichever power is needed. 

And now for the positive, this fabulous drape coat with side pleats that Anne C is wearing is from M & S.  It costs £59 and is from the M & S Collection.  Made in polyester with elastane it comes in two colour ways - black and neutral.  A fabulous addition to the Spring wardrobe we think. Anne has teamed it with black tailored trousers, also from M&S and a long tunic top from TK Maxx, accessorised by a long bead necklace from Phase Eight. As always the sleeves are much too long for Anne, so she needs to get the needle and thread out to shorten them!

Next is a bright linen summer top from Sahara, bought at Hoopers in Harrogate (from our recent visit), and worn with the same M&S tailored trousers. In the pictures it looks yellow, but is in fact a lime-green shade. The button detail on the left adds interest, while the watch is Gucci which she has had for years.

We are planning a trip shortly with our respective daughters, so expect to see us wearing our new purchases!

Anne H's next purchase was from her favourite store, COS, and is this silver grey short sleeve knit blazer made in viscose/polyamide mix and costing £89.  It has an open front style with flap over pockets and subtle lapels. A perfect transitional piece for Spring into Summer and a change from a structured blazer

Anne has teamed this with the same T shirt and necklace as before with a tailored pair of Joseph trousers and a MaxMara cuff purchased in a vintage shop. 

© Sensational Baby Boomers

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