Travel With Me: Rochester

Two travel posts back to back; what a jet setter haha!

After the best weekend in Bath, I spent the next weekend in Rochester in Kent with my friends and it was the perfect little weekend get away. I have never really visited Kent, I have only driven through it so I was pretty excited to spend a long weekend exploring.

We stayed in a cute little holiday camp which was great as my friend has a 3 year old daughter so we knew we would have entertainment for her in the evenings. Of course when we arrived, we were greeted with rain but that didn’t damped our spirits and we were eager to see what was on offer at the site. Once we unpacked and sorted ourselves out, we chilled and had some dinner before heading to the clubhouse for bingo and the evening entertainment.

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Saturday was such a sunny day so we ventured to Amherst Fort followed by a afternoon visiting Rochester. The Fort was really interesting, there is a huge tunnel system that was used during WW2 which was pretty cool! I know I say this about every new place I go to but I really did fall in love with Rochester, it was so quaint and quiet and the castle and cathedral were incredible. We had a wonder and then found a crepe place so of course I had to have a nutella filled crepe. We headed back to the holiday park to go on some of the amusement rides and to go on the 2p arcade machines. The weather was so perfect so we went to the onsite restaurant for dinner and sat outside – it was actually like we were abroad, I could have sat there all day. After heading down to the beach to collect shells and pebbles, we retreated back to the caravan for face masks and movies.

Sunday was our last full day so we wanted to make the most of it but in pure British summer style, it absolutely bucketed it down. We tried to visit the on site Fort but rain just made it so unenjoyable that we headed back to the restaurant for lunch. Luckily the sun decided to show its face again and perfect timing as there was an ice cream van outside.

On route home, we headed for afternoon tea at Fleur de Thé which was one of the best afternoon teas I have ever been too. The sandwiches were so fresh and instead of giving you loads of little cakes and tarts, you got to pick a slice of one of their homemade cakes – I of course went for Victoria sponge and it was to die for. We then headed back home where I think I napped for the majority of the day but it was the loveliest little girls getaway with my best friends.

-Hannah X

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Can’t travel? Sell your holiday and get your money back!

Can’t travel? Sell your holiday and get your money back!

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Travelling is something everyone looks forward to- the new culture, the history you’ll learn, and the food, of course! We neglect to believe that, sometimes, plans change. Sometimes you even have to cancel your whole trip. It happens more often than you think. You’re left feeling disappointed that you missed a vacation, in addition, you’re left frustrated that you’ve paid for a trip you couldn’t attend. Countless times, travel reservations are non-refundable, so if you can’t go…that means you lose the money you’ve paid.

It looks like you’re not alone. Millions of people have found that they have lost money on unused travel bookings, usually for non-refundable flights or hotel reservations. However, there is one thing they fail to realize; there are ways they can sell their non-refundable travel reservations safely and easily!

How to get a refund for your non-refundable travel reservations A much-needed solution has been created by SpareFare.net. The company has created a secondary marketplace for travel reservations. SpareFare connects people who have bought flights, hotel rooms or even complete holiday packages, but have found that they cannot use them, with those that are looking for a chance to take advantage of discounted travel.

By utilising the service, those who originally bought the holiday can recover at least some of the money they paid, whilst the people buying can often save as much as 50%-60% of what they would originally have paid. It is a win-win situation for both sides! Not only do you receive a great discount, but as a trusted platform, both buyers and sellers are protected from fraud. Moreover, SpareFare acts as an intermediary, making things progress smoothly throughout the whole process.

Now that the basics have been presented, how does the reselling actually work?

Selling an airline ticket

Before you can consider transferring your flight, you must check that your airline allows name changes of the ticket holder. More often than not, it is allowed – over sixty airlines allow for name changes! The change takes 1 minute and is done through the passengers’ online account. Usually, there is a fee for the name change, and this varies by airline and fare type. If you find that a specific airline’s policy does not allow for ticket name changes, then it may be worthwhile contacting them to see if you can get further details. A full list of all airlines which allow changes can be found here.

Selling a hotel room

Hotel reservations are even easier to sell! You’re usually asked to call the hotel with whom you have a reservation. From there you can inform them you need to change the main guest name within the reservation. More often than not, there will be no fees to be charged with this, however, you should always check with your hotel, just to be sure. If you have booked through Expedia or Booking, you can change the guest’s name through your online account

Selling a package holiday

A package holiday usually comprises of flights, transfers, hotels and any other extra features associated to your holiday. In this case, you will need to speak to your personal travel agent. The option to transfer your holiday will either be a part of their terms and conditions, or, if you cannot see it in there, you could always speak to someone to find out whether or not it is possible and if there will be any fees to pay. Please remember that if the travel agent is based within the EU, then they must give you the option to change the name on the reservation, by law.

The process as a whole

One of SpareFare’s many perks include protection to both the buyer and the seller. Not only do they make sure that the process is safe, but they also help to ensure that the price is fair too.

The process of selling or buying through SpareFare is:

1. The buyer will put forward a price that they are happy to pay.

2. The seller then decides whether or not they want to accept or decline the offer. The bidding process will take into account the current price of holidays and flights, all to make sure that a true discount is applied and that an over inflated price is not charged.

3. The seller will be responsible for changing the name on the booking, only once the buyer has sent over the money.

4. The buyer confirms that everything has been received and is correct.

5. The seller will then receive their money once the time of the travel reservation comes. This is to ensure that they do not change the names back on the booking and cheat their way out of money.

Of course it’s upsetting to realize you cannot attend your holiday, however, with some help from SpareFare, you’ll soon forget about your inconvenience- you will have redeemed some of your money from the unused trip which you can use for your next holiday!

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*This is a guest post written by SpareFare but no payment has been received for this*

 

-Hannah X

Travel With Me: Lisbon

Olá!

I am currently suffering with the worst holiday blues after returning from a city break to Lisbon with Jack. I had been excited for this trip from the minute I booked it and it didn’t disappoint and we have already decided that we need to go back to explore all the little gems that we missed because Lisbon is full of them!

This was both our first time in Portugal so we didn’t really know what to expect but I definitely think it is up there with one of my favourite countries I have been too; from the little tiled streets to the grand plazas overlooking the river; it was all perfect!

Day 1:

We had a morning flight so we go to the airport with plenty of time to get some breakfast and we were also in a prime spot to see President Trump fly in on Air Force 1 which was pretty cool; even if it was Trump. We arrived to our hotel and it was perfect, very cosy and had a great view of the mountains but we didn’t even stop to unpack because we wanted to get out and explore straight away. We walked around Praca do Comercio, soaked in the views of 25 de Abril Bridge and grabbed a lovely dinner in the Beer Museum before getting an early night to prepare for our first full day.

 

Day 2:

None of the days had clear agendas but we knew we wanted to go to the aquarium so we decided to do this first so we made sure we done it. From Praca do Comercio, we got the 728 bus straight to the aquarium which was only about 20 minutes away and spent the next few hours looking at all the fishes and the cutest fluffy sea otters. As we headed back it started to rain so we did what the whole of Lisbon decided to do and went to see the famous Time Out Market. The market was amazing, you could get any kind of food you want but you might have a hard time finding a seat. We opted for a pastel de nata from Manteigaria which we heard about from our favourite food show ‘Somebody Feed Phil’. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing they were, definitely the best I had while we were there. Once the sun came out again, we wondered up to Castelo de S. Jorge and took in some of the best views I have ever seen!

 

Day 3:

You can’t go to Lisbon without going to see the Belem Tower so this is what we did on day 3. Again, we got the bus from the main square and travelled about 25 minutes in the other direction from the aquarium, I feel like I am a pro at the Lisbon public transport! We went straight to the Tower and it was stunning, there was even a man playing Disney songs on his violin which just made it so much more special. We then took a stroll through to Belem Town and soaked up the sun in the gardens before heading back towards the hotel. Of course we found a bar so we sat outside in the sun enjoying the sun. We went for dinner and the strolled down the cobbled streets with an ice cream and macaroons and it was perfect.

 

Day 4:

Our last full day was very bitter sweet; we headed over the river to climb to the top of Cristo Rei which gave the most amazing view of Lisbon and made me feel like I was in San Fransisco which is number 1 on my bucket list so I was a happy bunny. We then headed back down and popped to Ponto Final Restaurant for a drink before heading back to the ferry. Of course as it was our last day it rained so we used this to do a bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel to chill before going out for our last dinner.

 

Day 5:

The saddest day as we were heading home. We had a afternoon flight so checked out and headed straight to the airport. I would have given anything to get off the plane and stay in Lisbon as it has become one of my favourite cities as now has a special place in my heart.

-Hannah X

Travel With Me: Paris

Bonjour!

It was recently my boyfriend’s birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to Paris. I mean as they say ‘Paris is always a good idea’.
I have been to Paris before but this was Jack’s first time so I was so excited for show him around.

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We took the Eurostar and arrived at around 2pm on Saturday. Luckily our hotel was only about a 15 minute walk from Gare du Nord so it didn’t take us long to get checked in and get rid of our bags. The hotel was absolutely perfect! It was decorated with monochome wallpaper with splashes of bright colours in the form of pillows and curtains.

After a quick freshen up, we took a short 20 minute metro ride to the Eiffel Tower because where else would you go to first? I forgot just how beautiful the Eiffel Tower is and I felt so happy to be back. After a good photo session, we headed to a small bistro for a spot of lunch before planning our next stop, Arc de Triomph. There was a little bit of construction work so the photos aren’t great but it was still beautiful nonetheless. The Arc is the start of Champs Elysees so we took a little wonder and did some window shopping before heading to a bar for a few drinks and then on to dinner. On the way back to the hotel, we saw the Eiffel Tour as it was all lit up and sparkly. This is one of my favourite sights in Paris and even though we only saw the top, it was still stunning.

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Day 2 started pretty early because we were heading home in the evening so we wanted to get the most out of our day. It was hard because the bed was so comfy, I had to pry myself out! We started by having a stroll towards Le Louvre where we stopped for a spot of breakfast and the most amazing hot chocolate I have ever had. Honestly, I am still thinking about it. We were going to go into Le Louvre but the queue was so long so we took a stroll along the Seine towards Notre Dame, somewhere that I had never been before. As we arrived, the bells were ringing and I instantly got all the Disney vibes and thought of Quasemodo. It was also at this point that I realised I had lost a glove which was the saddest thing because it was so cold.

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We headed back over towards Champs Elysees and stopped off at the petite palais for another hot chocolate and some macaroons and to warm ourselves up. It was so beautiful and the pieces of art they had there were incredible. Now, no trip to Paris is complete without some shopping and I took full advantage of the Sephora there, who else loves their sheet masks?!

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While making our way back to the hotel to pick up our suitcases, we stopped off for some dinner which was so bitter sweet because it was lovely to find another bistro tucked away down some quiet side road but it also meant that it was nearly time to head to the station to get home.

We arrived back in London at about 9pm on Sunday and to say I was sad to be home was definitely an understatement. We both had the most amazing time and I was so glad to celebrate Jack’s birthday in one of the prettiest cities. We are so desperate to go back and will definiely make sure we stay for longer.

Have you ever been to Paris?

– Hannah X

Travel With Me: Cologne, Germany

At the end of June, me and my boyfriend went to explore the city of Cologne. It’s actually taken me this long to write this post because I am still in denial about being home and back to reality.

I’ve been to Berlin but Cologne was never really a place that jumped out at me but oh my god I am so glad we decided to go as I have fallen in love. As I said, I have been to Berlin and I loved it but Cologne was extra special, from the little cobbled streets surrounded by bars to the padlock bridge stretching across the river, everywhere you turned there was something more to love.

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We arrived and went straight to the hotel to dump our luggage so we were free to explore. Obviously the first spot on our agenda was the cathedral which was so breath taking; I actually forgot the amount of times Jack and I said ‘It’s so big’, but it really was. We then had a little stroll towards the river and luckily found ourselves at the Lindt chocolate museum which was like stepping into Willy Wonker’s chocolate factory.

Day 2 was zoo day! Cologne is quite famous for its zoo so we couldn’t miss giving it a visit. After getting a little confused with the trains and contemplating a 50 minute walk, we soon arrived and I was like a child at Christmas. The whole day was perfect including the weather and the top highlight was seeing a racoon as I think they are adorable and one of my favourites. We finished the day off perfectly with dinner and a few drinks before an early night to recoup for the next day which was visiting the city of Bonn.

Like with Cologne, I didn’t have much expectations when it came to Bonn, but again I was very surprised with how beautiful it is. A city that was once the capital and the birthplace of Beethoven now holds a place in my heart. Bonn is full of little cobbled twists and turns and quirky bars and bistros and a Sephora that I had been excited for ever since we booked the trip.

Our last day was bittersweet; our flight wasn’t until 10pm so we had a full day but I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread and sadness knowing we were heading back to reality and eventually back to work. We did however make our last day the best it could be so we headed back to some of our favourite spots and visited a house that belonged to the Gestapo in WWII which had been covered into a museum – that was such an eye opening experience and I’m so glad we did it.

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I already can’t wait to go back to Cologne and the whole trip is definitely up there with one of my favourites.

– Hannah Xx

The Travel Tag

I’m going away to Germany on Tuesday and have been in holiday mode since we booked it back in April, so what better post to get up than a good old fashioned tag.

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1. What’s the best place you’ve ever been to?

I have a few but the one place that sticks out the most is definitely New York, I could happily move there. That place has my heart.

2. Do you prefer going abroad or a staycation?

Both! I love going abroad and visiting new countries but there are still so many places in the UK that I would like to visit.

3. What are your fashion holiday essentials?

Depends on the trip, if it’s a city break then shoes are my number one essential, you need to be comfortable. But if it’s a beach holiday then probably swimming costumes, I am always in the pool.

4. Who’s your favourite person to go travelling with?

This will be my first holiday with my boyfriend so I’m sure he will become my favourite travel partner or my friends, as it would be a trip full of so much laughter and great memories.

5. What’s your favourite holiday memory?

One of my favourite trip memories is sitting in Central Park in NY with the sun shining through on ‘Strawberry Fields’ listening to a man play songs from The Beatles on his guitar and all these strangers gathering around to sing along. Such a beautiful sight.

6. If you could only go on holiday to one place for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

Probably Florida as I could live in Disneyworld forever!

7. Is there anywhere you’d avoid going?

Definitely not, I want to travel everywhere and anywhere.

8. Where was your first holiday?

My first holiday (I think) was to Walt Disney World in Florida.

9. Do you prefer relaxing or doing things on holiday?

A good mixture, I love days by the pool or at the beach but I definitely think if you’re spending money to visit a country, then you need to go out and explore it.

10. What are your beach bag essentials?

Suncream, headphones, a book, sunglasses and a big bottle of water.

11. Where are you travelling to next?

Germany and then Tenerife in September, how exciting!

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Where’s your next trip to?

-Hanah X

Barcelona Style Diary

Barcelona Style Diary

Hola!

Over the New Year, I spent a week in Barcelona with some of my favourite people. I completely fell in love with the city; the beach, the food, the weather, the little-cobbled side streets and of course the sangria!

Obviously being December/January time, I prepared myself for cold, rainy days but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted every morning with blue skies and sun…I actually forgot what sun on my skin felt like. I spent every morning trying to strategically throw some outfits together and I’m here today to share those with you.

Day 1: For the most part; day 1 was spent travelling, doing a food shop for the apartment and having a walk around before dinner. I spent most of the day in jeans and a jumper, which was pretty boring but I did freshen up and change my outfit for the evening.

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Shirt: Primark Skirt: Lipsy Chelsea Boots: ASOS

Day 2:

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Top: Boohoo Skirt: Lipsy Chelsea Boots: ASOS
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Jumpsuit: New Look Clutch: Topshop Shoes: Primark

Day 3:

 

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Shirt: Primark Skirt: Lipsy Chelsea Boots: ASOS
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Dress: Lipsy Chelsea Boots: ASOS

 

Also – Massive thank you to my best friends Zoe and Amy for being the best and taking all these photos.

-Hannah X

Hand Luggage Must Haves

Summer means one thing, holiday and as you’re reading this, I am on the way to Lanzarote with my best friends! I am the biggest over packer ever, (seriously, if you saw my case, you’d think I was going away for a month not a week) so I thought I’d share my hand luggage must haves.

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  1. Phone and Headphone

I get bored pretty quickly on flights so a good playlist and a few games to keep me entertained is a must – literally a child

2. Books

Holiday is pretty much the only time that I read so I always carry a book in my hand luggage

3. Money and Passport

The most important things!

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What are your hand luggage must haves?

-Hannah X

Lessons I’ve Learned from Travelling

One of my News Years resolutions is to travel more (on a side note, I finally have a holiday booked with my best friends! yay!) so when the lovely people GoEuro got in touch and asked if I wanted to take part in their #travellessons competition I couldn’t get on board quick enough.

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I like to think I’ve done an okay job at travelling, although there are tonnes of places I am dying to go to, so here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt;

  1. Make An Itinerary

This might sound like a boring thing to do but it actually isn’t. If I know I am going somewhere, especially if it’s somewhere I know I’m not going to be going back to for a while; I like to plan what I am going to do. I feel like this way I can make sure that I see and do everything I want to and don’t come home feeling like I didn’t see everything.

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2.  Don’t Believe Reviews

I love nothing more that scrolling through trip advisor and other people’s blog posts to get reviews on hotel, restaurants and tourist spots but I’ve found that you have to take everything with a pinch of salt. I recently went to a hotel in Paris and read some pretty dire reviews but when I went there I couldn’t have loved it more. The atmosphere was great as was the location and staff. Always make your own reviews; remember not everyone has the same taste as you.

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3. Talk To Local People

While trip advisor and Lonely Planet pocket guides are great, there is nothing better than talking to local people to find out what’s on offer whether that be a day trip or a restaurant. I found this when I was in New York last year; while standing outside the New York Palace hotel pretending I was Serena van der Woodsen, a man came up to me and my mum and gave us so many recommendations that were not your normal touristy things to do.

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4. Never Say Never

Always get stuck in! Don’t turn your nose up at anything because you may live to regret it. Try the different food, go on the trips, talk to people, get the most out of your holiday!

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5. Take Photographs

Memories eventually fade so what better way to capture every moment than with a photograph. Photos are such a great keepsake to look back on and remember all the fun things you done while travelling

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What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt from travelling?

-Hannah X

New York City 2016

At the end of March, to celebrate my cousin’s birthday; me, my mum and 2 of my aunts and 2 of my cousins travelled across the Atlantic to my favourite place in the world, New York City! Since going with my school back in 2011, I have been ridiculously desperate to go back, so it is safe to say I was pretty excited. After a long day travelling, I was excited to see what the next 4 days had in store for us!

Day 1 – 31st March

We got to our hotel, The Roosevelt, at about 7pm the night before so technically this was our second day in the city but the first full day. We all woke up super early at about 6am (thanks jet lag) but to be honest, I didn’t mind because it meant we would be getting the most of our day. Now, seeing as I am a massive Gossip Girl fan, and planned on spending the whole trip waltzing down the upper east side pretending I was Serena van der Woodsen, I had to go to the New York Palace hotel, which my mum kindly walked with me too on the first morning. It was just as amazing as I thought it was going to be and I definitely felt like I was part of Manhattan’s Elite. We continued our day, with a downtown open bus tour, which would take us all the way down Broadway toward the 9/11 memorial and Battery Park. This was great because not only were we getting around the City, but the tour guide was pointing out and giving us information about some of the most famous landmarks. We made it to the 9/11 memorial which was more moving than I thought it was going to be; seeing where the towers stood made it all so real, it wasn’t a documentary on TV or a picture online, we were there, where it all happened. It was quite an emotional experience. We continued walking towards Battery Park where we got a Ferry to the Statue of Liberty. I forgot how magnificent and beautiful Lady Liberty is and it was so amazing to come out of the hustle and bustle and appreciate that incredible skyline. After walking back through Canal Street, Little Italy and China Town to get to Times Square, we had some dinner and then boarded another tour bus. This tour was a nighttime tour which went over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn and stopped off down by the Hudson River so we could see the whole city lit up. This was such a highlight for me because not only had I never been to Brooklyn before, but I have never seen such a beautiful view in my whole life and I think that is what made me completely fall in love with the big apple.

 

 

Day 2 – 1st April

Again, another early start but we had even more planned for our second full day. We got our final bus tour which took us all over uptown Manhattan, through Harlem, and back down the Upper East Side to Central Park. It was such a beautiful day so we took the opportunity to walk through the park to see Strawberry Fields. After a little while of people watching and soaking up the sun, we headed to the Rockefeller Centre to get tickets to go to the top. I’ve been up the Empire State but given the choice, I’d pick The Top of the Rock anyway. The views are just as breath taking at the top of both but you get to see the whole Empire State from the Rockefeller Centre, so that wins bonus points. We knew we all wanted to see a show, so we made our way back to Times Square to see what deals they had on tickets. Luckily, we were able to get 6 tickets to Matilda, which wasn’t originally on my list of ‘must see shows’ but, I am so happy we saw it. It was absolutely incredible and I’ve been obsessed with the soundtrack ever since. Definitely go see it if you ever get the chance where you are.

 

 

Day 3 – 2nd April

Today was shopping day! We decided to all split off into families so me and mum headed straight to Macy’s. I knew I wanted to get a Designer bag but wasn’t sure what one/brand; so after spotting a gorgeous Michael Kors one, mum actually suggested to go to Century 21 to see if they had any there and if not, we would go back to Macy’s to get that one. We decided to get the Subway which was super easy to navigate and in no time we are in Century 21! After a little hunting around, I found a stunning Grey, leather Michael Kors bag, which I knew I had to own, so of course I decided it was mine. I actually think I walked around with in in my hands because I was so scared someone was going to go in the basket and pick it out haha. We stayed in C21 was a few hours and picked up so many bargains before getting the Subway back to Times Square so we could walk to 5th Avenue and continue our shopping. From the minute I knew we were going to NY, I knew I wanted a Tiffany bracelet and after searing the website and finding the one I wanted, I bit the bullet and went in to get it, I mean if you’re going to get a Tiffany bracelet, it has to be from actual Tiffany’s New York, right? I’m so in love with it, sometimes I open the box just to have a peak. We all met back at the lobby and headed out for our last dinner together. We all got so many recommendations to go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner so we kept this for the last night so it would be extra special. I loved Ellen’s, the food was great and I loved singing along to all the musical songs the waiters were singing. It was unlike anything I had experience before but I loved it!

Day 4 – 3rd April

Sadly we were going home later today 😦 but we wanted to get the most out of our last few hours. With a cab coming to pick us up at 4, we did some last minute shopping on 5th Ave. and had a big lunch at an Irish pub. I was so sad to be going home so I made sure that in the cab to the airport I took in the last sights of the beautiful city.

I can’t begin to tell you how said I am to be back in England, still 2 weeks later. New York definitely has my heart and I am sure I will be back in no time!

-Hannah X