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So, as many of you may know, I’ve spent my summer writing an MA dissertation about Tinder. Yes, Tinder.  I definitely had not planned to spend a summer after having broken up with a boyfriend (sorry, I promise this won’t turn into some sort of DMC) thinking and writing about other peoples love lives but in retrospect its actually been quite therapeutic and has given me an interesting insight into how other people my age go about finding love or just a bit of fun.  These days, we’re all so glued to our phones (I sleep with mine IN my bed) that it almost seems like a natural progression to start finding our next love/bed warmer/flirtexter (I’ve just coined that phrase, I’m well aware it won’t take on) inbetween obsessively checking Twitter, Instagram and chatting aimlessly to Siri.

Having spent hours in the library pouring over my research, I thought I’d share some of my wisdom with the masses (or just the few people that occasionally read this blog including my dad, just a heads up, this probably isn’t one to send onto grandma), so here we go:

– The first thing that emerged throughout my research was the variety of intentions with which people are using the app.  From looking for a long-term partner to purely using it to take the piss out of others at pre-drinks, there really are as many different intentions as there are users.  While it is hard to gauge intentions from someones profile, I’d say as a hard and fast rule, if a guys profile is just a picture of his goolies, hes probably not looking to settle down just yet.  But, you know, thats just my opinion.  My advice?  Don’t invest yourself fully in the idea that you’ll find your future husband/wife on Tinder, instead use it for casual dating or for a bit of an ego boost.

– Tinder is co-situational in nature so if you’re looking for a night out with a bit of footsie, most people don’t want to travel more than 30KM so make that your maximum distance setting.  If you are willing to travel the full 160KM to find someone, well...I think you should start reevaluating your priorities.  

Looks ARE everything (well on Tinder at least).  This app is a glorified Hot or Not game, so be warned, you’re going to be judged almost solely on your looks.  If you’re not comfortable with that, then just take the high road and bypass this fad.  Just remember ladies, we all thought Christian Bale in American Psycho was fit until it turned out he was a murderous arsehole.

– On that note, we all know that the secret to a good profile is to show off our good side and choose pictures which make us look like we’re desirable little mother fuckers.  BUT as tempting as it is to upload that picture of you from three years ago where you had a really fucking great tan and were skinny as hell because you’d just been to Zante for two weeks and had a dodgy tummy for the whole time you were there, those pictures might be a little misleading.  Try limit yourself to pictures which were taken in the last year (or even better, 6 months) and which are representative of yourself now.  If you’re not quite sure what you look like now or you have a sneaking suspicion that the mirror is lying to you, then ask a friend to have a check over your pictures because the punishment for misleading photos is for all contact to be severed and then you’ll have to make up a story as to why you and that fit guy from Tinder never went on a second date.

– Everyone loves a group photo.  Its the start of the night and you’ve all just had your first glass of wine, your makeup isn’t smeared, your eyes aren’t glassy yet and you all want to show off how many friends you have and how great they are!  YAY GIRLS NIGHT!  While you should probably include one group photo on your profile, don’t put it as your first photo as most people frankly can’t be arsed working out which one you are.

Pouty duckface.  We all know what I’m talking about.  Yes it brings out those barely there cheek bones, but its also really weird when you think about it.  What situation was she in for that expression to happen?  Is she happy/sad/constipated?  Is she okay?  Those are the questions a prospective match is going to be asking when he stumbles on your profile with all six of your photos looking like you’re mid-charades pose.  If you’re a serial duckface puller you may need to reconsider a lot more than just your profile pictures.  

– I’ve not updated my Facebook interests since I was about 14 and as a consequence, I am apparently a fan of such things as ‘dressing up as a seagull and walking around stealing peoples chips’ (something I have never done), ‘ditching your mates to hang out with your goat’ (don’t own a goat, but this is probably something I would do) and ‘going out and getting absolutely Charlie Sheened’ (I just sound like an absolute twat).  So although Tinder has an ‘interests’ section downloaded from Facebook, you probably don’t want to get too excited if you and this random man share ‘being a mac daddy pimp’ (another one of my ‘likes’) in common.  While they may not be too useful in actually gauging what kind of person this match is, they are a good first liner so at least theres that.  

– To bio or not to bio, that is the question.  While most online dating sites like Match.com get you to go through the whole convoluted process of writing out a bio where you’re forced to make yourself sound like you’re really bloody nice, when in reality you’ve got a perennial case of bitchy resting face as bad as Aubrey Plaza’s, Tinder lets you decide whether you want to warble on about yourself or not.  Keep it short and sweet and try to steer clear of cliches as no one actually wants a man who likes ‘long walks on the beach’ because they all sound like massive wetties.

– Also on the subject of bios, if you’re upwards of 15 years old and still typing in text speak, well just good luck with that.  

– A picture really can speak a thousand words on Tinder.  If you’re making claims in your bio that you love to try new things, you party as hard as Prince Harry in Vegas or that you found yourself while travelling to the inner most depths of the Amazonian jungle, then why don’t you prove it with a few pictures.  Bonus points if you are actually Prince Harry.

– So you’ve matched with someone, you’ve chatted a bit and you’re starting to think that you would quite like to meet this person face-to-face, but beforehand you’re going to do what any 90s kid would do in this situation and Internet stalk them.  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to gather information about someone and to check they really are who they say they are and most Tinderers admitted to having a snoop at others from the app, so you’re in good company.  Just be aware that if you’re having a snoop, others will be looking at you too, so if you’re not too enthused by that idea, make things private.  If you don’t give a flying fuck who sees that you Instagrammed a picture of you gorging on Dominos yesterday with one of your fake eyelashes falling off or tweeted an inspirational quote which may or may not have made you cry, then why not help your prospective stalkers along and put your social media handles in your bio.

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Just an example of the type of moronic pictures which I put on Instagram.  I barely spent any time in this pool because I WAS WRITING THIS DISSERTATION.  

– And lastly, ladies, a word of warning.  Do not treat the above behaviour as an issue of ensuring your ‘personal safety’.  Now, I don’t know about you but if I was a serial murderer, I probably wouldn’t have the twitter handle @ImGoingToSkinYouAlive or Instagram images of dark parks with the hashtag #MyKillingSpot so please please please do not think you can judge whether a person is capable of such things over social media.  We’re all presenting a front on here, whether we like to admit it or not.  I for one don’t post pictures of myself in the library on Instagram, even though this would be far more representative of my life than the 1% of the time that I spend on beaches but just happen to photograph.  Make sure you meet your date in a public place with plenty of people around, that you tell multiple people where you are going and with who and that you have your phone on you with full battery.  Also if you can, ask a friend to be on hand to pick you up and drop you off, firstly because then they at least know you got home safe, but secondly, because then you can tell them all the weird stuff your date inevitably did.  Lads, take this all into account as well, us ladies can be weird, wonderful and slightly psychotic at times.  

If you’re using Tinder, chances are you’re probably not looking for the next big love of your life, but just a bit of fun and a few nights out, so you may scoff at my advice, but you never know so keep your options open.  As for me, I think I’ll stick to the good old fashioned way and just wait for some poor unsuspecting fool to lower their standards and start feeling lonely and vulnerable and then swoop in.  60% of the time, it works everytime.  

Let me know if you agree/disagree/have anything else to add or just generally want to swap some stories.  

(P.S. I also want to add that I’m extremely grateful to all of you who took part in the research process!  I had an overwhelming response to the survey portion of my project and interviewed some great people who were more than willing to share their experiences on the app honestly and openly, which just made the whole process so much easier than what it could have been.  I’d defo swipe right for you all x) 

After a short but sweet trip to London a couple of weeks ago, I jumped on a flight to Tampa, Florida for a little R&R with the parents.  My family and I have been to Florida quite a few times over the years, as well as the frequent trips to Disney World – I last went when I was 19 and I’m itching to go again – we’ve travelled South many times to scope out beaches, eat our weight in seafood and keep watch for the elusive dolphins that dip and dive below the waves.

While we hadn’t been to Naples since I was 4, our last trip was very memorable to me as it ended up with the family floating in a car in the aftermath of a tropical storm, an incident which I only have fond memories of weirdly enough.  As my dad is a creature of habit, we returned to the same hotel on the shoreline of Naples beach and spent 10 days relaxing in the scorching hot sun, only to be moved off our sun beds by the occasional thunder storm.

While this was definitely a relaxing holiday, I still had my dissertation to focus on so spent late afternoons and evenings concentrating on my work in my room while wrapped in a hotel dressing gown munching on pillow chocolates.  The Suite Life.  

I didn’t really take too many photos as my camera managed to conk out half way through the holiday and also, it would have just been a whole camera stream of hot dog/legs by the pool and who really needs those anyway?!  So I thought I’d just put this one of the beautiful sunset on here and you can check out a few more on my Instagram.

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As well as sunbathing, I ate oysters by the bucketload, had a hot stone massage, got soaked a couple of times by the torrential downpours that anyone who has visited the State will be familiar with, peered over fences into some of Naples most outrageously huge homes, got some amazing bargains at Nordstroms, watched some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and even bumped into an old friend from travelling!

One of the best things about the holiday was undoubtedly the location of the hotel.  Perched on Naples beach which goes on for as long as the eye can see, its the perfect place for a bit of dolphin spotting.  I took to getting my feet wet and swimming in the warm water out to a little sandbank everyday where I quite regularly saw the tell tale fins of a few Flippers as they effortlessly swam past.  As fun as it is to go to Seaworld, (well until you’ve watched Blackfish anyway) its always more enchanting to see animals in the wild where their appearance isn’t guaranteed.  Here our finned friends have a large expanse to wander over rather than just a minute pool  which they’re confined to day in and day out.  While I managed to spot quite a few dolphins, my dad wasn’t so lucky and even though he tried, he kept missing them, which I think is just another excuse to go back to our little slice of heaven in Florida, perhaps with a little visit to our old friends Mickey and Minnie next time as well…

I think this holiday has been one of the best and while I now have returned to the real world, atleast I’m be sporting a tan!

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Until recently I had barely ever travelled south of the river in London.  Soho was just about as adventorous as it got when I visited the capital, but now with friends planting their feet and considerable wardrobes all over the city, I’ve got more of an excuse to venture to new ground.  My first stop on this new journey was the last on the Victoria line: Brixton.

Brixton is a bit of a mish mash of everything.  Semi-recently adopted by young professionals and hipsters, the area has gone through an Instagram worthy regeneration.  The best part of this make over is without a doubt the famous Brixton Village where you can feast on food that has Londoners making the pilgrimage over the river.

While I was only staying for one night in the capitol, I managed to make two trips to the Village for dinner and brunch, so here it goes…

After finding out some very exciting news there was cause to celebrate, so Natasha, Cris, Jess and I headed over to the market where we settled to eating some Asian fare at Happy Dumpling.  Confused and a little bit tired, we all ended up over-ordering, a blessing in disguise which just meant loosening our belts and diving in to plates overflowing with noodles, deep fried prawns, spinach in a garlic sauce and prawn toast.

My two favourites?  The prawn lucky bags which I ordered packed a punch in the spice department while the spinach in garlic sauce would give anyone a Popeye moment.

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After heading back to their flat and falling asleep watching re-runs of the Rachel Zoe Project in bed with Jess, we awoke the next morning, craving eggs.  

We headed to Wild Caper, a deli I’d read about on The Londoner’s blog and one which boasted about its short but sweet brunch menu next to the free bread and oil samples (I ate three #sorrynotsorry).

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While the eggs were perhaps left to poach for a smidgen too long, these eggs was egg-actly what we needed.  PUNNY.

If I learnt anything in New York, it was that brunch cannot be done properly without a Bloody Mary by ones side!  As a relative newbie to the Bloody Mary game, I can’t comment too much so I’ll just let you guys tell me whether WIld Caper do it right!

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Rob and Margaret, this one is for you!

With bellies full, we wandered around the market picking up presents for our newly engaged friends, Sarah and Nick (!!!!) and window shopping where I saw these rather strapping lads larking around…

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I do love a Panda in a monk strap…

After tearing ourselves away from our prospective (panda) princes, we headed into a shop where the most remarkable thing happened.  You see, I have an incredible knack for scaring kids.  I don’t know why, but they just don’t seem to like me.  I’ll wave, smile and make funny faces in an endeavour to make friends, but my eager attempts are usually met with disdain and sometimes even hysterical tears.  So when a little girl started chatting away excitedly to both Jess and I in one of the shops, we ended up staying for a half hour and playing make believe…it all got a little weird, so I’ll just leave you with this image of Jess and I engaging in a cowboy inspired photoshoot…

Wheres your favourite place to go in Brixton Village?

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So by now, we all know I went to New York last month – god when will I stop talking about it – and while wandering around the city, I noticed an abundance of street art.  I’d never really been intrigued to go round and find street art in other cities before, but I just got a little bit obsessed with tracking down the art which I’d seen on my Instagram feed.

Heres just a little photo diary of what I found and where abouts (if I can remember…):

P1010215 P1010220 P1010234 P1010254 The above works of art can be seen from the High Line (they’ve already featured on my post on the High Line which you can seeeee here!)  Next up, I spotted these two master pieces after chowing down at Katz Deli while I can’t find the origins of the first one, the second one which is rather Banksy-esque is actually by Bristolian street artist, Nick Walker.  Its a bit crap that its been painted over by others, but if you want to see the piece in all its glory, check here.

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Close by – relatively so anyway -on Houston Street is a wall which has come to embody the street art movement.  First a site for illegal graffiti artists to flex their artistic muscles, the space is now curated by Jeffrey Deitch.  The wall draws style bloggers, photographers and models like moths to a flame and we saw 3 separate shoots happening all within feet of each other, using the mural as a backdrop.  The artist featured while I was in the Big Apple was COPE2 who is known for his bubble tags – a homage to the old graffiti which you inevitably pass on just about every train in England.

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If you’re really looking to have a gander at some al fresco art, then Brooklyn is the place you want to be.  The area just attracts the creative types so every wall has been recommissioned for art with a message, art with no message and art with a undiscernable message which just looks quite nice.  

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If you’ve been perusing Instagram as much as me, then you’ll know that Bradley Theodore is the BNOC right now in New York street art terms.  Brad’s – I’d like to think we’re on first name terms – best known piece is perhaps the massive portrait of a loved up Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour, which I could not for the life of me find, I was a tiny bit gutted.  BUT, we did stumble upon these beauties:

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Controversial photographer and possible sex pest, Terry Richardson has been re-imagined as a piece of one dimensional art – perhaps a less harmless version of the real life man.

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Celebrated editor and journalist, Diane Vreeland

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The amazing Grace Coddington – owner of fashions most incredible barnet, lover of cats, an enigma and a creative.  Probably my favourite person.  If you’ve never heard of her then read her beautiful book and watch The September Issue where she spectacularly outshines Wintour.

 Let me know if you have any favourites!

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After going to the MET museum, my mum and I spent the rest of the day lost in Central Park.  I can tell you firsthand, that the streets of New York do not make you feel brand new, but rather the opposite after walking around all day.  How dare you lie to me Alicia Keys.  

The only cure for sore feet and the bitter feeling of betrayal?  A cupcake from Magnolia’s Bakery of course.

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After recharging our batteries with a sugary sweet treat, we headed to the Meatpacking District for drinks at the The Standard hotel.  As I’ve mentioned before, the Standard is now renowned for being the location of Solange and Jay-Z’s now infamous fight and I was on a mission to find out what really happened in that lift.  While from the outside, The Standard looks pretty, well…standard, resembling a glassy eyed council block, the inside is the real tour de force with the kind of sleek interiors which attracts models, ‘yes’ men and wayward artistes among the odd celebrity.

The bar at the top of The Standard is aptly named…The Top of The Standard.  Revolutionary branding.  The dress code depends less on what you’re wearing and more on who you are it seems, with some unlucky punters being turned away for wearing trainers, while others stroll through the golden gates with their dirty Converse trailing frayed laces.  Maybe its time to polish off the ‘don’t you know who I am’ gaff, just incase.

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Must have used a bit too much fake tan, looking a bit orange…

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Once inside – if you make it inside – you’re bathed in an orange light which evidently attracts the beautiful, the mildly famous and the grossly surgically enhanced like moths to the flame.  While I may not be any of the above, its hard to deny that the bar has a vibe which buzzes of the here and now.

When we arrived, it was heaving so the circular bar was surrounded by a two-deep layer of thirsty patrons waiting for the agonisingly slow barmen to pour their martini.  This is the kind of place where its best to order two rounds in one if you’ve got the gusto and the wallet for it. While the wait may be almost criminal, the measures are generous – Americans don’t use single or double measures apparently – so you get more ‘tini for your dolla’ than you would at an English bar of the same calibre.  Pros and cons, people.  

Of course, while the main draw of a bar is usually its alcohol and the main drawback its toilets, the Top of The Standard marches to a different beat with views and toilets which are both as fabulous as the other.  The floor to ceiling windows allow for a great view over to New Jersey and Manhattan and we were lucky enough to witness the city that never sleeps moving into the dark restless hours of the night.

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Toilefie? No, that doesn’t work…

P1010491The view from the loo

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These same floor to ceiling windows are also what have made the toilets such a trending topic.  You can literally sit on the throne and continue to cast an eye over your kingdom.  While they became notorious at first, with office blocks opposite catching an eyeful every time someone answered the call of nature, a handy net curtain has now been erected to preserve your modesty, not so fun in my eyes.  

So, why did Solange and Jay-Z’s night end in fistie cuffs after their trip to The Standard?  Well, Jay-Z’s obvious penchant for strawberry daiquiri’s, ordered one at a time resulted in Solange missing a re-run of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’s finale  (her favourite show, obvs) and matters only got worse when an unfortunate incident in a toilet led to Solange baring her soul (strategic word replacement there) to this side of lower Manhattan before a psychedelic art installation playing on the TVs in the lifts caused her to spin out in a rage fuelled by strongly mixed cocktails.  No wonder Beyonce and Jay-Z’s statement was so vague.  

I think I’ve accidentally made this review a bit scathing, so don’t be perturbed, I’ve read nothing but good things about the food and hotel experience of staying at The Standard and while The Top of The Standard has great toilets and even greater views most of us know that this package comes with the kind of pretentiousness that is inherent in a place that has been tipped as a place to be seen, so we kind of asked for it.  In fact, the people watching is great and the experience wouldn’t be the same if it was just a load of old codgers ordering lager at the bar really would it?

We ended our first full day in New York with a stroll around Soho, a trip to Grand Central Station and a dinner at a Bobby Van’s where I ate Tuna Tartar and steak.  The food at Bobby Van’s was good, but their service leaves much to be desired, a characteristic of many New York steak restaurants.

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I also wore this cheeky little number which just happens to be all Topshop –  embarrassing.  I love this strapless black jumpsuit (which has now come out in a blush pink colour which I’m lusting over) while this blazer comes from a co-ord suit which I wore to the theatre but didn’t manage to get a photo of!

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Anyway, on to the second day.  We decided to walk up to the Rockefeller centre from our hotel which just happened to be in Times Square.

Times Square is hectic 24/7 but with subway stations, theatres and food all at your doorstep it is an ideal spot for anyone to stay for a short amount of time…and did I mention that theres a Sephora just around the corner as well.  

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The Rockefeller centre is located in midtown Manhattan and refers to a collection of buildings including the NBC studios, Radio City Music Hall and the GE building, which the Top of the Rock observation deck sits on top of.

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Is this even the building we went up…I’m not even sure anymore…

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The view at the Top of the Rock is incredible; the 360 degree views mean you can observe the Empire State proudly towering over the buildings around it in the middle of Manhattan to the south of the Rockefeller Centre and Central Park dominating the view to the north, whilst also surveying the cars and people below and scouring the cities rooftops for gardens, pools and workmen going about their daily business.  We spotted a few people scaling up and down the sides of buildings washing the windows – a thought which gives me vertigo even thinking about it now.

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Dungarees – American Apparel / Top – Topshop / Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim 

I have been looking for the perfect pair of long leg dungarees for months and I finally found them while away!  In the past few months, I’ve ordered numerous pairs from both ASOS and Topshop and umm-ed and ahh-ed for weeks before sending each pair back.  I even announced that I’d given up on my fruitless search several times, much to my mothers relief, but in the end I stumbled across the holy grail of all dungarees in American Apparel in Soho.  I love the zip detail at the top – which actually ended up being most handy – and the tapered legs which I rolled up a couple of times to give a more relaxed aesthetic, plus they’re super comfy and make you feel like a 5 year old again; I’ll be wearing these all year round now.  If you’re interested in trying these babies out for yourself, I’d advise ordering a size beneath what you usually do unless you want a very baggy look, I’m usually a medium but had to buy a small as I didn’t want to look like an off-duty painter.

I’m currently sat in my bed at Newcastle, flicking between blogging, watching the new season of Orange is the New Black, begrudgingly doing reading for my dissertation and looking through photos of my trip to New York.  Now that is multi-tasking.  I’ve just booked a trip home for a few days, so I’m praying that the weather will be sunny so I can sit by the pool to make the dull, monotonous task of reading a much more enjoyable task!

I’ll be blogging about my jaunt around Central Park and a trip to the MET in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled for more soon!

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I last left you at the bottom of the High Line with a rumbling belly, waiting for a proper New York lunch.  

After making a quick pit stop at Washington Square Park, we continued on our special pilgrimage towards East Houston praying for a taste of what has been described as “the best pastrami on earth”.  Now from my personal experience, the UK is just not that big on pastrami.  We prefer our sandwich meats roasted, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and shoved between two pieces of bread but let me tell you, we’ve got a lesson or two in sandwich making to learn.  

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Katz Deli has been plating up Reubens like no other for the last 126 years, now serving up to 1000 punters a day.  This unassuming Jewish Deli  has been consistently hailed as making not only the best pastrami on earth, but also some of the best sandwiches in America.  It’s kind of a big deal.  

I’d been itching to visit Katz ever since I’d watched Adam Richman – from Man v. Food, duhhh – chow down on some of their deli classics but you may also recognise the interior from a scene in When Harry Met Sally where Sally, errr….well you know she puts on a show by faking it…I’ll have what shes having.  

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Katz’s menu caters to just about everyone with breakfast classics, soups, salads and various other sandwiches on offer as well as these huge, juicy pickles!  My order?  Do you even have to ask?  The pastrami reuben.  Just look at it!

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Lashings of hand carved hot pastrami, smothered in swiss cheese, topped with a healthy handful of sauerkraut and Russian dressing, between two perfectly soft pieces of rye bread.  This isn’t just any sandwich, this is a Katz’s Deli sandwich.  

The pastrami is sweet, spicy and so so succulent it literally melts in your mouth.  The sauerkraut isn’t too acidic and the Russian dressing adds a bit more spice to the mix – all the elements blend together to make the most perfect sandwich.  I can definitely understand why Katz has such a huge cult following and if I lived nearby I’d probably be visiting every other week to the detriment of my waist line.

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While its nice to visit posh restaurants in big cities, sometimes you get a more authentic experience if you spend a bit of time scoping out where the locals return to time after time.  The menu might not be cultivated by internationally renowned chefs or the interior designed by the latest architect, but you can’t argue with the taste of their hearty sandwiches.  If I had to mark them out of 5?  I’d give them 6.  

 

If you’re in New York, you’d be a fool not to head to Katz.

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Last week I had a sweet but short taste of freedom from deadlines and dissertations.  After a tough month of group projects and continuous essay writing, my brain was fried and my days were blurring into one; I was in dire need of a change in location.  So, of course the only thing to do was to hop across the pond for a bit of trans-Atlantic fun with the parentals in New York, New York! 

As a girl of a certain age, New York isn’t just a tourist destination but an aspiration; at one point or another most girls have wistfully watched an episode of Sex & the City – or the first film, not the second – vouching that one day they will live there in a generously sized apartment with rent control, stomp those streets in Manolo’s and fall in love with a sharply dressed banker who may or may not be named Big…

While GIRLS has – quite appropriately – taken some of the shine off the varnish that Sex & the City glossed (rents are sky high, expensive clothes are still expensive and men are…well, still men) New York is still the pinnacle of cool and with a brother now living in the city, there was no better time to visit.

Having visited twice before, my parents and I were in no rush to go up the Empire State or see the Lady of Liberty up close so our first morning got off to a more relaxed start.  My parents had walked the High Line the last time they were in NY in November, however, unlucky for them they got absolutely drenched in a down pour, but lucky for us the weather this time was fare more conducive to a leisurely walk downtown to take in the sights and sounds of the city.

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The High Line is built upon an elevated rail line which was transformed into a public space after locals and the Friends of the High Line organisation fended off the threat of demolition.  Situated on Manhattan’s West Side, the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to the West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue with beautifully maintained lawns, beds of greenery and art installations popping up along the old rail way lines.  Not only that, but it happens to be a great location for people watching and fantasty real estate window shopping; two of my favourite pastimes.  

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Dress – ASOS / Sliders – Topshop / Jacket – Zara (old) / Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim / Necklace – Zara 

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Colourful street art pops up all along the stretch of rail way, with bare walls turning into huge art canvases to be enjoyed by those simply walking by…
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This was probably my favourite part of the High Line; a little slice of heaven for any keen people watcher.  If I lived near by I’d spend my days off taking up residency on the stairs, book in hand, friends in tow, phone left at home just watching the world go by.

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The Standard Hotel – the sight of the recent heavy weight boxing match between Jay Z and Solange

The High Line does has food vendors selling snacks and while I was tempted, my parents and I had bigger fish to fry when it came to lunchtime…more on that later…

The High Line is one of New York’s not-so-hidden gems.  While perched only a few feet above the city that never sleeps, serenity pervades along the stretch with the constant sirens of the emergency services and the honks of the impatient taxis below muted among the greenery.  It gives you a little insight into the cities own brand of organised chaos, its hidden crevices and the artistic flare which flows freely throughout the streets and avenues of the worlds most famous metropolis.

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Sometimes you’ve got to live the champagne lifestyle on lemonade wages.  

As a student, I have a limited budget, but every once in a while you’ve just got to treat yourself and the best way to treat yourself in my opinion?  Well, with food of course!  And when better to indulge yourself then when you’re staying with some old friends in London.

Usually I just treat myself by buying an extra snack (a mega Twix if anyones asking) alongside my weekly shop but this time we decided to pull out the big guns and head for a gastronomic experience in the skies at Duck & Waffle.

Duck & Waffle is located way above the ether on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower and is reached by a 24-second glass lift ride which I can hazard a guess would not be too fun on a raging hangover.

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The first thing that will strike you about Duck & Waffle is of course, the view. With floor to ceiling windows which look out onto the city below, you can watch the world go by while sipping on cocktails at the bar or tucking into brunch in the restaurant.  While we were lucky enough to have booked a brunch sitting on a clear and sunny day, I’d love to come back at any time of year, in any type of weather to see how the light shifts and changes and since D&W is open 24 hours, you can wander along for a bit of midnight voyeurism if you can’t catch your 40 winks.  I’d personally love to witness some lightening and thunder while snacking on some pigs ears.

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A bloody good Bloody Mary according to Natasha…

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The gorgeous Cris…

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and the wonderful Natasha

The second thing which will strike you about Duck & Waffle is the food.  The brunch menu is renowned for its classic dishes with a twist and while I was tempted by almost all of them, in the end I only had eyes for the restaurants namesake which was calling out to me to try.

Introducing the duck and waffle… 

While I must admit, that I was skeptical about the somewhat unconventional taste combination, but I was easily converted.  I think this is one of the tastiest dishes I’ve had the pleasure to eat in a very long time.  I nibbled my duck leg until it was bare of all its meat, lets put it that way.  The duck and waffle is the perfect mix between naughty and nice; a playful dish.

The confit duck leg manages to be both melt in the mouth and perfectly crisp, while the fried duck egg pops with a liquid gold yolk which seeps around the plate while the waffle provides a sweet and soft bed, waiting to be smothered in the mustard maple syrup.

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Ohhhh yeahhhhhh 

My esteemed company opted for the duck egg en cocottee which came with soldiers standing to attention and the sriracha spiced ox cheek benedict which I was rather jealous of.  

This is the kind of food which will momentarily silence you and your friends before you all end up bursting into action, insisting that everyone  ‘must try this’ before sharing forks laden with food.

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P1000862 I also ordered some BBQ-Spiced crispy pigs ears which came in a wax sealed paper bag, oh how royal!  Pigs ears are a delicacy which is usually reserved for canines, but one we humans have seriously underestimated it seems!  I’ll be eyeing up Frankie and Jorgie’s treats next time I’m home then…

P1000876P1000875 While we had intended for the visit to be a one course affair, a group of girls are oh so easily coerced into ordering dessert when together and when the sweet menu was surreptitiously left on our table, our hard resolves made an audible crack.

Desserts ordered we waited for our dishes to arrive only to be greeted by this huge cheese board.  Alas, it wasn’t all for us as Natasha had ordered a board with three cheeses which she got to select with the help of a cheesy waiter.

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The finished product…

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While there is sometimes no better way to finish a meal than a cheese board, my sweet tooth had a hankering for some sugar, baby so Cris and I shared a vanilla baked Alaska while Jess went for a pistachio and dark chocolate macaroon sandwich.  I’d never had a baked Alaska before so this was a dinner of firsts, while it doesn’t beat a classic sticky toffee pudding for me, I’d probably order it again if/when I return to D&W.

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Jess’ macaroon sandwich was envy inducing, I’d order all of the above if I were you!

The view at D&W is pretty spectacular – no one can deny that – but while I love a good view, it was the food I was really there for so I’m happy to confirm that the food is the main event here.  I am still thinking about my duck and waffle and would rather like an excuse to head back to the Heron for another taste of the good stuff.  The atmosphere of the restaurant and bar is buzzing with not a hint of pretentious snobbery, just a laid-back luxe vibe which resonates through the witty, cheeky and nouveau classic menu.

If you post any pictures of your trip on Instagram or Twitter, the lovely chefs, Dan Doherty and Tom Cenci will happily chat away with your about your experiences at their top-notch restaurant, a nice little touch which signals that D&W really cares about what their customers think.

If you’ve got something to celebrate, fancy a late night snack or just want to have a drink while joining the mile high club then I’d definitely recommend Duck & Waffle if you’ve got a head for heights.

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I’ve just spent the last week in London doing a bit of work experience on the news and features desk of LOOK magazine and meeting up with some old friends.  My lovely Guernsey friends, Jess and Natasha, were kind enough to provide me with a place to stay in their flat in Brixton, an area of London which I’d never been to before but have a new love for after visiting Brixton market last night!

On the Bank Holiday Monday before I started at LOOK, I met up with my friend, Rachel for a bit of culture down at the Southbank centre.  Now, let me tell just make a little disclaimer.  I like modern art, I do.  I’m not about to go do a Billy Eichner, but as much as I do like it, sometimes I just don’t get it.  I’m sure some of you have been there, we’re staring at a canvas with a couple of blue lines on it and thinking ‘I could have done that’.  I know, I know, if you’re an artiste or an appreciator of modern art then you’re probably scripting a strongly worded comment right now and I’m sorry, please don’t hate me for it, educate me instead!

But this confusion is perhaps a sentiment which is reflected in Martin Creed’s retrospective at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank – What’s The Point Of It?  A question that has reassured me that my recent outlook on art is perhaps more constructive.  Instead of feeling like everyone else is in on a joke that I just don’t get, I’ve started to look at things how I want to see them.  Making my own interpretation instead of relying on someone else to explain theirs.

Saying that, on the Monday, Rach and I made our way to the Hayward Gallery to have a peek at Martin Creed’s What’s the Point Of It? exhibition which we’d both heard so much about.  While there were a couple of ‘eh?’ moments – oh, come on, you know the ones – it was definitely the best art exhibition that I’d seen in a long time – perhaps ever…? 

What I really admired was that Creed wants you to interact with his art and this exhibition – sometimes humorously – reiterates the point that anything can be art – yes, even a scrunched up piece of paper.  As you take in the retrospective of Martin’s various works you meander around the gallery, moving from rooms with swooping neon lights to outside areas with risqué videos showing on large cinema screen.  If you’ve been, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and if you know me, you’ll know that this was one of my favourite parts of the exhibition.  If you’ve not been yet, it’s a screen showing a P-E-N-I-S.  Shhhh…

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BUT the best thing about the Martin Creed exhibition and the reason that we went along was for work no.200 ‘half the air in a given space’ or a piece more commonly known as the balloon room.  It does what it says on the tin really.  A room full to the rafters of white balloons where its okay to regress back to childhood and run around freely, giggling as you go.

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At first Rachel and I kept losing each other…where is she…?

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Oh there she is! 

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The light shifts and changes in the room depending on where you are and what other people are doing around you, something which I loved.  

Most of the time it was mesmerising…

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…but sometimes it got a bit overwhelming…

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but then we took some selfies and it was all okay again…

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I would definitely recommend heading to the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank centre to see Martin Creed’s exhibition; it’s fun and even if you don’t enjoy the rest of it, you can run around in a room full of balloons for 15 minutes.  What more could you possibly ask for?  Well, maybe a ball pit, but lets hope that’ll be Creed’s next endeavour.

I’d recommend heading over at the weekend with a group of friends (or a date) so you can swing by the food fest or the Bleecker St. burger van (which I talked about here) and the Udderbelly for some drinks and food as well to make a proper day of it!  Pretending you’re an art critic can make you hungry!

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This has been a bit of a long one so congrats if you got the whole way through!  Reward yourself with a biscuit, you most definitely deserve it! 

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