Start Spreading The News, I'm Leaving Today (Tomorrow)

As of right now I am both unemployed and of no fixed abode. If there wasn't a legit reason for this I would be seriously questioning what direction my life is going in. But as it goes, I leave Blighty tomorrow for a new life in America and by 'eck I'm excited!

So I'll leave you with the most obvious song choice for this month (because I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!)* while I try & pack a huge chunk of our belongings (and 1200 teabags) in to four suitcases without exceeding the weight limit... wish me luck!

*please accept my apologies for the sheer amount of cheese in this post.

NYC: Central Park, MOMA & LOVE

So this is it: our last day in NYC (from forever ago...). Although it took me ages to actually start blogging about this trip I was still determined to finish before we go back & now I finally have - hurrah!
As our flight wasn't until the evening we still had a full day left in the city, and so once our suitcases were packed we headed over to Central Park again to see the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. I luckily managed to nab 30 seconds of no other tourists to take a picture with it (seriously, there was a huge school group just after us who just seemed to consume the whole thing). The sculpture, by José de Creeft, was unveiled in 1959. It was ordered by George T. Delacorte Jr. to honour his late wife, Margarita, and also as something to give to the enjoyment of the children of New York.
After Central Park we headed over to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Midtown Manhattan. A mix of crazy queues and a busy schedule forced us to push visiting MOMA back again and again until the very last day, when luck was on our side and we didn't have to wait more than a minute to get in! To have left NYC without a visit to MOMA would have been an awful shame, because it very quickly became our favourite museum of the trip.
The museum first opened in 1929 and was primarily the idea of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (wife of John D. Rockefeller), Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan, who were all collectors of modern art. It moved to it's current home on 53rd Street in 1939 and is one of the most influential museums of modern art in the world.
In the museum's collection are some of the most incredible, most recognisable works of modern and contemporary art from some of the world's greatest artists. There are works by Claude Monet, Salvador Dalí, Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, and my personal favourite, Frida Kahlo - just to name a few! Seeing a world-renowned piece of art in the flesh and not in a book, is a truly fantastic thing to experience!
After an incredible day at MOMA it was time to make our way back to our Airbnb apartment to pick up our bags before heading to JFK for our late night flight back to London. First, however, we headed further up Avenue of the Americas to see the iconic LOVE sculpture which was created from a pop art image by Robert Indiana. His design was first used as a MOMA Christmas card in 1964 and the original sculpture from this design, made in 1970, is on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana.
So that's it! Our first American adventure is all blogged. Man did that take longer than it should have!? Oops. It was a fantastic trip and I am so excited to be going back to NYC on a more permanent basis. It's truly one of the greatest cities in the world!

You can expect a butt-load of (hopefully interesting & definitely not boring) current New York related posts coming very soon! ;-)

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NYC Part 1
NYC: The Met & The Upright Citizens Brigade, NYC: Grand Central Station & The Rockefeller Center, NYC: St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013, NYC: Brooklyn Bridge, the Staten Island Ferry & Wall Street

Washington, D.C.

Boston, M.A.

NYC Part 2

NYC: The American Museum of Natural History

In less than 3 weeks I move to NYC and I'm still blogging about my last time there, which may or may not have been over 18 months ago...oops. I promise though, this one is the penultimate. One more and I am done! ...until I land anyway ;-)

For our second to last day in New York we headed to the Upper West Side to visit The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), one of the largest & most celebrated museums in the world.
The American Museum of Natural History was founded in 1869 and moved to it's current location across the street from Central Park in 1877. If you head there on the subway and get off at the 81st Street - Museum of Natural History stop, the first thing you'll notice is the incredible mosaic artworks that adorn the walls of the station, welcoming you to the museum.
Home to a planetarium, library and 45 permanent exhibition halls, the museum has in it's collection over 32 million specimens (however only a small fraction of this will be on display at any given time). One of my favourite things about AMNH is the incredible dioramas; a wonderful combination of science and art, that show us more about our world & our history in the most visually pleasing way.
The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life (above) was one of the busier exhibits, which is hardly surprising when you see it's most famous feature - a 94ft long model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling! The floor space underneath the blue whale was packed with tourists lying down, staring up at it's belly.

Some of my personal favourite dioramas were in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals. I especially liked the Alaskan Brown Bear one (two down) - they are such beautiful creatures!
As with all other things we did in NYC, we didn't give ourselves enough time to enjoy everything the AMNH has to offer - we didn't even make it to the Planetarium! But if you're short for time, make sure to see some of the dioramas first, they really are fantastic.

After the museum we stopped off at Levain Bakery, just around the corner from AMNH, to pick up two of their legendary (and huge!!) cookies. They were bloomin' delicious! I highly recommend you pay them a visit, next time you happen to be on the Upper West Side. (Their world-famous 6oz chocolate chip & walnut cookie is especially delicious.)
When we arrived back at our airbnb apartment in Williamsburg we headed straight up to the roof to see the Manhattan skyline, at night, for one last time. Le sigh. Isn't it a beaut?! This evening was such a perfect farewell to NYC (and a promise that we would one day be back again...).

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Niarbyl, Isle of Man

I have been back in London for a week now and I shan't pretend to be pleased about it. The truth is, my time back home was far too fleeting. It always is. But this time things are different, as in a matter of weeks I will be moving thousands of miles away, with no idea when I'll next be back on my beautiful island and dammit I'm really going to miss it!

So last week Andrew & myself spent a day doing some of our favourite Isle of Man things  - a trip to Peel for lunch followed by an ice-cream from Davison's (the best ice-cream you'll ever have! - trust me) - and then we headed south along the coastal path to Niarbyl*, a place I've seen used in films**, but to my knowledge had never been to before (why, Past Vicky? Why?!). But oh my, did this beauty spot instantly take my breath away!

Despite the wind being high, the sun was out & the sound of the sea was intoxicating. We stood in silence, alone except for the birds, inhaling the fresh sea air and taking in the incredible view, completely in awe at how truly special our little island is. Boy am I lucky to have grown up there!

The wind was just not co-operating ^^ 
*Pronounced Nee-Are-Bull
**The small white hut above featured in the film Keeping Mum and the white thatched cottage with the red door was the home of Ned Devine in the (awesome) film, Waking Ned.

Reasons to be Cheerful - September

  • My little sister's wedding & my first time being a bridesmaid
  • Eating lots of sweets leftover from the big day
  • Booking our one-way flights to NYC!
  • Finally visiting Stonehenge
  • The Tatty Devine Workshop at the Southbank Centre
  • Splurging on some Tatty goodies & Kate Rowland brooches
  • Jelly & ice-cream. Always.
  • Banana milkshake. Also always.
Read/Watched/Listened to/Saw/Visited:
  • The (long-awaited) return of Downton Abbey, new Modern Family (+ some old, because it is probably my new favourite TV show) & Portlandia (so weird but so good)
  • Flubber (errr hell yeah!), Eat Pray Love, Chef & Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the greatest film of all time). Also Life After Beth... but that was awful. Sorry.
  • I finished The Sound of Wings: the Life of Amelia Earhart by Mary S. Lovell (a story about an incredible woman that I thoroughly enjoyed reading) and started Rabbit, Run by John Updike (the man is a genius).
  • The Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac was pretty much the soundtrack to packing up our flat & oh how good it was!*
*the music, not packing up the flat. That was horrible.

To look forward to/to do in October:
  • Being back on the Isle of Man for a couple of days
  • The Tatty Devine Parakeet Necklace Workshop
  • A visit from my brother (and hopefully my sister too!)
  • Dinner with friends
  • Making the most of our last month in London