But if you want to live in New York City, honey, you know I will

Gilmore Girls is, undoubtably, my favourite TV show. Ever. I think I'm currently on my 6th, maybe 7th(?!), re-watch. Back home I had all 7 seasons on DVD, but luckily over the last few years Netflix has had them all too - which means I didn't have to bring them with me AND I no longer have to get up to change the disc over (instead I occasionally have to move to let Netflix know that yes, I am indeed still watching). I also love singing along to the theme tune (I'm not ashamed to admit that I get really in to it), and because I watch the show so much my husband knows most of the words too!

Obviously the news this week that there is definitely an 8th season on it's way, 9 years after season 7 finished, makes me very happy - more Gilmore Girls to watch? Yes please! So this month's song had to be Where You Lead by Carole King & Louise Goffin, aka the theme tune!

My 20 Favourite Street Art Pieces of 2015

I've always admired street art (like most art students I studied Banksy at one time or another at school), but it wasn't until we moved to NYC that my interest really blossomed. I love how creative some of the pieces in this city get, how intricate they can sometimes be, and how fast they appear - I'm just constantly in awe of street artists! Working in SoHo means I'm always within walking distance of a new piece or two, and it definitely helped make my 2015 a street art filled year - I even pride myself on being able to recognise who the artist is before I see the tag of some! Below are 20 of my favourite finds from the year (it was really tough to narrow the selection down)...

Which one is your favourite?

P.S. Follow me on instagram for regular street art pictures!

Reasons to be Cheerful - December 2015

  • Buying a real Christmas tree for the second year in a row...
  • and our apartment smelling like pine for the whole month (the best!)
  • Going to Tiny's for my work Christmas meal - cocktails, food & friends
  • Meeting up with friends from home for dinner, then brunch, then doughnuts
  • Seeing the new public art in Brooklyn Bridge Park & riding Jane's Carousel again
  • Visiting the Rockefeller Christmas Tree & seeing the Christmassy windows of 5th Ave...
  • as well as the tree at the New York Palace Hotel & the Christmas dinosaur outside AMNH
  • Signing up for lots of free museum memberships with our IDNYC cards
  • Going to Long Island for Christmas dinner again & then making our own the next day too
  • Ending the year with the Prospect Park firework display again!
Read/Watched/Listened To/Saw/Visited:
  • I read Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach and An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • We watched all of the Christmas films: The Muppet's Christmas Carol (duh!), Elf, Home Alone 1 & 2, Die Hard 1 & 2, Holiday in Handcuffs, Love, Actually, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jingle All The Way, It's a Wonderful Life, etc, etc...
  • We went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Lincoln Square IMAX - I love how progressive the new Star Wars movie is!
  • We went to I'm New Here--Can You Show Me Around? at Union Hall and saw Stephen Powers doing his thing at the Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum
  • We saw Joanna Newsom at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn - beautiful music, beautiful location - and spent a day at Housing Works for What the Dickens? (a reading of A Christmas Carol) whilst we drank mulled wine and wrote our Christmas cards

My 2015

January
We settled in to our first full year in NYC, experienced our first proper snow (like, not just slush, but actual sticks-around-for-weeks snow), tried the infamous City Kitchen hot chocolate with gargantuan marshmallow, saw the Friends building for the first time, and I completed my first cross stitch!

February
We met up with our friends from home that were in town (and they brought with them lots of chocolate & biscuits!), our sofa finally arrived (sitting never felt so good) and I created my first weaving. (February was a reeeeally quiet month...)

March
We discovered more gems in our neighbourhood and explored Green Wood Cemetery. We celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary (as well as our 7 year anniversary) by going to see Something Rotten on broadway, buying MOMA membership and a book each from the Strand (what with it being the paper anniversary an' all!). I was also finally able to start applying for jobs and was offered one within a week!
April
My employment authorisation finally arrived, I started my new job, and NYC began to thaw. My brother came to visit and brought lots of goodies from home, we visited the Brooklyn Flea, walked across Brooklyn Bridge, rode Jane's Carousel and saw Hand to God on broadway. The city was filled with beautiful blossoms everywhere and I fell even more in love with this town! Oh, and I turned 26!

May
We visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during the blossom season, the New York Botanical Garden for the Frida Kahlo exhibit and Governors Island (the first of many trips this summer), to laze in hammocks and eat ice cream. I also discovered iced coffee and completely fell in love with it!

June
We travelled outside New York for the first time since we moved with a weekend in Philadelphia, PA and I spent a few days in Orlando, FL with work. We went to Yayoi Kusama's Give Me Love Obliteration Room, met friends at the Gansevoort rooftop bar, I went for my first NYC manicure and we watched Back to the Future on the rooftop of the Yotel Hotel!
 July
We celebrated our first July 4th weekend in the U.S, I went to the top of One World Trade on a work field trip and we headed back to the UK for the first time since we left. We spent some marvellous days back in London, my baby brother turned 21 and graduated, we spent a weekend in Center Parcs and a wonderful week back home on the Isle of Man.

August
We spent a lot of time soaking up the sunshine in Brooklyn Bridge Park and on Governors Island (where we rode a Surrey bike) and getting the most tanned we've ever been! We went to a brunch screening of True Lies at Nitehawk Cinema, visited Storm King Art Center, spent a day in Central Park and discovered a great little brunch spot in the UES called The Penrose (woo!!).

September
We went to our first Yankees game and I fulfilled my goal of one day owning a foam finger (simple joys), we spent a day at Prospect Park Zoo for the first time and we met up with friends from home. The city started to cool a little bit but there was still lots of lovely sunshine, we explored the beautiful Washington Mews and went to ASSSSCAT 3000 at the Upright Citizen Brigade.
October
We spent a long weekend in Chicago, IL where we ate deep dish pizza, visited the bean and spent a day at the Chicago Museum of Art. I assisted on my first lifestyle shoot with work, Fall came to NYC (it was lovely) and the city embraced Hallowe'en with lots of cool decorations! We went to the Tompkin's Square Halloween Dog Parade and saw an opera at the Met Opera House for the first time.

November
We celebrated 1 year in NYC and signed the contract to stay in our apartment for a second year. We cooked our first Thanksgiving meal (including homemade pecan pie) and saw A View from the Bridge and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on Broadway - both great shows!

December
We enjoyed our second Christmas in NYC, admired all the lovely decorations everywhere and treated ourselves to a real tree again. We saw Joanna Newsom perform at the Kings Theatre, met up with friends from home, went for Christmas dinner on Long Island again and ended the year with the fireworks display in Prospect Park.
I'm excited to see what 2016 has to offer!

O Christmas Tree 2015!

This post is totally a month late but we took our lovely little tree off to become mulch today (sad face) so it feels like an appropriate time to finally blog about it, right?

We treated ourselves to a real tree again this Christmas, and there's definitely no way we'll be changing back to an artificial one, ever! This year's fir(ry) guy was a foot bigger than last year, which we regretted for an hour while we tried to figure out where to put him in our more-furnished-than-last-year apartment, but once he was in situ we instantly loved him.
Every year that we've been together we've acquired more decorations, be it keepsakes from a place we've visited, or something cute we - I - really liked. Below are this year's newest additions...

First up is a knitted mouse from Crate & Barrel (isn't he lovely?!) - this is a little bit of a tradition now as this was the 3rd year we've bought a decoration from there - last year was a knitted octopus (and two penguins, but I just couldn't resist)!
Another tradition we have is to always buy a Christmas decoration from the Harrods Christmas Shop. Unfortunately this year we were only back in London in July, which is a month too early for their Christmas store, apparently. But, never fear, I did find this little guy to add to our collection from their year round souvenir collection - a snowman dressed as a Yeomen Warder (aka a Beefeater).
This little guy fell in to my basket when buying presents from West Elm, I loved his little plaid shirt, and as someone who is obsessed with plaid shirts, I felt like he definitely needed to come home with me!
As well as the decorations we acquired ourselves in 2015, my mum also sent us three new Isle of Man themed ones to remind us of home. I'm 100% certain that we have more Three Legs of Mann decorations than anything else now!
Also, finally, we have a tree topper! Now, don't get me wrong, I was more than happy with my Pooh Fairy topper (who sadly was left in storage back home when we moved), but Andrew wasn't so keen. We found this lovely simple wire star from CB2 and it's so perfect. It's a little bit unusual but isn't anything too busy to distract from the rest of the tree!
And here he is, on tree day! I can't wait till next Christmas just so we can have a delicious smelling tree in our apartment for a month again. Mmm...pine!

You can see our tree (and more of our decorations) from 2013 and 2014 too!

2015: My Year in Books

After surpassing my initial goal of 2014, I decided to set myself a bigger target for 2015 - to read 25 books. Not a terribly ambitious target, nor a small one, but one I had hoped to reach again. Sadly, though, I missed my goal by 1(!!) and I am 100% confident that some rather large books were to blame (I'm looking at you again, Game of Thrones) - those 1000+ pages should really count as 2-3 books!

My most favourite reads of 2015 were...
  • My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke: this isn't much of a secret but - Dick Van Dyke is my absolute favourite famous person in the world, ever. I have little desire to meet celebrities but if I ever got to meet Dick it would be a dream come true! His book is so wonderfully written and full of great stories and photos from his past - I defy anyone not to love him too after they read it!
  • The Bees by Laline Paull: I had this on my "to read" list for the longest time and finally picked up a copy this summer. Needless to say it didn't take me long to finish as I was so engrossed by it! It is unusual and insightful - you learn all about the world of bees (those fascinating little things), and the way Paull humanises them provides a real shock!
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: I love learning through reading and the more unusual the content, the better! I also have a morbid fascination with learning gross facts, so a book all about death and what can/does happen with your body after you die was right up my street! Mary Roach instantly joined the ranks of my favourite writers after reading this book.
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach: another from Mary Roach! Learning about our universe, space travel and all the unusual research that goes in to it is another area I'm interested in, and this book goes very much behind the scenes of it all! There is a whole chapter about how astronauts poop in zero gravity, and how NASA developed solutions to help (something you didn't realise you were curious about before...).
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield: more space travel/astronaut reading for me. Chris Hadfield is one of the world's most accomplished astronauts, and is incredibly inspirational - he always knew he wanted to go to space and worked hard to get there! His writing is wonderful and you can just tell from the way he writes that he's one hell of a nice guy (he's Canadian).
Also worth noting, the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. In 2015 I both read the remaining 4 books and watched all of the TV episodes, and I have to say the books are significantly better! Don't get me wrong, I love watching Jon Snow (Kit Harrington...) do his thing as much as the next person, but the story as written on paper is a lot more interesting.

My least favourite read of 2015 was...
  • Too Much Information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think by Dave Gorman: don't get me wrong, I really like Dave Gorman. I've read all his books, watched all his documentaries, seen him perform live on a number of occasions and even met him once. But this book just felt like one big Debbie Downer. Sure, most of the things he talks about are how a lot of people feel and his complaints are valid, but this just felt too "grumpy" for my taste.

For 2016 I want to focus on more of the chunkier, more time-consuming books on my shelves, and thus I'm setting myself a smaller target of 20 books. You can follow my progress through Goodreads here.

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Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? Let me know - I'd love to follow yours too!

L-R: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, Franny and Zooey by J.D.Sallinger, A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke, A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin, Capital by John Lanchester, A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, The Bees by Laline Paull, Too Much Information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think by Dave Gorman, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Shining by Stephen King, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth, Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Some aims/hopes for 2016

Last year, my aims/hopes for 2015 were: to take better care of ME, meet new people, make new friends, find a job I enjoy, read at least 25 books, grow my blog and learn to weave. And I don't think I did too badly! I found a job I enjoy, and thus met new people and made new friends, I read 24 books (close enough) and I learnt to weave (see below). I accidentally neglected taking better care of ME (though I did attempt a skin care regime towards the end of the year) and growing my blog, but these are just things to keep striving towards! So, for 2016 I'ma keep it simple:

See more of the USA.
In 2015 we only ticked off 2 new states together (Pennsylvania & Illinois) and I went to Florida on a work trip, but in 2016 I hope to visit more!

Spend less/save more.
I have a weakness for buying jewellery, especially one certain brand *cough* Tatty Devine *cough*, so I'm going to try and dial that back this year...it'll be tough!

Read at least 20 books.
Last year I aimed for 25 and missed it by 1, so for 2016 I'm going to aim lower and focus on reading some of the longer reads on my bookshelves.

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What are your aims/hopes for 2016?