A few weeks ago I was sat in my friend’s house with him, his girlfriend, and dogs soaking wet and feeling rather sorry for myself after getting caught in the rain when I received an email asking if I’d like to go to New York with Keds to celebrate Taylor Swift’s world tour, which coincidentally coincided with her new Keds shoe range. I cannot quite express in writing just how I reacted, but needless to say I was very excited.
I discovered Keds after they collaborated with my favourite high street brand Oasis – you can read about that in this previous blog post – and I can honestly say that they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Usually flat pumps and shoes aren’t really my thing but I have pretty much lived in my Keds since I wrote that post. They are so cushioned making them incredibly comfortable but they come in so many different colours and patterns that there truly is something for everyone whether you describe your style as girly, edgy, preppy or anything in between.
I flew out there with blogger Liv Purvis of What Olivia Did and she was just so lovely it made the trip so enjoyable. I also have the biggest envy of her instagram – this girl knows how to take a good photo!
I am now on the long(ish) flight back from New York and can’t believe what an amazing trip I have had in the city that never sleeps – my smugness is intensified by the fact I have not two but three seats to myself and I’m watching Boyhood. Winning!
It would be sacrilegious to go to New York and not dedicate at least a day to shopping, right? So that’s exactly what we did.
Starting the day in Soho we popped into Reformation, a Californian brand that creates eco-friendly clothes, shoes, and bags. I must admit that I’d never heard of it before but Liv is a big fan and I’m so glad she introduced me to it. The stores a bright and spacious, which made the shopping experience so much more enjoyable. There was a wide selection of clothes from bohemian dresses, suede and leather jackets, to basic crops and patterned tops. Most items were quite unique in their style and there is a really high quality and feel to them. We spent hours trying things on and I eventually settled on a very Dolly Paton-esque top and a basic black crop. The clothes definitely aren’t cheap but I feel the quality and sustainability of the pieces make it good value. Plus they only have stores in California and New York so it’s unlikely many people will have the same clothes as you. Oh but don’t worry, they ship worldwide on their website if you want to check them out.
Next we headed over the Fifth Avenue to Sak’s. It’s a department store that I suppose is New York’s equivalent of Harrods and has 8 floors of designer clothes and shoes for men, women, and children.
We kicked things off inside with a Nails Inc manicure on the fifth floor. Known as the paint box they offer both normal polish and gel manicures. I browsed through the Alexa Chung and Victoria Beckham selection of polishes before deciding on a classic nude, the Montpellier Walk.
The manicurist was possibly one of the best I’ve had in terms of how good a job she did the only problem was she was alone and overbooked meaning a half hour manicure actually took her 90 minutes.
On the eighth floor I found a Mungo & Maud closing down sale so I managed to get my dog a Snoop a really cute dog lead and collar for 60% off! I spent hours browsing the shoes and handbags before deciding to take advantage of the American prices and headed over to Apple to treat myself to an iPad mini and case – I’m actually writing this blog post on it as we speak! I’ve wanted an ipad for ages as it means I won’t have to carry my big modelling book with me to castings anymore, plus it means I can carry it round instead of my laptop and work outdoors 🙂
One of the greatest experiences of our New York trip was getting a tour of the Refinery 29 offices with the Keds team. We went round the whole office meeting loads of the staff that work there from their talent team, video, creative and even the editor. Everyone was so laid back, friendly, and gave so much of their time to talk to us about their roles within the company even though they were clearly super busy!
For those of you that don’t know, Refinery 29 is an online lifestyle destination for fashion, beauty, health, and news. You may have read my blog post on girl power (you can read it here) and know it’s a topic I feel really strongly about, so it was so refreshing to hear that they are big supporters of all women. When asked who the typical Refinery girl is we were told that she could be any age or size, just a creative girl with a millennial attitude looking for lifestyle inspiration.
As you’d imagine the offices were so fabulously stylish and made me want to work in an office, well specifically that one! It even had amazing views overlooking the city! And the most exciting news is that they’re opening an office in London soon!
I have written about the beauty app Priv before when it launch in the UK, so I decided to try it out in New York. It’s like Uber but instead of cars you can order makeup artists, hair stylists, personal trainers and masseurs to your work, hotel, or home. I had the pleasure of getting a hair stylist (Shavaughn Byrd) and makeup artist (Joann Solomon) who have both worked with big American actresses before.
I got my hair naturally curled and my makeup was also quite natural with some natural cherry lips. It’s such a good service, I can totally recommend it if you want to get ready for something special.
Staying at Hotel Americano
We stayed in Hotel Americano, which is based in Chelsea by the highline – which is an amazing place to walk or run. From the outside the hotel is somewhat unimpressive except from perhaps the huge neon sign attached to the building, but on the inside this boutique hotel was a hidden gem. The room was spacious, the deco very cool and modern, the staff flawlessly helpful, the food incredible, and on top of that there was an outdoor rooftop with a pool overlooking the city.
For breakfast there was a choice of healthy, hearty, or mexican food allowing you to have anything from acai granola, to poached eggs with salmon, to quesadillas! They also had delicious fresh juices and smoothies including the amazing Green Machine.
We also ate lunch in the hotel on the second day and all had the kale and avocado salad which it was honestly so good I would eat it everyday for ever.
Probably the greatest thing about this hotel were all the extra little details: an umbrella in every room with a cute note to let you know you could borrow it, notes attached to the water to let you know you’d be charged if you drank it so not to waste it, and a bathroom full of nice quality toiletries, cotton pads and other essentials. When I was back in England I even received an email thanking me for my stay and informing me that if I ever wanted to return they’d give me a complimentary upgrade – now that’s customer service!
Other than eating in the hotel we got to try out some amazing places for food.
Lunch – the Park
Located in Chelsea, the Park’s interior was super cool, very light because of the large windows and spacious. There was also the most incredible outdoor garden you could eat in but as we were not accustomed to city heat we opted for air con – something I must admit I usually hate; it chills me to the bone!
Liv and I ate an amazing avocado and poached egg salad, whilst Jess, Ked’s UK PR manager, ate calamari. It was light but delicious and the perfect meal after a long flight.
18 10th Ave, New York City, NY 10011
Dinner – The Cook Shop
We were invited for dinner with the U.S. Keds marketing team in Chelsea as both our which was really love to meet them. We dined in Chelsea as both our hotels were nearby. We got loads of small dishes to share before getting a mammoth chicken main that I couldn’t finish. The food was good and we ate loads of small sharing dishes (my favourite way to dine) but the service was a little chaotic.
159 10th avenue at 20th street
Breakfast – Malibu Diner
I woke up early to have lunch with my friend, a New Yorker called Adam I met on yacht week a few years before, at a typical American diner in the city.
The food arrived very quickly after ordering and was deliciously indulgent. The coffee was also bottomless which was ideal due to jet lag! Interestingly the soya milk I was give stateside was different to what we get in the UK – it’s thicker and darker – perhaps it has chocolate in to?
163 West 23rd Street
Dinner – Omen
If I could eat one type of cuisine forever it would be Japanese so I was really excited when Jess’s friend recommended we go to Omen for our last meal. The menu was very extensive offering everything from sushi, meat and fish dishes to noodles.
To start I had a delicious avocado salad whilst Jess and Liv shared beef carpaccio then for main I ate the most delicious sashimi, which is raw fish. I’d say this restaurant was reasonably priced given I had about ten pieces of sashimi for $35. Liv had a chicken salad and I’m not sure what exactly jess ordered, it was called Sabu Sabu, but her meat and veg came raw and she was given a stove and bowl of boiling water and she had to cook it herself. She loved it!
113 Thompson Street
Cocktails – Edition Hotel
Afterwards Jess and I decided to go for a quick cocktail at the Edition Hotel, the menu was very experimental. I had a gin based drink whilst Jess had a milk and whiskey based one. They were really well presented too with Jess’s coming in an old school milk container and mine arriving with rush flowers. There was a nice crowd of young people around us but when it closed we decided to give in to jet lag and called it a night.
Other tips and nuggets of wisdom I learnt on my trip:
Weather: having gone at the end of May the weather was muggy, hot, sunny and occasionally stormy
Cabs: yellow cabs can be difficult to hail down and you know if they’re free cause the number at the front will be lit up. Lots of drivers refuse to take you so,we here if it’s not the direction you want to go in but there are Uber cars out there and I found that to be the reliable service.
Speak very soon,