My Trip To New York // A New York State Of Mind!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

On the 22nd of January I won the title of 'Employee of the Year for Great Britain and Ireland' out of 11,000 people at H&M.

My life has changed a little bit since then. I have walked into various H&M's in the UK and been recognised, I got to intern in the press department at our amazing support office in London, I am currently on the H&M wallpaper (a massive "OH GOSH" when I bumped into it in my store) and the biggest of all....I got to go to New York (and so did my boyfriend too).

When I found out that I was going to New York as my prize for winning the title everything just stopped. You know that stunned feeling you see in films where everything turns to slow motion and everything becomes silent even though the room is roaring, that is how I kind of remember it. My whole life I have been dreaming about New York! I have to admit that even though this was all real and totally happening, it took a few months to actually sink in. Even when the dates had been chosen it still felt like a dream. It really clicked the week before my trip.

I have been back for under a week and I would say that I am definately suffering from the New York blues. A lot of people have asked me about my trip and it would take me all day to tell them everything so I guess this is why I thought I would create a post about it.

We stayed at the Hotel on Rivington on the lower east side of New York. I have never had the opportunity to stay in such a beautiful room before, I literally felt like a celebrity! We were on the 17th floor with views of the beautiful New York skyline, we even had a bathtub that might as well have been a swimming pool because it was so big. I was also greeted by a lovely written note and a bottle of sparkly!! Thanks H&M!! Luckily the timing of the flight and arrival meant that we got to the hotel at about 11pm New York time so we could go straight to bed after a long day of travelling!

A lot of people that have visited New York have often booked in for events and attractions before they have even arrived. I did the total opposite. I didn't book a thing and I have to say that it was the best thing that I probably did. I kind of knew what I wanted to do and see but not having the worry of being so structured meant that I could go out and discover things in my own time and it often lead to finding little hidden gems! I spent my first full day just walking and taking in everything, I didn't ask for directions or even have a destination in mind. We ended up at times square and oh my it was beautiful!

Central park was fantastic...and so big!! I find it so fascinating being in such a pretty place that covered by green and trees yet its surrounded by huge towering skyscrapers! We loved central park so much that we visited it twice during our trip. It was such a dream because both times the sun was shining and we had the most beautiful days. If you ever get to visit New York then i definately recommend hiring a rowing boat at central park. We spent a good hour just relaxing and taking in everything whilst rowing a boat...well Phil did the rowing, I just soaked up the sun.

One of thing that I wanted to do in New York was visit a coffee shop. I did enjoy a cheeky Starbucks a few times but I wanted to find and visit a little American coffee shop that I couldn't visit in the UK. La Colombe was a cute little place we came across that was definately 100% coffee. It didn't even have a menu because all it sold was any espresso based coffee. I absolutely loved that I found this place because it was so intimate and the coffee was fantastic, I literally felt like a complete New Yorker being there!

If you go to New York you have to see a show! Myself and Phil didn't actually know what we wanted to go and watch until the day we got the tickets. We didn't even book in advance because we discovered a little thing that I think everyone should know about! RUSH TICKETS!! We decided that we would get to a theatre 20 minutes before they open because they sell 50 tickets as rush tickets. Its like a lucky dip really and I have to say we were really lucky. We decided that we wanted to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, when we got there we were pretty much at the front of the queue for the rush tickets. We asked the box office guy for two rush tickets (bare in mind we thought we would get some cheap seats with restricted views), we paid $30 each to find out we were going to be sitting in the orchestra seats which are right at the front and usually cost between $99-$145! We had the best evening ever and it was such an amazing show!

We then got to experience Times Square at night time and unless you have experienced it you will never know. The screens were lighting up everywhere!! It was 10pm yet it felt like midday because it was so bright! Magical would be an understatement, it is definately like walking through a film set!

One of the things that I asked to experience was H&M in New York. My all time dream is to live and work in New York so I wanted to see what their employees did in a day at their stores and at their support office. They made me feel so welcome! The day before my visit to their store, the lovely Anthony Cassar presented me with a New York/H&M goody bag full of New York and H&M souvenirs! On the actual day I spent my time with a gentleman called Tony Everett who works in a personal shopping department they have in one of their stores. I got to help dress a blogger called Brianne Manz (Stroller In The City) and her cute daughter Gemma and it was just an awesome experience seeing the different aspects they have in their H&M's. I then went over to their New York support office and got to have my own little tour. Because they are based in New York the whole office was New York themed from the subway tiles they have on the wall to naming their meeting rooms after areas in New York. One thing that stood out for me was meeting the British people who work there and finding out what they do and how they got to work in New York. It was so inspirational and made me believe even more that my dream IS possible.

Whilst strolling around New York I came across a little gem called Crif Dogs. Since I have been back in the UK I have craved this place so much! They provided myself and my boyfriend with the best hotdogs EVER! We had a choice of around 20 different hotdogs and we discovered that they do these awesome things called Crif packs. For $10 we got 2 hotdogs and a side but we didn't know which hotdogs...that was down to the chefs. I literally fell in love with this place and think everyone should visit here.

I have never had so much fun shopping before, New York has everything so I literally took advantage of that! My two new favourites are Macy's and Sephora! You can't got to New York and not visit Macy's! It is definately a must. It took us hours to go round the whole place and I managed to add to my Converse collection with a pair of leather navy Converse for just $29!! Complete bargain. Sephora is everywhere. Everytime we came across one I ended up going in, I definately spent the most money in there but it was totally worth it!

On our last day we decided to conquer Brooklyn bridge and we decided to do it whilst the sun was going down. I do have a slight fear of walking across wooden bridges because I have this horrible vision of me falling through the planks but I wanted to see the view so I kept my head up and focused on how beautiful this city was. The bridge was magnificent and one thing that will always stick in my memory, it definately was a beautiful way to end my trip and was rewarded with a tasty burger from shake was well deserved!

Winning this title has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am extremely lucky and grateful for all the opportunities that have come from it all and can't thank H&M enough for it. I guess overall I want people to see that hard work does get recognised in the end and if you do have dreams they can come true if you want them so bad. For some reason I keep thinking 'I do not want this to end' but i guess really this is just the start, I still want to work and live in New York and I definately will make it happen! 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, I have loved sharing my experiencing with you! Feel free to contact me by email or through social media if you want to know more or have any questions about the whole experience because honestly there is so much more to tell :)

I may be back in the UK but my heart has stayed in New York. <3

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