Holidays – Day 8 – #Blogtober17

As I mentioned back on Day 1 of this challenge, I have been lucky enough to win 2 holidays, which is todays prompt! Holidays! I am going to talk about my prize trip to New York!!

The business class flights from Silverjet were fantastic! We got to Luton and Silverjet have their own terminal.  We went through their lounge door and a concierge took our suitcases and passports and told us to take a seat in the executive lounge area. Talk about posh…there was absolutely everything you could think of to eat in there and could even have champagne if you wanted! Our passports were returned to us and within about 20 minutes we were told that we were going to be boarding soon! Was all very exciting!! We boarded the plane and almost immediately a stewardess came round with a choice of champagne, OJ or water. I chose OJ cos i was feeling abit nervous about take off. Ed chose champers. When the plane took of it almost immediately banked/turned back round on itself which made both me and Ed go abit green around the gills! But once we were up and away we were both fine. They bought the meal round not long after take off, which is served on proper plates with metal cutlery (none of this regular plastic stuff ). The food is apparently prepared by a top london hotel! Soon after eating i decided to grab some sleep as i was so excited the night before i had had none whatsoever. Ed decided to watch a film on the personal TV you get given that has built in movies! The flight there was about 8 ish hours and to be honest i slept most of it.

When we landed at Newark Airport we went through customs and were told our passports needed veryfying (we both had new passports and am assuming this is the reason!?) we were shown into like a waiting room and were told we would been seen in a minute!………..2 hours later!! Nightmare…started to think great start to the holiday! But all was good and we got a taxi from outside the airport into New York.

jumeirah essex house hotel, new york

We got dropped of at central park cos we didnt want taxi driver to know we were staying at a 5star hotel cos we were worried he may have ripped us off! We crossed the road from central park and there stood the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel!! Oh My God! Walked through the door and the lobby is all crystal chandeliers and black marble!! Stunning!!! They have bellboys who put our luggage onto one of those racks and once we had checked in took us up to the 16th floor in the lift and showed us into our room. The room…..well the bed was HOOGE, we had a walk in wardrobe each , aircon that you can control from a touchpad telephone next to the bed! A 32″ TV on the wall, 2 Huge mirrors framed in red leather. It was just beautiful!! The service was out of this world!

We had a little wander round central park and just tried to let it sink in that we were actually in New York! I was in total awe of it all!
I cant remeber which avenue it was but there was a street market on and it went on for 15 blocks! It was massive!!!!! We got a American version of a Kebab for dinner off a street vendor which was delicious! Then we went back to the hotel about 9pm because we were both so knackered. That was day one.


Day 2

I woke up at about 7.30 to Ed coming back in the room! He had woken up about 4am and decided to go for a walk! Nutcase! He had gone to walk around Times Square! I got up and showered and we went down for breakfast! You had a choice of buffet which was croissants, bagels, pastries, fresh fruit, cold meat, yogurts, etc or there was a menu where you could have 3 egg omletes with various fillings, eggs with ham, you couls even have steak for brekkie! I stayed with the buffet this time and it was delicious!

After brekkie we went out for a walk which turned in a bloody trek!! We walked 1st of all approx 3/4 of central park which is 800+ acres on its own, we walked around the reservoir and then walked and walked and walked and walked some more with a few lil stops on the way (ground zero and a few other bits) and ended up at battery park which is where you can get the Statten Island ferry!! That is MILES!  We were going to get the bus back but ended up walking back and I was in agony by the time we got back to the hotel. We had been walking for 9 HOURS!!! Someone we were talking to said we had walked in excess of 30 miles! My feet were raw!! Slept for 12 hours that night !!

NYC, NYPD, manhattan

wall street, new york city


Day 3

We went to Woodbury Common shopping outlet and had $264 dollars spending money as part of the prize!! Shopped my absolute butt off!! OMG its so cheap! Bought so many lovely things! Luckily i had only half packed my suitcase on the way out !! It was huge this place like its own little village!! They had Chanel, Ralph Lauren, CK, Ecko, you name it they had it and it was all so cheap i was in my element!! We were there most of the day and we were chauffeur driven there and back in a limo! It was so amazing. The lady in charge of sorting the Shopping part was so desperate to meet us! She was so lovely and full of congrats when she met us! The Americans are such wonderful people!

In the evening we walked some more and got some proper photos of New York at night!! Its so beautiful! We sat in Central Park and watched the world go by!


Day 4

Ok today was HOT! So  muggy it was unreal!! We had to keep dashing in the shops for a fix of aircon!! I was dripping with sweat. We went into Times Square for some souvenir shopping. They’ve got an M&M’s World!! Its 3 floors high with everthing you can think of to do with M&Ms!! I recommend the peanut butter ones.

Got a few pressies in there then across the road to the Hersheys store!!! Choc overdose!

Then we went back to the hotel to drop off the MOUNDS of choc we had just bought and the concierge from the hotel escorted us over to Central Park to get us into a horse drawn carriage for our ride!! He paid and tipped the driver of the carriage and told him to look after us! It was a wonderful little ride and would recomend it to anyone visiting new york! But if you do go when its really hot they wont be about as the horses arent allowed to work when its over 90 degrees! Its very romantic though! We so fell in love with New York!! Its magical!!

central park, horse drawn carriage

At around 7.30pm we made our way to the Rockefella Centre ( part of our prize that was originally a behind the scenes tour of Carnegie Hall but they werent doing that this summer so we got tickets to this instead!) and I really would recommend this to anyone!! Just as sun was setting we made our way up 70 floors to the “Top of the Rock” It is breath taking! The views are out of this world and something I will never forget! We captured New York as all the lights started coming on in all the sky scrapers! Just simply beautiful! There was a beautiful sunset that night too!  I could wake up to this city every morning for the rest of my life!! I was smitten!

We grabbed some dinner after, had another wander round then went back to our beautiful hotel!

empire state building

top of the rock, rockerfella centre, NYC


Day 5

Thursday we decided to go to central park zoo and try and see some other bits that we hadn’t seen. The zoo isn’t particularly big but amazing all the same!!

We also walked through the heart of the city again just amazed by the water features and statues all over the place and just how much you have to almost snap your neck backwards to look to the very top of the sky scrapers!

In the evening we had a meal booked at our Hotel (part of prize) that was being cooked by the hotels resident award winning chef Christian Gradnitzer!

So down we went for dinner and were shown to our candlelit table and were gven champagne. The waiter bought out 2 menus for us to choose from. We both chose hot potato and leek soup for starters and then t bone steak for main. The waiter came out not long after we had ordered and put a smallish plate infront of us and said this is compliments of the chef. We started eating this meat looking thing (the waiter had a posh sounding name for it lol)and realised it was kidney!! But……….it was actually quite yummy!

I couldn’t quite finish it knowing what it was but it was delicious! Then our soup arrived which was fabulous! Then OH MY GOD! The steak was huge. We couldn’t eat it all, it was bloody massive but again very delicious! Then the chef came out and introduced himself to us gave us both a little present which was all wrapped up fancy. It was a muffin and a chocolate lolly with gold detail in! He also presented us with  a big hard back book about the hotels food history and some recipes in there too and he signed it and told us its very rare!! He was such a lovely man. He shook our hands and said how nice it was to meet us and was glad we were enjoying our stay! I was just bowled over by the way were treated by everyone!


Day 6 Last Day

Was missing my kids like crazy by now but SO didn’t want to go home!!

We decided to have a last walk round before heading for Newark airport and it was chucking it down with rain! We thought NYC was preparing us for return to the UK. We didn’t care about the weather and just walked and walked again soaking up our last moments of this most wonderful, beautiful, breath taking city and spent the very last of our money on pressies and tacky souvenirs! I came home plastered in I LOVE NY everything!! Looked like a proper Tourist!!

We went to hotel and checked out and said goodbye to all the wonderful staff at the hotel!! I honestly was close to tears I was so sad to leave! We were treated like royalty and they bent over backwards to make our stay as special and perfect as it could have been!

They hailed us a famous Yellow cab and we headed off to Newark Airport for our night flight home!

SilverJet pulled out all the stops for a A+ service home! The most wonderful and helpful and very professional crew!!!

Landed back in Luton the following morning and felt VERY surreal to be home!

If you have ever contemplated going…. GO! You will love it! We did and hope to return one day!




France 2016

Car all packed up ready, excited kids, hubby and I checking and double checking that we have got everything…. Right!! Off we go!

We got about 2 miles from home, just come off a roundabout which takes you onto a dual carriageway towards the M23. Car starts revving as if I have my foot to the floor, all power has died and to my horror I look out of my rear view mirror to discover my view is completely obstructed by THICK white smoke!! On to the hard shoulder we go!


I had not long changed over car insurance which included my breakdown cover… So I ring them and they tell me they will come out to us within an hour…. not so bad. BUT because we were still within a 2 week period of taking out the policy I had to pay £75 for the recovery truck to rescue us!! Could really have done without that when you’re off on your holidays!! Breaking down was enough of a kick in the teeth!

Izzys was crying as she was gutted we weren’t going to be able to get to France! Xavier was having a complete meltdown up on the bank at the side of the road because he thought the car was going to blow up. He was shaking. I was quite shaky myself to be honest.

We waited about half an hour and I had a call on my mobile from the recovery truck driver saying he wasn’t too far away. Great news. So we got towed home. Back to square one. We had no front door key as both Mums had them to come in and feed the cats. Luckily Eds mum only lives around the corner so she was round in a few mins once we had called her to tell her we were home.

Called my parents to let them know we were back too. Basically will cut a long story short but Thanks to the Bank of Mum and Dad we were able to hire a car for 8 days and get on our way to France and still have our holiday!! For that I will be eternally grateful!!

We were travelling by Eurotunnel and Ed had called them when we had broken down earlier and we were told our ticket was valid until lunchtime the following day, so once we had hired the car and knew the registration of the car we called them back. This was approx 4pm. They were very accommodation and helpful which was great as we had already had such a stressful day! The next available train they could fit us on to was 7.30pm so we agreed and set off for Folkestone.

We arrived for our train in plenty of time so we went for a bite to eat in the terminal. There are various shops there and a few different places to eat. Once fed we headed back to the car and got in the queue for our train. Boarding was all very well organised and straight forward. There are safety and security announcements into the carriages once on the train. You are allowed out of your car during the journey too. So we got out and stretched our legs. The journey time is 35 minutes and a trillion times better than the ferry! I really am not a fan of boats! This was perfect!! Smooth ride and the journey seemed to go really quickly!

Before we knew it we were in France!! YAY! Bonjour!!!

Only thing is …. it was just getting dark and we knew we had a 2 and a half hour journey ahead of us to the campsite!! Now Hubby doesn’t drive so it was all on my shoulders. I was in an unfamiliar car, in a foreign country, on the opposite side of the road, in the dark….and it had been a very stressful day and i was VERY tired!

These two beauties were absolutely amazing considering the stress that was radiating off me and Ed! Xavier coped incredibly well!

I was struggling as the car was really uncomfortable, I was having to overtake lorries in the fast lane and it was scary, I was tired, so very tired… Ed kept putting the air con on in the car which was freezing, but in the hope it would keep me more alert. I was concentrating so hard my brain actually hurt! I had to stop for a break at one point, as much as I just wanted to get there, my back was killing me and I was exhausted! We pulled off the motorway into services but i missed the turn for the carpark and we ended up sitting in-between loads of parked up lorries!! I had to get out and have a cigarette. I was stressed to the max by this point… well what I thought was the max!

We got back on the road, bearing in mind we had already done this journey 2 years ago, came off at the junction that was on our directions print out. Or so we thought…. again… long story short WE WERE LOST!!! We were driving around all these little towns and over all these little roundabouts, they all looked the bloody same, in fact some of them probably were as were driving round in circles!! I can laugh about it now but at the time I was close to a nervous breakdown. By this point too at was about midnight. It was like a bloody ghost town so no-one was even around to ask. NOW I was stressed to the max!!

Ed got on the phone to the campsite to let them know we were lost and they worked out that we had come off the motorway far too early and pointed us in the right direction and told us what signs to look for and follow. TWO HOURS later and we started recognising things from before and FINALLY we reached our destination! I felt like an absolute zombie!!

We were given the keys to our home for the week and we emptied the car and went straight to bed!! It was 2am!!!!

The next morning, after a very beautiful lay in and probably the best sleep I’ve had in a long time, it was coffee and pain au chocolate time on the decking and time to start our little holiday!

We wandered into the town, got a bit of food shopping at the Intermarche down the road, wandered around the familiar campsite that we fell in love with 2 years ago. The kids couldn’t wait to go to the man made beach there. Its fabulous.

The water is freezing though. But it was so quiet as we went in term time and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was wonderful.

Xavier new found water confidence blew me away on holiday. He has come so so far! He was letting me pull him around the swimming pool by his hands as he kicked his legs behind him. I videoed him going out quite deep at the man made beach with a rubber ring around him then him kicking his legs till he got back to shore. This is the boy who used to scream blue murder just getting in his bath! I have so much to thank his amazing school for. So very proud!

We had a meal out in the on site restaurant which we didn’t do last time. It was a tiny bit expensive but sod it! We deserved it and it was absolutely delicious!! I had steak and chips with a red wine sauce. The others had speciality burgers. Everyone was very impressed with the food and service and for me it was nice not to cook for an evening!! Beautiful meal!

We spent so much time on holiday laughing. I mean real belly laughs! I was laughing so much I was crying at times and that was so lovely and so needed. We all needed it. It was such a lovely holiday despite the nightmare start. We spent a week of quality time together. No strops from the teen, no meltdowns from the boy, just good quality fun and happy times…. just the 4 of us!

Xavier will probably kill me for that photo but its a memory, a reminder of the silliness and messing around that was plentiful whilst we were away! Its such a beautiful, serene and lovely place that we do enjoy visiting. We have been twice now and even though we had the issues at the beginning, we would do it all over again.

We left earlier than we needed to for our train home and were able to get on an earlier one which was another fab thing about Eurotunnel! We got back to the UK in no time and had a (THANKFULLY) smooth, breakdown and hiccup free journey home!

We LOVE France!