Friday, April 29, 2011

Right Royal Wedding...

Well, we set our alarms and we watched it!

As Abi made her way to DUMBO to watch the wedding under the Manhattan Bridge, I was lying in bed with a big cup of coffee feeling INREDIBLY proud to be Brit in America.

America seems to have gone absolutely crazy for the wedding, with every single telly channel talking about it, several channels have had a little countdown clock on their screens for the passed 2 weeks! The channel TLC has had back to back wedding programmes on since Monday (including Charles and Diana's wedding!?).

I was watching it on CNN, unfortunately that meant putting up with Piers Morgan's stupid comments and some other stupid Americans who said 'You wouldn't want to wear that dress to a restaurant'...?!

I loved the whole thing, I thought it was a spectacular event that we can be proud of. The Abbey looked stunning and everyone looked so grand in all their finery. I want one of those red coats!

The nicest thing about the whole event was knowing that you were watching it back at home at the same time, looking at exactly the same thing on your telly too. It made me feel like I wasn't so far away. It won't be very much longer and I'll be home... just a few weeks now!

I can't wait.

21... Bust... Broke...

Last night I drove down the road to the Hard Rock Casino.

Apart from going on a few slot machines for Abi (with no success), I spent my whole time at the Blackjack table. The two other times I've played Blackjack I've managed to walk away with some winnings, but last night this wasn't the case.

At one point I had doubled my money - but I got too carried away with the fun at the table and ended up leaving the table with a mere $10 left... My winning streak was over.

I had good fun though, I was sitting next to two large ladies from the Navy who were teaching me some of the rules (doubling down when you get 10 or 11 and how you should stick if the dealer has a 6...?) and there was a great old Russian man sitting across the table who was obviously a seasoned player. He was able to call what the next card was going to be... I'm pretty sure he wasn't counting cards, but he seemed to know what was coming next! He also talked me into putting a chip on my 'match the dealer' spot, which ended up winning my $60 and then later $40 (although at that point I'd probably lost $40 too).

I think my next visit to a casion will be spent at the Blackjack table again, now I know a bit more about it I might have some more luck... maybe.

At The Shoot...

I wandered into the kitchen at the shoot yesterday to discover a special spoon holding rig, where Michelle the food stylist was layering up the spoons of mousse that we're shooting...


I think it's funny to think that all of this...


Goes into taking a photo like this...

(This will be on mousse packets across the land in a few weeks!)

I was always love being on shoots and watching the photographers build the sets, surround the food with an intricate set up of mirrors on cocktail sticks and black bits of paper.

It's been a good couple of days on the shoot - hopefully today will go smoothly too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

T-Bird...

I'll be driving THIS car next time I go down Ocean Drive.

Ocean Drive...

This evening I took myself on a little drive to Miami, to find Ocean Drive!!!
(I tried to find the Light House Family music video to put in here, but it seems to have been deleted from the internet?!)

We finished on time and the sun was still shining so I thought I'd make the most of the beautiful weather and having a car, and took myself on a little roadtrip. It was only supposed to take half an hour, but I took a wrong turn which ended up lengthening my journey quite a lot.

I ended up taking a wrong turn that took me through down town Miami (I think), passed the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat were playing in the NBA Playoffs, so the roads were jammed nad there were people everywhere. It was good though because although the traffic was moving slowly, I got to take in some of the sights, like all the fancy cars around me. At one point I was behind a Masarati which was next to a Ferrari, which was next to an Aston Martin!

I was also able to take in some of the architecture - like this amazing church...

When I finally arrived on Ocean Drive it was amazing! It was like being on a film set, or being in the Vice City game that Tom's got - it was quite surreal. The buildings were stunning art deco style and many of them had beautiful old cars parked outside them.

I managed to park on the next street along and go for a walk up and down Ocean Drive to take it all in...

The colours haven't come out very well in these photos, I was using my phone - I wish I'd brought my proper camera with me, if I'd known I was going to be seeing stunning buildings and cars like these I would have definitely brought it with me.

It was really busy, every restaurant was playing music, attracting people to come and sit outside, some had live music playing, there were shops and bars all with their own individual look, but all looking perfectly inkeeping with each other.

People were cruising up and down in their fancy cars and motorbikes, I even saw a Maybach parked by the side of the road, I've don't think I've ever seen one in real life (Simon Cowell has one though I think... maybe it was his?!).

I loved all the typography on the signs too, all the art deco typefaces in neon looked fantastic, even before they were all lit up.

It must have been amazing to be living in America when all these buildings had just been built. I always think it would be so exciting to have been in New York back during the 1930's, when all the art deco style was new. It's funny how it can look so right in New York and then look so right in Miami, but the two places couldn't be more different.

After walking around for a bit I finally made a decision on where to eat - a lot of the places were pretty fancy, so I just went to Johnny Rockets which was a diner style place. Oddly enough, the table I was sitting at was right next to the stairs that are featured in Scarface. I've not seen Scarface (yet!) but apparently there's a famous scene with a chainsaw on some stairs... well, these were those stairs. I expect that will mean something if you've seen the film...?

By the time I'd finished eating it was dark, and so Ocean Drive took on a completely different feel - with all the restaurants neon signs now buzzing and glowing, and the trees lit up with neon coloured lights, it was like a mini Las Vegas...

I noticed as I was driving back down the road that runs parallel with Ocean Drive, that all the shops were art deco style too, I'm not sure which ones were old and which ones were new, but Gap had art deco architecture, as did Sephora and the Urban Outfitters sign was in an art deco font all lit up. It looked great.

The drive home was far less stressful - not one wrong turn, and seeing downtown Miami from a distance was great, seeing all the skyscrapers (nothing compared to the ones we have in New York!) lit up, and all the buildings around the docks lit up in bright yellows, purples and greens.

I'm so glad I went to find Ocean Drive (I almost went to the cinema instead!), I'd absolutely LOVE to go back properly some time and go on the beach there. Wouldn't it be amazing to stay in one those beach front hotels and drive down Ocean Drive in a classic convertible all American car... One day.

Back To Work...

Just so you know that it's not all as glamorous as it may seem, this was my view for the rest of the day!

Still, it's bloody nice to be able to go to the beach in the morning instead of on a subway train!

Hollywood Beach...

Morning Sunshine...

This morning we didn't start on the shoot until 10am, so I thought I'd make the most of the late start and the glorious sunshine and drive myself to the beach...


There were some great little art deco houses along the beach front, this bright pink hotel stood out against the yellow sandy coloured buildings next to it.


It was blummin' 'ot at 9am! It was so beautifully sunny, people were in the sea having a morning dip, people were riding their bikes, jogging along the seafront, it was fantastic. I felt like I was on holiday... a bit of a lonely holiday, but still.

We're starting early tomorrow morning, but I might get up early anyway and have a cup of coffee looking at the ocean. I miss the sea. It's amazing what an effect it can have, I instantly feel so calm and happy when I see the waves.

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I want to go on a summer holiday now!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fort Lauderdale...

I'm back in Florida for the rest of the week.

I left the sticky weather in New York for even stickier weather here in Florida and got off the plane to the smell of summer holidays in Orlando. It's nice to be back.

Marvellous Monday...

As far as Mondays go - yesterday was brilliant bloody good.

Work was veeery quiet, with the UK being on holiday and with our major project being handed over (for now) there wasn't a great deal to do. So in the morning we all watched Exit Through The Gift Shop, the Bansky film about street art (it was brilliant - we're not completely convinced it's real, the rumours are that it's all a hoax, but it's brilliant all the same) and in the afternoon I tidied the storage cupboard while Abi coloured in the edge of the Jon Burgerman canvas... so nothing to strenuous for either of us.

So, as work was so quiet we were able to leave pretty much bang on time and have a lovely evening in New York. It was a beautiful afternoon, so we decided we'd walk to the river to enjoy the evening sun, but we got a bit distracted along the way...

We were distracted by this beautiful looking courtyard at the Maritime Hotel. So we stopped by for a little drink...

The hotel itself is rather swanky I think, but anyone can go to the bar and restaurant bit - so us riff-raff went in for a little drink and sat underneath the blossom and the paper lanterns and enjoyed the last of the sunshine before the clouds came over head.

It was a beautiful setting and felt so relaxing, it felt like we were by the sea (probably because of all the neautical stuff around the place! and all the porthole windows on the hotel)...

After the clouds drew over, we carried on strolling around and found ourselves in Greenwich Village - and just so happened to find ourselves sitting in the Corner Bistro...

The Corner Bistro is a lovely little pub in the village, right on the corner of a cross streets, so if you sit in the window, like we did, you are in prime position for some serious people watching.

When we arrived it wasn't too busy, but by 8.00pm, when we left, it was absolutely jam-packed! It had brilliant reviews on the internet and they said that they did one of the best burgers in New York - quite a claim and obviously one that we had to investigate further.

They burgers are rather tasty, infact, they might jus tbe up there with the Top 5 we've had - but not the best we've had so far... but blummin' good.

It was a great way to start the week, it felt like a Friday not a Monday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Meat Hook...

Yesterday, on a mission to find some lamb, we went out to find the Meat Hook again...

The Meat Hook isn't very far away from the Brooklyn Star, or very far away from the Kelloggs Diner (where we went for some Easter eggs - Eggs Benedict and Eggs and Pancakes!), and is a little walk away from Lorimer Street station, so it's nice and easy to get to.

It's actually part of the Brooklyn Kitchen which is a shop selling beautiful and fun kitchen products and lots and lots of local produce, lots of local pickles and chutneys and coffee and allsorts.

The Meat Hook itself is the butchers at the back of the shop - run by Hipsters and offering cooking classes and butcher classes to the folks in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately they'd sold out of lamb, but some of the other cuts they had in their counter looked amazing - I clocked some belly pork, so I think we might have to give that a go soon.

The whole shop was really great - I loved all the big type on the walls and the fun t-shirts and stuff - there was one great t-shirt that was the NY Mets logo with an added 'a'... Go MEATS!

On the way out of the shop there's a wall covered in the Meat Hook's take on lonely hearts ads. The 'Single Foodie' wall is covered in single food lovers looking for someone to share their culinary skills with...

I was so glad we finally found Meat Hook, and the area it's in is great too - there's a HUGE flea market across the road, there's a small art gallery round the corner, there are vintage clothes shops near by and there's plenty of lovely places to eat.

Oh - we managed to get some Lamb from the Brooklyn Fare in the end and it tasted bloody marvelous with some garlic and rosemary... Yum!

New Mastersounds...

On Saturday night Ben and I went to Irving Plaza to see Leeds funk band, New Mastersounds!

Ben has seen them play a few times at The Wardrobe in Leeds and I had seen them at the Across The Tracks festival a few years ago, so it was quite surreal to be seeing them playing in New York, and just round the corner from work too.

We had a bit of time to kill before they came on stage, so we made a little tour of the pubs nearby, some that we knew and some that were new. It was pretty mild outside and it had stopped raining so it was nice to stand outside with our drinks without wearing a jacket. It's getting much warmer now.

We got to the Irving Plaza just in time to see the New Mastersounds come on stage, and for the next 90 minutes they played amazingly...

video

They sounded just like their records - the guitarist was fantastic and the drummer was great too, actually they were all pretty bloody great musicians.

The band seemed really happy to be there, and kept saying that it was their biggest New York crowd yet - the crowd seemed to be absolutely loving it too, everyone was dancing away.

video

It was so funny to think that they'd come all the way from Leeds, and now they were in New York - it made the world feel pretty tiny that evening.

I'm really hoping that they come back and play again soon, I know they've played in Brooklyn a few times - so fingers crossed. They were brilliant.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Chrysler Building...

I've yet to get a proper gooooood photo of the Chrysler Building... I'm determinded that before too long I'll a) go and explore the building properly and b) get a good photo of it, like the ones you see in magazines.

It's such a beautiful building and for some reason I forget about it a bit.

I realised on Saturday evening that you can see the building really clearly just round the corner from work, this was the view from outside the Irving Plaza.

The Brooklyn Star...

On Saturday, after a laaazy morning, we ventured out to find a place that Abi had read about called the Brooklyn Star...

The Brooklyn Star recently re-opened (at the beginning of March), after being refurbished. It's just off the Metropolitan stop on the G train, so it's incredibly easy to get to from the apartment.

We sat at the bar and had a couple of drinks until the kitchen opened - and spent a good long time drooling over the menu. Everything sounded amazing, even the sweetbreads and fried pigs tails sounded like they'd be tasty.

In the end we had to pick one thing, rather than everything on the menu, so I had some Dr. Peppers ribs and Abi had a steak and we shared some DELICIOUS Mac & Cheese.

It was a bit quiet when we were there, but I bet during the evenings it's really busy, it had a nice atmosphere just with the few people that were in there, so I be it's great when it's full too. It was beautifully decorated in there and one of my favourite things was the small copy on the bottom of the menu...

There was another line about all vegetables had been ripped out of the ground with a vengance, or something like that... it made us smile anyway.

After feeling stuffed full of yummy food we were just leaving when the barman gave us a free shot of whiskey! It felt a wee bit early for whiskey, but it acted as a nice digestif... He was Irish, and we couldn't really say no to an Irishman offering us whiskey now could we?

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Past 12 Days...

Hello...

Sorry it's been a bit quiet on the blog this week, the past 12 days have been blummin' busy at work - I've not really been out and about or done anything else this past week or so, but I have been taking photos when I have managed to escape my Mac...

While Ben and I were getting the train home last night, we spotted this man - casually knitting something pink...

(The boy in the red bandana was playing Angry Birds!)

Hopefully things will get back to normal now...

I hope you all had a lovely Good Friday too!