New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2

She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2

Welcome to the second part of Leah’s American adventure! Confused? You can read Part One here.

J&V

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She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2

Monday, 14th December

Today has been a day of travel and no friends. I was a little nervous about today as I know that I can be a bit incompetent when it comes to anything practical. I’m pleased to report that I have managed to make it to Boston in one piece, having navigated the New York subway, an Amtrak train, the T (Boston subway) and my way to my Airbnb, located on the dreamily named Wonderland metro line. Acquiring friends has been less successful: I temporarily befriended a very obese man on the train by delivering his rubbish (trash) to the bin (trash can) on a number of occasions throughout the four hour journey and I have made acquaintances with a Brazilian couple staying at my Airbnb. Having made a token effort to be sociable and in the process forced to watch That 70s Show, I ventured outside to a convenience store where I found some pretty questionable pre packaged baked goods. I had planned to go and eat crabs alone, but I always find venturing out tricky when you arrive in the dark and don’t know the neighbourhood. From my brief trip outside, it did feel pretty safe (it’s an Hispanic neighbourhood in East Boston). I retreated to my room as there was good wifi and I felt like watching a movie and getting an early night to compensate for the work Christmas party/mosquito deficit.

She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2

Tuesday, 15th December

Today, I followed the slightly pretentious (and excellent) Wallpaper Guide to Boston almost to the letter. Their 24 Hour sections are usually really good and take away the often debilitating tyranny of touristic choice in a big city. I took the long subway ride to Columbus Avenue, dreaming of eggs over easy in a classic American diner. Unfortunately, the cardboard boxes lining the windows of Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe shattered my breakfast dreams and I walked away, heartbroken and hungry (it did look as though Charlie’s was undergoing a refurb so you should totally check it out if you’re in Boston in 2016)*. Dusting myself off in the beautiful Boston sunshine, I headed to the JFK Presidential Library & Museum, a library visit always guaranteed to enliven the senses. As well as looking spectacular on the outside, the museum was very inspiring and brought to life everyone’s favourite dreamy American president (and Boston native). After seriously considering a career in politics and befriending a German physician who gave me an apple, I headed to Cambridge to visit the MIT Visual Arts Center for some challenging installation art. The current exhibition is Rosa Barba: The Color Out of Space, comprising films, sculptures and text. I was delighted to enter a room filled with mini projectors and multilayered text (mimicking the appearance of a celluloid projector). The showstopper was a series of images of stars and planets projected through coloured glass panels with voice over reflections on the nature of the universe.

The day ended with a stroll through Boston Common, some giant frogs and a walking tour. I was a little dubious as the only tour available had guides dressed in 18th Century garb, but it was actually really good to learn more about Boston life and those awful colonial Brits. At the end of the tour, I went to the Cheers Bar with an Australian girl called Izzy. It was good to visit but a bit of a rip off. All was forgiven when I caught sight of Marky Mark on the TV in the bar. Mark Wahlberg? In Boston? What could be more exciting?! After listening to me drone on about New Kids on the Block/The Funky Bunch/90s pop for some time, amazingly Izzy agreed to accompany me to The Barking Crab (tagline: “We think everyone should have crabs!”) and we donned our super touristy crab bibs and ate crabs and drank rum late into the night. Thanks to Jo (of She & Hem fame) for the crab recommendation. The crab bibs made it feel like I was in a 90s American movie and the location on the beautiful harbourside provided dazzling views of the lights of Beantown. Fun tip: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

She and Hem | New Year, New York: Leah’s Big Apple Adventure Part 2ny13

Wednesday, 16th December

I was excited to return to the bright lights of NYC, realising that trip time was slipping away and there was probably enough things on my wish list to take up a few months. I boarded the express train to Washington and marvelled as small town America glided by. We had to change trains due to a power outage so ended up on a slow, local train rerouted to Grand Central Station. Though I arrived later than anticipated, I absolutely love it at Grand Central. It’s so so beautiful and awe inspiring yet similarly busy and stressful, which elicits a strange feeling of serenity coupled with panic. Part of me wanted to stay for hours taking photographs and the other part wanted to get out of there as quickly as humanly possible. Unfortunately the stress of people colliding with me and my heavy suitcase won out and I made a hasty getaway.

I arrived at my home for the night as the sun was setting. As I wheeled my suitcase along the city streets it dawned upon me that I was in New York City, maybe that’s what being in Manhattan does to you. Such a realisation was followed by a sudden pang to get back to Brooklyn (I get attached easily) so I checked in at the Jane Hotel (a former residence for sailors with cabin-like rooms and staff are dressed as bellhops!) and jumped on the L train to Williamsburg, an area scathingly described by my Park Slope residing buddy as “a shanty”.

I went to the achingly cool Nitehawk Cinema where you can order food (themed to the movie, no less) and cocktails right to your cinema seat. The last time I had experienced such a wonder was at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, I was very very “tired and emotional” and was ejected from a screening of The Aristocrats for supplying minors with alcohol (they were only a couple of years younger than me). Anyway, I digress. Though I had a great time, I think I would get very annoyed with all the food/drink serving interruptions if I’d actually cared about the film I was watching. Not that I didn’t enjoy Trumbo (with my Communism 101 Sandwich and The Driver cocktail laced with Gosling’s Rum), but it didn’t set my world on fire. I still wish we had a Nitehawk in Bristol. The bar was also magnificently cool.

To be continued….

….but in the meantime why not follow Leah on Instagram xx

*Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe closed permanently in 2014 after 87 years of sandwich related success. Worst news –  Jo 

Yumi and Everyone We Know

She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights

As Autumn approaches, the She and Hem weekend wardrobe progresses from novelty/pretty dresses, to novelty/pretty dresses with slightly longer sleeves and tights. Sometimes we go crazy and throw on a cardigan. It is an issue we really need to a-dress…along with our obsession with puns.

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She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights

She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights

Whilst exploring the beautiful Bluestone National Park in Pembrokeshire last weekend, we plaited our hair, popped a picnic into our golf buggy and parked up at the lake. We had a lovely afternoon stroll to really relax after a busy morning of making waves in the pool and indulging in pastries at the bakery. It’s a hard life being a blogger, but like the bakers who made our pastries, we think we rise to the occasion. It’s the yeast we can do.

She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights

Victoria: I wore my lace print prom dress from Yumi*. Although I absolutely love the design and texture of this dress, I’m not a big fan of a revealing neckline and when trying this dress on I felt far too insecure to wear it without a top underneath. Luckily, Jo lent me a mustard slip from Marks and Spencer, which covered my modesty without overpowering the white tones of the dress. The black big spot tights are from Gipsy via UK Tights* and the white heart shaped sunglasses are from Dahlia. My sumptuous gold block heels are from Topshop.

She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK TightsShe and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights

Jo: I had planned to wear this gorgeous Dipsy Daisy Dress from Yumi* with a mustard slip underneath but mine miraculously disappeared…..I jest, I jest. I do love a good pop of yellow though so this dress with its mustard belt and detailing really did, errr, cut the mustard for me! It’s also a really flattering cut, with a jersey fabric and a neatly nipped in waist. I also adore the beautiful detailing on the daisies and have surprised myself by digging the dip-dye finish, which will no doubt inspire lots of terrible ‘has it run in the wash?’ jokes from my Dad. I accessoried with white tights from UK Tights*, shoes from Orla Kiely for Clarks and Topshop sunglasses (although our sunglasses were slightly interchangeable it would seem).

She and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK TightsShe and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK TightsShe and Hem | Yumi Dresses | UK Tights

 V&J

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden | She and Hem | Devon

Whenever I get the opportunity, I love to spend a long weekend exploring areas of the UK that I’ve never visited. Even better, I like re-visiting places I travelled to as a child on a jolly family jaunt, seeing what has changed and what hasn’t. Although Devon is somewhere I’ve frequented many times before, I always love going back, as it holds very special memories and well, it’s just such a beautiful place. Whilst I was there visiting Bovey Castle recently, I found the most glorious country garden. It definitely wasn’t seedy!

The Secret Garden | She and Hem | DevonThe Secret Garden | She and Hem | DevonThe Secret Garden | She and Hem | Devon

As luck (read: much planning) would have it, I was dressed in my finest florals. I bought this Zara dress for the Vogue Festival in March and think that it’s got some real staying power! I’m sure it’ll be a staple for several summers to come. I can also see it creeping into my winter wardrobe, perhaps frolicking with a cable knit jumper, thick tights and boots. As I was popping into Exeter to enjoy all it has to offer, I wore my trusty and super comfortable humble oak brogues from Clarks teamed with fun yellow New Look sunglasses, my Boden bag* and a tan belt from ASOSYou could perhaps say that my choice was outstanding in it’s field (I hope that one wasn’t funnier in my head!). 

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I hope you enjoyed weeding about my own secret garden party!

Vx

Hem and Away: The Zetter Townhouse London

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Last weekend I was a very lucky lady indeed as I was whisked away for a sumptuous weekend in (the UK’s second best city) London, and I just had to share a glimpse into the blooming marvelous boutique wonder that is The Zetter Townhouse. I think I may have found my dream hotel!

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The attention to detail at the townhouse is spectacular, which made our room so charming that I never wanted to leave. Each room has an abundance of personality, full of re-claimed furniture, cosy knitted hot water bottles and all the Ren toiletries a girl could desire. Oh, and not to mention a bunch of classic novels chosen especially for the guests and the most adorable telephone you will ever find in a hotel room! Continue reading Hem and Away: The Zetter Townhouse London

Hem and Away: Seattle Day #8

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RECAP: I (Jo) am currently* on vacation in Seattle! I thought it might be fun to try and keep a little holiday diary of sorts, a travelog if you will. Need a refresher? You can read about Day 1 here Day 2 here Days 3/4/5 here and Day 6 here and Day 7 here! So sit back and grab a cup of coffee, She and Hem is going Stateside.

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Day 8 contained a mini adventure , as we decided to walk from our base in Queen Anne all the way to the neighborhood of Fremont. What better way to kick off an incredible walk? With an incredible breakfast, of course! This particular restaurant had been recommended in guide books, on twitter and by friends and just happened to be on the way. You might say that the 5 Spot Cafe had a reputation to uphold!

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The 5 Spot has ever changing themes, the current one being San Franscisco, and the cafe (and its menu) is fully decked out to reflect this. There’s even a replica Golden Gate Bridge! It’s all completely brilliant, as is the extensive menu! We both went for the lightweight lumberjack, which was a red flannel hash with poached eggs & fancy toast! Toast aficionado’s will appreciate knowing that the fancy toast appeared to be some sort of sour dough. I can confirm it was not only fancy, but also delicious. It was also a bargain at $5.75 and the never ending cups of coffee fueled us for the rest of the day. Reputation: upheld.

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With that, it was off to the wonderful land of Fremont for us! Often referred to as ‘The People’s Republic of Fremont’, it’s all rather quirky and fun! We had found a suggested walking tour of Fremont in one of our guide books and decided to give it a shot! The first site of interest, Rapunzel, came just as we crossed the bridge into Fremont. Poor old Rapunzel is locked up in one of the towers and is the work of local resident, Rodman Miller.

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Next up was ‘waiting for the interurban’, a sculpture created in 1979 by Richard Beyer as a way to commemorate the now defunct light rail interurban that use to run into downtown Seattle. The sculpture is often dressed up, in fact when we visited the would be passengers were ready for a birthday party, and residents are encouraged to commit ‘art attacks’ to keep interest in the artwork alive.

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A short walk away, under the Aurora bridge, lives the Fremont Troll! He is GINORMOUS and appears to be devouring some poor sap’s Volkswagen Beetle, giving the impression that those driving above are running a serious risk! The Troll came into fruition after a competition to design something to improve the space under the bridge (which is also ginormous). This, the winning design, was entered by a team led by Steve Badness. Visitors are welcome to climb all over the troll but I kept my feet safely on the ground.

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Fremont considers itself to be the very center of the universe, so it makes complete sense that there should be a sign post to make this official. The sign is on a tiny little slab of concrete in the middle of a busy road, making the center of the universe quite a difficult place to visit. As you can see though, it’s pretty wonderful.

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Next on the tour was a rocket mounted to the side of a shop! OF COURSE! It was built using a 1950’s Cold War rocket fuselage and now sits loud and proud complete with the Fremont crest, which bares the motto ‘De Libertas Quirkas”, also known as Freedom to be Peculiar. Perfect.

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And what tour would be complete without a 15 foot high statue of Lenin? Not this one, that’s for sure. This controversial statue originally ended up in Seattle thanks to a local English teacher, Lewis Carpenter, who imported it when he discovered it was being sold for scrap. This was not a popular move with his neighbours who fiercely protested against the impulse buy. Unfortunately for Lewis, less than a year after signing a deal with the local Mayor that would allow him to have the statue, he was killed in a car accident in 1994. This left old Lenin flying solo in Carpenter’s back garden until he was moved to a corner of Fremont. It’s fair to say that the statue is not popular with the residents, who are very opinionated on the matter and will gladly come and talk to tourists about why they don’t approve of a gigantic Lenin towering over their neighbourhood.

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We then trundled on to the beautiful Gas Works park, where I got to release my inner steam-punk princess. This park is way cool, and as it’s in Fremont, a bit strange too. It’s built on a former gas works park (you don’t say!) and still contains many elements of the old plant, either as ruins or as regenerated pieces of the park. The former exhauster-compressor building is now a giant play area for children who can clamber all over the machinery! The park also gives you a beautiful view over to downtown Seattle and we spent a lovely afternoon sitting on the hill watching the sea planes taking off.

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I wore my yellow polka dot dress from Primark with my Topshop geek shoes and my Cath Kidston sail print bag!

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Not technically a part of the tour but after all that walking it was definitely time for a nice cold beer! Luckily for us the Fremont Brewing just happened to be on the walk back so we popped inside for one of their taster boards. James had already been in earlier in the week to try their ‘pizza ale’ and was waxing lyrical about their selection. I didn’t manage to try the pizza but I did have a delicious grapefruit and lavender beer that was so good I was half tempted to try and fit a growler in my suitcase.

That’s it for my Seattle travelog! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

Jx

*OK so I’m actually home now but let’s just suspend our disbelief for a few minutes.

Hem and Away: Seattle Day #6

Picture taken from The End Summer Camp

RECAP: I (Jo) am currently on vacation in Seattle! I thought it might be fun to try and keep a little holiday diary of sorts, a travelog if you will. You can read about Day 1 here and Day 2 here and Days 3/4/5 here! So sit back and grab a cup of coffee, She and Hem is going Stateside.

Over the weekend we headed to Redmond, which is just to the East of Seattle. It’s most famously known as the home of global conglomerate, Microsoft, whose presence is most definitely felt throughout! It really feels like the entire town center exists purely for its employees and is almost Disneyesque in its cleanliness and neatness. Anyway, as much as we would have loved to discuss Windows with Bill, our purpose for being in Redmond was to attend The End 107.7′s Summer Camp!

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Our hotel was a fair walk to the venue but luckily for us we stumbled across the Redmond Saturday Fair. We may or may not have bought a massive slice of cake. Tasty.

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Set in the glorious surroundings of Marymoor Park, The End 107.7’s Summer Camp was a real treat. Marymoor is an absolutely stunning place to have concerts!  It is, after all, a 640 acre park that boasts  its own velodrome amongst the recreational activities on offer. The part in which they put on concerts is not only beautiful, but very practical too. The stage is surrounded by a grassy bank, meaning families, picnic goers and people who aren’t teenagers anymore can take in all the action from a comfortable position. Not having brought the family, or having the foresight to pack a picnic, we fell into the final of those categories and perched ourselves atop the grassy knoll.  Just as we had bought ourselves some beer and a steak baguette, we were beginning to think that it was all a bit too perfect….

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………and then a familiar sight to any British festival goer appeared, as the umbrellas which had been used for sun protection, suddenly became the defense against a much damper entity. The good news however was that this sinister shower was short lived, didn’t result in copious amounts of mud and, truth be told, was actually rather refreshing! Despite our lack of umbrella we stayed put and soon dried out once the rain had receded.

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The highlight of the day for me was undeniably Surfer Blood, pictured above. Apologies if you were sat anywhere near me and my bad singing! The line up was pretty stellar throughout though, with Wavves, Family of the Year, Hey Marseilles and MS MR all sounding great in the sunshine. New Politics proved very entertaining with their extremely energetic performance! We did appear to be the only people present who hadn’t heard of them. Cold War Kids had the privilege of closing the night out during a rather beautiful sunset,

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I wore a Gap vest top with my Cath Kidston train skirt and my Topshop shoes. My bag is also from Cath Kidston and I bought a new hat in Redmond Town Centre from a shop called REI. I was certainty grateful for the extra bit of sun protection!

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Jx

Hem and Away: Seattle Days #3,4 & 5

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RECAP: I (Jo) am currently on vacation in Seattle! I thought it might be fun to try and keep a little holiday diary of sorts, a travelog if you will. You can read about Day 1 here and Day 2 here! So sit back and grab a cup of coffee, She and Hem is going Stateside.20130811-201211.jpg

Wednesday marked the beginning of the three days of this trip which I would be spending on my own. I know for a lot of people being alone on holiday would be a great chance to indulge in doing things that only you want to do, but I am not one of those people. I am much happier exploring in a couple or as part of a group! With that in mind,  I  have decided to amalgamate the highlights from days 3, 4  & 5 as I spent most of my time watching Boy Meets World, swimming in the hotel pool and eating. I know, pretty awful right?

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One of the highlights of my time alone came when I decided to grab my book (The Humans by the excellent Matt Haig, book lovers) and head to the International Fountain. Like a number of Seattle’s attractions, the fountain was originally built for the 1962 World’s fair but was completely replaced in 1995 to be what it is today. I can best describe it as a ginormous great bowl in which rests a giant silver dome that spurts out water in all directions, in time to music. It would be quite the spectacle on its own but on such a gloriously hot day it really was incredible fun watching hundreds of children (and adults) frolic about trying to dodge the water. I, rather naively, didn’t realise at first that the dome would be changing up its routine and gaily sat upon the edge of the bowl and cracked open my book. After a few moments appreciating the lovely mist that was landing on me, I found myself getting completely drenched, much to the amusement of the people near me (and to me too), and had to skedaddle to safer ground! It was brilliant! I also jumped the first time the central ‘super-shooter’ shot water out over 100 feet in the air, complete with dramatic boom!

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One evening, after James returned from work, we decided to take a walk up (and up and up and up) to Kerry Park to watch the sunset. As we were a little early, we decided to head to Molly Moon’s, which had come highly recommended from a number of people. After my incredible ice-cream experience at Mora’s on Day 2, I was well up for some more cold creamery creations! After a lot of deliberating, I went for a scoop of balsamic strawberry, whereas James went for Earl Grey. Both were mind-blowingly fantastic and I am now convinced that Seattle should be known as the ice-cream capital of the world! We are definitely going to be heading back up the hill to try out some more of their flavours!

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Dress from Ever Ours (click for link)

With that, we walked back to Kerry Park to watch the most impossibly perfect sunset. We weren’t alone, it’s quite the destination for tourists as you get the postcard perfect view of Seattle’s famous  skyline.

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As well as watching Boy Meets World, another television highlight was spotting myself on Broadchurch! It was incredibly bizarre to see myself on TV in America, even if it was only for 10 seconds!

Jx