February Reading Wrap Up

Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Sometimes, I just really find myself losing the motivation to read. And February was like that for me. I was busy, the weather was bad and I really just wanted to snuggle in bed watching Netflix rather than having to put in the energy to read. Also, it took me a while to read my first book of the month. I enjoyed it but found it to be the sort of book I could only read for a few pages at a time. That being said, I picked up towards to end of the month so hopefully, I'll read some awesome books in March.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
This is the follow-up book to The Rosie Project. I read it two years ago so I was a little hazy. Without spoilers: Don is a serious professor of genetics at an Australian university and ends up marrying Rosie who is a bit of a free spirit. It's implied heavily that Don has some form of autism but it's never explicitly said. In this book, they find out that they are expecting a child. Which Don has some struggles with. I enjoyed this book and it was a nice continuation of the story but I wasn't wowed by it. 3/5 stars.


Butcher & Bee, Charleston

Sunday, 25 February 2018
I've just gotten back from a trip to Charleston and Savannah with Jess. It was a fantastic break: good weather, good food and good company. Both cities have very relaxed vibes. Usually, I'm cramming everything into a city break so it was nice to take a slower and more relaxed approach to travelling. I've got some travel diaries coming up but be warned - they're long. So in the mean time, I'm writing a review of my favourite meal from the trip. 

When looking up places to eat in Charleston, Butcher & Bee came up time and time again. A fun, fresh mezze based menu with some bigger dishes too. All served up in a very light and open restaurant. It's a little farther out of the city centre but has great parking. We rocked up at 5pm on Sunday night with a reservation but to be honest, we didn't really need one. However, it was much busier by the time we left so I'd recommend making one anyway.

Moving to the United States Q&A

Wednesday, 21 February 2018
I get a lot of questions on frequent about moving to America, the logistics of it, the experience etc. So I decided to do a little Q&A. Over on Instagram, I asked for some questions and this is what I got! Such an easy blog post to write! I hope I've answered any questions you may have but if I haven't, leave it in the comments and I'll add it to the post! 

"What are you doing in the US and how did you find that opportunity?"
I'm doing an industrial placement year as part of my degree. It's like study abroad but working instead. My internship is a full year long and I'm doing research. I also have some university work to complete outside of work, but not a lot. The company I work for hire interns from my university every year which is how I found the programme.

"Is the best part about moving to America getting to hang out with me and my mom yes or no?" - This was from Leda.
YES. Second place is Swedish Fish.

"What's surprised you the most?"
What's actually really surprised me is how run down a lot of the US is, and how much poverty there is. In the town I live in, you can walk from houses that cost millions of dollars to really poor areas in about 10 minutes. Things also just generally seem run down, especially public areas like parks and the pavements (should I say sidewalks?). It's quite startling.


Sunday Spiel #4

Sunday, 18 February 2018
I'm sure you all know the spiel by now. The occasional Sunday blog post chatting about some things that have made my day recently and what I've been up to. A homage to the early blogging days where we just shared the photo's we'd posted on Instagram and talked about how much we wanted some litas. I haven't written one of these posts since coming back to the US and I'm now 1/4 of the way through this semester. It's going fast and I'm sure I'll be back in Scotland before I know it. However, this is a prescheduled post and if everything goes to plan I'll be living it up in Charleston with Jess by the time this goes live. Hopefully, I'll be fannying about it some warmer weather. I may even be wearing a dress with NO TIGHTS.

1. Having friends visiting. 
Some of my friends were in New York at the end of January and I went to spend time with them, then last weekend my friends from UConn came down to visit and we just had a lazy weekend in Stamford. We went to the mall, shopped and went to go see The Post at the cinema. It's so nice to have weekends that feel 'normal'. I have friends in Stamford and don't get me wrong, I do love them, but it's nice to spend time with people I don't also work with.


The Best Things to Do in New York City

Wednesday, 14 February 2018
It's been about 8 months since I moved to Connecticut, and I live in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area. Which means that I have great access to the city by train and have visited quite a few times now. I've written before about why I don't love New York City but it's definitely grown on me now that I've adjusted a little more. Being able to come in for the day is much nicer, I find New York very overwhelming at times so it's been great to be able to take multiple, short trips.

Now that I've gotten more familiar with the city, I want to start sharing some guides to NY. Starting with this: my favourites. These are by no means original. If you're looking for a post about secret insider things to do in NYC, this is not the post for you. But these are the top things that I would do if I could only do 10 things in the city. Some of these are really famous, some not so much but all of them bring out the side of NYC that I love.

Is Ellen's Stardust Diner Worth a Visit?

Sunday, 11 February 2018
When looking up places to eat in New York City, Ellen's Stardust Diner features on almost every list. This diner located in Times Square is famous for its singing servers, who are all auditioning for roles on Broadway. I'd been quite hesitant to visit as I'd heard that the food isn't great and I wasn't sure if it would actually be fun or a bit gimmicky. But when two of my friends were visiting NYC at the end of January and wanted to visit - I thought it was about time I tried it out for myself. 

Location and Wait
Ellen's Stardust Diner is located in Times Square at 1650 Broadway. It's a good location if you're right in the centre of New York and would be fantastic for those staying at hotels in the area. The B, C, D, E, F, N, R and W subway lines all run closeby too. We arrived around 6pm on a Saturday night so real prime time and waited around 40 minutes for a table. I don't think this is bad at all, it is not uncommon to wait at New York restaurants so it's actually a pretty short line for somewhere so famous. Although, do consider that larger groups will wait longer (we were a three).

Hotel Review: The Embassy Row Hotel, Washington D.C.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018
The Embassy Row Hotel was where I stayed during my trip to Washington, D.C. and it was an amazing hotel. I love hotels but don't always have the biggest budget. However, my trip to D.C. was a little treat to myself after having a rough patch with my physical health and I wanted to treat myself. And that's where The Embassy Row Hotel came in. I use booking.com for all of my travel arrangements and it stood out because of its fantastic location, bright decor and price.

I stayed at the hotel for two nights during the last weekend of October. Upon arrival at the hotel, which is very close to the subway stop, I was really impressed by the decor and style of the reception area. The staff were super friendly and checked me in for my booking and gave me my room keys. Sometimes I find that hotel staff can be a bit snooty when staying in slightly fancier hotels but I didn't find that at all. 


The January Edit

Sunday, 4 February 2018
My blog turned 6 years old at the end of January, however, I've been feeling a bit of discontent with my content recently. I don't feel like there's enough about my everyday life on my blog and that I portray this idea that I just travel about all the time and read 24/7. Which is a big part of my life but more the exception than the rule. So I've decided that I want to write a blog post each month talking about some of the things that I've been up to that just don't justify their own post. How horribly self-indulgent. But hey, this is a 'lifestyle' blog!