A couple of weeks ago, I went on a short break to New York with my husband… child-free! It was our first child-free holiday in 6 years, since before Tyler was born. I had always been to nervous to leave the children for more than a night, but seeing as it was my husband’s 40th, we decided to do it! And with it being such a special experience, I decided I wanted to be social media free – which is a big deal for me as I normally share everything straight away! I switched off phone notifications for Facebook and Instagram and did not post anything online for the whole 3 days. It was very refreshing!
New York is a city where you can’t help but look up. Not only at the famous skyline side of Manhattan, but everywhere. I cannot believe how high these buildings go, with literally every building going right up into the sky. It’s also a city where everyone is so friendly and chirpy and chatty and enthusiastic. Such a difference from London. And the weird thing was I could hear my accent whenever I spoke, and it sounded posh (and you know, I have not got a posh accent!).
There was a heatwave when we were there, 29 degrees. So it was hot, but smoggy. With it being so built-up, the smog hit me straight away, my contact lenses kept fogging over with the dust! The first day messed with our heads because of the time difference – we had left Heathrow at 9am, and then after a 7 hour flight, and hour and half to get through border control and then another hour and half to get to the city, it was only 3pm in New York when it would have been 8pm in the UK and we were starting our day again! Eating dinner when we should be sleeping and walking for hours on the first day – and then waking at 3am because that would have been morning time at home. So confusing!
We got used to the time difference by day 2, and after face-timing the kids at home, and the relief of knowing they were having the time of their lives at nana’s house, we got on with discovering New York. It was amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I love discovering place with the kids, but it was lovely to be carefree and just worry about ourselves, walk around holding hands, hop on a subway train, even the lie-ins in the morning were heaven. As it was such a short trip, we walked for hours and hours each day, trying to see as much as we could. I did end up with proper lower back pain so had to get that heat gel to rub in. But I wanted to see so much more!
I was thinking of Tyler a lot of the time, taking photos and videos of subway trains and taxis and school buses. On our last day we were on a mission to find his birthday present – he had asked for Amtrak and subway wooden toy trains. We thought there would just be toy shops everywhere, but actually they were hard to find. With some googling, we found we had to go to the New York Transit Museum shop inside Grand Central Terminal and Target. It was an enjoyable mission which involved hopping on lots of subway trains with lots of changes. We were subway pros by the end of the trip.
I had learnt all about the history of New York and every region in my guide book that I read on the plane, so I knew all the buildings I wanted to see. The Chrysler building (above) amazed me the most, such detail on the roof, real Art Deco splendour. The thing is, these building are so tall. If you go right up to them, you can’t even see the top, so you have to go a few streets back to really admire them and take photos.
The Empire State building is a breath-taker – literally as it’s so windy on the 86th floor. But the views are incredible, you can see all the skycrapers and even roof parties on some buildings. We went all the way to the 102nd floor which is in the tiny bit at the top. It’s crazy!
The Woolworth Building (below) was another one I wanted to see – with me writing a Woolworths blog, I couldn’t not visit it. We booked a tour so we could go inside. This used to be the world’s tallest skycraper when it was built in 1913, and today, though it doesn’t look as tall as the more modern buildings, it is still amazing to look up at. Neo-Gothic is what I learnt the style is. I’ll write more about it on my Woolies blog so I won’t bore you all the details here!
New York was full of blossom when we went at the beginning of May. I loved taking photos of the buildings through the flowers. Seriously I was taking photos of everything, and little video snippets and I had planned to put together a vlog when I got home, instead of doing Instagram stories.
Times Square was so much more than Leicester Square. It’s probably because of the height of the buildings that meant you could see the lights from miles away, and you’re just drawn to it. We actually sat for an hour in the night a few streets away, just gazing at it with a milkshake and custard ice cream. We had just spent three hours in Macy’s (which is like Selfridges), so I needed to rest, my back was killing me. But shopping there was a-ma-zing! There was already a sale, and then an additional 30% off the weekend we were there. So we bought a LOT of clothes for the kiddies at bargain prices.
Food-wise we ate at Chick Fillet on the first evening (it’s like a posh McDonalds but with chicken only, flowers vases on the tables and classical music playing). The second evening we ate of Chipotle which is Mexican food Subway style. It was good! And the last evening we ate at Umami burger in our hotel building as it was 10pm and we were starving after our last day of sight-seeing and a massive food shop at Target. We bought things like Paw Patrol and Trolls Mac n Cheese, Jif peanut butter, hershey’s chocolate, tim tams, american cereal, wooden toy amtrak trains for Tyler and the cutest little hair clips for Lily.
New York was an incredible experience I will never forget. I can’t put into words how we felt. I guess it was like being in a time-machine to a life before kids but different as we were looking forward to coming home and seeing our kids, and couldn’t wait to show them the gifts we had bought for them. The holiday went too quickly and we relished every moment, but it was the right amount of time also. Though we could have stayed longer as the kids weren’t even bothered when we came home! Nana and Aunty had done a good job.
Now, would I recommend going on a social media break? I got the idea from a friend who did it, so she was totally in the moment with no distractions on her holiday. And that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want to be sharing photos and Instagram stories because I know what I’m like and I would constantly have to urge to check if it had any likes, views, if there were any comments to reply to. Also, I didn’t want to annoy anyone, I didn’t want people to think I was showing off that I was in New York at that moment.
So that was me reason for a social media break, and I did feel more relaxed, but at the same time my fingers were itching, especially whenever we were in a cafe with free wifi. So I videoed clips on my camera with the intention to vlog. But when I got home and inserted my SD card into the SD card reader and into my mac, it wiped the whole SD card. And although I recovered the photos (at a cost of £69!), I lost all the videos. And it was then I regretted not doing Instagram stories. So now, do I recommend having a social media break? I would say half and half. On our next holiday, there will definitely be Instagram stories and a few photos shared on Facebook at the time, just in case it happens again.
The good thing was, at least I had shown Tyler the videos of the subway train on my camera before I lost them. And he said they looked boring anyway! And at least I don’t have to spend hours editing a vlog now. And the photos are back and that is enough. I look at them and I am back in New York again!
So that is my story of New York and a social media break.
Have you been to New York? And have you had a social media break?