Rebecca Serle: In Five Years After nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal on the same day, type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve… More
Lucinda Berry: The Perfect Child
Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.
This is one messed up book and Janie is one messed up child. You’d think that the more psychological thrillers you read, the less they will affect you. But actually, it doesn’t work like that. This book really disturbed me in some parts but still I couldn’t put it down. Probably the most disturbing part was the animal abuse bit and I think I should warn everyone who wants to read this book to be prepared . What I liked most was how wrong I was about everything. You think you know what will happen, who will die, and how they will die, but it turns out you have no detective skills because your assumptions are 5 km away from the truth. The way the writer decided to end the book is an odd choice but I am satisfied and slightly impressed.
Sally Hepworth: The Mother in Law
When Lucy marries Ollie, she desperately wants to be accepted into his family, especially by his mother Diana, as Lucy lost her mother at an early age. But from day one, Diana appears reserved and distant. That was five years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, with a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer. But the autopsy finds no cancer but does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
This story is told from two points of view, mother-in-law Diana and daughter-in-law Lucy, filling in the blanks of Diana’s life and leading us to the circumstances surrounding her death. I felt this was a very good way to tell the story as you could really see how much misunderstanding there was between these two women. I was expecting more of a thriller but the story ended up having more of a domestic mystery vibe with a twist at the end so I can’t reveal much. I really enjoyed reading it and never saw the last piece of the puzzle until it was added.
Fiona Cummins: The Neighbour
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer.
Let me just say, I don’t want to ever live in a street like this. This street is full of people with dark secrets which makes you want to second guess your own neighbours. The first 20% of the book was all over the place, and I was feeling pretty frustrated, I just couldn’t get into it. But then things started coming together. Even though I liked the twist at the end(which I didn’t predict), I felt something was missing. Maybe the fact I couldn’t connect to any of the characters or confused with the way the killer was narrating his life. So many new characters were introduced, and instead of giving some sort of background on each, their chapters would start in the middle of one of their thoughts. But as I said, it all made sense at the end.
Tim Weaver: Vanished
For millions of Londoners, the morning of 16 December is just like any other. But not for Sam Wren. An hour after leaving home, he gets on a Tube train – and never gets off again. No witnesses. No trace of him on security cameras. Six months later, he’s still missing. Sam’s wife Julia hires David Raker to track him down. Raker has made a career out of finding the lost. Once David Raker starts looking into Sam’s case it becomes obvious to him that there are untold secrets that need to be discovered. He is sure that both Sam and Julia have secrets that are being kept well hidden and will need to be exposed if this case is to be solved.
This is the 3rd book in the David Raker series by author Tim Weaver. I accidentally read this series out of order, starting with the latest one and then going back but it didn’t ruin the enjoyment. And I enjoyed reading it so much that I finished it in two days! I loved the idea of just vanishing from the packed train, which is highly believable if that train is a London Tube (if you’ve ever used it, you will know no one is paying attention to anyone). This book has a very clever and original plot, and I personally enjoyed the amount of time spent in and around the London Underground, and it’s history. I love Weaver’s style of writing, how quickly the story pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages. I already have the next book in series waiting to be read because this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger.
Mark Edwards: The Lucky Ones
After his wife leaves him for another man, Ben and his 11 year old son, Ollie, move from London to Shropshire to make a fresh start. With his personal life in shambles, Ben wonders if he made the right decision to move. Very slowly, Ben’s luck changes and good things start happening for him and Ollie. However, what Ben doesn’t realize is that the good luck he has been experiencing is not what it seems. At the same time, a serial killer known as “The Viper” is creating a state of terror. After killing his victims, he manipulates their bodies in such a way that it seems like they died in a state of “bliss.” The killer believes that dying happy makes one “lucky.” This deranged individual targets his victims, makes their dreams come true, and then kills them. Without an obvious link between the victims, the police have little to go on to find the killer. Detective Inspector Imogen Evans is desperate to find The Viper before he strikes again.
I already read and reviewed a few books by Mark Edwards. What makes his books different and more interesting is his way of writing – he makes the characters in the book become real, his chapters are short and snappy and the plot is always very clever. The story alternates between Imogen, Ben and the killer and it’s a gripping page turner. So many times I thought I had worked out who it was only to change my mind and choose someone else. It’s one that will certainly mess with your head and a definite read for fans of psychological thrillers.
Rachel Abbott: Shape of Lies (DCI Tom Douglas,#8)
Anna is a woman with a secret past that she has done her best to cover up, and keep from her husband and children.
She is the successful head of a primary school, and all seems well until she hears a radio program mentioning someone called Scott who wants to talk about his past relationship with a girl called Spike, and Nebraska. But Scott is dead, Anna is sure of it, or is he?
This sends her into a panic, and in a series of flashbacks we begin to understand what happened in her first year at university.
Alongside her story, Tom and Becky and the team are investigating the discovery of a body in a car park, while Tom is also facing personal problems.
This is the 8th book in the DCI Tom Douglas series, but provides sufficient background information that this novel can be read as a stand-alone. I usually love her books but I could’t really put my finger on this one. I found Anna’s story very far-fetched, how could anyone be so naïve to get into the situation she did, and not call it a day very early on rather than getting in deeper and deeper?! Also too much Anna in this book and not enough Tom Douglas. I feel in this book he wasn’t even needed because finding the killer was more by chance than real police work. It is well written, suspenseful and kept me wanting to know more more more of these old secrets but I ended up being disappointed in the end.
John Marrs: When You Disappear
Married for 10 years with 3 children it may seem that Cathrine and Simone have the perfect marriage. But when Simon disappears without a trace Catherine realises she never actually knew him. Fast forward 25 years and Simon is back, determinate to sort things out between them. The two share with one another what happened over the course of their time apart and the secrets start to emerge…
But as they share more and more, nothing really happens! For me things moved too slowly and all I wanted to know was why Simon left?!I bought this book just because of the amazing reviews and the fact that two previous Marrs’ books that I read were so good! For me, this one was not as good and I was struggling to read it so much that in some parts I ended up skim reading it. The ending had a great twist so my mark would be much lower otherwise.
Mark Edwards: Here To Stay
Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for. The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . . As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?
There is something about Mark Edwards and his writing that I find intriguing, no matter the topic. I have read several of his books and I have to say they just get better and better. The story is claustrophobic, unsetteling and chilling. The houseguests from hell who at first are a nuisance but quickly turn into unstable and dangerous sent my stress levels through the roof. There are twists and turns, jump scares, and chapter cliffhangers culminating in a stunning, jaw-dropping conclusion, that I did predict, but made it no less impacting. Edwards will definitely remain the ‘auto-buy’ author for me.
Søren Sveistrup: The Chestnut Man
Set in Denmark, a psychotic serial killer is terrorising Copenhagen. His signature is the chestnut man- a doll made out of matchsticks and chestnuts- which he leaves next to the body. Examining the dolls, forensics make a shocking discovery- a fingerprint that belongs to a minister’s daughter kidnapped and murdered a year ago! An unlikely pair of detectives Thulin and Hess have to put aside their differences and piece together the gruesome clues left by the Chestnut man.
When I heard that the writer of the tv show ‘The Killing’ has published his first book I simply had to read it! Well, I can only say this debut will not have you dreaming of chestnuts roasting on the open fire anytime soon! Reading the book was like solving a puzzle, classic ‘Nordic Noir’ with a dark setting and complex characters. There are numerous twists, turns, cliffhangers and an unexpected ending! For me, that’s a sign of a good book.
Definitely not for the fainthearted but if you are fan of Scandinavian fiction or the TV show The Killing this one is for you!
Jojo Moyes: Still Me
In Still Me, Louisa keeps her promise to Will, her love from book one to say yes to new opportunities. This opportunity brings her from her home in England—and her hunky boyfriend the paramedic Sam—to New York City to be an assistant to a wealthy young wife of a wildly rich man. Louisa acts like something of an emotional bodyguard for Agnes against the society women who assumed she stole Leonard from his first wife because she was just after his money and citizenship (she’s from Poland). There are perks to her job, like going to charity balls in $3,000 dresses purchased by her employer, but it puts a huge strain on her relationship with Sam. Can they make the long-distance thing work, or is this going to be the end of them?
This is the 3rd book in the Me Before You series and I was pleasantly surprised. I am a huge fan of Louisa and her personality and I enjoyed the journey she took. First things first ‘Still Me’ is not ‘Me Before You’. Its not even close. There are a few situations that border on being cliches and the whole novel reads like a rom-com. But I did not care, not one bit. I can genuinely say I absolutely love this book.
Alice Feeney: I Know Who You Are
Aimee is an up-and-coming movie starlet! Everything is falling into place for her…at least professionally. Her home life however, could use a little Hollywood magic. Her husband has grown distant as her star-power has risen, leaving him in the shadows.
After a long day of shooting on the set, Aimee returns home to find her husband missing. His wallet, phone and shoes are still in the house the car is parked in the garage, and most disturbing of all, a bouquet of flowers on the table with a simple note that chillingly says, “Sorry”.
I read all of the comments about this book before starting it, and they were so bad that at one point I was just going to give up. But I managed to finish it and I have to say, most of the bad reviews are true. To be honest, the book is gripping, and I couldn’t stop reading it because I was curious as to what happened next but some things just didn’t make sense. I’m not going to say much so I don’t spoil the story but the fact Aimee kept going to work and acted like nothing was wrong while her husband was missing is just too stupid. Also the ending had the most ridiculous, unbelievable and revolting twist!
Greer Hendricks,Sarah Pekkanen: An Anonymous Girl
When Jessica signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. But as the questions grow more and more invasive, she begins to feel as though they know what she’s thinking . . . and what she’s hiding. As Jessica’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what is real in her life, and this is one of Dr Shields’s manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
I’ve enjoyed reading the authors’ breakout book The Wife Between Us (which is now being turned into a movie), so I was excited to read this one as well and in my opinion is even better than the first one. I wasn’t hooked from the beginning but once when I got into it I couldn’t stop reading. Until the very end I didn’t know who was good and who was bad and what their motives are. Chapters are short and alternate between Jessica’s and Dr Shields’ point of view, the story is very fast paced, full of twists and turns and it kept me glued for hours.
Shari Lapena: Someone We Know
Neighbourhood gossip and hidden secrets makes this an addictively gripping and thrilling story that was impossible to put down.
In a quiet suburb where everyone knows everyone, there has been a string of break-ins. A teenager has been sneaking into houses and hacking into personal computers. Secrets are uncovered. Then a neighbour is found dead in the trunk of her car. Could the exposed secrets uncover who is responsible for the murder? Whose secrets will be revealed and whose will be kept hidden? Is anyone in the neighbourhood safe?
I have read and loved all of Shari Lapena’s, books. There is something about her writing that keeps me on the edge of my seat. A classic whodunit book where literally everyone is suspicious at one point and until the very last end, when you are absolutely sure the case is solved, you will be wrong. Well, at least I was!
Michelle Frances: The Daughter
Katie had her daughter Becky when she was a teenager and bought her up as a single mother. She has sacrificed a lot to give her the best start in life. Although life as a single mother is hard, the 2 of them are very close and Katie couldn’t be prouder of her daughter getting a position as a trainee journalist.
Without giving this amazing plot away, there is a terrible accident involving Becky, Katie’s life is changed forever and when she discovers what Becky’s undercover story is she carries on investigating even though she is going against dangerous people who do not want this becoming public.
The narrative moves between the present and the days leading up to Becky’s accident with the occasional flashback to Kate’s earlier life with Becky.While I don’t want to mention anything about Becky’s secret investigation in order to avoid spoilers, it does focus on an important subject. In the author’s end notes she outlines the real life issues that inspired this story.
I loved Michelle’s previous book The Girlfriend but this one wasn’t as amazing. I found the flashbacks a bit boring so I just skim-read it. I would probably give it a 4 otherwise because it was an intersting subject.
So, as I am a big reader and don’t have anyone to share my opinions with about the books I read most of the time, i’ve decided to write a blog post on a monthly basis and give my honest opinion about each one.
The Silent Patient
Painter Alicia Berenson lives a seemingly a happy life with her photographer husband in a big house overlooking Hampstead Heath, until one night Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivation.
The book is narrated through Alicia’s diary before the murder and through Theo’s point of view. I don’t want to talk too much because I might spoil the big twist at end- and I mean it’s so big that I stopped and re-read the page. Nothing is as it seems in this novel. This story is complex and multi-layered with a labyrinth of characters, each playing their part in the development of the plot.
The Family Upstairs
25 years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old in her crib. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a suicide note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.
There are three stories entwined in this book. First storyline is about Libby, she’s twenty five. She had been adopted and has now inherited a large family home from her birth parents. She’s about to learn some terrible events that led to her being adopted. Story two is about Lucy. She’s a single mother of two children who is trying to get back to Britain from France. She has no money and they are living on the streets. Story three is about Henry. It’s told twenty years ago. It tells what happened to his family when people started moving into his Chelsea Mansion.
There are 432 pages in this book and I finished it within two days. I read Lisa’s previous books and I have to say this one is my favourite. At the beginning the story line might seem confusing because there are different characters and timelines but once when you get going the story flows. This isn’t your average domestic thriller, or classic family drama… this is twisted, dark, emotionally disturbing, Netflix documentary level crazy! I can’t recommend it enough.
The Perfect Wife
Abbie wakes up without a memory of who she is, the man next to her claims to be her husband. He’s the owner of one of the biggest and innovative tech companies in Sillicon Valley. He says she had a terrible accident 5 years ago and he brought her back. She’s a miricle of science. But of course when her memories start to return, she starts to question his motives and his version of events.
Some of you probably remember The Girl Before success a few years ago. Everyone was reading it. That was the first book by J.P. Deleney so I naivly expected The Perfect Wife would be just as good. I got hooked and I read it very quickly because I expected something good to happen with some amazing twist…it was the biggest let down! The book is actually in my opinion complete science fiction where the main character is a robot (this is not a spoiler as it’s revealed in the first few pages) so it’s very hard to connect with her.
Everything is Lies
The lead character Sophia discovers her mother is dead and her father critically injured in what appears to be a murder, suicide. Sophia does not believe this to be the case and searches for the answers when she discovers her mother has finally written a book of her life. The story switches between present day and excerpts from Sophia’s mothers book which really adds to the suspense.
Despite some plot flaws the book was a real page turner with lots of twists. I’m not going to say much more, except that this book did take me by surprise and I felt everything from being annoyed, to feeling sad, and that kind of fear where you know something bad is going to happen but you can’t take your eyes off of what is going on.
A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for. That’s the promise made by ‘Match Your DNA’ a decade ago. Millions took the test but it has its downsides – breakups, divorces, and changed views on romance and dating.
The book switches from 5 different characters stories and the individual journeys they embark upon when they discover who they are gentically destined to be with – their so called perfect ‘one’. What could possibly go wrong…? Well, it turns out absolutely everything.
If you are a fan of the Black Mirror series this book is for you. I thought at the beginning I was going to find it confusing to retain 5 stories, with subplots, and many characters that literally don’t intertwine but the author did such an amazing job at keeping me invested it was clear which story I was reading. You have to know, this is not a love story…far from it.
Also the big news came last Spring that ‘The One’, will be turned into a 10-part series on Netflix, with filming beginning this summer and ready for its debut in January. How exciting is that?!
And here it is – the second part of my New York City guide. Before you start, tip number one is: wear comfortable shoes! We wandered around so much that step counter on my phone went nuts. We walked between 15km and 20 km every day! Considering we used public transport a lot, this is shocking. But I loved every minute of it and hope to come back soon.
Even though yellow cabs, Uber and Lyft (which works same as Uber and may even be better!) are everywhere to been seen, the fastest way to get around the city is the Metro. The weekly Metro card which gives you unlimited travel for 7 days, and costs only $30. A bargain, compared to London. The other positive thing is that Metro runs 24/7.
Where To Shop
What Goes Around Comes Around
Experience both old and new at this SoHo boutique, popular with stylists and celebrities. Whether you look to the past for inspiration or are decidedly fashion-forward, What Goes Around Comes Around will provide clothing, shoes and accessories that are stylish and timeless, even if the prices are very contemporary. The shop also produces and markets its own vintage-inspired collection.
351 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Even though they ship to UK now, there is something in actually seeing and trying products before buying so I decided to go to the physical Glossier shop while in New York. They have a showroom on top of their offices on Lafayette Street down in Soho and it’s pretty cool. It’s always busy so you might end up in a queue outside but it moves pretty fast. All the products are out for you to have a play with, plus the place is Instagram gold.
123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
If you are into beauty products make sure you also visit Sephora on Union Square which is massive and Barney’s if you’re after some luxe and harder to find brands.
With a couple of stores across Manhattan (one on the Lower East Side, and one in Soho), Reformation is without a doubt one of my favourite shops in the city. With their infamous mini (and maxi) dresses, rad denim, accessories and cute t-shirts in store, I’d dedicate a good bit of shopping (or browsing) time in here…
39 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
Like all of the Sézane locations, the NYC store is designed to look like the apartment of that stylish girl, and between the chic little cafe in front, the gorgeously styled built-ins, and the herringbone floors, well, I wouldn’t mind moving right on in! I don’t know about you, but I do 90% of my clothes shopping online these days because most stores just aren’t fun or well-designed, so it’s really nice to see a shop that makes you actually want to come in and browse.
254 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
What to See
If you’ve never visited before then there is a long list of tourist spots to tick off : Central Park (it’s huge, take a half day for this), Times Square, Empire State and Flat Iron Buildings, Grand Central Station and The Met Museum, to name a few. Here are some of my favourite spots:
To be honest, we didn’t want to visit the Liberty Island and famous statue because of the crowd and a feeling you can see it better from the land. But we had an afternoon free so we decided to give it a go. Seeing Ms. Libery in person was pretty cool indeed. Also, Ellis Island Museum is super interesting but if you are not into that I suggest taking the ferry to Staten Island. It’s free and on your way there you will have a great view of the Statue of Liberty even without stopping on the islands. If you want to visit both of the islands you will pay $18 and spend at least an hour in queues.
No matter what, avoid going up the Empire State Building for the view. There are so many more better views than that. The first one is Top of The Rock. We paid around $50 each for Sun&Stars ticket, allowing us to come in the morning and then again for sunset. I have to say, the morning session was nice, not to busy. We arrived around 8:30 and there were no queues at all. In the evening it became a bit hectic and it was very hard to even see the sunset or the lights turning on.
The other option is to visit One World Trade Centar Observation Deck, 6th tallest building in the world. Entrance is $34 and you get a complimentary drink with it (beer, wine or prosecco)
DUMBO & Brooklyn Bridge
Situated a little across from the Brooklyn Bridge, and just across from the Manhattan Bridge (DUMBO = Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Dumbo is a neighborhood boasting pretty beautiful views of the Manhattan Bridge as well as some cute places to eat (Grimaldi’s and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory) and shop. Tip: you can get here from Greenpoint by taking the boat which was the best decision we made. You will get the best views of Manhattan and Brooklyn but also their bridges.
While you are there, make sure to walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge. The best times to walk are early mornings or evenings after sunset. During the day it can become a little bit crowded. It’s worth it though as the views are stunning.
You will have a pretty hard time finding a park as unique as this anywhere else in the world. The High Line is a one and a half mile long suspended green space that allows visitors and residents alike to enjoy plants and car-free space deep within the city. It was built on the raised platform of a former railroad, and the old architecture mixed with the fantastically maintained gardens makes for a memorable experience. There are several great passages and overlooks throughout the park that provide for interesting city views and, if you’ve worked up an appetite, there are even a few food vendors!
There is nothing quite like exploring a great food market in a new city and though New York has several, Chelsea Market reigns supreme. You can get everything from wine, spices, and popsicles here as you roam through the stalls. If you really want to experience the ins and outs of the market, you can even take a food tour to learn (and sample) more.
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
This place is so chilled you will forget you are even in New York. We had a long stroll from High Line all the way to Washinton Square. On the way we passed the famous Magnolia bakery, as well as Carrie Bradshaw’s and Friends apartment.
Washington Square Park is a people watcher’s paradise. Musicians, sunbathers, skateboarders, dog owners, chess players and NYU students all hang out around the historic fountain in the shadow of the arch, often used as a location in films and televisions shows.
NoLIta (for North of Little Italy) might have many of the same features as nearby neighborhoods SoHo and Little Italy, but has a distinctly charming vibe all its own. The area’s cozy cafés, stylish boutiques and bar scene make it a destination. Visit to browse the independent designer shops and sit streetside at cute restaurants, lounges and coffee shops.
We were staying in Williamsburg but if you are not, make sure you come and explore. Williamsburg sits across the East River from Manhattan’s Lower East Side and it’s one of Brooklyn’s most popular and exciting neighborhoods where you can explore the lively arts, music, and boutique scene here. The mile-long stretch of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg is lined with art galleries, bars, and secondhand boutiques that have made the area popular with the hipster set.
I started writing this blog post a week ago. Originally it was supposed to be one big post, covering everything in New York from eating, shopping to sightseeing but it was way too big. New York has so much to offer and it simply can’t fit into one post. So I decided to split it in two. This post will be about my favourite places to eat and drink while in NYC and in a week I will be posting part 2 – where to shop and what to see including the best ways to move around and where to stay.
So let’s start.
Even though the word ‘butcher’ is in the name, this place couldn’t be further from meat. Butcher’s Daughter is a plant-based restaurant, cafe, juice bar and as they say on their website: “vegetable slaughterhouse”. The interior is more LA-like, with lots of white and yellow, plants, pillows and rattan chairs. You can find them in five locations around the city and we liked it so much we visited it on two occasions in one week. Even though they serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, we only tried their brunch menu. Usually, I would recommend the best thing from the menu but they tend to change their menus quite often so it would be pointless. But, whatever you choose you can’t go wrong. Everything is so delicious. Bare in mind that it can get very busy so try to come earlier.
As the name says, this place is devoted to serving all types of eggs all day and night (well until midnight). The local, organic eggs get prepared in a variety of ways: poached atop avocado toast, mixed to make a mayo-free egg salad, or scrambled with seasonal vegetables. There’s also a nice balance of hangover cures – you can even get sides of excellent fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits! but if you are looking for something quick and healthy it’s an even nicer place. I visited the one in Nolita but they have another location in Williamsburg.
The space itself is bright and airy, and feels more like a cool California café—neon teal chairs, a chalkboard menu and big window. I got ahead of myself and ordered a spicy chicken and egg burger which was absolutely massive for a 10am breakfast but so good.
151 Elizabeth St,New York, NY 10012
This Scandinavian style bakery is located in the residential area of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s their second branch(the first is in Williamsburg) opened as they needed larger baking space due to the increasing demand for their high-quality freshly baked goods. Both, the interior and exterior, are wonderful. From the tall decorative wooden doors to the over-scale botanical wallpaper. The space is decorated with handmade crafts fitting perfectly with the vintage-rustic vibe and the exposed brick walls. Stepping in, you will get the feeling you’ve arrived into a different decade. Everyone wears boiler suits (or a variation of it) and a headscarf – the same as working women during WWII. Everything feels intentional. And everything adds up to the warmth and coziness of the café. Order at the counter and grab a seat at the large rustic communal table or at the breakfast bar overlooking the kitchen. It was so hard to choose what to have, the delicious pastries on show were tempting but we opted for biscuits and eggs.
105 Freeman St, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
Other brunch places: Citizens of Chelsea, Jack’s Wife Freda,Pietro Nolita, Banter NYC, Maman,While We Were Young
This place was our lunch stop on days when we were feeling a bit peckish around 2pm. It’s a chain and it can be found around NYC. We found it accidentally because I couldn’t stop talking about tacos for days. I certainly can have tacos in London but these ones were the best I tried. Their chorizo with potatoes or chicken tacos are so delicious you will come back for more. If you are not into tacos they serve quesadillas and Campechanos. They also make everything from scratch with sustainably sourced ingredients, including their corn and flour tortillas which are rolled daily. We had been to several locations but my favourite one is the one at the Empire State Building because of its interior and natural light which comes through the windows.
This Williamsburg located, Argentinian restaurant came as the biggest discovery of our New York trip. We walked past it every day on our way to the place where we stayed and it never occurred to me that something so cool lays behind lace curtains. What’s behind them is a red-brick covered space that feels like the sort of cozy spot you’d stumble into on a random side street in Buenos Aires. Or at least, what I imagine that would be like.
The only light inside is from the candles on the tables and at the back there is a small garden with a fairy light so the whole atmosphere is relaxing and cozy which made us very sleepy after dinner. We got very excited on seeing the menu and ended up ordering too much, starting with actual avocado fries, $24 steak and probably the most heavenly dessert of them all: dulce de leche filled crepe with caramelized bananas.
557 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
Caracas Arepa Bar
Before coming to New York, I had never been to a Venezuelan restaurant and I certainly hadn’t tried their famous arepas. Arepa is a bread made of white cornmeal, water and salt. The dough is formed into a patty, grilled, baked, split open and stuffed with a variety of ingredients like a sandwich. We visited their Brooklyn branch and simply loved it. It’s a small, cozy place, with the garden at the back filled with Latin music. They serve happy hour margaritas and the most delicious arepas. Even though they look small at first they are quite filling so I would advise starting with one and then ordering more if you like.
Sorry that there are no pictures of dinner places. It was way too dark.
291 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
Other Places for Dinner: Souvlaki GR,NoMo Kitchen,Pizza Beach, Freemans,Mexicue,1830.
Coffee & Cake
According to their website, Urban Backyard “is a coffee shop that is committed to being environmentally and socially responsible.” Alongside the classic caffeinated beverages — Americano, macchiato, mocha, to name a few — look for the specialty drinks like lavender peony iced tea and masala chai. They serve different sweet bits but I would recommend the cutest cacti cupcakes and a wide range of macarons flavours which you can get as part of their ‘Afternoon tea’ offer. Also, this place has the cutest interior and exterior which will look great on your Instagram.
180 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012, USA
I know we are not in Paris but here is another macaron shop. This one stays open until late (12pm) and it serves over 20 flavours of macarons which taste heavenly. They even offer workshops so you can learn how to make them yourself. You can find them in various locations around New York but we visited one in Williamsburg which had an interior to die for and it wasn’t as busy.
For this one I suggest you cross the river and have the best views of Manhattan from one of the many rooftop bars.
We’ve been to two and instead of describing them I will just compare both of them as they are equally amazing.
First one we went to was rooftop bar at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Because we are not the guests of the hotel we had to pay $20 to get in. As the name says, the hotel is located just next to Brooklyn Bridge and offers amazing views of both the bridge and Manhattan. On the down side, you will be restricted to a small space and you won’t have access to the whole rooftop and the amazing swimming pool as it’s guests only.
The second place we visited was Westlight rooftop bar, located on the 22nd floor of William Vale Hotel. We got there pretty late on our last day, too tired and in desperate need of sleep but the view we saw was simply breathtaking. Because the hotel is located on the east of Manhattan, you can imagine how amazing the view is, right? Not only can you see Manhattan but also Brooklyn and Queens – basically the whole city skyline. For me, this view was on the same level as the Top of the Rock and the One World Trade Center Observatory. The rooftop is covered with fake grass and beanbags and rattan chairs with comfy cushions are scattered around. I was tempted to lay down, have a nap and miss my flight in the morning.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: 60 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Westlight: 111 North 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Regularly voted as one of the happiest cities in the world for the last 40 years, Copenhagen, with its 1.2 million people offers miles of harbor promenades, green spaces, and a mix of modern and historic architecture. The Danish capital has always attracted people with its New Nordic cuisine – full of local, natural and seasonal food, and an increasing fashion and design scene. However, the thing that put Copenhagen and the top of everyone’s bucket list for certain is hygge, the Danish concept of living a happy life.
Also, according to a new report published this year, Copenhagen was named the best city for women to live in. The government promotes gender and income equality, safety, progress and human rights so there is no surprise that they can focus on things that really matter.
By visiting Copenhagen you will notice that the people there just enjoy the simple things in life, every day, every minute, without overthinking it. Starting from coffee shops and restaurants which have candles lit up all day to meeting their friends after work for a coffee on the rooftop restaurants, eating dinners early and heading home on their bikes to relax before an early bedtime. The fact that there are more than 500 000 bikes in the city shows that Danes love biking and a healthy lifestyle, and many families with children don’t even own a car. So what is their secret? To understand and experience this for myself, I visited Copenhagen for a long weekend and found the things that are usually missed by tourists but capture the real spirit of the city.
Møller Kaffe & Køkken
To experience the real, traditional Danish breakfast I visited Møller Kaffe & Køkken. It’s a cosy cafe situated in Nørrebro, with recognisable Danish interior. The best time to go and avoid the queues is 9 am, as soon as they open because here going out for breakfast is a big thing and Danes usually get up early. Møller is awarded best brunch spot in Copenhagen and they are serving breakfast all day without dinner or lunch menu available. As seated they will give you a menu and a pencil, asking you to tick everything you want and take it to the counter. Maybe easy to order but hard to choose because menu consists of nearly 20 dishes, from traditional bacon, eggs and øllebrød(Danish porridge) to homemade chicken nuggets and apple with lime and sea salt. The one thing I would recommend a selection of fresh made breads and fried eggs with kale.
Møller Kaffe & Køkken, Nørrebrogade 160, 2200 Copenhagen N
Mad & Kaffe
Located in one of Vesterbro’s hotspot locations, you can combine your own tasty breakfast plate by ticking the list of various breakfast possibilities. The café is known for being an Instagram-darling with an aesthetic and colourful morning plate perfectly shareable – with a friend or on social media. Avocado with chili oil and baked almonds, cinnamon bun with organic chocolate on the top, yogurt with muesli, matcha tea and basil are just some of the small dishes you find on the menu. Mad & Kaffe also offer lunch and bigger meals. You can order burger, salad or famous open sandwiches.
This pizzeria is as close to Italy as you will come in Denmark, and yet very few of the ingredients they use are actually imported. Only the highest quality meat is chosen from the organic free-range Hindsholm pork. The restaurant even makes its own fresh cheeses like mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta. Bæst is the third restaurant of chef Christian Puglisi – the famous Noma alumni and owner of acclaimed restaurants Relæ and Manfreds.
It’s pretty likely you’ve already heard of Hay before. It could be their beautiful sofas, Instagrammable trays or even stationary – but if you haven’t let me introduce you to this gorgeous Danish design company. With their city centre store laid out like an apartment; this place is home to beautiful furniture, small accessories and more colour co-ordinated stationary than you could wish for.
Østergade 61, 1100 København K, Denmark
As mentioned by locals, this is the most important street you need to see if you are staying in Copenhagen for a short time. Jægersborggade is home of more than 40 different shops including the art gallery CMYK which exhibits and sells Danish graphics and illustrations, gågrøn! sustainable interior boutique, Resecond the world’s first dress-swapping shop, Panache which sells vintage clothes from the 60s and 70s, Lady Fingers handmade jewellery designer, handmade Ro chocolate, wine bars and the highlight of the street, Michelin starred restaurant Relæ – creative and free of cultural heritage, this restaurant serves food from all over the world. Further down this street, you will also find Copenhagen’s most famous coffee shop, The Coffee Collective, which is a coffee consulting company and specialist micro roastery, owned by Klaus Thomsen, who is the World Barista Champion and a two-time national champion.
Originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock, Nyhavn is a must while visiting Copenhagen. Aside from colorful buildings and beautiful boats, this area is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food.
The word København means “merchants’ harbor,” so many of the city’s most impressive buildings, are visible from the water. You can take sever. We opted to explore on bikes like the locals instead- although we did park them to walk along the harbor and have a drink.
One of my favourite neighborhoods I discovered in Copenhagen. It’s an area of small islands known for its hip coffee culture and canals with colourful boats. One of the main attractions set in Christianshavn that’s worth visiting is Our Savior’s Church —which is famous for its helix spire with an external winding staircase and you can climb to the top for impressive views of Copenhagen if it’s not too windy that day.
Tivoli Park and Gardens
This amusement park and pleasure garden opened in August of 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. You won’t find many other city centers where more than 80,000 square meters have been set aside for a magical amusement park like this! Whether you visit during Christmas or in the warm summer months, this attraction has seasonal activities and celebrations year-round that are worth visiting.A
Arken Museum of Modern Art
If you are an art lover make sure you visit Arken Museum of Moder Arts in Ishøj, 25 minutes from Copenhagen. This museum is truly spectacular and worth the visit. If you go on a nice day, you will surely appreciate the surrounding as the museum is close to the beach.
Few weeks I finally got a chance to visit one of the London’s prettiest places. Tucked away down a quiet street in Farringdon, Bourne & Hollingsworth sits between a garden park and a children’s play park and it is exactly the kinda place I like to brunch in; peaceful, quirky and with serious interior goals – real Pinterest and Instagram heaven.
Inside, the main dining area is all white wood and old-timey furnishings. In the back is conservatory like area with beautiful floral furniture and green plants everywhere. I was lucky enough to get a table in that section.
The brunch menu features a choice of single serving or bottomless cocktails – offering unlimited refills on classics such as Bellinis and Bloody Marys for £15/£16.The food menu, was a great mix of sweet and savory, meaning it took me a while to finally commit to a dish. I went for banana and fresh coconut pancakes with fresh berries and honey which was delicious.
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU. Nearest station: Farringdon or Angel. The weekend brunch runs from 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit the Bourne & Hollingsworth buildings website.
Want to go out in London for a bit of festive spirit but without the interruption of tourists and Christmas shoppers? Then look no further than Belgravia!
Motcombe Street is a new discovery for me. This little chocolate box street looks like it fell out of a fairytale with all the cute shops and twinkling lights. At one point a proper carriage with horses went through the street!
The one thing you can’t miss when you are here is the cutest chocolate shop – Rococo Chocolates. Not only you can buy organic chocolates in the nicest packaging for Chrismas gifts but you can enjoy London’s best hot chocolate. Choose between classic, cinnamon spiced, sea-salt or one with a hint of chili that’ll warm you up on these winter days. There is no cream on top but something much nicer – a homemade marshmallow on a stick to dunk into your hot drink.
This place also has a Chocolate School that offers a variety of workshops, classes and tastings for adults and children from beginner to expert. Also as if that wasn’t already enough there is a huge teddy bear in the window. If that doesn’t make you want go out of your house on a cold winter day, nothing will 🙂
I’m officially allowed to go overboard with all things Christmas here and on my Instagram. In London, Christmas actually started at the beginning of November so I have been collecting the pretty pictures of Christmas decorations all around the city and now they will start coming out. To mark the beginning of Christmas time we decided to visit magical place in the Central London – Dalloway Terrace.
This little place has been transformed into the winter wonderland with fake snow, pine trees and an endless supply of snuggly blankets. It is absolute Instagram heaven. There is no surprise it is full of people who eat their food lukewarm after documenting everything on Instagram.
The atmosphere was so cozy and peaceful , we felt like we were in Narnia and the wait staff were brilliant from the very start. The menu was amazing and we wanted to order literally everything but at the end we opted for french toast, one with fresh berries, one with bacon and saved some space for delicious hot chocolate with biscuits at the end.