emmagkershaw

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The Statue of Liberty & The Empire State Building

Our last full day in New York City began with the news that Trump had announced a partial government shutdown…All together now…🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 A partial government shutdown occurs when the government suspends all non-essential operations. Essential operations including hospital staff, FBI agents and airport security are required to work unpaid, meaning they have…

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Five of the Best London Evening Experiences

London, the Capital City and the dream for many. Living up North, I don’t visit London as often as I would like to. Train prices are on the rise…again…and it’s already cheaper to book a flight to Spain than it is to jump on a two-hour train down South.

So when I do visit London, I like to make the most of it with trying out brand new experiences and making some sweet memories thanks to the incredible range of entertainment available in the City. 

I’d much rather spend my evening doing something a little different, spending my hard earned pennies on a cool experience to remember rather than sitting in a bar, drinking alllll the snazzy cocktails and NOT remembering.

A mix of my firm favourites and some newbies I’m excited to try, I’ve rounded up my top five London experiences guaranteed to give you a night to remember!

The Comedy Store

  Photo: The Comedy Store 

Hosting nightly stand-up shows with some of the best names in comedy, The Comedy Store is a great night out if you’re up for a serious laugh. Tickets are reasonably priced at around £20 (they’re even cheaper on a weekday) and there’s a happy hour at the bar an hour before each show to really get you in the mood. Please note the venue is strictly 18+.

West-End Theatre

Photo: Jo Allan PR 

I LOVE a trip to the theatre. It’s one of those feel-good moments when you’re so engrossed in the magic of it all, you forget everything else around you. There’s something for everyone and Encore Tickets have some incredible deals on tickets. Whatever you’re into, from classics such as Mamma Mia! and Wicked to fan favourites such as The Book of Mormon and School of Rock , you’ll be wanting to head back for more!

Sundowner Evening Cruise

Photo: City City Cruises

Bask in the beautiful sights of London’s riverside landmarks as you cruise along the Thames with a glass of fizz in hand while the sun sets in the distance. Contemporary performers keep guests entertained on the 2 hour cruise, complete with a fully stocked bar and plenty of space to unwind. Tickets start at £29 for adults and include an arrival drink and canapés throughout the evening.

Ceremony of the Keys

Photo: Historic Royal Palaces 

The centuries-old tradition of the Ceremony of the Keys  has taken place for over 700 years and is a free and unique experience that brings the Tower of London alive, complete with secret passwords, Beefeaters and military music. The ceremony begins at 9:30pm every night and is a wonderful experience for any history fan. Tickets are essential and can book up months, or even years, in advance, so be quick!

The Crystal Maze LIVE 

Photo: The Crystal Maze

WILL YOU START THE FANS, PLEASE! Brand new for 2019, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience  is coming to the West-End. Fans of the beloved 90s show have the chance to take on the famed challenges as the Maze Master guides you through four adventure zones before taking on the iconic Crystal Dome. Opening on Shafesbury Avenue in Spring 2019.

 

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This is a collaborative post with Encore Tickets. All words my own. Photography credited to owner. 

A Rainy Day in New York City

Waking up on our second full day in NYC, we were greeted by lashings of rain and a flood warning on my iPhone. Living in Manchester, I’m used to the rain, so it certainly wasn’t going to stop us from exploring.

We started our day with a TV & movie tour around the City with On Location Tours. This was perfect for the bad weather and a great way to see Manhattan in a different way. You can read my full review of the tour in this post.

After our exciting tour, which lasted around 3 hours and took us right to lunchtime, we decided to stop at Applebee’s for some food. I went for the Bacon Cheddar Grilled Chicken Sandwich which was soooo nice. Definitely one to try and recreate at home!

The rain was still lashing down as we left Applebee’s so we decided this would be a great opportunity (or excuse, depending on how you look at it) to get some shopping in. First up, Sephora.

I’m not even exaggerating when I say we spent an hour in there, but I didn’t realise just how big the store would be. Plus, we don’t have Sephora in the UK so we had to make the most of it, amirite?!

After getting our hands on some new goodies in Sephora, we made our way to 34th Street for Macy’s. A little tip for you…if you head to the visitor centre inside Macy’s itself and show your passport you can get anything between 10-20% off your purchases, depending on department policy.

I managed to resist many of the holiday bargains, but I did treat myself to a new purse AND I got 10% off!

All shopped out, we made our way back to the hotel to get showered and ready for the night ahead.

I’d been super excited for the night’s activities all day as we were off to live our Kardashian dreams at Sugar Factory.

The world famous candyland is somewhere Megan and myself had been wanting to visit for so long and it did not disappoint.

We headed to the Meatpacking District branch, located on Washington Street. Spanning over two floors, the venue seats 250 people and features a VIP room for special events. With its chic decor and whimsical menu serving up everything from appetizers and oversized sandwiches to fondue fountains, it’s easy to see why Sugar Factory is a hot spot for celebs.

For food, we both went for the Rainbow Sliders. I’ve shown so many people this photo and they’ve all said they don’t even look real! They were very real indeed and tasted SO good. I’d be lying if I said that the free rubber duck didn’t influence my decision, too.

A trip to Sugar Factory wouldn’t have been complete without the infamous goblets. We had ours with alcohol because, although I may not look it, I am verging on 25 years old, people! They are also available alcohol-free.

After we had finished our food and drinks, we jumped on the subway back to our hotel for an early(ish) night. It  may have been a Friday night in the City that never sleeps, but as soon as my head hit that pillow at about 11pm, I was out like a light. The next day was going to be a busy one!

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NYC TV & Movie Tour with On Location Tours

New York City is the most filmed loction in the world, with thousands and thousands of TV shows and movies being made every single year. It’s a $5 billion a year business with 100,000 employees annually, with the power of TV and movie entertaining and changes people’s lives daily.

 On Location Tours takes you on a journey around the City to over 60 locations that have been featured in many of your favourite binge-worthy shows and blockbuster hits.

A 3 hour tour running daily, you’ll see everything from the iconic Friends apartment building to the SpiderMan and The Amazing SpiderMan Oscorp and Daily bugle offices. Each tour takes place from the comfort of a bus kitted out with heat in the winter and AC in the Summer, with plenty of stops for photo opportunities.

I was kindly invited along on a tour during my time in NYC and as it was a (really) rainy day at the end of December, spending the morning on a comfy coach seeing some of the most spectacular sights in the City was most welcomed.

The tour started near Broadway and 51st Street, just a short walk from Times Square. The tour begins at 10am daily, whatever the weather- well, maybe not in 6 foot deep snow, but our tour guide did tell us a tale about one tour that took place during Wintery weather, with guests wading through snow for the perfect photos!

Arriving around 15 minutes early at the meeting point, which is specified upon purchase, we were greeted by our tour guide Jerry who checked us in quickly and easily.

Jerry explained that all On Location Tours guides are working actors, meaning they know the business like the back of their hands and you might even get some cheeky insider stories at the same time.

Once we were all settled in, the tour began with a quick introductory video explaining all about On Location Tours and the company.

Beginning in the heart of Times Square, we saw where Jamie introduced Dylan to the word ‘flash mob’ in Friends With Benefits and the infamous steps which have been featured in many hits such as Glee and The Amazing SpiderMan.

With each locaction, we were also shown a clip of the most iconic scenes, putting everything into context and not having to worry if you haven’t seen a certain show or movie.

The next stop on the tour is Columbus Circle, home to some of the most expensive buildings in the Country, including Trump International and The Time Warner Center. Featured in movies such as Ghostbusters and Enchanted, it’s an extremely popular landmark.

Venturing down to Central Park South, we saw The Plaza Hotel, the most filmed building in the WORLD! You’ll recognise this grand building from some of Hollywood’s greatest, including Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Bride Wars and American Hustle.

At the front of the hotel is Pulitzer Fountain, the inspiration for the opening credits of Friends and where Blair and Serena dance in Gossip Girl.

We got to see how the other half live while passing through the luxurious Upper East Side, which was a basis for Gossip Girl. Barney’s is where Elaine from Seinfeld buys a dress and realises she doesn’t like how it looks and The Pierre Hotel is where Chandler and Monica tie the knot in Friends.

Continuing onto Fifth Avenue, we caught a glimps of the famous stores that have been featured in many big hits, like Tiffany’s and Co. which can be seen in Glee, New Year’s Eve and of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Passing the Hearst building that was the home of Runway magazine in The Devil Wears Prada, I whispered to myself “I’m going to work there one day”. A girl can dream, eh?!

More hot spots in this area include the New York Public Library, a filming location for 13 Going on 30, Ted 2, Sex and The City and many more.

Our journey continued to the Flatiron District and Washington Square Park. The Flatiron building, the most photographed building in New York, can be recognised from SpiderMan and Teentage Mutant Ninja Turtles while across the street, Madison Sqaure Park has been home to scenes from Anchorman 2, Something Borrowed and I Am Legend.

Washington Square Park is the location of Will Smith’s apartment in I Am Legend and the first stop of the tour. We all braved it off the coach into the pouring rain for a photo op.

Moving onto Tribeca, we had another photo opportunity, this time at the FDNY Hook & Ladder 8, known as the Ghostbuster’s Firehouse.

Greenwich village was the part of the tour I was looking forward to the most. It’s a picture perfect maze of cobblestone streets and townhouses…and also happens to be the home to the Friend’s apartment building.

Passing through Chelsea, we saw a few of the famous diners from Men in Black II and Broad City. Through Midtown, we saw the Macy’s in Herald Square, used in holiday classics such as Elf and Miracle on 34th Street.

The tour came to an end at McGee’s Pub, the inspiration for MacLaren’s Pub in How I Met Your Mother. On Location Tours customers can even recieve a discount in the pub, the perfect end to your NYC TV & Movie tour.

Costing $51 for adults and $35 for children aged 6-9, the tour is the perfect way to spend a morning in the City. It’s a great way to explore thriving Manhattan while following in the footsteps of your favourite stars.

The tour is available in various different languages and private and corporate tours are available. In an effort to stay current, On Location Tours constantly update their tours with brand new locations.

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I received complimentary tickets from On Location Tours in exchange for this post. All thoughts, opinions and New York love is my own.

Mean Girls on Broadway

On a drizzly night towards the end of December in New York City, I weaved my way through the bright lights of the Theatre District to West 52nd Street, home of the August Wilson Theatre. The blonde wig was on, which could only mean one thing…it was time for Mean Girls.

Tina Fey’s undoubted talent is brought to Broadway with the brand-new musical which started its run at the August Wilson Theatre in April 2018. With music from Jeff Richardson and lyrics by Nell Michaels, the delightfully hilarious comedy is directed by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw and produced by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson and Paramount Pictures.

Based on the 2004 cult classic movie of the same name, Mean Girls features an all-star cast and has been nominated for an outstanding 12 Tony nominations in its first year.

Erika Henningsen plays Cady Heron, a teenage girl who moved to the US from Kenya and upon starting her new life at public school, quickly realises that everyone isn’t as friendly as she first hopes.

Cady befriends Janis Sarkisian, played by Barrett Wilbert Weed, and Damian Hubbard, played by Grey Hensen, who teach her the ways of high school and the all important group- The Plastics – Regina George (Taylor Louderman), Gretchen Wieners (Ashley Park) and Karen Smith (Kate Rockwell).

Following the storyline and keeping the most well known one-liners of the OG Mean Girls the same: “On Wednesdays we wear pink.”, “Uh, whatever, I’m getting cheese fries.” and “She doesn’t even go here!”, the script keeps things fresh and relatable with some hilarious takes on modern, millennial life with jokes relevant to 2018, including comments on slut-shaming and Gretchen’s line “Sometimes I feel like an iPhone without a case. Like, I know I’m worth a lot, and I have a lot of good functions, but at any time I could just shatter”.

If the Mean Girls movie was set in the present day, things would be very different and I could imagine many of The Plastics’ jaunts being based on social media and following, with the word influencer being thrown around quite a bit.

The burn book has had an update, with entries such as “Vegan freak”, “Kardasheaint” and “Jessica Sampson can’t contour for sh-t”.

The musical numbers are incredibly catchy and I’ve had the cast recording on repeat since I returned home from the States. Songs such as Karen’s (Rockwell) ‘Sexy’ leaves audiences in stitches of laughter while the final number ‘I See Stars’ left me with a tear in my eye as I’m sure it did many others. Regina’s alluring ‘Someone Gets Hurt’ really shows off Louderman’s impeccable amount of talent and ‘Revenge Party’ is an upbeat hit with lots of dancing and a really cool costume change just beforehand (a wardrobe malfunction has happened in the past as Wilbert Weed explained on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but the cast remained professional and handled it with grace!)

The performance from every single cast member is in a class of its own, with each artist having an unparalleled dedication to their roles, keeping things fresh but not losing the orginial voice of the classic movie.

I would urge everyone living in or visiting the New York Area to see this phenomenal show, whether you’re a fan of the 2004 movie or just want to experience something new.

Mean Girls on Broadway is a definite must see and you will want to sit with them again, again and again.

 

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