Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Girlfriend/ Boyfriend Questions Tag Video

Hello, toasters!
So before I left for New York, Dan and I made a tag video!
It's been something I've wanted to do with him for a while now, and it was a lot of fun messing about and making this video.
I've literally had to cut out a solid 20 minutes of giggling and complaining about his awful handwriting, but here is the finished product....

Don't forget to like and subscribe, and maybe let me know how you'd answer any of the questions?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Top 10 things to do in New York

Hello, toasters!
I've just come back from a week-long break in New York with my Grandma, which was a huge life experience which I will never, ever forget.

Me and Mary at the top of the Empire State building

One thing that no one ever tells you is quite how big the big apple really is.
Everywhere you go, on every street corner, is something new and exciting that takes your breath away.
Except in Harlem.
In Harlem, every street corner holds a gang ready to take your money away.
(cue the torrent of abuse that will undoubtedly rain down on me for that statement)

Moving on...
Today I want to write about the Top 10 things to do in NYC
I mainly wanted to write this post because most of the articles I found online were either by companies trying to ultimately sell you their attraction, or just simple bullet point lists that didn't offer too much information.

So here is, in my opinion, the Top 10 things to do in New York City:

1. Walk around Central Park
Resting bang in the middle of Manhattan is Central Park. The really strange thing is how one minute you are standing beside skyscrapers in a bustling street, and the next you are in a tranquil, picture-perfect postcard. Personally, I usually avoid gardens and public parks, but I'd definitely recommend visiting this one- it's just so bizarrely peaceful. The most popular places there are in the southern half of the park (below the great reservoir) and I'd definitely advise you visit Belvedere Castle, the turtle pond, and the Mall- a walkway which you'll recognise from countless films. Unless you're a huge Beatles fan, I wouldn't go to the Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial, because it really is just a simple mosaic on the floor, and the rest of the park has much more impressive sights.

2. Visit The MoMA
While I was in New York, I visited several galleries, including the Met and the Guggenheim. Whilst the Met was awesomely expansive (holding 2 million pieces) and the Guggenheim had some of the most astounding architecture (the building itself is a work of art and puts every piece it houses to shame), I found I enjoyed the MoMA best of all.
It was clearly being constantly updated to keep things fresh and interesting, and had 6 floors of galleries which covered everything from abstract installation work to Pop art.
One of the things I liked most was that I got to see some of the world's most famous paintings, including Monet's waterlilies, Salvador Dali's melting clock piece, Andy Warhol's Campbell's soup prints and Van Gogh's Starry Night. I always find seeing famous artwork in the flesh completely changes your preconception of it, so it really is worth a visit, especially for those with an existing interest in modern art.

3. John's Pizzeria
Found on 260 West 44th Street is America's largest (and possibly tastiest!) pizzeria. It's in what used to be a church, but has now been altered to fit 500 guests for dinner. You may have to wait about 20 minutes at the bar for a table, but its well worth it. While you wait, you can see the two old-fashioned brick ovens that cook the pizzas, and the chefs spinning the dough and adding the fresh ingredients to your liking. The pizzas taste indescribably good, and its pretty easy on the wallet too. Including tip, a large pizza and 3 or 4 drinks cost about $25-30.

4. Broadway Theatre
Whilst in NYC, you must do at least one Broadway show. It's popular for a reason, right? Right!
For many of the big shows you can pay up to $150 for a good seat, but there are half-price ticket booths and off-Broadway shows that cost less.
While we were there, we saw Pippin and Kinky Boots. Kinky Boots was really good, with witty music written by Cyndi Lauper, but Pippin was by far my favourite, and is now one of my favourite shows I have ever seen. As a costume design student, I've seen quite a lot of shows, so that's saying quite a bit!
Imagine the best acrobatics you've seen, and some of the best acting performances, and throw in some really catchy original songs and funny moments that has the audience in stitches for a good few minutes,  and you've got Pippin.
I was unsure before I saw it, as I hadn't heard too much about it, but now I just cant wait to see if they bring it to the UK.
My main piece of advice for deciding what show to see, is to not see something that's available in your own country. Why see America's version of Mamma Mia! when its available in London?

5. Going up Skyscrapers
I was lucky enough to go up to the top observation decks of two different buildings, as we had the New York Pass. I'd definitely recommend it, because it grants you free admission to many landmarks, galleries and boat tours. In fact, a lot of what we did in New York was due to the New York Pass.
We decided to go the Empire State building on our 2nd day, and we went quite early to avoid large amounts of people. There's a saying at the Empire State building- 'go early, go late, or be prepared to wait'- and it's definitely worth getting up a little earlier, because as well as missing queues, it means that less people are up on the observation deck, crowding your view.
We also went to the Top of the Rock (the Rockerfeller Centre) at night, to see the city in a completely different light, literally.
The last elevator up was at 11pm, and even the lift up was amazing as the elevator had a glass roof, so you could see the floors you were hurtling past.
I'd say it was really good going at two completely different times of day, as NYC seems to change completely between night and day.

6. Discovery Times Square
This is something a little different from the others- its an exhibition space which features many different types of shows. We had a choice between Body Worlds- an exhibition showcasing donated bodies that had been preserved via plastination, or The Art of the Brick. We chose the latter, as we had just eaten and didn't particularly feel like staring at fleshless bodies.
The Art of the Brick was an interesting and innovative exhibition featuring the works of Nathan Sawaya. Absolutely everything was made from Lego bricks, and it was fascinating to see how a simple child's toy could become such a complex work of art.

7. Sightseeing Cruise
We chose the NY Water Taxi as we could hop-on and hop-off all day, but there are loads to choose from. Most of the tours are about 90 minutes long and have a tour guide to tell you all about the city and it's surrounding Boroughs. It's fantastic to see Manhattan from the water, as you get to view many uninterrupted angles of the epic skyline. Most cruises also sail past the Statue of Liberty, and gives you the perfect photo opportunity. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, and arrived in thousands of pieces? This was incredibly problematic, as the U.S. didn't have enough money to put it together, and almost had to send it back. However, fundraising took off due to a local newspaper printing the names of every donor on their front page, and it raised $102,000 so the project could go forward.

8. The 9/11 Reflecting Pools Memorial
It really goes without saying that this memorial is something you cannot miss. What struck me was the sheer vastness of the waterfalls, and it really showed you how big the towers must have been. Even just walking around each of the pools took a good 5 minutes.
Another thing you notice straight away is the care and dedication that has been put into making the memorial utterly beautiful and thoughtful,  saving it from being just another tacky tourist destination.

9. Dylan's Candy Bar
A complete haven for everyone with a sweet tooth, Dylan's candy bar offers three floors of mouth-watering goodies. From freshly made fudge, to bacon flavoured chocolate, to giant gummy bears, this shop really is the motherlode of candy stores. Upstairs is an ice cream bar, but most interestingly, an actual bar, serving alcoholic drinks with a sugary twist. I was gutted that I couldn't try any of them (the drinking age in America is 21) but I have been told that they are amazing.
Another great thing about Dylan's, is that their prices are really quite reasonable. And in New York, everything seems to be really expensive (thanks very much, Mr. exchange rate). So it makes this shop a great place to pick up some quirky and delicious gifts to take home that wont break the bank!

10. Stand in Times Square for 15 minutes
They say that if you stand in Times Square for 15 minutes, you'll see someone you know. Or at least, a doppelganger of someone you know. But the reason that this is on my list is because, despite all of the art galleries and amazing restaurants, what makes New York so special is the street life. Everyone is so friendly, and interesting, and bizarre, and the more you stop and just look around, the more you understand why so many songs have been written about the city. In Times Square, the hundreds of screens are completely mesmerising, set against the dizzying heights of the buildings behind them.
So my final thing I advise you to do in New York, is to open your eyes.
Take a look around, explore!
It's a beautifully busy melting pot of cultures and colours, and it needs time to be appreciated.

So there it is, my list of the Top 10 things to do in New York!
I hope you've found it useful and interesting, and if you have anything to add, please let me know!
See you soon,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

See you next week!

Hello, toasters!
By this time tomorrow, I'll be in New York City!
I'm going for a week with my Grandma, and we intend to see all the sights and a lot of Broadway, and hopefully not get mugged in Brooklyn...
So my next post will be just after the 19th, just thought I'd let you know in case you get worried about my sudden silence!
See you on the other side!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What being Homealone means...

Hello, toasters!
So, the other day, I found myself being homealone.
And somewhere between having a staring competition with the dog and sleeping in a random place (on top of the kitchen table), I decided to make a video exploring the odd things we do in a homealone situation.
Now whether its having more naps than an old person, or allowing yourself to fart loud and proud, we all act differently when alone. Admit it!
....actually, on a side note, I take the former back. I'm a student, who am I kidding? I have more naps in a day than Madonna has adopted children.
So without further ado, here is my 'What Being Homealone Means' video.

Music by Dan-O at

What do you guys do when you're homealone then? Let me know :)
And if you really love me, subscribe using any of the options in the right-hand sidebar

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why I hate Student Finance England & what I would do to them if I had the chance...

So I am an art student, entering into my second year at University.
Or, at least, I hope I will be.
Because, although I have achieved very respectable grades, I might not be let back in.
Why, you might ask?
Well lets turn to Student Finance England for that one.
It turns out these assholes haven't processed my application yet. Not any one of the three applications that I have sent them, over the course of several months. And I need to sort my tuition fee payments before I can re-enrol.

So as I was having a delightful discussion with one of their employees on the phone today (by 'delightful', I mean not at all useful and almost impossible to understand due to his thick Irish accent), you can imagine my delight at being told vague answers to quite straight forward applications.
Me: 'When will I know about the status of my application?'
SFE: 'Every application is different. It could be fourty milliseconds, it could be three lightyears from now'
Me: 'Have you even received my application? I sent the last one more than three weeks ago by recorded delivery'
SFE :'Everything we receive by post takes up to 10 days to be scanned into the system. I have no record of it being in the system'
Me: 'But I sent it more than twenty one days ago'
SFE: 'Oh look, a butterfly'
*Student Finance England then hangs up on me*
Absolutely. Freaking. Delightful.

What I don't understand is how clearly understaffed they are.
What, they can't hire a few more people to scan in postal orders, or look through forms to see that everything is in check?
Yes, I know that students are a large demographic, but seriously? It's not like you can pretend to be surprised by these numbers
You do the same thing year in year out.
Hasn't one person in the company got the common sense to think hmmm, it's only Frank and Bob down there, scanning in the entire student populations' application forms, maybe we should hire a couple more people to help.
10 days to literally just scan a few pages?! Is that a joke?

Take a minute to think about it... have you ever actually known anyone, anyone at all, that has had a good experience with this company?
I bet the answer is no.
Student Finance England: Forever screwing people over from possibly the most financially vulnerable demographic there is.

And another thing that makes this whole situation even more unbearable?
When I go on to their website, they proudly announce the launch of their new student finance magazine!
So instead of actually getting work done, you've been pissing around releasing a magazine that no-one will ever read unless they are stuck on a desert island, and it's the only piece of literature available. And maybe not even then.
Cheers for that, SFE.

So here is a list of what I would do to the Student Finance England company, had I the chance:
  1. I would lock them in a room with Keith Lemon and Janet Street-Porter.
  2. I would spend my entire maintenance loan- if it ever arrives- on cooking oil. I would boil said oil, and then dip each member of staff in. (I realise this one is a bit dark, but then again, I'm pretty angry and upset right now)
  3. I would superglue headphones to their ears and put 'Friday' on repeat.
  4. I would enter them into the Hunger Games
  5. I would visit their offices, and glue everything to the ceiling- chairs, desks, papers and all (Just like the monkeys did in Roald Dahl's The Twits)
  6. I would leave them on the edge of outer space.
  7. I would make them sit through Gordon Brown reading the whole of the Old Testament, and every time they fell asleep, they'd lose a finger. 
  8. I would drop them in North Korea with an important-looking briefcase containing documents written in code.
  9. I would attach them to Jedward, one on each hip.
  10. I would make them go back to University, and apply for a loan through their own system.
Okay, rant over.
And I've got to say, I feel a little better already.
Next time, I promise I'll be more upbeat!
I just seriously needed to get that off my chest
See you next time,
P.S. If you hate them as much as I do, take a look at the Board members page on their website. I think this is good for a couple of reasons...
1. It helps direct your anger.
2. I found slight relief in laughing at their awful photographs, mainly because two thirds of them look like the socially-awkward guests at a barbeque. The ones where the other guests spend well over an hour debating if they'll ever get laid, and if there's any truth in the claim they have an Oedipus complex.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My New Haircut!

Hello, toasters!
So today I had my haircut.
I always love going to the hairdressers.
Not so much the trying to stay awake when they're blow-drying your hair oh-so-rhythmically, but the idea that I can try something new.
Take a look at the vlog to see the new style :)

While I didn't want to go for anything too outrageous, I opted for a centre parting, with tousled layers and a fringe that I'm still learning how to see out of.
What do you think of the new cut? Let me know!

P.S. Don't forget to subscribe! Because then we can be friends and I can make us cookies.
I make good cookies.