Anyway, fast forward Valentine’s Day 2016 and I made my way to the ever glamorous Travelodge Heathrow Central to chill out and rest before my afternoon flight the next day to New York. I’d always wanted to stay over the night before near the airport for a flight as cab prices these days are ridiculous and with Heathrow being on the tube – why not! My Travelodge booking worked out at £20 in their Winter sale which is an absolute bargain compared to some of the other hotel chains in the area. I would highly recommend you booking in advance if you intend to stay the night before a flight.
Arriving in my room, I was absolutely shocked at the sheer size. It could probably fit two double beds in and still have room and amazingly it was all mine for one night. Me being me, my suitcase was thrown in the corner and I began to make myself at home for a short while. My room was on the third floor and I had some gorgeous views of Heathrow airport with planes landing and taking off. If you’re wondering about the noise of the planes, it was absolutely fine, just a mild hum in the background when aircrafts were nearby.
Having only been in the room an hour, I had just finished straightening my hair, walked back over to my bed and saw my glasses were broken. All I could think was …
I know I’m incredibly clumsy but breaking glasses has become my forte in recent years. Luckily, I had brought more than enough contact lenses to see me through my trip but they tend to dry my eyes out so I prefer the old specs for daytime use.
After the broken glasses saga, I knew I needed to eat to numb the pain of my clumsiness so I ventured out in search of food. I mapped out far the nearest McDonalds but I decided that a 2 mile walk in the dark was too much to ask myself. Instead I headed to the fine dining options of the Travelodge restaurant. It wasn’t as overpriced as I thought it’d be so I opted for their version of a meal for £12. This included a starter, main and a drink – I had the chicken goujons, fish and chips and a healthy glass of Pepsi. Surprisingly it was really good, hit the spot and was enough to put me to sleep. I lazily walked back to my room, tried to watch Mr Popper’s Penguins but sleep took over at the grand old-time of 8pm.
…However for some reason, I bolted awake at 3am. I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, not sure why, but hey ho, a quick browse through my social media feeds and I was back in dreamland until…I was woken up at 5am by a text from United Airlines informing me my flight was already delayed. UGH. Luckily it was only by 90 minutes but it meant my holiday was delayed too – I was so eager to get to the Big Apple!
When I woke up (again) a little later around 8am, it meant I could slow down in terms of getting ready. I hastily made a cup of coffee (or two), watched a little Jeremy Kyle and Loose women whilst getting airport ready. Is it me or is my airport outfit more strategic than anything these days? I opted for skinny jeans, Timberlands, a light sweater with my khaki green parka and my huge faux fur scarf thrown over. My tactic was to be comfy, somewhat stylish but mainly bloody WARM. The temperatures in New York the night before had plummeted to -10C. Is that even real? Legal? Allowed?
I think at this point it dawned on me that this was definitely a city break and not a sun-swept holiday that I am used to. I have never been anywhere colder than the UK so I guess there is a first time for everything. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that skiing holiday or Iceland trip just yet…
Anyway, after slapping on some make-up, making sure my suitcase could zip up and praying it was under 23kg, I headed on down to Heathrow airport. Thinking I could jump on one of the shuttle buses that run from the hotel, how wrong I was. They run every 30-45 minutes (I think), but of course I missed it. My time-keeping in 2016 is really slacking, so I got an Uber to Terminal 2 ready to get my NYC journey going. Whilst waiting for my friend, I had a good nose around the newly opened Terminal 2, known as The Queen’s Terminal, and was really impressed at how pretty and clean it was. I guess it isn’t called The Queen’s Terminal for nothing! Best of all, I weighed my luggage and it was under 23kg – my first achievement of 2016. Seriously, if you know me well, my bags are ALWAYS overweight, so this is definitely something that was worth celebrating.
After a short while, my friend arrived, we dropped our bags, went through security in search of shops and food.
Our flight was originally meant to take off at 4.05pm but due to the delay we had plenty of time to relax before our flight. We ate at London’s Pride by Fuller’s which is great if you want a hearty meal as plane food isn’t exactly the greatest. After this, I really needed some perfume, so it was a quick stop in duty-free before my favourite pre-holiday tradition… the champagne bar. Nothing like a glass of champagne or wine to get you in the jet-set mood, ease those pre-flight nerves and make you forget your overflowing e-mail inbox.
After a glass or two, we headed to our gate which seemed like it took forever and a year and realised we still had a little while before take off. Annoyingly, the 6pm flight had started boarding before ours and I’d started to wonder if we would ever actually get there…
A short while after we begun boarding and were finally in the air! On first thought… I wasn’t too impressed with the whole United plane or their whole service in all honesty. It was outdated, cramped and the screens were tiny. Maybe it’s because I’ve flown with Virgin and Emirates and I now expect so much more from long-haul flights. Anyway, after watching a movie, and falling asleep, I knew it wouldn’t be too long before we’d be in the city that never sleeps…
Until I was awoken by the worst turbulence I have experienced on all of my travels. Like seriously, it was so RUDE, I just wanted to sleep! I don’t want to divulge any further incase you are afraid of flying but we landed in Newark (NEW JERSEY YOOO) a few hours later and were greeted by a blankety landscape of snow.
We joined a lengthy line to go through passport control, grabbed our luggage and a taxi to our hotel in Manhattan. The whole airport rush made me so hot and sweaty that once I stepped foot outside I didn’t really have a chance to climatise as next thing I knew we were in a cab!
Looking out the cab window and taking in New Jersey in all its glory, I couldn’t wait to unpack, get some sleep and explore NYC the next day…
We arrived at our hotel (The Quin) a little after 10pm and I was amazed at how gorgeous the lobby was, not to mention our huge room! Seriously, if you are ever in New York, this place is worth a stay.
As our flight was delayed, we were unsure if we were gonna go out or not (our other friends were arriving a little later than us too). So instead, we freshened up a little and headed to Duane Reade. If that makes any sense to you… NYC has 24 hour drugstores. Literally the best thing ever – if you need new foundation or $6 wine at 3am, this is the place to be. They even had half price Valentine’s chocolate boxes… Not that I bought any but I did stock up on my favourite Ogx shampoo and some other bits not worth mentioning!
Anyway, I think this blog has been long and boring enough so I will leave this here for the moment. I will have more in store for you in the rest of my NYC blogs!