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Pretentious Fringe


Tips for New York…

September 14, 2015

I’m very lucky and this past week and a half I have lived in New York whilst working for one of my clients.  This is not a normal state of affairs and rarely happens so I have lived it up as much as I can!

I have a great post coming up on the things that I have tried here in NY and how to replicate them in London.  As I put the finishing touches on this here are my tips for when you are in New York.

Tip 1
This seems obvious and everyone seems to know it but you must tip!  I am surprised to overhear so many conversations in restaurants where tourists are refusing to tip.  People you know that it is a cultural norm here, that people rely on these tips to live so just do it!  Not sure how much?  Rule of thumb do +20% and don’t forget to leave housekeeping $2-$4 per day as the staff rotate so don’t leave it until the end.

Tip 2
The doors open out towards the sidewalk and often don’t have push or pull signs on them!  So if you are trying to look local remember when you are leaving the door goes away from you and when you arrive to pull it towards you!

Tip 3
You’ll want to shop and my tip here is only buy American brands.  They are really cheap here but anything European or Asian typically is more expensive due to imports taxes.  So say yes to MAC makeup, Victoria’s Secret underwear and Steve Madden shoes but no to Louis Vuitton or Hermes!

Tip 4
Catch the subway and if like me you are here for a week get a 7 day ticket.  The way the ticket works is that black stripe faces you when you swipe it through!  Try and remember this so you don’t end up with grumpy New Yorkers behind you like I did the first couple of times!

Have a great week



Things to do in London – cheap tickets to Miss Saigon and dinner at Wahaca…

September 6, 2015
Last weekend some of my favourite people in the world arrived to live in London.  I am sooo excited!  These two are ‘yes’ people and I know that I will have many +1 invitations and fun things to do.  Catching up with them reminded me of how much I love living in London and all the great things like frequent trains, supermarkets everywhere, heaps of theatre shows and places to explore.

What started out as a possible early lunch date turned into a drink in a pub, early dinner at Wahaca and catching Miss Saigon to finish the evening.

Have you ever been to the Wahaca on Wardour Street?  If you ever do make sure you use the bathrooms!  We all went at separate times and all had the same reaction!  I don’t want to give anything away but they are really well designed and interesting to use.

Miss Saigon was a wonderful show and it you want to see it go quick as it finishes early 2016 in London.  I had seen one scene at the Royal Variety show which was all about The American Dream and the costumes were fantastic.  The show is very sexual and has a 12+ rating although I would have thought it should be a bit higher given the very graphic dancing in the opening scene.  Maybe I am just getting old!!

Thanks to my fresh eyed friends we got seats really close to the stage.  I haven’t been that close to the stage seat wise for ages as I normally book ahead and can only afford the levels above.  Nothing wrong with this but we all know the shows are really staged and directed for the front row audience so it is nice to see everything from this perspective.  So how did we get these great tickets?  One of my friends went to the TSTK booth the morning of the show, stood in line for a few minutes and got us great seats.  Easy!


Hope you are having a lovely weekend.





September 2, 2015

I was invited last week to see the theatre production of 1984.  I was vaguly aware of the book and more familiar with the Apple advertisement based on the dystopian society.

Throwing caution to the wind I decided to not google any of the storyline as so many plays I go to now I have already read about.  This proved to be the best bet as part of the story is trying to understand the confusing thoughts of the main character.

The production at The Playhouse Theatre was done incredibly well with lots of effects allowing the mind of Winston Smith to be convered with only one major scene change.  For those that are familiar with the book I believe you would be impressed with the play’s storyline and its ability to stay faithful to the storyline.

My tips for this play if you decide to go note that there is no interval and some gruesome scenes near the end that you might have to turn away from.  I certainly did!



August Reading…

August 30, 2015

I love to read and am known for getting through a book in a day if the mood takes me!  My childhood was full of trips to libraries and begging for my parents to let me buy books from the monthly school list.

Now with the internet my reading is primarily online but I still get my kicks out of the paperback.  I haven’t gone over to the kindle yet but that is more because I am on screen all day at work and prefer to be off at home.

So I thought I would do a regular segment on what I have read each month.  Enjoy!

I devoured two books this month on holidays in Prague.  If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen me post these photos.

The Bees, by Laline Paull, was recommended to me through the Baileys Womens Prize for Fiction.  A tale of a bee in her hive and the story of its lifecycle had me intrigued from the start and I kept going back for more.

Actually the second book I read is also recommend from the same prize and was called The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters.  This was set post war in London and it was intersting to read the descriptions of life around that time and the hardships/wounds that everyone who survived seemed to bear.

Here are a few of my online shorter reads you might be interested in.

Want to make financial changes in your life?  Mr Money Mustache belives everyone can ‘retire’ in seven years with some hard saving.

Every had coffee or for me it is my hot chocolate spill out of your takeaway cup.  Turns out the design of the cup is a perfect tsunami in the making!  This article has a great video if you would rather then having to read anything.

And finally if you want to live the life of a digital nomad then read Vickie Binz’s post from a conference in Berlin where many nomads shared how they changed their lives.

Happy reading


Off to join the circus…

August 26, 2015

I’m always up for learning new things and taking on a challenge so when I saw a poster for Gorilla Circus and their flying trapeze I thought why not.  Inspired by Carrie in Sex and the City surely it would be a great two hours of fun and laughs…

Ha famous last words.  It was completely terrifying, I cried and had my eyes closed each time I swung!  Turns out I have trust issues!!!

Not one to give up I ventured back again last week and now knowing what to expect I was a lot calmer.  There were still nerves climbing up the ladder but this time my eyes were open and I was able to get my timing right.

So this meant I did the catch!  It was the most fun I have had in a long time and I felt so alive for ages afterwards.  I now understand why people want to run away and join the circus.

Gorilla Circus are currently in London parks but move to an indoor Greenwich address over winter. Don’t despair if you look and the timeslots are booked out as they only release one month at a time.

Here are my tips;

  • Wear long leggings.  One of the ladies was wearing shorts and her legs were all beaten up!
  • The ladder you climb wobbles and makes noises but is really secure!
  • The bar is much heavier then you think to give you momentum
  • You have to jump.  Nothing happens until you go and your mind is probably telling you not to but you just have to jump!
  • If something goes wrong the guy on the harness will catch you and you get to fly like superman!

Happy flying!!!




Reflections and good food in Lisbon…

August 23, 2015

I have a few group holidays coming up with friends this year so I really wanted to do something for myself to recharge. I’m madly saving for a flat in London which is soooo hard but with some ingenious thinking I made the trip happen.

I used frequent flyer points to get to Lisbon with BA and due to availability had to go business class on the way there!  Free champagne and unlimited warm scones were not Paleo but I did enjoy them! I booked so far ahead I got this great little Airbnb which was a perfect size for me and located near the main city areas for beautiful cafes and long wandering walks of reflection.



I did two tours which were good to get a sense of the area and help me explore places I wouldn’t have before.  The first was a general tour about Lisbon with Lisbon Walker.  These guys are great for the solo traveler as you just rock up and they do the tour rain or shine!  I learnt a lot about the area post the major earthquake and got to ride a local tram that was over 100 years old.

The second tour was with Lisboa Autentica, at night on their gastronomy tour.  So much fun on this tour tasting lots of different Portuguese foods.  The best bit were the custard tarts as they were still warm from the oven!  This tour group has a min of two so if you are on your own you will need to flexible so that they can join you to another group.

Have you been travelling recently?  Where are you off to next?