I left my heart in New York City

I've been to New York before. Actually, this was my 3rd visit. But nothing could have prepared me for the trip I have just come home from. I travelled to New York to tour with my choir, Belfast Community Gospel Choir. We went on the invitation of the Lord Mayor of Belfast to sing at the New York New Belfast conference in Fordham University. We also managed to fit in a few church concerts including one in Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University. I am so pleased that my blogging BFF Avril from School Gate Style is also in choir (and had to share a room with me and 4 other hilarious women for a week!) It was great to be able to share this with her as I know when we are old and grey, we will still be talking about it. I easily could have made 20 different posts about New York and all my hopes of vlogging went out the window because we were so busy, but I hope you enjoy me talking through some of my pictures and videos of us singing from my time there. Get a cuppa tea.... it's going to be one LONG post!

Aeroplane selfies, same trainers and aeroplane outfit
We headed to Dublin airport to get our flight. 70 of us including our sound guy and musicians came with us so it was loud! An early start meant comfy travel outfits. Hilariously, Avril and I ended up in almost the exact same outfit which included identical stylish trainers from H&M. I wore NO makeup until I reached New York. I had my HD Brows and LVL lashes done by Studio D the night before we left so I felt flight ready. 

On the way there we sang on the plane (I was awake at 4.30am with 3 hours sleep....adrenaline definitely took over!) It was absolutely hilarious! The pilot and cabin crew loved it. We were really lucky to have someone to film all our special moments with us. 

Cupcakes from the hostel, Times Square, Sunglasses I liked in Michael Kors and an amazing sun dial compass mosaic at the Top of the Rock.
We stayed in the Hostelling International on Amsterdam Avenue. I am a HUGE hotel snob so I was a little anxious about staying there. However, I had the best 5 roomies from choir and the room was fantastic! The hostel is so clean and the bathrooms were big and tidy. I definitely would stay here again- the subway is just down the street making everything easily accessible. The little cafe in the hostel was really delicious and provided great quick food for the 70 of us who were constantly on the go! On the Wednesday night we visited Times Square and the Rockefeller Centre. I had never been to the Top of the Rock so up we went to see the city from this amazing location. I also managed to pick up a jumper in J Crew's sale for $30 while we were at Rockefeller Centre. I'm sure it will be in an OOTD soon!

On the way to the Rockefeller Centre, we threw ourselves down on the steps in Times Square for a song. Sure why not!? I really had a "Mariah moment" during this! I was doing all sorts of mental ad-libs!

View across Central Park, Bethesda Fountain, The Met
On Thursday we sang in Central Park at Bethesda Fountain. I had always wanted to go there because of the TV series Angels in America. We walked to Bethesda Fountain from our hostel which took about an hour but it provided some amazing views. After this, we headed down to Madison Avenue to grab some lunch. 
Sephora, New Balance 501s, Whole Foods munch, Soul Food
Friday and Saturday were very busy concert days so I made a pit stop to Sephora and bought all I wanted in 1 swoop! I think Sephora has lost part of its allure now that we can get it delivered to the UK and because so many of the brands are available here. I did however purchase a few things that aren't released here yet.... all to be revealed soon! We seemed to make daily visits to Whole Foods around the corner and I became obsessed with the number drinks on offer. I think I've just about tried every Vitamin Water on offer! Shopping came in really sporadic bursts so when Avril and I had a free hour after singing at Lincoln Centre, we called into Century 21 which is a store very like TK Maxx. I picked up New Balance 501's for £27! I wanted a pair at home but they often can be really expensive and I was always concerned I would not wear them much. Needless to say, they are SO comfortable! They were probably my best purchase.

Lots of the churches we sang in gave us food. A church in Brooklyn made us soul food to eat on the bus home. Fried chicken, drool!

Balthazar, Duane Reade haulin', singing in New Jersey, NY Blowdry!
The tour provided me with so many opportunities to visit places I would never get to go. From singing in Rutger's University in New Jersey to singing at an amazing baptist church in Harlem.... I feel like I had so many musical dreams come true! Outside of the music, I of course did a huge haul in the local Duane Reade pharmacy (5 minute teeth bleach all round!). I also went and had my hair blow-dried on Sunday afternoon as after a 5am start and two concerts, I could not lift my arms to blowdry it myself! Needless to say, it looked fabulous. The Americans know how to do big hair! On Monday, we celebrated Avril's birthday with a trip to Soho (which has the best shopping in my opinion!) and a lunch in Victoria Beckham's favourite restaurant Balthazar. We met Avril's blog friend Joanna from Poppy's Style and her friend Cali for lunch. It was lovely to spend time with them and I think Avril had the best birthday ever!

Overall, a life-changing trip which I can't put into words. I'm sure I will be featuring lots of new buys and products over the coming weeks so stay tuned!

That Belfast Girl

P.S. On the way home I found out I am nominated for Digital Journalist of the Year at the CIPR Media Awards 2014. I'm so happy to be representing the bloggers of this city!