Tourist Trap: New York, New good they named it twice.

Tourist Trap

What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

Tourist Trap

Photographs all my own unless otherwise stated.

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” ~~Tom Wolfe

“If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.” ~~Peter Shaffer

I love New York City, Manhattan the place where dreams are made off. Walk down the gridded streets and avenues and watch the world pass before you. The hustle and bustle, everybody rushing around except the tourists who linger and gaze in wonder at the spectacle before their eyes. The noise, which is on times deafening, the continual sound of car horns and taxi cab madness. The vibe that unique NYC vibe. The culture. The vibrant buzz of a life you have never lived or witnessed before.

New York, what can I say? from the first time I looked out of my Continental Airlines 747 window as we approached Newark Airport I fell in love. It was September on that occasion and a lovely if chilly sunny day. I walked with my eldest daughter into the airport and practically died from excitement when we passed the  ”Welcome to the United States of America” sign.


My first encounter with a living breathing New Yorker was the hot guy called ‘Derek’ who was on passport control at Newark Airport and who flirted delightfully with the two British blondes in front of him. A great welcome indeed.

We travelled by car the first time from New Jersey into Manhattan and the sight as we arrived took my breath away, for there in my eye’s view was the Empire State Building in the distance and I thought I was in heaven, then finally we turned onto 8th Avenue & 34th Street and I remember looking out of the cab window and gazing up at the New Yorker Hotel to the right of us thinking ”Wow! that’s iconic” that moment has always stayed in my mind.

photo my own

Times Square I admit is best avoided after you have done the first visit, it’s a typical tourist trap but actually at night-time its mind blowing..I love to sit alone at the top of the red steps and watch the world go by. It fascinates me. But in the daytime Times Square as I say is best avoided. New Yorker’s do not go there..they just pass through quickly on the commute to work.

My daughter loves Greenwich Village and yes there is something fabulous about it. Even John Lennon wished he had been born there,get me an apartment with a stoop outside so I can pretend to be Carrie Bradshaw! 

I personally adore Little Italy, Heaven on earth for me is fresh Cannoli in Little Italy surrounded by the mafia ‘Tony Soprano’ types…I love that vibe.( but then I was always a bit odd!) 

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If you have not eaten Cannoli you have not lived. Come with me to Ferrara Bakery and Cafe between Mott and Mulberry and join me with a plate of their famous, irresistible to die for Cannoli, filled with ricotta cream and chocolate chip or maybe indulge in Chocolate Dipped Cannoli, (choccy dipped crispy tube , with ricotta cream and chocolate chips) accompanied by one of their flavoured cappuccino of the day or if its past lunchtime  live wildly and try their Italian ‘Black Tie’ which is a double espresso, with black Sambucu and whipped cream.

I often wonder if I am the only woman on the planet to find the New Jersey Transit train exciting? To be thrilled at trundling through Penn Station with the masses and literally finding that amazing? Am I also the only women who loves the New York subway in general? Very probably.

I love Central Park so much I think I should be allowed to pitch a tent permanently there so I can sit and happily live my days in a world of wonder,in fact my tent should be by Alice in Wonderland don’t you think?  But am I Alice or the Mad Hatter is the question? When I die I want a bench in my name, it shall be written in my will.

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Walk with me to Magnolia Bakery on 6th Ave  for cupcakes.

Lets go for lunch to The City Bakery on West 18th Street moments from 5th Avenue  ( grilled cheese to die for!)

There is one neighbourhood I have yet to have a good adventure in and that’s Brooklyn…but the day shall dawn..countdown to my next visit!


In New York City nobody knows me or knows my history, my failings, my insecurities,  my over thinking, my extremly sensitive bursts into tears over anything self.  In New York I am one of many, walking through the streets, looking up at the skyscrapers, sitting in Bryant Park or passing by the Met, I am one of  the dreamers gazing into the Windows of Tiffany’s on 5th or hoping Donald Trump will walk out of Trump Towers and see I am the future of his empire!

In New York City I am one of thousands lost in the City of Dreams.

New York I miss you, Native New Yorkers I adore you and I will return to you soon.

Love from the Welsh Tourist who longs to be a citizen of the greatest city on this planet.

New York New good they named it twice.



Fireside Chat: Elvis Aaron Presley and I

Fireside Chat

What person whom you don’t know very well in real life — it could be a blogger whose writing you enjoy, a friend you just recently made, etc. — would you like to have over for a long chat in which they tell you their life story?

Fireside Chat

image pinterest

Elvis Aaron Presley and I would sit beside a roaring fire, with a nice cup of tea and he would look at me gently and I would ask him this question:

‘What really happened Elvis? What is the true story of your life?’

And Elvis would describe to me all about the poverty and hardship during his childhood. He would tell me how his meteoric rise to fame was a little too much for a young country boy to comprehend.

Elvis would tell me what spiritual books he read and his thoughts on the esoteric writings and how nowadays nobody would think twice about it or be perplexed by his search for the meaning of his life. He would tell me how it felt to be so misunderstood spiritually.

Elvis would then take me on the journey through the Hollywood years to the Vegas years and he would tell me the truth not the tabloid myths we are all led to believe.

Elvis would express to me his love for his daughter Lisa Marie and explain what really went wrong with his marriage to Priscilla.

Elvis would clear the veils of illusion and shed light upon his illnesses so badly misinformed to the masses by the press and he would look into my eyes with his own beautiful blue orbs and say this to me:

‘Now you have heard my story from my birth in 1935 to 1976, please put another log upon the fire and I will for the first time ever since I joined my heavenly father explain to you what really happened in 1977 and that fateful August 16th day’

And I then by the fireside I will finally know his story.

Just Elvis Aaron Presley and I.


Once upon a time in a faraway land, you were my friend…

The Unreliable Narrator

This week, consider the unreliable narrator — a classic storytelling device — in your own work, no matter your genre.

Consider a short personal essay explaining your take on the topic. As a reader, how do you feel when you’ve been duped — by a character, by a story


That was a lot of lying for one person to do. Here, sit down. You must be exhausted.


This a true story. This is a sad story of betrayal, lies and deceit.

You were my friend for many years.

One day with no warning you just simply walked away.

”Please understand” you said and left with no other words.

You never looked back.

You were my friend.

I helped you dry your tears.

I gave you confidence when you were scared.

I made you believe in yourself.

I was there when the chips were down.

When no one else had time for you, I was never too busy.

I went without sleep to sit and listen through the be your rock.

You were my friend.

I gave you the best years of my life.

All I wanted was for the respect and friendship to be returned.

I trusted you.

I told you my life.

You were my friend.

I confided my deepest thoughts to you.

I told you my fears.

You knew all my wishes, hopes and dreams.

You were my friend.

I thought you truly cared.

I believed  you would never leave my side and would be my special forever friend.

I listened and accepted all your lies.

I fell for all those stories that you weave, oh how finely that web was woven 

One day I found out the truth, and so you said goodbye and walked away.

”Please understand” were your last words.

You were my friend.

But now you have gone and you are not ever coming back.

And now there’s another chip off an already broken heart.

No I don’t ”understand”  I’m sorry to say.  

I did not deserve such betrayal.

You know what you did  and you show no remorse.

You promised me you would never leave, but you did, without turning to look back.

You broke your promise.  

I have other long-term friends who are true and they care for me.

These sweet angelic people cope with my worsened insecurities and pick up the pieces of the emotional mess you left behind.

All these people are real, they exist and really care for me.


You are just a fairytale….a cruel and sad fairytale with an unhappy ending.

”Please understand” you said.


This is the only time I will say this to you.

No, I don’t ”understand” and no I can’t ”understand”.

I tried so hard to be the friend you needed.

I tried to save you from yourself.

Did you laugh at me behind my back?

Were your  friends amused along side you?

You have hurt me and you don’t seem to care.

But I forgive you.

You were my friend.

I hope you find what it is you are searching for.

I pray you throw away your ugly mask that you hide behind because it’s a cruel joke.

Destroy that hideous monkey on your back, before it destroys you.

And please find truth and love and light.

You were my friend.

I wish you love and peace and happiness.

Please never forget you were my friend. 

Goodbye forever.

How did I get mixed up with this fucking monkey anyhow?



Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile

Autumn Leaves

Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread?

i love autumn

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” Nora Ephron.

Image my own
Image my own


My 2 daughters have inherited my love for Autumn ( or ‘Fall’ for my American followers 🙂 I think its a genetic code, you either grow up loving hot balmy summer days and if you do, its a sure bet your parents loved those days too. In my case ( and my two girls) its end of September going into October that we love. There is something about Autumn that calms my soul, the leaves changing colour, the fresh crisp air after the sticky August many things. Here I shall list my loves in no particular order.

1. Cosy fair Isle sweaters and cardigans…in fact anything that resembles what we call ‘The Christmas Jumper’

Image my own
Image my own

2. Children going back to school in new uniforms and shiny shoes .

3. Buying the new stationary for your child..the pencils and eraser’s and pens and that all important new pencil case.

4. Conker picking

Image my own
Image my own

5. Trees changing colour slowly from green to rust coloured hues.

6. Chopping the logs ready for the soon to be lit roaring fire.

7. Winter boots..better still Uggs…or even better than that, the new Dubarry or Ryedale boots.(want want want)

8. The first Starbucks of the autumn season, either my favourite ‘Toffee nut’ Latte or the next best thing Pumpkin Spice Latte. ( and then as my daughter reminded me, taking a photo of it and putting it on instagram for the world to ohhh and ahhh in wonder!)

9.  Wooly scarfs

10. Warm cosy gloves

11. Any cosy clothing in reds and burnt orange tones.

12. Christmas starting to show itself in store ( yes sad I know, but it reminds us that cosy days are a-coming!)

13. Halloween

14. Pumpkins with candles inside

15. Spiced apple and cinnamon scented candles

Image my own
Image my own


16. Curling up on the sofa with a lovely soft throw and the fire crackling and watching a good old feelgood movie .

17. Curling up by that fire with the doggies and a good book

18. Walking the dogs in the crisp woodland behind my house

19. Watching with great pleasure for the millionth time ” You’ve Got Mail”

Quote from "You've Got Mail." {Which incidentally was a remake of the play-turned-classic 1940 flick "The Shop Around the Corner" starring Jimmy Stewart and Margarte Sullivan.}

20. Closing my seasonal tearoom at the end of October, taking a deep breath and then doing and enjoying all the above.


Brevity is just not in my DNA

Brevity Pulls

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal
Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?

"I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English--it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in." ~Mark Twain
I tend to border on verbosity as followers of my original blog are well aware. I basically just talk to much!
So this week I decided I needed to put a notice upon the front door window of my tea room. I needed to get the point across and yet not waffle on so I tried to find a middle ground and I think I succeeded at least I hope so.
Brevity is just not in my DNA.
Image my own
Image my own

Ten minutes set in the 1960’s

Ready, Set, Done

Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

image my own
image my own

I have decided to write about the thoughts I have been having today and that’s about earliest memory.

So here I go 10 minutes of writing…tick tock

My earliest memory is not in HDTV but very much in an ethereal grey tone.


I must have been about 4 years old, maybe even three, I was.very young and I know it was about 1968 because the memory is set in my grandparents pub in Tiger Bay Cardiff in the sixties, so I guess its around 1967/1968 ..(my grandfather passed away towards the end of 1968 at only 49 years old and my grandmother gave up the tenancy of the pub not long afterwards.
I digress
I am walking down a long dimly lit corridor with my grandmother, it must be early morning, because when we reach a dark wooden front door, my grandmother opens it and there stands the milkman with several bottle of milk in a crate and a small glass childsize bottled one for me, I remember being thrilled when he put a straw through the silver top lid for me and off I toddle back down the hallway clutching my bottle of milk, I know this hallway leads into the bar and there was the cleaner who is called ‘Kitty’ and she is sat at the old piano playing some rag time music and singing away to my grandmother herself wipes down the bartop.and polishes the brass beer pumps with Brasso.
There is a man in the corner of the room and he is renewing the vinyl 45 singles in the jukebox, the ones he removes he hands to my grandmother who then gives them to my mother who went on to play them at home on the radiogram ( she still has them) these jukebox records differ in that they do not have a middle plastic piece like shop bought records..the jukebox records have a large open hole in the middle of the disc, I can clearly see that on the ones he holds out to her with the ”Decca’ Label on the front.
We are then upstairs in a small room, there is a kitchen sink against a large window which over looks a corrugated roof which I presume was on the ‘lean- to’ building underneath.
The Radiogram is on tuned into some station and Engelbert Humperdinck is singing the Last Waltz in the background.
My Grandfather Jack is home from sea ( he is a Captain in the Merchant Navy) Jack is a tough cookie but when it comes to me he is a pussycat and he keeps my pictures on the bridge of his ship.
My grandparents and I in the back room of the North and South
My grandparents and I in the back room of the North and South
Jack is sat at the old wooden table the long sleeves of his shirt rolled up and a Senior Service cigarette between his lips..he is surrounded by smoke and he is counting out what I presume to be the takings from the night before.
He is stacking the coins into high piles..the old British coinage before decimal came in, he is stacking them into hundreds, tens and units. He hands me a few of those coins with a smile.
I watch him fascinated and to this day when I cash up I do it like my grandfather, coins into piles…the habits we learn when very young and just observing.
It is raining outside and the rain is falling onto that outside corrugated roof with a clatter adding to the greyness of my memory.
There is no colour in my mind only misty grey but it is a nice first memory.


My grandparents being given a present by the staff and Customers in North and South
My grandparents being given a present by the staff and Customers in North and South
There my ten writing minutes are now up with 50 seconds to spare!
By the way the photo’s are of the original North and South, Louisa Street…here is The Last Waltz to complete my memory and my ten minutes of writing.
Images of The North and South courtesy of the Welsh online media,

Dont play with destiny

Advantage of Foresight

You’ve been granted the power to predict the future! The catch — each time you use your power, it costs you one day (as in, you’ll live one day less). How would you use this power, it at all?

image my own
image my own

Never play with fate and your destiny because you may not like what you find if you alter your path.

“Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge. “

Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC Chinese Poet

image my own
image my own


xoxo C.

Weekly Photo Challenge : Fork in the road

This week, share a photo that says “adventure.” It could be an image of someone setting off on an epic journey, a photo you took on an adventure of your own, or something more metaphoric that represents a personal or psychological adventure. We’re excited to see where you’ll take us!

One man and his 2 dogs walk peacefully into the forest ahead.




Then they reach a fork in the gravelly leafy lane…which way do they go to continue on their adventure?

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Tears for Jack.

Moved to Tears

Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!

me and baby Jack may 2013

Generally movies dont make me cry although War Horse did, I sobbed because it was about an animal and anything to do with animals makes me emotional. 

Real life can make me cry, my last tear jerking experience was when I lost my 10-year-old dog last summer. I cried before his passing whilst I nursed him and I cried after his passing in my arms, I still cry now just over a year later when he comes to my mind and I see his face in his photographs and then I cry and I cry and I cry.

I cry for my best friend, the best friend I have ever had.

I cry for Jack.

Jack I miss you and I love you still and I cry now as I write this.

xoxo C