It's A Hell Of A Town

This blog post originally appeared on www.hannahcastleman.co.uk

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After a manic December of gigs, I needed a break - I started my year off with a weekend away in New York. My brother surprised me with the trip for my birthday last May, which was amazing for so many reasons, but mostly because it meant i got to hang out with him for four days straight. We did nothing but eat, walk and talk. Here are some highlights of our adventures across the pond.



Food

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Momofuku Noodle Bar

Momofuku served us one of the best meal’s I have ever had, full stop. This was a dish of roasted carrots with scallions and pumpkin seeds; the flavours were unbelievable. I wish we had time to go back and order everything else we didn’t get a chance to try.


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Arturo’s Pizza & Jazz

We wanted to listen to some live jazz while we were in New York, which is why Joe suggested heading to Arturo’s. There was a pianist playing some classic tunes, but the music wasn’t as much as a feature as we thought it would be. However, the pizza was magnificent. This pizza of dreams was half cheese with olives & garlic (Joe’s), and half no cheese with anchovies, peppers & onions (mine). We were going to order one each but the waiter kindly stepped in and told us that would be ridiculous. He was right; this was the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen.

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My food highlight of the trip was Johny’s Luncheonette, a classic diner with counter service. Joe went for pancakes, and I ordered eggs with turkey bacon and home fries. We sat at the counter and drank a lot of coffee. The food was amazing, but it was the all round experience that made this my highlight.

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Bagels, bagels, bagels.

We stopped by Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co and Joe’s favourite Ess-a-bagel. I ate four wholewheat everything bagels in three days, which may seem excessive, but I could have eaten more.

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One of the highlights of the trip was Milk Bar - I’ve wanted to visit for ages. I have bored everyone I know with telling them about the diet I’m on to help heal my chronic immune problems; the diet is strictly no sugar but you better believe I broke it to eat a lot of the Birthday Cake. (We also sampled the Crack Pie, Cereal Latte, Confetti Cookie and the B’Day Truffles - don’t judge us.


Sights

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The Staten Island Ferry

On Joe’s to do list was the Staten Island Ferry - it’s free and a great way of getting a bit closer to the Statue of Liberty.

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The Subway

I took the subway for the first time…baby steps.

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We went to The Whitney Museum of American Art to see the Andy Warhol exhibition. It was absolutely amazing, I can’t recommend it enough.


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The High Line

It was -6 degrees, so prettttty cold, but what a way to see the city.

Shopping

I did a small bit of shopping in New York; I’m trying not to buy new clothes as I’m committed to the sustainable & recycled fashion route that I started last year. However, I do believe in buying good quality basics that will last, so a trip to Uniqlo was a must. A trip to New York is also not complete without stopping by The Strand Book Store - I spent about an hour looking at books and managed to restrain myself and only get one. Apart from that, plus a quick stint in Sephora & Uniqlo, Joe and I focused on walking and food, which was exactly what New York is about for us.

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My outfit from Uniqlo, plus boots from Jones that I snagged off eBay a few months ago. This wall was in the Chelsea Cambria Hotel where we were staying.

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Glossier

I wax lyrical about Glossier on a daily basis, and their flagship store was well worth the 50 minute walk from the hotel.

3, 2, 1, Spa!

Greetings from Spitfire HQ! We had our first office planning meeting last week and are looking forward to some really exciting happenings in 2019.

We started our meeting by reflecting on our 2018. We had a jam packed December with our Christmas tour which was truly amazing. We made some lovely new friends in some beautiful venues and made some wonderful memories. Thank you to everyone who came to see us perform in December, you made a terrific end to our year!

Celestial Flotation Pool at Nirvana Spa

Celestial Flotation Pool at Nirvana Spa

We also spent some time at our meeting putting some action points in place for 2019. One of our resolutions was to work smarter and to make sure that we schedule in some proper R&R time - we started this resolution before 2018 even ended! In the midst of our performing in December we decided to book ourselves a treat in January to help us push through and keep our spirits high, and so decided to book in a spa day. We were reminiscing about our last shared spa experience which was at the Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe, Spain back in 2016 while we were for the Lindy Hop holiday Calpe Swing Fiesta organised by Lindy hop dancers Bic and Simone of The Lindy Club. (The Lindy Club are running beginners courses at the moment, check them out!). This spa had route numbers in the suggested order of different experiences for you to drift between. Memorable parts of the experience included the ice plunge pool and the Scottish shower!

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When we were performing at Ipswing Festival last year we were chatting to fellow singer Katie Crooks who was also in Calpe for the Lindy weekend. She had highly recommended the Nirvana Spa in Wokingham, and sold us on the fact it had a flotation pool. On a cold and rainy train journey to one of our many gigs in London in December we remembered our conversation with Katie, and so we booked in for a spa experience, which included a back, neck and shoulder massage and a session in their flotation pool. The pool is filled with 5-6 tonnes of Dead Sea salt and makes you extremely buoyant, so much so that we needed to have an induction which included learning how to stand up while we were in there! Once we were settled in we gently floated in a dimly lit pool, letting a gentle current move us around, looking up at a starry domed ceiling for half an hour. It was a deeply relaxing experience and we would recommend it to everyone.

We hope that you have been treating yourselves kindly and we wish you all a very happy 2019 packed full of joy, laughter and plenty of spa days!