(and we're back to the annual 'I CAN USE MY BLOG NAME TO IT'S OWN ADVANTAGE' post!)

Although I'm not sure everyone will be interested in reading a heap load of text and hearing all about my year (especially on NYE when everyone will probably be shape cutting to Beyonce in all the glitter), goals and the fact I learnt what 'bae' meant in 2014- because I did a round up last year (and enjoyed doing it so much I may have shed a tiny tear)- I thought I'd pop something together again this year, as a little memento to look back on in the future and remind myself of all of the highlights. Like every year, 2014 had it's low moments too, but this little place is about celebrating the happy things- so although it's true every moment has bought me to where I am today (that sounds a little like an Eminem lyric, doesn't it?), I thought I'd celebrate all the lovely things this year, with a little help from my funny old Instagram feed...
Travel What Olivia Did Travel: If there's something I will never, ever take for granted it's the luxury of being able to travel- and this year I certainly felt like I'd caught the travel bug, with an urge to see the world more and more (and beat my fear of flying for good). When Joe and I booked New York in January, it felt like the most excitement I'd ever had on a travel website, but it also felt like lightyears away. It was hands down the best thing I've ever bought in a January sale, and one of the most special trips this year. But saying that, this year I did some incredible travelling, and feel completely blessed to have been able to. I began the year visiting Paris, and later Ireland with ASOS- finally crossing the little pond and trying Guinness for the first time (still not entirely sold) and later again with my mum for her birthday surprise. This summer bought a very special trip to California to spend some quality family time, and although I didn't quite brave the surf- got to spend some lovely time with my family (whilst stopping for a cheeky 'In 'n' Out too)! I headed back across to the states in September for my first ever New York Fashion Week- which, to this day, still blows my mind. I remember getting the email and literally letting out a shrill of excitement (before phoning my mum and nearly crying)- forever cool about these things. It was truly incredible, and I still feel lucky to have even been approached by the brilliant Kate Spade. The end of the year bought a trip to Amsterdam with four of my best girl friends (with a big old guide coming up later this week)- which was the perfect city break, and supplied more giggles than I could possibly forget. I also did a bit of travelling in the UK, visiting beautiful Bournemouth and Centre Parcs for a wonderful family holiday this summer- and of course; lots of Brighton trips thrown in for good measure too (being my second favourite UK city ; ). Just writing this paragraph makes me feel so incredibly lucky, so thank you all for giving me these opportunities to travel- I can't wait to see what the New Year brings!
Music What Olivia Did Music: This year was an amazing year for music, and although looking back, I didn't fit in as much live music as I'd of perhaps liked- I got to see some amazing artists and discover some incredible new acts. In May I travelled to Brighton for my second Great Escape festival (I truly recommend it to anyone) and got to see some of my favourite acts (both new and old), including Parquet Courts, Tennis, East India Youth and Telegram. I also got to embrace some of the cities big old summer gigs, catching my one true love's, Arctic Monkeys (and Miles) at Finsbury Park and Arcade Fire at Hyde Park in July- which, as always was amazing- I'm just waiting on the opportunity to join Win, Regine and co on the road any time soon. I also caught The Reflectors (see what I did?) at Glastonbury, and enjoyed a jolly knees up with papa and brother P at Glastonbury for the first time, which was very muddy. However, the most random music event of the year award goes to my interview with Albert Hammond Jr- which involved a day of travelling to Oxford and a game of Jenga and a big old trolly of food. See for yourself here.
Food What Olivia Did Food: As well as clearly indulging in a relatively large amount of burgers, pizza and cake (which looking back, suggests I may need to go a little easier on them next year), this year was the year I became slightly obsessed with avocado (wow Liv, what a story) along with the whole of London, became a little braver with my eating habits (ticking off ham-hock and pigs ears one meal at a time ; ) and gradually stepping up my baking, one loaf of focaccia at a time. This year has certainly encouraged me to spend the next few months improving my cooking and technical ability- and I'm determined on trying new things in the kitchen, especially if I ever want to try my luck at the GBBO ; )
People What Olivia Did People: The wonderful people I've been lucky enough to share my year with have been without a doubt the most important part of my year, and although my friends and I have all been incredibly busy, be it with university, work or school- being able to spend time with the few people I love, is always the most important thing. This year I watched my dad run the marathon again for the most incredible personal cause (which continues to make me the proudest daughter), watched my mum work her bottom off for our family- and see my baby (17 year old) brother get his working-shoes on for the first time #proudsister- oh and introduce a new addition to our family, Maggie- the most gorgeous little Westie pup who is without a doubt one of my best buddies. Although not all of my pals feature on my Instagram (that cheeky app doesn't show everything), I got to spend time with some of my amazing best friends, and get to know some new pals well too- which is always special- and sometimes you don't need a selfie to interrupt a good catch up, right? I celebrated my 21st birthday with the most special party I could have ever asked for, and spending time with everyone in one place was the biggest present I could ask for. Here's to plenty more get-togethers in the New Year, and spending time with the ones we love the most, it's what life is all about after all.
Fashion What Olivia Did Fashion: This year has been a big old, crazy year for the blog. I've felt so overwhelmed with the internet at times, and the pace it's moving, but mostly have found massive pangs of proud for other fellow bloggers, and embraced the excitement that this big old change and movement has bought. With it I've been able to finally pluck up the courage to begin my Youtube channel, film a video with Lulu Guinness, presented a Google hangout with Clinique (one where I'm incredibly shy, nonetheless) and had a piece printed in Cosmopolitan about not regretting leaving university- which was completely surreal, and made me feel a little bit proud of this journey I've found myself on. I also found my face on the cover of Company's digital prom issue (mind.blown) and scooped another blog award at their Blog Awards this year, which surprised me beyond belief, and made me feel so, so grateful to everyone that reads this little corner of the internet- so thank you.

These past few days have also given me a lot of time to think about this blog (I've seen a lot of people tweet similar things, so i guess we've all been getting a bit deep over this festive period- perhaps it's those pigs in blankets)- but I'm so excited to leap in to the new year with my blog. I think I'm finally set on sorting out my redesign ( after 12 months of deliberating whether that'd be a good idea) so I'd love to hear what you'd love to see from that, I've got some ideas, and don't want massive changes- but your opinion matters! I've planned out a big content schedule for January, including lots more lifestyle too- so I'm excited to get planning and snapping some (hopefully) inspiring new pieces. When I began this blog, my favourite things to write about were music, clothes and to start interviewing people. Whether that was an artist, photographer or writer- I'd love to know whether you'd like to see more of that kind of thing- and some more '5 Minutes With...' in my series- as hell knows I've met some inspiring ladies this year.

Anwyay- before I continuing splurging my thoughts on to this draft (my fingers have certainly developed ants in their pants this morning)- here's what happened in 2014, thank you so much for coming along this crazy, exciting ride with me. This blog had given me more opportunities than I could ever dream of, and bought me close to some of the best people I've met- so thank you for clicking over, commenting, tweeting or even lurking. I love you a lot, and can't wait to share 2015 with you too! Happy New Year!


I'm going to put up a resolutions post on another day to spare you the task of more text (if you got this far I owe you big time)


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What Olivia Did in 2014...

...and now for part two! With my foodie guide going up on Saturday, I thought I'd pop together a little guide for everything in between- with a few places to stay, see and shop thrown in for good measure! As always, if you have any recommendations too, feel free to share them below- as I'm always looking for new places to try, and even after writing this post up- am desperate to go again!

Stay:
Ace Hotel New York Ace Hotel New York Ace Hotel New York
Ace Hotel:
In January Joe and I booked our stay at the Ace as part of the BA sale, and literally couldn't wait to experience it! Having popped by to the London hotel, we were so excited as to what it'd be like- and with a bath, dressing gowns (AND SLIPPERS), a giant Smeg and record player int he room (as well as a peep of the Empire State from our window) we couldn't have loved it more. On top of that, the hotel was always buzzing with people (especially those working on their MAC's) and had a delicious room service menu (which is always handy to fall back on if in doubt)!

Visit: 20 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001
The Bowery New York The Bowery New York The Bowery:
If you want to stay somewhere very on the pulse of cool, then you can bet The Bowery will be a safe bet. Put it this way, on my first night of staying here in September I caught a certain Ms Alexa Chung and pals mingling outside (which indeed left me incredibly starstruck) and later recognised my hotel room on the cover of her book, IT, which left me feeling very cool indeed. With luxurious rooms, this is definitely a treat hotel- but if you want to go to town, I'd definitely recommend it.

Visit: 335 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

Crosby Street Hotel:
Now, this hotel is fancy. It's definitely an indulgent place to head, and a little on the pricey side- but it is simply beautiful. It'll give you interior inspiration until you think you're living in a real life Pinterest board, and is in the complete hub of shopping in Lower Manhattan- making resting those tired paws all the easier! It's definitely to note down if you're heading away on a romantic, or luxury break- but is worth remembering- even if you head to their downstairs bar for a drink one evening.

Visit: 79 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012

Shop:
The Deep End Club New York The Deep End Club New York The Deep End Club New York The Deep End Club New York
The Deep End Club:

Ever since it opened, I've been so excited to visit the Deep End Club. Run by the mega babe that is Tennessee Thomas (drummer and girl group extraordinaire) the shop is home to so many beautiful designers (ranging from Orla Kiely to Samantha Pleet) as well as some beautiful vintage, and vinyl finds from the lady herself. With Francoise Hardy spinning on the decks, the shop is the perfect haven for all things inspired by the past- with workshops and classes happening every so often too- so stay tuned!

Visit: 156 1st Ave NY NY 10009
Cat Bird NYC Cat Bird New York Cat Bird New York Cat Bird New York
Catbird:
If whimsical came in shop form, this would be it- and I wish I could pop in every week. Home to the most beautiful jewellery ever (so much so that I'm now set on getting everything wedding based in here, when the time comes)- Catbird also stock some beautiful girlie beauty products, stunning stationary (yup, we're talking Rifle Paper Co)- and lots of helpful (and exceptionally cool) girls there to help you too!

Visit: 219 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Kate Spade Flagship New York Kate Spade Flagship New York
Kate Spade:
Is any New York trip complete without a visit to Kate Spade? Probably not. When I visited in September with the brand, we made a beeline for their beautiful downtown flagship, and it kind of felt like I'd gone to retail heaven (in the most Carrie Bradshaw way)- and it took a lot of self restraint to not buy all of the shoes and beautiful bags. With four floors boasting everything from homeware, stationary, clothes, jewellery and accessories- it's safe to say come armed with a bit of pocket money, or a lot of self control.

Visit: 789 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065
In God We Trust New York In God We Trust New York In God We Trust New York In God We Trust:
After strolling past this store, and making the initial mistake of not going in- Joe and I made sure we paid a visit to their Williamsburg branch, and I'm so glad we did. With beautifully cut clothing (we're talking collars and co-ords), incredible jewellery (they have the best heart pendants with quotes such as 'bitch please' on them, as well as necklaces shaped AS PASTA) as well as menswear and home bits (cool magazines and gifts)- this place is a real gem and one to head to.

Visit: Various locations around NYC!

Do:
Rockerfeller Center New York Rockerfeller Center New York Rockerfeller Center New York Top of the Rock:
Out of all the more touristy experiences, this was one we were set on doing. With views of the whole of New York (Empire State included), the Rockefeller Center of home to some breathtaking views, and if you're going around Christmas- the worlds most special Christmas tree and ice rink too! (Which will make you feel more Elf than Will Ferrell himself)

Visit: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Valley Nails New York Valley Nails NYC Valley Nails:
Perhaps not one for if you're on a romantic break (no boy will want to watch you get your nails did, trust me)- this little parlour, is perfect for any girlie breaks- and they specialise in literally every gel nail art design under the sun (including anything you have in mind too), so they last more than the weekend too- which gets double points in my books. Make sure to book ahead as their a cool haunt, but definitely one to visit if your talons need seeing too.

Visit: 198 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012
Cupcake ATM New York Cupcake ATM New York
Cupcake ATM:
More of a novelty visit (but extremely cool nonetheless) this place does exactly what it says on the tin, and is, well a cupcake ATM. Pop in your order, card, and then wait for your order to come out- easy, huh?! Plus, the cakes are cute as a button- and pretty tasty to match!

Visit: 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10065

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New York Guide: Staying, Shopping and Seeing

After being lucky enough to visit New York twice this year (if you'd have told me that this time last year I would have had a good old chuckle), I thought it would only be appropriate to try and document some of the gorgeous places I was able to visit, narrowing them down to a select and more refined few, and those that I truly love. Next year I want to work on more city guides on here (including a big old bumper London one)- so let me know if you'd like to see that, too! Anyway- for part one of my New York guide (part 2 will be up on Monday, and more focussed on where to stay, eat and what to see)- I'm going to be listing some of my favourite foodie places! There's a selection for every time of day, and a fair bit of selection- so I hope this helps anyone heading to the Big Apple next year! In repayment you can bring me along in your case ; )

For Brunch or Breakfast:
Gemma's New York Gemma's New York Gemma:
Part of the beautiful (and 'hip' and happening) Bowery Hotel, Gemma is a gorgeous brunch, lunch and dinner spot (although I've only sampled their amazing breakfast menu), and boasts everything from French toast, piled high pancakes and some seriously tasty granola for anyone feeling a little healthier! They also do amazing dinner- and have a really lovely outdoor seating area for some summer time al-fresco people watching if you fancy!

Visit: The Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery, New York
Colette New York Colette New York Cafe Colette:
If you're heading over to Brooklyn, Cafe Colette is the cutest brunch spot in town (a top tip off from my good pal Charlotte), and boasts the tastiest granola I've tried- and was also the place I sampled my first ever American 'scone' (lemon and poppyseed, which was completely delicious too). It's in the heart of Williamsburg, so amongst some gorgeous vintage and independent shops you can pop in to too (but more on those in my next post)!

Visit: 79 Berry Street, Brooklyn, New York
Sara Beth's New York Sara Beth's New York Sara Beth's New York Sarabeth's:
If you fancy somewhere that does everything, and in some of New York's prime locations, Sarabeth's is the place to head to. Joe and I visited the Central Park branch, and indulged in without a doubt the best French toast I've ever had (we're talking five doorstop-size slices lathered in syrup and goodness) and the fluffiest pancakes for Joe. It does get busy so it's always worth checking ahead, but they also usually have space for walk-ins- but definitely one to head to!

Visit: 40 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

For Lunch:
Jack's Wife Freda New York Jack's Wife Freda New York Jack's Wife Freda New York Jack's Wife Freda:
A bit of a cult favourite amongst bloggers and Instagrammers, this little hideout in Lower Manhattan is amazing for every meal of the day, but their lunch menu is definitely something I fell in love with. Opting for a fresh tuna and avocado salad (with a big side helping of halloumi) and Joe a tasty burger and fries- it was the perfect pick-me-up after a long flight to the states, I only wish we'd had time to go back again!

Visit: 224 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012
Laduree New York Laduree New York Laduree New York Ladureé:
Okay, so this probably won't make the 'places you've never heard of in NYC' list, but much like the London and Paris branches,  Ladureé is the prettiest (and tastiest) stop off for a spot of late afternoon tea, and surrounded by a plethora of beautiful shops to boot. On top of that, I found that when I visited here during Fashion Week, it was so easy to get a table in their outside patio- which, unlike their other cafes, was a pleasant surprise!

Visit: 864 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
Mezzogiorno New York Mezzogiorno New York Mezzogiorno
This little Italian not far from Spring Street was the perfect place to kick back and refuel this summer, and their food was fresh, exciting and oozed an amazing variety (so not just your standard pizza and pasta, for anybody curious). We had incredible salads, pesto infused pasta and some delicious broccoli (so good that I had the cheek to ask for the recipe ; ) and left feeling full and incredibly impressed by the wonderful staff and original food.

Visit: 195 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012

For Dinner:
The Spotted Pig New York The Spotted Pig New York The Spotted Pig:
If you're after a delicious proper burger and the best shoestring fries known to man, you'd be a bit silly to miss this spot. The burger was one of the best I've had ever, and although they also have other awesome options, ranging from oysters, fish and other meat (and veg) based dishes, I can safely say this is one dish not to miss- and definitely try a dessert too if you have room afterwards!

Visit: 314 West 11th Street, New York, NY 10014
Grimaldi's New York Motorino Pizza New York Motorino Pizza New York Grimaldis/Motorino:
Two pizza places that do amazing, generous portions the real New Yawwwwk way- Grimaldis (there's a few of these dotted around) and Motorino (both in the East Village and Williamsburg) specialise in amazing customisable pizza, with chunky airy crusts, drippy stretchy cheese in abundance and slices bigger than your face- which is only ever a good thing. Both places also offer take away options, so if you're feeling super lazy (like we were) you can also box it up and have it in bed, ahem.

Visit: Various locations across New York!
Balthazaar:
Joe and I have been waiting to visit this place for an age, so finally booking a table for our visit last month was very exciting indeed. Although I ended up forgetting my camera (and eating my dinner too quick to even properly photograph it), it was absolutely amazing. We may have cheated and both opted for burgers (oops), but having tried their salads before can also confirm they're not bloody bad either. Joe genuinely claimed this as being 'the best burger I've ever had'- which is a VERY bold statement, and we could have easily stayed and eaten our way through the rest of the menu (only if our stomachs and wallets had no boundaries)!

Visit: 80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
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New York Guide: Where To Eat

MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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