When you're in the Big Apple, you want to get those Instagram perfect shots of the city that never sleeps, right? I thought I'd compile a little list of some of my favourite places in New York to capture the city and it's sights.

Best Instagram Spots in New York

Best Instagram Spots in New York

We decided to head to Oxford for the day last weekend to shop for wedding outfits and do a little sight seeing and when we were there, we discovered that at the top of the Westgate Oxford Shopping Centre is their Roof Top Garden Terrace.  Here we found plenty of choices for a cocktail, light bite or three course meal. After much deliberation, we decided comfort food was best and headed to The Breakfast Club.  And in typical blogger and foodie fashion, I thought I'd get a blog post out of it!

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Decor

No matter where you go to eat, the first thing you will notice is the decor and the ambience. We arrived mid-afternoon on a Saturday, and despite the hustle and bustle of full tables and a loud 80s playlist, my first impressions were that The Breakfast Club was laidback and unassuming. The American-inspired, mismatched retro interior somehow worked without trying too hard. And I loved how the wood panelling over the kitchen was lined with photos of Oxford in days gone by, adding a more personal touch. I love a restaurant where there is no pressure and you can just chill and enjoy some good food, and with it's relaxed atmosphere, The Breakfast Club seemed like the perfect place for this.


The Breakfast Club Oxford

Space NK UK

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Service

As the restaurant buzzed with lively conversation, we were unsure how quickly we would be able to get a table, but the guy on front of house was quick to work out a little rearrangement and we were seated comfortably within minutes.  Being one of the first sunny days of Spring, the restaurant was understandably quite busy, but the staff were calm, bubbly and attentive.  Our drinks were delivered to our table quickly, closely followed by our food.  Our waiter was enthusiastic and friendly, without the awkward try-hard banter or constant "Is everything alright over here?" check-ups. He knew exactly when to pop over and see if we needed anything, without being too intrusive to our conversation.  I prefer a less is more approach when it comes to service in restaurants, and because of this I was happy to pay the 12.5% gratuity that had been added to our bill.  


The Breakfast Club Oxford

Food & Drink

Now let's get on to the real deal, the food and drink! Being the gin lovers we are, Mum and I opted for a Peach Collins; Tanqueray gin mixed with lemon, sugar, peach and soda.  Delightfully refreshing and easy to drink, I'll be attempting to recreate this cocktail in my garden this summer! The cocktails were £7.00 each which seemed a little steep, but to be fair the glass was a pretty decent size and lasted me the whole meal.

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Whilst I struggled to choose between all the mouthwatering options, my Mum suggested we order 2 dishes and split them.  We had seen plates being served and the portions looked pretty big; you ever have that thing where you are full of one food, but you have room for something else? I'm that person. I love sharing food, which I know some people are so against, but you get to try more flavours without spending more money, it's a dream! We chose to have the Mr Big Chicken wrap (also available as a sandwich) and the Reuben Grilled Cheese.  Dad went for the Philly Cheese Burger with added bacon, which he said was delicious.  Our dishes arrived piping hot, and presented in a simple yet appealing fashion. Each one came with a side of fries, which were perfectly crispy and coated in a light seasoning.

Missoma

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Let me get on to our Reuben Grilled Cheese first; a few years back, if you'd suggested sauerkraut, salt beef and pickles to me, I would have been horrified. But as I've got older and my taste buds have changed, I've learnt to love some of the foods I previously hated.  Whilst the combination of flavours (cheese and Reuben sauce along with the aforementioned) in the sandwich was quite strong and a little tangy, it was not overpowering and tasted just as good as your typical New York deli sandwich!

I LOVE buttermilk fried chicken, whether it's on a waffle, in a burger or just on it's own, so I guess it's no surprise that we ended up going for The Breakfast Club's Mr Big Chicken wrap. Loaded with guacamole, cheese, lettuce, sweet potato fries, and a beautiful mix of piri piri and mustard, the wrap was divine! I thought the idea of sweet potato fries inside the wrap was going to be an odd addition, especially as the wrap is served with regular fries on the side, but it was a welcome extra to a really delicious meal. This sort of food is my ideal comfort food, and I couldn't recommend it more if you want a meal that is great value with amazing flavour.

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Topped with spring onion and with a perfect pasta to cheese ratio, a £3.00 side of Mac and Cheese made the perfect accompaniment to our meal!

Bobbi Brown UK

Our food at The Breakfast Club was just the fuel we needed after a busy morning of sightseeing and shopping. With gratuity, our bill came to £20.00 per person, which we thought was very reasonable for the generous portion sizes, delicious food and great service.

Let me know if you visit The Breakfast Club! I hope to pop back soon for a stack of pancakes and some Disco Fries, maybe even a little visit through the Smeg fridge to the secret bar for a cocktail or three...


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Disclaimer: this post is in collaboration with Hunkemoller but all writing and views are my own. 

I used to think confidence meant being confident in your physical appearance, but as I’ve journeyed through my early 20s, I’ve come to realise that it is so much deeper than just the way you see yourself physically. Confidence can be defined in different ways for different people, but I wanted to share how I am learning to find my self confidence and hopefully help others do the same!
Finding my self confidence

Learning to Love My Body 

My relationship with body image and the impact that my perception of my body has had on my confidence has been a roller coaster ride. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was very confident with my body.  I was bigger than my friends, but I loved having big lips, big boobs and a big bum. I loved my legs and I'd accentuate my waist whenever I could.  But it was as I reached my mid 20s that I realised I was basing my opinion of myself and my body too much on the opinion of the opposite sex.  Do I love my boobs because guys love my boobs? Am I accentuating my waist because guys love an hourglass figure? Do I love my body? I started to realise that my confidence came from the attention my body received, and whilst that was a perfectly valid reason to feel confident, it stopped working for me and my self confidence plummeted.  If anyone needed to love my body, it was myself.  

And this is where I struggled for a year or so, because I thought I had to look a certain way.  I thought the only way I would love and feel confident in my body is if my body was my idea of "perfect" (cue looking at unrealistic expectations on our good old friend Instagram) and because my body wasn't "perfect" of course my confidence was nearly non-existent. But perfection does not exist and I'm slowly learning to love my body in all of it's forms; I am exercising to be healthier and not to lose weight, I am eating my greens and drinking plenty of water so I feel good on the inside as well as the outside. I still want to change my body, but I am going to love it in the process. I can be confident with my body even if there's things I want to change. 

When it comes to body confidence, I’ve learnt that it is not an overnight success but that  the littlest of things can do wonders for my confidence; from having a nice set of matching underwear, jeans that fit perfectly on my bum, finding the right shade of foundation, getting my eyebrows threaded. This gorgeous bra is from Hunkemoller, who have a beautiful range of bra’s for boobs of all sizes. Wearing matching lingerie under your outfit can be a great confidence boost, even when it might only be yourself that sees it, it just makes you feel good! I often have the “my underwear matches today, so this means I have my life together” joke with my friends but it is fascinating how something that simple can actually make you feel more certain of yourself. Whilst I was expecting my confidence to miraculously appear one morning, I am enjoying this process of the little things slowly making me feel good about myself. 

Another thing that has inhibited my self confidence in the past, is my apprehension to say that I love my body. I think we are often afraid to admit that we think we look good, for fear of being labelled vain or narcissistic.  When I took the photos for this blog post, I considered not posting any of me as I thought it may come across as arrogant, but it shouldn’t. It’s my body and as much as I complain about it, I love it and I am empowered by it, and if I want to post it on my little internet space, I can. 
Finding my self confidence

Learning to Love My Mind 

Whilst learning to love your body is a significant part of finding your self confidence, learning to love your mind is just as important.

I think hiding our emotions sometimes comes from lack of confidence. I know it has affected me in the past. I’ve not told people how I’ve felt about them or about a situation, purely because I did not feel confident enough. And this is not just confidence in myself physically, but confidence in my abilities to handle criticism or rejection, or even a different opinion. Over the last few months, my confidence on being able to express my thoughts and feelings without the doubt of “Can I handle the fall out from this?” has provided me with better conversations, clearer relationships and probably most important of all, more happiness and contentment. A lot of my anxiety in the past has stemmed from not having the confidence to say no to or disagree with someone, as I didn’t want to upset or offend, but when you stop faking a smile and let people know you are feeling differently toward a situation, you feel 10x more confident in yourself and your emotions.

My confidence has often hit a wall when I’ve been dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I’ve found this year that living in and embracing the present has been so beneficial.  I think it is important to have goals to work towards, both in career and life, but it’s also important to live your life for today, not just tomorrow. Quit worrying about what has happened in the past; not sure if you’ve heard but time travel isn’t a thing yet so if you can’t change it, move on.

One of the greatest ways that I have found to boost my self confidence over the last few months, is exploring and expressing my interests and my aspirations. As a blogger, I often wouldn’t tell people when I first met them that I only work part-time in an office and the rest of my time is spent creating content as, with any profession, people had their preconceived ideas of what your work entails. But lately, I’ve been loud and proud about the fact I love being a blogger, I love writing and I love the opportunities this industry has opened up for me.  I lacked confidence when I first started blogging, because I was scared to tell anyone what I wanted to achieve. I knew (and I still know) that the places I want to reach were more than realistic to get to, but my lack of confidence came from the fear of someone else telling me that my aspirations were impractical or unattainable. I’m slowly learning that I don’t need to seek approval from others for my dreams and goals in life; yes, in some aspects it is hugely beneficial to get a second opinion, but I have learnt to trust myself and my ideas and I’m finding the confidence to go for what I want. 
Finding my self confidence

Recognising My Strengths & Acknowledging My Weaknesses 

Quite similarly to how we don’t always like to admit when we think we look good, I feel as though as lot of us struggle with being able to say what we are good at, but having the ability to recognise your strengths and then use these attributes could boost your confidence massively.  I became much more self-assured when I started to acknowledge my skills, and didn’t just rely on someone else telling me what they thought I could do well. I always hated that task in job applications of "how would your friends describe you"; I think it's more important to think about how you would describe yourself and knowing what makes you the incredible person you are. When you're feeling a little uncertain of yourself, take a moment to write down some positive words about who you are and what you are good at.

As important as it is to recognise your strengths, it is just as important to acknowledge your weaknesses. I have become the first to admit when I’m not sure if I can handle a situation, that I may not be physically fit enough or that I don’t have the skills to do the task at hand. But admitting your weaknesses and where you need help and improvement, is hugely rewarding and such a confidence boost. Even if you fail, trying in the first place and proving to yourself that you are willing to work at something new will send your confidence levels soaring. Being confident means you are not afraid of failure, but instead see it as a learning curve and a necessary step toward finding success.

Once you accept yourself for everything you are, and everything you are not, you will start to find your confidence and success will eventually follow. Because if anyone needs to believe in you, it is yourself.

And I know what you're thinking "easier said than done, Nai" which is true, it is so much easier but that doesn't mean confidence in ourselves is something that we can't all achieve. What we all have to remember is that it likely won't happen overnight, it's a process, it's part of growing. And it is more than okay to grow slowly. Fall in love with the process of becoming the best, most confident version of YOU.

Tips for Confidence

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