New York is amazing for several reasons; all-night food delivery and holiday Starbucks drinks like Caramel Brulée lattes and White Chocolate Peppermint mochas chief among them.
It wasn't until I took baby D to New York that I realised New York is also wonderful for babies. By which I mean, we had a fabulous time eating, shopping and walking through the city, and baby D didn't seem to mind one bit.
Food was one of the main reasons for the whole New York trip, if I'm honest. The voracious appetite that accompanies breastfeeding means that all I dream about are bagels with lox and cream cheese, pepperoni pizza, burgers with milkshakes, enormous salads, egg, sausage and cheese breakfast sandwiches, Chinese takeaway, sushi... all foods that New York does well. The only problem is that now that I've spent a week stuffing myself full of these foods, I only want them more.
From Diana's perspective, I can't imagine the trip was such a culinary treat (she's still restricted to her breastmilk-only diet), but I hope she at least got a sampler of that peanut butter shake from Shake Shack or the delicious steak from Maloney & Porcelli (like us, she came back from NY double in size).
In between eating, we indulged in another passion of mine: shopping. There is always something on sale in New York, and there's no greater thrill than buying something at 70 per cent off. Truth be told, at this stage, I'm just excited at the prospect of being able to go shopping at all, which I haven't been able to do in ages, so a week devoted to it was a dream come true.
We bought this amazing thing called a Mommy Hook
, which you clip onto your pram to hang carrier bags off of. This became essential considering we were buying so much stuff that baby D's pram started getting used as a shopping trolley, much to the confusion of smiling passers-by who peered in hoping to get a glimpse of an actual infant, but were instead greeted with an army of carrier bags from Babies R Us and empty Starbucks cups.
We got super lucky with the weather and spent the week in 25 degree sunshine, which meant we could walk everywhere, which was especially convenient considering a) we needed the exercise after consuming all that food and b) we didn't need to worry too much about dragging the colossal, overstuffed-with-shopping pram up and down the subway steps the whole time.
Also, you can't get on a NYC bus without folding up your buggy (the city loses points for that one), which seems kind of insane to me because EVERY single buggy we saw was a Bugaboo
Cameleon, and as anyone who has owned this SUV-sized vehicle can attest, it's a great pram (especially for carrying your unnecessary-yet-essential New York purchases) but ridiculously complicated to disassemble or reassemble, so no one does unless absolutely forced to.
Baby D loved being rolled through the city streets, and I suppose it's no great shame that she was still lying down on the carrycot throughout and didn't get to take in much – it's not like we went to any sights or museums or actually took advantage of all of the great cultural offerings the city has, other than the caloric ones. But I'm taking her good humour throughout the trip as a sign that she's loving her mother's motherland and is already a fan of the Big Apple.
When we landed in London (again with no tantrums from Diana and only a couple from her father) to be greeted by freezing cold weather and a flooded kitchen courtesy of boiler trouble, I realised how much we really did need the holiday, and how relaxing New York can be (when you don't actually live there).
And Diana even made a new four-legged friend: my friend's cat, Estella, had a penchant for jumping into the buggy (slightly worryingly, regardless of whether or not baby D was inside).
We still missed Bolshy the bulldog