Writing places in New York

Posted on August 15th, 2013

I do my best work on planes in economy seats. I do my best thinking waiting in the line at the post office. We all Get More Done in unexpected places, where the contrast flicks us into inspired action.

My writing room at The Library hotel.

My writing room at The Library hotel.

Which is why it was pretty cool to be in New York for two weeks finishing my next book. Which, by the way, is a follow-up to I Quit Sugar – let’s call it IQS#2 for now.  I was in New York, by the way, to sign a book deal with an American publisher – let’s say it will be coming out in May 2014 for now.

I didn’t shop, I didn’t sight-see. Most days – when I wasn’t shlepping between publishing houses with my agent Laurie – I was in my hotel writing. I kind of loved that right outside there was so much going on that I was missing out on. The contrast spurred me on. It’s like being in Paris when all your belongings have been stolen. Or in the best croissant bakery in the world with a gluten intolerance. (I’ve done both.)

I found the rhythms of the hotel comforting. I felt like The Major in Faulty Towers. And I got work done, happily and calmly.

New York – in fact, most big cities – are places where working solo in public places is a really comforting and comfortable thing to do. Paris has a legacy of it with the existentialist philosophers doing all their best work in cafes. Have you read JPS’s The Waiter? British writers went to Milan at various points in history and sat in the aperitivo bars to work. The focus can quieten the freneticness. The absorption can bring you in closer to yourself. For in big cities it’s very easy to lose yourself. Again, contrasts.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the places where I wrote and got close.

A Writer’s Guide to NYC

* The HighlineThis is a great writing hotel. But also a great eco hotel. And a quiet hotel. Oh, and a great slow foodie hotel. Thus ticking off the four points I look for in a joint.

On my recent New York trip to do pre-publicity for the US edition of I Quit Sugar I stayed here for almost a week. The building is epic – taking up an entire block in a quiet pocket in the meat packing district…just under the High Line, which in Summer is one of the best places Read more

Tara Stiles gives me something to do

Posted on August 13th, 2013

One of my favourite things to do when travelling is try out yoga classes. Especially in big cities. And especially when I’m frazzled. And one of my favourite I’ve tried is yoga teacher to the stars Tara Stiles’ vinyasa class at her Soho studio Strala. I was there last Wednesday.

Yoga at Tara's studio.

Yoga at Tara’s studio. In my green shorts.

Tara’s class is a dance. And a wholly impressive exercise in gentleness.

There I was in crow pose to the strains of Red Hot Chilli Pepper. There I was holding Warrior #2 for five minutes to Run DMC. And there was Tara purring her encouragement in her mesmerising lilt, skipping around the class to adjust and touch us on the ankles, chuckling like a little girl. She chuckles the whole time.

But this is what is truly lovely. Throughout the class, when inviting us to take a pose further, she repeats this:

“It’s just something to do”

You know, no other purpose. No big aim. No mandate. Just to try it.

She follows with something a few of my yoga and meditation teachers have shared over the years: Read more

The Twitter guide to (Paleo) New York

Posted on August 8th, 2013

So many of you have been asking me for a rundown of How to Eat Well in New York. I’ve just been there for two weeks and I ate health-fully every meal. It’s supremely easy to do so in a big city – there’s so much choice. Actually, too much. A few pointers from me, and then a rundown of places drawn from advice pinged my way on Twitter, Instagram and on this blog. Plus my own finds. Feel free to cut ‘n’ keep.

First meal in New York last week: a green "stalks" juice.

First meal in New York last week: a green “stalks” juice.

FYI: I mostly eat Paleo when I travel. By avoiding all grains, I avoid sugar and it steers me to denser nutrients. Also, the Paleo community are great sharers of information.

How to eat well in New York:

* Eat at “classic” breakfast joints. They do good portions of eggs. But just avoid the grits and hashes and toasts. And add kale.

* Add kale. Did I mention add kale. Every menu seems to have it as a side. Just order it wherever you go, for added fibre and nutrients. Failing that, Brussels sprouts. They’re the cruciferous rage here right now.

* Avoid vegan and raw joints for breakfast. I know, I know…it sounds healthy. And at dinner time these places can be great for a mindful vegetable fix. But the sugar content in most of the breakfasts is out of control. Even if it’s re-labelled coconut sugar or maple syrup or…agave!

* New York is obsessed with paddock/farm-to-table/plate. There are countless places doing this style of eating. And if they do, you can mostly count on it being clean and green and good.

* Salad bars: they’re pretty good these days and there are so many pertaining to be “natural”…even if they’re not Read more