Blogmas Day Three: Why I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco.

On the third day of Blogmas, I present to you my thoughts on San Francisco. 

I have written a couple of posts about our amazing honeymoon to the West Coast of America over the summer. We started off in Las Vegas before travelling to Hawaii and Los Angeles. After our time in perfect Los Angeles was complete (I was very sad about this!), we hit the road and drove up to San Jose to see Taylor Swift in all her country turned pop superstar glory.

I’m going to be honest, being stuck in a car for six hours with my new husband wasn’t something I was looking forward to. In fact I was even dreading it a little. Not because I didn’t want to spend the time with him, I mean let’s face it I was spending every minute of a whole month with him thousands of miles away from home, but because we have completely different driving styles and the thought of spending six hours in a car with anyone doesn’t excite me. We had a Sat Nav, but I was really worried about getting there in time and finding the hotel. I needn’t of worried though, the journey was great. Hey, I’d even say it was pretty enjoyable. Open roads going on for miles through grape vines and mountains. It was pretty rad. We spent the six hours calling home for a catch up, listening to Tay Tay (to get us in the mood, obvs!) and chatting about unimportant topics. It was lovely. We also stopped off for an In N Out burger and a mooch around a town that comprised of an In N Out burger and a ranch. Oh California…

After our bizarrely stress free drive to San Jose, we were ready to hit up the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara to see old Swifty.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Tay Tay. I’ve always been interested in country music and when Taylor arrived on the scene with her big blonde curls and tales of heartbreak, she really revived the country scene. I’ve loved her ever since. Although, I am a bit sad that her country days seem to be well and truly behind her with a paradigm of pop perfection left in it’s place. We had a great evening watching her perform in Santa Clara. Swifty sure is something!

The next day we drove up to San Francisco, which was to be our base for the following few days.

I was really excited about hitting up San Fran. I couldn’t wait to see the sea lions, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Not to mention shopping in Union Square. Whilst I did enjoy doing all of those things and I did like San Francisco, I didn’t love it and found myself desperate to get back to Vegas by the end of our stay. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why I was disappointed. I think that it may have been a combination of things. We hated our hotel. Like really hated it. Like it was literally the worst place I have ever stayed and I wouldn’t have been able to force myself to stay there any longer even if a small part of me wanted to. It was nothing short of awful and I was glad when we handed that white swipe card in to reception. 

Anyway, on to San Fran itself. Well, we loved exploring by foot. We always walk pretty much anywhere whilst away because you can really experience the place if you take the time to walk amongst it. 

I was pretty desperate (and I mean desperate – just ask Phil about my Long Beach mishap), to see the sea lions, so our first port of call was to Fishermans Wharf and to Pier 39.

I was in my element watching those sea lions bask on Pier 39. I adored hearing their chatter and watching them interact with one another. Fishermans Wharf is pretty rad too (although it’s home to the dirtiest Starbucks I’ve ever set foot in). 

We also did some serious shopping. So serious that we had to buy another suitcase. We also had to buy another one in Las Vegas. This was all fun and games until you are navigating six pieces of luggage through a busy airport and shovelling items of clothing into your hand luggage so that your case isn’t over the limit. Brilliant once you are back home and parading around in your holiday attire bursting with memories though.

We had decided that we wanted to go to Alcatraz a couple of months before our trip. A few friends advised booking way in advance as it is such a popular place. I’m so glad that we booked before we went because it really does sell out weeks in advance and we wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise.

I really enjoyed visiting Alcatraz and learning about the inmates. It was a real eye opener and fascinating.

I really didn’t connect with San Francisco in the way that others have and I thought I would. I genuinely thought that I would fall in love and spend my days counting down until my next visit. Sadly, I feel like I don’t need to go back. We saw what we wanted to see and had a great experience. It just wasn’t incredible. I really think that this was down to a few factors (like the hotel). I didn’t feel that safe in San Francisco and I found that it felt a bit grubby. Overall I think everyone should go once. Whether or not you find its your place is up to you. 

L x 

Blogmas Day Two: Throwback to January 2015…

I have planned out all of my posts for Blogmas, and have decided to have a look back over the past year. It’s been a funny old year with some of the highest highs and the lowest of lows. January certainly set the pace for the rest of the year.

We started the new year with a wet walk around Ruislip Lido with our little furball and my (now) father in law. We had a lovely day together, embracing the blessing of a bank holiday and bursting with excitement for the year ahead. We had so many exciting things planned and I was really looking forward to 2015.

My Grandad and Uncle share a birthday on the 9th of January and with mine being on the 11th, we always have a family meal together to celebrate. This year we had our meal on the 8th of January. My Grandad has been unwell for a little while and we have to choose carefully about where we go so that we can cater for everybody and have a fun and relaxing time. We all had a lovely evening together and at the time, we didn’t realise just how precious that evening was going to be. We were completely unaware that this was going to be the last time that we could enjoy such an evening and didn’t know what would be coming our way in a few days’ time.

The next day Phil and I headed off with two of our friends to spend my birthday in Pisa.  We both absolutely adore Italy and were excited to explore Pisa, Florence and Livorno.

Once we had found our hotel and unpacked, we went out in search of food and our first glimpse of that iconic tower. We had a really fun evening and planned the details for the rest of our trip.

We decided to explore Florence and Livorno as they aren’t too far from Pisa. It was such a lovely trip, and the perfect way to spend my birthday. Even in the depths of winter, Italy is such a warm and inviting place. 

A few days before our departure, our dear neighbour Bernard passed away. I was devastated because he was such a kind and friendly person and I knew how much he would be missed. Unfortunately, the day after we returned from Italy, Grandad had a fall, which resulted in him being hospitalised. We knew that he was unwell, but it was only when he was admitted to hospital that things really changed. We knew that if he was going to come out he wouldn’t be the same and it was really tough. I found that my best way of dealing with things was to try to carry on as normal, continue the routine of work and hospital visits. I still managed to have a birthday meal with friends at our local Ask Italian in Northwood, but it was literally between visits and wasn’t as jolly as I had hoped it would be.  

The rest of January consisted of work and trips to the hospital with dinners from Costa Coffee. It was a tough old month, but we all got through it eventually. Although it was riddled with some really sad times, we also had our lovely trip to Pisa that remained untarnished and that special meal all together on that Thursday evening, so it wasn’t all bad!

L x

Blogmas Day One!

Okay, so I have decided to partake in blogmas. I really love Christmas and blogging, so combining the two seems like a great idea. I would love to participate in vlogmas too, but unfortunately I don’t feel as though I can give it the full attention that vlogmas deserves. I’ve had a think about what I would like to blog about in the run up to the big day, and I have decided to have a reflection on the year as well as cover a few festive topics. I’m a bit worried about committing to a post every day, but I am more than willing to give it a go! 
Here’s to the next twenty five days! 
L x