Visiting Volcano Bay for the first time and a trip to the mall…

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is shop. It’s funny because I don’t actually go shopping at home very often at all. Sometimes weeks would have passed without me popping into town for a nose at the shops. Online shopping is another matter, I’m rather partial to online shopping. Anyway, whilst on holiday, Phil and I love shopping. Sometimes things are cheaper abroad, but mostly it’s because you can find things that are a little bit different to back home. Anyway, when Stateside we adore a trip to the Mall and if there’s an outlet nearby then even better!

When Phil and I were last in Orlando, we found an outlet Mall just under 2 miles from Universal Studios. We visited a few times during the ten days that we were there and picked up some treats, so knew that we wanted to visit again on this occasion.

We had a great time, I picked up some gorgeous summer clothes from American Eagle as well as the dreamiest Kate Spade bag. I love Kate Spade and this quirky bag was such a bargain. I was super pleased!

After we had exhausted the Mall, we popped over to Volcano Bay at Universal. I had been desperate to go since it opened last summer and it did not disappoint!

I’m such a fan of the Disney waterparks and I had a good feeling about the Universal one as their parks are really well put together.

It’s a bit awkward to get to as you have to take their shuttle bus from Universal Studios. I found this a bit annoying to be honest and would have much rather driven there ourselves. We had to wait for a while on the way there as well as the way back. We also went out of peak season, so I imagine it’s worse in the summer.

The park itself is fantastic, really well themed with the iconic volcano in the centre of the action. There are so many rides and the rapids are the best that I have ever been on.

One big issue that I had with was the Tapu Tapu queue system. Originally I thought that it was fantastic, but if you visit the park after midday (like we did), a lot of the rides are already fully booked for the rest of the day. This kinda sucked as we didn’t get to go on as many as we liked. I would therefore recommend that you go early and tap in to any that you are set on riding.

After a busy day shopping and visiting Volcano Bay, we headed over to Disney Springs to try out the Star Wars Void experience. It was fantastic and we had so much fun. It was well thought out and immersive. I would definitely recommend it.

What are your favourite things to do in Orlando?

L x

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Exploring Vegas and the weirdest dining experience ever…

Dress: Asos Sunglasses: Michael Kors Tabitha 

I’ve been to Vegas three times now and each time I’ve fallen deeper in love with this colourful world hidden in the desert. I just love all that it has to offer. I’m not a gambler or even remotely seedy, which is the reputation that precedes Vegas. I love having fun, seeing different things, eating delicious food, shopping and seeing shows. Vegas has all of this in abundance.

I think that it’s that ease of convenience that helps me adore the place so much. Everywhere is open late, you can walk along the strip (I’m a big fan of walking!). Basically the place is your oyster. You can go out pretty much anytime and always find something to do. 

Anyway, on our first full day in Vegas, we took Phil’s Dad Steve (or P Diddy as I like to call him), for a tour of the strip, weaving in and out of various hotels that are devoured in detail. We also went to the Fashion Show Mall which is one of my favourite places to shop in Vegas (they have a Topshop!). 

It was great to feel the warmth on my skin, which is something I’m really missing now that autumn has set in. We took in the sights of the strip before heading Downtown.

I really like going Downtown because I find it a little bit raw. It’s not quite as glitzy and it just oozes retro charm. It’s more humble and less crowded and I just love the neon.

There’s a fair bit to do Downtown too, including zip lining, which I really wanted to do, however, I was inappropriately dressed for it! Next time though…

We ate dinner Downtown at the Heart Attack Grill, which I can only describe as the weirdest place I have ever eaten. I still can’t quite work out whether or not I enjoyed myself.

The hospital theme is really immersive, so we all sat there wearing hospital gowns awaiting our giant burgers and full calorie drinks (the waitress was unimpressed when I ordered a Diet Coke and announced that they don’t do diet there). 

They also have a policy where if you don’t finish your meal you get spanked. Hard. I couldn’t finish my burger and spent at least fifteen minutes freaking out about the spanking, coming up with irrational solutions such as hiding it in Phil’s rucksack or sneaking to the bin myself before realising that as it turns out, spanking isn’t compulsory. Who knew?

We then chilled out for a bit before heading back to New York, New York where we found a bar that had games (Beer Haus) so we spent the rest of the evening drinking and playing games such as Jenga.

Have you eaten at the Heart Attack Grill?

L x

Driving from San Diego to Las Vegas…

So if you’ve been following my West Coast diary series, you will know that we were staying in San Diego for a few days. The next stop on our agenda was Las Vegas and we had decided to make the drive there. 

Sunglasses: Forever 21 two years ago

Dress: Asos

Luckily for me, Phil does all of the driving when we are away, so I just get to sit back, relax and sing along to Taylor Swift. 

The drive took around 4 hours not including the breaks we took at Panda Express and for petrol. 

It was riddled with sumptuous scenery that dreams are made of and whilst at the petrol garage, I read about the snakes, tarantulas and scorpions of the Mojave desert. I was really worried about our little rental car overheating though as the temperature was well into the 40’s!

Once we arrived in Vegas, we checked in to our hotel, New York, New York. The lady at registration was a bit unpleasant but the rooms were clean and comfortable.

We then took Steve out for a walk along the strip and some dinner before watching the beautiful fountains at the Bellagio.


Have you driven from San Diego to Vegas?

L x

Our day at Aquatica…

Dress: it was my Mum’s in the 90’s!

Sunglasses: classic Ray Bans

Phil and I love water parks, so I was quite excited when I found one in San Diego.

Owned by SeaWorld, Aquatica has a few rides, a wave pool and a lazy river.

The lazy river is my absolute favourite thing to hang out on at a water park because I just find it so relaxing.

Phil and I visited the water parks at Disneyworld last year, so my expectations were quite high. Unfortunately, I didn’t rate Aquatica too highly. Sure it was fun and all, but it’s actually quite small and two of the rides were closed which was a shame as it was peak season and they only have about 7 to start with!

I was also disappointed by their changing rooms. You couldn’t have a proper shower and the lockers were located far away from the changing facilities, which was super annoying. At the Disney parks, everything is really convenient and you can actually get ready properly afterwards, which is great if you aren’t going straight back to the hotel.

Anyway, I think that Aquatica is fun, but could definitely be better.

Which water parks do you rate?

L x

USS Midway, falling in love with La Jolla and dinner in Seaport…

During our time in San Diego, a must see for Steve was the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier. So off we went on a morning out exploring the Midway. We had already visited the Iowa in San Pedro, so I was kinda expecting the same sort of thing.

It was much larger than the Iowa, with so much information. It was super interactive too. I think it’s very well presented. There’s also gorgeous views!

Playsuit: Urban Outfitters

Overall, I think I preferred the Iowa because the Midway was so overwhelming. It’s just gigantic and an information overload. Worth a visit though!

After, we headed over to In N Out for lunch. It’s a must have when on the West Coast because the burgers are cheap and dreamy. I love their branding too, retro and with palm trees! 

It was after lunch that we headed over to what was soon to become one of my favourite places on the planet, La Jolla. 

Swimsuit: Seafolly Ocean Rose shorts: Target

We parked in town for $7 (bargain!), and headed towards the cliff top. 

We were soon greeted with sea lions chatting to one another and sunbathing. I will never tire of seeing animals in the wild and it felt lovely to watch them hang out.

We then left Phil’s Dad at the top, whilst we climbed down the side of the cliff (we literally used a rope), towards the water.

It was incredible. Oozing with natural beauty, charm and wildlife.

Sunglasses: Kate Spade

We saw crabs, fish and of course those wonderful sea lions. There’s lots of water activities going on too – swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. 

The beautiful coves reminded me of the Greek islands, especially as the water was so clear and warm.

I loved watching the waves crash in around us. It was truly magical.

They say that people never forget how you make them feel, and La Jolla made me feel love. That warm, fuzzy feeling of excitement and happiness. Contentment and joy. That feeling that nothing else matters. There in my time at La Jolla, I felt true love.

We then climbed back up the cliff and found Steve on a bench at the top near a nice coastal path, which we walked all the way along, soaking up the beautiful views.

Poor Steve is terrified of heights, so insisted that we walk back via the road.

La Jolla has been such a highlight of our adventure and I hope I get to go back one day.

In the evening we went to Seaport Village, which is another gorgeous place, and are at the Cheesecake Factory. I love the food there and very much enjoyed my Hershey’s cheesecake!

Dress: Topshop


Have you visited La Jolla?

L x

Disneyland Day Two…

Our second day at Disney was just as exciting as our first although for the most part we based ourselves in the main park. There are so many iconic attractions in the main park and we wasted no time in showing them off to Phil’s Dad.

We took him on all the classics from Pirates, Haunted Mansion and Small World. He loved it!

For lunch we had turkey legs and watermelon. I really love the turkey legs at Disney, they are just so flavourful!

Playsuit: Topshop two years ago (!). I always feel like I wear this playsuit on holiday. Its just so comfy with a really pretty rose print. Sunglasses: Vans  Sandals: Tesco

We also made sure that we squeezed in a parade and two evening shows, World of Colour and the Fireworks.

The parades are so magical, you can’t help but be enveloped in a warm hug of happiness watching them. When I visited Disneyworld as a child, I used to think that the characters I was seeing were the real McCoy. I’d go around collecting autographs and spending my days in awe of their celebrity status. As an adult, I’m quite aware that they are cast members and I certainly don’t go around collecting autographs, but I still appreciate the effort that goes in to portraying the character as well as the level of detail that creates the Disney parks and just makes them so, so special. We were sat next to a guy who works at Disney but was on his day off. He told us lots of interesting facts about the parks and some changes coming up. Disneyland is only going to get better!

We did a spot of shopping before leaving Disney and I picked up a hand drawn sketch of Hay Hay from Moana. It’s so cool that a Disney artist drew it. I’m not sure where in the house it will live exactly, but it’s definitely finding a wall somewhere.

Because our hotel was so close (and Phil had manflu) we went back to our rooms for an hour or so before heading back over for the night shows.

World of colour is such a gorgeous display on the lake over in California Adventure. It’s such a treat featuring so many iconic characters.

We then finished our time at Disney by watching the fireworks over the castle in the main park. The fireworks at Disney are the best I’ve ever seen. They just know what they are doing! We loved it.

Have you seen the Disney parades/shows?

L x

Disneyland Day One…

It’s no secret that Phil and I love a trip to Disneyland and so when we found ourselves back on the West Coast of America, naturally we found ourselves back at Disneyland.

We first visited this Disney two years ago whilst on honeymoon and loved it. I just love it because not only is it the original, but it’s also really manageable. I adore Disneyworld in Orlando, but a visit there is more of an event as you need to spend at least a week there to see all of the parks properly. In Anaheim, two days is good enough.

I love how unique the California Adventure park is and I always like to start off there. The Cars ride is my absolute favourite, so I like to get a fastpass for that beauty first. The queue for Cars is always astronomical, so it’s best to make use of the fast passes.

Top: Topshop , Shorts: Superdry Sandals: Roxy Sunglasses: Vans

I always choose a hotel within walking distance to Disney because it saves money on parking and you are not tied to a shuttle bus. 


It was Steve’s first visit to Disney so we branded him with a badge and took him on all of our favourite rides. He loved it! 

I think he’s now a Disney convert, which is great!

Have you visited Disneyland in California?

L x

Redondo Beach and travelling to Anaheim…

Dress: Hush Sunglasses: Vans (I’ve repurchased these 3 times in the past seven years, love them!)

After four gorgeous days based in Redondo Beach we packed our bags and moved into Anaheim, but not before a morning spent on the beach.

Redondo Beach is a really lovely place to chill out and embrace that LA Lifestyle. I love the outdoors way of life that comes hand in hand with the gorgeous climate Southern California delivers. From surfing, volleyball, bike riding, skating and running, it’s so easy to be active. 

We had a wonderful stroll where the sea meets the sand, allowing the waves to crash against our bare legs. I’m always at my happiest on the beach.

Sadly a Dead Sea lion washed up whilst we were there and the excellent coast guards came straight away and took it off of the shore. The lifeguards are phenomenal in California, I would say that they are arguably the best in the world. Always so alert and well equipped. They don’t just look out for folks drowning, but keep the entire Beach clean and safe.

Anyway, after our morning on the beach, we headed over to Anaheim in preparation for our Disney days. It was a super hot day, so we headed straight to the pool and hot tub (which felt extra hot!).

Later on we headed to the mall for a spot of shopping where I picked up some Bath & Body Works treats (I’m obsessed with that place) and a little black Kate Spade bag.

I then chilled out at the hotel whilst the boys went to the shooting range. I find the shooting range absolutely terrifying, so I prefer to stay at the hotel and relax. They had a ball though!

Have you visited Redondo Beach?

L x

USS Iowa and a tour of LA…

We kicked off our Sunday in Redondo Beach before heading south to San Pedro to visit the USS Iowa. Phil’s Dad (Steve), had always wanted to see a warship in the flesh and that’s pretty much why he chose the West Coast for our holiday.

The USS Iowa is a huge ship oozing with history and character. It’s really fascinating to walk around and Steve loved it.

Once we had finished having a nose around, we headed over to Hollywood to visit the Griffith Observatory and that iconic sign.

It was mega busy over at Griffith Park, but we managed to get parked right outside the Observatory- result! 

I think that the observatory is fantastic for views of the city and the sign. The observatory itself is also great. Both times that we have been we watched a show in the planetarium. It’s so interesting and relaxing. I love how visiting the observatory reminds me of just how small I am – we are. It’s so easy to get swept up in modern day life and forget that in the grand scheme of things Earth is rather insignificant. 

My view on life is to enjoy what we have now. Think about the future, but don’t stress it. Don’t take anything for granted. Anyway, visiting the planetarium helps to keep me grounded!

Cap: Borrowed from Phil, made by Billabong Sunglasses: Kate Spade about 8 months ago, T Shirt: I picked up from Ocean Park when we were in Hong Kong, Shorts: I picked up in Target last year.

After our trip to the planetarium, we took a trip to Rodeo Drive. We wanted to make sure that Steve sees all of the iconic places whilst we were in Los Angeles, so Rodeo Drive was a must see.

We also took Steve to the Chinese Theatre which is honestly one of the most disappointing places I’ve ever been to. It’s not glamorous at all and it’s always rammed. It’s such a seedy area and a complete contrast to the glamorous, exciting image I had conjured up before my first visit. 

Anyway, although Phil and I despise that area, we felt that Steve needed to see it and took him along. We parked right nearby ($2.50 per 12 minutes!!!) and had a nose at the handprints, footprints and stars.

Another place that Steve had mentioned he would like to visit was the La Brea tar pits. Which are basically naturally occurring tar pits where asphalt has seeped through the ground. 

It was completely new to Phil and I and fascinating to see. They have been excavating fossils there for years and have found so many animals including a mammoth.

The animals would come close to the pits for drinking water without realising that they were filled with asphalt and get stuck in the tar. It’s really sad, but awesome that we can gather fossils. I would really recommend a visit. 

Have you visited any of these tourist hot spots?

L x

Long Beach loving and a Taking Back Sunday Saturday…

I’ve decided to create a little diary series of our trip to the West Coast of America because I think it will be super lovely to look back on one day and I can share our experience with you all. It’s going to be quite raw in terms of photography because as I’ve said before, I like my blog/Instagram/life to be unedited, so don’t expect any mad photography skills! 

What you can expect though, is an insight into our trip, some tips and inspiration if you are planning your own trip to the West Coast.

We started our trip in Redondo Beach, but headed over to Long Beach on our second day. Phil and I spent a week in Long Beach whilst on our honeymoon exactly two years ago and we loved it. There’s so much character in Long Beach with its beautiful Marina and pastel coloured boardwalk. 

Top: last year from Hush, Shorts: last year from Sainsbury’s, Sandals: years ago from Roxy, Sunglasses: Michael Kors (again from last year!).
The three of us had a mooch around the Marina until Phil left us to go to the LCS studios to watch League of Legends. He gets terribly seasick, so his Dad and I seized the opportunity to head off on a whale watching cruise.

Harbor Breeze Cruises are great for whale watching tours. I went on one in February with my friend Kate and we were lucky enough to see Gray Whales and sea lions!

The migration path along the west coast is great for spotting all sorts of sea life and on this trip we were lucky enough to spot two humpback whales! Unfortunately, one had become entangled in fishing paraphernalia and so a rescue team was on its way. The second whale was loving life wild and free.

My recommendation is to make sure you take a jumper and wear lots of sunscreen. It gets a bit chilly out in the open and quite windy when you are travelling 30 odd knots. I did cover up but I still got wind burn on my face (I’ll wear a balaclava next time 😂), but thankfully I didn’t fry. 

I then took Phil’s Dad for his first ever trip to Hooters. I really like Hooters because I love their chicken wings although on this occasion I accidentally ordered them a tad too spicy!

We then took an Uber back to Redondo Beach. Uber is really cheap in the States, presumably because the cost of driving is much cheaper. We filled up our car for under £20! It costs me over £50 back home.

It was in this Uber that I realised Phil’s Dad had not put suncream on one of his hands and was now sporting one really tanned hand. I laughed a lot in the back of that car.

I had booked Phil and I tickets to see Taking Back Sunday in the evening at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. Although we were jet lagged, it was an incredible gig with a great, well balanced set. I loved it!

Have you been to Long Beach?

L x