Beach fun with Holly…

I’m always my happiest when at the beach. It can pretty much be any beach, but there’s something about where the land meets the sea that just resonates with me (I’m the English Moana). I just feel super chilled and I love everything from the sand beneath my feet to the sound of the waves crashing and that salty sea air smell. 

Our little furball Holly also loves a beach day, so we scheduled in a date at the end of the summer to take her for some beach fun. 

Many beaches have restrictions throughout the summer as to whether or not you can take dogs, so we needed to find one that Holly would be welcome at. We found a little one near Southampton, which was certainly not the nicest, but served its purpose none the less.

Holly is a frisbee addict, so we were sure to bring one along for beach fun. Holly absolutely loved it. She had a ball paddling in the sea and digging in the sand. It’s funny because Holly literally only digs at the beach and she isn’t fond of water unless it’s her paddling pool or the hose. She isn’t one to swim in lakes or anything of the sort, but simply adores the sea!

Once we had grown tired of the beach, we drove over to Portsmouth for some food and shopping. Holly was so well behaved throughout and I loved how dog friendly Gunwharf Quays is. 

Soon it was time to head off back to London with sandy fur and shopping bags. We will no doubt be returning next year!

Have you visited Portsmouth?

L x

Advertisements

Seeing Britney and finding a hidden gem…

On our delightful Virgin flight over to Los Angeles, Phil and I landed up watching a little video that they had put together of things to do in Vegas. Of course the usual things were included, shows, hotels etc, but in between all of that up popped the Pinball Hall of Fame

The Pinball Hall of Fame is basically a museum filled with loads of Pinball machines and retro video games. Aka heaven to Phil. I grew up in the nineties and am certainly no stranger to a game of Pinball, so was quite excited to see what they had on offer. Trust me, it DIDN’T disappoint.

From Pacman, The Flintstones and Game of Thrones, this place has it all. You can stay as long as you like and play pretty much any machine. It was so fun, even P Diddy had a go on a couple of machines!

We spent an hour or two there pretty much playing solidly and only spent around 20$. The machines range from 25c upwards, so it’s a thrifty treat for the entire family. It’s located a few minutes’ drive from the strip and has a free car park too. Complete bargain!

After a morning at the museum, we headed over to Hooters for some lunch before having a nose around the shops on the strip. Before we knew it, it was time to see the queen of pop, Miss Britney Spears.

I’ve seen her Piece of Me show in Vegas before and was blown away by her performance. Britters really puts on a show complete with all of her hits and an elaborate set. I knew that we had to go again.

On our way over to Planet Hollywood, I asked Phil’s Dad which concerts he had been to. He replied that he hadn’t. Therefore Britney in Vegas was his first ever concert! This fact I found both highly amusing and completely amazing in equal capacities. I mean shouldn’t Britney be everyone’s first concert?!

We had a great time watching Britney and her dancers killing it although the evening wasn’t without drama as a guy from the audience cartwheeled onto the stage and took out a security guard before being wrestled to the floor and presumably arrested. Poor Britney was terrified and had to be evacuated from the stage, although being the pro that she is, she returned to finish off her set. Go Britney!


Have you seen any shows in Vegas?

L x

That Vegas sign and the Grand Canyon…

We were lucky to be spending a few days in Vegas and I was so excited to show Phil’s Dad all of my favourite places in and around Las Vegas. 

Of course our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to that sign. I mean are you even in Vegas if you haven’t stood in a queue in forty degree heat waiting for your turn to have a photograph taken without a stag do in the background?!

Day or night, there’s always a queue (and often either a topless lady or Elvis impersonator) surrounding that bright sign in the middle of the road, although my top tip would be to go in the morning if you can, I think it definitely gets busier as the day goes on.

Anyway, I’m a fan of the sign and it was definitely a must stop place to take Phil’s Dad. I was pleased that we managed to take him!

Vegas is also famed for its shotgun weddings (think Britney in the early noughties), and there are so many little chapels dotted around the place, they are to some quite tacky, but I personally think they are quite cute and offer an alternative to the traditional weddings that we are accustomed to. In all honesty, I quite fancied getting married in Vegas myself, but Phil wanted all of our family there and it wasn’t an option for them to travel. Never mind!

We had a good old mooch around the strip whilst melting in the oven-like temperatures that fall on Vegas during the summer months. I just love looking at all of the elaborate buildings. It’s such a vibrant place!

Once we had had enough of the colours along the strip, we returned to New York, New York for a dip in the pool and jacuzzi. I remember thinking how funny it was that the jacuzzi felt cool in the dizzy temperatures of around 46. Anyway, we read, danced around in the pool and hung out in the jacuzzi until it was time to dry off and wait for our taxi to catch our helicopter.

I really love riding in helicopters. I just find them so fun and the views are breathtaking. Floating above the Earth is just magical and I would highly recommend travelling by helicopter to the Grand Canyon if you can. 

We’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice now and we’ve used Papillon both times. Sure, it can work out quite pricey, but in my opinion it beats sitting with a coach load of people for a few hours. I’ve seen that there is a company offering ‘doors off’ tours, which I would love to do because I think that sounds super fun.

Anyway, on this occasion we went at sunset and it was such a treat. The temperature was slightly lower which made it much more comfortable than when we visited in the blistering heat. It also made this trip a completely different experience, watching the sun kissing the tips of the Grand Canyon as we sipped on champagne and looked down at the river. 

The GC is such a magnificent place, so untouched with warm browny red tones. It’s really peaceful (even with the helicopters) and I just love reflecting on our gorgeous world there.

Have you visited the Grand Canyon?

L x

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

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

Visiting Coronado in San Diego…

After our stint in Anaheim, we hopped in our little rental car and drove south to San Diego. It was our first time in San Diego and I was so excited to explore pastures new. I love visiting new places and we had been recommended Coronado as a nice place to visit. 

We were actually staying in Chula Vista, but Coronado was only a fifteen minute drive across the longest bridge known to man. 

Dress: Hollister Sunglasses: Vans

It was a bit cloudy when we arrived, but beautifully warm. We parked in an expensive car park ($20 for two hours 😳) and took a short walk to the infamous Coronado Hotel and beach.

The sand was some of the softest sand I have ever stepped on and such a treat. Honestly that beach is terribly divine. The views are lush too.

There’s also a little beach bar near the hotel where you can grab a cheeky cocktail and it’s just a lovely place. 

We also had a look around the shops and I picked up a couple of things and fell in love with the cutest little shop called Seaside Papery. They do beautiful prints and little things.

Coronado is super lush and definitely worth a visit. We had such a nice afternoon there.

Have you visited Coronado?

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

The Book Club, Book 2…


So I’ve not had a great couple of months when it comes to reading. I finished reading Vogue from the last book club instalment and have since fallen out of the rhythm of reading. Life’s been beautifully busy and I’ve sadly just put reading on the back burner. Anyway, I’m going to try and get back into a routine of reading before bed because I’ve got so many books at home waiting to be read and I just need to get back on it. 

So I finished Vogue a couple of months back and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think that it’s probably not a book for everyone but as someone who enjoys reading the magazine, it was interesting to have a sneak peek behind the scenes and Alexandra Shulman has a lovely way of conveying things. I particularly enjoyed her humour. I would recommend this to someone who is interested in fashion, the media industry or who enjoys Vogue. 

This leads me on to the next book club title… An Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green. 

My copy is a little dog eared from being dragged around hoping to be read (it’s been all over London, Belgium and California!). I like John Green’s writing style, so I’m quite excited about finishing this one.

Have you read Vogue? What did you think?

L x

My Favourite things to do in La La Land…

It’s absolutely no secret that I adore Southern California. From the golden sunsets to sandy beaches I’m completely head over heels in love. It all started in 2015 when my husband and I spent a month on honeymoon along the West Coast of America. It was such a fun and dreamy time that I would relive over and over again in a heartbeat. We had just so much fun and it was from that moment on that Los Angeles became one of my favourite places in the world. That’s why when the opportunity arose to spend ten days in LA again I leapt at the chance and we were on a plane to soak up the sun by the time you could say USA. Well, almost. 
Anyway after returning from our trip I have been inspired to put together a few things that I love to do when I’m over in La La Land.

Being a Disney addict means that no trip is complete without a Mickey fix and the parks in California are fabulous. 

I must admit that the Adventure park and Disneyland itself are my favourite of all the Disney parks that I’ve visited (which includes Walt Disney World in Florida!). 

I think that the fact that this park was the original just gives it a little extra sparkle and there’s so many unique rides that I just love (the Cars ride is so cool!).  I also like that you can hop between the parks super easily (like in Paris) and it’s not overwhelming (like WDW can be). Plus it’s all in English so I feel like I experience it fully. Anyway, I always have so much fun here so I would definitely recommend a visit!

One of the other things that I love to do is shop. We love walking around the mall having a nosey and until recently you could pick up quite a bargain with the US/GBP exchange rate. A lot of my favourite brands are American so I’m in my element!

A new discovery from our recent trip was Knott’s Berry Farm, which is a theme park located in Anaheim. It’s so much fun and quite quirky. They have a couple of really odd rides there. It’s also not as busy as Disney and we literally never queued for anything. Hurrah!

We stayed in Santa Monica for a few days on this trip and it was really lovely. We loved cycling along the beach (which is also what I loved doing on our honeymoon in Long Beach), and the cycle paths that are literally on the beach make it super safe and easy. There’s loads of places to rent bicycles cheaply too. I think we paid around $16 for a couple of hours. 

There’s quite a lot to do in Santa Monica from the pier to Muscle Beach and the beach itself is layered with beautiful golden sands.

Long Beach is a gorgeous place to explore with lots of nice restaurants and a pretty marina to walk around. It’s also where they filmed a scene in Clueless which always excites me!

I went whale watching on this trip which is something I didn’t do last time as we had just been swimming with sharks in Hawaii and  poor Phil had felt terribly seasick so he didn’t fancy hopping on a boat. We also went whale watching in Iceland last year which was unsuccessful as I didn’t see any whales and poor Phil spent the four hour boat journey vomiting! 

This time I went with my friend Kate and was absolutely blown away. We were so incredibly lucky to see four grey whales as well as lots of sea lions. It was one of the most enchanting experiences seeing these wonderful giants living wild and free. We used our LA Go cards for this trip (as well as Universal and Knott’s Berry Farm!), so it wasn’t remotely expensive. I am planning on going again when we next visit for the summer migration.

Long Beach is also rather lovely with its marina and, er, beach. There are lots of nice restaurants in the hood (including the delicious Wokcano) and there are lots of cute places to enjoy the LA Lifestyle. As well as some totally instagrammable shops near the marina.

Have you visited LA? What would you recommend?

L x