Venice Beach and Santa Monica…

When we visited LA in February this year, we decided to stay in Marina Del Rey so that we could explore Venice Beach and Santa Monica easily. We absolutely loved all three places along the beach and I knew that I categorically wanted to visit again when we were on the West Coast in the summer. Flash forward six months and Phil and I found ourselves in the exact spot that we spent Valentine’s Day at, eating cheesecake and taking in those gorgeous Marina views. What a treat!

The area is currently undergoing development and we were surprised to see just how far it had come in those six months. It’s such a lovely area with lots of outdoors activities going on – including paddle board yoga!!! Defo giving that one a go next time although I’m almost certain I’ll end up in the water.

When people ask me if I enjoy cycling, I reply with ‘only in LA’, which whilst I’m aware it sounds a bit ridiculous, it’s true! I just love cycling along the beach on the concrete paths adorned with skaters, Segways and fun. It’s just so effortless with gorgeous views of the sea. 

I like to cycle from Venice Beach to Santa Monica pier, it’s not far at all and really enjoyable. Sometimes we make a couple of stops, for example on this occasion we stopped at Muscle Beach to have a nose (which resulted in a detour to Gold’s Gym after Phil saw someone wearing a hat that he liked!!).

P Diddy was super reluctant to go cycling, we almost literally had to drag him onto the bike and move his legs for him at first, but after a few minutes he loved it and was even singing whilst he cycled! We had to prize him off once we had finished.

On this occasion, Phil and I shared a tandem because we haven’t done that before and we thought that it would be fun. It was great! I sat on the back whilst Phil did all of the hard work. I would highly recommend it!

Once we reached Santa Monica, we hung out for a while on the beach enjoying the sumptuous sunshine that SoCal offers. I really, really love LA and the lifestyle.

On our cycle back, Phil spotted a pair of sunglasses that he’d been after for over a year on a stall (it was a good day for Phil), so we stopped in Venice Beach for a little shop. I love the atmosphere in Venice, so fun and colourful. No doubt without hidden dark sides, but mostly fun and bright.

Although we currently have no plans to travel back to the West Coast, I know that LA is somewhere we will definitely be visiting again. I just love it there so much!


Have you visited Santa Monica?

L x

Back to LA, oh and Ed Sheeran…

Before we knew it (and definitely before we were ready), it was time to leave Vegas and drive back through the desert to Los Angeles. I quite enjoy a road trip and loved taking in the sights of the Mojave desert. It’s just gorgeous.

I was also rather excited because that evening we were seeing Ed Sheeran at the Staples Center. 

I quite enjoy Ed Sheeran’s music and was also really looking forward to watching him play at such an iconic venue. 

But before all of that, we arrived at our hotel to find ourselves literally in the middle of a building site. We were staying at The Mayfair Hotel, which I had chosen based on the fact it was a ten minute walk to the Staples Center and was a traditional 1930’s hotel much like the one featured in American Horror Story (I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea). Anyway, after walking through the gigantic builders mess, we found ourselves back outside on the street and eventually in a part of the building which wasn’t under total renovation. I wouldn’t recommend staying there as we weren’t given a heads up about the building situation and also I just feel like it’s not quite up to the standard it should be. The location, however, was great as we could walk everywhere easily.

We headed over to a Greek restaurant for dinner before enjoying Ed Sheeran’s set. 

He put on a great show featuring all of his hits. I had never seen Ed play before (he sells out super fast!), and I loved how raw his performance was. It really is all about the music for him. I found it quite odd that I was sat in amongst thousands of people, thousands of miles from home watching a guy that knows a couple of people that I do and is also thousands of miles away. Anyway, it was a lovely evening.

We then did some late night shopping (yay for Target!) before heading back to our weird hotel.


Have you seen anyone play at the Staples Center?

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

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