On the road again...

We’re currently on a trip of a lifetime, a trip I’ve dreamed of for many many years, it has been a holiday of many firsts, starting at the airport before we even left the UK.

I don’t like changing my bag in public toilets, the thought of it breaks me out in a cold sweat. Pathetic really, it’s a toilet, it’s what they’re for. It’s not like I’m suggesting I change my bag at the table in the middle of a restaurant.   

Never the less, it’s a cause of stress for me. But I knew I had a 10 hour flight ahead of me and recently the filters on my bags haven’t been lasting the 24 hours that they had been.  

Chris reckons it’s because I’ve gone carb free* and vegan*  and it’s making my output looser and possibly coming in contact with the filter more.

*carb free and vegan are my goals but not set in stone. I have no self control but I’m trying my best. Hahahahahah, I’ve lost over a stone with the lowering of my carb intake. 

So I had a choice at the airport, I could either a, keep the bag I had put on fresh that morning and risk a filter failure or b, be a big girl and change my bag in a public loo!!  

As I approached the loos I saw the cleaning attendant so I asked her where she thought the best place to change my bag, the regular toilets or the disabled access toilets. She very cannily pointed out that the baby change toilet would be my best bet and she was quite right. I had space to change my bag and somewhere to put my used one once I changed it. Absolute genius. Besides any smells created by my bag change I could the blame on a stinky baby ;) hahahahahaha... 

Do you know what though, I can’t for the life of me understand why I fret. We all have to go, literally all of us.  

Anyway, bag changed and all fresh for the flight I boarded the plane happier that I had bought myself at least 6 hours of time before the filter went rogue.  

I’m pleased to say that after a 10 hour and 25 minutes flight we arrived at San Francisco and I was still fresh as a daisy.  

 

 Ben and I enjoying a little retail therapy in Heathrow Terminal 3.  

Ben and I enjoying a little retail therapy in Heathrow Terminal 3.  

I bought a pair of super soft, loose fitting trousers in Next for the flight, they worked a treat, so comfy it’s like being in your PJ’s in the day time. 

I had no idea what San Francisco was going to be like, we’ve only ever been to NYC before. Suffice to say San Fran was wonderful, I love NYC very much and find it hard to beat but we really enjoyed our stay in San Francisco. Very different to anything we had experienced before but very familiar at the same time.  

One of the best things about it is how sparsely populated it is. We took full advantage of shopping, at one point in Sak’s we were out numbered by staff by about 5 to 1. Heaven.  

Chris even bought some stuff as there were no queues and we were waited on hand and foot.  

The sights are of course fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Alcatraz, and it wasn’t even something I wanted to do. But it turned out to be brilliant. Informative and eery in equal measure. With most beautiful planting in the gardens I have ever seen in federal facility.  hahahahaha, I’ve not been to any others but the plants and flowers at Alcatraz were gorgeous. 

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Top from Tommy Hilfiger,  Culottes from Tommy Hilfiger, Shoes from Micheal Kors.

Our driver that picked us up at the airport suggested we dress in layers, and dress for every weather. Although the average  temperature year round doesn’t really deviate from between 50-70 degrees there’s the rain, fog and wind to take into account. 

 

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Jacket from Tommy Hilfiger,  Scarf from Tommy Hilfiger, It’s a quite Tommy day. :) 

The planting on Alcatraz is stunning. 

 

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There are so many classic tourist sights you have to see and do of course. We bought hop on hop off bus tickets to take in most of the sights on our first day. We then chose our favourites and returned to them the following day for a closer look.  

My personal favourites include The Golden Gate Bridge, The Palace of Fine Arts and riding a Cable Car and the Sealions at pier 39...

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Cardigan from Tommy Hilfigur, top from Ralph Lauren, Trousers from Hobbs, Shoes from MK.

Me and both my boys, you just have to search for Sam where’s Wally (Waldo) style. He’s very camera shy. But ironically takes the most incredible photos (I keep stealing them much to his chargrin).

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After an exhausting city break in San Fran, we headed south through Monterey to Carmel by the sea. I have wanted to come here for so long. It’s a little surreal that we’ve finally made it. 

I had hoped we’d be able to drive Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway all the way to LA but it’s still closed at Big Sur. But after we checked into our hotel in Carmel and had a walk round the town (it is exquisite by the way. I could stay there for ever) we went off to drive as far as we could on route 1. 

(Whilst driving through Monterey we watched Big Little Lies being filmed, I bloody love that show so that was pretty cool).

 

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Just the fam and a mini van on tour. it’s been absolutely amazing. I love my boys and I love the fact we’ve had the opportunity to have such a great adventure together, it’s not something we’re likely to repeat again so I’m savouring every minute. 

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I’ve been able to tick of so many longed for experiences and firsts.  

First time on the West coast, first time on the PCH, first time in a real American general store, getting my groceries in the brown paper bag that I’ve seen on TV and film since I was a tiny child. hahahahaha, it’s the little things in life that make it shine!!

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Top from The White Company, Culottes from Tommy.

I’m not tiny, well, I’m 5’ 3 and a half, but I look particularly small next to this chaps truck. :)  

Road trips are a tricky one for packing clothes. I kept a close eye on all the weather reports for our 6 stop overs for weeks before our trip, just to get a feel for the weather. I packed a hand luggage sized suitcase with clothes for the first 4 days of the trip to save delving down my big suitcase, packing was tricky, especially as I don’t pack light, why should ? I have nice stuff I might as well use it.  

For the first few days I brought with me loose fitting trousers, I had been plagued with savage constipation for a week before the trip, when I get nervous/excited  it could go either way but this time my dysfunctional bowels decided to go on a go slow, I was drinking gallons of Lactulose before we came, I’m sure that did wonders for my blood sugar levels! ;) 

I’ve been ok here, slight gripe every now and then but fine other than that. The loose fitting trousers were an excellent choice though. 

For the journey from Carmel to Beverly Hills I chose a light and loose fitting skirt. It’s a long drive so the thought of 5 and a half hours in jeans was a no no, besides the Hotel Playa Carmel had the most amazing waffle station at breakfast so I needed the room to fit them in....yes, I’m fully aware there’s a couple of carbs in waffles, maple syrup and strawberries but what was I expected to do? Abstain? Hell NO! hahahahaha 

l lost 16lbs before I came, I’ll just have to do it all over again when I get back home hahahahaha.  

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Awwww, Look at the happy little face on it! :)  

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Top from Reiss, Skirt From Reiss, Shoes - Rockstuds from Valentino.  

I’m so blown away by the Californian planting that I’m going to redesign my courtyard at home into a Cali tribute.  I’ve ordered some Adirondacks already.  I just need to find out what these are if anyone can assist me?

 

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Photo taken by Sam in Monterey. 

 Photo taken by Sam in San Francisco  

Photo taken by Sam in San Francisco  

We arrived in Beverly Hills after a 5 and 3/4 hour drive. Although long the roads are great and Chris settled into the driving, the only thing that doesn’t sit well is being able to turn right on a red light, but other than that driving here is a breeze. The scenery along the 101 was surprisingly green and beautiful. 

We’re staying at the Beverly Wilshire, the iconic gem of the Four Seasons chain, since the day Julia Roberts brought it to my attention I’ve always wanted to stay here. It’s literally a dream come true.   

And as luck would have it I didn’t need to be a working girl to come and stay, probably a bit of luck, I don’t even think I could sell my body for medical research purposes at this point let alone anything else! hahahahaha. 

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Finally made it to Rodeo Drive, the irony is not lost on me that I haven’t bought anything since I arrived in America other than some kitchen paper towel and a tub of unsalted mixed nuts...Chris however has had quite the shopping spree! I’ve taught him well. Hahahahaha 

Last night we went for dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut at The Beverly Wilshire, Ben did a bit of research before we came and found that they sell the best steak in town. Not really of interest to me as I only eat chicken and fish. But that said even I was impressed with the meat board, not enough to want to eat it but impressive none the less. 

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I absolutely LOVE this outfit. 

Dress from Mulberry, Shoes from Chloé, Clutch bag is the Gucci bum bag converted into a clutch. 

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Just to prove we all came on the trip. 

 

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I don’t eat it but it certainly looked impressive. 

Tonight we are off to Spago for dinner. Very excited for that too!! 

We’re not even a week into our journey yet but so far it’s been amazing, surreal in fact. I know I am here but I can’t believe I’m here.  

I am one very grateful, happy bunny right now. The ONLY thing that could make this better would be if I bumped into my dream man...Dick Van Dyke. My one and only celebrity crush and life long love of mine.  

(Don’t judge, to each their own) ;)  

Today has been amazing taking in all the sights of Beverly Hills and beyond.  

I didn’t bump into Dick Van Dyke sadly but I did get to try his hand prints for size.  

For me there are only two true Icons of film, 1 is Marilyn and the other of course is Dick.   

 

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With Marilyn.

I spent a vast proportion of my teenage years obsessed with her, I read everything, watched everything, sang everything she ever did.  And quite honestly it gave me goose bumps to go past her Brentwood home where she tragically passed away.  

I’m loving California, I think it suits me. I can’t imagine who it wouldn’t suit, sunshine and beautiful scenery. Ok so some parts of LA are a bit ropey but what city doesn’t have that?

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Top from Whistles, Jeans from Topshop, Shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo   

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We took a city bus tour again, we did it in San Fran too, it really helps you find your bearings.  

We got off at Santa Monica, it’s absolutely fantastic. We ate lunch in a great restaurant, The Albright, with the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. Plus I finally got to taste a West Coast lobster roll. Turns out East or West Lobster roll is amazing everywhere. 

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Proof were it needed that there are 4 of us on the trip. My insta photos are a bit Sam and Chris light. 

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My glorious boys.  

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You have to really, it’s a staple. :)  

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We had no idea that the famous Route 66 finishes in Santa Monica, but I can now say I’ve completed it, seeing as it’s the end of something that denotes completion. ;)

After the pier we headed back to Beverly Hills, via Brentwood, we drove past Brentwood Farmers Market, which looked very quaint, but I think you may have a different image in your head as to what a farmers market here would look like...there’s a Christian Louboutin shop! Hahahahahaha

I finally broke my shopping dry spell, not in the aforementioned Louboutin, I didn’t need or want any, don’t tell chris this but I think I’m at saturation point with high heels. hahahahaha...I say this all the time but I never stick to it, I did mention that I have no self control. 

Anyway, our shopping complete we headed back home (how easily the word ‘home’ flows off my tongue when talking about the Beverly Wilshire hahahahaha) to get ready for our big night out. Friday nights restaurant was amazing but this one is the jewel in Wolfgang Puck’s crown. 

Spago is a place frequented by the great and the good of Hollywood. Paris Hilton, John and Chrissy Legend, Ben Affleck, The West’s (Kim and Kanye rather than Fred and Rose) etc etc.  

Spago was recommended to me twice in two days a few weeks back so I knew I had to come, I was really very excited about it, I get very excited about a lot of things, and I’m grateful for that. Can you imagine doing amazing things and it feeling normal and mundane? Would make life pretty grim. 

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Dress from Ted Baker, Shoes - Agnes from Jimmy Choo.  

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Earlier in the day we had used the hotel’s limo service to get to a shoe shop Ben and I wanted to go to. I asked our driver how far Spago was from the hotel and would I need to get a cab? 

Exasperated he said “mam, it’s like two blocks away, you don’t need a cab”  

I did have to point out I have no idea how far a block is as I have no idea what size the block might be, I’m now assuming a block is a standard size measurement across the country.  

Anyway he suggested we take the limo (the difference of that and a cab is lost on me too hahahahaha)

But seeing as it was a beautiful evening...and it was only 2 blocks away we decided to walk. It actually wasn’t far at all, he was quite right. I managed it in stilettos, which I think should be used as a measurement - for example a stiletto length walk would indicate a short walk, a wedge would be a slightly longer one and a flat, well, the sky’s your limit! ;)

Spago lived up to all expectations. It was amazing. The staff are so friendly and so helpful, we have the fussiest eater on the planet with us. Ok, so he can’t help being lactose intolerant, but he also won’t touch a vegetable unless it’s a potato...preferably deep fried. The waiter was amazing and exceptionally accommodating to the needs of a 19 year old toddler (we are hoping Ben will grow out of this fussy eating stage but as it’s been going on some 16 years now we’re not holding our breath hahahahaha).

I had the tastiest chicken I have ever had, which is weird as I thought I had had that in Cut the night before. But the chicken and the sauce in Spago blew everything out the water. 

Later today we head for Laguna Beach to continue this epic road trip, can anything top a suite at The Beverly Wilshire, dinner at Spago and finding many coins on *Santa Monica pier We shall see, we shall see... 

*In England finding a penny on the ground is deemed to be good luck, not sure if that’s the same anywhere else. But I never fail to stop and pick up lucky pennies. Much to Chris’s consternation at times as I will stop the flow of pedestrian traffic to retrieve it. :)    

 

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Would you look at all that luck right there!!!

 

xxxx

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Top from Topshop, shorts from Next, Shoes from Manolo Blahnik.

Just chilling by the pool at The BW before we head to Laguna Beach, I’m sitting watching all the healthy folk head to the Cardio Center (which I can only assume is the gym) whilst I sit and try and digest my California toast...followed by Chris’s left over pancakes!! Why god? Why do I do it to myself!! Hahahahaha...