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Travel: California, Here We Come…

So, I’ve basically pretty much sucked at blogging this past few weeks, which is bad and not at all how I intend to carry on. In my defense, I’ve kind of been busy!

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had an obsession with the USA. I remember being really young and annoying the hell out of everyone with my fake American accent (which thankfully, for the record, has improved!), but these days I spend most of my time and money relishing in the fact that I’m British, but over in America itself. I can’t get enough. Typically, I travel alone and stay with friends, which I am so blessed to have in several different parts of the country. This visit was no exception.

Thursday

After a long Virgin Atlantic flight direct from London Heathrow, I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in the early afternoon. In my head, it was already really late, but I powered through. My friend Jayda (from Rich Life, Poor Girl) picked me up, and we went straight to hers. She has the cutests cats, and was kind enough to have me stay. That night, she drove me out to see Arielle (whose gorgeous place we visited in the Hollywood Hills), and Erin, too. I met these lovely ladies on Parahoy, and I honestly couldn’t be happier.

So we headed out to Universal Studios because I wanted to visit Saddle Ranch. FYI, it’s basically the coolest all-American restaurant ever. It has every gimmick you can think of, and I was so stoked to have a huge steak, loaded baked potato and tons of sugary goodness in the form of candy floss (sorry, cotton candy!). They also let you make s’mores by the fire here, and there’s a massive Bucking Bronco too. So cool.  Our server was a friend of the girls’, and he was super sweet. He gave us a huge discount, so we naturally left a huge tip. City Walk itself, where the restaurant is located, was a ton of fun, too.

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I even got my picture taken with a real Emmy award afterwards, because Arielle lives with a real Movie Producer! Hollywood Hills, remember…

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Friday

I’d been dying to head back to Santa Monica after falling in love in the past, so that was the first order of the day! I knew we’d be meeting my good friend Gina, so I was super stoked as well. Jayda, Erin and I headed down together, basically scoped out the shops, and then headed to Jonny Rockett’s, where Jayda decided she loved Tomato Ketchup so much she was going to eat it out of the bowl. I went for a safer choice of sweet potato fries (because, duh!), and an amazing milkshake.

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After lunch we headed down to the pier and rode the rollercoaster. It’s a sort of tradition of mine by now – the views on Santa Monica Pier are beautiful from above, and it’s a lot of fun. Thanks, Jayda, for riding with me! After that, we headed to meet Gina, and an online friend/colleague of mine, Vicci. We all chilled together on the beach, but the high tide kinda took us by surprise and cut it short. I’ll admit… screaming “is this a tsunami?!” wasn’t my finest moment, but it cracked everyone up!

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The evening brought us to a little hotel just off Hollywood Boulevard. Erin, Arielle and I decided to book in after staying in a house fell through. We were joined by Rel’s friend Kyle, who was super nice and in town from Vegas. We got ready, and headed out to a gorgeous Mexican restaurant called Velvet Margarita Cantina, which was a lot of fun and the food was great, but the wait was a little ridiculous. After that we went to Loaded bar in Hollywood – or, as the girls called it ‘Warped Tour Rejects Bar’. I enjoyed it a lot, but there were sooo many creeps. We told them we were all sister wives though and that Kyle was our husband. Run along now, weird men…

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Thank you ladies… I had the best time!

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Saturday

Saturday brought me to Orange County, which I ADORE. It had been a good few years since my last visit, and after Erin dropped me off in Huntington Beach, I was soon met by the gorgeous, super awesome Ali. We grabbed some lunch on the beach-front down near Laguna, and started to catch up.

Day drinking is totally acceptable on a beach. It may not strictly be legal, but nobody really cares. The more vodka I drank, the funnier our stories became. I love this girl! The birds didn’t love me though. Oh no. They decided to crap on me THREE TIMES. Yes, three. I screamed and rolled around in the ocean so much that I think Ali could barely contain herself! We get along so well.

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The evening wasn’t much different. After showers and lots of chicken, we headed out to meet Ali’s friends, Stacey and Danielle. The night was a bit of a blur, but involved lots of dancing and plenty of free drinks. I even met a girl from Manchester. It’s a small world! The night ended pretty messy for everyone, so we’ll leave it at that!

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Sunday

So by this point, I was just kind of annoyed about how little sleep I had been able to get. I may well have passed out from tiredness (yeah…) the previous night, but I barely had any sleep and it kind of made me grouchy all day! Luckily, a trip to a gorgeous lunch hotspot on Laguna Beach, complete with ocean/surfer boy views made things a million times better.

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The Deck, where we ate, was kind of pricey, but my salmon was delicious and I couldn’t have asked for better scenery.

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We headed to the beach after that, but since the tide was so high and a few of our friends had let us down, we headed home to freshen up. We decided TGI Friday was a great option for dinner, and started to feel a little better.

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We rounded off the night with a bonfire with some of Ali’s friends. Such a chilled out, relaxing night.

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Monday

I said a fond farewell to Ali, and as sad as that was, I was excited to visit San Diego, somewhere I don’t think I had ever been before. Gina and her mum picked me up early, and we drove straight down. The hotel was gorgeous; we checked in and then went to Coronado, a beautiful Island just off the mainland. First, we had some lunch.

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In general, the beach was pristine, the weather was a delight, and the cupcake I ate was out of this world!

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We had a gorgeous Italian meal in the Historic district of San Diego, and then headed off to watch some ridiculously talented people in an Open Mic night, in what was basically Hipsterville, including Josh Damigo, a friend of Gina. He’s so talented, but then, so were most of the people. We rounded the night off watching him play soccer… and by that, of course, I mean football!

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Tuesday

Tuesday made me a little sad, because it meant we had to leave California. We met Josh for lunch, and we ate at an awesome Southern style restaurant where the playlist was literally incredible. I think Paramore were played like ten billion times! After lunch, we headed back to LA, and that’s where we caught our flight on to Chicago. I used wifi on the plane, which simply blows my mind.

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And on to the next chapter…

 

*Apologies for the low quality pics! I should be getting a camera soon!