ASOS Summer Haul!

Did you catch my ASOS Summer Haul video? With all the nice weather in the UK I invested in some pieces for my very own staycation. Click the video below to watch to see what I got!

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You may also enjoy the below:

50 Things I Learned At University

Travel Vlog | Wine Tasting in California!

The California Travel Diaries | Welcome to San Francisco

Travel Vlog | LA Part 2

Sharing a major throwback with you all on my YouTube today with Part 2 of my LA Vlog. Looking back it’s clear I learned 3 things here:

1) I can’t pronounce Los Angeles correctly

2) Do not park in Los Angeles

3) I probably couldn’t do live TV, watch it for the bloopers and you will see!

I hope it brings you some 10 mins of escapism and joy today!

Read the blog posts here:

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

California Travel Diairies | Los Angeles (Part 2)

California Travel Diaries | Exploring Orange County

California Travel Diaries | A Whistle-Stop Tour of LA (Again)

Make sure you subscribe and like the video too, which would help support my channel!

Thanks for watching 🙂

Travel Vlog | LA Part 1

Dear lovely readers,

You may like me, have had trips cancelled and plans changed during this lockdown period. But don’t be glum! Come and explore LA with me virtually by watching my latest vlog which is up on my YouTube channel now!

Read the corresponding blog posts below and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you enjoyed!

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

California Travel Diairies | Los Angeles (Part 2)

 

 

California Travel Diaries | A Whistle-Stop Tour of LA (Again)

The 101 was soon becoming our best friend as my boyfriend and I were once again on the highway driving back to LA. When initially planning this trip, I assumed that I would love Los Angeles and would want to spend day after day at it’s golden beaches, exploring the famous city on this road trip. I’ll be honest with you, something about the city just wasn’t doing it for me. The traffic was horrendous on a daily basis, parking was expensive and difficult to find and everything just took so much planning. We were also getting increasingly more concerned how the rest of our holiday rentals were going to turn out. Our Airbnbs had been value for money, sure! But moving from place to place with suitcases whilst not feeling completely at home, was to say the least, tiring.

Saturday 7th July – Day 27

When we arrived to our new Airbnb, we were pleasantly surprised. Pulling into La Fayette Square, we were temporarily away from the stress of the city whilst still being only a 15 minute drive away from everything. At first we were hesitant as our host had not been answering our call to let us in, but whilst we waited for her response, we were shown fantastic hospitality from one of her neighbour’s who invited us over to their front porch for a La Croix to cool down from the drive. Soon after, the warm welcome was immediately replicated by our apologetic host who was dogsitting for her daughter. She gave us a tour of the house and we were impressed by her beautiful garden that overlooked the Hollywood sign (although now covered by overgrown trees). This Airbnb was a house that most definitely felt like a home. It was complete with a swimming pool, an outdoor bar, a large backyard, our own bathroom and balcony. As we unpacked our bags in our room, we expressed a sigh of relief and wished we had been staying here all along! Determined to change our perception of LA we decided to drive around and find some dinner. After 40 minutes of crawling and circling around for parking, we found Father’s Office, a restaurant renowned for their burgers. However as we took a seat at the restaurant, we were put off by the pretentious service so decided to keep on looking. Nearby there was also a great looking pasta place, but at this point our appetites and patience had diminished. So we decided to buy some soup from Ralph’s instead to enjoy alongside some Netflix in our new humble abode. On this occasion of LA vs Natalia, it was one – nil to LA.

Sunday 8th July – Day 28

The next morning we woke up to a lovely breakfast prepared by our host. Fresh coffee, fruit, pastry, a yogurt and orange juice – she really went the extra mile for hospitality and we looked forward to breakfast every single morning from there on out! Today was the day we explored West Hollywood and finally went to Melrose Avenue. To my absolute delight Glossier was based there! All my girlish dreams came true as I was surrounded by beautiful pink and dermatological friendly make-up. Music to my ears, as after my skincare reaction, I was not taking any chances! I happily walked away with some Glossier swag and a few gifts for my myself and friends.

 

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Glossier Canyon, Melrose Avenue

Although still sweltering hot outside, we continued to window shop and stumbled across Lisa Vanderpump’s Sur bar. Being a fellow Brit I used this as a great excuse to visit the bar. Although the drinks were nice, we were disappointed by the rude service that made us feel unwelcome, meaning we didn’t stay very long at all. Had we just been unlucky or is this what LA is like? Keen to not think badly of our Lisa, I took a second chance on her and walked down to her second bar – Pump. Luckily my faith was restored! Decorated to the nine’s with pink and red roses I suitably had some rosé. Perhaps, our luck had turned… or so I thought. It was only around 5:30PM on Sunday and as I walked back to the car with my boyfriend – my designated driver – when a drunk girl tried to start an argument with him. Ignoring the lass, we continued walking on to our car only to be bemused at it’s disappearance. As we stood there scratching our heads, the valet parking hosts proceeded to tell us ever so casually, that our car had actually been towed some 15 minutes earlier. Fuming at LA and it’s unclear parking signs, I made several frustrating calls to try and locate where exactly it had been towed to. Some 20 minutes later I received the address of where we had to go to pick up the car and ordered an Uber. We took a 10 minute journey costing us $9, to then only pay a further $208 to retrieve our car. It’s safe to say,  that was the most expensive 45 minutes of nothing in my life. It was 2-0 to LA.

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To save the day, my boyfriend ordered a pizza to cheer us up. After freshening up with a shower, doing some laundry and eating some comfort pizza, I felt a lot better. We finished off the day sat on the balcony talking and laughing at our unluckiness, whilst watching the sunset over the Hollywood hills.

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Melrose Avenue

Monday 9th July – Day 29
The next day, we used our last attraction of the LA Go City card to visit the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour. This is the perfect day for any movie geek where you can explore the sets of Desperate Housewives, Gilmore Girls and Friends to name a few! Complete with merchandise and props from Harry Potter such as trying on the Sorting Hat, and seeing the famous cars from Marvel & DC films, the day was really interactive. We also took a tour around The Ellen DeGeneres set, The Big Bang Theory Lot, Will & Grace and LA LA Land – it’s very worth the money! For dinner we decided to avoid any further LA parking fiascos, so ordered some Mexican food from Door Dash.

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Tuesday 10th July – Day 30
The next couple of days we decided to take some R & R. Our host was cooking Taco’s and invited us to have dinner with them. We stayed up talking on the decking with them over a couple of glasses of wine. Perhaps it was the fact that they were from Chicago that their warm demeanor shone, but this simple act of kindness made such a difference to our trip and we even got a Christmas card from them that year!

Wednesday 11th July – Day 31
Wednesday was our last day with our lovely host family. The heatwave was still going strong, so my boyfriend and I enjoyed a day lounging around the pool reading. We couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of finding parking and wanted to make the most of the lovely house we were staying in, for fear of what we may be dealt next! Therefore we gladly took advantage of ordering in again and decided we would sample how the Californian’s cook their curries. That night we ate outside under the fairy lights, and enjoyed the peacefulness before packing up our suitcases, ready for our next stop.

Los Angeles, you were hit and miss, but the day you are able to upheaval your traffic and parking situation, I may just revisit!

If you liked this blog post remember to subscribe and check out the below:

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

California Travel Diairies | Los Angeles (Part 2)

California Travel Diaries | Exploring Orange County

Dublin | Travel Vlog!

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California Travel Diairies | Los Angeles (Part 2)

Dearest Californian Dreamers,

I’ve challenged myself to complete my California Travel Diaries Series by the end of 2019. With a new year fast approaching it’s time to wrap up this long awaited series (as I know you are on the edges of your seats)! As you sit and read this, it’s a bitterly cold day in London where Christmas decorations are lighting up the city, but let’s take a moment to pick up where we last left off. Wherever you may be – cast your mind’s back to my last travel blog post and imagine the warm glow of sunshine upon your face.

June 2018

After a beautiful day spent basking in the Californian heat on Santa Monica Beach, my boyfriend and I went out until the early hours of the morning, laughing and joking with new folk we met over *quite* a few beers. On this warm Summer’s night in Los Angeles, we returned back to our Airbnb but a turn of events meant that we were snapped out of our lovely drunken haze … Click here to catch up on that post!

Tuesday 26th June – Day 17
The next day was as wonderful as every hangover is. However, rather than opting for a day in bed nursing myself with some Netflix and painkillers, my boyfriend and I decided to escape the city and not let my pounding headache and weak stomach, dictate our trip. The only other remedy for this hangover was a visit to the fresh ocean air; to none other than Malibu. The drive down from Culver City was worthwhile in itself. The Pacific Coast Highway is something I implore you to have placed high on your bucket list… I mean it… write it down… right now! Whether that’s on your phone, in your diary or messaging your friends/ better half on Whatsapp, make a note to self to visit and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

My visit to Malibu was several months before the Woolsey fires, and I feel lucky to not have been effected by this disaster during my visit. I was fortunate enough to experience the beach side town in all it’s glory; dream home after dream home, enveloped by clear blue skies and sapphire toned waves. Often when I think back on this visit, it feels like a dream.  Alas, as I do not live that bouji lifestyle, a meal at Nobu was swapped for the Marmalade café, where I soothed my hungover soul with some soup & salad. Somehow I hoped this would undo all the damage I had done in the early hours of that morning! With a full stomach and feeling a semblance of normality, we explored Zuma Beach. It was as if time stood still as all my attention was fixed onto the sound of the crashing waves and the cool sea air blowing through my hair. It was everything I hoped for, (minus meeting Leonardo Di Caprio and being offered to move my whole family over to Malibu for free).

I always knew Malibu was famous for it’s waves and surfing competitions, but it wasn’t until I was stood there admiring the stretches of white sand and ventured 4 steps into the ocean that I really understood why. Keen to try and cool down, but cautious of the strong current, it was too late as I was suddenly engulfed by the waves despite remaining close to the shore. Luckily, no harm was done apart from to my ego as my boyfriend captured the hilarity of this ordeal on camera! It was now plainly obvious to me why Malibu is a surfer’s paradise. That evening as per recommendation from one of our previous hosts, we ventured to another “Must See” – Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s for any newbies here, is a good quality food convenience store full of organic produce, founded in the 1950’s. Fun fact: Did you know that the owner of Trader Joe’s is brothers with the owner of Aldi? Here we bought some groceries for our dinner and retreated to our rooms for a quiet and restful night’s sleep, careful not to repeat the events of the night before.

Wednesday 27th June – Day 18

Ah, Rodeo Drive! An iconic stop in the heart of Los Angeles, a place where window shopping will make you feel like a million bucks as you stroll along one of the world’s most famous streets. That’s how I convinced my boyfriend to add this to stop to our itinerary, along with him being able to find $2 parking at the Wallis Centre. Strutting through Beverly Hills, we soon spotted the Beverly Wiltshire and I felt a whole lot of fabulousness radiate through me, as I sang Pretty Woman whilst doing my best Julia Roberts impression. Although we couldn’t afford to eat in a swanky hotel and have our own PW moment (we were traveling for 6 weeks after all + another 6 to come in Europe), instead we enjoyed our homemade sandwiches and soaked in all the pretty jewels that Tiffany and Co had to offer, before heading over to Venice Beach. At this point, I thought to myself I could really live the Cali lifestyle. We parked by the beach and walked barefoot along the sand close to the ocean, taking in the variety that Venice has to over; a stark contrast to it’s neighboring Beverly Hills.

Rodeo Drive

Venice was a lot more dirty than it’s Santa Monica sister, despite being merely a 20 minutes’ walk away. With marijuana now being legalized in the state, Venice Beach was full of many stores to buy the drug along with cheap souvenirs and piercing places surrounding the area. Nonetheless, the actual beach itself was quite stunning. Although we weren’t keen on exploring Venice any further, any future recommendations to the area that may change my mind are welcome! Being savvy savers on this trip we returned to our new haunt, The Craftsman nearby Santa Monica promenade, for a couple of happy hour drinks and a spot of food to see out our day.

Thursday 28th June – Day 19

It was time for our first baseball experience at Dodgers Stadium. Kitted out in white and blue, we supported the LA Dodgers whom were easily defeated by the Chicago Cubs. Although it took me the whole game to get the jist of what  was going on, it was so much fun to people watch over a hotdog and take in the entertainment!

Tip: You can only be served beer at baseball games, if you have your passport with you, your driving license will not suffice.

Let’s go Cubbies!

Of course, with it being another day ending in Y it was time for another new beach. This one became my favourite of them all – Manhattan Beach. This small beach town, where one of the main beaches, Redondo Beach from the 2000’s drama “The OC” is located nearby. It is a far cry away from the LA traffic and tourist traps, and we were even able to park our car for free in a residential area all day without any worry. The town is a cross between a mini Malibu, with it’s floor to ceiling glass mansions complete with ocean views and a slightly more affordable Beverly Hills. This delightful laid-back Southern Bay community is also entwined by The Strand bike path, winding between the oceanfront, modern mansions and wide stretches of sand lined volleyball courts. Manhattan Beach also sports a charming aquarium, waves for surfing, parks for picnics, a small downtown area with boutiques, cafes for brunching, pubs (a must for any Brit!) and upscale eateries. It even comes with Vince Vaughn as a neighbour (as rumoured by one of our hosts). Out of everything in LA, this quaint town is a jewel in the Californina crown.

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Manhattan Beach

Friday 29th June – Day 20
We figured it was time to visit some of LA’s best attractions, so we bought the 10 day Go City Card (approx 190 dollars each) granting entrance to 3 attractions at a discounted price. Our first visit was to Universal Studios. For those of you who don’t know what to expect there are some simulated rollercoasters, rides as well as some interactive games and shows based on Universal’s most popular films and TV programmes. Think The Mummy, Fast and Furious, Jurassic World, The Simpson’s, there really is something for all the family! My favourite part of the day was Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey simulator. Walking towards Hogwarts you can also buy your very own wand at Olivander’s, visit Diagon Alley and take a ride on Flight of the Hippogrifth. After a day of being big kids, we left the park and walked over to Universal City to grab a bite to eat at Panda Express, before heading over to our new Airbnb closer to Downtown Los Angeles.

Saturday 30th June – Day 21
Today was the day we took an official swift visit (and exit) to Hollywood. Hollywood Boulevard was, in short, SUCH a disappointment. With masses of people, shuffling down a dirty street, it did not resemble the snaps you see of actors unveiling their stars on the walk of fame. The street is also full of many con artists, trying to hand you out free CD’s of their music, using it as a ploy to intimidate you into giving them money to “support” them – only to find when you return home that this so-called music is a blank disc. Luckily we didn’t fall for these tricks, having previously read up on TripAdvisor beforehand. Nonetheless, all was not lost as we did get to visit Los Angeles oldest Italian eatery – Musso & Frank Grill. The diner, founded in 1919, is complete with waitored service, classic dishes served in a New York style interior furnished with red boothed tables. I recently heard in an interview that Leonardo Di Caprio and Quentin Tarantino ate there together to discuss the film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – how apt is that?

Later that afternoon we took a stroll to Sephora where I treated myself to some Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Promenade – a product that is now a staple in my makeup bag. We then visited a bar in Downtown LA called Seven Grand, a spot famous for it’s whiskey cocktails. If you like a laidback, unassuming but Jazzy atmosphere that radiates New York vibes, it’s a must visit (I’m sensing an I ❤ NY theme here, are you?) For dinner we had some incredible food at Bottega Louie where we experienced some long awaited, famous American customer service. They also had some dreamy looking desserts which we promised ourselves we would return to try, but sadly never did! We then walked over to Grand Market which is made up on lots of different stalls to eat and drink, based near Angel’s Flight – another cute LA sight for the ‘gram where you can recreate a LA LA Land moment.

Sunday 1st July – Day 22
The following day we took to the Hills – well, not quite, but certainly to one very famous hill: Mulholland Drive. This scenic landscape has a view of the San Fernando valley where you can spot the Hollywood sign in the distance.
In the afternoon we returned to our new favourite Californian stop- Manhattan Beach. As we lay and sunbathed, taking in the serenity of the ocean, we also spotted dolphins jumping in the distance! Seeing nature do it’s thing all on it’s own, is pretty damn cool.
At the end of our beach afternoon, we stopped off into Brewing Co. for a drink and watched some baseball (I definitely still didn’t understand the rules at this point but it looked like a fun game), before driving home and picking up the ever so nutritious, Taco Bell for dinner – when in Rome, right?

Monday 2nd July – Day 23

To see out week one in LA, we took advantage of our Go City card and headed to our second attraction, Six Flags : Magic Mountain! When it comes to theme parks, American’s certainly do NOT mess around with their rollercoasters. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you will thank me later for this. I, on the other hand, have a slight fear of heights and definitely had about two breakdowns throughout the day at the theme park. At one point I honestly planned to abandon my boyfriend and go sit in the car and cry. It sounds quite funny writing this down, but with rollercoasters called Hercules, you can imagine just how terrifying they were for me. Overall the day was really fun and I’m very proud that I went on nearly all the rides. Tip: If you visit I’d recommend buying a refillable cup to cope with the heat.
Later on that day we packed up and travelled to the next stop of our trip, Orange County. Stay tuned to read all about what we got up to and how we celebrated 4th July!

If you liked this blog post you should check out:

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

The California Travel Diaries: Solvang to Santa Barbara

The California Travel Diaries: SLO

The California Travel Diaries: Monterey to Big Sur

The California Travel Diaries: Yosemite

Also follow my Youtube Channel to watch the travel vlogs!