California Road Trip: Santa Barbara, LA & Vegas
Arriving in Santa Barbara, I couldn't have been happier to see the sand and sea. Santa Barbara is one of those places that has such a cool, relaxed vibe about it. Spanish-style buildings, red tile roofs, tall palm trees and boutique shops, sitting under the watchful eye of the surrounding hills.
We only had one night here so spent the day exploring the area.
Obviously I found a stationery shop - Paper Source. We are in need of one of these in the UK. Rows and rows of coloured paper and envelopes in all sizes and shades. We followed our exploring with a well earned ice cream at this delightful spot.
We stayed at the Canary hotel. A gorgeous place with a massive, four-poster double bed and crisp white sheets. It's the only hotel to have a roof-top terrace with a pool in Santa Barbara so I didn't waste much time...
That evening I got my 'hero' shot. A snap of the most perfect, pink and purple evening sky - no filters...just nature at its very best.
Back on the road again and down to LA where we caught a glimpse of the amazing yellow wild flowers that were visible from space this year.
I made Ed stop at pretty much every beach along the way... sort of imagining I was filming an episode of The O.C as I went...
Venice Canals was our next stop, a lovely place for a stroll with a melange of quaint houses perched on the waterside.
We did Air BnB while in LA, staying in the Abbot Kinney area (near Venice Canals). Staying in LA is expensive and this is probably one of the best ways around it. You are near the beach, a bike ride away from Santa Monica and far enough out that you don't feel the hectic, hot and traffic-heavy vibes of downtown LA.
This area is buzzing - musicians, artists, tourists, families, skateboarders, cyclists, 'muscle-beach' enthusiasts.
We walked the length of most of the beach and then hopped on bikes as the sun was beginning to set.
Experiencing more multi-coloured skies.
As we were in LA, I felt we had to take a trip to Rodeo Drive which was something to behold.
Not very 'me' but luckily there was something a little more welcoming close by...
Sprinkles Cupcakes - the perfect mid-morning snack for a tourist. Honestly, what's cooler than an ATM that delivers you cupcakes in a under a minute?! Fuelled up and ready to go we hit the Sunset Strip and said hey to a few famous faces whilst we were there.
I booked a Warner Bros. tour (a bit touristy) but interesting to see how detailed and specialised the film world is. It's almost unbelievably how much goes into making a movie, advert or tv show. They take you through it all here.
La La Land anyone?
A life-long dream was fulfilled when this happened...
For instagram addicts, the Paul Smith 'pink wall' on Melrose Avenue is a must visit.
Before heading out of LA, I made sure to visit an absolute gem of a shop (one that I have admired from across the pond for years).
Sugar Paper LA - chic and gorgeous pieces, a must-see for all stationery lovers.
After arriving in Vegas, our final stop, I was delighted to be greeted by this view.
Well worth the wait.
We were staying at the Vdara Hotel - a non-gambling hotel so slightly more low key than others. Don't stay in Vegas if you don't like heights...!
We didn't have long in Vegas so spent the time walking down the strip and taking in the madness.
Before a drink at the very top of the Palms Hotel with quite a view...
And finishing with an expert fountain display timed to Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' outside the Bellagio. A little cringe, sure, but all part of the experience.
A good send off before flying back to the UK.