USA Road Trip – Day 14 – Home Time

Our final day in San Francisco and our final day of the road trip!

We all woke up feeling a bit hungover and also sad that it was our final day. The past 2 weeks had flown by but also felt like we had been away months as we had visited so many different places and experienced so much.

We decided to start the day at Taylor Street Coffee Shop. This place has rave reviews online and seemed the place to go for breakfast. It’s tiny and we had to wait for a table but the food was delicious, more English breakfast and omelettes rather than the American traditions such as pancakes but would definitely recommend if you are in the area and need a place for quick food.

From here we had to head back to the hotel to pack up and check out, always the worst trying to squeeze everything back into your suitcases! Thankfully the hotel looked after our luggage for us so we could have one last walk around before heading to the airport.

We all decided to pop back to the shops just in case we had forgotten something or found a last minute deal. We also did the touristy thing and posed with the cable cars! Then finally we popped to a sushi restaurant for lunch where the food was so good and such good value!

Then it was sadly time to get a cab to the airport ready for our 11 hour flight back home to London.

It had been the absolute best 2 weeks away and I would love to do another USA road trip in the future – The Deep South, North California and East Coast are definitely on my bucket list!

Love, Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 13 – San Francisco has us now!

We woke up from a well deserved lie in and decided to eat breakfast/brunch at the little café next door to the hotel, American pancakes with all the syrup are the best!

Originally our plan was to hire bikes and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, but unfortunately the weather had other ideas – cold, wet and grey. Not really the weather for bike riding or taking in the views. We were also pretty tired from late nights and busy days so we decided to take the day at our leisure.

After brunch the boys decided they wanted to check out the gym and pool at the hotel, so Megs and I took this as the perfect opportunity to go shopping! Our hotel was walking distance to Westfield Mall so it would have been rude not to take a look!

I don’t know what it is about American Malls or Outlets but they are just so much better than anything the UK has to offer plus everything is so much cheaper! This mall was huge with every shop imaginable. Of course I spent most of my time in Bath and Body Works (Seriously when will they open one in the UK?!) We could have easily spent all day there but we had to get back so we could find something fun to do all together for the rest of the day.

We met Matt & Fraser and decided to get a taxi to Fishermans Wharf. Along the bay From Pier 39, you still get a view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge however this area of San Francisco felt very touristy and like a British seaside town (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

We looked around the souvenir shops and then found Musée Mécanique – a small museum filled with antique arcade games and quirky artefacts. It was a bit creepy but also fun to play the old games and try to beat each other at the racing games.

Even though the weather wasn’t the best we decided to walk from Fishermans Wharf to Lombard Street – the famous steep road with 8 hairpin turns! I thought it was one of those things you should see and get a nice photo of. Unfortunately as we were there in March it wasn’t in full bloom like I had seen in pictures, instead it was super busy and pretty hard to walk to – just working off those pancakes! But still look at this road and imagine living on it!

As we hadn’t done enough walking for the day haha, we then decided to walk back to the wharf and then all along the marina to the yacht club. We thought there may have been a nice place to stop for a drink or something but we couldn’t find anything. By this point it was super windy and cold and we just needed somewhere to rest our legs and have a bite to eat and some drinks, so we took to trusty google maps and walked inland towards The Tipsy Pig.

The Tipsy Pig was just what we needed, a modern but homely bar/restaurant and we seemed to be the only ones there, well I guess it was 4pm on a Wednesday! We were a little peckish so decided to order some snacks to share – Macaroni Cheese, Cheese & onion biscuits (like scones) with dips and of course fried shrimp – it was all so delicious! We also had a round of cocktails.

We said we were only going to stop for a break, a drink and a snack, but as it was so welcoming and all so delicious and I had bought a pack of cards with me (always prepared) we ended up staying for hours. Sampling even more cocktails and playing card games. What holidays (vacations) are all about!

Before we knew it, it was gone 8pm and dark! So we decided to get a taxi back to the Sports Bar we went to on our first night. We befriended some American guys and spent the evening playing shuffleboard against them and drinking even more cocktails!

A great spontaneous day, Love Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 12 – Alcatraz, Seafood & Basketball

We had to get up super early for our first full day in San Fran, as we had booked tickets for the first boat over to Alcatraz Island, so we needed to be at the marina for 8.30am! Thank goodness for cold pizza haha, but we also managed to grab a couple of hot drinks & muffins for the 12 mins boat trip over as it was pretty chilly at that time of the morning!

We were the first group of the day on Alcatraz Island and it was so nice to experience it all when it was relatively empty and quiet. As the longer we stayed, the more people that joined (as I think the boats bought people over roughly every half an hour) so I would definitely recommend visiting early in the morning as the island and prison are pretty small so it starts to feel quite cramped by lunchtime. Also book your tickets way in advance as they do sell out!

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We did an audio tour of the prison and it was so interesting but a bit creepy! We also met a former Alcatraz prisoner, William Baker which was really exciting as there are only 2 Alcatraz Prisoners left as the prison closed in the 1960’s. So he had lots of stories to tell!

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We got the boat back to San Fran around 12.45pm and then walked to Pier 39 which is quite famous as it has lots of shops and restaurants and also seals lay on the deck there so everyone goes to see them, they were pretty cute!

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We had lunch reservations at Fog Harbour Fish House and the food was absolutely amazing, I think we tried most things on the menu and the chowder was so delicious! We also had a great view of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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After lunch we mooched around the local shops and enjoyed the weather as it was really sunny but not as hot as the previous places we had visited. We then went back to our hotel and chilled for a bit, well Matt and I had a nap haha.

That evening we got a taxi to a place called Oakland which is over the bridge from San Fran as we had tickets to a Golden State Warriors basketball match. This was such a fun evening as its quite a fast game and there is always something going on like music and cheerleaders etc, so we all had a really good time, watching the game, drinking and dancing.

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We finally got back to the hotel about midnight! A long but amazing full day in San Francisco.

Love Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 11 – San Francisco

It was a bittersweet moment waking up on Monday morning. We were excited to fly to San Francisco and enjoy yet another new place, however we were sad at 1. giving the car back as it had been so much fun driving around and exploring hidden places and 2. It was the last stop of our trip and we felt like our time had just flown by!

I loved staying at The Garland hotel it felt like you were a million World’s away from the craziness of Hollywood even though you were only 10 minutes away and I really wish we could have stayed longer. I think if I were to ever come back to LA I would only want to stay here. We packed up, ate one last breakfast, said goodbye to the pool area and made our way to the car hire shop to begrudgingly give the car back.

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From the car hire building we got on a shuttle bus to the airport. The traffic was crazy (LA traffic is constantly crazy!) and we must of crawled for about an hour to get to our terminal building, I honestly think we could have walked faster! and then once we were finally through and into the terminal building our flight was delayed! Not a great start to our final location however it just adds to the adventure! Or so they say 😉

Luckily the flight from LA to San Francisco is only 50 minutes so by the time we took off it felt like we were ready to land again and I was starting to feel excited about our final adventure.

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We would have loved to have driven this final part of the journey and I know many people who have done this and said it’s amazing but unfortunately we just didn’t have the time. If we were to ever do something like this again I would definitely love to drive this part and explore more of Northern California.

Once we had landed in San Fran, we jumped in a cab to our Hotel – Handlery Union Square which is right in the centre of the city. It was weird to be surrounded by high rise buildings and be back in the craziness of the city when we had spent the last week surrounded by beaches and feeling pretty chilled out.

The hotel was in a perfect location though as we could walk to all the shops and restaurants, so after we had checked in and checked out our rooms we decided to go for a little wander and check out our new neighbourhood.

We ended up in a place called Tap Rooms, a really cool American Sports bar, with all the beers you could imagine and all the American games ready to play such as foosball and shuffleboard. The walls were covered in screens showing all of the sports imaginable. The boys were very happy and myself and Megs enjoyed relaxing over a few drinks. Then we decided to try and beat the boys at shuffleboard!

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We were having so much fun that we hadn’t even noticed the time but the boys were telling us it was time for dinner. Megs and Fraser decided that they fancied sushi and Matt and I fancied pizza, so after numerous meals together we decided to go our separate ways and after having a quick look on google Matt found that Tony’s Pizzas was the place to go.

We jumped in a cab and made our way to Tony’s where we were greeted with a bit of a queue , a queue that went out onto the pavement! It seemed like it was a pretty popular place and we were told that it would be roughly a 45 minute wait but that we could visit the surrounding bars and they would text us when our table was ready. We were happy with that and popped across the road to a bar for a few drinks. It was quite nice to have a bit of a date night just the 2 of us and explore our new surroundings.

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Back at Tony’s we were seated in a cosy corner of the restaurant and couldn’t help but look at all the awards which the chefs had won and the celebrities which had visited, it seemed like we had chosen the right place to go for pizza!

The menu is pretty big but they only make a certain amount of each pizza a day. So the original pizza I chose had already sold out but the waitress happily helped me pick another one and I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t remember the exact pizzas we chose but mine had crispy kale on top which was delicious! The pizzas were so huge though that we couldn’t finish them so we took them back to the hotel in take away boxes. I love that about America how you can get anything boxed up to take away.

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A fun first night in a new city and ready for more adventures tomorrow!

Love Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 10 – Lazy Days & Crazy Nights

As we had visited a lot of beaches and had seen the sights of Hollywood, originally our plan for Sunday was to spend the day at Universal Studios. However after having a bit of a crazy one the night before and all feeling slightly hungover and tired, we decided on a lazy pool day instead.

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Even though we had enjoyed the odd beach afternoon or a couple hours downtime, the majority of the trip so far had been go, go, go. Not that we were complaining as we were having the best time, but there is no better feeling knowing that you have no plans and can just take the day as you please.

I was quite jealous when I found out Megs and Fraser had enjoyed breakfast in bed, but Matt and I had already found a good spot around the very chilled out pool area and I was enjoying a snooze in the sunshine. (oh how I wish England would have reliable weather, sunbathing in March – the dream!)

We had lunch at the pool bar, which was so yummy and needed and then spent the afternoon either chilling in the hot tub, reading a book on a lounger or playing bat and ball in the pool.

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By early evening we were feeling revived and decided we should do something fun for our last evening in LA. So after a quick change we decided to get the free shuttle bus from the hotel to Universal Studios which was only 10 minutes up the road from us.

We had left it too late to actually visit the theme park, however they still have the CityWalk, which is an all day, all night entertainment area, which includes restaurants, bars, shops, nightclub and cinema.

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We had a little walk around and went into a few shops and then decided to pop into Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville for a drink and a game of cards (as was tradition on this trip) the cocktails were delicious and we ended up staying a little longer than we first expected as it was just so nice and chilled.

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It was starting to get dark when our thoughts turned to dinner. We could have stayed put but we wanted to have a little explore and see what else was on offer.

There were so many food outlets to chose from however nothing was taking our fancy, also a lot of the options were fast food places and we wanted something a little nicer than that. We made our way over to Tony Roma’s as we had heard it was meant to be quite nice place for ribs and steaks etc however while waiting in the queue for a table, we didn’t really like the atmosphere of the place it felt hectic and the food just looked like fast food. So we left still umming and ahhing about where to go. We ended up walking right to the front of CityWalk and found Saddle Ranch Chop House. It looked fun with its cowboy theme and mechanical bulls and there wasn’t much of a wait so we thought we would give it a go.

Unfortunately though we were sat right at the back of the restaurant (this is a huge place) and there wasn’t really anyone else around us. It really lacked any atmosphere (it all seemed to be out the front) and we were surrounded by creepy looking cowboy themed waxworks. There was a moment where we decided to leave this place too however we just couldn’t decide where we wanted to go and didn’t want to aimlessly walk around again, so decided to stick it out. Hoping for some good BBQ food.

In fairness my ribs and sweet potato fries were delicious however the rest of the group didn’t have dinners to rave about but they were nice. In hindsight we wished we had just gone to Hard Rock Cafe!

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We declined desserts and decided to go for another look around the shops we had missed the first time around, before heading back to the hotel, to enjoy wine under the stars and play perudo. THE game of the holiday.

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 7 – Tigers, Tides & Taco’s!

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, San Diego had us ready to go for another day of adventures. So after breakfast we packed up the car and headed straight to San Diego Zoo.

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This was definitely the hottest day of our entire trip, as you can see there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we were sweating by 10am! Not that we were complaining as it was lovely to feel hot weather at the beginning of March, a bit different to England!

The zoo was already very busy when we arrived and it is also very big.

We started off in Center Street and made our way up the path, seeing all the different bears along the way. I love bears and would love to visit Canada to see them in the wild.

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From the bears we walked up to Park Way, which takes you to Panda Canyon and the Panda Trek. Pandas are adorable and it was amazing to see so many of these beautiful animals, however just walking up a hill for almost an hour, caused us to melt, so we decided to get ice creams and jumped on the guided bus tour.

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This is a 35 minute tour of the zoo where you get to see the majority of the animals. This worked better for us as we didn’t want to spend all day at the zoo, plus we managed to get seats on the open top deck, so got to enjoy the sunshine, with a cool breeze and see all the animals in action.

After the bus tour we decided there were a couple of areas we wanted to visit up close, first up the giraffes which are Meg’s favourite animals and then to the monkeys and gorillas.

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We then joined the queue for the Skyfari which is a cable car which goes over the complete zoo, it’s a novel experience but you don’t really get to see many of the animals from up there!

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A quick look around the gift shop and we decided it was time to head to the beach to cool off as it was just too hot to continue walking around the zoo all day and we had seen everything we had wanted to.

On our drive to the beach, we stopped off in Coronado town and grabbed some sandwiches from a local shop and popped into a mini supermarket for some drinks and snacks. When we arrived at the beach, we set up just like we did the day before, ate our snacks and then spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing, playing games and attempting a dip in the sea but the water was cold!

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Just before sunset we decided to head back to the bar area at Hotel del Coronado, ordered some drinks and got ready to watch the sunset one last time. I honestly could never get tired of these views and the sunset.

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We decided that as it was our last night in San Diego we had to go to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, as we had heard that the local Mexican food was amazing. We looked up a few options but as I had had a few wines by this point I didn’t note the name of the place we ended up at (apologies!) however I can tell you that it was a very popular spot back in the city and you couldn’t book a table so we did find ourselves in a small queue, but it was worth the wait as the food was delicious, as were the cocktails!

We were sad that it was our last night in San Diego as we had really enjoyed the relaxed beach vibe and beautiful weather but we were very excited for our next adventure to begin in the morning…

Love Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 6 – A Top Gun Kind of Day…

We awoke to beautiful sunshine and headed down for breakfast inside the hotel. The food was average but we couldn’t complain as it was free! Plus the portions were huge! I had pancakes with berries and the others had the full American.

Over breakfast we discussed what we wanted to do with the day. We had researched a few things we wanted to do in San Diego, however we had no set plan on what days we should do what and after quite a full on time in Vegas, we were hoping to fit in some relaxation at the beaches at some point too.

If you read my Vegas posts you will know our plan regarding 4 places, 4 names picked out of a hat, surprise the group with something. Well I had chosen San Diego. So I decided to put my plans into action. After breakfast we jumped into the wagon and drove down to the Harbour, as our first stop of the day was the USS Midway Museum.

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Now you may think that what I chose as the surprise sounds a bit boring, but actually the main reason I had chosen it was due to it being linked to Top Gun and who doesn’t love Top Gun? It’s one of Matt and I’s favourites!

Whilst researching San Diego back at home I quickly found out that 90% of Top Gun was filmed in the area so I thought it would be fun to visit some of the locations (if we could find them!) I’m still shocked that they don’t do a Top Gun mini bus tour or something to take fans around to all the locations, seriously why hasn’t anyone thought of this?! But I digress back to the ship…

”USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. She was the largest ship in the world until 1955. She operated for 47 years, during which time she saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego.”

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Look at this view from the top of the ship – beautiful!

We spent a couple of hours on the ship, exploring every room and taking in all the stories. Matt and Megs even rode in a fighter jet flight simulator but mine and Fraser’s stomach’s never would have handled it!

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Not wanting to miss anymore of the sunshine, we decided to take a stroll along the harbour, which was so beautiful and picturesque taking a look at the Unconditional Surrender statue along the way.
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We popped into The Fish Market Restaurant for a drink and a cool down. It was such a lovely place and the food, especially the freshly caught seafood looked amazing however I had other ideas for our lunch spot…

Kansas City BBQ A Top Gun location with the added bonus of delicious BBQ food and sunshine.

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A couple of the iconic scenes from the film were shot here, including the Great Balls of Fire Piano and the Jukebox.

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The place was filled with memorabilia however it still had a locals vibe. After looking around inside we decided to eat outside as we wanted to enjoy the incredible weather whilst eating our delicious food.

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There were a few other locations from the film I would have liked to have found however they were quite a way from where we were, so we asked our waitress where the best beach was and she told us Coronado, so off we drove (thank goodness for sat nav!) over the bridge to Coronado Beach.

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Oh Em Gee just look at this place!

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It looked like something out of a movie scene. Picture perfect white sand, barely any other visitors, pure bliss.

We found a spot to settle in for the rest of the afternoon and chilled/napped in the sunshine.

Keen to explore a bit more of the surroundings, we walked along the waves towards the Hotel del Coronado, which was stunning.

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We found a table at the outdoor bar area on the balcony, overlooking the beach, ordered a few drinks and just breathed it all in. Oh how we wished we were staying at this hotel and waking up to this view everyday! We’ve already said numerous times that we want to go back and stay there.

The hotel has also been featured in numerous films dating back to the early 1900’s! But the most iconic is Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe.

We played cards and Megs and I drank local wine before making a leisurely stroll back to the parked car, passing all the amazing houses along the way.

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Don’t you think this looks like Gru’s house from Despicable Me?

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After chilling and changing back at the hotel we decided to get a cab into the city for dinner at a little Italian restaurant. We seemed to be the only ones about, not that we were complaining as the food and service were amazing, but it just seemed a bit odd not seeing anyone else around, however what a great first day in San Diego!

Love, Chloe xx

A Surprise Birthday Trip to Iceland – Part 2!

Waking up to this view on your birthday is the best.

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View from our bedroom window at Alda Hotel

I was sad to be leaving Reykjavík behind and our stay at the Alda Hotel in the centre of the city had been great. The rooms were minimalist but full of home comforts, the staff were super friendly and helpful and they had a gorgeous bar area where you could snuggle up by the open fire at the end of the day. The location was also perfect as it was walk able to all the main bars, shops, restaurants, waterfront and bus stop. Everything you could need for your adventure in Iceland.

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After a morning of opening cards, drinking prosecco and enjoying a leisurely breakfast, we decided to take one last walk along the waterfront to take in the views, before getting the bus to the Blue Lagoon.

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Birthday Bubbles!

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Getting the bus is super easy and cheap in Iceland and they all leave from the main bus depot so you don’t have to worry about finding a bus stop.

I was so excited to go to the Blue Lagoon on my birthday, and not only were we going for the afternoon we were also staying the night in their on site hotel. I’m very lucky that Matt actually enjoys visiting spas! I couldn’t wait to get there and see it all in person. Their website looked so sleek and exclusive, I envisioned it being very luxurious and beautiful, especially as it’s one of the 25 wonders of the World.

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The bus dropped us off at the main entrance for the Blue Lagoon, it was busy, very busy! We shouldn’t have been surprised though, as this is probably the most popular tourist spot in Iceland. We thought by arriving at lunchtime things would have calmed down a bit, but that wasn’t the case as it seems people continue to arrive all day.

We made our way to the entrance/ticket area and explained that we were staying at the hotel and asked how we could get there. We were told it was a bit of a walk and so they would get a worker to drop us off in a buggy, great or so we thought. We were made to wait in the tiny entrance area which had a couple of plastic tables and chairs with leaflets about the Blue Lagoon, nothing special or fancy like they had shown on the website, but I still had my high hopes as we hadn’t seen the real thing yet! But we ended up waiting for ages and every time we asked what was happening they would just tell us that someone was coming for us. Wasn’t the best customer service and we were made to feel like it was our fault for not being dropped off at the hotel. Not a great start as we just wanted to be in the Lagoon!

Finally someone collected us in a buggy and took us over to the hotel. Without suitcases we definitely could have walked it but the ground was so uneven (it’s icy lava fields) it would have been a nightmare to drag those along. Feeling a bit happier and that bit closer to the lagoon we made our way to reception for check in. We were greeted with the frostiest receptionist, she didn’t even smile or say anything when I excitedly said we were there for my birthday, it was like she couldn’t care less. It was all very bare and cold and almost felt like a hospital, not a luxurious spa hotel. We saw no other guests and made our way to our room on the ground floor. Again this was very minimalist but we were here for the lagoon and not the room, it’s just a bit odd though when you are used to the homely comforts of spa hotels in the UK, this felt clinical! One positive though was the beautiful views of the surrounding lava fields from our windows and it really did feel like we were the only ones there which I guess is a bonus.

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The lava fields 

I was about to get changed into my swimming costume and robe when I realised that we would have to make our way back over to the Lagoon again! What a palaver. That’s one thing when visiting a spa, I like everything to be under one roof, I hate the one’s where you have to walk outside to get to the spa area or back to your hotel room. It just makes me feel cold and what if it was raining? So we decided to pack our swimming stuff and wear all our layers as remember Iceland is freezing, to walk back over to the main Lagoon, as we didn’t want to risk waiting for a buggy again now we knew where we were going and we had already wasted time.

By staying at the hotel our entry to the Blue Lagoon was already included and we had been given our wristbands for entry. These also acted as a key for our electronic lockers in the changing rooms and you could also use them to buy food and drinks on site. When you leave they scan your wristband and it shows what you owe and you pay for everything then. Pretty clever I thought!

After the adventurous walk, going through the ticket entry system, finding a locker and getting changed, we were finally ready to enter the Blue Lagoon. A geothermal seawater lagoon, featuring three active ingredients, Silica, Algae & Minerals, praised for its numerous benefits and naturally heated to 37-40°C (98-104°F). Bliss!

And bliss it was, all the issues of the day soon melted away and we had a fun, relaxing afternoon. Floating around the huge lagoon, taking in the sights, using the natural blue mud as a face mask and just chilling in this natural wonder. A great place to spend any day but especially a birthday. They even have a bar you can float to!

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We popped back inside the main building to the cafe for a quick bite to eat and afterwards we got to enjoy the lagoon by night, which I think is truly special and something you should definitely do if you are visiting. Most of the day tourists leave by this time, so you get more space to explore. There are coves to find, the waterfall, sauna and steam rooms and even a relaxation area. Matt then told me he had booked us in for an evening water massage, so we had to make our way over to a reserved area, still inside the lagoon.

I had no idea what to expect from an in water massage, having never experienced one before but I was very excited to find out. You lay/float on what looks like a thin yoga mat but you can still feel the warmth of the water beneath you, so you don’t get cold. Occasionally my masseuse would dunk my body (not head) under the water to ensure I was kept warm. Then you are massaged using the Blue Lagoon mineral massage oil for a whole hour. I was laying on my back and that way I got to look up and see all the tiny stars in the clear, black sky above. It was very magical and something I will never forget. The actual massage was great too, just an all round amazing experience.

After feeling thoroughly relaxed we decided to leave the Lagoon and head back to our hotel room, as we had dinner plans that night.

Ladies and gents for that matter, make sure you cover your hair in conditioner before you enter the lagoon otherwise your hair will dry out and be a mess of knots! Especially if you dye/bleach it!

After attempting to sort my hair out. We then got a buggy to Lava Restaurant, which is located back over in the main Blue Lagoon building.

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How cool is this place? It’s built into a lava cliff, with views over the lagoon. As you can see we were pretty much the only people there! Not that we were complaining but it seems that Icelanders don’t eat dinner very late. We found this at every restaurant we visited during our trip, when booking a table for say 8pm they found this very odd and most places actually close quite early, so make sure you check timings when booking or visiting restaurants!

The food here was delicious, beautifully presented and the waiters made a big fuss about it being my birthday. I couldn’t decide between two desserts, so they got the chef to plate both of them on one plate for me, without even asking for it, amazing!

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After an amazing dinner and being the only ones left in the place we decided it was time to head back to our room. But then it hit us, it was pitch black and no buggy available to take us over to the hotel, we would have to walk back by ourselves! We had torches on our phones and there were tiny lights to guide our path, but it took us quite a while to walk the 10 minute usual walk, especially as I was wearing heels! But we finally made it back without any injuries.

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This was our view/path. Very icy!

The next morning we went for breakfast which was inside the hotel, but it was terrible, they say they only serve healthy breakfasts but there were barely any options and in the end we both just had some fruit and left pretty quickly.

Determined to make the most of our last morning in Iceland. We decided to take a dip in the small lagoon pool which was for hotel guests only. This was basically exactly the same as the main Blue Lagoon, just on a much smaller scale and part of the hotel so no walking. It was lovely and very relaxing just floating around all morning. Until sadly we had to quickly change and catch the bus to the airport to fly home.

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I would definitely recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon and Lava Restaurant, but I would only do it as a day trip and continue to stay in Reykjavík. Obviously I am happy we experienced it like we did and we still had a great time, but it was just a shame the hotel was pretty terrible and I felt that the walk between the hotel and Blue Lagoon was pretty unsafe especially at night. I have seen that they are building a new hotel though opening in 2017, so who knows, maybe they will make some good changes?

I absolutely loved my time in Iceland and cannot thank Matt enough for surprising me with the trip.

One day I would love to go back, although Finland might be next on the list for a cold location. I would love to stay in the Ice Hotel and you can try and spot the Northern Lights there too, as that is one thing we didn’t manage to spot in Iceland!

Love, Chloe xx

 

Shoes, Champagne & Cheese

Last September – I cannot believe it was a whole year ago!! Megs and I visited the Victoria & Albert Museum to view their, Shoes:Pleasure and Pain exhibition.

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Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take photos inside the exhibition and even though lots of people were, we respected their wishes. So the photos you’ll see of shoes are all taken from Google!

The exhibition was great but pretty busy. Even though tickets were booked in advance and we had an allocated time slot, the first area with the glass displays of shoes were pretty crowded.

The displays were visually enticing but also informative and as a massive shoe lover I found it all very interesting and wanted to take a lot of the shoes home with me!

The shoes displayed ranged from the first pair of Greek Sandals, to 16th Century Venice, to 1940’s London Ladies shoes, to 1960’s Mary Quant boots all the way through to modern day Jimmy Choo’s.

They also had a display dedicated to famous shoes in history, such as David Beckham’s football boots, the infamous white Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, well worn by Marilyn Monroe and even Cinderella’s glass slipper, which I really wanted to sneak home, but don’t think it would have fitted some how and obviously Cinderella still has the other one!

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Now you’ve seen all the shoes, which for me are a pleasure. I guess you’re wondering where the pain was? Well along with the Chinese bound slippers which looked like absolute torture! There was a whole area dedicated to Christian Louboutin and his Fetish shoes. I guess you could say this was a pleasure/pain area. I love the look of these shoes though and would love to try a pair.

The ballerina/pointe shoes are designed to be worn while crawling to your partner, so no fears of falling over in them!

 

After looking around all the shoe displays we watched a video of iconic shoe moments in film, advert and TV history, including Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City’s Blue Manolo Blahnik’s, John Travolta’s walk in Saturday Night Fever, Marilyn Monroe’s strut and Michael J Fox’s white Nikes in Back to the Future 2. We then made our way upstairs to a much airier, brighter and more modern environment to watch videos and displays on how shoes are intricately made.

It was a really fun morning and even though this exhibition has now finished, I would definitely recommend visiting the V&A for their exhibitions as well as their usual collections. Below are their current offerings:

  • Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear – On until 12th March 2017
  • Engineering the World – Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design – On until 6th November 2016
  • You Say You Want a Revolution? Record and Rebels 1966-1970 – On until 26th February 2017

From the V&A we made our way over to Covent Garden for a spot of lunch at Champagne and Fromage.

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Champagne and Fromage is a tiny shop and bistro selling an array of champagnes, French cheeses and charcuterie – all the best C’s!

Megs and I found our spot and settled in for the afternoon, sharing a bottle of deliciously cold champagne along with a selection of foods including baked Camembert with nuts, dried apricots and figs along with a selection of breads and salads.

We thought we were too full for dessert until we saw what was on offer! Macarons, Champagne or Mojito sorbets, Apple tart with champagne cream or how does a champagne and raspberry tiramisu sound? Delicious!

C&F is great for a cosy afternoon full of treats and indulgence and I would definitely recommend booking a table, especially if you fancy visiting at peak times.

On our stroll back to the station we noticed that Be At One had a 2 for 1 offer on cocktails so we popped in for 1 which turned into 2, which turned into… you get the picture!

A very indulgent and fun girls day out 🙂

Love, Chloe xxx

 

 

 

Kaiser Chiefs@ Sandown Park Racecourse

As it’s that time of year again for Sandown’s Live Music Nights. I thought I would reminisce  on last years trip to see the Kaiser Chiefs…

I raced home after work one Thursday night in August, quickly changed and jumped on a train to meet Matt at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher, for a night of horse racing and live music.

We’ve visited Sandown quite a few times now, for both race days and live music nights. It’s a great venue and a fun, local day out for us and our friends.

I found Matt and we made our way across the field, into the venue, in the search of food..and drinks! 😉

Sandown have quite a few food stalls dotted around, as well as a brasserie, or if you like something a little more fancy, they do have Equus, a fine dining restaurant.

As it was still warm, we thought we would make the most of the summer night and decided to have a bit of a picnic on the grass outside. We went for burgers and chips from the food van along with a couple of glasses of fizz from the Prosecco stall. (Prosecco on tap..if only I could have this in our kitchen!)

After our food and lazing in the sunshine, we met up with our friends Spenno and Charlotte and checked out the horses before the first race.

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Spenno, Charlotte, Me and Matt

Spenno plays rugby with Matt and Charlotte, Spenno’s girlfriend is the rugby team’s physiotherapist. They are great friends and we always have such a laugh with the two of them 🙂

We placed bets on every race, but unfortunately no big wins, still a lot of fun though!

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It was then time to make it over to the main stage, ready for Kaiser Chiefs to start.

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As you can see, we were stood somewhere in the middle of the crowd. I was a bit shocked by the vast age range of people who had come out to see them, there were young children all the way through to people in their sixties, maybe even older. I love that though. I started seeing concerts at a young age and I absolutely love music, live music especially.

The last time I saw Kaiser Chiefs was at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2011. The crowd was obviously much bigger, lots of ‘pogoing’ (jumping up and down on the spot) was going on and there were even a few mosh pits. This was also a time before Ricky ‘got hot’ and became a household name from being a coach on the Voice. Their slot was crazy, full of all the songs people could sing/shout along to, the atmosphere was electric and the band were full of so much energy, I was hoping Sandown would be the same, if not very similar.

But they started off a bit mellow, I don’t know if it was the band or the crowd, but there wasn’t the same atmosphere as I had experienced before. Also I hate to say it but Ricky seemed just a little bit full of himself, he wasn’t the same person who I had seen only 4 years previous, at one point he had a bit of a moan that we (the crowd) weren’t getting into it enough, however I don’t know if that was a sarcastic comment or if he really meant it. But once the sun went down, people had had a few drinks and they started playing their hits which everyone was jumping around and singing along to, things got a lot better.

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Us 4 were loving it though and we continued to bounce around and belt out the choruses to ‘I Predict a Riot’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’ as if our lives depended on it. Nothing to do with the Prosecco I’m sure ;-p

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All good things must come to an end though and before we knew it they were playing their last song, streamers were going off and I had to enjoy my last pogo jumps of the night. ha.

I would definitely recommend a race night with live music, it’s a bit different to a full race day but still such a fun night out with friends and we are already looking into this years options! I think it’s Jess Glynne, Busted and Bryan Adams. So we/you better get your tickets quick before they sell out!

Love, Chloe x