USA Road Trip – Day 8 – LA Beaches!

A mix of emotions again leaving another amazing place and San Diego we will be back! However we were excited to get back on the road, in the Wagon and drive on to the next location and this time it was Los Angeles.

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Megs in the wagon!

Megs decided she was ready to take the wheel and after a quick lap of the car park we were on our way to Laguna Beach. I used to love MTV’s Laguna Beach so even though this was about 10 years later!! I was excited to check out the beach where so much drama happened.

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Hello Los Angeles!

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Boys in the back with all the snacks!

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Megs behind the wheel

Laguna Beach was beautiful but very small and not what I imagined at all. A small little town on the cliff top overlooking the beach, filled with quirky little boutiques and coffee shops it was cute and pretty. But I honestly thought it would be a lot bigger.

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Check out this house! We eventually found the car park, after a bit of a scary 50 point turn on this driveway (sorry about that!) but we took a moment to check out the sea views.

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I guess we came a little out of season as the beach café wasn’t open so we jumped back in the car and with me behind the wheel, we drove onto our next stop…Huntington Beach.

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Just call me LC

The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway is amazing. All the way along the West Coast, passing beach after beach and view after view.

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I loved seeing all the different spots and then finally we arrived at Huntington. A huge difference to the quaint Laguna. Huntington was big! Sand which went as far as the eye could see, a long pier lined with stalls and small shops with a restaurant/diner at the end and then a main high street with bars, restaurants, shops and cafes. It was a typical American beach filled with surfers, skateboarders and people playing volleyball.

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We went for a wander along the pier and along the beachfront. Finally settling on BLK Earth Sea Spirits for lunch. This was the perfect spot and we sat outside on the balcony over looking the sea and soaking up the sunshine. I also think this was the healthiest lunch we had all trip, salads and juices all round we knew we were in LA! The food and view were amazing, would definitely recommend!

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Look at this view!

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Refuelled and rested it was time for Fraser to drive us to our final beach of the day…Manhattan Beach. Matt’s university friend Phil, his wife Jess and their baby Greyson live here, so we decided to pop in and say hello, check out their gorgeous home and then we all headed down to the beachfront just before sunset.

We walked along yet another pier this one a little smaller but still just as pretty as the others, watched all the yummy mummies jogging with their babies and then finally found a little bar with a view of the beach, to have a proper catch up over a glass of vino or two (sorry Matt having to drive the final stretch to our hotel!) – Also sorry I didn’t seem to take any photos here, clearly too busy catching up!

As night fell, Phil and Jess had to get back to put Greyson to bed and we decided it was time to make a move and head to our hotel. Phil had already warned us about the traffic and how even though our hotel was only just over 20 miles away it would most likely take us a couple of hours to get there!

We were very grateful to Matt for driving us in the dark, with the crazy LA drivers, in lots of traffic but we finally made it to The Garland just after 8pm.

The hotel was so pretty, it had a retro modern theme, and the staff were super friendly and helpful, we checked in so quickly, dropped all our luggage into our beautiful rooms and then made our way down to the The Front Yard restaurant. Passing the stunning outdoor pool area which was covered in fairy lights and had a projector screen showing the film Matilda which people were watching from the pool, very cool!

The restaurant was packed and we were very lucky to get a table on a Friday night without booking, but the staff were so lovely and helpful. Turned out the majority of them are aspiring actors and actresses so Hollywood! We ate some delicious flatbreads and pastas and then shared a couple of desserts between us.

We ended the night under the stars by the pool, drinking wine and taking in our new, beautiful surroundings.

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

USA Road Trip – Day 4 – Final Day in Las Vegas!

After an amazing sleep in the comfiest bed (I swear Vegas hotels all have the best beds and bedding!) We woke up ready to explore more of Vegas, plus the sun was back shining once again, hooray!

We decided to walk to The Bellagio Hotel to check out their buffet breakfast, with a little jay walking along the way oops!

The Bellagio is a stunning hotel, with gorgeous floral displays and grandeur so we were expecting good things from the buffet. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite the case. It is a little old fashioned and even though the food options were good, the quality wasn’t as good as the buffets at The Wynn or Aria. Also the service was pretty slow.

After breakfast Megs and Fraser decided to explore more of the strip, however Matt and I decided to get a cab to downtown Las Vegas as we had never visited before and I really wanted to see the original old school Vegas.

Freemont Street was eerily quiet when we arrived. It was great to see all the original casinos and hotels such as The Golden Nugget and 4 Queens, however it really lacked any atmosphere. I guess it is a place best enjoyed in the evening when it is all lit up and really comes alive.

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We walked around and had a bit of a gamble but it didn’t take too long to explore it all. We wanted to try out the Slotzilla – A zip wire which goes over the casinos but unfortunately it wasn’t open.

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I really do think that we went too early in the day. So we decided to jump in a cab and head to the outlets which we had noticed on our way to downtown. Outlets in America are too good to resist!

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After a little bit of shopping we found Megs and Fraser, as we had booked to do an Escape Room with Countdown Live Escape Games.

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We had the choice of 3 different rooms; one horror, one sci fi and one Sherlock Holmes themed, we decided on the latter. You basically get locked in a themed room and you have 1 hour to look through everything, solve the clues and escape the room. Overall it was a lot of fun, but at times I did get a bit fed up as I found it tricky and not as easy as I thought it would be! However we did end up making it out with 5 minutes to spare!

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I have no idea why I look like I’ve just gotten out of bed!!

Afterwards we decided to head back to the strip to watch the Bellagio Fountains hourly show. It’s so clever and mesmerising and I love how they have different displays depending on the song. In 2012 Matt and I stayed at the Bellagio hotel and I loved being able to watch the fountains from our bedroom window.

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After a busy day we decided it was time for a cocktail and a bite to eat, so we popped into PBR Rock Bar and Grill, as we kept passing it and thought it looked like fun. It shows a lot of sport but also plays rock music and has a bucking bronco. We sat in the indoor garden area which has fake grass and picnic benches.

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Of course I ordered my usual frozen strawberry daiquiri. Then just look at these fries! Crispy fries topped with oosey cheese, crispy bacon bits and drizzled with buffalo sauce, yum!

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After the days adventures we decided to head back to our hotel to get ready for our last evening in Las Vegas.

Megs and Fraser decided to go for a Sushi dinner and they saw Zumanity which is an amazing Cirque Show.

Matt and I had late dinner reservations at TAO restaurant which is located inside The Venetian hotel. The hotel itself is very grand and luxurious and TAO brings Asia to Italy. The atmosphere is great, and with seats opposite the giant Buddha we were in good company. Our waiter was so enthusiastic and helpful and the food was amazing we shared dishes including satay chicken, tempura shrimp and miso glazed seabass.

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After dinner we decided to go for a look around the Venetian and ended up having a little gamble in their casino before calling it a night.

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Vegas once again you were amazing but it was time to begin the road trip…

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 3 – It’s all about the food!

All completely wiped out from the day & night before, I think we finally surfaced around midday – hungry, hungover and in need of some fresh air.

We took a stroll along the strip from The Aria towards the New York New York Hotel. We were definitely hit with fresh air as it was a lot windier and a bit cooler than the day before.

We had barely got a start on our walk when we stumbled across Double Barrel Road House. Our bellies took over and insisted we check it out as the smell of BBQ sauce couldn’t be resisted.

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Feeling pretty ravenous, myself and Megs decided to go for American BBQ at its finest –  pulled pork, crispy fried chicken and lots of french fries. The boys on the other hand ordered salads…with a huge side of nachos! The food was delicious and just what we needed.

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Full of delicious food, we strolled along the front of NYNY and then decided to pop inside to take a look around. Since planning the trip, Megs had said that she really wanted to ride the NYNY roller coaster, so we went up to the arcade area to check it out. Me being the complete child I am (If you have read my honeymoon blogs you will know I’m not the biggest fan of big rides) decided that I would wait with all the bags, while the other 3 rode.

I went for a little stroll and then watched the roller coaster from the outside. It’s pretty cool how it goes through the hotel and then all around the outside of it.

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About half an hour went by and I was back in the arcade area where I said I would meet them but they weren’t there. I thought they would have been off it by that time as the queue wasn’t that big but it turns out the roller coaster had stopped running due to the high winds (it stops quite often because of the winds) so you could either wait for it to start again (no one knew how long this would be) or you could get a refund, which is what the guys did, as they didn’t want to waste all day in a queue for something they may or may not get to ride.

We decided to carry on our walk along the strip to Excalibur Hotel and then crossed over to the shops like M&M World and the Nike Store. The weather was getting colder and windier and there was even rain in the air. I didn’t know that Vegas experienced rain!

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We took cover inside Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops and it would have been rude not to have a look around the shops.

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I also wanted to try the famous Fat Tuesdays frozen cocktails. Everywhere we went I saw people with them and they just looked so delicious and when on holiday you have to indulge with cocktails!

Fat Tuesdays is a simple hole in the wall drinks retailer but they have so many amazing flavours and you can mix and match and get anything from a shot all the way through to a huge super cup. After taking in all the flavours I finally decided on my firm favourite the frozen strawberry daiquiri, in a take away cup so I could enjoy it back in our hotel room, in a bubble bath. Yes seriously!

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We decided to head back to our hotel rooms to warm up and leisurely get ready for the evening ahead, as the weather wasn’t the best and we were pretty tired from the evening before.

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Later on we met Megs and Fraser on the casino floor for a little gamble before dinner. Megs and I were adamant we were going to win the big bucks on the Wheel of Fortune but we never did!

For dinner we had booked a table at Beauty & Essex which is located inside The Cosmopolitan Hotel which is just a quick walk next door from The Aria. Matt and I have visited B&E in New York but never the Vegas one so we were excited to check it out. The decor is amazing, hidden behind a fully functioning antique shop, you would never know that a bar and restaurant sit behind.

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The menu is comprised of lots of sharing dishes so we chose a mixture of things to all try including the grilled cheese dumplings (the most delicious thing ever!) Tomato Tartare, Lobster Tacos and of course we had to finish off with the famous Les NYC doughnuts (insert heart eye emoji here).

We celebrated Megs’ birthday (her actual birthday was a few days before we went away) and it was such a lovely evening. The food and drinks were incredible and I would definitely recommend visiting if you are in Las Vegas or New York. Now if they could just open one in London that would be amazing!

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We popped our heads into the Chandelier Bar, just look at how pretty this is! And then called it a night as we were pretty tired from the full on day before.

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 11 – When in Vegas…

After an almost 12 hour sleep, I clearly needed it! We decided to walk next door to the Wynn for their buffet breakfast. Believe me when I say that there is nothing better than a Vegas buffet breakfast. Last time we visited we fell in love with the Caesars Palace buffet. However as we were in walking distance to the Wynn, we thought we would give theirs a try this time.

There was a small wait for a table, but it didn’t matter as you had a lovely view of the whole restaurant which is beautifully decorated with the biggest floral arrangements I have ever seen, it’s stunning.

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The seating area is spotlessly clean and very open and airy, filled with all these amazing flowers, plus they had TV screens showing adverts of the shows to see and things to do, which I enjoyed.

Now for the main event…the food! I think I went up to the buffet 3 times in the end, as there is just so much choice and I wanted to try it all! It is also really good value for money as it will seriously set you up for the day. I started with some granola, yoghurt and mini pastries, then went onto pizza (who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast!?) and finally I ended on some mini desserts such as strawberry cheesecake and mint choc chip cones, which were just delicious! I really wanted to get an ice cream to take away with me, but I had already eaten way too much so went against the idea. Matt stuck to the more traditional breakfast items like toast, bacon, bagels, salmon etc. There is definitely something for everyone, whatever you fancy!

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Opposite the Wynn and Encore Hotels is the Fashion Show Mall, it’s not overwhelmingly big like some American malls, but has all the shops you could want or need, so we decided to head there after breakfast as we needed to walk off all those treats.

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The mall was pretty quiet when we arrived which was great, as it was like we had the place to ourselves! Matt brought a few more bits in American Eagle while I found a new love with the shop Express, which unfortunately we don’t have in the UK. The sales assistants in Express were so helpful. When they saw me carrying around a few items I wanted to try on they took them from me, set up a changing room ready and still allowed me to go around & look at more clothes, before trying everything on. They even picked a few things they thought I might like and added them to my cubicle too! Take note UK High Streets!

I also fell in love with the shop Hot Topic, where I ended up buying a lot of presents for my sister for her Birthday. We didn’t spend too long shopping though as we wanted to head back to the hotel pool for some sunshine before heading out that evening.

Back at our hotel, we did a quick change and then headed down to find a spot by the pool. It was quite busy but The Encore has a few pools to chose from so you should always be able to find a spot by the one you are after. Whether that’s the Encore Beach Club with it’s famous parties, The European Pool Area with casino tables, hot tubs and stage for live music. Or the smaller pool which we always found ourselves at, as it had the perfect mix of relaxation but you could still hear the music from the other areas so it wasn’t too boring. We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the sunshine, enjoying the yummy frozen strawberry daiquiris!

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That evening our hotel concierge had amazingly managed to get us a table at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak Restaurant located inside the Paris Hotel.

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On arrival we spotted the man himself which was really exciting, but we didn’t manage to get a photo with him. We did however get a photo with Chef Christina which if you are a fan of Hell’s Kitchen, like we are was pretty cool. She was so lovely and I think a bit shocked that a British person was asking for her photo!

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The food was absolutely amazing and we were shocked at the large portion sizes considering it’s a fancy place. To start Matt had the Shrimp cocktail, I have never seen shrimp so big they were huge! I went for the pork belly which to be honest could have easily been a main course, but it was super tasty.

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Then for mains Matt had the Wagyu American filet steak which I think is one of the best things he has ever eaten, as he has mentioned it a few times since! I had the fish and chips and was shocked when 2 whole fish arrived, it was delicious but I couldn’t finish it all.

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For dessert I had the sorbet as I fancied something light and refreshing and Matt had the baked Alaska. They brought our desserts out with candles, as a celebration of our honeymoon.

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After dinner we headed over to Omnia nightclub in Caesars Palace to see Calvin Harris’ DJ set. Not your typical honeymoon evening but we had such a fun time and Calvin was amazing.

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The views from the bridge on our walk over to Omnia 

 

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We finally got back to our hotel around 4am and decided to do some gambling, when in Rome Vegas… 

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 10 – Unusual Utah & Viva Las Vegas!

A 3am wake up call is never fun but we were both excited for the next adventure and exploring somewhere new.

It was dark driving to the airport, but we managed to drop the hire car off with no issues and made it through security in good time – considering how busy the airport already was, with everyone trying to escape the hurricane. We bought a couple of hot drinks and boarded the plane to Utah, ready for our 6am departure.

It was roughly a 4.5 hour flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, but as we were both pretty tired we decided to try and sleep the best we could and actually the time flew by.

Utah are 2 hours behind Orlando so when we landed we had a couple of hours free before our connection flight to Las Vegas. We found a nice restaurant for breakfast and then had a look in a few of the gift shops.

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The airport was really busy. Clearly a popular connection stop and we were shocked to learn that the temperature was only 3 degrees outside. Crazy when Orlando had been so hot and then Las Vegas would be hot too. By 11am it was time to board our final flight of the day.

The last time Matt and I visited Vegas was in 2012, over Thanksgiving weekend. We met up with a few of Matt’s friends and partied every night, which was a lot of fun but quite crazy. So during our flight Matt asked me how we wanted to do Vegas this time around. Should we relax, go to the spa and try to bring The Bahamas to Vegas? Or should we just embrace Vegas, go with the flow and find some fun things to do to make it memorable?

I think you can guess which option we chose seeing as we started drinking at 11am…

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A bit sleepy but a couple of vodka’s soon woke us up!

The views from the plane were stunning and I got a bit snap happy, especially when I spotted the Hoover Dam! But the flight was over so quickly as it was just less than an hour from Utah!

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Salt Lake City, Utah

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The Hoover Dam

It was so nice to be greeted with pure blue skies and sunshine and once off the plane we headed straight to The Encore Hotel which is where we would be staying for the next 5 nights.

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As usual, check in in Vegas is always super busy but we were just so happy we were there and couldn’t wait to see our room and go and explore.

The receptionist was very excited that we were on our honeymoon and actually bumped us up to a suite on the 63rd floor, which was just incredible. We had a full view of the strip from our floor to ceiling windows and we could open the curtains from a button by our beds, so we could enjoy that view each morning and night.

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The view of the Strip from our room 

We quickly freshened up and then headed down the strip to Planet Hollywood Hotel, as we remembered from last time that they had the miracle mile shops and a vast range of bars and restaurants to choose from.

I love the relaxed but party vibe of Vegas, it just makes me so happy. I always feel like you can do whatever you like and no one will mind. It’s most definitely my happy place (this was my 3rd visit and we actually went back again in March of this year as part of our US West Coast Road Trip!)

I always say to Matt if I had to live anywhere else in the World it would be Vegas, but I don’t think that will ever happen!

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So amazing all lit up at night!

After a little bit of gambling and window shopping, we ended up in one of my favourite places. Blondies. It’s basically just like Hooters but the girls wear cheer leading outfits and there are way more screens around the place showing all the sports imaginable.

We noticed that they had an all you can drink for $20 offer on and were shocked when the waitress said the drinks included spirits as well as beers. So as Matt wanted to watch the football (American) we decided to find a spot to settle into for the rest of the evening.

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We decided to share the Blondies Sampler which included all of our usual American favourites – chicken tenders, buffalo chicken wings, onion rings and jalapeno poppers with a large basket of curly fries on the side.

In the end a mixture of lack of sleep and booze hit me and I was sound asleep in our huge bed by 9pm!

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 9 – Preparing for a Hurricane!

It was nice waking up leisurely, knowing that we had no plans and could just take the day as we pleased. So we had a lazy morning watching TV (mostly sport or keeping track of the hurricane or presidential debates!) whilst enjoying breakfast in our room.

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We couldn’t spend the whole day lazing around inside though and as it was lovely and sunny, we decided to head to the hotel pool area. We found a couple of sunbeds, ordered a few drinks and enjoyed soaking up the sun.

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We spent the afternoon chilling on the comfy sunbeds, relaxing in the Jacuzzi and floating around the huge pool. It was very calm as it was mostly couples with only a handful of children.

As usual though with the Floridian weather grey clouds started making an appearance by late afternoon and as the staff were already trying to pack up as many sunbeds as possible in preparation for the hurricane, we decided to head back to our room and look into options for the evening. With just a quick pit stop along the way for a game of Shuffleboard…

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Walking back to our room, we received a call from Virgin Holidays. They explained that they had tried to book us onto trips to Mexico and LA but neither had worked out with our dates and so the only other option they could offer us, apart from staying in Orlando, was to fly to Las Vegas.

Matt and I love Las Vegas and have been a few times before and even though it wasn’t the relaxing second week we thought we would be having, we just wanted to get away from the bad weather and relax for a few days, without the stress of a looming hurricane! So we told them to go ahead with the new plan and they said they would email us with all the details but that the flight was 6am the next morning!

We got changed and decided to head back to Disney Springs for our last night in Orlando.

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We drove there in a huge storm. It was so bad that we could barely see the road or cars in front of us, which was quite scary, but we made it and decided to go to the House of Blues for an early dinner.

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Trying to escape the rain ha!

We’ve been to a few States which have a House of Blues but we had never visited one, so I was excited to check out it’s offerings. I loved the decor and music and we were told that Sum 41 had a concert there that evening if we wanted to get tickets. I was tempted as growing up I loved Sum 41! But looking at the horrific weather and knowing we had to be up at 3am we decided against it!

To start Matt and I shared the Voodoo Shrimp, which was recommended and it was delicious. The shrimp were huge and the flavour was incredible, we both thoroughly enjoyed that dish, although I wasn’t too keen on the cornbread. I’m not a big bread fan anyway but that was just an odd one for me, Matt loved it though. For mains Matt had the tacos and I had the pulled pork sandwich which was yummy but huge and as ever I couldn’t finish it all. I don’t think I finished one meal the whole honeymoon!

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We declined dessert as we were just so stuffed and as the weather had cleared, we walked off dinner by looking in a few shops and visiting the World of Disney one last time!

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Sad to say goodbye to Florida but excited for the next adventure on our honeymoon!

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 8 – Should have been The Bahamas…

We had been keeping track of hurricane Matthew while we were in Orlando. It was hard not to, everyone was talking about it or weather warnings were always being shown on TV. Of course we were concerned but we just wanted to enjoy our week and not talk too much about it all.

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We got home from The Magic Kingdom gone midnight and feeling exhausted from the long, busy day, we fell asleep still thinking we would be flying to the Bahamas the next day for the second part of our honeymoon…

We were woken by the room phone ringing at 7am. It was Virgin Holidays in the UK saying that we wouldn’t be flying to The Bahamas, due to Hurricane Matthew. We were gutted, but of course we just wanted to stay safe, especially after then seeing the devastation in Haiti which was just awful and so sad.

So Virgin gave us 3 options; fly home, stay in Orlando for another week or they could try and find us somewhere else to fly to for our second week.

Well we definitely didn’t want to go home. We were unsure on staying in Orlando for another week seeing as the weather was only getting worse. So we asked Virgin to try and find us somewhere else to fly to. Our only requirement being sunshine and if possible a beach. As much as we had enjoyed our week in Orlando and all the theme parks, we were so ready for a romantic week, relaxing!

As we were now wide awake and in limbo, waiting for Virgin to phone us back, we decided to shower, pack and then head to breakfast inside the hotel, just in case we had to leave at a moments notice, we wanted to be ready.

Unfortunately though that wasn’t the case. We appreciated that they must have had a lot of customers in the same position as us, so must have taken a lot of time to contact everyone and deal with everyone’s requests. But as we hadn’t heard back from Virgin for a few hours (when they said they would phone us back within the hour) Matt phoned them just to see what the situation was, as we didn’t want to waste the day sitting around the hotel waiting for a call.

This time we were put through to Virgin America, who said they were working on our request and that we should just go out and enjoy our day, as they didn’t know how long they would take or what our final option would be. As if they couldn’t find somewhere new for us to fly to, we would just stay in Orlando for the second week.

We had pretty much crammed in everything that we had wanted to do in Orlando into our first week. The only thing we missed out on were the Water Parks, but the weather had been quite hit and miss and we hadn’t had the time to fit them in. So we were a bit unsure with what to do for the remainder of the day and unfortunately our Disney and Universal Tickets had expired so we couldn’t go back to the parks, unless we wanted to pay quite a lot just for a day pass. So we decided to jump in the car and see where the day/roads took us.

Weirdly the weather was lovely and sunny (no signs of a hurricane just yet) so with the roof down, we drove along International Drive and ended up in Hooters for lunch. I really love Hooters and wish they would open more in the UK! We decided to share a mixture of foods including buffalo chicken wings (of course!), sliders, mozzarella sticks and curly fries. I was also happy as it was the first place we had found which served Mountain Dew which is my favourite soft drink!

 

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Buffalo Chicken Wings my favourite!

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A mixture of beef and chicken sliders with curly fries

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Mozzarella Sticks

 

During lunch we used the free Wi-Fi (thanks Hooters!) to have a look into things we could do for the rest of the afternoon. We debated heading back to Universal’s CityWalk, looked at a few crazy golf options, I also saw that they had the Orlando Eye (like the London Eye) and also a Madame Tussauds, but knew that Matt wouldn’t want to go there. But then we noticed that it had started chucking it down with rain, now it really did feel like the storm was coming!

We kept looking up ideas for indoor attractions and then Matt mentioned Kennedy Space Centre. It was around an hours drive from Orlando, on the coast and I was a bit concerned about the weather, but as we hadn’t found anything else we were interested in doing and the actual bad storms weren’t meant to hit for another couple of days we thought why not, let’s just drive and see what happens.

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Luckily the rain eased and the sun started to appear again the closer we got to Cape Canaveral (Orlando weather is very odd!) The drive was pretty easy as it’s mostly just one long straight road and at times we were the only car on the road. However by the time we had made it to the Space Centre it was around 3pm and when we checked out the prices, $50 each for entry, we didn’t think it would be worth the money seeing as we would only have a couple of hours to explore and the staff said ideally you need at least a full day if not 2 days to see & do everything! So we took a few photos and then drove on to Cocoa Beach instead, passing the rocket launch site along the way which was pretty cool. It must be amazing being there for a real rocket launch!

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This is the rocket launch bay!

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This hotel was called Faulty Towers!

 

By the time we decided to head back to the hotel it was dark. We were glad we went out and tried to make the most of the day and got to see somewhere different. But heading back just made us realise that we hadn’t heard from Virgin since the morning and had no idea what our plans were for the next 6 days.

When we arrived back at the hotel we were told that Virgin had been in contact with them and that we would be staying at the hotel for a further 2 nights. We were very grateful for the information and the staff were so helpful and friendly and made sure we were happy at all times. Virgin had also left us a message on our room phone, explaining what the hotel had already told us and how they were still looking into options for us. Even though we didn’t know what the rest of our honeymoon would entail at least we knew what we were doing for the next couple of days!

That night we decided to have a chilled evening at the hotel bar/lounge area, we drank cocktails and played cards whilst the thunder rolled in, wondering where we might end up next…

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Grasshoppers and Vodka!

 

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 7 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom!

We had a super early start on what should have been our final full day in Orlando (more on that later!) As we had to get to The Magic Kingdom in time for our breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest Restaurant, inside the park.

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I felt like a kid at Christmas getting ready for the day ahead. Excited to visit the most famous Disney park, plus excited for my favourite meal of the day – breakfast, in the heart of my favourite Disney Film – Beauty and the Beast!

We got the shuttle bus from our hotel to Epcot, as they didn’t have an early enough one for Magic Kingdom, but it didn’t matter, as from Epcot we then got on the free Disney transportation bus to Magic Kingdom instead. Due to the change, we did have to power walk to make our reservation in time, as typically the restaurant is located in the furthest area/land from the entrance in Fantasyland!

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The look of the Be Our Guest Restaurant is amazing, it really does look and feel like the Beast’s castle.

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I had made our reservation online a good few months in advance and a couple of weeks before we went, we were asked to pre-order our meal & drink choices (I believe this is just for breakfast and not for lunch or dinner.) There were quite a lot of options to choose from, but in the end I opted for the waffles and Matt went for the Croque Madame. We also ordered 2 of the Master’s Cupcakes, as I had been told we had to try them! All breakfast items also come with a side of fresh fruit and selection of pastries.

When we arrived our reservation was checked via our Magic Bands (park tickets) and we had to pay up front for our choices. You are then free to sit wherever you like and they will bring your food straight to you. I still have no idea how the waiters/waitresses find you after you have sat down as there are 3 dining rooms to choose from!

The first one being the The Grand Ballroom. This looked stunning in all the pictures I had seen beforehand, however it was carnage when we entered, lots of screaming kids and it felt like a cheap canteen. I was gutted as I really wanted to sit in there.

 

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The Grand Ballroom

 

Instead we went into the second room, The Castle Gallery inspired by Belle’s library. It wasn’t as elaborately decorated as the previous room but it was a lot calmer!

 

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The Castle Gallery

 

You have to get your own cutlery, napkins and soft drinks from the dispensers but the food was delivered quickly. The meals were average, but the pastries were tasty. I didn’t really know what to make of the cupcake though, as it didn’t really taste of anything?

 

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My waffles, could have done with a lot more syrup!

 

 

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Matt’s Croque Madame & the pastries

 

 

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The Master’s Cupcake

 

Afterwards we ventured into the third and final dining room which is The West Wing, this looked amazing exactly like the film, including the enchanted rose!

 

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The West Wing

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The Enchanted Rose!

 

I may have a few moans about the restaurant but I’m still glad we visited, however next time I definitely want to go for dinner, as I feel the whole experience would be a lot better then!

 

After breakfast we took a stroll through Fantasyland to Story Book Circus. This may be a toddler friendly area but I really wanted to go on the Dumbo ride as it’s a classic!

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Afterwards we made our way down to Tomorrowland as we had fast passes for Space Mountain followed by Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Space Mountain was so much fun. As it’s in the dark you can’t see what’s coming next and there are a few sharp turns and drops, don’t think I have ever screamed so much on a ride!

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Buzz Lightyear was a bit boring and nowhere near as good as the Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios.

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We then jumped onto Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as it had no queue and is one of Walt’s original rides, great to see how it all started and features a very catchy song which we found ourselves singing at random times of the day!

The last attraction we decided on, in Tomorrowland was Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. It’s a comedy show and is pretty funny for both kids and adults, especially if you enjoy the films, like we do! 😉

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We then walked through to Adventureland, but we just couldn’t get over how busy it was and the wait times for all the rides were roughly an hour each!

In the end we decided to join the queue for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I feel like they could make the queue a little more exciting as it’s quite boring, especially when you are waiting that long. The ride is fun though and I loved the new addition of Captain Jack Sparrow at the end!

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By the time we had left the ride, it was time to find a spot for the parade at 3pm. Some people had already waited for an hour to secure the perfect spot! But we grabbed a couple of snacks and found a space in Liberty Square to sit and wait ready for the parade to start.

We worked out pretty quickly though why the spot we had chosen was still free, it was in the direct sunlight and even just sitting down, we were melting. We stuck it out though as we had a great view for the parade and ice lollies definitely helped!

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I loved the parade, the songs are so catchy and seeing as we didn’t meet any characters (apart from Mickey of course!) it’s a great way to see them all. If you aren’t interested in watching the parade this is a great time to go on the more popular rides as the queues are much quieter!

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After the parade finished we made a quick dash to ride The Haunted Mansion. We still had about a 25 minute wait but was much quicker than the hour wait it had been all day! I loved this ride although a lot of it did make me jump! I love that Disneyland in California turns theirs into a Nightmare before Christmas theme for Halloween, I wish Orlando did the same, as that’s one of my favourite films!

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Finally we had a fastpass for Splash Mountain which was great, as we pretty much just walked straight on. Water rides are Matts favourite so he was very glad I managed to get a fastpass for this one! It’s a fun log flume ride with lots of drops along the way and a cute story with yet more catchy songs! Plus it cooled us down as we were so hot from walking around all day in the sunshine.

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Having rushed around for most of the day, trying to ride as many rides as possible, we decided to have a couple of hours chill time. We had a look in some of the shops, we met Mickey Mouse and then we ate an early dinner at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. The food isn’t the most amazing but the pizzas were pretty tasty and huge!

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Before we left for honeymoon, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was one of the rides I really wanted to go on, however I was unable to get fastpasses for it, as it is new and very popular! All day we kept an eye on the queue but it was always around the 2 hour mark which we agreed was too long a wait. So after dinner we made our way back over to Fantasyland with everything crossed to try to ride it, thinking lots of people might be at dinner! But unfortunately we had no luck, the wait time was still 2 hours, so it’s still on the list, along with the Frozen ride at Epcot!

Instead, I dragged Matt onto the Winnie the Pooh ride ha. It’s so cute and I think you have to act a big kid at Disney as when else can you?

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The weather had taken a turn for the worse when we exited the ride, it was very dark, overcast and about to chuck it down with rain, so Disney ponchos on we walked back around to Liberty Square to find a spot for the evening Electrical Parade. Again people wait for ages to get a good spot but we managed to squeeze in just before it began. Sadly they have now stopped this evening parade, so will be interesting to see what replaces it!

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We then made a dash to ride It’s a Small World before the fireworks started, again Matt wasn’t thrilled about this one, but I told him it’s a classic and he had to ride it at least once in his life! 🙂

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Still raining and now singing its a small world constantly! (Why are Disney songs so catchy?!) We found a spot by the castle ready for the fireworks.

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Disney sure know how to put on a fireworks display. They are just stunning and the songs and stories that go with it always get to me. I always start tearing up when ‘wish upon a star’ starts. There is just something so magical and special about it all. Sad but true!

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Love, Chloe xx