Taking a summer break

Hello, how are you? I’m coming to you today to let you know I’ll be taking a blog break from today, until the beginning of September. I did the same thing last year and really enjoyed having some time out; I especially enjoyed that buzz when I returned with lots of new ideas! I’m following the notion of the school summer holidays, plus Stu and I will be going to Greece for a week next month too.


California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Santa Monica beach – wouldn’t it be fab to be going back there again?!

Before I head off, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share some of the most popular posts from the past six months. I love seeing what posts work (and don’t work) and it motivates me to think of new content that I hope will spark an interest. Did you have a particular favourite?

I can tell you all like your crafts as much as I do!

I’ve also set up a little survey, which I’m hoping a few of you might fill in – it doesn’t matter how often/rarely you read, all feedback is good feedback. I’ve never done a blog survey before but I’m hoping for some great insights into what you’re enjoying and would like to see more/less of. It’ll only take a couple of moments, so pop over now.

Of course I’ll still be around and you can catch me on Instagram and Twitter mainly; you can also find me on Snapchat, username leanneabeale. They’ll also be a bonus newsletter going out at the beginning of August so make sure you’re subscribed to receive all the latest!

Enjoy the summer break and I hope you’ll be back when I return!

Leanne x

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Colours to inspire: yellow

Hello! How are you? Today comes my latest colours to inspire post – where I share images I’ve found on Instagram that I’ve loved, all around a specific theme. Today’s theme is yellow.

To catch up on other colours to inspire posts I’ve popped the links below for you.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Why yellow? Well, it’s summer time and there’s not a colour that reminds me more of summer and sun then yellow. Yellow is also part of the colours my best friend chose for her wedding last weekend, alongside grey. What a day it was and I was super proud to be one of her bridesmaids.

Even though these are all pictures from homemade makes I hope these can inspire you in other ways too (should you not be a crafter). Perhaps you’re looking to decorate your house this year, or thinking about buying some new furniture, or looking for a new wardrobe, I’d hope there’s something for everyone here.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from the Julie at woolmapoule, found via weareknitters. The first image I found for this post and I love, love, love this! The yellow and white pattern reminds me of honeycomb and, while the yellow is quite bright, it’s balanced out with the white and makes for a beautiful baby blanket, as in the picture. You can see more photos of this blanket over on Julie’s website (note the site isn’t written in English).


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Michelle at forever__autumn__. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know how much I love pink, especially when it’s paired with… well, any colour. The magenta shade here, teamed up with the yellow, blues/greens and greys is scrummy and I’d love to make this for myself sometime. I especially like how Michelle has used the strone/dark grey, and how it’s then softened with the rows of cream. Looking at Michelle’s Instagram feed I think she’s a big fan of yellow, so worth checking out if you do too.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Natalie at littlecosythings. You can’t beat a good ripple blanket pattern (hint hint) and I especially love that this matches the colours from last weekend’s wedding. I quite like the randomness of when colours appear in this blanket; I’m more one for order, but this works well – there might even be an order that I can’t see. The thick stripes of yellow contrasted with grey and yellow makes for a great summer collection.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Emma at eldenwood_craft. You can’t beat a good set of stripes and I love how bold this make is with the strong blue and yellow combination. Could make for a great scarf, gloves, socks or blanket, there’s something fun about these two colours paired together. Emma’s worked with some ace colour combinations so do check out her Instagram feed.

Which is your favourite? Any that specifically stand out? I think my favourite this month has to go to Michelle at forever__autumn__.

If you’re new to Instagram be sure to pop over to my page and say hello! As always, I’m on the lookout for more combinations, so shout if you see anything on your travels.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: woolmapoule, forever__autumn__, littlecosythings and eldenwood_craft.

2016 goals check in – what do you do when life gets serious?

I love setting myself goals and plans; this year, probably more than others, I feel like I’ve been keeping them in the forefront on my mind. I’ve set myself goals every year but often they slip by the wayside. What’s different this year, I wonder? Perhaps because I’d spent time thinking about them – they weren’t a last minute put together for the sake of new year’s resolutions on the 1st January. Or perhaps because I thought about what was realistically achievable and what would benefit my life and keep me happy. Have you been able to stick to your goals?


2016 goals check in - what do you do when life gets serious?


My goals were broken down into home, crafts, me and career and I’ve written a little summary further down in this post about how I got on. It’s so fulfilling to stop for a moment, step back and really look at December 2015/January 2016 me and remember what was on my mind and what I wanted to do in the coming 12 months.

… However, sometimes life has other ideas. I wrote at the beginning of January about my motto being not to take life too seriously. The 4th January had arrived and life got incredible serious. My Dad was rushed to hospital after suffering two strokes. I wrote a little about this experience and my fundraising for Stroke Association. While dealing with the aftermath of that and seeking ways to help him in any way we all could, while learning exactly what having a stroke meant, my Grandad’s health was slowly deteriorating and we were told on several occasions to begin saying our goodbyes. He left us in May this year and I have his wonderful knitting and childhood memories to help me through this time.

Never before has life felt as vulnerable as it does; I feel like I’m clinging on to my family and loved ones for dear life, almost scared of the next phone call and what news it’ll bring. On the outside I try to keep it together and push forward with life, knowing more about its fragility, and on the inside I’m waiting to collapse in a heap unable to take much more. But… I know this is the stuff that makes us stronger. I know that this will pass. I know that my Grandad is at peace. I know that he gave so much happiness to my childhood and is forever in my heart. I know Dad will fight back; his determination this past six months has made me prouder than I can ever describe.

So life might throw hurdles our way, but it’s convinced me more than ever to make the best of the life we have, to live as much as we can and to truly appreciate the ones we love in our lives. In Gretchen Rubin‘s book she references choosing “the bigger life”, the life that will enrich you and give you more. I love that. I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends and family. Stu, especially, has been my rock and shining star through all of this. Picking me up when I’ve struggled, making me and my family laugh when we’ve needed it and being pragmatic about what the future can look like. Thank goodness for him.

So there, life may get serious from time to time, but it’s opened my eyes to what’s truly important and for that I’m thankful. I should also add that it’s not all been bad. Far from it. I’ve crafted ’til my hearts content, watched my best friend and her husband welcome a baby boy into the world, prepared for my other best friends’ wedding (which is this weekend – yay!), been so incredibly inspired at Blogtacular, spent time with loved ones and Stu and I have a trip with friends to Greece coming up.

As I mentioned earlier, here are a couple of notes on some of my specific goals – which you can also read about here. I’ve put the updates in italic.

Home
  • Finish our dining room. Done! We took a week off in a February and worked super hard to get this all done – so happy with how it looks. All we need now are new curtains!
  • Learn more about gardening and get our garden looking good. We’re slowly making progress on this. I say we, more Stu than anything. He’s been working hard on getting the lawn in a better position and, with the help of Stu’s Dad, helped us sand and repaint the decking. My Nan, Mum and Stu’s Mum are also helping us with plants and putting a border in, so we’re getting there. It’s a real learning curve and I hope to be able to learn more about plants through help from our family.
  • Frame pictures and prints. We still haven’t got round to finishing this. Must get this done!
Crafts
  • Learn how to knit socks. I’m saving this for the autumn, when the weather is a little cooler and I have a bit more time.
  • Challenge myself to make a cardigan or jumper just for me. I haven’t even thoughts about this since writing it down in my original goals post, oops. I have a cardigan in mind so I might try and give this some more thought over the summer.
  • Enjoy The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along cross stitch project. I am thoroughly enjoying this project and keeping up with it way better than I thought I might. I wrote a little about the first six months of the project too.
Me
  • Enjoying the relationships I have with my friends and family. Pretty sure I’ve covered that above; I’m certainly not taking any of my relationships for granted this year.
  • Think about my health – my diet, how much I exercise etc. This is an ongoing one for me, I generally find the more I plan my meals the better I eat. I haven’t quite got there with doing that every week but I feel like I’m starting to make progress. Exercise wise? Hmm other than my weekly Pilates class, I know I could be doing more.
  • Read at least one book a month, as part of Circle of Pine’s a year in books. This has been one of my favourite goals this year and I’m currently on my 11th book, so averaging roughly two books a month. If you head to this page and scroll down you’ll see some of the books I’ve read so far.
Career

I didn’t say too much about career at the time, but one of my goals was always to open an Etsy shop and last weekend I did just that! Wow, feels very surreal even typing that. It’s been (and continues to be) a lot of hard work but it’s been totally worth it; I am loving every minute of it and enjoying the learning process. I’m hoping for big things for Fred and Bell, so do pop over and check out my first collection of stickers. I have a few other bits and pieces I’d like to do this year, so watch this space.

As for the next six months, I’d like a bit more calm and a bit more happiness for me and my loved ones. Here’s hoping!

How have the first six months of the year been for you? I know I’m not alone in finding this year a bit rubbish so far, but I hope you’ve had some positive moments too!

Leanne x

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Fred & Bell is open!

Morning! I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday.

I’m dropping in with a quick message to let you know my Etsy shop, Fred & Bell, is officially open! Wow, that feels really surreal!


Fred & Bell is open!


It’s been a busy old time, this week especially, and I’ve got lots to do today plus a whole heap of ideas for how to develop the shop further. You’ve got to start somewhere and today marks the start of a super exciting time for me.

In case you missed the last post, Fred & Bell is a UK sticker shop that sells high quality, functional stickers that are bright and colourful and will keep you happy and organised! I love stationery and I love being creative, so Fred & Bell is my chance to combine the two while learning more about business and marketing.

Pop over to the shop now – I hope you find something you like!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m hoping to stop to watch the Wimbledon final this afternoon. :)

Leanne x

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Attic 24’s ripple blanket – my first crochet project

Just over a year ago I’d come to the conclusion that crochet just wasn’t for me. No matter how many times I tried, I ultimately got cross, made a mess and any attempts to teach me usually ended up with raised voices or wool thrown across the room. Oops. Then I went to the Knitting and Stitching show and picked up three balls of very bright wool and said to myself “I’m going to make a ripple blanket out of these”. And hey presto, that will to learn and determination to finally be able to crochet was born.


Making Attic 24's ripple blanket, my first crochet project


Thankfully I had my friend Tam on hand to help get me started. I think because I had a plan in mind for the wool that it gave me that push to finally learn it. Here are a couple of pictures from those early days.

It took me just over a year, in between other projects, but the ripple blanket is finished and I feel pretty proud of it. Once I got the hang of the stitches, granted Tam did the first chain row for me, I found it quite relaxing. There’s something quite soothing about the ripple blanket and how it goes up and down and the stitches change regularly, but not too much to make it complicated. Plus, Lucy’s pattern is a dream to work with – her instructions are so clear and perfect for someone who’s new to the craft.


Attic 24's ripple blanket - my first crochet project!


So if you’d like to have a go at making a ripple blanket yourself I’ve jotted down some of the bits and pieces you’ll need.

While the yarn might not seem the best quality (only £1.25 a ball!), I have to say I quite liked working with it. It’s quite thick, but smooth to work with and glide over a crochet hook. I wouldn’t rule out working with it again in the future, so worth checking out.


Making Attic 24's ripple blanket, my first crochet project


The finished size of the blanket was: 132.5 x 187cm; it comfortable covers our bed. I worked in the following sequence: Green (two rows), blue (two rows), pink (two rows), cream (two rows), green/blue/pink (one row), cream (two rows). For that middle one row I changed it each time; I introduced the cream just to break up the blanket from the boldness of the other shades!

What do you think? Have you made a ripple blanket before? If not I really recommend it, especially as a first time crochet project. Choose yarn or colours you really love and just go for it!

Thanks for reading,

Leanne x

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3 years of Blogtacular – and why this year was the best!

I’ve been lucky enough to attend all three Blogtacular events, with the 17th/18th June 2016 event being the latest. I’d wrote a spontaneous post a couple of weeks back about the things to do post-Blogtacular, if you’d attended, but today I kind of want to take a moment to reflect back on the weekend and why this year was the best event.

So what is Blogtacular? I appreciate you might be reading this wondering what the heck it is. While I could recite what it says on their website, about “Blogtacular being the place for bloggers whose hearts beat with creativity to come together to meet, share and inspire.”, I’d like to add a personal spin to it. Blogtacular is the one day of my year where I get to step out of my day to day routine to really spend a day on me and my creativity. For that reason, it’s a real treat day and a day I countdown to. I feel pretty fortunate have that opportunity and to have something in the diary that I know will keep me happy and creative… plus a chance to meet up with fellow creative folk, some of whom I class as friends and others are most likely friends in the making!


3 years of attending Blogtacular - and why this year was the best!


I’d probably struggle to put into words what I took from the day, so for now here are my five reasons why this year was the best.

1. I full threw myself into it. What’s the phrase? You’ll get out what you put in? That. This year I booked myself into a hotel for the Friday night, instead of rushing to get there on the Saturday morning. That meant I arrived before the doors opened and was able to enjoy breakfast and time to natter to people in a relaxed fashion before it all kicked off. It also meant I got to go to the welcome party at West Elm. On the day itself I also made a conscious effect to look at the marketplace, go to the creative genius bar to talk to Allison Sadler and to do some crafting with the ladies from The New Craft House. I knew the more I got involved in, the more I would take from the day and it really worked!

2. Everything ran like clockwork. I mention this because it’s one of those things where if it runs smoothly you don’t tend to notice, but if it goes to pot you really notice. I cannot complement Kat and the team enough on how smoothly everything ran on the day; everyone was well informed, we knew where everything was and the timings were spot on. So, yes, I did notice and kudos to team Blogtacular for a smoothly running day, allowing everyone to fully relax.

3. Fantastic speakers. Every year Blogtacular pull it out of the bag with a fab line up of speakers, and every year I wonder how they’ll top it next time. Lisa Congdon‘s keynote speech made me really think about what I was expected to do in life vs. what I really want to do, Kate at A Playful Day made me step back and give thought to telling a story and Laura at Superlatively Rude made me think about my writing and how I could been a bit more bold like Laura. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

4. A real sense of community and friendship. A friend recently told me about a blogging event she went to where she ended up having lunch on her own because no one talked to her. I was shocked. Hand on heart, I could never imagine that happening at Blogtacular. Everyone is friendly and looking out for each other. If you end up standing on your own, it won’t be for too long before someone comes over to say hello, and if you go to a talk on your own you’ll be talking to the person sitting next to you in no time.

5. Space and time to talk, chill, eat and be inspired! Going to an event like Blogtacular can be a big deal. Being in a room with lots of people who you’re perhaps intimidated by, or simply don’t know, can be quite nerve wracking, but the environment for Blogtacular was spacious, with teas, coffees etc. on tap and several breaks where you could fuel up on food and drink (including an incredibly delicious lunch!). In my opinion, having space eases nerves and allows you to break away if you just need a five minute breather.

A huge thank you to Kat and team Blogtacular for a wonderful day! And a big hello to all the Blogtacular attendees!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: A big thank you to Mollie Makes and Will Ireland for the photo used in this post.

Life as a crafter: my current works in progress – July 2016

Hello, I hope you all had a good weekend. As we’re now mid way through 2016, I thought I’d go back and step and talk for a moment about why I write this crafty work in progress post and how it’s benefited me (and hopefully you, the reader) from doing so. I started putting together these posts in January, posting in the first week in the month. The idea was always to both keep you updated on what I’ve been making, but also it’s a prompt for me to stop for a minute and think about what I’ve done – they’ve proved to be a fun post to look back on to remind me of how much I’ve made. I’ve also found that by having this post planned it’s pushed me to finish things, start things and keep working on things. There’s something about having a deadline and being accountable that has kept me motivated, but not pressured. If you find it hard to make time for crafting, I highly recommend a similar kind of thing.

I’ve also kept a spreadsheet of notes, so I can quickly see where I’m at. Probably not needed, but any excuse for a spreadsheet in my little mind! I tend to copy and paste from post to post and adjust the wording if I’ve made progress.


Life as a crafter - my current works in progress - This Little Space of Mine


June is the first month this year where I haven’t completed anything. Feels very weird, but I guess it was bound to happen. I’ve been working hard on the launch of Fred and Bell and I’ve taken on a bigger craft project, in the shape of the Hannah Bass tapestry cushion. The great thing about designing stickers for Fred and Bell is that it’s still allowing me to be creative, just in a different way.

Underway
  • The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along. July’s pattern has arrived and this month we’re in Egypt. I’ve made a start already and this month I might try and do some of the top border that sits just beneath the central copy. I wrote a little about the first 6 months in, if you fancy a look.
  • San Francisco tapestry cushion. I got stuck into this project this month; it’s slow going but super relaxing and so far I’ve finished the ‘San Francisco’ word and have now started working on the roads. Looking forward to filling in all the others bits and working with all the pretty colours. You can see the kit I bought here.
  • Sew La Di Da dress. I started this around May 2014 and haven’t finished it. To make matters worse there’s not much more to do. I can feel my Mum frowning at me as I type this. Must get this Sew La Di Da make finished for spring.
On my radar
  • Simply Crochet’s bright granny square blanket. I’ve decided on the colours so I’ll be ordering the yarn soon. The plan is for it to match our living room theme and sit on the back of our sofa.
  • Socks! My Mum bought me everything I need to start, for my birthday, so there’s no excuse not to learn how to make them for myself.
  • Patchwork quilt. My friend has asked me to make one using her baby daughter’s baby grows, so this year my Mum and I are going to tackle it as a joint project together.
  • Tilly and the Button’s Françoise dress. I completely forgot about this; my friend bought me this shift dress pattern for Christmas. I love the style of the dress, so perfect for me.
  • Weekender blanket with Stylecraft’s newest colours. I’ve wanted to make Cherry Heart’s blanket for a while and the newest colours from Stylecraft would be a great colour combination for it – plus when it was limited edition I bought two packs and have now idea what to do with them! Not sure I like how they’re joined in her pattern, so may look for something a bit different.
  • Scrap blanket for charity. I still have a lot of scrap yarns that I need to do something with, so I’m going to continue making blankets like the one I did for Freds and give them to a cat charity. I might opt for a big granny square blanket next time.

If you fancy seeing my previous month’s WIPs and progress, here are a few links for you – January, February, March, April, May and June.

What’s on your list? Have you been working on anything exciting in the last month?

Leanne x

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A look back at June 2016

Hello July! The start of a new month and hopefully a fresh start for us all. At the beginning of a new month I like to stop for a moment, look back on the weeks gone by and “put it all in its place”. Days, weeks, months and even years can roll by without even a moments glance, so it feels good to take a moment to look back. If you’re not a blogger, perhaps writing some notes in a journal would be a good option? It’s posts like these that make me happy to have a blog; an online record for me to look back on.


A look back at June 2016 - This Little Space of Mine


So with this post I’ll highlight a few bits and pieces from the month; including some photos from my Instagram feed – which is essentially my visual online diary. Are we friends on Instagram? Pop by and say hello if not, I’m over here.

June was one of those months I knew would be busy; you know when you look at your diary and think, yep, busy. I had two weekends away – one for my friends’ hen do and one for Blogtacular – and without those two days at home to rest, catch up, run errands and everything in between, it made the weeks a little busier. The good thing was I knew it was the case, meaning I felt prepared and didn’t stress out about it.

Blogtacular was a big highlight of the month. Blogtacular is a conference for bloggers and creatives and this was the third year running I’ve been. It was so wonderful to catch up with old and new friends and I left buzzing with ideas and inspiration. I’ll shortly be opening my Etsy shop, Fred and Bell, selling stickers for planners and notebooks, so I knew Blogtacular would help me put together and finalise plans I have for the shop. Fred and Bell is opening next weekend, so watch this space!

June hasn’t been without its bumps though; there’s been a few tricky family bits and pieces to sort and of course news of what happened to Jo Cox, plus the EU referendum has been a bit unsettling to say the least. These things will calm in time and sort themselves out, they always do, but it’s funny how national news can rock everyone. I certainly felt a little odd in those first few days after Jo Cox and the EU news and I know I wasn’t alone. I honestly hadn’t really thought I cared that much about the vote, but it’s our future and uncertainty is always unsettling.

Today also marks two weeks until my friends Hollie and Mikes wedding; last weekend we had a bridesmaids dress fitting and her hen do at the start of June was so much fun. So fun to get away for a couple of days; we did a hula hoop class, had afternoon tea, had cocktails and went dancing. Loved it! My other best friend, Victoria, is overdue now and we’re (im)patiently waiting for his arrival. I can’t wait to meet him! I talked a little this month about the cosy stripe blanket I made for him.

Also…. Game of Thrones. Have you been watching? Wow, the last two episodes were just so good, and now we have to wait 10 months for the next series. It all comes and goes so quickly!

Do you have anything exciting planned for this month? This weekend we’re off to Wales to spend time with Stu’s family; it’ll be fun to have some time together and I’m looking forward to catching up with Stu’s uncle, who is over from LA at the moment. It’s also Hollie’s wedding, they’ll be a baby arriving soon and I’m hoping for a bit of summer to arrive.

Blog wise, similar to what I did last year, I’m going to take a break from blogging over the summer holidays. It’s a great way to recharge the batteries, as well as giving me time out to think about content etc. More on that soon – I’ve got lots of good posts to come in the meantime!

Thanks for reading, hope you have a good start to the month! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for all the latest.

Leanne x

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The year in books – July 2016

As we approach the end of June I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve read this month. Back at the end of 2015 I set myself a goal to read at least one book a month – joining in with Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books. I love reading and loved it growing up, but as an adult I so rarely make the time for it in my life that it deserves. I figured that if I was accountable to others, or able to join in with people on social media, it might encourage me to shoot for one read a month. A book a month wouldn’t be a lot to some, but to me to get into that regular routine is so important.

My reading has slowed a bit since the winter months, but I’m still reaching my one a month target. I do find that as my reading time is mainly just before I go to sleep, I do benefit from having a read on a Saturday/Sunday morning to help me get stuck into a book – otherwise it’s a bit disconnected and I’ll read no more than about five pages before I’m asleep! When do you find is the best time to read?


The year in books - July 2016 - This Little Space of Mine


So before I talk about Better than Before, here’s how I got on with June’s read.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I steamed through The Happiness Project in the space of a week, which is always testament to how much I enjoyed it. Yes, I’d re-read it, but this time I feel like I took so much more from it and will keep with me some of the guiding points. When I read it in 2012 I’d put post-it notes throughout and most of these were around friendship and buying happiness, yet this time round what grabbed me more was about enjoying passions, relationships and handling day to day tasks. Four years on and I’m now a homeowner in a long standing relationship, so it’s good that I can still relate and take something from this read. It’s written in an easy-read kind of way which makes it accessible to all and I like the little honest snippets into her life and family. I liked it so much I ordered her newest book, Better than Before

July’s book choice

I’ve already made a start on this, but July’s read is going to be Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before. This book is all about forming habits to have a better life and I’m hoping it’ll help me eat better and plan my meals more successfully. I’m so much more likely to eat better if I plan ahead and get myself organised, but I’ve tried and failed on many occasions to do it. Hoping Gretchen will save the day!

Have you read anything you loved recently? I hope my monthly posts on what I’m reading are inspiring you to read more. Don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram! I’ll be taking the month out in August, but plan to be back in blog land in September with a review and update of what I’ve been reading. No doubt I’ll be sharing on Instagram too!

Leanne x

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California road trip: 2 days in LA

Hello, how are you? Have you ever been on a “big holiday”? One that’s stayed with you long after it’s passed, with regular reminders and smiles about the time you had away? Our trip to California in April 2015 was most definitely that, yet we returned and moved house within a few weeks of returning… with the house move and logistics of being home owners taking over our lives. It feels like the house move stole California’s thunder; we didn’t have time to stop, remember, put photos in albums, bore our friends with stories or time to frame prints we picked up. I’m definitely not complaining – we were incredibly fortunate to be able to do both things in quick succession – but in today’s post I want to take a moment out to remember a few days of our trip. The time we spent in LA. I’ve talked a bit about our time in San Francisco, Yosemite and Carmel/Monterey Bay already, so do have a read of those posts too. I’ve still got a few more stories to tell… but these are most definitely just the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve broken it down into where we stayed, what we did, where we ate and our overall impression. If you’re due to go to LA soon, or planning a trip, I’d be happy to answer any questions this post might not cover so do email me. I love talking about California and would be only too happy to help.


California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Where we stayed

We were incredibly lucky to have a relative in LA, Stu’s uncle, who we stayed with. It was a welcome break from hotels and felt like a little piece of home; he cooked us a BBQ, we used his washing machine and sat on his sofa one night drinking wine and watching Frasier. When you’re away from home it’s things like that you don’t even realise you miss and, as our time in LA was smack bang in the middle of our road trip, I’d like to think it helped re-charge our batteries. Stu’s uncle lives near the Balboa Pier, which is south of the city, near Newport Beach.

Where we ate
  • Dinner: The Albright, Santa Monica Pier. Driving from San Simeon, Santa Monica and a bit of Venice beach was our first stop. The Albright is just on the pier, looked empty yet served the best lobster rolls with fries. It didn’t feel like too much of a tourist trap and oh man, the food was delicious!
  • Lunch: Ruby’s Diner, Balboa Pier. After a morning of bike riding through the neighbourhood and along the beach, a good old burger and milkshake was just what we all needed. This was a real highlight of our stay; the location was just gorgeous.
  • Lunch: McDonald’s, Hollywood Boulevard. For shame, I know. Kind of felt like we needed to have one McDonalds meal and Hollywood a good spot for it. Pretty horrifying to see someone put extra sugar in a large coke, eeek.
  • Dinner: Live Basil Pizza, Downton LA. You know that feeling when you know you’ve eaten badly for too long and your body craves something healthy? That. So at Live Basil Pizza we stopped and had a salad and felt a million times better for it.


California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


What we did

Of course there are millions of things to do in LA, and so much more we know we could’ve done, but we knew with this holiday it was a quick stop at each location and that we’d make the best of the time we had. Being with family allowed us to also take some time out and enjoy home comforts and quality time together. We also managed to do the following…

  • Explored Santa Monica. Our first stop in LA after a long day of travelling and we walked along the beach and walked the pier. We both said we’d have liked more time there; it seemed like a pretty chilled part of the city and a place I could see us going back to one day. We parked there for $12 and, while it is a little touristy, didn’t feel too bad. Plus it was about 5/6pm we were there, so the sun was beginning to go down after a hot day.
  • Rode bikes along Newport Beach. Stu’s uncle is a keen cyclist and we had great fun riding around the local area and along the beach. It gave us a great feel for the area and there was something so happy about riding a bike in the sunshine in a beautiful location, even if we did get a little sun burnt – oops!
  • Drove up to Griffith Observatory. We knew we had to see the Hollywood sign and had heard a lot of good things about the Griffith Observatory. Once we were parked we opted to skip the usual “take a photo from this point” option and walked further up into the hills, which gave us a chance to see the sign closer, yes, but more so we got a great view out over the whole of Los Angeles.
  • Walked Hollywood Boulevard. I’ve got to say this was probably our least favourite part of our stay. It was exceptionally hot and we’d gone from the nice stroll around the Griffith Observatory to the incredibly busy, loud, hot and touristy part where it seemed the whole world and his wife was. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to see the Hollywood walk of fame and it’s where I bought a couple of souvenirs, but that was it. It’s a place we’ve ticked off the list and will probably never return to.
  • Watched the LA Lakers play the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center. On the flip side I’m so pleased we did this. It was at the end of a long day in the city and the perfect way to get a feel for “real” American life. Before we left for California I’d been browsing my Lonely Planet book and it suggested watching a sport, so after a bit of a hunt I found one of the last basketball games of the season was being played at the Staples Centre in downtown LA. Perfect. We bought a big drink and a pretzel and loved every minute of the experience. The atmosphere was incredible and I fondly remember the brass band playing and how much interaction there was with the audience – nothing like what we’d get in the UK.
  • Walked along Crystal Cove beach. Oh man, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, Crystal Cove feels like a little hidden part of LA that the tourists don’t know about. It’s probably so far from being the case, but it’s the feeling it gave us. So beautiful, please go there if you ever get a chance.


California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Overall impression

LA was a mixed bag for us; on the one hand we absolutely loved spending time with family, riding bikes, walking, seeing Crystal Cove beach and going to our first basketball game. On the other hand, Hollywood really wasn’t for us. But we had to see it, no regrets at all, but it cemented in our minds that we’re not really into the super touristy areas and would rather see where the locals hang out – kind of like we did when we were in San Francisco. What made our stay in LA special was having time with family and being on the outskirts of the city – it gave us that bit of quiet and normality, a launch pad to then go and see the bigger things.


California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Other places we visited on our road trip

If you fancy a look, here’s the map of where we visited on our trip. Before we went to California I also created a Pinterest board, with lots of ideas of places to visit – so be sure to check that out.

Follow Leanne’s board California dreamin’ on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading and letting me take a trip down memory lane, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post as much as I did reading it. Here’s to the start of a good week!

Leanne x

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