Archive of ‘Holidays and day trips’ category

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

Email | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

California road trip: Carmel, Monterey Bay and a trip through Big Sur

Hello! I’m back today with another post about our California road trip – an adventure we went this time last year (the time since has flown by!). Last month I talked about San Francisco; from there we headed to Yosemite and today I’m talking about the time we spent in Carmel – which includes a day trip to Monterey Bay and our drive through Big Sur down Route 1.

It’s a jam packed post, but I’ve broken it down into where we stayed, what we did, where we ate and our overall impression – which I hope is useful to you if you’re planning a trip and/or daydreaming about visiting Carmel, Monterey Bay and the surrounding area. I’ve also added in various photos from our time there.


California road trip: Carmel, Monterey Bay and a trip through Big Sur. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Where we stayed

La Playa Carmel. I loved this hotel. I loved it so much that I wrote a list of reasons why I loved it in our travel journey. They were:

  • Breakfast was included (and boy was it tasty!)
  • We had a great view out of our window – we could see the beach
  • The hotel offered free fresh lemonade in the afternoon
  • We had a comfy bed and I slept really well
  • They offer milk and cookies for guests in the early evening (even now that memory makes me so happy)
  • We stayed in a room that had a lovely light in the morning when we woke
  • There was an outdoor terrace where we sat, drank and read our books
Where we ate
  • Lunch: PB Market. PB Market was a general store in Monterey Bay, so not a sit down place, but we popped in, bought loads of snacks and ordered a fresh panini and then sat outside on a picnic bench and had lunch in the gorgeous spring sunshine.
  • Lunch: Big Sur Bakery. On check out in Carmel the team recommended stopping here, as we passed it on our way down to San Simeon. It’s quite a popular little spot and we had a strawberry scone and some iced lemonade here. It was a really warm day so made for the perfect pit stop for us.
  • Dinner: Little Napoli. This was our first meal in Carmel and we opted for pizza; I remember having a really tasty garlic bread for starter too. I liked this place, it had an authentic feel and I loved that they had a signed picture of The Soprano’s cast in the restrooms.
  • Dinner: The Tree House Cafe. Oh we loved this place! While they had a great outdoor space to eat, it was a little chilly so we ate inside. We had the most delicious meal (and wine!) and the whole atmosphere of this restaurant was perfect. The staff couldn’t have done more for us so I highly recommend The Tree House Cafe.


California road trip: Carmel, Monterey Bay and a trip through Big Sur. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


What we did
  • Visited Monterey Bay. There’s a 17 mile drive around the bay and Pebble Beach which we took advantage of. We had to pay a little bit to do so (sorry, I can’t remember how much it was!) and then we followed the route and stopped at regular points to have a walk around. It was an incredibly beautiful area and the views were fantastic.
  • Found a knitting shop, named Knitting by the Sea. When researching Carmel I know by the fact that the shops were quite quaint that there just had to be some kind of craft shop. Knitting by the Sea was a great find, a fab knitting shop and we met the owner and the new addition to the shop… a cat called Boomer. Carmel seems to be very popular with dogs and dog owners, so it was nice to see a cat. Do check out their Facebook page for regular Boomer updates; this is the message I left after we visited.
  • Watched the sun go down on Carmel Beach. On our first night in Carmel we popped to the beach just in good time… a really beautiful moment watching the sun set on the pacific ocean.
  • Looked around the shops and explored the neighbourhood. It’s fair to say when we first arrived we thought the place was a little tacky, but the more time we spent in Carmel the more we were proved wrong. Carmel and the surrounding area was a joy to spend time in – a really good rest point before we headed on to LA.


California road trip: Carmel, Monterey Bay and a trip through Big Sur. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Driving through Big Sur down Route 1

I mentioned Big Sur Bakery earlier, where we stopped for lunch. This was on our route from Carmel to San Simeon, where we stayed the night and visited Hearst Castle. A note on Hurst Castle; while I appreciate that for some it’s a great tourist spot, for us it was just that. A tourist trap that we didn’t really enjoy. We experienced quite a rude member of staff, who mocked our accent, and felt that the place didn’t have enough history.

The route from Carmel to San Simeon was a fantastic experience, not just because I drove some of it(!) but the views were breathtaking – greenery and hills on one side and the ocean on the other. There are plenty of points to stop and take in the view and take photos, and the route felt safe and enjoyable. The blue skies of the day made it even better and I’m sitting here typing wanting to take that drive again. Just before our stop in San Simeon we stopped to see all the Elephant Seals along the beach; never in my life have I seen so many seals! We saw more later on in our trip, in La Jolla, but more on that another time.


California road trip: Carmel, Monterey Bay and a trip through Big Sur. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Overall impression

We loved spending time in this part of California, by this point we were in full swing holiday mood and had settled into the trip. The weather was beautiful, we had some great meals and we were in beautiful surroundings. If you’re planning a trip to California I would always encourage a stop here.


California road trip: Carmel, Monterey Bay and a trip through Big Sur. 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

More posts coming soon (I’ll update this page as soon as a new post goes live). If you fancy a look, here’s the map of where we visited on our trip.

If you’re planning a trip to this part of California, I hope this post is really useful for you. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have too, so drop me a comment below or tweet me and I’ll be pleased to help. 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 I hope you have a good day.

Leanne x

Email | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

California road trip: 2.5 days in San Francisco

Wow, I can’t believe that next month will mark a year since we headed off to San Francisco for the start of our California road trip – I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I’d planned to blog about each place we visited a long time ago but, with buying a house etc., it’s all been a bit busy! I managed to write about our time in Yosemite and now I’m back on the case and happy to today be sharing with you what we got up to with our 2.5 days in San Francisco.


2.5 days in San Francisco, California. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


It’s a jam packed post, but I’ve broken it down into where we stayed, what we did, where we ate and our overall impression – which I hope is useful to you if you’re planning a trip and/or daydreaming about visiting San Francisco. I’ve also added in various photos from our time there.

Where we stayed

The Beresford Arms on Post Street. While the hotel itself felt a little dated, it was comfortable enough for us and we knew we wouldn’t spend a great time of time in it as we’d be out exploring. The hotel is also only a 10 minute walk to Union Square, which has heaps of shops, restaurants and links to other parts of the city – an ideal spot for us.


2.5 days in San Francisco, California. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Where we ate

During our stay we really tried to avoid tourist traps (with a couple of exceptions!) and instead aimed to be guided by Google reviews of local restaurants near where we were staying; with only a couple of days to explore we were exhausted by the evening so local was key for us.

  • Breakfast: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. I’d stumbled across this bakery via Instagram before our trip, so when I found out it was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel I knew we had to pay a visit. The food didn’t disappoint; their offering is really unique and I especially remember how good the pastrami and pesto danish was. While there isn’t any seating inside, it’s a great spot for grabbing breakfast and seemed popular with locals.
  • Lunch: Mijita. We walked past this Mexican cafe as we came off the ferry from Sausalito and thought it looked good, so popped back the following day for lunch. We both had a tortas sandwich and a fresh juice and it filled us up nicely. As far as Mexican places go, we both loved this place.
  • Afternoon pit stop: Mojo. After visiting the Painted Ladies and with the wind picking up, we popped into Mojo, a bicycle cafe, for a hot drink. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and we spoke for ages about our trip, with them giving us recommendations. I could’ve spent more time there; the hot chocolate was super tasty too!
  • Dinner: The Cheesecake Factory. OK, definitely a tourist trap but we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. This was our very first meal and, incredibly jetlagged, it was nice and local to our hotel – at the top of Macy’s on Union Square. The burger and milkshake we had was so tasty and we couldn’t resist having some cheesecake. Delicious.
  • Dinner: Sakana. This was probably our favourite meal during the stay, a low-key sushi restaurant on Post Street. This restaurant had a friendly local feel to it and the staff were incredibly friendly to us. Plus, the food was delicious and just what we’d been after (figuring San Francisco was a good place for sushi) If I ever went back I would definitely pay Sakana another visit.
  • Dinner: Sai Jai Thai (they don’t seem to have a website, so I’ve linked to their Trip Advisor page). In our continued quest for local spots (and to avoid just eating burgers, chips etc.) we opted for Thai on our final night and found this restaurant through a Google review. Less than 10 minutes from Beresford Arms, I had Pad Thai here (one of my favourite Thai dishes). Delicious, really tasty food. Very local and definitely no-thrills, the food speaks for itself I’d say.


2.5 days in San Francisco, California. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


What we did

With just over two days in San Francisco we knew it was going to be jam packed, but we saw and did loads. Below is an overview of some of the places we visited, though we saw quite a few more places using the City Sightseeing hop on hop off bus pass.

  • Hired bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. We caught a tram to take us as far down as we could and came across Blazing Saddles, on Beach Street, where we hired bikes for a few hours. The team guided us on the route to the Golden Gate Bridge and we were off. This was on the very first morning of our trip and is still one of my highlights of those three weeks. The weather was glorious and it was a great experience. We reckon it was about 10 miles we cycled all in all and, had we had time, we definitely would’ve liked to have spent some time in Sausalito – the town you arrive in across the bridge.
  • Walked around Fisherman’s Wharf. Between arriving back from Sausalito and catching the ferry to Alcatraz we had a bit of time to walk around Fisherman’s Wharf. I do understand why it’s popular, but it’s a major tourist trap and really wasn’t our kind of place.
  • Visited Alcatraz. Part of our package (booked with Flight Centre) included a booking to Alcatraz island and a tour of the old prison. We were told to book before we went, so I’d recommend booking before you go. Alcatraz was certainly an enlightening experience and I’m pleased we went. I had no idea people, including children, lived on the island while the prison was open. I certainly learnt a lot during our visit.
  • Used our 48 hour City Sightseeing hop on hop off bus pass. With limited time, this was the perfect way for us to get around the city and see the bits we wouldn’t have time to fully explore (like Japan town). The guides were friendly, funny and told us lots and lots of useful information about the city.
  • Walked up Lombard Street (the crooked steps). We got off the hop on hop off bus around North Beach and walked all along Lombard Street to the crooked steps, which we then walked up. Tough going, especially as it was a warm sunny morning, but good to do and there are some gorgeous houses to be spotted as you walk it.
  • Visited the Painted Ladies on Alamo Square. Using the bus pass again, we got off the bus around Fell Street and walked over to see the famous row of houses, names the Painted Ladies. It’s a hugely popular area, so much so that tourist buses aren’t allowed to drive there. It’s also on Steiner Street – a reference to Mrs. Doubtfire that made me smile (sadly we didn’t have time to go and see that house). Alamo Square is also home to a patch of grass that a lot of people hang out on, so we took some time out here to enjoy the pretty scenery.


2.5 days in San Francisco, California. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Overall impression

The weather has to be mentioned… San Francisco is odd. One of the tour guides told us to bring clothes for every weather and he wasn’t wrong – in a day it went from being bright blue skies and really warm to cold, windy and having a downpour, before that bright blue sky came out. I struggled with the weather and even went to H&M to buy a big jumper because that bitter cold wind was horrible. But that’s more me being unprepared than anything else.


2.5 days in San Francisco, California. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


I’ve also got to say how much we noticed people running and keeping fit – especially with all those hills, kudos to them. I reckon I’d have to join in with them if I lived in San Francisco!

My only wish for San Francisco is that it hadn’t been our first stop of the trip, as I really struggled with jet lag and getting into the swing of the holiday. Those first couple of days felt like a blur and so, for that reason, I’d love to go back to San Francisco one day and spend a good week there exploring all the different areas.

Other places we visited on our road trip

More posts coming soon (I’ll update this page as soon as a new post goes live). If you fancy a look, here’s the map of where we visited on our trip.

If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, I hope this post is really useful for you. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have too, so drop me a comment below or tweet me and I’ll be pleased to help. 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 I hope you have a good day.

Leanne x

Email | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

A weekend away in Cambridge

I’m a big fan of traditions and I love how they come about. One of ours is to go away for a weekend around our anniversary in November. It started with Bath, then Edinburgh last year and while this year we’d wanted to go to Copenhagen, finances limited us so decided on a weekend away in Cambridge. Cambridge has been on my list of places to visit for yonks; I’ve always thought it looked like a classic English town (or city?) and sometimes you can’t beat that traditional feel.

The tradition also linked closely to the Christmas market season but, to be honest, after a while once you’ve visited a couple they all start to look a bit the same – unless you go abroad, perhaps? So for us it was more about getting away and spending time together.


A weekend away in Cambridge - This Little Space of Mine


Cambridge didn’t disappoint; while the weather was pretty chilly (who am I kidding, it was freezing!), it was dry and sunny and the perfect conditions for being out and about – I love cold winter days where the sun shines brightly.

We arrived on Saturday lunchtime and departed Monday lunchtime, so a good couple of days for us. The first thing we did was walk into town – less than a 15 minute walk from our hotel. On the subject of hotels, Cambridge seems really expensive! There was actually a moment when I thought maybe we’d have to go somewhere else because most hotels were charging over £200 a night! Eventually we found a bargain at £158 for two nights at the Premier Inn on Newmarket Road. Premier Inn’s, to my mind, get bad press, but for us it was perfect; the room was clean, spacious, we slept well, the shower worked, the room was warm and there was parking… I’m not sure what else there was from a room where we knew we wouldn’t spend a heap of time in. We’re not the luxurious hotel type, there was just no need.

One person I knew I had to visit was Claire; we’ve become friends in the last couple of years and after finally meeting her at Blogtacular in the summer I was really excited to see her again and meet her boyfriend. I could have spent all day with Claire, and the boyfriends got on well too!

On Sunday morning, after Claire’s recommendation, we walked along the River Cam into the centre of town; the weather was fantastic and thankfully the wind had died down a bit. Lots of cyclists, rowers and people walking – just as I’d expected. Here are a few pictures from our stroll –


A weekend away in Cambridge - This Little Space of Mine



A weekend away in Cambridge - This Little Space of Mine



A weekend away in Cambridge - This Little Space of Mine


A bit of sign writing on the boats, just for my Dad.

Once we arrived in town it was well and truly lunchtime – I’ll share more about where we ate towards the end of the post; we aimed for independent places as much as we could and boy oh boy does Cambridge have a great selection of places to eat!


A weekend away in Cambridge - This Little Space of Mine


We couldn’t visit Cambridge without seeing a college, so to visit St. John’s College and have a walk around. I’d also wanted to see Trinity college but it was closed on the day. St. John’s College includes a view of the Bridge of Sighs, so was understandably quite popular! We had a good walk around, though I wanted to see more. If we were to visit again I’d probably try and see a couple of colleges, to really get a feel for it.


A weekend away in Cambridge - This Little Space of Mine


As I promised earlier, here is a list of where we ate while we spent the weekend in Cambridge:

  • Giraffe. OK, the one ‘chain’ restaurant but one of the best if you ask me. The food never disappoints and I love the variety of their menu. If you haven’t been before, I recommend their squid starter and ribs for main. Oh and they have some great fruit smoothies.
  • Smokeworks. No description does it better than their website “smoked, pulled, brined and seasoned classic BBQ food and paired it with beer, bourbon & milkshakes”. I opted for the smoked & pulled beef brisket with sweet potato fries and a chocolate milkshake with a shot of Baileys – delicious! I’m hungry thinking about it. The staff were friendly and happy to recommend items from the menu, plus in terms of casual dining this place has it nailed. I’d recommend booking a table, this place is popular!
  • Nanna Mexico. Love a bit of Mexico food and this is a great lunchtime spot. It’s probably more expensive than your average lunchtime sandwich, but for a treat or a weekend away it’s perfect. We both had burritos and I’m told their breakfast burrito is something special – next time! They have seating upstairs too so good for a pitstop.
  • The Pint Shop. This place had a great menu and wine selection – plus their dessert menu had some great choices; we wouldn’t normally but this time really struggled to decide what to have!
  • Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop. Another recommendation, this is a short drive out of town but given we were driving it took maybe 10 minutes to get there and was on our way home. We had to wait for a seat, that’s how popular this place clearly is. Lunch didn’t disappoint and we both had cream teas – the scones were hearty and fresh. Plus they have an excellent farm shop; if only it was local to me!

OK, now I’m really hungry.

Cambridge has a heck of a lot to offer, I could’ve easily spent more time there and we’ve already talked about going back in the summer. We would definitely go punting when we do; we thought about it, but ultimately it was too cold and when a few tourists went past and looked cold to the core we knew we’d made the right decision! I’d also like to visit The Sheep Shop; right by our hotel I was excited about this wool shop – but it’s closed on Sunday and Monday. Boo.

So the question is… where do we go next year? We were thinking maybe York, but it might be a bit far. Recommendations very welcome!

Thanks for reading, have a good day!

Leanne x

Email | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

California road trip: a day at Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park sits around 160 miles east of San Francisco, California. The park spans over 1,200 miles and was first protected in 1864. For that reason, plus all the beautiful photos we’d seen online and in books, it was high on our list of places to see on our Californian road trip.

In this post I wanted to share notes from our day as well as a lot of photos. Trust me, the photos don’t do it justice; I’m not sure any photo could really do the justice. The place is beautiful; the air felt so fresh there, it’s scenic and you could spend weeks there and really only scratch the surface. Sadly we only had one day; how I wish we’d had more.

We stayed at Tenaya Lodge, which sits closely to the South Gate of the park; about a 15 minute drive in fact. The lodge was one of our favourite stays of the holiday; while the food was expensive, it was a really cosy location and we had the best nights sleep in the comfiest of beds. Everything was themed really well and it felt like a safe and warm place to be.


A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine


As I mentioned, we had very little time so once we came into the park, from the South Gate, we drove through the roads through to the first spot of the half dome. Everyone stops there, you can’t miss it. We took it as an opportunity to walk up high to get the best view we could.



A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine



Walking up I caught this snap of Stu against one of the many tall trees – hopefully that gives some perspective as to how impressive the woodland is in the park.

After that we carried on, stopping along the way to see some of the waterfalls. When we got to Curry Camp it seemed like quite a touristy area. It worked for us, because of the lack of time, but how I wish we’d had more time to go off track. We then walked some of the sign posted tracks to get some further views.



A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine



And came across this beautiful spot. We met a lovely American man who offered to take our photo for us and told us he couldn’t work out if we were English or Australian. This happened a lot on our trip!



A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine



Gorgeous views and, at this point, very little people around. The sun was shining so while it was a little cold, it was so pretty and we were happy to walk lots and enjoy the scenery (such a stark contrast to the cold and wind in San Francisco the day before!).



Favourite days in California - This Little Space of Mine



I won’t lie, I love the above photo I took. I had no idea how it’d turn out but I think I caught the moment really well.


A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine


We’d read a lot about all the wildlife at Yosemite National Park and while we didn’t see any bears (very disappointing, haha), we saw lots of interesting birds on the trees. This was the moment where I realised I really do need to buy a zoom lense! This little character was chirping away to his buddies. I love his orange wings.



A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine



Couldn’t resist, here is our hire car in the snow. Snow! In April! In California! I’m so pleased we got to see a bit of snow; they’d had some the weekend before we got there, so we were quite lucky.



A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine



I would definitely like to go back to Yosemite National Park. If I were to make a recommendation I’d suggest go for a week – camp, hike, enjoy Tenaya Lodge and take a drive up to Lake Tahoe – in the north of the park. Unfortunately it was too far away for us, but hey, there’s always next time.

Certainly one of the highlights of my holiday and a place I hope to see again one day.

Have you been to Yosemite? Perhaps you could share your experience below? Hopefully this will become a useful place for anyone planning a trip there.


footer




A day trip to Yosemite National Park - This Little Space of Mine



Auto Italia – Italian Car Day – at Brooklands Museum

Am I really about to write about a car show? Oh yes! My seven year old self would be laughing at me for this post and here’s why…

When my sister and I were young we were dragged to a lot of car shows. A lot. My Dad’s most memorable ‘old car’ was a 1959 Sunbeam Rapier; he restored it, joined their owners club and went to as many car shows as he could. Or at least it felt like that to us! The whole family would often go with him and my memories of it are early starts on a Sunday morning, the boot filled with picnic food and a day in a field (if we were lucky, it was sunny).

It’s funny, when I look back we moaned a lot about it and how boring it all was, yet I have fond memories of those days.

Car shows also included trips to historic stately homes, like Highclere Castle. If only I’d known that 20 years later Downton Abbey would be on TV and make me desperate to visit again. Below is a picture of me and my sister there in around 1994; not long after this photo Ali lost my Dad’s hat she’s holding and she’s never lived it down. Isn’t that right, Dad?


Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine


So when Dad asked me if I fancied going to Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, for their Auto Italia Italian Car Day I said yes. Just back from holiday I thought it’d be a good opportunity to get out of the house, get some fresh air and spend some time with my Dad. I spent far too much of winter cuddled up at home and the holiday reminded me how good it feels to be outside (weather dependant!).



Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine



I took my camera along for the day and I’m really glad I did; I’m still trying to find a style and become more confident with using a DSLR so it was a good subject matter to practice on.

Here are some pictures for you…



5 thoughts Sunday - 3rd May - This Little Space of Mine





Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine





Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine





Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine



What do you think of my efforts? I think I’m slowly but surely improving, but need to be braver and switch to manual mode.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the day! I have a Fiat 500 lounge and would one day love to own a class Fiat 500, so to see lots of them in one place made me smile. We weren’t so interested in the Lamborghini’s (though everyone else seemed to be!) and my Dad loved the Dino’s and loves his Fiat Panda! Maybe it’s the Italian in us?!



Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine



Brooklands Museum holds a lot of history, so we took the opportunity to have a mooch around some of the displays; the Formula one shed was particularly interesting and they also had a 1905 ‘car’ (if you can call it that) on display. It understandably attracted a lot of attention and was interesting to see.


Auto Italia at Brooklands Museum - This Little Space of Mine


Thanks for inviting me along Daddio!

If you are looking for places to go in the Surrey area, I definitely recommend Brooklands Museum – lots to see and a lot of history worth remembering.


footer


Favourite days in California

Coming home from holiday I’ve literally not known where to start when people ask me about our trip. I don’t like to generally talk about a holiday too much, but on this occasion I really don’t know where to begin. We stayed in 7 locations and travelled over 1,800 miles in just under 3 weeks – thank goodness I had my camera and travel journal with me!

But I so want to share things on here, so today I thought I’d start with 5 of my favourite days in California. Of course, there were more than 5 but I thought I’d focus on those key memories. In fact, I scribbled down the 5 on the afternoon we got home on a notepad before I had a nap (good ideas always come about just as I’m falling asleep). Here goes!

1. Bike riding over the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco


Favourite days in California - This Little Space of Mine


I was jet lagged and had been awake since 4am so, full of energy and excited to be in San Francisco, we spent the morning of our first day of the holiday bike riding. We started at Fisherman’s Wharf, over the bridge and down to Sausalito before we got the ferry back to Pier 1 and then cycled all the way down the Fisherman’s Wharf. We reckon it was about 10 miles all in all. I remember cycling over that bridge with the wind in my hair thinking “I’m here, I’m on holiday, this is going to be great” and it was. Plus a very sweet lady congratulated us on cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge when we were struggling up a hill on the way to the ferry. We loved her.

2. Visiting Yosemite National Park


Favourite days in California - This Little Space of Mine


I loved Yosemite; if we could have stayed there longer we definitely would have. We stayed in quite a luxurious spa lodge (thanks Flight Centre!) which was only half an hour from the entrance to the park and, after feeling a bit chilly in San Francisco, the air there seemed so fresh yet warm with the sunshine. Plus there was still a bit of snow on the ground. We barely scraped the surface of the park; I’m almost embarrassed to say we only really did the touristy bits, but next time. Next time I’d like to go there, do a proper hike and camp there. That would be amazing.

3. Driving through Big Sur


Favourite days in California - This Little Space of Mine


Waking up in the beautiful sunshine in Carmel by the Sea, I was so excited to see Route one as we drove through Big Sur. Our route took us from Carmel down to San Simeon and it was one of the best days. I did some driving, we stopped at several spots to take in the view, enjoyed a strawberry scone at the Big Sur bakery and saw hundreds and hundreds of elephant seals on the beach. Oh and on one stop we came across the friendliest set of squirrels – they were seriously not afraid of us and when someone gave one of them a nut they went crazy for him and literally chased him through the car park!

4. Seeing the sites of Newport beach with Stu’s uncle


Favourite days in California - This Little Space of Mine


After a heck of a day driving from San Simeon to Santa Monica, before then driving through LA at rush hour we were in need of a rest! So we had a little lay in before Stu’s uncle took us on a bike ride to Balboa Pier and then down Newport beach. We had lunch at the end of the pier at Ruby’s diner (the chocolate chip cookie milkshake was heavenly!), cycled and then went for a swim when we got back. The day was rounded off with a BBQ in the sunshine. Going on holiday and spending time with a local really was a good way of getting a rounded trip.

5. Spending the day at San Diego zoo


Favourite days in California - This Little Space of Mine


Oh my, I knew San Diego zoo would be good but I had no idea that it’d be that good. Another beautiful day with blue skies and a lovely breeze, we spent the day mooching around the zoo and seeing more animals then I knew what to do with! The layout of the zoo is great (things aren’t too far apart and it follows a logical course), if you wait long enough you will see the animals that are hiding (unlike UK zoos, sorry) and we saw pandas! That was amazing. Plus, after a couple of trips to view them and a lot of patience, we were lucky enough to see an Arctic fox. A member of staff told us it was quite rare to see them, so it was a real highlight.

Ah California, I love you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little holiday insight. I’ll share more soon!


footer


We’re off to California! (a little blog break)


We're off to California - This Little Space of Mine


In just two days we’ll be heading off to San Francisco for the start of our three week road trip in California (and a bit of Nevada) – I can’t believe the time has come! Stu and I have been dreaming about going to California since we met, so I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve at the moment.

In super organised fashion, as my friends and family would expect of me, I’ve already started packing and getting myself organised. I’m in Gloucestershire for the start of this long holiday weekend so packing early was a must for me, though no doubt there will be something last minute I think of.

It feels kind of surreal to think we’re going to see all of these wonderful places. Really surreal in fact. In the last few months I’ve been doing lots of research – Pinterest has been amazing for storing ideas of places to go and things to do. So today I thought I’d use this post to share with you some of the things I’m looking forward to doing:

  1. Going on a bike ride over the Golden Gate bridge
  2. Walking in Yosemite National park
  3. Driving along the coast and seeing the Pacific Ocean
  4. Exploring the quaintness of Carmel by the Sea
  5. Going to an In/Out Burger – we’ve heard lots about it
  6. Walking the Hollywood walk of fame
  7. Eating delicious Mexican food in San Diego
  8. Watching a show in Las Vegas
  9. Seeing the Grand Canyon
  10. Enjoy Stu’s company. We both have busy jobs, so to have some time out together is going to be amazing.

Eeee – that’s me squealing with excitement! I’ve still got clothes to sort (trying not to take too much so we can shop!) but paperwork is printed, my road trip playlist is organised and I’ve loaded up my sister’s Kindle for books to read on the flight. Trying out a Kindle for the first time this holiday – definitely made sense space/weight wise.

So while we’re away I’ve decided to take a blog break; I could’ve opted for a series of guest posts but I’ll be honest and say I left it a little late to organise. However, a break is good – I’m looking forward to re-charging my batteries – and I already have lots of good things in store for May.

Oh and don’t forget, you can follow my adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

See you on the other side!


footer


Celebrating my 29th birthday

On Saturday 3rd January 2015 I celebrated my 29th birthday so we went up to London for lunch at Balthazar (just off Covent Garden) and a mooch around Liberty. As it’s the first Saturday of the month it tied in nicely with Emma and Michelle’s #1day12pics series, so a golden opportunity to practice my photography and capture the day.

You can find out more about #1day12pics over here – the idea is to take a picture each hour, for 12 hours and share them on Instagram, Twitter etc. using the hashtag. You’ll see below that I haven’t completely stuck to that, but it gives you a feel for what my day looked like.


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


So the day started with a cup of tea and some cards and presents. I may have woken my sister up early so she could watch me open my presents – sorry Ali! My presents included a coat (see below) and a fox dress (see below again!). After that it was time to get ready to go up to London…


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


It was raining! All day! After missing one train and then because of engineering works at Wimbledon arriving late into Waterloo, we decided to jump in a taxi to Covent Garden. That felt like a real treat.


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


The birthday celebrations began! I’d wanted to go to Balthazar since it opened in London a couple of years ago and I wasn’t disappointed! As soon as we sat down the waitress complimented me on my fox dress and wished me a happy birthday. We ordered wine and bread to get us started…


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


…before ordering some delicious red wine and steak for lunch! I felt really spoilt and the staff couldn’t have done anymore for us. They helped us pick what to order and really made us feel welcome and comfortable. Our food was also amazing. So tasty, I didn’t want it to end!


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


And then I was sung happy birthday to and given a plate of tasty French pastries. My favourite? The lemon meringue (on the right). I shared with Stu and he loved the marshmallow.


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


After lunch I couldn’t resist having my photo taken outside the Cambridge Satchel Company shop, with my brand new Cambridge Satchel in tow.


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


As it’d stopped raining we opted to walk from Covent Garden to Liberty; even though Christmas has passed it was still nice to see all the lights as we walked down Regent Street.


Celebrating my 29th birthday - This Little Space of Mine


Liberty! OK, not an amazing shot, but you get the drift. It was nice to mooch around, though going with a boy may not have been the best idea in the world!

A big thank you to everyone from their birthday wishes and thank you to my family and friends for all my lovely presents and cards – it made my birthday weekend very special.


footer


Fudge Kitchen experience in Edinburgh

It’s rare, or maybe unheard of, for a brand to mean a lot to a couple and their relationship – a brand that makes you smile or think back to happy memories. For Stu and I, Fudge Kitchen holds significance. On our first anniversary trip to Bath last year we were introduced to the wonders of Fudge Kitchen and how kind the staff were to us. Thinking it was just a Bath thing, we met the team again at Country Living’s Spring Fair and began to really fall in love with their brand. We’d always talked about doing their fudge making experience – where you learn how to make fudge and take home a selection of slices – so when in Edinburgh to celebrate our 2nd anniversary we decided to treat ourselves.



Fudge Kitchen experience - This Little Space of Mine



Boy are we glad we did! It was essentially an hour and a half of hanging out with the team, making fudge, eating fudge, drinking tea and finding out more about Fudge Kitchen and how their company has developed. Ray, Steph and Jessi were incredibly welcoming; keen for us to take photos (Ray took most of them in this post) and Steph humoured us as we attempted to make our first ever batch of fudge (you could certainly build up some arm muscles doing that job!). As far as Sunday mornings go, we couldn’t have been happier.



Fudge Kitchen experience - This Little Space of Mine





Fudge Kitchen experience - This Little Space of Mine



We also got to take home some of the fudge we made, as well as six slices of our choice! We opted for dark chocolate and sea salt, raspberry and white chocolate, Belgian chocolate swirl, salted caramel, chocolate orange and one of the managers specials – snickers fudge.

If you’re reading this and thinking well that’s all well and good but it’s just fudge, think again. I’ll be completely honest (I told the Fudge Kitchen team this too) and say I didn’t really like fudge pre-Fudge Kitchen, but this product is out of this world. Creamy, sweet and delicious.



Fudge Kitchen experience - This Little Space of Mine





Fudge Kitchen experience - This Little Space of Mine



The whole experience cost us £50, but with a selection to take home as well as learning the process behind how they make a batch, it was well worth every penny for us. The only thing we struggled with was fitting it all in our suitcase going home!


Fudge Kitchen experience - This Little Space of Mine


To end this post I just want to make clear that I wasn’t asked to write this post and we paid ourselves to do the fudge making experience. Stu and I want to share how much we love this company as well as express our thanks to Ray, Steph and Jessi for giving us an enjoyable experience we’ll never forget.

OK, convinced about fudge? Pop over to their website and treat yourself to a box – they deliver too and have shops all over. My favourite? It’s got to be the Belgian chocolate swirl.


Learn how to make fudge at Fudge Kitchen



footer


1 2