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Monday, 30 September 2013

I'm back ! Monday 30th September

Good morning Friends!

Well we are home and surprisingly minus jet lag! You know, sometimes we get it and sometimes not and we never 'do" anything different, so who knows? We got home Saturday night and collected the hens from their own 'holiday hotel,' yesterday. I was a little worried as we'd asked the farm to keep Bella and Penny in a separate pen to Cara and Lacey - this was because we had a bit of a last minute problem with Penny just before we left and the other two were more likely to peck her - it all turned out well; Penny seems fine and they all had a lovely afternoon in the sun! I've been unpacking and washing..the downside of a holiday, lol!

I have a few more photos for you that I didn't get the chance to post last week...our fun time with my  cousin Kerry, in San Diego. This is the cousin we usually spend some time with, but a long road trip, meant just two nights this time. Whilst there, as I said last week, I went craft shopping with his wife, Teri... such fun to have another female to go shopping with! I really do like Joann's - so much lovely Fall fabric I couldn't bring home! Lots of Tim Holz goodies and dies ... most of them weren't much cheaper except both they and Michaels had 40% discounts through the's so annoying when you can't   carry it :) I was encouraged to see that the Grand Calibur was actually a little more expensive than it is here!!!

After leaving beautiful San Diego, we drove back to LA; we usually have our last few days in the beach resort of Santa Monica before flying home, so once we'd checked into our hotel, we drove up the coast a few miles to Malibu - this has become a bit of a ritual over the years: we go to the Malibu Colony shopping plaza and Ralph's, one of the supermarkets. We get a sandwich made up - $8 for a meal deal..massive sandwich that we choose the ingredients for and that we share, a bag of crisps ( or as they say chips) and a root beer or other soft drink of choice! Then we head for the nearest beach, sit on a wall and eat it! It just has to be done!!!

There is another shopping plaza ( all open air) across the road: Tom and I have made this trip to see my family over the past 20 years (the first ten we were married we visited Italy three times to stay with Tom's family and even that broke the budget!). .. we come about every 3-4 years, unless there's a special occasion in between or we visit another part of the US instead. The last time was 4 years ago and how it's changed! I thought there was a recession, but this place got huge! Same with Santa Monica..they both stayed the same for 20 years and all of a sudden more shops! I see how the tourism in this part of California has grown over the years and there is also a huge amount of ex-Pat Brits there too..Santa Monica isn't my most favourite of places any more, but it has huge empty beaches and is handy for both LA and the airport.

On Thursday we got up early, walked to Venice Beach for breakfast at the book store...our favourite place there, just sitting and watching this very weird place's like being stuck in the psychedelic 70's...I swear some of these people arrived here back then and just never left!

Our hotel was a 20 minute walk away and from there, we got the car and drove along Sunset Boulevard (another favourite trip) to Hollywood and Griffiths Park. This, along with The Getty, is one of my favourite places in LA. The park is enormous, with museums, a zoo, equestrian centre, theatre and right on top of the hill, the Observatory. Famously scenes from the James Dean movie  Rebel Without a Cause were filmed here  and a bust commemorating this sits right in front of a lovely view of the Hollywood sign. They were actually getting ready to film something last week, but I have no idea what. Griffiths Park covers about 3000 acres, with lots of lovely hiking trails...once we hiked as close as we could to the sign, although you can't get right up to it as it's fenced off.

 On return to Santa Monica we paid one last visit to a Michaels - it had moved to a brand new store and was huge with its own dedicated workshop room!

Our flight home was very good, this holiday for the first time, we treated ourselves to an upgrade to a premium economy both ways; we got a good deal from Virgin on it and boy was it worth it for the extra legroom alone!

'Unconditional Surrender' an enormous piece of art in San Diego,  depicting the joy of the end of WWII

Forces tribute to Bob Hope, San Diego

Tom with my cousin Kerry at the San Diego Mission, the first of  21 Missions built by the Spanish along the California Coast, this one dates back to 1769

Botanica House, Balboa Park, San Diego

Me with my cousin Kerry, Mission Trail, San Diego

Tom, Santa Monica Beach..9am!

Me and James Dean! Griffiths Park Observatory

View of LA from observatory

 So what will I miss about the US? Well I have the advantage of having family there and  of actually having spent time there (tho a long time ago now), so I'm not entirely speaking through the rose tinted specs of a holiday maker... I love the lifestyle my relatives have and they aren't wealthy - my young cousin is a teacher, but at the moment a stay at home mom and her husband teaches too; my cousin in San Diego has his own window cleaning business ( and you should see some of the mansions he cleans!) and his wife is a school secretary. I'll miss the climate because its just perfect (not too hot, never cold by our standards); Tom would rather drive in LA than across Bristol in rush hour - he loves driving in the US...I'll miss our car too, a fab SUV with lumbar support in the felt like I had taken Hayley, my sports therapist along with me! I didn't have any back trouble at all, probably from all the exercise and not sitting at a desk at all.

Then there's the courtesy... I can't remember the last time here that a stranger thanked me for holding a door open for them - or held one open for me... Over the last few weeks, everyone held doors open and in return when I did the same, I was called a 'sweetheart' or similar on several occasions; service in stores is always with a smile, everyone is so friendly. I'm not saying they aren't here, it's just more noticeable, but I guess it's the American Way! Love it!

I'll miss the food - contrary to popular belief about US holidays, we actually always lose weight when we spend time in California, especially the south - good fresh food, lots of exercise and no spending days at desks! We aren't vegetarian but we don't eat a lot of meat, so all the fresh seafood there is just what we like. We also know to share meals or just order appetisers as the portions can sometimes be more than we are used to!

Finally, I'll even miss the fact that at least once a day when we got into conversation with someone, they asked if we watch Downton Abbey! We must be the only people here who don't, so I guess we disappointed a lot of people, including ALL my cousins!

Driving along Sunset Boulevard - Sunset Strip

Regrets? We were driving along the coast between Malibu and Santa Monica and we couldn't stop, so I missed the photo of a life time - a mass gathering of Pelicans on a beach..they were just flying in, hundreds of them! Just one more is that I can no longer get on a horse! The opportunities for trail riding in central California were everywhere!

But now I'm home, we have our hens, have seen our family, the sun has been shining and I'm happy to be here - and it was so good to be able to stay in touch with you, my crafty friends whilst we've been still visit your blogs and read your kind comments on mine.I know how lucky we are to have close relatives in such beautiful parts of the world - California and Venice, Italy...and that at the moment at least we can visit and have such wonderful memories.

You haven't seen the last of my holiday photos (sorry!)...I am ashamed that I still haven't scrapbooked our last trip from 4 years ago, so I am getting going on this one immediately despite having workshops and craft fairs to prep for! There's nothing like the present:)

Finally, you know I love animals and birds, so I try and photograph what I can wherever I go; I can't tell you how many years I have been trying to get a decent photo of a humming bird, so what do you think?

These photos were taken in the gardens of the Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo in Central California and my research suggest its species to be 'Anna's Hummingbird'..unless anyone knows better?

I'll be back soon and will show you some craft I took on holiday and this week after a long absence I will be back on WOYWW and show you the craft goodies I brought back....and I was restrained!

Lots of love and hugs,
Carole X


  1. Glad you are home safe. Thanks for sharing your holiday pictures. Christine xx

  2. Photos look fabulous. Hope you had a grand time, jenx

  3. Welcome home Carol,
    All the photos are fantastic, brilliant memories of what has been a wonderful holiday for you both.
    Like you I just LOVE the American way of life could live tyre no problem at all.
    Hazel goes off to Canada next week I have to wait till next year to get back to USA.
    Happy crafting

    Patricia xxx

  4. Welcome home, thanks for sharing your holiday with us. Take care.

  5. Wow, what a fabulous holiday, great to have you back safe and sound tho! Enjoy doing some crafty creations, can't wait to see what you make first. X

  6. Hi Carole,
    yes welcome home. I have enjoyed your hols nearly as much as you, especially looking at those lovely photos. I have seen such beautiful places through your photos. Almost felt I was there with you. You can never show me too many of them.
    So glad the hens were okay when you got back.
    Isn't it just wonderful with such great technology you managed to keep in touch like you did.
    Have a wonderful crafty day.
    Lots of crafty love. Jenny L.

  7. Good to hear that you are safely home Carole, I have loved your holiday photos and all your news. I bet the chickens were happy to have you home too! Love the hummingbird, it is one of the things I miss while living in this country - those and all the butterflies! Hugs, Anne x

  8. Glad to see you have arrived home safely. Have loved catching up with what you've been up to & viewing your photos. The humming bird looks beautiful!.
    Looking forward to seeing you soon, got some goodies for you!
    Amy x

  9. Hi Carole

    What a fabulous post!! Welcome home!

    I almost feel like I have been on holiday with you (I wish).

    Looking forward to more of your fabby photographs.

    Love Jules xx

  10. Hi Carole,
    Welcome home, thanks for sharing your holiday with us. Seems like you had a great time.

  11. Hi Carole, so glad you have had a lovely holiday and have very much enjoyed sharing your journey. Glad you are both home safely too. Sounds like you had a wonderful time and your gifts were so thoughtful and beautiful for the family.xx

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