Travel

San Francisco to Los Angeles: Roadtrip

San Francisco to Los Angeles is such a classic road trip; completely incredible scenery along the coast, the cutest seaside towns to explore and, of course, delicious food to eat.

The road trip: Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, LA

We flew into San Francisco on a Friday afternoon, and jumped straight in our hire car.

I’d spent a long time researching and trying to find out the best places to stop off on this trip. So our first was Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz is a very cute seaside town, with an incredible boardwalk. We arrived at the beginning of October, so a bit out of season and on a Friday evening everything was very quiet and a lot of places weren’t open.

However, Saturday morning the boardwalk was teeming with families and people enjoying themselves on all the rides and arcade games.

After a bit of fun in the arcades we got back in the car and drove about an hour or so along the road to Monterey.

Monterey is possibly even cuter than Santa Cruz. It’s more of a fishing town, with hundreds of boats in the harbour. We did a whistle stop tour of the main Monterey sites: Fishermans Wharf, Cannery Row (of the Steinbeck novel), Pacific House and Custom House, and we even managed to see some sea lions sunning themselves.

We continued along Highway one for another half hour before turning off to drive through Carmel by the sea. Part of me wishes we had stopped off at Carmel instead, it’s idyllic Main Street is lined with shops down to a stunning beach.

After Carmel we carried on down the coast for another couple of hours, through Big Sur. The scenery is breathtaking along this way, big endless cliffs and miles of ocean before driving through the greenery of Big Sur.

Just after it got dark we arrived in San Luis Obispo for the night. Originally we had intended on driving all the way down to Santa Barbara that first night, but we definitely started off too late and there was too much to explore on the way.

San Luis Obispo seemed to be a fairly quiet town, a good stopping place for the night.

Sunday morning we got up, went for an amazing breakfast and headed off again.

It took us just over two hours to get to Santa Barbara, driving past Pismo Beach and then away from the coast through Lompoc. The landscape was very different for this part, lots of farm land, green and mountains.

Santa Barbara is definitely somewhere worth stopping. We parked up in the Funk Zone, just off of State Street. This area is full of bars, places to eat and some cool shops.

Along State Street you can find your way to the pier, and then up towards lots more shops and restaurants.

We spent a good couple of hours in Santa Barbara, though we thought we would just stop off for half an hour! From Santa Barbara to Los Angeles the route is fairly simple, we went along the 101 instead of the 1, they’re fairly similar but we wanted to save some time.

We eventually found our way to our AirBnB in Los Angeles’s arts district at about 8pm.

San Francisco to Los Angeles Road trip tips

  • Driving along Highway 1 is definitely the way to go, but it does go along some high, twisty cliffs and some narrow bridges. It’s completely safe, but a little nerve wracking if you’re not a fan of heights, plus you can’t really do it in a hurry.
  • Book places to stay in advance, especially if you’re travelling in the summer. Places will book up and get expensive.
  • That being said, you probably won’t drive as far as you think you would each day – don’t stretch yourself by booking a motel further away.
  • Also, there are some great stops, but it doesn’t really matter where you sleep – you’ll probably be pretty tired anyway and can just get up and drive to the next interesting place. I spent way too much time trying to figure out the best places to spend our nights, and we were really just there to crash for a few hours.
  • Most of the towns will have signposts for the landmarks/ sites you want to see right from the highway. It’s very easy to find them.
  • Also parking centrally was simple in all of these places – Santa Cruz you can park along the seafront on meters, and there’s a car park next to the harbour in Monterey. Just make sure you have some dollar coins (there was a change machine in Santa Cruz so we changed $20).
  • Big Sur looked like it would have been an amazing place to spend the night. There were lots of cabins and camp grounds. We didn’t realise as we’d mainly used Airbnb and booking.com etc to search for accommodation. At the very least, leave a couple of hours to get out and explore Big Sur.
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Travel

A Cornish wedding

This weekend, I went down to Cornwall for a beautiful wedding – perfect, sunny weather, old friends, many many drinks, and a picturesque location made for a wonderful time.

Harlyn Bay

We travelled down Friday afternoon, and went straight to our B&B in Harlyn Bay near Padstow. We were staying in the Harlyn Inn; a pretty basic room above a pub, but literally just across the road from the beach.

Sadly we didn’t have much time to spend on the beach, but it’s the perfect little spot for sunbathers, dog walkers and surfers. We did find a little time to dip our toes and take in the view before dinner though.

Holiday in Padstow, Cornwall
Halter top from Primark, midi skirt from Zara, platform sandals from Dr Martens.

I picked this yellow floral midi skirt up in Zara’s sale this week. It’s a-line cut is so comfy and flattering, and I love the jazzy pattern, perfect for super sunny days like we’ve been having recently.

The View, St Merryn

For our dinner we walked about twenty minutes up the road to The View, St Merryn.

Dinner at The View, St Meryn

The restaurant is located in a holiday park, you go past a play area, up the steps and there’s a little inside area with a few tables and a covered outside seating area with the most stunning views across the fields to the sea.

The View, St Merryn
The View

I had the fish goujons, that came with a generous portion of fries and a delicious salad and balsamic dressing. Amy went for The View burger – beef, cheddar cheese and chutney.

The View is a lovely little, family run restaurant that’s definitely worth visiting.

Summer wedding in Trevone

The wedding was at the Well Parc Hotel, Trevone. The hotel has a perfect garden overlooking the beach and the seas, the ideal backdrop for an outdoor ceremony. And the weather was absolutely incredible.

Wedding venue, Well Parc Hotel, Trevone

After a buffet lunch, there were of course pasties and chips in the evening, with plenty of dancing, laughter and far too many photos – all round it was a wonderful venue for a lovely Cornish wedding.

Summer wedding guest dress
Mint green halter neck lace dress, Boohoo from ASOS

Summer wedding venue - Well Parc Hotel, Trevone

Ljubljana Food guide
Food, Travel

Ljubljana

I’m excited to write about Ljubljana because I had no idea what to expect from the city and it was completely amazing. Despite being the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana has a small-town friendly feel, especially in the old part of the city.

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We found some great places to eat in Ljubljana, although I did struggle a little as there was a lot of venison, veal and lamb on the menu, which I don’t eat.

Eating fresh, homecooked food is a big part of Slovenian culture – they have a market every day in Ljubljana selling all kinds of produce and you can really tell that Slovenian’s pride themselves on the quality of their food.

Open Kitchen

If you’re planning a trip to Ljubljana then make sure you are there for a Friday. They have an incredible food market where restaurants from all over Slovenia come to the city and set up a stall. It’s the best place to eat amazing, and cheap, food in Ljublana – your dining choices are almost overwhelming.

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We went there for lunch after we had done the free Ljubljana tour, and then in the evening we walked around looking at restaurants and eventually ended up back at the food market having shrimp noodles and chicken from two different stands.

Hood Burger

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We had heard that Hood Burgers were the best burgers in Ljubljana – but they were based a little further out from the city than we want to walk. So when we stumbled across the Open Kitchen we were even more excited to discover there was a Hood Burger stall.

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For just 5 I had one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had – I went for a cheeseburger while Chris had one with bacon. If you don’t make it to their Open Kitchen stall on a Friday I would definitely recommend making the trip out to Yams Road 105, Ljubljana.

Klobasarna

IMG_9839On one of the main streets in the old town, look out for the giant sausage hanging in the air. Here you can sit outside in the street enjoying the sunshine and eat delicious, traditional Slovenian sausage.

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We both had half a sausage with mustard, horseradish and bread for just 3.50. Klobasarna is the ideal place for a quick lunch in Ljubljana.

Most

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The riverside in Ljubljana is lined with restaurants and bars, and it’s a beautiful setting for an evening meal. All of the restaurants had great menus and we had a hard time choosing where to eat. Eventually we decided on Most, which is just next to Butchers Bridge. They have plenty of tables outside where you can enjoy the buzzing atmosphere along the riverside, but if it’s cold they also have a huge inside seating area.

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We both had the Beef Broth with Noodles to start, as we had seen it on almost all the restaurants’ menus. When it arrived it looked watery, but the flavour was strong and delicious.

For the mains I had a really difficult time choosing between the Home-made Buckwheat Ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms and truffles in a leek and shrimp sauce, or the Spelt Spaghetti with Smoked Trout with champignons and semi-dried cherry tomatoes. I settled on the spaghetti (despite having sworn off pasta and pizza when we left Italy), and Chris went for the Tagliatelle Most  with chicken breast, green peppers, home-made basil pesto, plum tomatoes, and roasted pine nuts.

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The pictures don’t do them justice, but both dishes were delicious, and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients. The combination of trout and curry flavours with the pasta made it a completely different dish to the pasta that we over indulged in in Italy. If I ever make it back to Ljubljana, I will definitely be going back to Most to try the ravioli.

Take a look at Most’s menu here.

Cat Caffe

Not strictly somewhere to eat, but we loved Ljubljana’s cat cafe so much that we went twice in the two days we were in the city! It’s a little way out of the main area in the old town, but it’s worth the walk.

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The cat cafe is a great place to sit down and relax with a glass of local Slovenian wine, in the company of five lovely cats – perfect if you’re having feline withdrawal.

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Travel Tips and Recommendations

  • I can’t recommend enough the Free Map for Young Travellers for Ljubljana – pick up a copy as soon as you arrive! We had no guidebook and very few recommendations, so this map with useful tips and places to see, eat and drink was indespensable.
  • Do the Free Ljubljana Walking Tour – they run every day at 11am, starting in front of the pink church in Preseren Square and take about two and a half hours.
Food, Travel

Rome

I love nothing more than excessive amounts of pizza, loaded with cheese and delicious toppings..so a trip to Italy was heavenly.

Here’s some of the best places I found in Rome to eat on a budget:

Tomoko Tudini

Via Principe Amedeo 27, 00185 Roma

We left Bristol at 6am and by the time we arrived in Rome at midday we were absolutely ravenous. So we dropped our bags at the hostel and headed out in search of some hearty Italian food.

Walking down from Termini Station we stumbled across Tomoko Tudini on a little side street with tables outside.

The ‘tourist’ offer of margerita pizza or lasagna with a glass of wine and tiramisu for €8 might give you the impression that the food will be quick and cheap.


However, the lasagna was well presented and tasted delicious. The layers of pasta were soft and there was plenty of cheese – I was content! It was absolutely ideal for a relaxed, casual lunch at a great price.

Florians

Piazza dell’Independenza, 9, 00185, Roma

Again, we left finding somewhere for dinner until we were starving and tired. So we just wondered around the corner from our hostel and happened on Florians.

Sitting outside on the pavement the restaurant had a laid back, friendly atmosphere. We went straight in for the pizza, I had the Cappriciossa and Chris had the Pizza Paza (salami).

 

  

As our first experience of genuine Italian pizzas it was pretty good, the edges were crispy and the middles were laden with cheese and toppings (a generous amount of olives which is always a bonus!) The pizzas were around €8 each and a bottle of wine was €18.

All round a successful first day in Rome.

Travel

Falmouth, Cornwall

Falmouth is one of my absolute favourite places, a long stretch of beach (no waves for the surfers though), and a cute, winding high street filled with unique shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants:

Rick Stein’s

You can’t book a table at Rick Stein’s so you just have to turn up and keep your fingers crossed that the queue isn’t too big. We went with the intention of going elsewhere if the wait was long, however once we were inside, and we smelt the fish, we couldn’t resist.

After about 20 minutes and we were sat at a high table near the kitchen. The atmosphere is laid back and casual, but definitely a few steps up from your local chip shop at home.

We were all tempted in by the three courses for £20 menu. To start with I had the Amritsari Fish, which was fried sea bream in a chickpea batter, garlic and ginger sprinkled with chat masala. It was the perfect combination of flavours – the pieces of sea bream were quite spicy but you could still taste the flavour of the fish and it was served with a cool cucumber raita dip.

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For the main course we all went for the cod, after all Rick Stein’s is THE place for fish and chips in Falmouth. The batter was delicious and crispy, the chips were chunky but not too big, and even the mushy peas looked good.

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For pudding there was a choice between strawberries with pouring cream, Lemon Posset with mixed berry compote, or sticky toffee pudding.

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Rick Stein’s is definitely worth the wait, but the dishes are large so if you have a small appetite maybe just enjoy a main dish.

Discovery Quay

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Falmouth, then Discovery Quay is a good place to start – you have your regulars Pizza Express and Zizzi’s but also three sister restaurants The Ranch, The Shed, and The Shack, all catering to slightly different tastes

The Shed

Half cocktail bar, half restaurant, The Shed’s menu is very simple but it captured our attention and I was keen to try the Shed Burger.

Cornish beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, a big slice of pickle, onion rings, and BBQ sauce served in a brioche bun with fries. Just as incredible as it sounds. The only, only let down was the tiny portion of BBQ sauce – I completely forgot there was supposed to be BBQ sauce until I tasted it in the last few mouthfuls. But, it was still very nearly perfect.

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The Shack

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You can order Oysters individually for £2 each.

I had the Sea Bass with sweet potato mash, green beans and capers. I can’t quite explain how good it was – the combination of flavours was spot on. image(13)

 

We also had some delicious lunches while in Falmouth, in between pasties, which are definitely worth mentioning:

Trelissick
Trelissick is a beautiful National Trust property that runs down to the River Fal; it’s a great place to stop off for lunch. Entrance to the gardens is £8.50 for non-member adults, but you can park for £4 (or free for members) and enjoy their lovely cafe as well as take a look at the art gallery. They have sandwiches, toasties, pasties and hot food options..

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I had a bacon, brie and cranberry toastie – a combination that’s hard to resist – and it was amazing.

Truro Arts Cafe

No trip to Falmouth is complete without a trip on the river –  the FalRiver Enterprise boats goes from Falmouth to Truro(stopping by St Mawes). The trip takes about an hour and a half – two hours, and it’s definitely worth it.

In Falmouth we sat outside the Truro Arts Cafe, next to the Royal Cornwall Museum and had smoked salmon and cheese sandwiches surrounded by lovely flowers.
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 Charlotte’s Tea House

Located upstairs in the Coinage Hall, Truro, Charlotte’s Tea House is a step back in time to the Victorian era, with traditional cream teas and a selection of homemade cakes. They are only open until 4.30pm though!

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Pasties!

Lastly, you can’t go to Cornwall without eating at least one pasty. Rowe’s bakery had some amazing combinations, including pork and Ratler cider, and steak and Doombar. My favourite was the extremely cute, and delicious, Pixie sized traditional pasty from Oggy Oggy.
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Fashion

Seasalt in the air

Seasalt started in 1981, and is well known for producing pretty and practical items inspired by seaside living. Here’s a quick run through of the Seasalt bargains I snapped up on holiday…

Mariner Shirt

Their classic Mariner Shirt comes in a variety of different colours, I picked up one from their Falmouth store in Bilberry/Cedar, and the second, Orca/Dragonfly, at their sale shop in Penryn:

 

Top: Seasalt, Mariner Shirt £20 (originally £29.95) Shorts: Levis, from Asos Marketplace, £30.
Top: Seasalt, Mariner Shirt £20 (originally £29.95) Shorts: Levis, from Asos Marketplace, £30.

 

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They’re made from 100% organic cotton, and it’s incredibly soft. The fabric is a lot thicker than most striped t-shirts you find on the high street – so they’ll keep me cosy in the winter.

I don’t think you can ever have too many stripes in your wardrobe! The colours go great with lighter denim, and add a bit of colour on grey summer days.

Top: Seasalt Mariner shirt, £20 (Originally £29.95) Shorts: Levis, from ASOS Marketplace, £30
Top: Seasalt Mariner shirt, £20 (Originally £29.95) Shorts: Levis, from ASOS Marketplace, £30

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Lottie Dress

Likely to become my new favourite dress, the Lottie Dress, has a lovely vintage feel to it. 100% cotton with a floral teal pattern and buttons all the way down the front, it’s going to be in my wardrobe for many years to come!

Dress: Lottie dress, Seasalt, £38 (Originally £55) Sandals: Topshop, £7 (sale)
Dress: Lottie dress, Seasalt, £38 (Originally £55)
Sandals: Topshop, £7 (sale)

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Cardigan

My final find was this adorable (not a word I often use) cardigan. This was a sample item from their sale shop. I love how the buttons match the colours, I’m looking forwards to wearing this now that autumn is approaching. I also love their Matilda cardigan.

Cardigan: Seasalt, £28 (Sample) T-shirt: Warehouse, £15 High-waisted jeggings: Topshop, £36
Cardigan: Seasalt, £28 (Sample)
T-shirt: Warehouse, £15
High-waisted jeggings: Topshop, £36

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After a successful week of sale shopping (with a little beach time too!), I’ll be keeping an eye on Seasalt’s sale page for some more lovely bargains in the future.