Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A white Christmas in Big Bear

Merry Christmas everyone!!
Hope you had some time to relax and soak up the joys of Christmas...
This was my first Christmas away from home in 30 years and while there is no place like home at Christmas,  Big Bear city, California was a pretty good consolation.

Big Bear city is a ski resort in the mountains about a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, but feels like a million miles away....We had rented a lodge in the mountains with our friends Mirko and Emily and their gorgeous poodle Caesar. Our lodge was nestled far way in the mountains and snow, we arrived in the darkness and quiet to a log burning fire and glass of red wine..Bliss...

Most of the next few days were spent by the fire, playing pictionary, doing jigsaw puzzles, chatting, nibbling and sipping wine....and a Champagne fuelled trip to the hot tub at midnight on Christmas eve...
So just as you think it was all sweetness and light...there was the time when we did nearly smoke ourselves out of the house with the log fire.... and we only found out that the hot tub wasn’t that hot once we had run across the snow in our bikinis..and we woke up to find our car had slide down the hill where it was parked to the nearest ditch-oops!! But apart from that it was a pretty amazing white Christmas..

So next  are up for it???
Love Kx

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fall in LA

Hi guys..sorry have not posted in ages..been really busy with thanksgiving road trips and vistors...Thanks to those who actually mentioned that they missed it!!
Don’t quite know where to start but as its December tmw ..I thought I should mention FALL in LA before its too late..
There is one word in my mind that kind of sums it up...Pumpkin

Pumpkins have been everywhere for the last few months. Pumpkin patches have sprung up everywhere where literally hundreds of pumpkins carpet the ground. There are little ones, large ones, warty ones, cute ones, smooth ones, old ones, shiny new ones..and my favourite the Cinderella pumpkin. And then there’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, scary Halloween pumpkins and even skinny frappuccino cappuccino pumpkin lattes...

I don’t think my American friends quite believe me when I tell them when growing up in Ireland as pumpkins were generally too expensive we would spend most of Halloween chipping away at unripe turnips. We practically had to use a hammer and chisel to carve out our soggy little awkward turnip face that had usually wilted by the time it made it to the doorstep...

Does anyone remember this or was it just a Bell thing??

Here are some of my pumpkin encounters...
Will try and catch up with posts...should be easier as Fall has brought the rain to Santa Monica..

Friday, October 19, 2012

Santa Monica Pier

One of my favourite spots in Santa Monica is the pier...

It’s an old-school pier with a wooden boardwalk, ferris wheel and lots of colourful stalls, buskers, and painters...

During the summer months every Thursday they have a live concert at the pier and in the autumn on you can watch movies on a massive screen while sipping vino on the beach!!

But for me the pier is most perfect for strolling along on a Friday night people watching with an ice cream or crepe..Or my latest treat a "funnel cake" which is the most delicious thing ever.. like a donut but even more sticky!!

Only wish that you were all here to share the fun and eat funnel cake...xx

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My first handstand

California is Yoga mad...EVERYBODY does it ...Walking around Santa Monica you will find a yoga class going on pretty much every street on every hour of every day...

 So I thought I would give it try... I wasn't expecting much, had always thought Yoga was bit of a cop out from doing some real exercise. A nice thing to do on a Saturday morning before coffee maybe......or  maybe not!!

My first yoga class was a real shocker.

The leaflet had said “ mixed levels” but it seemed that I had joined the super duper advanced class. How hard can it be I thought and confidently unrolled my mat. However when the supertoned teeny weeny instructor starts, "Let's begin with down up dog...then onto warrior..and broken tree..."I knew I was in trouble...

The group seamlessly flowed into different poses and contorsions.... I followed behind, arms and legs everywhere and collapsing in heap well before everyone else. By the end of it I was exhausted, the rest of the week my muscles ached in places I didn’t even know I had muscles! I was impressed by the others who seemed soo strong, so incontrol and soo flexible!!

So that was it I was converted...
Today I did my first handstand in about 15 was so much fun and a little bit liberating too....


Ps it is also a nice thing to do before coffee on a saturday morning providing you're not too sweaty!!
Dont have any photos of yoga-but we found this little guy at the zoo and he's super relaxed....

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday night concert

Friday night at the wonderfully grand and retro Wiltern theatre, Los Angeles. Amazing venue, fabulous band....
Citizen Cope-possibly the coolest man on earth..
Favourite songs of the night:
1. Healing hands
2. Sideways
3. Bullet and A target
If you havent heard him...check it out...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Turning 30 in SoCal

This weekend we went on a road trip to San Diego and I turned 30....

San Diego is at the Southern most point of California, and borders Mexico but it is only about a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles.  We were lucky to have borrowed Iain’s boss’s massive gas guzzling 4x4 which is totally unnecessary but ensured we didn’t feel quite so intimidated by the SEVEN lane highways!! 
The highlights:
                    Endaevour's-last voyage
The first bit of excitement happened even before we left LA when, by chance, we spotted the ENDAEVOUR space shuttle piggy-backing on a jumbo jet on its last voyage and to its final resting place in Los Angeles. Now you dont see that every day!!

                        Sunny San Clemente
On our way down the coast we stopped for lunch in a chilled-out surf town in Orange County, called San Clemente.  It had a board walk right out into the sea and we found a little spot to have fish and chips on the pier while watching some very bronzed and buffed surfers show off before heading into San Diego. 

Saturday was spent visiting San Diego’s main attractions including  the famous San Diego zoo-where I saw my first panda (although for Edinburgh folk that’s probably not all that special now a days!!) and Mission beach where Iain plucked up enough courage to rent a surf board and have a go.
                        La Jolla Seals
One of my favourite parts of our San Diego trip was “Birthday brunch” spent at the Brockton Villa, La Jolla. La Jolla, (pronounced La HOY-YA) is a lovely little cliff top town in North San Diego famous for its cliff tops views, sandy beaches and resident seals. We spent Sunday morning opening cards, phoning home and sampling some of Brockton Villa’s famous French toast while watching the La Jolla seals and the hoards of eager Sunday morning swimmers who also descended on the cove. The surveillance became slightly more exciting when Iain pointed out this would make a very rich feeding ground for the more predatory sea dwellers such as the 14 ft great white shark which had been spotted off the shores of La Jolla only several weeks ago!!
                   Birthday dinner in Little Tokyo

Once back in Santa Monica, and just when I thought my birthday celebrations were over our lovely lovely American friends took us out to sample some real Japanese cuisine in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA. I was having a fabulous evening and was just commenting how embarrassing it must be for the poor person who was being serenaded by the loudest rendition of Happy Birthday-ever until much to my surprise and horror I realised that person was me!! Totally mortified but secretly touched. Thanks Emily and Merko-feel like I’ve known you forever it has only been three weeks!!
                        Birthday Surprise

Thank you everyone for all the cards, and cupcakes and flowers and messages that made my 30th birthday so special. I was really excited about joining the thirty’s club, until it dawned on me that my next big birthday celebration will be turning 40-ahhhhhhhhhhh!
Miss you lots,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taco Tuesdays

Tonight we drove down the coast to a lovely little beach bar on the ocean front in Malibu where it's $3 fish tacos and $3 beers on a Tuesday.. Just in case you are like me and can never remember the difference between a fajiita, a burrito and a taco.... a fish taco is basically grilled or battered fish in a tortilla wrap...delicious...

Over the last year Tuesdays had got the reputation for being the least favourite day of the week in our household. Mainly because I was always on call on a Tuesday and therefore very grumpy, multiplied by the fact that all your energy and enthusiasm has already been drained by Monday and you can't even console yourself that you are half way through the week yet! Thank goodness for 'Taco Tuesday' which has restored my faith in Tuesdays altogether...

Fish taco Malibu
Taco Tuesday in LA

Sunday, September 16, 2012

California dreaming...

So as most of you will know we have arrived safely in the United States of America with luggage, laptops and tennis racquets intact.

We successfully made it through USA customs but only after being marched through LAX with armed guards for interrogation on why Iain had outstayed his last USA visa while at summer camp! Fortunately for us passport control were just having a laugh at our expense, after 10 hours in a plane we didn't find it very funny.

After a week of the glitz and glam in West Hollywood we finally moved to our rented flat on 3rd Street, Santa Monica, home for the next 6 months. In the words of The Lonely Planet this is LA's cute, alluring hippie-chic little sister, it's karmic counterbalance and, to many, it's salvation! And they were right, Santa Monica is a dream. Right by the sea it has a laid back beachy feel but also has plenty of shops, coffee shops and things to do.  Our flat is perfectly located 2 blocks from the beach and 2 blocks from the nearest!!

Iain has started work at UCLA ( University of California Los Angeles) and I have started on my Dermatology Dpiloma- which to my surprise and horror looks like it  might entail doing some serious work!

We have only been in LA 2 weeks but already there are so many things I want to share with everyone back home..little things we've done or seen, or just how friendly and crazy the people are here. So hopefully with this blog I can keep you updated with pictures and stories and a little insight into life in Santa Monica, LA. Oh and of course celebrity sightings..

Please please comment  on my entries...tell me what you think, let me know what's going on back home, and bring me back down to earth if I get carried away with California dreaming. Kx

PS :am fully aware this blog is not likely to last till the end of the week and my computer skills leave much to be desired..