Monday, 30 January 2012

Happiness in Hollywood

Well here I am in the land of plastic surgery and hair extensions and if I'm honest I'm not all that keen on the place. There is a certain feeling you get when you land and the streets are lined with the famous palm trees and you feel that star like presence. But it isn't exactly a place to live.

The architecture is very dated and the feel of the streets is oddly fake and slightly off. I can't quite put my finger on Los Angeles but at the same time I'm so very glad to be here.

I live just around the corner from all that is touristy - the Kodak theatre and Manns Chinese Theatre - I walked the star walk and let's not lie - I loved checking out all my favourite actors. I saw the Hollywood sign and I took a bus tour around and of course as I walked I kept an eye out for celebrities - no luck unfortunately.

I shopped the famous rodeo drive and pretty woman was playing through my head. I strolled through the wonderful grove - a place in LA that I do find gorgeous - with it's famous farmers markets and oh the cheesecake factory - how I love thee and it's food, cheesecakes, ridiculous portion sizes and value for money!

I have walked along Santa Monica beach and strolled the pier. The sun has been shining brightly on Hollywood - the photos are so odd considering it's winter - who would have thought you could get a tan in winter.

So I've seen the famous Beverley hills shield and that Hollywood sign, shopped the highest of luxury streets, tried to spot a celebrity and walked where Hollywood stars have walked. I have loved being in this city but I believe I have seen all that I wanted. LA - I have liked my visit but I do believe you can keep your little spot in the sun to the stars (and plus let's not lie - you stole a good proportion of my wallet).

Next and final stop Anaheim - where all my childhood dreams will come true.
Disneyland here I come!!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Clam Chowder Country

So after saying my farewells to dear New York I was off to the west coast to San Francisco.

As we stepped out of the airport there was an immediate change - I was definitely somewhere new. San Fran has a sort of peaceful city feel about it. I love the architecture - can you imagine saying - "yeah I live on that bright blue house on the corner"

I took a hop on hop off bus due to my short stay. Good value for money and great tour guides. Walking along fishermans wharf is simply beautiful. Watching the sea lions just chilling on the bay, all the fresh seafood, fabulous street performers, all that sea side character and that clam chowder - seriously I do believe I might have found heaven in a sourdough bowl.

I took a ferry to the infamous Alcatraz and listened to one of the best audio tours I have experienced. A wonderful old man also briefed us on the place - imagine growing up on Alcatraz and a father who experienced near death as a warden during a famous escape attempt. Such a sad place that saw so much.

The golden gate bridge looked stunning in the bright blue sky with the sun shining down and the fog just clearing.

I got my tv nerd on as I passed the houses seen in the opening credits of the 80s tv series Full House. Only one on the bus who knew about it - hell yeah!

So I'm waiting to board my last American flight to the land of pearly white teeth and glamour and I'm reminiscing on all that I have seen and experienced. San Francisco is a city full of so much character, New York is simply a wonderland of endless possibilities and Las Vegas is most definitely an adult playground, a fantasy in a desert.

So what will Los Angeles bring - you'll just have to wait and see.

Xx

Thursday, 26 January 2012

New York Stole My Heart

It's my last night in New York city and I'm so ridiculously sad to say goodbye. As a fitting ending I saw it's beauty from the top of the Empire State Building and the emotions were running high. All those movies, all those iconic scenes were runnin riot through my mind. I took it all in, I breathed in the fresh New York air and I gazed at all that was before me. How can one place have so much to offer!

I stood on the balcony inside Grand Central Station and watched the locals tend to their daily routines - oh how lucky they are. They have so much and I only wish I was them.

New York - you have stolen my heart and I don't want to leave you.

Sorry this is such a short entry but I've got to be awake at an ungodly hour for my flight to San Francisco.

I'll be in touch.

Xx

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

City of Dreams

So it's been said people come to New York to make dreams come true - I am no different. I have come to this concrete jungle and my dreams of this wonderful city have been achieved. In the three days I have been here I have lived a movie - I have loved each and every magical moment and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I have shopped the famous fifth avenue and I have had "breakfast" at Tiffany's. I have walked through snowy central park and have met some wonderful locals. I have seen the wonder of the American Natural History museum and Metropolitan museum of art. I have caught the famous subway all around and I have hailed a famous yellow cab.

Yesterday I explored the wonderful SoHo and followed in Carrie Bradshaw's footsteps as I bought red velvet cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. I ate dinner at Lombardis in little Italy - the first pizzeria in America!

I also saw ground zero and felt the sadness of that horrid event. The rainy weather added to the atmosphere and as I read all the names I felt the pain and all that destruction. It's such a beautiful tribute and a wonderful way to remember those lives that were lost.

I have seen the Flatiron building today, Madison square garden and some more famous shops - Barney's and Bloomingdales to name a few.

I'm off to a broadway show tonight and I've stuffed myself with New York baked cheesecake.

I know I'm going to miss this wonderful city - it's people, it's stories, it's buildings and all the magic that it holds.

Stay tuned for my last day in this city tomorrow where I shall delve into the world of the statue of liberty that most well known Brooklyn bridge and the romance of the Empire State building.

Xx

Saturday, 21 January 2012

From One Big City to the Next

Well two nights in Vegas - two nights in a place of sin, extravagance and pure money. A place where I didn't think iwould actually exist.

We saw cirque du solei O show at the bellagio and I really can say nothing - for I'm still left speechless - It was like nothing I have ever seen before - well worth the price and something that I will truly remember. 

So as I watched the fountain show for the last time I thought - what a hell of a city. 

And now from one big city to yet another - arguably the most famous of them all. New York City. As we exited the airport there I saw a blanket of snow and it was the perfect beginning.

The best cab driver ever told us stories and the beauty of New York. "one thing that is bad about this city - you come once and you never want to leave" 

A lucky early check in was achieved and everything ran without a single bump. Off we went into the blistering but thrilling chill of the streets of famous New York. Since the weather wasn't exactly suited for sight seeing - shopping it was! What's a girly vacation without copious amounts of shopping? 

So as we explored the wonders of fifth avenue along the snowy streets of manhattan I was living the dream. 

This girl is suffering from much sleep deprivation but shed like to say - New York I think I might love you and I can't wait to explore your layers further! 

Sorry I can't post photos but soak it all in through the words. 

Love from the city that never sleeps (although little me might just have to say goodnight) 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

It's All a Little Glitzy!

As I left that horrible long haul flight - they really must find a better way to travel (and I mean a way that isn't first class and that is affordable for the general person) 

But all things considered it was a pleasant journey - thanks virgin australia! 

Let's skip all the mundane details of flying and finally after 20 hours we have arrived in sin city - Las Vegas and oh my goodness it is the most overwhelming place I have ever been. 

My eyes didn't know where to look, too many lights, so many colours, just an incredibly ridiculous amount of stimulus. 

An upgrade of a hotel room - top floor at the mirage, a fabulous view the most softest and comfiest of beds - this girl is most satisfied. 

Despite the tired eyes we explored the town. Yes, like most tourist coming to America - I pictured movies everywhere, tried to spot the celebrity and hummed all those songs on America. 

As we stood to watch the beautiful fountain show at the bellagio - I sat and thought this was the exact place George Clooney and Brad Pitt once stood. Pretending to be apart of the Oceans 11 gang, singing Mr Sinatra, walking the strip and wondering what a city. Who would have thought - let's build casino heaven in the middle of a dessert - really? That would have been one interesting pitch.

So here we are - thoroughly tired but already full of new adventures, one fatty burger digested, a bucket load of fries digested and a pocketful of green ready for action and a mind full of empty ready to be filled. 

I'll see you as often as I can spare taking my eyes away from all the glitz and craziness of US of A! 

I'll be in touch xx

Sunday, 8 January 2012

It's a Beach New Years


I love getting away to ring in the new year - there is something so right about it. Last year I said hello 2011 with friends and thousands of others on the streets of Edinburgh. This year, I've got some friends, some sand, some hot sunshine weather and one wonderful piece of paradise.

Before this holiday I can't remember the last time I gave my skin the wonderful warmth of the Aussie sun and world renowned beaches; so this was such a treat for me - I forgot how relaxing sun, surf and sand really is.

So we made the most of the Aussie summer - fish and chips on the beach, pool side relaxation, feeding the gorgeous cockatoos on our balcony each morning, watched the sun rise, an awesome rough and ready boat ride to Whitehaven Beach - one of the best beaches in the world - walked along the finest of white sands and snorkelled along a reef full of beautifully coloured fish and coral.

As we greeted the year of 2012 I could not have wished to be anywhere else in this world. This holiday taught me a lot (as they always tend to) - about my life - I love it! I am grateful for my friends, my freedom and as patriotic as it may sound - my country.
So here's to a positive thinking, life changing and fresh new year. It is a new beginning, a new me, a new lease.

Feel free to be green with envy at my holiday happy snaps!


Rainbow and a view - what more do you need!



The sun saying good morning behind the mountains and the bird saying hello - truly bliss.



The semi inflatable rib we took out to Whitehaven - what a ride!





Hope everyone had a lovely start to the new year and I'll see you soon for USA adventures.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

My Family Christmas


Nothing else in this world feels like Christmas. No other day of the year can compare.

So the lead up to Christmas is always pretty fabulous. There is that festive feeling in the air, the night before we are always wrapping up some last minute gifts, playing Santa and anticipating the events of the morrow. I also have a rather strange semi recent new year's eve tradition. While others are out with friends waiting for the clock to strike midnight, some celebrate Christmas on the night over a wonderful dinner and others quietly stay in. Me - I'm alone; curled up in my pyjamas, with a hefty amount of custard and other guilty foods surround my body and I strap on in to watch the Victoria's Secret show. I know! Sick, stupid and an utter mistake. But I do it every year as some sort of self punishment but all in all I'd rather the custard then their diet any day.

So anyway, just like an over excited child I sleep with a smile on my face - tomorrow will always bring happiness. I wake up bright and early and I don my special Christmas outfit - we always make an effort to swish in our red and greens! It's a full day for the Papilio household - it's breakfast with immediate family - we do the works - lashings of bacon, bread, mushroom, eggs and this year some home made hollandaise sauce. I baked my traditional shortbread, mini gingerbread cupcakes, my grandma's rum filled Christmas cake and a new addition (because I have got to throw in a little English) - spotted dick pudding.

After we stuff ourselves with deliciousness, drink too much champagne punch and read out those horrendous bon bon jokes, it's present opening time! It is always such a sight to behold - there's wrapping strewn across the floor, piles of present you thought you could only dream of and smiles and laughter to power the world. The little new addition to the family - my little baby nephew made Christmas even merrier. As he sat in his little elf suit and looked around with awe, wondering - why is everyone so happy? Soon, he will see the beauty of Christmas, give it a couple of years and this little boy will be staying up late watching out for the sound of sleigh bells and leaving out the milk and cookies ready for Santa.

Then as we digest we get ready for yet more food. This year we were off to my Aunty's house for lunch - whereby the tradition remains, the presents are given, the ham, the turkey, the seafood is devoured, the stories are told and the love is shared. THEN (yep - there's more!) we are off to dinner to mum's side of the family - where togetherness is once again achieved.

Now, I'm no avid Christian - no where close, so why do I love Christmas so much? If I'm honest I've never celebrated Christmas for the real traditional reason (please don't hurt me!). I celebrate it for the family - for the feeling you don't get any other time of the year, for the food cooked for this one special day, for the wonderful giving, for thanking those who have put up with you for the year, for reflecting on what you have done, for seeing those you don't always get to see - for love, good times and all things in between.
I love my family Christmas. And no matter where I am in this world, at any age I will always come home for Christmas!


Enjoy the photos and I'll see you tomorrow for some holiday fun - only one sleep without me; hope you can handle it ;)















Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Apologies


My apologies all! Christmas 2011 was rather overwhelming and I am back up to speed and finally out of the food coma I once again placed myself into (with no coercion; simply all my own doing!)

So I shall not disappoint. We are going to back catalogue rather quickly this weekend.

Saturday I shall have my Christmas post up - which may be a little bit on the lead up but since I was slack it will mainly focus on Christmas day itself.

Sunday - I'll post a little something about my new years travels up to the Whitsunday Islands - magical magical magical!

Then it will be (as previously warned) a little sporadic again as I am leaving on a jet plane (anyone started humming John Denver? No? just me then...) to the United State of America baby!!!!

So I'll be travel blogging once again.


So to sum it up - I'm still alive (surprisingly), I'm making up for it over the weekend and I'm in a state of limbo as I bare yet another week of boring before the excitement of travel sets in yet again.


kisses my lovelies!