When I first found out that I was coming to UCSB, I jokingly suggested to my mum that the family should come out to California. Five months later and that is exactly what happened!
Last Monday I took the Amtrak from Santa Barbara up to LA. I would definitely recommend this, the view is spectacular and the Airbus can take a really long time due to traffic. From there I took a cab to The London in West Hollywood, where I was going to meet my family after their eleven hour flight.
Waiting for them to get here was the longest two hours of my life! After they arrived we unpacked and had an early dinner. The food at the hotel restaurant was amazing and so were the London/British themed cocktails.
The next day I began to panic, it started to rain. Not what we were expecting, we made the most of it and went to the Beverly centre to do some shopping – I still needed to get Christmas presents! We had lunch at the Dialog Café on sunset boulevard, I would recommend their turkey BLT sandwich.
The jetlag really kicked in that evening and my mum wasn’t feeling too well, so the five of us went for dinner at La Boheme. Really good food and the setting was pretty cool.
Wednesday we spent the day sightseeing and did a hop on hop off tour of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. We saw the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre it was fun but so busy, so we carried on walking back to the hotel – got some really funny looks as no one really walks in LA but it was a fun day. That night we went for dinner at Lisa Vanderpump’s (from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – yes I am a fan) restaurant Sur. The setting was great and we actually ate outside in December which was just bizarre! I would recommend the Raspberry Mojito.
Christmas eve morning was spent at the Griffiths Park Observatory. The views from up there are just incredible, you can see the entire city! I would definitely visit there again! The rest of the night was spent with my siblings as my parents went to bed early (the bores). It was nice spending time with them and watching Gavin and Stacey Christmas specials.
Christmas day I was woken up by my brother knocking on the door at 7 am demanding that we go to our mum and dads room to open presents. In my non –jetlagged state I was unimpressed! After breakfast we went for a short walk and had lunch by the pool of the hotel. It was a bit cold on the roof but worth it for the view!
We had Christmas dinner at the hotel which I really liked, Jess was unimpressed by the lack of pigs in blankets and the addition of marshmallow to the plate! We finished the night by playing Trival Pursuit. It was weird just having the six of us playing.
Boxing day we went to Santa Monica, it was nice to revisit the first place I went to when I arrived in the US. It was cool to be able to show them around and not feel as terrified as I did during that first day! That night we had dinner at The Ivy and it was simply incredible. The food, the atmosphere, everything was great.
The day after was really relaxed. Izzy went Downtown to meet a friend she met travelling and my dad and brother went too. My mum, sister, and I spent the day by the pool, followed by wander to Rodeo Drive. Like most people there we would wander into the designer shops, look around a bit, then leave!
It was such a great week and a really different way of doing Christmas. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss Christmas at home but it was an amazing holiday that I got to spend with my family. Only six months until I see them again!
Looking back at everything that I have done these last three months, I can honestly say they have been some of the best times of my life and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.