A slightly different post today, a travel blog if you will. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I was in Los Angeles last week. I went purely because I could. I had enough Virgin Airmiles saved to cover a really decent flight (out Premium, back Upper!), I had the OK from the husband and I had a friend to stay with, so why the hell not? I had only been to LA twice before, once on a family holiday when I was 18, and once 4 years ago for work when I really only saw the inside of a film studio, so this was my chance to really explore LA. The best advise I can give, which is not much use to most people, is to have a local guide. I was very lucky to stay with my friend Susan who has lived there since the 80s. The perfect tour guide.
So that I don’t bore you too much, as I know this is supposed to be a fashion blog, I will focus on 4 topics for you. Let’s start with my favourite hobby, yes I really am that shallow…
SHOPPING IN LA
Abbot Kinney in Venice was probably my favourite shopping street, it’s not too high-end, but has some great little boutiques that you won’t find anywhere else. You can walk it, it’s about a mile long, just chocca with cool shops. Great for fashion, quirky gifts, home furnishings and beauty. I loved Burro for gifts, Heist is an amazing boutique selling an eclectic mix of designers. There’s also Current/Elliott and Rag and Bone for jeans that, despite the fairly shite exchange rate, are still slightly cheaper than in the UK.
You have to go to Beverly Hills, just to say you’ve been to Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive is where you’ll find all the stores you can’t afford to buy anything in, but they are nice to look at. For actual purchases I would recommend Barneys and Saks 5th Avenue. I found Saks to be the better of the two; it has a great denim and casual selection, there was a great sale rail, and the shop assistants were super helpful. I bought a gorgeous cashmere cardi for 40% off and the worlds softest sweatshirt by Knowlita that made me happy.
Depending on which end you start at on Melrose Avenue you’ll get either Camden Market type vibes or more Kings Road style. Something for everyone. At the fancy end you’ve got the likes of A.P.C, Reformation, Marc Jacobs and the department store Fred Segal, and if you are that way inclined, that Kardashian’s store, Dash. At the other end you’ve got all your vintage and T Shirt stores. Fred Segal was my favourite, it has a big selection of US denim and labels you can’t get at home, plus it has a cool cafe.
EATING IN LA
Like London, the restaurant scene in LA is pretty big, so it’s hard to know where to go, some of the ‘of the moment’ places are not necessarily the best food. We went to a place called Craigs in Beverly Hills, which is so hard to get a table in, we had to eat at 6pm, and while it’s clearly a scene, there were paparazzi outside and a few supermodels inside, the food wasn’t really anything to write home about, unlike these…
If you’ve never been to a Nobu, you really must. Yes, it’s expensive, but the food is probably the best restaurant food I’ve ever eaten. Surprisingly, my favourite thing on the menu is a simple Spinach Salad. Sounds so dull, but my god, it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. It’s all about the dressing. Nobu Malibu is all about the location, it’s right on the seafront and has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Full of rich kids but ignore that; eat fish, look at waves.
LITTLE DOMS – LOS FELIZ
If you decide to go for a hike up Griffith Park and along to the Observatory – more on that later – then start off with breakfast at Little Doms. It’s at the bottom of the hill in Los Feliz. The Poached eggs and Mushrooms were amazing, and don’t get me started on the Wild Boar bacon! It’s a cool little Italian style place and is frequented by Ryan Gosling, although, unfortunately not when we were there.
Surely no trip to LA is complete without a visit to the patio at the Chateau. I don’t think it’s possible to go there and not star spot. We got Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen at our lunch, but I guarantee you’ll get someone! Have the truffle fries and the Brussel Sprouts. LA bloody loves Sprouts and Truffle fries, and so do I!
WALKING IN LA
I know no-one really walks in LA, that’s mainly because it’s just so vast and you definitely need a car or a hefty Uber account to get around, but there are places where you can take a stroll or a hike. I love to walk, you see so much more that way…
SANTA MONICA & VENICE
You can walk along the sea front from Santa Monica Pier to Venice beach, then duck in-land to Abbot Kinney for a spot of shopping and a coffee, that will blow your tiny mind, at Intelligenstia. Honestly that one tiny cup made me feel high and spurred me on to almost buy a neon yellow faux fur coat. I came to my senses with that one, but I did buy a blue sweater with a giant bunny on it. Not exactly sure I made the right choice now.
I’ve already mentioned this for shopping, but it is a street you can happily walk down without feeling like a freak. Start at the Design Centre at one end and just walk up. You will pass all the great shops and THAT pink wall that all young Instagrammers love. It’s a fascinating scene to watch them all posing in front of it. There’s a coffee shop directly opposite where you can just sit and people watch for hours.
GRIFFITH PARK AND THE OBSERVATORY
I’d say this is a must if you are in LA, especially if you loved LA LA Land. Park at the bottom where the Greek Theatre is, and hike up to the top. When I say hike, I mean walk up paths, it’s a work out, but not unachievable even for unfit fools like myself. Once at the top you get all the amazing views of the city. You can then keep going towards the Observatory, which also featured heavily in one of my favourite teen films ‘Rebel Without A Cause’. There’s also a great view of the Hollywood sign from there. A work out combined with sight-seeing, what’s not to like?
WHAT I WORE IN LA
Despite waxing lyrical the other week about capsule wardrobe packing, inevitably I totally over-packed. My intentions were good, but there was a lot of ‘just in case’ last minute additions. None of which I actually wore, so it proves I should have stuck to my initial plan. I wore the same jeans 3 days in a row for gods sake! I didn’t need to take 4 pairs for 6 day trip! So here’s all the things I did actually wear, that are still available to buy…
I hope this was interesting/useful! Normal service will be resumed next week.