Night riders

Did I already say we spent a lot of time in cars on our holiday? I know. I did. We spent a LOT of time in cars. So to entertain myself I messed about with the slow shutter one evening (and no, I wasn't driving when I took these). This is how they came out. I think I'll call this series ' On the road again'...



A little break from our holiday pics: the youngest member of our household turned six last weekend. Uhm, whaaaat?! How does time go so fast? Although I must say it feels like a very long time ago that he was a baby. And if you're wondering why this cake had so many candles in it; it's his cousin's birthday the day before, and they always get a shared birthday cake at his nana's. And for the only time ever he's exactly half the age of his cousin. Like a one-off eclipse or something :)


The Observers

LA is a bit of a funny city in the sense that there aren't many obvious "must go to" places. As a tourist you're kind of grabbing at straws; you can go to Hollywood Boulevard where all the stars are inset in the pavement, or go down to Venice Beach, or take one of those stalkerish bus tours that drive you round the neighbourhoods of where the film stars live. And as LA is so spread out and the public transport system so poor, you can't really just go for a walk and get a feel for the city. But there is one place that is both touristy and great, and that's the Griffith Observatory. Not only can you find out about the planets and the stars, but you also get an unbeatable view of LA, in an extremely photogenic setting. I actually took my best photos from there on my phone (they're all on my Instagram). And if you're a James Dean fan, you get to walk in his footsteps. While we were there I seriously considered studying astronomy (I mean how could you not - it's all so fascinating!), but once I got home and started looking into courses I found out that you have to be very good at maths. Oh well, never mind.


Taking a hike

Because it was still quite hot, we went for an hour long hike pretty much first thing in the morning. Joshua Tree National Park is huge, with lots of different kinds of hikes, so you can pick and choose what you fancy and feel up to. I can't remember what this one was called, but it was really beautiful, and so quiet. The rocks in Joshua Tree are really easy to climb, it's almost as if they were covered in Velcro, so we could get off the paths and easily climb higher up and get more of a view. And what a view! It made us think of what we imagine Mars to be bit like... The last picture is from a view point that you can drive to above Coachella Valley - we didn't climb that high!


At the Green Acres Ranch

Just like last time I went to Joshua Tree, we stayed at the Green Acres Ranch, which is run by my friend J's sister and her partner. It's a truly special place. Looking back at all of my pics from LA it's very clear that I wasn't in "blog mode", something that I find I very rarely am these days. And I really wish I had been, because had I, I would've taken so many more pictures of this place; my eyes were so happy there. It's a holiday let (it's even on Airbnb), so if you do go I highly recommend it as a place to stay. I really hope that we'll go again, and stay for longer. One night isn't enough.


Under the stars

If only I had had a tripod with me. The stars in Joshua Tree were so plentiful and bright, but it was hard to hold the camera (read hold my breath) still and long enough to catch them all. So we made some light paintings instead :)


Joshua Tree rocks

Joshua Tree has got to be one of my favourite places I've ever been to. I went there years ago and immediately fell in love with it, and felt a bit sad that me and the guys wouldn't be able to go there this time round, JT being a desert and it being summer and all. But the weather gods were on our side, and for a couple of days the temperature dipped enough for us to head out there. After walking around Mount San Jacinto, we continued on to JT, for ribs at The Rib Co. and to catch the sunset. I don't feel that any picture can do Joshua Tree justice, it's that wonderful. If you ever go to LA or Vegas, try to fit in JT - you won't regret it. As for us, we slightly misjudged where to watch the sunset from, finding ourselves too low to see it dip behind the horizon, but the drive to where we were staying, through the empty national park, more than made up for it. More pics to come.


Up in the mountains

Oh dear. Those of you who follow me on Instagram know why I had to stop posting; my computer maxed out as I had 63 000 pictures that needed moving to an external hard drive. I've managed to do about 9000 of them, so I can do the basics on the computer now, but it's one hell of a task. All the pictures need to be put in new folders as well as edited, which is why it's going to take me a loooong time. And, you know, the fact that it's really BORING. But I only have myself to blame, and maybe I will finally learn that procrastinating can only be a bad thing.

Anyways... Where were we? Oh yeah, LA. This summer. We only managed to get out of LA a couple of times, and one of those times we headed out to Joshua Tree, and stopped at Mount San Jacinto on the way (near Palm Springs). I'm so glad we did. At 8500 ft above sea level it was a nice respite from the desert heat, and me and the boys (including our friend J), had a lovely walk at the top of the mountain, checking out the various views. It was stunning. Next time we head out to LA we're making sure we'll explore the surrounding national parks, and spend more time in nature. I can't wait.


Drive by shooting

Winded the window down quickly to get these. You can't really tell from this bunch of pics, but the light in LA is stunning. Not only is it golden, but the shadows you get are really deep. And that blue sky! So jealous. But if the trade-off is that I can walk everywhere in London, I'm happy to forgo that magical light :)


Days in LA

Right then... Let's do this. So, this summer we went for a three week holiday to Los Angeles, to see friends and family, and go to my sister's wedding. I used to go there quite often, but it'd had been eight years since I'd last been there - too long if you ask me. It was great to be back, and I always enjoy the slower pace of life, but I must say that traffic has gotten so much worse there since the last time. Any dream or fantasy of living there is quickly quashed by the thought of spending half of my life in a traffic jam. Anyways. I took about 1000+ pictures, a silly amount really, but easy to do when using a digital camera (I also shot some film there, but was a bit underwhelmed with the results), and so to try and edit them into something cohesive is a bit of a challenge. These are from our first couple of days there when we didn't do much more that hang in the pool, with friends and dogs and enjoyed the sunshine. Considering that the summer here in London was so rubbish, I'm really glad that we got at least three weeks of proper heat. As I type this I'm wearing four layers (with the heating on!) so going back in time here on the blog is going to be a treat :)