Big Sur

After an early start and an exhausting plane journey to San Jose, O and I finally got into our hire car and drove south down Highway 1. The Californian scenery along the coast was breathtaking and we drove through Monterey and Carmel by the Sea – both stunning. We finally arrived in the breathtakingly beautiful Big Sur surrounded by mountains, pine forest and sapphire blue Pacific Ocean, and pulled up to our hotel destination: The Post Ranch Inn. Situated on 100 acres of cliff top forest with panoramic views of both the mountains and the ocean it really takes your breath away. The hotel is made up of various modernist lodges dotted around the estate and each is fiercely private, allowing for mostly glass to make the most of the amazing views.

After a dip in the infinity meditation pool, we got dressed to go to the Ranch’s award winning Sierra Mar Restaurant, which is built on the very perch of the cliff top, thus giving the most sensational views of the ocean. After a day of travel we couldn’t handle the six course tasting menu but settled on two amazing main courses: O went for sea bass served on olive oil mashed potatoes with chorizo and heirloom tomatoes and I went for my favourite summer salad; heirloom tomatoes with Buffalo mozzarella and Basil Pesto with a side of olive oil mash. All the food here is organic and sourced locally and tastes divine. For dessert we went for the triple chocolate fudge cake served with Salted Caramel ice cream. We finished the evening with an organic mint tea before strolling back through the forest hand in hand, gazing at the clear starry sky and thinking we’re the luckiest people in the world.

The modernist lodges

The view from our lodge

Outside our lodge on the way to the pool

The view from the pool is good for the soul

The view from where we ate supper

Holiday Packing

Tomorrow we’re finally off on holiday so today was spent doing all of the last minute preparations and packing. I always find packing hard work but have begun to perfect it recently, packing enough to last the holiday and only fill a suitcase that you can bring on the plane as hand luggage. This holiday we’re at beach, city and dessert locations, so having to cater for all three terrains/ climates, plus an ever growing baby bump makes packing all the more tricky. I try and keep to consistent colours so I can mix and match. I love navy, ivory, coral and grey. This is what I’ve gone for:

–          Travelling outfit (smart joggers from J Crew, Gap T-shirt, Whistles Cardigan)

–          2 bikinis (J Crew & james perse)

–          T Shirts (Gap, Michael Stars, American Apparel)

–          Sun hat (NYC Soho market stall)

–          Cover up (Ralph Lauren)

–          Summer Cardigan (Whistles)

–          Towel Kaftan (Toast)

–          Sightseeing bag (Marc Jacobs)

–          Maxi dress (Gap)

–          Sun glasses (ray ban)

–          Shoes (Marc Jacobs, Office, Chanel)

–          Evening dress (Paul Smith, Fifi Wilson, Whistles)

–          Evening bag (Chanel)

–          Belt (Whistles)

–          Various day dresses (Gap, Hoss Intropia, Rag and Bone, Paul Smith)

–          Summer scarf (Spitalfields Market)

–           Statement necklaces (Paul Smith, Madeleine Thompson)

The holiday wardrobe

Shoes for beach, city and desert

Day and evening bags

The Bu and the Duck

Today was another glorious day in Manhattan so O and I decided to go for a long walk downtown along the Hudson River and eat breakfast out. We stopped along the way and had a fresh orange juice from the delectable organicoa and then continued on down to Tribeca. We ended up at a cute little café and had a grilled Panini each before heading on to Franklin Street to Billy’s Bakery to get a treat for Sunday AMC/HBO night (gingerbread cookies with butterscotch). On the way we stumbled across a beautiful children’s shop called ‘Bu and the Duck’. Bu and the Duck is a vintage-inspired handcrafted children’s line founded and designed by Susan Lane who we had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to (for far too long), who is incredibly sweet and knowledgeable about all things NYC and stylish. After getting many good style tips we stumbled on up to the West Village before buying magazines to go home and read.  

one of many sweet outfits at Bu and the Duck

delicious gourmet treats on route from Oragincoa

Manhattan in Manhattan

Tonight was another special date night for O and I. The weather is still glorious but the nights are drawing in and you can tell that it won’t be long until the season changes. With this in mind we wanted to do one last thing to make the most of the beautiful summer in the city. We settled on watching Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ on an open air screen in Central Park. It was completely the right choice. After packing a delicious picnic and finding our own little space on the crowded grass, O and I settled into the screening and lapped up the beauty of Manhattan on and off the screen. The opening scene that includes a montage of images of Manhattan accompanied by George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is truly moving and makes you fall in love with the city all over again. It received a big cheer from the crowd. Afterwards the only thing to do was walk part of the way home, immersing ourselves in the scenes that had been shot so wonderfully by Allen all those years ago. A great way to end summer.

WASP for a day

Today I enjoyed a glorious day of sun, sand and scrumptious food on a secluded beach in Connecticut with friends. We hired a chef from a local seafood restaurant (residents often see him out on his boat catching what he later cooks) who prepared the most delicious clam bake (lobster, clams, mussels, potatoes, corn on the cob etc.). After second (and for some third) helpings, there were many activities to burn off the vast meal including: rugby, football, American football, boules and kayaking which were all incredibly fun. We finished off the day by singing happy birthday to a friend before presenting fresh cookies and drinking a few shots of delicious tequila (I obviously missed this part but got into the Mexican spirit). An amazing day after which I slept soundly.   

Yummy beach food

The gorgeous Ms Davies tucking in

After lunch game of boules

Channeling Chanel

Today the holiday preparation continues. I’m off to get my mani-pedi and need to decide on which colours will best compliment my (hopefully newly tanned) skin tone and my holiday wardrobe. I always choose Essie as it has a great range of trendy colours and seems to last longer than most other brands. For this seasons holiday wardrobe I’m feeling slightly Parisian and hoping to channel my inner Coco Chanel. I’m thinking lots of navy, whites, greys and a flash of coral for colour. I fell in love with the whole collection that J Crew put together in this charming video and have been inspired to go with tangerine/ red/ coral colours for my nails.

This colour will look brilliant with a tan and nautical themed holiday wardrobe

Holiday Preparation Part Two

The skin is beginning to feel super soft and there’s a faint glow thanks to yesterday’s prep but it doesn’t stop there for a woman! Today’s preparation included a bikini wax which used sugaring (a form of natural hair removal that resembles waxing but is much more gentle and less painful) and eye brow threading (a technique using cotton thread to remove the unwanted hair which is less painful but more precise than waxing or tweezing) at a local gem of a place called the Unique Threading Salon. Not only are the ladies incredibly sweet and good at what they do, but this place is a steal! I’m now hairless where I want to be and getting ever nearer to that bikini readiness. Tomorrow is mani-pedi day but still debating which colour to go with…

Holiday Preparation

So it’s exactly a week until we jet off and I have a lot of work to do including the need to get my skin super soft, glowing and ready to face the poolside in a bikini. Today I will start the daily ritual of body exfoliating using one of my favourite products: Jo Malone’s ‘Vitamin E Body Treatment Scrub’. It smells delicious enough to eat, the sea salt sloughs away dead cells and the vitamin E leaves skin glowing and as soft as a baby’s. Just what the doctor ordered pre bikini thank you very much.

Holiday Planning

Next week O and I go on holiday to the West Coast so I spent today planning our activities and agenda. I began by checking out exactly where the hotels we are staying at are located using our booking agents Mr and Mrs Smith (this site was also helpful in helping plan what to pack, but more of that later in the week). I then used the always stylish and reliable Wallpaper City Guide to LA which gave good tips on shops, spas, architecture, bars and restaurants etc. to help plan roughly where and what we should go and do each day. Finally I used the brilliant GOOP (I’m a huge fan of this blog) to find the most amazing looking places to eat. It’s shaping up to be a brilliant holiday. Getting very excited now…

The travel company we've booked through - they're brilliant

Trusty and small enough to carry in your pocket

One of my favourite blogs

Rainy days and Sundays

Today was an uncharacteristically rainy day in New York so we decided to go to the cinema to see ‘The Switch’ staring Jenifer Aniston and Jason Bateman (whom I love from Arrested Development). It was an easy to watch comedy set in New York and as a pending mother there were a few things I could relate to, O quite enjoyed it too. Afterwards we headed home via Billy’s Bakery, who make THE best cupcakes in Manhattan, fortunately (or unfortunately for my waist line) they’re right around the corner. I usually stay loyal to either the red velvet or carrot cupcake but today I had the urge to try the chocolate cheesecake. It was AMAZING and has officially become my cake of choice. I’m thinking this will have to be tried out by the family visiting at Christmas. Yummy.

PS I realise I’ve been indulging far too much recently and I’m going on holiday at the end of the week. Will try and be good!

Billy's: My favourite cake shop

I usually stick to cupcakes

My new favourite cake