A very sweet giveaway from America!

It’s nice to give back and so as a thank you to all my lovely readers, I thought I’d bring back a selection of American chocolate and sweeties to giveaway. I tried to choose things you can’t get over here but my sister informs me that you can actually get the purple Skittles over here – sorry!

It’s going to be really hard for me to pack up that packet of peanut butter m&ms to send to the winner as they are my all time favourite chocolate ever. (Although I do have a bag the size of my head stashed in the cupboard!)

Apologies if you don’t like peanuts because nearly every item has peanuts in! The Payday bar got a little bit squished in transit on the way home – sorry!

Just a quick note to say that I’m not responsible for any allergies you may have, you’ll need to check all that for yourself :)

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San Francisco part 2

When we returned to San Francisco after our trip to Yosemite, we were staying in an Airbnb apartment in Noe Valley. It’s our favourite part of the city but we’ve never stayed there before because all the hotels are in downtown. This was our first time using Airbnb and I think we’ll be using it quite frequently from now on.

The apartment was at right at the top of one of the biggest hills in the city, just behind Dolores Park. It was a studio/basement apartment underneath a beautiful 3-storey house. It was essentially just one room with the bed partitioned off and a bathroom but it was perfect for us and just the right amount of space for all our stuff and our pram. Our hosts were so lovely and helpful and it was really reassuring to know that they were right upstairs if we needed them. (If you’re interested, this is the apartment we stayed in – they also rent out the floor above which is bigger and has access to the garden)

The first evening we went to watch the sunset over the city from Dolores Park. Unfortunately we just timed it wrong and I think we missed the best of it. Oops!

Dusk at Dolores Park, San FranciscoDusk at Dolores Park, San FranciscoOur first day back in the city was spent exploring Noe Valley and the Mission. We went to Omnivore Books on Food and I bought an awesome pie book. We tucked into amazing al pastor tacos at El Farolito (Nick had tongue and brain tacos) and grabbed some donuts from Dynamo Donuts – the lovely lady even gave us a couple extra because she’d had a quiet day! They were completely delicious and I love all the different, playful flavour combinations but if I’m honest, I think I’m more of a traditional soft and fluffy Bob’s Donuts kinda gal.

Al pastor tacos from El Farolito, San FranciscoDynamo Donuts, San Francisco(L-R) Meyer lemon huckleberry donut, Caramel apple donut, Hibiscus heart beet donut & hot cross bun donut

Maple apple bacon donut from Dynamo Donuts San FranciscoMaple apple bacon donut

Lemon pistachio donut from Dynamo Donuts in San FranciscoLemon pistachio donut

The weather was quite nice the next day so we got up early and went to the best breakfast spot in the city, Tartine. Seriously, if you go to San Francisco, if you only eat one thing while you’re there, make sure it’s from Tartine. After that we caught the train to Outer Sunset and popped into Mollusk surf shop where Nick picked up some new t-shirts. The girls stuff was awesome but it all looked dreadful on me so I left empty-handed…for about 5 seconds, until we crossed the road and found an amazing art shop called 3 Fish Studios where we spent ages trying to decide what art to buy until I finally settled on this little beauty.

Then we walked along Ocean Beach up the hill to The Cliff House and peered over at the Sutro Baths. It would be so awesome if they were still there, they looked incredible!

Ocean Beach, San FranciscoOcean beach, San FranciscoOcean Beach & Cliff House, San FranciscoEmma The Style Box UK lifestyle bloggerAfter stopping for a quick drink (an Arnold Palmer) we caught the train back to the Mission and took Hux on the swings in the park. Huxley LOVED the train…and the swings.

Palm treeDolores Park, San FranciscoDolores Park, San FranciscoThe next day we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa to see our friend Derek who works for Naked Wines that Nick met when he first went to the American Royal in Kansas a couple of years ago. This was our second visit to Napa to see him. We stopped at Busters Southern BBQ in Calistoga so Nick could try California tri-tip before visiting the new Naked Wines winery where Nick and Derek mixed their own wine. We finished the day off with a trip to El Molino Central for fish tacos and piles of guacamole.

Buster's BBQ, Calistoga, CaliforniaThe next day in the city we got the bus to Alamo Square and walked to The Mill to try the infamous $4 toast. I actually think that $4 is quite reasonable for toast, especially as it’s all completely handmade and it’s a huge slice of toast! We met the owner, Josey Baker last time we were in San Francisco and he is the nicest guy ever and I’m so pleased for him that it’s going so well.

The Mill cinnamon butter toastCinnamon butter toast from The Mill, San Francisco

From The Mill we walked to the Haight (which I hate) and down to Golden Gate Park to take Huxley on the swings. It was lovely and sunny and we laid out a picnic blanket. Less than 10 minutes later the heavens opened and it poured down with rain! So we made our way over to the adorable Hollow cafe which I discovered via Julia’s Instagram a few weeks ago where we shared a gluten-free peanut butter cookie and a marshmallow and some tea.

Hollow Cafe, San Francisco

The weather was much nicer the next day so we got the bus to the marina and walked along Crissy Fields to The Warming Hut and sat eating a bagel next to the Golden Gate Bridge. After returning to the Mission, we went to Dandelion Chocolate. It was amazing. Super expensive but worth it for a one-off treat. Nick had the thickest hot chocolate ever and I had a chocolate milkshake and we shared a smore.

Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy FieldSmore from Dandelion Chocolate, San FranciscoThe next day was our last full day in the city and it was a scorcher. We started the morning by going to Hayes Valley where we bought Hux a pair of little Toms and got an ice-cream from my favourite spot in the city, Smitten. We walked back to Dolores Park and stopped by the community pool where Nick & Hux had a quick dip to cool off before heading to back to the park to chill out in the sunshine for a few hours and soak in the atmosphere. They are currently redeveloping the park so half of it is closed off so it was absolutely heaving. I love watching the mix of people that hang out in the park. When we got home we bumped into our Airbnb hosts who had been away visiting friends in Santa Barbara for the weekend and they gave us the biggest strawberry I’ve ever seen!

Baby boy TomsGiant California strawberryOur last morning was spent walking around Noe Valley and the Mission, revisiting our favourite spots like Tartine and El Farolito before we sadly made our way to the airport. It was an absolutely brilliant first family holiday and I can wait to take Huxley on more adventures.

Here’s some pictures of the beautiful San Francisco houses that didn’t fit in anywhere else in this post….(as if there weren’t enough photos already!)

San Francisco houseSan Francisco houseSan Francisco houseSan Francisco house

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Fitness Friday – Week #13

So, these are back again. Sorry if you hate these posts and have no interest at all, just skip along and I’ll get my final San Fran post up by the end of the weekend hopefully (if I can remember what happened that far back!) But I really do find it helpful to document it like this, it keeps me on track. I use MyFitnessPal (lightly, not religiously) but it’s still easy to be a little bit naughty each day and forget that you’ve done that every day until I lay it out here for a whole week’s worth of naughtiness!

We came home on 8th April and after a cheeky curry due to our lack of food in the fridge, kicked off our return with a 3-day juice detox. I only managed two days. I don’t think they’re designed for jet-lagged mums getting up several times in the night with their jet-lagged babies and by the morning of the third day I felt a bit woozy and faint so had to get some real food in me. Also, whilst shopping for our detox, I made a bit of a mistake with the quantity of spinach that we needed and we ended up with an enormous 2kg box taking up our fridge when what we really needed was 2lbs (1 kg)! Oops! So Nick hastily made and froze a rather large batch of spinach and sweet potato soup and poor Hux has been eating the stuff all week too!

This has also been my first week with Nick back at work so we’ve been pretty busy! On Monday I went to a baby music class and then my dad, stepmum and sisters came over. On Tuesday my nan, grandad, sister and her fiancee came over. On Wednesday I went to Nick’s parents for the day and Thursday I drove Nick to his judging because they were doing beer and I thought it was sensible! Good job I did too because he was a right state!

Saturday - Porridge with a banana | 5 Jacob’s cream crackers with butter | Prawn laksa | Peach with natural yoghurt | 2 breadsticks

Sunday - Natural yoghurt with strawberries | Roast lamb dinner | Homemade peaches & cream pie (I can’t find the recipe online for this but it was from a Jamie Oliver magazine a few years ago) | Slice of homemade Victoria sponge | 60 min walk

Peaches & cream pie

Monday - Apple, carrot, orange, broccoli, celery, cucumber, ginger & lemongrass juice | Porridge with a banana | 7 breadsticks | Prawn & avocado salad | Banana | Peaches & cream pie | 90 min walk

Tuesday - Salmon salad with a chunk of goats cheese & danish blue | Bag of Walkers crisps | Chicken thighs with cucumber & rice noodles | 90 min walk

Wednesday - Broccoli, carrot, apple, celery, ginger & lime juice | Cheese sandwich | 3 sausages with baked beans & sweet potato fries | 3 homemade flapjacks (recipe here)

Thursday - Porridge | Chicken salad sandwich | Salad with boiled egg, tuna & cannellini beans

Friday - 2 small cheese rolls | Homemade potato, broccoli & carrot curry with rice | 2 Dairylea triangles | 1 millionaire’s shortbread | 60 min walk

Oh goodness! This is what I meant in my first paragraph! I forget how bad I’ve been each day and ending up eating quite a bit of extra junk in the week. Pie, cake, flapjack, millionaires shortbread. That’s probably an entire day’s worth of calories I could have avoided! Probably not a good idea for me to make flapjacks. The idea was for me to make something filling that I could just grab if I was too busy to make anything properly but they all disappeared on one day. No self-control at all. I wouldn’t make that recipe again, far too sweet for me. I prefer ‘healthy’ flapjacks.

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