Yosemite National Park

On Sunday we left for Yosemite, but not before I got some surprises for my first Mother’s Day! Nick & Huxley had been out on a little adventure back to Bob’s Donuts the morning before and while they were there they had picked me up a mug as a present! I also got a beautiful card made of Huxley’s hand prints made to look like a field of flowers.

It was a beautiful day in the city and the view driving over the Bay Bridge was amazing. We made a quick pit-stop in Tracy to feed Huxley (which didn’t look very nice) and then carried on through hills that looked like the Microsoft wallpaper before they slowly turned into mountains. It wouldn’t be a drive through California without a strawberry stop!

California strawberry stopCalifornian strawberriesWe stopped for lunch at Sugar Pine Cafe in Mariposa. I had french toast with bacon and Nick had eggs, bacon, hash browns & chicken apple sausage (sounds weird but was really good!)

We arrived in Yosemite just after midday and started by locating our motel. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the pictures I’d seen online but actually it was rather quaint and charming. Our room was ridiculously massive, as was the bed, which could easily have slept 6. It had a pretty well-equipped kitchen which was part of the same room but the first thing that Nick & I noticed was the enormous pink spa bath sat in the corner in the room with a huge gas fireplace behind it. It was the funniest, cheesiest looking thing I’ve ever seen. The loo was in a room about the size of my lounge, it felt like an epic quest to get the sink, and the shower was about the same size as my entire bathroom at home! To top it all off, alongside the 70s carpet and wallpaper, the bed looked really dramatic with big wooden legs and intricate metal carvings of bears on the headboard. On the upside, there was a heated indoor swimming pool and amazing pizza place on site.

After dumping our stuff we drove 5 minutes up the road to the entrance of the park. It was $20 for a whole week! Absolute bargain! I’m so glad that Nick was driving as I would definitely have crashed. The whole place is completely jaw-dropping. They’ve thought this through though and the drive round the park is one-way with two lanes so that the faster traffic can overtake the gawping masses and there’s loads of places to pull over and enjoy the view.

Yosemite National Park

When we arrived everything was so clear. It didn’t even look real. It looked like a movie set or a computer game. I was a bit worried because of the time of year we were visiting as I’d read lots of stories about the whole place being shrouded in low snow clouds so I think we were pretty lucky. The first site we saw that made us stop was Bridalveil Falls. A few minutes further and you come to the magnificent El Capitan. When you first clap eyes on El Capitan it really is something special. It’s so imposing. I haven’t seen a lot of mountains but I’ve been skiing in France & Austria and trekked round the Himalayas and I’ve never seen a cliff face like that before.

Bridalveil Falls at Yosemite National Park

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaAfter doing our fair share of gawping we finally parked up and made our way to one of the many disabled-accessible trails (god I love America!). On our way we walked past a family of deer that I could have reached out and touched they were so close, just wandering around, minding their own business. We also caught sight of Yosemite’s other famous site, Half Dome. There really aren’t any words to describe it and my photos don’t do it justice.

Half Dome at Yosemite National ParkBeing a blogger, I did the natural thing and snapped a couple of outfit photos…beats my usual backdrop of a rusty old garage out the back of my block of flats!

The Style Box at Yosemite UK fashion bloggerEmma The Style Box at Yosemite National Park lifestyle bloggerScarf: Zara | Jumper: Jigsaw | Jeans: Abercrombie | Boots: Clarks

Our walk took us along an easy path up to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. Judging by pictures I’ve seen, the falls wasn’t at full capacity, I think this comes later in the Spring, but it was still spectacular.

Lower Yosemite FallsHux-at-Yosemite-FallsHux certainly enjoyed the walk through the woods on his dad’s shoulders…(although we did have the pushchair as the whole route was a wheelchair-accessible path which is awesome)

It was only a short walk, maybe about a mile, but as we’d stopped and watched the waterfall for so long it was getting late and we wanted to get Huxley into the pool for a swim at the hotel before he went to sleep so we headed back to the motel.

The next morning was much cloudier and grey, it was snowing up in the mountains. The lovely lady at the entrance gate advised on which routes were still open and what the best things to see would be. She recommended that we drive up to Tunnel View which is definitely up there in the list of top things I’ve ever seen in my life. It should be on everyone’s bucket list (especially if proper mountain climbing is off the agenda, as it was for us – although I’d love to go back one day and hike to Glacier Point- think Half Dome would be a bit much for me!). Fortunately the snow clouds were still high enough for us to see the view but by the time we’d left the snow had taken over and it had gotten quite dark and you couldn’t see as much. I wish we had gone the day before and seen it in the bright sunshine but it was kind of cool and moody in the grey. The scale of the mountains and the forest is just unbelievable.

I suppose the benefit of the early morning and the bad weather meant that we pretty much had the place to ourselves apart from two nice American lads who were taking photos of an old hoover for some reason. They offered to take a photo of Nick & I and we both chuckled about how funny it would seem that Huxley wasn’t in the pictures (he was asleep in the car about a metre away) but we could hardly say ‘sorry, can you just wait while we wake up our son’. Luckily, Huxley woke up before we left and we managed to drag him out of the car for a few quick snaps but it was absolutely freezing and had started to snow so we didn’t hang about!

Again, these photos don’t do it justice at all….(this website has some pretty incredible panoramic shots of the place though)

Tunnel View at Yosemite National ParkNick at Tunnel ViewMe & Nick at Tunnel View, YosemitePoor little sausage doesn’t even have a jumper on. We are such bad parents.

After a little while I started to lose the feeling in my fingers and toes so we decided to get on and start walking one of the trails. The first one was the walk to the base of Bridalveil Falls which was only half a mile so took no time at all. After that we did the walk to Mirror Lake and spent the whole time tripping each other out about bears. We pretty much had the whole trail to ourselves so every crack of a twig saw us both jump out of our skins. All the signs and the website reckon it’s a 2 mile walk but I swear it’s longer than that!

YosemiteMirror Lake at YosemiteIt was a bit weird when we arrived at Mirror Lake as we weren’t really sure if we were in the right place or not. I think because it was cloudy the reflection wasn’t quite as clear and we were expecting there to be a sign telling us we’d arrived or a group of people stood there looking at it but there wasn’t any of those things! Also, I don’t think the lake was quite as full as it could be but it was a nice walk, passing under the cliff face of Half Dome which was pretty cool.

That afternoon we headed back to the city. We were going to take a different route back and stop in a different town for lunch but unfortunately due to the snow, and not being able to use our mobiles, we didn’t want to chance it. We did stop briefly again in Tracy as Nick had read about a BBQ place which was unfortunately shut. We ended up having the infamous Taco Bell Dorito’s taco which has been scientifically designed to hit all the right taste buds and make you want more. Neither of us had ever had Taco Bell before and I can confidently say I will NEVER eat it again. I’ve never had anything so disgusting in all my life. Even the promotional photos on the windows were making me feel nauseous as we went through the drive-thru. (Seriously, look at their breakfast menu….waffle taco…BARF)

We also spotted a rather lovely lady on the side of the road in Tracy which I think summed up the place nicely. It was pouring with rain and not that warm and she was stood flagging down cars in camo trousers and an open camo jacket with a red bikini top on underneath. Classy. I wish I had a photo of that.

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Accessorising for Spring

One of my favourite things about the weather getting warmer is the fact that I can start accessorising again. In the winter there’s no point wearing rings that will covered with gloves and necklaces that get hidden by scarves so it’s nice to add a bit of sparkle back into my everyday wardrobe.

 

Accessorising for Spring

Top: New Look | Necklace: John Hardy | Sunglasses: Toms | Bag: Nine West | Shoes: Office | Jeans: Topshop

I love the contrast of orange and blue here as they are colours that sit at the opposite sides of the colour wheel meaning that they really make each other pop.

Accessorizing for Spring

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bag: Accessorize | Dress: River Island | Necklace: John Hardy | Sandals: Topshop

I love the idea of dressing up a plain black maxi dress with bright, colourful accessories. It’s such a versatile outfit. It means you can switch up your outfit and make it slightly different every time and dress it up for night time or dress it down for the beach.

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San Francisco part 1

We arrived home from San Francisco on Tuesday and already it seems like a hundred years ago. This was our 4th time in the city and Huxley’s first ever holiday. He was absolutely perfect on the plane, it literally couldn’t have gone better, which was a real relief for an 11 hour flight!

(I’m afraid these posts will be an annoying mix of iPhone & real photos. It’s just much easier to snap a quick picture with your phone rather than a heavy, bulky camera when you’re juggling a baby in a busy cafe where space is limited anyway – sorry – bad blogger!)

Our first few days were spent in a basic, budget hotel in downtown San Francisco. This is the earliest in the year we’ve ever been to San Francisco (we usually go in May) and the weather can be changeable at the best of times, this year we encountered our first ever bout of rain during our stay so we’ve been pretty lucky over the years!

Our first meal was a burger & garlic fries at Gotts in the Ferry Building. This has been my favourite burger in the city for a while now and it was every bit as perfect as I remembered.

Gotts Roadside burger & garlic fries, San FranciscoEver since our big American road trip in 2012, I’ve been obsessed with finding the perfect doughnut so the next morning we headed to Bob’s Donuts. Oh my word. Seriously, why don’t we have doughnuts like this in England??? They are amazing. Light and fluffy and you can see how easily you’d be able to get through a whole box with no trouble at all. We actually ended up having four doughnuts because they were so good. I honestly don’t know if I can eat a doughnut in England now. Even Huxley thought they looked nice…

Bob's Donuts, San Francisco

Bob's Donuts, San Francisco

After that we walked down the road to stand in the queue for Swan Oyster Depot. Despite being one of the city’s most famous eateries, it’s somewhere we’ve never managed to visit before. Unfortunately this time, due to the size of the buggy, Nick dined alone while I grabbed a cup of tea in a local cafe and waited for him to finish. Nick came out raving about it and said the sea urchin was the best seafood he’s ever had. The picture below is of the crab fat.

Crab fat at Swan Oyster Depot, San FranciscoThis was followed by a trip to Chavos for fish tacos before moving on to AT&T Park to kit Huxley out in Giants gear. (If you haven’t read any of my travel posts before then I warn you now, we can eat for England!)

Super fish tacos from Chavos, San FranciscoAfter we’d stocked up on baseball goodies, we walked down the Embarcadero to Nick’s favourite place in the whole world, Red’s Java House where we sat outside by the water in the sunshine while Nick had a beer or two. Huxley enjoyed watching all the seagulls and little birdies hopping about.

Red's Java House & the Bay Bridge, San Francisco

On Saturday we got very wet. It absolutely poured down, the kind of rain where it soaks through your thick boots and makes your socks wet. Nick, being the kind gentleman that he is, leant me his waterproof jacket (I bought my own one that afternoon!) as we walked to the Ferry Building for the farmer’s market. When we’ve been to the farmer’s market previously it’s been really hot and sunny and the whole place has been buzzing with hustle and bustle. This time, it was empty as everyone huddled inside trying to shelter from the rain. The upside to this was that there were no queues for the food stands and we grabbed ourselves a porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti. Oh my god. It was out of this world. Imagine the best hog roast you’ve ever had and multiply it by a million.

Porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti at Ferry Builders Farmer Market in San FranciscoDue to the pouring rain, we spent the rest of the day wandering around Westfield, buying gifts for people and getting me a new pair of Toms as a belated birthday present from Nick. The next day we went to Yosemite but that’s for another post…

Click here if you’d like to see my posts from our previous trips to San Francisco…

There’s also a candy flavoured giveaway at the end of these posts…

 

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