Monthly Archives: October 2017

Venice Beach

Hiring bikes and cycling to Venice Beach was a must.  We picked the bikes up at Santa Monica Pier and set off, careful to avoid skaters and runners.  The dedicated road runs all the way along the beach which makes for a leisurely ride and, although the bikes were in pretty good condition, with sand on the surface it made the brakes a little useless – luckily we didn’t need them much!

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Taking a photo whilst cycling was a bit wobbly …… it felt a bit like the “can you pat your head whilst rubbing your tummy” kind of challenge!  But we made it to Venice Beach in one piece, so all good and after cycling along the boardwalk with all the street vendors and performers we stopped to watch the skateboarders.

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This little skater-dude was particularly impressive.

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Fotor_Collage !After returning the bikes to the hire shop we decided to head back to Venice Beach again so we explore some more.  We mooched around in a vintage clothes shop, walked along the boardwalk and took photos of the iconic VENICE sign (which wasn’t easy because you have to take it from the middle of the road when the lights are in your favour!)

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As the sun was about to go down we strolled past Muscle Beach outdoor gym (not feeling the need to pop in for a workout!) and along Ocean Front Walk.

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Day 5 Sunset Venice Beach (46) edit resizeSurf’s up.

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That evening we went for dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant (Forest Gump/Tom Hanks film) and had cocktails and delicious food.

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As soon as it began my holiday was over and I flew back home to Autumn in England.  We met some lovely people in LA and I’ll take back a journal full of notes, lots of photographs and many happy memories :)

Oh, for anyone still reading this far ……. I’m 99.9% sure I saw at the airport!

Mosaic Tile House, Venice

Breakfast today was at The Cheesecake Factory.  As anyone who watches The Big Bang Theory will know, this is were Penny works :)   Today was the day that I tried American pancakes for the first time, buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, followed by a vanilla milkshake that was almost as big as me!   Although we were barely able to move after the gigantic portions, we headed off to the place that was high on my list of ‘things to do’ - THE MOSAIC TILE HOUSE.

Driving down Palms Boulevard you would be forgiven for thinking it was just another street.  With mainly bungalows and two storey houses you’d never know that you were about to walk into a riot of colour.  As we approached the house we could see from the mosaic fence that we were in for something special.

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We were met at the gate by Cheri, one half of the artist couple who created this crazy, crazy house.   Cheri and Gonzalo open their home to the public for tours for an hour every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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Cheri makes and decorates the tiles and Gonzalo creates sculptural forms, breaks and lays the tiles – a perfect partnership.  The house and garden are covered from top to bottom – inside and out.

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AAA (381)The working kitchen.

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Fotor_Collage_Paintings 2Their devotion to each other is evident throughout the house.  Any area not covered in mosaic has a painted story, a love story.Fotor_Collage_PaintingsOn the tour of their huge studio Gonzalo explained that Cheri likes to paint him and the end result depended on what mood she’s in!

AAA (376)Gonzalo also paints and has artwork in each room and quotes on many of the tiles.Fotor_Collage_Inspo messages Fotor_Collage-Loo2

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Photo Bomb_Fotor_CollagePhoto-bombing was ‘on the house’ !!

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I had to put my feet up before we left :)

Mr Abbot Kinney

Day three was all about a man called Abbot Kinney.

Abbot Kinney plaque

Venice Canals was so serene.  Walking along the narrow paths which edge the gardens and canals, viewing the different architecture and design which vary from old California bungalows to sleek modern homes; crossing bridges from one side to the other, seeing the odd boat go by. Day 3 am Venice Canals (3) resize_Fotor_Collage 5

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Day 3 am Venice Canals (26) resize_Fotor_Collage 2Day 3 am Venice Canals (65) resize_Fotor_Collage 3Probably how I’d feel ↑↑ if tourists kept looking into my garden!

Day 3 am Venice Canals (7) resize_Fotor_Collage 6Getting ready for Halloween!

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It was good fun deciding which house we’d chose to live in!

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After much deliberation I decided that this would be my house :)

So, with rumbly tumblies we headed off to nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard in search of lunch and a ‘unique shopping experience’.Fotor_Collage 1

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Cactus shop GROW Abbot Kinney Blvd

Grow was probably my favourite shop, I could have bought everything in there but instead I only bought what I could carry!  Also BURRO had some great gifts and some incredibly cool hats and clothes.Day 3 pm Abbot Kinney Blvd (7)_01_Fotor_Collage 1It obviously helps to have a dry and warm climate, but it was so nice to see the ‘lounge’ areas and displays outside the shops.Fotor_Collage 4Fotor_Collage 2Rag and Bone BenchI fell in love with this bench <3

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So as the sun was about to set and we were back where we started, we headed back to our airbnb.   The trip back was so funny, our Uber driver was an ACTOR and he was hilarious.  We got talking about accents and I asked him where his was from.  He told us the story of how he was adopted at 2 months old and went to live in Virginia with an African-American father and Japanese mother.   We got out of the car with his business card and said we’d remember his name when we saw it in lights!

Santa Monica

“Oooh, I like your trousers.”

“Thank you. Well, I don’t like to name drop, but I bought them last week in Santa Monica!”

I had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles with my daughter for a week so I jumped at the chance. I’ve never visited America before so I was really excited to see as much as I could.

Day one in Santa Monica was all about finding our way around and shopping for essentials, one of which was a journal so I could document every moment at the end of each day.

It felt so cool to see signs for places from the songs of my life – San Francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair), California Dreamin’, Ventura Highway, Ocean Drive , Hotel California, All I wanna do (until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard);  songs I sing (badly) every day in my workshop.

On our second day we visited The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

LACMA Urban LightUrban Light – Chris Burden

IMG_0223Levitated Mass – Michael Heizer

Please don’t let this be the moment it decides to move!

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It was a particularly hot day so after wandering around the grounds we went inside the museum for some much needed shade.  Unfortunately, the Rain Room exhibition ended in January which is a shame because we really needed cooling down.  ”(In this large-scale installation, approximately 528 gallons of water falls continuously but pauses when a person walks through the downpour.)”

Once inside we were treated to the works of Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti, Mondrian, Warhol and Lichtenstein, to name but a few.

After a quick stop at the cafe we took an Uber to Hollywood. The houses on the journey were incredible, all very individual – some in a Spanish style and some with turrets – they all looked very neat with pretty, well maintained gardens.  According to our driver Hollywood Boulevard had undergone a clean up in recent years, in particular the Walk of Fame.

We started walking down the boulevard on the shady side but it was still very hot.  I wasn’t prepared for the sheer number of stars and the fact that some celebrities have more than one. We took photographs of every star that we recognised and when we got to the end we crossed over and began the walk back in the full sunshine, but those stars were harder to photograph in the sunlight.

Me and Walk of FameDay 2 pm Hollywood Walk of Fame (50)_Fotor_Collage

Anyone that knows me personally will know that my favourite film of all time is GLADIATOR so I was excited to find the stars belonging to the Director, Music Composer and main Actor.  It was also nice to see the stars of Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and other Hollywood greats.  If anyone wants to be emailed a photo of a star give me a shout, we probably have it on file :)