Thursday, 1 February 2018

Los Angeles | Stop Four | Travel

Road Trip West Coast USA | Stop Four | Los Angeles

The very last stop on our road trip was Los Angeles. (So dreamy). For our duration in LA we spent half of the time in Beverley Hills and the other half at Disneyland.
Definitely the best thing about Los Angeles had to be the theme parks & the beach, unfortunately the city itself (even rodeo drive?!?!) didn't quite live up to what I thought it would be. In my mind everything was pristine and just like the movies and there would be celebs everywhere being stalked by paparazzi.

The reality was, personally I found that San Francisco had way more of a wow factor.
Unfortunately our previous stops had left LA with big boots to fill. Never the less, it's still a city that I've always wanted to visit, and one I'm very glad to have ticked off my bucket list. (and one I will also definitely be coming back to, but on a much less tourist-y visit)
We stayed in the Hilton in Beverley Hills which was lovely. Unfortunately they were having huge amounts of construction done next door (all around in fact) so the views were disappointing and well.. very grey.

On our first day we conquered all our main tourist hot-spots. Good job team Raeburn. (Special credit given to myself, I fell over at the Grand Canyon and, quite literally, had a blue knee).
So on our first morning after brekkie at the hotel we headed up towards the hollywood sign, but of course, Amy's knee ruined it. I was struggling to walk pretty badly so we did a short walk and reached a good view point before I practically had to be carried.
But every cloud and all that, it just means I'll be back to do that ultimate hike right up to the back of the sign.

After my very loud and very annoying complaining we ventured into town to find the famous Hollywood Stars and the Chinese Theatre. Because, you know, my leg was killing me, and the cure for that is clearly more walking. (Thanks family.)

Honestly the stars just go on and on and on and on. It was super exciting every time someone you actually had heard of would pop up under your feet. It's such a fun thing to do and definitely worth walking around all the stars. It is quite a walk and most of us didn't have a clue who half the people were. But, there are plenty of shops and cafes you can pop into when you get tired and are in need of a bit of shelter from the sun. No excuses.
The Chinese theatre was my favourite bit, mainly judging celebrities for how small/massive their feet and hands are. And I can guarantee you will know nearly every single person featured here. (Robin Williams section had my mum all emotional and welling up)

The next day was one of the best days EVER. As a self-confessed movie junkie Universal Studios in Cali was an absolute DREAM for me. I love theme parks regardless of any extras they may have, but my mum being the little babe she is, knew how much me and my brothers are theme park/movie obsessed so booked us in to do a VIP tour.

Honestly now. There is no other way to visit this theme park. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the VIP tours as I have another blog post in the pipeline at the moment. In summer 2016 I visited Orlando and did yet another VIP tour of their Universal Studios so I will have lots of info, price comparisons, pictures etc. in that post for all y'all.

So in a quick summary for you the VIP tour basically includes loads of backstage magic (literally hyperventilating as I type) you get to see the sound stages, movie sets and get exclusive access to huge amounts of the park unseen normally. Not to mention you also get your breakfast and lunch plus unlimited fast pass access once your guide has left you. Excited yet? You should be.

Before I get too invested in how amazing this day was, I shall leave the nitty gritty bits for my post solely dedicated to this little bit of magic.
So, deep breath. Get out of movie magic mode.
Our next day after Universal was spent at the beach. Not a normal tradition for my family as we all can't sit still for too long (especially in the heat) but of course, LA's beaches, not quite your bog standard Brighton beach.

Venice beach, it is just so beautiful. It's a holiday in itself I swear, you could spend a week here quite happily. It had super quirky vibes, live music and the most insane street performers you've ever seen.
We sat on the beach and chilled out for a while chatting and relaxing a bit (two things you don't actually get to do too much of when you're running around cities). But in true Raeburn style, we got bored and too hot pretty quickly so me and the boys went to check out muscle beach.

Muscle beach is split into two types of gyms, there's the famous muscle beach where all the insanely good looking body builders pay to work out in front of gaping audiences (me and my mum). And there is also a free open space gym that basically consists of lots of bars and things to climb, kind of like a playground for adult people who own muscles (aka, not me).

After watching the boys mess around on the bars for a few hours and trying (failing) to teach me to use what little muscle I have, we decided to hop back in the car because that night we were changing hotels and we were going to DISNEYLAND. oh yea.
 Disneyland is pretty much exactly what you imagine it to be. There is a reason they call it the happiest place on the planet. We only got to spend two days here which was probably the right amount for us, although me and my mum love reliving Disney-days, my brothers have absolutely outgrown the whole experience.

Similar to Universal in 2016 I also visited Disneyland in Orlando & so, will also be doing a comparative blog post on the two different resorts in more detail! But Disney is Disney, it's magical and everyone loves it there, whether they want to admit it or not!

So, I thought I'd round off this blog post with one of the best images of my dad to ever be captured. (He really enjoyed those Minnie Mouse ears...)
And so we meet the end of our West Coast Road Trip, without a doubt one of the most amazing trips I've ever had the pleasure to experience, with four of my favourite humans.

To Catch up on Stop One in San Francisco click here
For Stop Two in Yosemite click here
For Stop number Three in Las Vegas & how to get the most out of being under 21, check out the post here
To check out the Grand Canyon head over here

and if you also fancy checking out my blog post comparing the Universal Studios VIP experience West coast vs East coast click here!



Bunk Beds- A Renewal

Recently I have been thinking a lot about my little slice of the internet. Despite a significant lack of published posts, I frequently sit on my laptop writing endlessly for draft posts and never actually post them (there are 60 of them- whoops). For a long time I wanted my website to be personal to me and an outlet for my emotions and thoughts, I felt as though I didn't want to put out content that would place me, or the people I love, in a vulnerable position. (And, more often than not, my thoughts are utter incoherent ramblings). As someone who loves to write, explore and share their experiences I have found myself to be somewhat of a contradiction, in my crippling fear of irrelevance and judgement from my loved ones (I swear anyone over 30 in my life really doesn't understand social media...). But, this year, after a heck of a load of work, crying and support, my head is in a significantly better place and I have had a 'Fuck It' revelation. I figure it doesn't really matter why, how, or even if, people engage with my content; I write for me, I always have done.
And so, now I have finished binge watching Peaky Blinders (honestly if you haven't seen it what are you doing?!) and am entering the most stressful stage of my life as a third year university student, I have made the decision to renew my blog/insta/youtube. Although time is scarce this year and stress levels are high, I figure that instead of being dependent on bottles of gin & my Netflix account to relax me, I will once again return to photos, writing and videos as coping mechanisms (wish me luck).
So, if you're still here from before- thank you for your patience, and if you're new- welcome, I'm sending you all lots of warm internet hugs. I hope you find something amongst my content for you.

(Just want to say a massive thank you to ma main peeps who have been constantly nagging me to start this back up again; my beautiful cousin Emma- that little notebook has set this whole thing rolling again! My older brother Matty, who actually just started up his own blog with his girlfriend about gluten-free life in the Cotswolds. And finally, my biggest and most unrelenting fan, my baby brother, Tobs, let's face it this is all down to you kiddo, you tha best.)
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