We don’t fly out today till 9.45pm but the hotel has graciously given us late check out till 1pm. The kids hit the pool first thing to get a swim in before breakfast. The hotel has a full kitchen so I whip up pancakes and bacon and eggs. A walk down Hollywood blvd is crazy! There are hundreds of people here and it’s not fun, literally after two blocks we bail. We saw the stars of fame, chinese theatre, good enough! It’s busier than Disney world!

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My Friend Kirrilly lives in San Diego and has graciously decided to come visit us. We meet at the outlets so we can get in some retail therapy at the same time. She has two little ones (of which I have only met one) that Benjamin and Ayrlie dote on the whole time. It’s so good to catch up after so many years and spend some quality time together. After they leave we hit some more shops and scoop up some bargains. Man, only if we lived here and didn’t need to do the dollar conversion!! Anyway, shopping done we head back to eat more ice cream and MnM’s πŸ˜‚

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We can’t quite believe our holiday has come to an end. It was planned for so long and on our first day here, we thought a month as such a long time (I’ve missed a few non-exciting days of blogging)! Basically I feel like I’ve blinked and now we are done. It’s sad to go, but we have made some very special memories. Ones I’m sure the kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Thank you all for coming on this journey with us and feel free to contact me if you are ever heading over and need some info. I’d be happy to share hotels, excursion vendors etc.. but for now Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may 2017 be an adventurous one!

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Bon xx

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This morning we are visiting Santa Monica which isn’t too far away from our hotel. It’s busy but the view on the pier is gorgeous. The ferris wheel and show rides look beautiful against the sand and ocean.

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We walk along the strand and find the swings and circus rings. It’s super fun. Benjamin nearly makes it all the way across but poor Ayrlie needs some more practice :). There are a lot of guys working out and showing off on the equipment. It’s quite amusing to watch the posturing.

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The kids want to head back to the hotel for a swim while it’s still warm so we end up spending the rest of the day there. They love the Popsicle Hotline! Basically you pick up the phone, anytime you like and a lovely lady will bring out a gleaming tray of ice blocks! Β They have also been quite taken with two girls at the front counter, Sara and Alexander and love chatting to them in their free time. The girls let them go behind the counter and help serve but the thing Benjamin and Ayrlie like the best, is knowing where the secret stash is πŸ™‚

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Sadly we are on the last leg of our amazing trip in the US. Today we fly to L.A for our anticipated 3 night stay at Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood. It’s a long 6 hour flight, excluding the extra airport time but the kids are great, there are no delays or turbulence and the scenery out the window is beautiful!MummynmephotographyWe arrive at 2.30pm so plan on doing some shopping on the way the hotel. Well, that was the plan…. until we turn up at the car hire place! OMG, the line is out the door and down the street!? I’m truly baffled how, when everyone needs to book their car online, in advance, as a company, you can’t schedule staff for that. 45 min later, my patience has moved to zero and I head in to complain. There is one, ONE guy at the counter serving. I ask if he can call someone as he has been with the same person the whole time. He replies smugly that he is the only one on and that there is no one else. After a few choice words none of which I can repeat here, I head back in line to inform everyone that we are in for a long wait. We are, believe it or not, the lucky line. There is another one for a different company, and most of the people there have been waiting already 3 hours. Another 1.5 hours later…. people are starting to come back from out the back yelling at all the staff and telling everyone still in line that there are no cars!. Yep, they don’t have any left and people are waiting outside for other customers to bring them back. Another hour later… we finally get to the front counter. We ask if it’s true there are no cars and he scoffs ‘of course there are’. Another 30 min later….. We get outside and low and behold… there are NO cars! We seriously need to wait for someone to drop one back and wait for it to be cleaned. It takes 40 min for this and finally we are out of that place! It’s now approaching 7pm and we are more than tired and hungry. We head straight for the hotel and sanity!

 

Thank goodness I booked this place. It’s not 5 star in appearance, but it makes up for it in service. I picked it for this exact reason. Unlimited chocolates, treats, soft drink, juice, popcorn, ice cream, dvd’s and the best bit, they have a laundry service! Yep ladies you heard me. They will happily take all those dirty clothes, wash them, fold them perfectly and drop them back to your room. Heaven right there folks! The ladies at the front desk are amazing. The hand over some chips and juice to the kids as soon as we walk in. They then organise for dinner to be delivered to our room for no extra charge. Another hour later, and wine and goodies are also sent in for our Wedding anniversary. The room is one of the biggest we have stayed in, complete with chocolates and fluffy bath towels for us and the kids.

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The pool is open 24/7 here so even tho it’s late, the kids want to get in. It’s supposed to be heated so off we go! Unfortunately it isn’t as warm as they would have hoped so it’s a super quick swim and then back to the room with some warm apple cider and ice cream.

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It’s Christmas Day!! Yay!! Kids sleep in a little which I’m considering as my Christmas present so am happy as! πŸ˜‚. They unwrap their presents and play for a bit while we work out what we are up to today.

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We were planning on heading somewhere nice for breakfast but find out that ice skating is opening earlier than we thought so we decide to just snack on what we have in the room and run straight for the subway. At first I was nervous about traveling on the Subway but trust me, when faced with walking 56 blocks, I’ll take it anyday. It only takes us 15 min to arrive at the top of Central Park. It’s actually our first sunny day since we have been here and the walk is gorgeous. There are the most adorable squirrels everywhere. Scuttling through the trees and snapping up nuts.

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We are the second people to arrive at the rink. We decided on Lasker over the one at the Rockefeller as it’s half the price! Only $43 instead of $88 and much quieter, and larger. The kids are so excited! What an ionic way to spend Christmas Day, ice skating in Central Park, in New York! Only thing missing is snow. We get a good 1.5 hrs in before the masses arrive. We stop for a quick break and skate for another hour before heading home.

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The city is much quieter today and not everything is open. On recommendation of a friend, we head to a little Italian restaurant on 52nd street. We order our last NY pizza and it’s massive! Takes up the whole table. What a way to end our stay here. Although not our favourite place along the trip, it’s sobering to know that by leaving tomorrow, this is really our last destination on our way home.

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Cookie monster. That lovable, blue fury monster from Sesame Street. He was the inspiration for today’s Cake Smash and Master A was just stoked! He loved the cookies and the cake. We first met Master A for his newborn session (here) and I can’t believe what a handsome little man he has grown into. He was a perfect newborn and was just as happy and content today as he was then. Mum and dad must be super proud of their little munchkin. Β Happy Birthday A!!

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