We’re back.


It was great.

Three weeks away, a mixture of San Francisco (staying in The Little Yellow House – this is the view from it very early on day one…after the kids got up at 2am with jet lag) exploring the Exploratorium and the Academy of Sciences, driving up mountains with windy paths in the thick fog, M driving slightly to the right and me trying to remember to breath whenever seeing the drop at the side of the road, plus all the usual tourist stuff like trams and Pier 39.


The obligatory visit to Google HQ to stock up on free food to visit M’s pals and ‘see where Daddy works’.

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GOPR5090Yosemite National Park – camping in a static tent at the Evergreen Lodge, hanging out by it’s pool and eating BBQ food.  Hiking (or easy trail walking, with the kids complaining every minute) and plenty of river swimming, giant trees and even larger breakfasts.  Oh and many, many more windy roads with big drops off the side plus a vomiting car sick kid.  No bears, despite my coating the kids in jam and forcing them to walk ahead on their own.  I want my money back.

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And a long, looooong stint in Howaii, Maui Island, larging it at the Sheraton.  Snorkeling every day (which C LOVED and this was before the German tourist got her arm bitten off by a shark on the other side of the Island) spotting rays and turtles, eating much less food and no hotel breakfasts after our early pig-outs (the Sheraton must have been very disappointed as we hardly ever ate at the hotel), hanging out by the pool, hanging out in the room, hanging out on the beach – you get the picture.  Pure bliss.

We packed all we needed into two medium sized suitcases.  I quite like the challenge of packing, I know most people hate it but I get a definite sense of achievement from a well packed case.

Here are some of the things I took, I’ve shown many before but if they appear here again it’s because they proved invaluable on this holiday.

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As always, my fabulous ruffle hip bag came along (from the Etsy seller Kinies), inside was a great ‘Baggu’ tote, that nicely folds up into a small carry bag (I used this for food shopping and as a beach bag) and a purse from Sarah Culleton, that I bought on a whim when I also bought one of her beautiful bags ages ago (see this post).  I did take a regular shoulder bag for the plane, but for the rest of the trip I only used the hip bag, it was especially fabulous when we were exploring San Francisco and when walking in Yosemite.

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For my feet, I took a pair of gold leather Havaianas bought in the sale from Sarenza UK (I lived in these whilst in Maui), my trusty, tried and tested Merrell Lorelei Emme shoes (I’ve linked here to them on Amazon, so if you’re back-reading this post the link might not work).  These were expensive when I bought them, over a year ago, but they are so incredibly comfy and allow me to go walking in the summer, barefoot, when my regular walking boots feel too heavy.  They were perfect for around the city and for the national park.  Lastly, I took a pair of Swedish Hasbeens (they are having a sale right now!!) for the rare occasion of ‘dressing up’ a bit.  We pretty much never went out at night, eating early with the kids or in our room (especially as we had a top class view of the hotel Luau every other night from our balcony) but I did ‘frock up’ occasionally.

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Other things I should mention (as they were worn most days) were my new rolling Panama from Pachacuti.  It rolled well but after three weeks of being bashed about could do with a nice steam now.  I also lived in my vintage style shorts from Freddies of Pinewood (I brought a red pair along too).  I rarely wear shorts in the UK, certainly not ones these short but I was by no means alone in the US, in fact EVERYONE in Yosemite had short, shorts on, despite age or size.  The final image is my What Katie Did bikini (clearly, I am not the model), sadly no longer available in red, but other styles/colours can be found here, if you are quick, as they are in the sale now.  Oh how I love this and along with a cute skirted bikini bottom mixed with a scaffolding top (that’s a bra-sized number, with under-wiring, for those of you who are lucky enough to wear the small triangle kind – both bought separately from figleaves, but in red so I could mix and match them all) I was comfortable and happy to be seen in swimwear all day.

il_570xN.363194690_143mLastly, I took a couple of vintage frocks, including this recently acquired beauty from the UK Etsy seller Penny Dreadful Vintage.  I took it in a bit on the waist, which meant removing and then putting the skirt back on, I know, I’ll burn in vintage hell for making alternations to an original dress but I did and it fits me much better now.

As above, we really didn’t dress up much, it was a very relaxed family affair.  I did notice that having spent some time choosing a bunch of clothes that matched and that I enjoy wearing, I ended up being much…smarter…??…than I am on a daily basis at home.  Obviously I took more clothes than above and many of them had a vintage feel (including my Freddies Utility Jeans and various cropped cardigans from Brora for the cooler climate bits of the holiday) and on return I feel quite enthusiastic about not just throwing on the first thing that appears in the mornings, but to make a bit more of an effort.  I have a great wardrobe but I’m quite guilty of not using it.  I wonder how long this will last?

PS. We only had phones and M’s GoPro to take pictures with hence the odd photos.  The GoPro is brilliant but obviously has no view finder so you aren’t quite sure what you’re taking pictures of…oh and most of our photos have the kids in them – sorry!