So I'm sure there is a nicer sign somewhere welcoming you to Santa Monica, but I could only come up with this grubby bridge sign!
I had to snap California Street!
and By was especially impressed with this dinosaur in the downtown shopping area!
I loved this patriotic window display in Converse!
After browsing around Santa Monica, we headed to Brentwood Country Mart to track down this cute little ice cream shop, Sweet Rose Creamery
When you walk in and see them hand making the waffle cones you know it's going to be good!
Unfortunately they had no speciality s'mores ice cream pie which is really what I was hoping to try but you can't beat a good chocolate waffle cone, or some mint choc with real homemade choc chips which is what I had!
We also loved the cute little quaint shops and browsed around the country mart for a while!
but nothing can keep my beach boy away from the Ocean! so we were back to the waves again, and he hired a board to give surfing another go!
I wrote postcards and indulged in my crumbs cupcake I had bought the day before!
Huge brownie chunks on top of a chocolate fudge cupcake - it was totally delicious!
Here's By riding in on a wave...
all the way to shore! He loved every minute of it! I definitely think the surf could be our ticket back here one day!
After that it was time to head to Hollywood! to meet up with some friends...
Heidi and Jaden! The first time I met Heidi was in San Diego airport at about 1am when I was 19! We didn't know each other! but a mutual friend of ours said she would be happy to meet me and my sister at the airport and let us stay with her for a few days in San Diego! She was an amazing host, even treating us to lucky charms and root beer and she showed us the sights of San Diego! A few months later she found out her happy baby news...and she kept us updated back in England of cute baby pics as Jaden got bigger! This was the first time I was meeting him!
So we chowed down at Cheesecake Factory where else!
and then moved on to Sprinkles, whose cupcakes I have wanted to try for years and years since they are the original cupcake bakery after all!
We were very excited! Heidi shares my sweet tooth!
Soooo many choices!
Of course I can never pass up coconut!
or the chance to have a little gender reveal fun for baby Braithwaite! so we picked up one of those too!
The malls in Southern California are seriously beautiful...no wonder everyone who lives here are shopaholics!
Heidi also introduced us to the delights of See's Candies! It is a seriously amazing chocolate shop, and they give you free chocolate just for walking in - you have to love that! If you ever stroll by a See's Candies you have got to go in! Try the milk bordeaux - it's a brown sugar soft centre chocolate, and get the key lime truffle and the milk cocoanut - you will not be disappointed!
Afterwards we cooled down in Heidi's amazing pool! How beautiful is her back garden!
and we taught Jaden how to play pass the pigs by the pool - he was a fan!
For dinner, we headed to Thousand Oaks to check out Stacked
An amazing amazing burger place! Heidi's husband Kris joined us and Jaden showed us all how it was done by ordering on the ipad - each table had one!
You didn't just have to get a burger, they did pizza and mac and cheese too and you could build your own of anything - picking your base, toppings etc...
You could even build your own milkshake! So of course I went with a triple coconut concoction!
and then I picked out what roll I wanted on my burger, what meat, what toppings, what sauces...
and I came up with this beauty! Check out the shine on that pretzel roll, pretzel rolls are the best! I hate that they don't sell them over here!
By even went for some mac and cheese inside his burger!
It was a fun and super delicious night with our California friends!
In the car park, we came across this giant truck! I'm pretty sure the tyres were as big as me! So American! we just had to take a pic!
When we got home it was time to try those cupcakes!
According to sprinkles...and the cupcake Gods baby Braithwaite will be a girl! We'll just have to see if they're right!
The day before whilst eating lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, Byron had mentioned in passing to Heidi about how being in America made him feel like shooting a gun!
Fortunately for Byron, Heidi's Dad had taken up shooting as a recent hobby and so she was able to set Byron up with going along to the local shooting range!
I went to be photographer!
but somehow this happened!
and after the initial scariness of holding a gun and being worried about the kick back, it was actually pretty fun!
By had some serious skills and shot his bullseye much more than I did!
Thanks to Heidi's dad Peter for a great day! I couldn't believe we were just allowed to walk in there having never shot before and away we went!!
Here's By showing off his little souvenir of how well he did!