Sunday, 6 October 2019

We've Grown Up

We've Grown Up ItsHollieAnn
On Friday evening my girlfriends and I headed out for dinner to catch up. Three of us shared a bottle of wine as we cooed over our Mrs and Mum-to-be friend, who excitedly shared her plans for the future. We moved on after dessert and opted for a quiet and cozy pub where we put the world to rights on everything from our corporate jobs to breastfeeding.  

It wasn't until we were about to call it an evening, around 10.15pm, that it dawned on us. Life has changed. 

Now I, for one, get more excited about getting my full 8 hours than the thought of going to a club (hello that's a given) but I think this was really the epitomising moment where we all realised how far we've come and how lucky we are to have each other to see us through the next chapter of our lives.

We're all at different stages whether it be three months into marriage, interviewing for a promotion at work, being a brilliant mum to a toddler or about to bring a new baby into the world whilst planning a wedding and, just for a moment, it was funny to see us all have that little flashback.

The flashback to 5 years prior when Dan was about to start university. When Em was terrified of being 'the friend with a baby' and forever wondering whether she was too young to do so. Nia had just moved home after a summer being a single girl in Newquay and I was 10 months into a new relationship wondering if my girlfriend, now wife, would get sick of me. 

I think the most important thing I took away from Friday night, after cementing our amazing friendships, was that we're all exactly where we want to be. We're not wishing for our youth back or racing to the next milestone. We're all happy, content and so looking forward to the future.

As I type, I've just closed my ASOS tab remembering I have a baby shower gift to shop for.

I guess that's me, all grown up.
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Sunday, 22 September 2019

What We Did In Rome

What We Did In Rome Itshollieann
What We Did In Rome Itshollieann
It's been a whole month since we headed to Rome on the first leg of our honeymoon. It's a city we've both dreamed of visiting for years but we somehow never found the right time, until now. When we were planning our travel for the year we knew we had to add Rome to our list so at the end of August we spent three days in the ancient city. 


WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed at Tritone Top House in Municipio 1 and honestly couldn't recommend it enough. Not only was it in the perfect location for walking to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain but it was also tucked away on a little side street with just a couple of rooms, private terrace to sit and relax along with friendly, helpful owners. 

WHAT WE DID

Even though we wanted to experience everything Rome had to offer, we also wanted a relaxing and slow break. Since we were right near the Trevi Fountain, we headed straight there on our first evening - I have to say, it was stunning. We battled the crowds around 7pm but headed back later, around 9pm for an almost uninterrupted view. On our second morning we took a stroll to the Spanish Steps before grabbing coffee and walked down them before admiring the view from the bottom. We decided against a tour of the Colosseum but made sure to head there to walk around the perimeter and the surrounding area - In all honesty, it was surreal. I completely underestimated the sheer magnitude and just how amazed I'd be, seeing it up close. It was so special and one of my favourite parts of our visit. We also accidentally stumbled upon the Pantheon on an afternoon walk and spent some time in the square, taking in the sights. I'd have loved to see Villa Borghese gardens but by the time I remembered, we were on our way to their airport. With regards to the Vatican, as much as it's historical and special to so many, it wasn't somewhere we were drawn to. We'd absolutely love to visit Rome again in future and do more but for us, this was perfect. 

WHERE WE ATE & DRANK

Within out first few hours, we'd tracked down pizza and wine at Sacro e Profano 11, a medieval church not too far from our hotel. I'd never tried pizza in Italy but as everyone told me, it was incredible. That evening, I had a delicious Caesar salad dining outside at Baccano and on our last day, we went back to sit street-side and drink wine with happy hour bites from the chef. Whenever we were near the Trevi Fountain, we made a gelato stop at Trevi Cafe where, if I could have eaten the whole tub of lemon, I would have.  

The next morning, we headed to Bar Frattina for coffee and sweet treats after vising the Spanish Steps - I could have sat there for hours people watching. On our way to the Colosseum later that day,  we stopped off at The Public House after massively underestimating the walk from our hotel. We sat outside, drinking wine and eating far too many home-cooked chips. We'd originially planned to eat near the Colosseum that evening but I'd filled myself up too much so on the way home, we actually headed back to Sacro e Profano 11 and got talking to the most lovely Australian couple which rounded off our evening perfectly. 

After visiting the Pantheon the next day, we sought out air-conditioning, pizza and cola at La locanda del tempio. The pizzas were huge and more than enough for one each but nonetheless, when in Rome. As I mentioned, we headed back to Baccano on our final evening for wine and nibbles from the chef before making another stop at a wine bar then picking up a McDonalds on the way back to the hotel. We really wanted to seek out a beautiful restaurant but we were so exhausted that we called it a night. 
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Though Rome is a city with so much to see and do, we wanted this trip to be slow. Walking around the narrow streets was enough to keep us occupied so everything else was a bonus. I've also written about what to know before you go to Rome so be sure to give it a read if you're heading there.

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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Planning A Las Vegas Elopement

Planning A Las Vegas Elopement ItsHollieAnn
It's been almost three months since our perfect Las Vegas wedding and ever since, I've been rounding up all things planning to share with you. When I started looking at weddings in Vegas, I was surprised to find very little information especially for UK residents. I hope this helps in some way, if you're planning to do the same. Early on in the prep, I wrote about why we were planning to elope but even if you're having a bigger wedding, there should still be some details in here for you.

In no particular order.. 

LEGALITIES

Starting with the legal stuff. Before doing anything, I checked Gov.uk for the requirements to marry in the USA. At the time of our wedding in June, we didn't have to inform our local registry office, seek permission from our council or file anything when we got home. 

I also checked the Nevada government website to confirm, as a same sex couple, we could marry there and if there was anything they required. Under Nevada law, couples are required to obtain a marriage licence before they marry and so we completed the pre-application online a few months before we flew out (they last for one year) and then went to the Marriage Licence Bureau the day after we arrived to sign and collect our documents which we had to take with us to our wedding.

It's worth noting that your marriage documents will be filed by your officiant soon after the wedding and you will then order your certificates online which you can use in the UK to change your name and prove your marriage where necessary. You don't have to file this anywhere except somewhere safe in your home. Ours took around two weeks to arrive - If you receive anything in the post asking you to order them, don't do this. Use the instructions your officiant gives you to ensure legitimacy.

PHOTOGRAPHY

I found our photographer, JamieY Photography, on Instagram whilst I was in Charleston, a month or so before we got engaged. I sent so many photos to my other half and on our way to a New Years party when I was back home, I messaged her to see if she was available the week we were due to fly out. That night, much to my surprise, we got engaged and the next morning Jamie confirmed she was free. I couldn't believe it. 

I'd looked at her work for months, scoured her website in incredible detail and read endless amazing reviews online. I knew she was perfect right away and even after digging deeper, I found no fault. Jamie was incredible and so fun to work with.

Not only was this amazingly helpful but, without jumping to the next point, she also offered packages. This meant that we could choose one that was right for us that included a whole host of other wedding aspects and see the total cost upfront. Genius. 

PACKAGES

Before we booked a package through Jamie, I searched a little online for other planning companies and what they could offer. As you can imagine, there are a multitude of wedding companies in Las Vegas all offering to help with your day. I followed a few on Instagram to get a feel for what they were like but after delving deeper into what their packages offered, I didn't find any that came close to what Jamie was offering. There seemed to always be a catch or something missing - There were also a few that didn't get back to me which was more frustrating than I care to admit. 

If you're going to opt for a package, be sure to ask what's included. Confirm what the price will be and any additional costs you may incur whether that be from tax, tipping or permit fees. Make sure there are contracts in place to protect you as a consumer but also them as a supplier.  

Generally speaking I found that there were additional costs for transport, permit fees and props. These packages will not cover your licence fee or certificate costs. 

HIRING A PLANNER

We were so lucky to have the help of the wonderful Angelica included in our package. She helped us with everything from choosing our vendors, arranging them for us, coordinating the day and was generally the best person to have with us. She even made our dinner reservations and sourced the champagne I'd been dying to find. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

If I'm honest, especially when planning a wedding overseas, I think a planner is 100% necessary no matter how big or small the day. Angelica knew the market, had connections with great suppliers and vendors and of course, was in the same timezone to everyone she needed to contact. 

In the early stages of planning, I questioned whether it was necessary to hire a planner but the closer our wedding got and the more stressed my fiancee and I became, we knew it was the right decision for us. It's worth noting that it also didn't cost us the ends of the earth which was a huge bonus.

LOCATION

Though Angelica could have helped us find a location, we knew after seeing Jamie's photos that we wanted to get married on El Dorado Dry Lake Bed. As the name suggests, it's a dry lake bed surrounded by mountains about 30 miles outside of Vegas. Our friends and family didn't believe it existed.

It's important to know that not all wedding venues in Las Vegas are chapels. Each hotel will have their own wedding space if that's more up your street. For a permit fee, you can marry in the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon or like us, the Dry Lake is always an option. You can choose to marry in the Grand Canyon however this is covered under Arizona law and so would be a very different scenario - I'd recommend doing separate research on this.

The Dry Lake has no cost, Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon have permit fees and each chapel will have different prices depending what option you choose. Pick a location that suits you as a couple.

OFFICIANT

We were sign posted to three different officiants by Angelica, our planner. From this we read their profiles, watched other ceremonies they'd conducted and like always, read reviews online. If you're not hiring a planner, you can find officiants with a quick search on Google, The Knot or Wedding Wire. Be sure to check they're official by visiting the Nevada government site. We were married by Judy of Wedding Vows Las Vegas and couldn't recommend her enough.

TRANSPORT

It's worth noting, if you're not hiring a planner to organise, you'll need to find a way to get to your chosen location. The Dry Lake we married on was 30 miles outside of the city, in the middle of the desert and so we needed someone to take us there, wait with us and bring us home. The cost of an SUV was far less than I thought and I think, with a tip, it was around $200 and it was booked through Lucky Limo SUV. 

INSPIRATION

Like anything, get some inspiration from Pinterest or Instagram. You'll find a whole host of suppliers, photo and location inspiration, ideas on props, set ups and everything inbetween. Searching the hashtag #LasVegasWeddings results in a real feast for the eyes.
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Happy planning! If you have any questions that I haven't answered above, let me know!

Planning A Las Vegas Elopement ItsHollieAnn

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Falling In Love With Paris

Falling In Love With Paris ItsHollieAnn
We touched down in Paris just one hour prior but after opening our French doors to breathe in the warm summer air, we knew we'd fallen in love with Paris. I couldn't freshen up quick enough before we headed out to explore. 

We stepped out of our hotel onto a quiet street in the 5th Arrisdonment and walked towards Notre Dame as the sun started to go down. We stood for a moment on Pont Des Coeurs, watching the last of the rays beam onto the towers before heading back to Cafe Victor for a bottle of the finest French rosé. 

We were surrounded by friends meeting for dinner, couples having dates over coffee and an overwhelming sense of relaxation which continued for the weekend. 

There was something about roaming the streets, wandering around the Louvre and sipping wine under the Eiffel Tower that made us so incredibly happy. Pair that with endless pastries in street-side cafes and people watching on Place Saint-Michael and you've got the perfect vacation.

In Paris, there was no pressure. No rush or hustle. Just people, enjoying life, thriving in the company of others. We felt at ease and in love, with each other and with the city, too. 
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It honestly made the perfect honeymoon destination and we can't wait to return as soon as possible.
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Saturday, 31 August 2019

What To Know Before Travelling To Rome

What To Know Before Travelling To Rome ItsHollieAnn
My wife and I recently got back from an amazing three days in Rome as part of our honeymoon. We spent our time there strolling around ancient streets, eating delicious pizza and sampling the best wine Italy had to offer. 

As always, before we travelled, I did a little research on the city. Aside from the best Instagram spots and places to eat gelato (lemon flavour is a must-try by the way), I didn't actually come across information that was helpful to know. So, with that in mind, I really wanted to share my thoughts and experiences to hopefully help anyone who's planning to visit this amazing place one day. 

PRICING

Hands down my most asked question, is Rome expensive. Like anywhere, it's only as expensive as you make it. If you're eating at a restaurant, dishes with more expensive ingredients will be more expensive. I found a pizza to be roughly and more local wine on the menu to be aroun€25 a bottle. If you're eating near attractions, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum etc, food and drinks will likely be double what they'd cost one street over. Taxis were reasonably priced, around €10-€15 to go across the city. Free Now was the best priced app I found and was totally safe.

ROME IS SMALL

A great thing I found about Rome is that it's small. We stayed in Municipio I and found it super easy to walk between the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. We took a taxi over to the Colosseum purely because it was too hot to walk and would have also probably taken a short taxi to Trastevere had we have visited. The metro is said to be a great option to hop on and off however it was closed when we visited. 

ENDLESS DISCOVERIES

I mentioned in pricing that food and drink is cheaper a street or two away from attractions and though this worried me at first, thinking we were never going to find anywhere to eat, there's something to discover around every corner. Endless cafes, bars and restaurants to sit inside where it's cool or outside to people watch. There are home-cooked recipes in almost every restaurant and there are gelato bars everywhere to grab a cold desert to walk around with.

BUYING ILLEGAL GOODS

Like most cities, there are people walking around trying to sell you things. Anything from bouncy balls to bracelets and handheld fans to fake designer goods. I didn't realise until we were outside the Pantheon that these tradesmen, if you can call them that, are actually illegal. A police woman confronted a lady trying to buy a scarf and the seller scarpered away down the cobbled streets - She went on to explain how it wasn't legal in Rome to purchase goods from these people and that the buyer, even with no prior knowledge, could face punishment of the goods taken off them or a fine for their purchase.  

PRE-BOOKING TOURS

We didn't actually take part in any tours but a lot of friends who have visited Rome had said  pre-booking is a must to visit the likes of the Vatican and see inside the Colosseum as queues can be so long. When doing my research, I found that a lot of tours available to book online had such bad reviews because of tour guides not arriving or having to wait in line anyway because tickets weren't what they were sold as. My advice is do your research - If you have enough time in the city, find a reputable travel shop and book whilst you're there instead of online. 

PICK-POCKETING

Fortunately we didn't have or see any experiences with pick-pocketing whilst in Rome. It does happen however if you're careful and vigilant, it can be avoided. I always made sure to have my bag closed and cross body if possible. We never left our phones on a table when dining outside and made sure to never show the money in our wallet when paying for anything. Like anywhere, only take with you what you need, keep your belongings close and be aware. Rome is a busy city, probably one of the busiest places I've been. You're constantly brushing against people and walking through crowds so just be careful and in tune with what's happening around you. 

LEARN SOME ITALIAN

I strongly believe it's nice to learn some of the language wherever you're heading but I found it especially helpful in Rome. Rome see's tourists from all over the world so it doesn't hurt to learn basic phrases of theirs - Hello, goodbye, please and thank you are great to start and will go a long way. 

ATTRACTIONS ARE BUSY

It goes without saying that attractions are busy and so going early in the morning or later in the evening are the best times, I found. This can however backfire if it's a hot day because everyone is going to want to visit when it's cooler. As a rule of thumb, early in the morning or in the evening will be your best bet. If you're looking to go into attractions like the Vatican and Colosseum and don't have pre-booked tickets, it's also worth heading to those before opening to make sure you get in. 

WEATHER

Again, like anywhere, check the weather before you go. Rome's weather in August is very warm as expected - The city doesn't have a lot of air conditioning or open space and so that's something to think about. For me 30 degrees is fine, but I need air conditioning readily available. Choose a time that's best for you and prepare well.

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I really hope you found this helpful. Feel free to add anything extra to the comments! 

What To Know Before Travelling To Rome ItsHollieAnn
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Monday, 19 August 2019

How To Spend Three Days In Charleston

How To Spend Three Days In Charleston ItsHollieAnn
Despite still having a couple of destinations to tick off this year, we're already thinking about where we'll head to in 2020. We're trying our best to keep things simple but there's just so much we want to see that it seems silly to waste any time. That in mind, after the incredible two months I spent in Charleston last year, we're thinking of stopping off there for a few days en route to our destination. 

When I thought about it realistically, Charleston is a big place and even after seven weeks of exploring, I still boarded the plane home with things on my to-do list. However being fortunate enough to spend a few days there is better than no time at all so I've compiled my perfect three day itinerary. Of course, everybody's wants and needs are different but if my wife and I head back to CHS, you can bet this is what we'll get up to. 

STAY

In my ideal world we'd stay in Mount Pleasant on the side closest to downtown for two reasons. Firstly it's far less expensive than staying on the peninsula itself and secondly, the majority of things we'd be doing are on that side of the city. You can find more budget accommodation near the airport or on Savannah Highway however, with needing to get a couple of Ubers, it makes sense to stay as close as possible to the places we want to visit. We'd likely rent a car but still, staying in Mount Pleasant would make the most sense for us. 

DAY ONE

For me, I'd love to show my wife downtown before anywhere else because it's so great. We'd have a slow morning after arriving the night before and catch a 10 minute Uber to Stars Rooftop & Grill Room for weekend brunch. 

After finishing a mimosa or two on the rooftop we'd head down King Street to window shop - Everything from Gucci to Forever 21 is all on the same street and it's the perfect excuse to stroll past the The American Theater from The Notebook on the way. At the end of King Street, we'd head onto Broad Street taking in the sights of St Michael's Church and some incredible historic buildings. We'd circle back on East Bay Street stopping off at Market Pavilion Rooftop for the view and a drink before strolling around the market and French Quarter before dinner. 

At this point you could head towards the Calhoun Mansion and tour the house or opt for a carriage tour of the city. Neither are up our street but I've heard they're well worth doing if that's your thing. For us, I'd probably suggest walking along The Battery and seeing Pineapple Fountain at golden hour.

Dinner has me torn - I'd love to either head to Hanks Seafood because my goodness it's delightful however Halls Chophouse is equally as incredible. It would depend on whether we were feeling meat or seafood.

At this point, after  a day of travelling, I'd most likely be ready for bed. However, if this wasn't your first day in the city you may opt for cocktails on King Street to round off the evening. Prohibition has a great atmosphere (and very strong cocktails) and Uptown Social has a very relaxed vibe but also has a lot going on of a weekend. 

DAY TWO

Our second day would start with brunch at Pages Okra Grill. Their fried green tomatoes are an absolute must - Be sure to get there early to grab a table. Afterwards we'd head to Boone Hall Plantation. It's a big part of Southern history and is still a working plantation as well as a historic house and garden. There are a couple of plantations around Charleston so have a read up on each and choose the one you'd most like to visit - Magnolia Plantation would be a close second for me. 

Though there's a lot to see, it doesn't take too long to tour the plantation so we'd head to Sullivans Island afterwards for lunch and a walk on the beach. My favourites for food are Home Team BBQ and Mex 1 but there's a host of great spots including Poe's Tavern and The Obstinate Daughter. With it being close by, we'd most likely head to Isle of Palms afterwards  for another walk on the beach and to swoon over the gorgeous homes. 

We'd spent the rest of the afternoon on Shem Creek. I absolutely loved it there and I know my wife would too. Such a relaxed vibe, sitting out on the water, watching dolphins swim by. Tavern and Table comes highly recommended but my personal favourite is Salt Water Cowboys - Sipping wine, eating Pimento Cheese is such a delightful way to spend an evening. 

As a note on Shem Creek, I'd love to stay at Shem Creek Inn given the price was right - It looks divine. 

DAY THREE

Now it may not be for everyone but I'd spend our third day at Folly Beach. It's such amazing beach town and I just know that we'd have the best time, walking along the pier and stopping at the beach bars along the streets. 

For food, there are so many places to choose from so I'll let you do your own research but I have to say, the calamari as Snapper Jacks was delightful. 

On the way home, I'd love to stop at California Dreaming and watch the sunset. So many of my friends in Charleston recommend it all the time and it'd be nice to stop by if we were back in town. 

Afterwards, depending on what our ongoing travel plans were, we'd either head downtown for a couple of drinks or back to our hotel for a good night sleep. 
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There are so may things to do in Charleston and I'd feel extremely limited only having three days in the city but, if that was the case, this is definitely how I'd spend my time. What would you add?


How To Spend Three Days In Charleston ItsHollieAnn
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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

My Favourite London Boroughs

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in London for my oldest girlfriend's wedding. Whilst there, we had a few hours at our our disposal so we hopped on and off the tube to a couple of places we loved. As my wife and I sat, taking in our surroundings, it occurred to us that when we're in London we always head to the same boroughs first before exploring elsewhere so I thought I'd share them with you today. 

CAMDEN

We always head to Camden first, that weekend was no different. Though the streets are always bustling with people, tourist and locals alike, there's just something so comforting about it. There's an endless stream of market stalls, undiscovered food joints and countless independent shops. We always head straight towards the market, grab a seat in Dingwalls and listen to the live music over a few drinks. If it's a nice day, we'll sit outside and watch the locks open and close whilst taking in everything around us. It's without a doubt our favorite.

ISLINGTON

Hands down, a new favourite.  We stayed here over the weekend so had plenty of opportunity to stroll around and take it all in. There's endless bars and restaurants all on one convenient street along with hidden gems, alleyways full of antiques and old favourites, like Byron. 

NOTTING HILL

I fell in love with Notting Hill before I'd even visited. As I expected, the prestigious townhouses, communal gardens and street markets were just like the movies and little did I know then that snacking on a crepe from Portobello Road Market would soon become one of my favourite London memories. It's such a beautiful borough to walk around and clear your mind but also has so much to offer in terms of quaint shops, brunch spots and so much greenery. 
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There are, of course, so many incredible places to visit in London and these are just a few of the great places we've enjoyed over the years. Other favourites include Green Park, St James' Park & Covent Garden. What are your London favourites? 

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Sunday, 14 July 2019

Photographs from San Francisco

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn


Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn


Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnnPhotographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn


Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnnPhotographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn


Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn


Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnnPhotographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn




Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn


Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn

Photographs from San Francisco ItsHollieAnn
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Though it's been almost four weeks, I couldn't help but share some photos from our trip to San Francisco. We had such a great time and though we only had 48 hours, we managed to tick lots off our to-do list and got a great feel for what to eat, see and do. I can't wait to visit again someday. Have you visited San Fran?
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Monday, 1 July 2019

Our Las Vegas Wedding

Our Las Vegas Wedding ItsHollieAnn
We're married! 

On Thursday June 20th on a very windy dry lake just outside of Las Vegas, we both went from Miss to Mrs and we couldn't be happier. I don't want to tell-all about our day because we chose to keep it intimate but I did want to give a little insight as to what we did, how we did it and who helped us achieve it all just because it really was our dream come true. 

Six months ago when I first mentioned the idea of eloping to Las Vegas, I honestly didn't know whether we were going to be able to pull it off. Organising an overseas wedding wasn't easy at times but fortunately we found Angelica, the sweetest planner in LV, to co-ordinate everything beforehand and make sure our day ran as smooth as possible. 

Since it's summer in Las Vegas, our ceremony was organised for around 7pm so we had the whole day to relax, get ready and have a drink or two ahead of our big moment. We planned on heading out on a fancy brunch but after a very lazy morning it was quicker to stop by a fast food place and ordered tater tots - No regrets, they're my latest obsession. 

Afterwards, we headed upstairs to shower and get glam before we got the show on the road. Since I was adamant on being a low-maintenance bride, I did both of our hair and makeup. Angelia and our officiant, Judy had warned us it would be a little windy out on the lake bed so I went for subtle makeup in case of any eye-watering and a messy half up-do because I knew it wouldn't stay in place for long. 

Around 5.30pm our photographer, Jamie, arrived at our room. I'd fallen in love with her photos before we even got engaged so I was excited to meet her. She instantly made us feel comfortable and chatted us through a couple of photos before Angelica arrived with our flowers from Roots. Before we knew it, it was time to head out to the lake bed so like a convoy we drove the 30 minutes south of Vegas and were met with a sight so stunning it literally took my breath away. 

A vast, open dry lake with THAT cracked floor, surrounded by rugged mountains. It was just as incredible as we'd imagined and that's where, with just our photographer, planner and driver, we got married. Afterward we sprayed champagne, played with smoke bombs and watched the sun go down behind the peaks before heading back to the Strip. 

We couldn't stop talking about it our whole way home and within an hour, Jamie had already sent us a sneak preview of the photos meaning we could send them home to our families and friends who were just beginning to wake up. We toasted our marriage over a margarita and a beer and spent the rest of the evening absolutely beaming with happiness that everything had panned out just the way we'd hoped. 

We absolutely couldn't have done any of it without the team out in Vegas and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of them in a heartbeat. I want to put together a more in-depth post about planning a Las Vegas elopement and our suppliers because, as popular as it is, there were a few questions I struggled to find answers to.

Wedding planner & day-of coordinator: Angelica of Angelica Rose Events
Photographer: JamieY Photography
Officiant: Judy Irving
Transport: Lucky Limousine
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The new Mrs ItsHollieAnn.
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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

What To Eat, Drink & Do in San Francisco

What To Eat, Drink & Do in San Francisco ItsHollieAnn.com
What To Eat, Drink & Do in San Francisco ItsHollieAnn.com
Before every trip, I find myself researching and planning all of the restaurants, bars and attractions that I want to check out. San Francisco was a little different. We had just 48 hours to explore the city so I didn't want to make list upon list only to feel disappointed if we didn't manage to achieve everything - Instead, we decided to go with the flow. I've compiled this guide not only from our highlights but also recommendations from friends who've frequented the city. San Fran is a huge and so we didn't expect to be able to fully explore in just two days but we made the most of the time we had. 


FOR THE FOODIES

Pescatore, Fishermans Wharf For brunch. Pescatore happened to be right next to our hotel and after catching a glimpse of the decor as we strolled by on Sunday evening, I couldn't not book a table for brunch the next day. I opted for the Crab Cake Benedict with a side of Sourdough. 

Pier Market, Pier 39 For seafood. We stumbled upon Pier Market completely by chance and though we hadn't read reviews, the line for a table said it all. Straight away I booked for lunch the following day. We sampled a seafood platter and it didn't disappoint. Its easy to see why their clam chowder is award-winning - It was so delicious, I could have happily gone back for more. 

Food Trucks, Fishermans Wharf For favourites. A stroll along the waterfront will take you past a whole host of food trucks. Whether you're looking for corn dogs, churros, burritos or cotton candy, they're worth a stop for a snack if you're too busy to stop and sit down. 

Mr Holmes Bakehouse, Larkin Street For baked goods. You've only got to look online to see why you need to visit Mr Holmes'. Their sweet treats are an absolute dream and stopping by is an absolute must if you're in the area. 

Mamas, Washington Square For breakfast. We didn't get to eat at Mamas after I mistakenly thought it was open on Mondays but some friends of ours who visited the city not long ago said it's an absolute MUST. The lines can get pretty long so it's best to go early but word on the street is, it's absolutely worth the wait. 

Franciscan, Fishermans Wharf For seafood. We had a toss up whether to eat here or Pier Market. Though the menu looked to die for, Pier Market won us over but Franciscan came in a close second and was also recommended by our friends and our hotel. 


WHAT TO DRINK

Coffee Everyone drinks coffee in San Francisco and it's easy to see why. There are so many independent coffee shops dotted around that it's hard to resist checking them out. 

Wine I couldn't wait to sample the wine in California while we were in town and we did just that at the Wines of California wine bar on Pier 39 - Do a tasting and find your favourite. I found that other bars and restaurants also had a very extensive wine list - It can be a little overwhelming so if you're stuck, ask what they'd recommend. 

Beer I never realised how many craft and micro-breweries were around San Fran but Wipeour Bar and Grill had lots on offer and were happy to recommend ones they loved. Beer 39 also offers tastings and, as suggested by it's name, is located on Pier 39.


THINGS WORTH DOING

Golden Gate Bridge I massively underestimated the sheer size of the Golden Gate Bridge, so much so that when we got out of our car, my jaw dropped. It's absolutely stunning to see and the areas surrounding are absolutely worth the visit. I spent a lot of time researching the best places to see and photograph the bridge. Marshall's Beach was my number one but the tide was in rendering it completely inaccessible. In the end we opted to stay around the Golden Gate Overlook area and follow the trails up around the woods and down, under the bride, towards the information center. Crissy Field is a great spot to see the bridge from below and it's well worth taking a walk around the Presidio if you're over there to learn a little about the history of the area. Not to forget, you can also bike or walk the bridge too. For most of our trip, the bridge was completely under fog so it's worth taking a look at the weather before heading across from the city since it's about a 15 minute car journey. We were fortunate that our last afternoon brought clear skies so we took that opportunity to head over. Regardless, I think it's absolutely worth the visit. 

Lombard Street Though Lombard Street is absolutely iconic, I didn't expect the crowds of people at the intersections above and below or the line of cars waiting to drive down it. It was crazy but really cool to see. We took an Uber to the street below and walked up towards it but in hindsight, we should have got dropped above and walked down - Those hills are no joke. It's understandably a very busy spot but great to pop by. The Hyde Powell cable car runs on the street above and so you can snap a photo of it disappearing over the hill with Alcatraz in the background. 

Alcatraz An absolute must. Not only is it so interesting and informative but it's also a great day out and a change from strolling around the city. There's so much to see and learn and the self guided audio tour is perfect if, like me, you like to wander at your own pace. Once on Alcatraz, you can spend as much time as you'd like there and get any ferry back you wish - Because of this, we opted for an early tour with the hopes of it being a little less crowded. This was absolutely the case and so I'd well recommend it. Tickets need to be booked in advance as the chances of getting one on the day are very slim - We visited on Sunday and the next available tour was Wednesday, we booked our tickets about 6 weeks in advance. 

Pier 39 I love being by the water and so Pier 39 was the perfect place for us to spend lots of our time. It's filled with restaurants, shops and entertainment for children and is such a nice place to explore. If you head right to the end, you can catch a glimpse of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bride. If you head to the left, either up or through a passage, you can see the iconic sea lions lounging on the piers - You'll smell them before you see them. 

Cable Cars After seeing the Hyde Powell cable car whilst visiting Lombard Street, we decided to brave it and ride one. What we didn't realise is that everyone else visiting San Fran did too. I'd heard that the queues can be very long and very slow so if you want to ride, leave enough time and try to get a spot on the outside so you can see your surroundings as you go. 

Union Square Depending what you like to do, Union Square might be on your list. From what I'd read, it was more of a place to shop rather than a place to see and so we gave it a miss. If you opt to ride the cable cars however, there is one that goes to Union Square so you could always do the two in one. You might have already opted for a hotel closeby - We opted to stay in Fishermans Wharf as we knew it was better for us. 

Painted Ladies The Painted Ladies were high on my wishlist before our visit though after checking a map when we were near the Golden Gate Bride, they were actually pretty far away. I took a look at what was nearby and it seemed to be a spot people liked to take photos or relax on the park opposite. Because time wasn't really on our side, we decided to give them a miss. If you've got time to relax and stroll around I would absolutely say to go but if not, I don't think you'll be too sad to miss them off. 

Chinatown I regret wholeheartedly not leaving enough time to explore Chinatown but it felt like our days were so jam packed, we couldn't have fitted it in. There are so many places to eat including a fortune cookie factory and it's the oldest Chinatown in North America. It's 100% at the top of my list if we ever go back so make sure to but it on yours. 


THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Weather Weather in San Francisco changes quickly no matter when you visit. The locals all joke about the need to dress in layers and it's absolutely true. It goes from dull and drizzly to beautiful sunshine in minutes which means it ranges from chilly to warm quite a lot. Dress in layers and take an umbrella. 

Fog A fog so popular it has it's own name and Twitter account. I read that fog was only a major issue from June to September but a lot of our friends told us to prepare for it anytime. We did find it was heavier in the mornings and evenings and though it tried to break during the day we only had one afternoon completely clear. 

Getting from the airport It takes time. Of course, depending whether you fly into San Francisco, San Jose or Oakland will determine exactly how long it takes but at certain types of day, any of these can be over half an our away. We flew into San Francisco and left the airport around 5.30pm. We reached Fishermans Wharf around 6.15pm and an Uber was around $40 which I expected. It may be quicker and cheaper to use BART but remember to look at where the stations are in proximity to where you're going. Shuttle buses are also an option but I found these to be more expensive, oddly.

Where to stay There are so many different and diverse neighborhoods within San Francisco so take the time to research and find the one that works for you. The city, though big, is very easy to get around so I wouldn't worry about staying close to the attractions you want to visit, more about the culture you'd like to experience. 

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There you have it, a short but sweet list of food, drink, tips and fun in San Francisco. If you have anything to add, be sure to leave it in the comments for everyone else to see!

What To Eat, Drink & Do in San Francisco ItsHollieAnn
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