If you are looking for instagrammable back drops and a good old splash of colour you just can’t beat Palm Springs. Once the playground for the hollywood jetset, then turned seedy gambling town and now LA weekend getaway fave, Palm Springs is as quirky as they come.
We had started our drive to Palm Springs from Anaheim where we had enjoyed DisneyLand the day before (you know the Disney drill so we’re not blogging about this - plus, we went on a day when all the local schools had just finished high school so it was uncomfortably packed. And they cancelled the fireworks. Sob!) It’s an easy 1hr 40 drive to Palm Springs which will feel like a world away.
One of our favourite things about driving in California is the range of landscapes and vegetation and you can take this one step further with the (somewhat, terrifying) Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which will whisk you up from the desert floor, guiding you through five vegetation zones to the San Jacinto mountains where the air is cool, the redwoods grow proudly and the vision of the Coachella Valley is hard to tear yourself away from.
Palm Springs city centre is pretty dinky which is just as well as you’ll likely want to spend your days poolside in any case and most of the hotels have decent bars and restaurants. We’re obsessed with Ace Swim Club - a sun soaked Ace Hotel in a converted motel accompanied by a great restaurant: King's Highway (an ex-Denny’s) ; the key lime pie sparked an obsession with it in our household and many a weekend is dedicated to attempting to recreate it. The cocktail bar The Amigo Room also puts on nights that spill out on to the terrace and airstream, poolside.
Should you venture outside of your hotel there’s a couple of super fun tiki bars like The Tinga Hut and Bootlegger Tiki. Every Thursday downtown throws VillageFest, a night market full of local products, the usual market tat and some interesting street performers. A man dressed in a full Predator outfit playing the Game of Thrones theme from a boombox and putting on a spoken word performance about it being ‘The Year 3033’ will not be forgotten any time soon.
We didn’t have a chance to spa it up while in Palm Springs but we hear that the Two Bunch Palm Resort a short drive from Palm Springs is pretty damn good and our beloved Ace offers treatments as well. So maybe you really don't need to leave the hotel!
If you aren’t content simply soaking up the sun, tiki cocktails and vintage goodness mini escapes like the Cabazon Dinosaurs, Joshua Tree or some outsider art are only a short drive away.
Heading back to the coast after Palm Springs we’d highly recommend Laguna Beach. Put your preconceptions from the name to one side and you’ll find an adorable beach town with good food (Tortilla Republic, Gina’s Pizza) and plenty of art to keep you busy - the town is referred to as an ‘art colony’ after all! The town also aims to claim fame of inventing the smoothie (The Orange Inn has a Guinness World Record to prove it!) and has an awesome Town Greeter, Michael who you’ll see out and about on his bicycle literally greeting people and making their days better. Well, this is the USA after all!
We can’t leave you in Laguna Beach without forcing you to go to Taco Loco taco shack. Holy mother of mexican food, this stuff is crazy good. And at only a few dollars a taco you can go crazy trying whatever you fancy from blackened swordfish to good old carne asada.
If you’ve been singing phantom planet to yourself throughout this series, you are not alone (it was our last dance at the wedding after all!) When staying in Laguna Beach just pop along the coast to Newport Beach for some Ryan and Seth reminiscing. Be warned, there’s no sites here from the show except the ‘Newport Beach’ signs as much of the show was filmed around and about California.
If you do go there head for Alta Coffee & Roasting Co for an epic breakfast and cup of joe. We fell completely head over heels for the spot when we spied that their house hot sauce was by Dexter Holland’s brand (yep, of the Offspring)!
Story goes that Ojai is named after the Chumash Native Indian word for ‘moon’; and nicknamed as self-styled ‘Shangri-La’ . If you fancy a new-age weekend trip, this is your place!
Around 1.5hrs drive or c. 2.5 hours on an Amtrak from Los Angeles' Union Station (which you’ll recognise from Johnny Depp classic Nick of Time) to Ventura (and then a cab) (which you’ll recognise from Johnny Depp classic Nick of Time) the dry scent of wildflowers and shrubs will hit you when you enter town.
Driving in from Ventura you’ll first come to Meiner’s Oak. Stop off here for lunch and / or supplies from health food shop turned hang space The Farmer and The Cook.
While away some time in Bookends a book shop in across a chapel and retired airstream lazing in the dappled sunshine of a huge tree. If you are in need of some stretching and realignment to truly relax you for your stay sure to contact Arrow Heart Yoga in advance of your visit to book on a yoga class in their simple but relaxing studio or an incredible and great value thai massage with Lauren Harris.
From this little section of town jump on the Ojai Trolley (TOO CUTE!) and ride on to downtown. We stayed in the Hummingbird Inn, an adorable lodge that used to be the national park’s main hotel. We learnt that the hotel had been acquired by the Shelter Social Club (who run the gorgeous Ojai Rancho Inn in the area) along with the 50s perfection that is The Capri hotel with plans to bring the back to their former glories with relaxed pool parties and retro interiors. Look up SSC before you go to catch one of their fireside gigs or just a drink or two at the Rancho Inn.
For a small city Ojai is big on shopping. For vintage hit up 2nd Helpings and New 2 You (opposite each other on E Ojai Avenue). Be warned, as these are thrift shop prices you might go a bit mad so watch the luggage allowance for your return trip! Gorgeous homewares are to be found at DeKor and local printed gifts at Fig Living. Away from the main strip make time for Summer Camp, in a repurposed petrol station.
For eating out you are pretty spoilt with cafe breakfast / lunch spots Knead Bakery and Ojai Cafe Emporium. For evening meals we devoured mexican food with local pixie orange margaritas at Agave Maria and huge salads with craft beers at Bonnie Lu’s. Sweet treats abound at retro Ojai Ice-cream and the beautifully airy Beacon Coffee outpost.
The town is apparently a top celeb haunt (the cab driver we caught a lift with back to Ventura station said he’d been drinking beer with Woody Harrelson at a party in the mountains a few weeks before!) but rather than waste time stalking people, get your fix nosing around filming locations from Emma Stone’s Easy A - the easiest (no pun intended) would be Ojai Roasting Company right on the main strip.
The area is abundant with hiking trails, horse riding and olive oil tours so if that’s your thing just book on one before you go. While we didn’t make it up there we hear of great things from Meditation Mount where the meditation centre runs free, drop in sunrise and sunset meditation sessions and it has a killer view of the valley.
As it’s your honeymoon guys, you can allow yourselves a little luxury, right? On the outskirts of town you’ll find the exquisite 5 * Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. To really push the boat out (we’re talking about £350-400 a night) take a room here and soak up the A-list vibes. For some sneaky luxury, do as we did and book in for a Spa treatment as with any treatment you get free use of the spa. And boy, what a spa it is! We opted for the Kuyam which is a riff on a traditional Chumash Native American Indian style sweat lodge in a stunning morrocan inspired sauna room with built in mediation and natural clays to mask your body .
Directly after the treatment we were lead to a private terrace with local natural snacks and teas to rest in the dappled sun, hearing the birds in the trees. The spa itself is fairly well appointed with the usual bits and bobs but the real heart stealer is to be cosied up on the terrace that faces the mountains to experience the ‘Pink Moment’ in tranquility. You probably won’t want to leave the property after all that so book in for dinner in one of the resorts restaurants or at least grab a (very expensive!) pint in Jimmy’s Pub, an English / Irish style dark wood pub that is as eccentric as the rest of this beautiful little town.
It might just be this summer heat (note if you are reading this past the 20th June 2017; on this day and the few preceding it we experienced the arrival of that mythical beast ‘british summertime’) or the fact that La La Land was released recently on DVD but we are obsessed with Los Angeles right now. With LA style and fashion infiltrating the mainstream left, right and centre (think smoothie bowls, crystal healing and Coachella-style festival outfits) we’d wager you are too.
So that brings us nicely on to the next in our badass Honeymoonin’ series with our top 10 things not to miss (excluding the key tourist sites as we know you have a proper guidebook for that!) As if a top 10 isn’t enough, you’ll find more recommendations from our jam-packed trip there with House of Coco for the Girl Boss Rally over here
Top 10 LA things
1. Find a rooftop
We know you want that skyline selfie and to watch the sunset, the lights come on and the mountain’s loom in the distance. Downtown we like The Standard and The Ace and in Hollywood you can’t beat a cold one on the roof of Mama Shelter with a decent view of the Hollywood sign (in fact, we could see it from our room there!)
2. Embrace different area codes
LA is a big-ass city and it would be a shame to not explore as much of it as you can fit in. If you are in town for a couple of days, consider staying in different parts of town as you’ll be racking up mula on taxis / having to drive everywhere. Our favourite areas are….
3. Venice Beach - Santa Monica
As touristy as this area is, a visit is a must for iconic views, dodging street vendors and vegan food. Away from the front, explore the canals for a taste of older LA and grab brunch (Gjelina’s), donuts (Blue Star) or ice-cream (Salt & Straw) on Abbot Kinney. Once a road known for quirky independent shops, the vibe is now definitely more upper high street mini chains but the infamous colour walls dotted down the road make for some great snaps
The first time we visited LA we hated downtown, on a second visit, it opened up so much more. In the Arts District the sizeable Stumptown Coffee Roastery is a good place to start on a sunny morning before exploring the graffiti decorated warehouses and sexy places to eat.
In DTLA proper don’t miss Grand Central Market which mixes amazing history and the latest in foodie trends beautifully - if you can handle the queue for EggSlut, do it! Don’t miss Angel’s Flight across the road (which you’ll recognise from La La Land) or the Bradbury Building (which you’ll recognise from countless other movies). If you are a fan of Wes Anderson, marble table tops and pink boxes of macarons look no further than Bottega Louie. If books are more your thing, head over to the labyrinthine The Last BookStore.
5. Los Feliz
Los Feliz is the newest hipster hang out part of the city. Here you’ll find independent shops where you would actually want to treat yourself / buy a present for someone back home, tasty tacos at Tacos Tu Madre and some really cutesy coffee shops. From here you can also have some pretty good wandering adventures - we walked up to Griffith Observatory past stunning villas from here and to a classic movie high school from the Buffy TV movie pilot. What a claim to fame.
6. Art & Street Art
We know nothing about art, honestly. However, The Broad museum was the most incredible experience; tickets are free - just get them in advance online. Seeing such important modern art (Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst...) in front of our faces was super inspiring …plus taking pictures is totally allowed. Win Win!
As you know, there’s tonnes of graffiti and colour walls in LA - give it a quick google and find a walking tour or look up your favourites. This said, we loved stumbling across one of Shephard Fairey’s pieces simply through continuing our wander past Buffy’s school (see pt 5) to SilverLake. LA is also good for neon - try and make MONA’s Neon Cruise when you’re in town
7. Old LA
The glimmers of old fashioned hollywood glamour still try to make it through the chinks in LA’s polished surface. A great place to start is one of our favourite places in town; The Original Farmer’s Market (nestled next to The Grove if you prefer your shopping modern and shiny) which has welcomed guests such as Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Munroe in its time. There also a killer selection of food vendors and bars including Ice Cream Stall Bennett’s which has been scooping ridiculous sundaes for decades Don’t miss the reproduction retro pump station out the front of the market either.
8. What’s hot at home and can you do it here?
LA is a trend setter and the perfect place to try out the new big thing, without the queues you would see for it in London. We managed to… pet kitties at cat cafe Crumbs and Whiskers, drink sea salt cold brew coffee at Rubies and Diamonds, order a massive salad through an app for collection at SweetGreens, devour filipino bbq at The Park's Finest and then balance it through eating so much accidental vegan food, washed down with Nitro cold coffee.
9. Theme parks as an adult
From Universal Studios (which you can reach on the snazzy metro…that nobody seems to use) to the Disney parks you can spend a good handful of days making yourself dizzy, drinking butter beer and eating doughnuts. Not just for kids, you can sink a cold beer in Universal in Moe’s Tavern and sample some Disney cocktails in Downtown Disney and maybe even dance it all off at an Alice in Wonderland rave.
10. Trips out of the city
If you are in LA for more than a couple of days, especially if it’s hot, you’ll be hankering to escape. A great day trip out (especially if you are in the mood to shop) is the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena ; it's only on once a month so plan your trip around it! No? Just us?
Close to the city are beach towns Newport Beach (for all the OC lovers out there; apart from a ferris wheel there’s not too much here for your novel instagrams), Laguna Beach which is quirky and artistic, our new favourite city Ojai and of course, Palm Springs. We’ll share more on these last three locations in coming posts as this is probably enough for you to be getting on with!
So, what did we miss?
If you followed our last post you’ll know that we started this honeymoon adventure up in San Francisco and had just made it to the gorgeous surfer town of Santa Cruz. Come with us now for epic nature, an insanely luxe hotel and a super tacky one rounded off by a gig in a bowl. Yep, a bowl.
Leaving Santa Cruz, it’s just a few towns down the highway until you get to that bit. You know, that bit from the movies, the postcards and that song by The Thrills: Big Sur.
No matter how many times you’ve seen the scenes on the screen or read all the guide books, each twist of the road made us gasp with wonder and every mountain side tunnel think of chase scenes from Fast and Furious. Considering it’s literally just a two lane road, finding our next stop proves harder than we thought, a couple of three points later we drive into the property of a ridiculously luxe hotel which starts to rationalise why we booked so many cheap motels for this trip.
Post Ranch Inn is an astonishing ranch turned eco luxury hotel right on the coast. As you google prices and realise that we were really fucking mad to stay here - book yourself in for lunch at Sierra Mar instead where you can grab delicious food, with a California wine flight (if you aren’t driving that is) in a floor to ceiling glass restaurant looking out on the ocean.
Yep, you did just die and go to heaven.
If you can, though, definitely stay in the area, the night sky is clear and it smells incredible of moss and wood. We hear there’s hippy hot springs (Esalen Hot Springs) you can bathe in in the middle of the night, I guess we’ll just have to go back for those.
Before leaving, miss the car entrance to Pfeiffer Beach multiple times before you make your descent to the purple sanded beach.
Yep, you died again.
From the effortless beauty of Big Sur leave the echoes of Kerouac and that celeb who stayed there last week behind and head to the opposite; the infamous Madonna Inn. Think tacky Madonna c. late 80s - this is where she would hang out. It's the most hideously amazing theme park 80s horror you have ever seen; from the pink and gold steak restaurant, the frog noises from the pink lit fountains to the 'german style' coffeehouse with its epic carrot cake... your eyes won’t know where to look.
And boy, if you choose to stay here; you are in for a treat. Sadly the Love Nest room was booked out on our visit (as someone was getting married on the property - squeee) so we were across the way in our cherub’ed, turreted room, Just Like Heaven.
This is tacky instagram heaven, definitely get a souvenir goblet or wine cooler.
Leaving Madonna Inn must be akin to being kicked out of the spaceship when the aliens are bored of you. But never fear, only a couple hours of drive to get to the too-cute-to-be-true all-american university town of Santa Barbara. This is really like being in a movie with hacienda style bungalow houses, a strip of high end shops, tacos, pizza, ice-cream and a pier. We rated Patxi’s Pizza and McConnells Icecream. If you are passing this way, check out who is playing at the Bowl ; an outdoor music venue above the town, with a view of the ocean. We joined all the local jocks and party girls for Chromeo, their metallic later guitars playing perfectly into our 80s americana fantasies.
Now, don't do what we did and drive to LA late at night. That shit’s cray. More on that later.
Welcome, welcome to our new series on the art of Honeymoonin'. As you know, we like to do things a little differently round here and so do our brides. We’ve found many of them love to buy from us as having a well priced dress really helps them streamline their wedding budget so they can put more dollar towards the honeymoon. We totally agree with this emphasis, the honeymoon’s the cherry on top of getting married!
Why wouldn’t it be?! It’s one of the only times that your boss won’t give you that look when you ask for 3 weeks off, relatives will palm honeymoon spending money off on you and you can totally ask for upgrades with no shame. I guess we should also mention that it will give you some quality time with your new ‘official’ other half after what’s probably been a stressful time sorting out the wedding itself and you’ve been working overtime so you could even take the time off. Plus, none of your family or friends can invite themselves on this trip as that would be weird af.
So yes, as a wedding dress business, we are advising you to spend less on your wedding day and more on your honeymoon. Told you we were a bit different. Or stupid. You decide.
To kick us off, we’re sharing a trip very close to our hearts ; Pacific Highway One from San Francisco to San Diego. We did this trip over 20 days for our honeymoon so it’s dear to our little hearts. It’s a classic ‘trip of a lifetime’ trip and super popular for honeymoons. Rather than an exhaustive run down we’re excited to share with you our top 10 weird and wonderful tips from the road to spark your thinking....
Here’s part 1: San Fran to Santa Cruz
1. Top Tip One…. in San Francisco forget the car and grab your trainers
Getting from the airport to town is mega easy thanks to the BART trains which we had totally forgotten we had learnt about in GCSE Geography. Once in town, every day is leg day as we’d recommend walking everywhere to get a feel for this quirky american city that feels pretty european in places. If you can’t be bothered to walk to Golden Gate Bridge we won’t tell; there’s a great view of it from Coit Tower along with loads of gorgeous blooms and greedy hummingbirds.
The only place a car could be fun (is that the right word?) is for the epic Lombard Street (you know the one, right…) with it’s 8 hairpin turns. But grab a cold brew and watch from the side lines instead. In more fun public transport news definitely get the cable car at some point in your time here; we loved hairing up from near Ghirardelli Square,watching the city sparkle.
2. But (perhaps this should be) first, coffee : we’re in hipster heaven here and the silicon valley vibes are strong.
Bluebottle Coffee (shops all over the city) has an overwhelming menu of every possible way of serving up a cup of joe, we were in heaven with the cold brew options available. For ultimate tech entrepreneur vibes (we honestly came across a wifi network named ‘Your startup sucks’ while here) you can’t go wrong with the flagship SightGlass Coffee for a flat white and pastry.
3. Don’t miss the dive bars for a real taste of SF
Start at the Zeigeist’s beer garden in the Mission district and ask around. Somehow the taste of a beer sat on a plastic chair out the back of a basement bar half way across the world is hard to beat. Saying that, beers at the beautiful Anchor Brewery are awesome too, book on the tour and be thirsty for the post tour taproom and get a limited edition pint glass to toast your marriage with. As a little booze related warning; the Tonga Room at the Fairmont is super kitsch (and it’s been there since 1945!) but skip dinner as it’s overpriced and well, crap. Cocktails and dancing to take in the band on the boat, in the rain, indoors is the order of the evening.
4. Talking about the Mission District, spend some time here sober (or just lightly tipsy) enjoying the street art on 24th Street.
As you're inspired by the Latin American art it would be rude not to grab some mexican food. Adam Richman once upon a moon, recommended us to go to Taqueria La Cumbre (on Man vs Food, not personally) and it did not disappoint. Years later on this very honeymoon we were taken here by San Fran buddies for their idea of the best burrito in town. That's no coincidence, we are destined to be together forever.
5. Haight Street, unlike the UK version, Camden does keep some of its original hippy charms.
It’s a super easy walk from the beaut’s in Alamo Square that make you feel like you are in Charmed / Mrs Doubtfire / Princess Diaries (take your pop culture choice) to hippy Haight St. On a jet lagged early waking morning; it’s a great place for a brunch and wander before the city wakes up; Zazie’s terrace is the cutest.
6. Riff on the classic tourist route for La Musee Mecanique on Pier 45; a few down from those stinky sealions are on 39
It's an incredible hanger filled with coin operated vintage games that are all in service and mega cheap to play with. Work up an appetite for sourdough facing off against your love on the skeeball machine - nothing like some healthy couple competition.
7. Don't leave your heart in SF, there's so much more to see
Heading south from San Francisco in a cheap hire car (maybe save money for snacks by going for a dinky car. Yes, a Mazda is not as sexy as a Mustang but it’s much freaking easier to park!) we decided on a destination not too far from the city to break the drive into bite sized pieces. We stopped for a burger at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company as bribery to get through the scary first hours trying not to drive on the wrong side...
8. Keep the San Fran quirk alive and don't get sucked into the cutesy California vibes just yet
We’d always recommended forgoing Monterey, Carmel etc to stay in surfer paradise Santa Cruz ; the boardwalk is colourful and kooky and next to a rusty ex rail bridge for all those WestWorld style selfies. We know you’ll take them. Stay in a cheapy motel where you get to make your own waffles in the morning; we got a jacuzzi tub when quoting our honeymoon on booking at the Howard Johnson. Yeh, baby, we know all the hook ups.
9. Downtown Santa Cruz is the dream little town from the movies that have informed your view of the US.
Head to the main street and wander around; don't be shy to ask for recommendations. Following instructions we sunk local brews in Hawaiian pub The Reef, El Palomar Mexican restaurant for portions as big as your biggest eye and didn’t leave space for small batch ice-cream from the Penny Ice Creamery. What fools we were, don’t make this mistake.
10. Do cutesy California in small doses, before you hit Big Sur
Cutesy California vibes abound at picturesque but touristy Monterey which is an idea stop before hitting the most iconic part of Highway One - Big Sur. Hide away from the overblown fisherman’s wharf businesses for a coffee from one of the cutesy guest houses and a wander around the reconstructed fisherman’s huts. The otters at the aquarium are flipping cute too.
So there you have it, our top 10 thoughts on honeymooning from San Fran to Santa Cruz, what’d we miss?
Come back soon for more of this adventure!
Ahead of the release of all info on our Brighton Vegas Wedding Chapel, The Lucky Sixpence Wedding Chapel we were delighted to be featured in one of our favourite blogs for #BadAssBrides; Marry Me Ink.
Check out our Verity rocking our Rita dress with lace underskirt, waiting for her ride to elope into the sunset!
You’ve probably seen some sneak peeks from our recent snakey show and photoshoot at The Hive in Dalston, London. The Hive is run by Respace Projects, an incredible community-led project which works with landlords to care for vacant commercial properties and transform their use.
We were delighted to be asked to take part in a recent BBC Radio 4 documentary, A Waste of Space while at The Hive. Listen to the full documentary and our interview here :
Short on time? Watch us in this video instead!
Lucky Sixpence Bridal were fortunate to be invited to collaborate on a fabulous shoot at the beautiful wedding venue, Garthmyl Hall organised by wedding planner extraordinaire For The Love of Weddings.
We dressed the fabulous Natalie in our Janis dress, an English original vintage piece with long lace sleeves and a peplum style with a romantic floaty skirt. This dress looked fabulous with both an apricot Tissavel vintage faux fur cape and a loose fishnet shawl, showing the versatility you can achieve with your accessories.
Photography was courtesy of the incredible Rocksalt Photography who shot our model in the Orangery building of the venue which lent a wonderful romantic and shabby chic backdrop. Flowers and, importantly for a boho look, foliage was dreamt up by Pheasant Botanica who actually grow some of the plants that they use - how eco friendly is that!
Keep your eyes peeled for more from this shoot coming soon to Mr & Mrs Unique ...
We are obsessed with collab shoots and adding to the 'Sixpence Crew', the suppliers we love to work with and to recommend to our Bad Ass Brides.
For this shoot we worked with the faded glamour of the Dead Dolls House in Islington, a stunning and versatile event space perfect for wedding receptions. Our bride was dressed in our 'Jane' Waterfall Frank Usher gown with 'Jeane' white faux fur bolero. She was the perfect classic picture of a young bride getting ready for her big moment.
Photography by Paola Blondi
MUAH; Soula Henderson
Lemon and Rosemary Cake by Claire De Wit
Flowers by Moggy Blooms
Wedding styling by Serendipity