hummingbird at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

That Time I Was an ‘Extra’ in La La Land, and Other Snapshots from Los Angeles

Well, assuming everything goes to plan, by the time you read this, I should be back down to earth – hopefully not with too much of a bump, but then again, you never really know, do you?

As with all of the posts I’ve published during my vacation, I’m scheduling this one in advance, but I’m going to take a wild guess I’ll be suffering from a severe dose of the post-holiday blues. Everyone I know is always all, “Oh, it’s good to go on holiday, but it’s good to come home, too!”, but that’s just one of the many things Other People say that I just don’t relate to at all. (See also: “Fall is my favorite season!” and “Let’s all go bowling!”) Honestly, if I could ship over all the people I love (and Rubin, of course), I’d happily just stay in California forever, but seeing as I can’t, here are some random photos from the last couple of weeks…

Los Angeles Farmers Market


The LA Farmers Market – we all love this place, and I also love The Grove shopping centre, which leads into it. Since my last visit, they’ve added a huge Topshop, and it was kinda funny to be in California, looking at the same clothes I see back home. Speaking of which, though, I actually didn’t do a huge amount of shopping on this trip: I did buy a few things, obviously, but most of the stores have their fall lines out now, which curtailed my spending a bit. I don’t find autumn/winter clothes very inspiring at the best of times, but I absolutely HATE all of the 70s-inspired stuff that’s in fashion this season, so if it wasn’t for my love of retro brands, this would be a very cheap season for me!

filming in Pasadena


One night we were wandering around Pasadena before dinner, when we found ourselves walking through a movie set – literally. There were signs up at the start of the street warning us that if we walked any further, we’d be deemed to be giving our consent to be filmed: well, naturally we weren’t going to pass up that chance, so we walked a little further, and came across a group of people all standing watching an actor have his makeup done.

There were tons of movie trucks and film crew milling around, and one woman came up to us and reminded us we were in shot. “Everyone on this street is cast,” she said, and sure enough, as we walked on down the street, I realised that every other person on it was an actor, all standing in position, waiting for their cue. They were all implausibly tall and good looking, and dressed in a way that was too “normal” to be totally, well, normal, if that makes sense? “ROLLING!” someone shouted, just as Terry and I reached the crosswalk, but I’m pretty sure the manic grin I instantly assumed will have spoiled that take – sorry, movie people!

Oh, and as for the actor we saw: I’m terrible at recognizing people, but when we got home that night, Terry hit up Google to find out who’d been filming on that street earlier. “Would you recognise Ryan Gosling?” he asked. “Er, obviously not,” I replied, “because THAT WAS TOTALLY RYAN GOSLING WE PASSED EARLIER, OMG!” And it totally was. I’m sure people who live here think nothing of random celebrity sightings, and probably find the filming a bit of a nuisance, but to a couple of rubes like us, it was pretty interesting: and if you happen to spot a random, grinning redhead crossing the street in an upcoming Ryan Gosling movie, that’ll be me…  [EDIT: It turned out to be LaLa Land, and no, I still haven’t seen it…]

Pasadena City Hall


Speaking of Pasadena, our rental house was in nearby San Marino, but we spent quite a bit of time in Pasadena, too, and we really loved both areas: tons of interesting little restaurants and shops, and just look at the beautiful city hall! I can easily imagine living in this area: and I’m so jealous of those of you who actually DO!



We realised a few years ago that Americans will almost always refer to Terry as “Teddy”. If he wants them to call him Terry, he has to adopt a fake American accent when giving his name, and say it as “Tirry?” – otherwise it’ll be “Teddy” all the way. He doesn’t really feel comfortable with the fake accent, though, so he either just goes with Teddy or gives a different name altogether: the year he was ‘Dexter’ to every Miami restaurant we entered was a particularly interesting one…


cuddly horse

This guy joined the chicken in my bathroom. Then, a few days later…

a cuddly cow

A cuddly cow. Well, it’s not a holiday unless you come home with a few new friends, is it?

LA to Las Vegas

ZZyZx Rd


“In 101 miles, turn right,” said Marnica, the SatNav. Can’t even tell you how exciting that right turn was, OMG. As for Vegas itself: amazing. There will be blog posts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Langer's Deli


Langer’s Deli on Alvarado street (photo stolen from my dad), where I had the biggest (and best) pastrami sandwich I’ve ever eaten. The lake at nearby MacArthur Park was filled with giant, multicoloured balls:

MacArthur Park

Love it.


hummingbird at Griffith Observatory, Los AngelesThis photo was taken by my mum at Griffith Observatory – I could watch these little hummingbirds all day!

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  • Helen


    Thanks for sharing all of these Amber – you should work for the Californian tourist board!! I have plans to see all these places thanks to you. Fabulous photos – the LA Market looks great and I really want to see Pasadena ? as well as all the other places you’ve portrayed. Now back to chilly auld Scotland x x

    September 26, 2015
  • It all looks so much fun! I loved visiting Pasadena, even though the only reason we went was so I could see the town hall (where they filmed the exterior shots on Parks and Recreation) but the rest of the area was delightful. I really want to go back now, especially since I saw zero actors!

    September 26, 2015
  • Hi Amber, i want to go to California so frickin bad as it look amazing! Also well done to your mum in taking that picture of a humming bird, beautiful photo.

    September 26, 2015
  • Lovely post 🙂

    I’d love to go back to L.A one day and take in Las Vegas! I was only in L.A for 2 whole days, but I did see Mario Lopez! 😀 x

    September 26, 2015
  • I want to go, right now! Actually not right now, we’ve actually got some sunshine this weekend so better not waste that 😉 that hummingbird photo is perfection!

    September 26, 2015
  • Gary


    Fantastic hummingbird photo! Thanks for sharing

    September 26, 2015
  • Barbara W


    I haven’t lived in California since I was eight years old and I know it’s changed a lot, but these posts have made me so homesick! Thanks for all the great photos and commentary. I’m glad you had such fun.

    September 26, 2015
  • Linda B


    I grew up in LA but haven’t lived there in decades (um, since 1979 to be precise. Dating myself.) It has been very fun to see it all through your eyes. So Cal has a lot to offer! I would never want to live there again, but appreciate that I live only an 8 hour drive away.

    Good luck with your return home. I get that the transition will be hard….

    September 27, 2015
  • SoCal really has some awesome spanish architecture, its my favorite. When my husband and I were looking for homes I was trying to find one with that aesthetic, but as I sadly found out, my husband is not a fan. So we have a house that is stucco, but not spanish looking at all. So… compromise, kinda?

    Looking forward to the Vegas posts! I’ll be heading up there in a month 🙂

    September 27, 2015
  • Wonderful photos, amazing trip. Thanks for sharing.

    September 27, 2015
  • You walked by Ryan Gosling and didn’t recognized him? I wouldn’t have recognized him either, even though I saw him in movies a few times :))

    September 28, 2015
  • Suze


    Sure, the rest of it sounds brilliant but stumbling upon Ryan Gosling is my idea of a trip of a lifetime. Wowsers. I think I’d be so excited I’d probably wet myself or do something equally embarrassing! 🙂

    September 28, 2015