Las Vegas, Hawaii, Disneyland. Yup, that’ll do nicely.

I have returned! Did you miss me? Was your life devoid of pictures of cups of coffee, and rambling blog posts full of colourful things whilst I was gone? Well, just in case you didn’t notice my absence and life continued as per normal (surely not, though?) I spent the last 3 weeks on a pretty awesome trip with my mother.
It all started last year. Mother had a collectibles (read quirky animal  figurines that people go bonkers about) thing to go to that just so happened to be in Vegas, pretty much my favourite place on earth. “Shall we go?” asked she. “And if we go, obviously we would have to go for a week. Because it’s so far.”
“Oh yes,” I replied, “That would only be sensible.”
A couple of weeks later mother phoned: “I’ve been thinking,” said she, “as we’re already going so far, it would perhaps be sensible to go to Hawaii to whilst we’re at it.”
“Oh yes,” I replied, “That would only be sensible.”

And so, the mega holiday was booked. Then, earlier this year, I got a phone call from mother. “Our flight back has been cancelled, meaning we’re going to have to spend 36 hours in LAX. As far as I can see, the only sensible solution is to go to Disneyland for the day.”
“Of course!” I replied, “The ONLY sensible solution.”
As you may have by this point gathered, my mother and I, no bench mark for what is sensible individually, have a very loose definition of the word when put together.
This makes for fun times.
So, 3 weeks ago I found myself sat in the lounge at Gatwick, desperately trying to calm my nerves with a mimosa. I am a terrible flyer. As you can see from the picture above, mother is somewhat less of a nervous flyer than me, so whereas my early morning cocktail was purely medicinal, her Pina Colada was possibly somewhat over the top for 9am. She would not be told, and to be honest, who could argue with that face? Pure pre-holiday joy.
One very long, and thankfully pretty smooth flight later (3 movies watched, many small, compartmentalised meals eaten “why yes I would like a miniature panini!”) we landed in Las Vegas. If you’ve never been, it’s hard to describe just how surreal it is to fly over acres and acres of desert and then land right next to a giant glass pyramid and the eiffel tower. This is just what this city is like. We’d chosen to stay in the Encore this time around, having been really impressed with the Wynn last time we stayed in Vegas. We’d heard that the rooms at the sister hotel were even bigger and better, and sure enough, we found ourselves in pure, Vegas style luxury.
Having spent our last couple of trips to Sin City (Hello, my name is Emily and I’m addicted to going to Las Vegas), rushing round on all manner of trips and ending up completely exhausted, we were determined to make this holiday far more laid back. Therefore we booked nothing more strenuous than a couple of shows, and spend the rest of the week wandering round soaking up the sights or lazing by the pool as we fancied. Bliss!
Did I mention that Vegas is over the top odd? Full scale working carousel entirely constructed from fresh flowers in the hotel lobby? Why not! St Mark’s Square complete with Venetian canals reconstructed inside a shopping mall? Of course! High fiving Donny Osmond? Just another day in Vegas!
Yup, to counteract the lazy days of shopping (I’ll share my ‘Vegas Haul’ on the blog in a separate post soon, but suffice it to say for now that I spent so long oohing and ahhing in Sephora that mother had to go and find a bench so she could have a little sit down.) we had the excitement of going to see Donny & Marie (in summary, complete pros, amazing show, my mother may never be the same again after aforementioned Osmond high five.) and Britney (in summary, amazing show, all the hits, sang along and danced all the way through, I’m pretty sure she lipsynced the whole thing – guessing that’s why there are no video screens during the gig –  but after a 24oz frozen cocktail in a souvenir Britney cup I didn’t  really care. Plus I got to see the original Toxic air hostess uniform and the Oops I Did It Again red catsuit. Life. Complete.)
We also paid a visit to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, where I got the chance to pose with Katy, twerk with Beyonce, and completely geek out in the Marvel section.
And somehow, the week in Vegas was suddenly over and it was time to jet over to Hawaii, a fairly miserable 6 hour flight away (6 hours on a turbulent plane trapped between sleeping strangers is no fun when you’re scared of flying and have a tendency towards swollen feet. I needs to get up and walk around a bit! Wake up sleepyheads!)
The rubbish flight was pretty much wiped from memory though as soon as we landed. We were presented with gorgeously scented flower leis (yup, they really do that, it’s not just in the movies!) and tootled over to our hotel for a week in paradise.
Glazed expression brought to you by my second new time zone in 2 weeks.
Because that really is the only way I can describe Hawaii, paradise. The temperature was a just perfect 25-28 degrees the whole time we were there, and I simply can’t describe how beautiful the island of Oahu is. By day your views constantly look pretty much like this…
And in the evening you get to see some of the most beautiful sunsets…
The hotel we stayed at, the Kahala, was celebrating its 50th anniversary, and it was full of beautifully maintained 1960s features, from the lobby stair case which made me feel like I was in an episode of Mad Men every time I descended, to the geometric coloured glass chandeliers in the lobby, to the giant floral print carpets that feature almost everywhere.
Floral Midi Dress – ASOS, Gold Flats – Boden
Can I just say that I love how seriously the Americans take breakfast? Over the weeks the size of my portions increased rapidly, alongside my consumption of syrup. We started the week in a very British “oh maybe just a little bit of syrup over some crispy bacon” kind of way, and ended up more like “syrup on potato gratin? Why not!?” At one point mother even ended up with syrup on fish. I admire her dedication to the American way.

One of the foody highlights of the trip was afternoon tea on the hotel’s terrace – I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some pretty amazing afternoon teas in my time, but I have to say this was one of the best, not only because of the amazing view but also because of the local swing they put on the food – coconut jam for the scones, rum cake, pineapple tart and tropical fruit teas.

Oddly, neither mother nor I have put on quite as enormous amount of weight over this holiday as we expected to. I can only put this down to the sheer amounts of syrup we consumed – seems only sensible to continue this diet at home.
It was hard to leave paradise, but the blow was somewhat cushioned by the knowledge that a day in the happiest place on earth awaited us. I think I look suitably happy in this photo…
Yup, I was fairly ecstatic. You see, massive Disney fan that I am, I’d managed to reach the ripe old age of 30 without going to Disneyland or Disneyworld. I was lucky enough to go to Disneyland Paris when I was 14, however my father decided that he couldn’t cope with the place and just spent 3 days in Paris on his own (his reaction to the parade on the evening of our arrival? “This is a massive fire hazard.”)  and I wasn’t allowed to get Minnie Mouse ears due to being ‘too old’. Furthermore, mother and I got stuck on ‘It’s a Small World’, which remains one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. (I can still hear the sounds of tiny, high pitched, multinational voices singing on dark, lonely nights).
Therefore, I had decided that this trip was going to be done ‘properly’, hence, ears…

There is, of course, far too much to do in Disneyland for just one day, but in a way this was nice as it took the pressure off. We wandered around in our ears (mine with a flashing, light up bow, mother went for an attractive purple sequined pair), ate Mickey shaped snacks, waved at all of the characters, went on all of the really old school rides (Disneyland Anaheim is the original park from the 50s, so it really does have a lovely old fashioned Disney feeling to it) and generally regressed to being kids for a day.

We were somewhat relieved to find that It’s a Small World was closed to be redecorated for Christmas (I have to say it was a bit odd wandering round in the blazing sunshine with the park decorated with fairly lights, Christmas trees and a lot of fake snow!) however, we instead ended up trapped on Pirates of the Caribbean for 15 minutes. I honestly never want to hear ‘Yo Ho a Pirates Life for Me’ ever again.

The day, and our amazing holiday, ended with a fabulous parade and mother and I may have even had a little weep of happy tears.

Definitely not a sensible holiday, and all the better for it!