Travel // Palm Springs, California {Part One}

February 28, 2017

We're back from Palm Springs! A trip we booked on a whim, super last minute {more on it here} after getting fed up of Winter. It was the best decision I have ever made and we had such a crazily gorgeous week and soaked up alll the vitamin D. I also discovered my new favourite place in America and didn't want to come home. The whole time I kept plotting how I could get us to move there for good haha as it was just so laid back, so beautiful and I don't think I'd ever get bored of those blue skies and palm trees. {although I probably would get bored of the 115 degree heat in the summer months!} Anyway, daydreaming over, we're home now cracking on with the kitchen extension but I'd love to share some photos and a mini travelogue below. Part two up later in the week, I have way too many photos to share... it's probably one of the most instagrammable places I've ever been to so apologies for this being extra long.

Last Saturday we flew to LAX and picked up a car to drive to Palm Springs. It's a place I've wanted to visit for years now but every time we've been in California previously, our itinerary has been packed and we've never had a chance - we've either been on the coast, in San Diego, up in Yosemite or flying out to Hawaii. California is my soul place though and whenever there's a wintery rainy day in England there's a good chance you'll catch me dreaming of California. It's also surprisingly easy to get to {a fairly long but direct flight} and just so easy once you're there. My husband and I LOVE America so when we had a chance to book a last minute trip, it didn't take much deciding to choose Palm Springs. We had a two hour drive ahead of us so we made sure our first stop out of the airport was In n Out Burger, a West Coast favourite 😍. {make sure you google their secret menu!}

We arrived just after the worst storm LA and California have had for years {and landed to lots of worried messages from my Mum bless her watching the news at home} but luckily for us all we saw of it were some dark skies on the drive to Palm Springs. Being so last minute, and also it being Modernism Week - one of the busiest weeks for the city with their famous design festival, which we didn't know about on booking, we didn't have much accommodation to pick from so we pretty much booked the very last AirBnb for the week {this one}! But it was actually really great with a big pool, incredible morning sunrise views and v good value. We also loved having the option to cook, as much as we love American food we wanted to regain some health and not have to eat out all the time. {you can get a free £30 credit for any airbnb across the globe with this link}.

On our first morning, jet-lagged we were wide awake at 4am and at Starbucks for breakfast by 5am! The supermarkets open at 5am on a Sunday which meant we could get stocked up before the sun had even come up. I could spend hours wandering around an American supermarket, there's just so much choice and so much that we just can't get over here.

The first morning was forecast to be the only cloudy morning of the whole trip so we decided to go to the Desert Hills outlet mall just outside of Palm Springs. Shopping always used to be a lot cheaper in America but with the rubbish pound on recent trips it's seemed more expensive. Luckily the outlet malls had a President's Day sale on so we got some insane bargains. I definitely wasn't looking for a new handbag but with 70% plus an extra 10% off in Kate Spade I couldn't resist! And J. Crew is always 😍.  The views up to the mountains were gorgeous too.

We shopped until the sun came out and then drove back to Palm Springs to explore for the first time.

There's something really special about those first few hot rays of sunshine that hit your skin after months of being wrapped up in layers of knitwear and thick coats. Putting sandals on and getting your legs out. The smell of fresh cut grass that instantly brings back memories of endless childhood summers. We'd come for some winter sun and boy did it feel good.  

After an early dinner {jet lag} at the apartment we walked downtown, past streets and streets filled with cactus and bougainvillea and little hummingbirds flying around, suddenly remembering all we love about summer.

On Monday, we woke up to the prettiest pink skies and illuminated mountains. I didn't realise just quite how many mountains surround Palm Springs. Such a spectacular city as it's completely flat so basically all you can see are palm trees and mountains! 

We'd made a list before flying out of all the things we wanted to do and visit out there after doing lots of quick research on travel blogs/articles of Palm Springs. The Joshua Tree National Park was a must do and President's Day meant we got free entry which was a bonus so we decided to visit on the Monday. 

It's a 40 minute drive from Palm Springs with those huge American blue skies that make a roadtrip. 

The Joshua Trees {a special type of yucca} started appearing as we got closer to the main entrance and once into the national park they were everywhere. It was incredible and it was unlike anywhere else.

We'd planned a route the night before and marked a few places that we wanted to stop at for short trails. We only had half a day there but managed to see most of it, some people spend days there though camping, hiking and at night it's meant to be beautiful for star gazing. There's no phone signal, food or drink at all in the park so there's lots of warnings to take maps, packed lunch and lots of water with you. It felt like a proper adventure, there's not many places these days where you can properly get off grid for a while. 

It almost felt/looked like the Australian outback! 

You know you're in the desert when you're surrounded by cactus.

Desert chic. Most people were in hiking gear and trainers but I was just excited to wear all my summer clothes again for a week.

Driving further South through the national park the Joshua Trees stop growing as the altitude drops and instead the Cholla cactus take over. You drive through two deserts, the Mojave and the Colorado, just such a magical place and one of my favourite things we did last week.   

I wished we could have stayed until sunset to watch the cactus glow pink but we'd been there for hours and were getting almost burnt! So we drove back to Palm Springs, stopping for cookies and ice cream en-route. American essentials. 

Monday seemed like the best start to our trip but then came Tuesday which was probably my favourite day. One of the things we'd been most excited about was seeing the mid-century modern houses and architecture that the city is famous for. We'd planned to hire bikes but being early birds again we had a couple of hours before anything opened for exploring the different neighbourhoods. 

Driving/walking/cycling around the neighbourhoods was probably a highlight of the trip. You'd hear the hum of the grass being cut by a team of gardeners on every corner in their Mexican hats, every street so perfectly manicured. And what's not to love about bright blue skies, palms, incredible houses and mountain views from every street. 

We spotted some retro cool cars too.

The Kauffman house behind the cactus and where I'm standing is one of the most famous houses in the world for architects.

On the other hand, one of the most famous houses/doors in the world for Instagrammers is #thatpinkdoor which has got it's own hashtag and account!

A few doors down is another famous Insta house that changes the pool floats behind it's lions every week/month. Such a cool idea.

I literally couldn't stop taking pictures, the cars, the hundreds of oranges and lemons growing on every single block. All just heaven. 

On our way to lunch and pick up bikes we stopped by the Botanical Cactus Garden. Who knew there were so many different types?

My husband hates having his photo taken but I love taking his photo. Luckily he's always more than happy to take some of me.

I'd reserved a table at Reservoir for lunch, a restaurant in the newly opened Arrive hotel and one of the coolest places I'd read about in town. It didn't disappoint. Amazing views, food and the prettiest floor tiles I'd ever seen. You can also then use the pool there. Plus there's a cool Ice cream and 'shoppe' next door, part of the hotel so it was a winning combination. We loved it so much we went back on our last day. 

Tile porn.

Don't look at my sunburn from the Joshua Tree the day before... but look at that tuna burger! SO GOOD. It's quiet in the photos here as it was 11am, for our first few days we ate every meal early whilst our body clocks caught up. But book ahead at busy times.

Sprinkles are unlimited and the Mexican chocolate flavour ice cream was my fav.

Made a new friend by the pool who reminded me of Riley! I love how pet friendly California is.


Then it was bike time! The city is so flat, quiet and has cycle routes the whole way around so it was the perfect way to see more of the town as it's quite spread out.

Happiest of all when on a bike in the sunshine. 

After a loop of the city and our favourite neighbourhoods we stopped by the Saguaro, the hippest hotel/pool in town.

Back with Part Two next. It's pouring with rain and freezing outside at home as I type so reliving this is like a dream. 

Have you been? Is it on your list to visit?

R <3 xx 

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  1. What beautiful photos and a lovely post filled with ideas for the future, thank you :) - it really was needed on this grey day! Palm Springs absolutely is on our list (especially after these pics!), almost my entire family live in Northern Cali and despite flying over at least once a year & travelling all over the state, we have never quite made it down to Palm Springs. It does look beautiful though so I now can't wait for our next teip :)

  2. Your pictures look amazing! We're planning a trip to Palm Springs soon. but it's only a couple of hours away from where we live!

  3. We Love America too, we are going to San Francisco and LA next month, unfortunately we won't have time for Palm Springs..maybe next time xx


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