Addicted to Lush!

If you haven’t heard of Lush yet then where have you been hiding!? I use their products so much I can’t believe that I haven’t already taken the time to write about them!

So many fantastic products are available and every day more and more products are released including limited editions! Here’s a review of some of the Lush items I’ve tried recently:

Lava Lamp Bath Bomb

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A lovely bright orange bath bomb with three big purple dots on the side, this bomb contains orange flower absolute (one of the most popular essential oils used in perfumery), tangerine and mandarin oils.

This sounds a silly thing to say in view of its name, but it really does make your bath water look like a Lava Lamp!! This is down to the extra virgin olive oil contained in the bomb which provides that “lava lamp” effect across the top of the water.

This bath bomb is a very noisy, fizzy bomb which leaves an amazing orange scent on your skin (and in the bathroom!) for hours after use. It’s a very nourishing bath bomb – ideal for dry skin or for days where skin has been exposed to the sun for too long. Some users have found this bath bomb to be too oily, but I’ve not found this to be the case.

The only downside to this lovely citrus bomb is the mess that is left behind in the bath tub! The olive oil results in the purple “lava” sticking to the side of the bath and does take some elbow grease to get off again! Not the thing you look forward to doing after having a nice relaxing bath!

Other than the cleaning session of the bathroom you have to undertake after using Lava Lamp, it is one of my favourites. The strong citrus scent is really relaxing and the colours and noisy fizz make it one of the most exciting bath bombs!

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Twilight Bath Bomb

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This is one of Lush’s most popular bath bombs so I put it to the top of my testing list! I have to admit the name does put me off (makes me think of vampires!) and I don’t think the name really suits the colour and scent of this bomb….. maybe it’s just me.

Twilight is a lovely soft pink coloured bomb and it’s main scent is lavender. This bath bomb dissolves far more slowly (and much less violently than Lava Lamp!) and creates a lovely thick pink and blue froth. Once the bomb is fully dissolved, it leaves the water a lovely violet colour filled with tiny pieces of silver glitter.

As well as lavender, this bath bomb also contains ylang ylang oils and vanilla essence to stop the lavender scent from being over-powering. This bath bomb is absolutely perfect for using in the evenings if you are struggling to sleep.

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Cup O Coffee Face Mask

As a self-confessed coffee addict, it’s like this product was made especially for me! An exfoliating mask designed for both the face and body, this amazing mask features a blend of coffee and cocoa extract. The coffee smell is dominating but you can also smell a lovely underlying chocolate aroma too, and the algarve nectar and vanilla absolute give it a bit of sweetness.

As a coffee lover I found the smell absolutely amazing! Other’s have said they aren’t too keen but I think it’s lovely! You add a generous amount of the mask to your face or body, massage it for a few minutes, leave it for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it away. The coffee grains in the mask will remove all the dead/dry skin and leave your skin feeling really clean and refreshed.

I’m not a big fan of face masks generally, but this is most certainly the best I have tried. A definite addition to the favourites list!

Bubblegum Lip Scrub

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This is the only Lush lip scrub I have bought so far but it is by far my favourite going by the smells of the scrubs alone! I loved this product so much I bought several for my family and friends for Birthday presents and demanded my sister bought one for herself when she visited the Lush shop in Cheltenham with me!!

The smell is amazing and this lip scrub works so well! The scrubs clear dead skin and flakiness from lips and make them feel so soft and smooth! The scrubs are mostly made from castor sugar and jojoba oil – to exfoliate and moisturise.

The smell is amazing – strawberry bubblegum flavour – and the colour is a bright hot pink. To use you just need a small scoop on your finger, and then rub it all over your lips in a circular motion, and then just add your favourite lip balm afterwards to moisturise.

Don’t be put off by the seemingly expensive price (£5.50 for this little tub), as you don’t need much for each use and you will find this small pot will last you for at least six months (unless you start eating it out of the pot!) I’m looking forward to trying some of the other flavours now – honey or popcorn are next on my list!

Dragons Egg Bath Bomb

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Ooh another one of my favourites!!! I love the name too!

This bath bomb begins with a white outer layer of Dragon’s Egg foam, which then releases “Dragon scales” in the form of rice paper confetti and popping candy!!

This bath bomb contains bergamot and citrus flavours and is quite a zesty bomb. It’s very refreshing and is recommended for use in the mornings or during the winter months.

It is a slow release bomb, creating more foam and froth than bubbles and fizz, but once the centre is cracked, it begins throwing out a beautiful golden, yellow, glittery flow. Due to the golden inner core your bath water ends up a beautiful amber colour with golden glitter floating in it!

Don’t be fooled by Dragon’s Egg’s relatively plain exterior! Dragon’s Egg is an absolute must try!

Big Blue Bath Bomb

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One of the key ingredients in this bath bomb is seaweed! Arame seaweed to be precise, as it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Big Blue also contains lavender, lemon and sea salt.

Big Blue turns the bath water a lovely vivid blue colour, as the seaweed swirls around the bath before sinking to the bottom.

A lovely invigorating and refreshing bath bomb, I did find this bomb to be more de-toxifying than moisturising but it is definitely one I would use again – despite having to clean up the remnants of seaweed from the bottom of the bath afterwards!

Pink Fun Bar

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Fun bars are a squidgy versatile product (like play-dough) which can be used as a bubble bar, shampoo, shower gel, soap and you can even shave with it!

Fun Bars consists of several different colours and flavours – Blue (lavender scent), Pink (Vanilla and Sweets flavour), Purple (Blackcurrant/Blackberry smell), Green (Lemon and Lime flavour), Red (Mandarin and Orange flavour), Orange (Orange Flavour) and Yellow (Vanilla flavour).

It is recommended that you break a bit off the fun bar to use a bit at a time, and keep the remainder somewhere cool so it doesn’t “melt”. The first time I used the fun bar, I used it like a bubble bar – I pulled off a chunk and held it under the running tap water and soon the bath was full of lovely bubbles.

The first Fun Bar I tried was the Pink one (although it looks a bit multicoloured as I accidentally mixed some blue and purple in with this one!). I must admit overall I was a little bit disappointed with the product. Yes the bath was full of lovely bubbles but I found that I could hardly smell the scent of the pink one, and I was disappointed that it didn’t turn the bath water a lovely pink colour either, plus the bubbles soon disappeared.

I found that using the fun bar as a soap made the scent much more prominent, but still no where near as strong as if you are using a bath bomb. On the plus side I pulled off a big chunk of the bar to use but didn’t even use a third of this – so it’s much more long lasting than I originally thought.

I hope you enjoyed my first Lush blog – if not then I am afraid I have two boxes full of Lush products I am hoping to blog about in the near future!

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Popaball Rose Gold Shimmer for Prosecco

I came across PopaBall a couple of years ago when I was shopping online at Lakeland to buy some bits and bobs for Christmas. I ended up ordering some of their Strawberry Popaball Bursting Bubbles – you just add a few of the little bubbles to your drink for a burst of strawberry flavour! You don’t have to just add to alcoholic drinks or cocktails, they also go down really well as toppings for ice cream or mixed into yoghurt! Yum!

The bubbles are real fruit juice in a shell made from seaweed extract, there are many, many flavours available as well as the strawberry including peach, blueberry and lemon. The blueberry and lemon flavours are specially designed to compliment your gin and tonic!

The pots of bubbles are 125g each, provide about 6 servings and retail for around £3.49. The bubbles proved very popular and jazzed up our champagne and prosecco’s over the Christmas period!

Anyway, a couple of months ago I came across one of Popaball’s new products:

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Raspberry Shimmer Popaball for Prosecco

This stuff is absolutely amazing! I’ve already used two packs and ordered packs for friends Birthday’s! It comes in a small pot of 21 grams which works out at about 14 servings and each pot retails at £6.99.

All you do is add a tiny amount (around 1/3 of a teaspoon) into a glass half filled with Prosecco and watch as the Prosecco changes into this beautiful rose gold pink swirling glitter shimmer- there’s even tiny little heart-shaped pieces of gold leaf added too!

The shimmer is raspberry flavour and sweetens up the Prosecco so don’t add too much if you like your Prosecco dry! Your girl-friends will go crazy over it and it’s absolutely ideal for events like hen parties and cocktail evenings! The photos and videos really do not do the product justice!

Don’t forget to upload your photos and videos to Instagram and Facebook and to tag Popaball in them!

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Order from Lakeland or directly from the Popaball Website!

Hello Oahu!

Oahu, Hawaii – one of the best places I have visited over the years! I can see why people continue to return here year after year! The people are so friendly, the weather is beautiful, the food is amazing and no matter which island you stay on, there’s plenty to see and do!

We struggled to decide whether to visit Maui or Oahu on our first visit to Hawaii but eventually settled on Oahu – it did not disappoint!! The name of Oahu translates as “the gathering place”.

We stayed in a hotel very close to Waikiki Beach and just over the road from the International Market Place.

There are so many amazing places to visit whilst staying on Oahu. Some of the highlights of our trip included the following:

Pearl Harbor

You don’t often expect to burst into tears on holiday but the tour was so so insightful and incredibly moving and very tastefully done. During the massive attack on Pearl Harbor, one of the ships that sank was the USS Arizona, and as part of the trip you can stand above the wreckage of this incredible ship, and visit the monument to the men who were killed in this ambush. You can also tour the Battleship Missouri.

On December 7, 1941, Washington intercepted a written message from Japan threatening war. The United States did not appreciate the full implications of the 7:30am Hawaii deadline. A last minute warning was sent to the Pacific commanders, however General Short did not receive the message until hours after the attack. Poor communications between Washington and Hawaii helped the Japanese achieve the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese began their air attack. The first wave arrived over Pearl Harbor at approximately 7:45 am to find seven U.S. battleships moored along “Battleship Row”, on the east side of Ford Island. Other moorings which the Japanese believed might include battleships, or the equally important aircraft carriers, were at the Navy Yard’s 1010 Dock and along Ford Island’s western side.

The Japanese initially hit the airfields, destroying many aircrafts located on the southern tip of Ford Island. This attack was the World’s first notification that war had begun in the Pacific. Moments thereafter, torpedo planes attacked from the west hitting the USS Helena, USS Utah and USS Raleigh, all on the west side of Ford Island. From the east, torpedo planes came in and hit the USS California, the USS Nevada, USS Oklahoma and West Virginia located on the east side of Ford Island.

As the torpedo planes continued the first wave attacks, additional bombs were dropped on “Battleship Row”, hitting several ships. The USS Arizona received a death blow followed by a huge explosion. As the first wave departed, the Japanese telegraph operator taped out Tora, Tora, Tora: the code word for surprise attack achieved.

The second wave of planes further attacked some of the ships already hit, further destroying the Navy Yard. The battleship Pennsylvania and three destroyers were bombed in dry dock. Other bombers went after the Nevada, which had left her berth and was trying to get to sea. Anti-aircraft gunfire met these ships, causing losses which were far greater than those of the first attack wave.

You can find out more about Pearl Harbor here.

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Tour of Honolulu – Ko’olau Mountains

It is not a mountain range in the normal sense, because it was formed as a single mountain called Koʻolau Volcano (Koʻolau means “windward” in Hawaiian). What remains of Koʻolau is the western half of the original volcano that was destroyed in prehistoric times when the entire eastern half slid into the Pacific Ocean.

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Iolani Palace

The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii beginning with Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty (1845) and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani (1893) under the Kalākaua Dynasty, founded by her brother, King David Kalākaua. On a more modern note, it as where the most recent series of Hawaii 5-0 was filmed!

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Eternal flame memorial 

The Eternal Flame is an abstract sculpture erected just across the street from the Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu. It is a lovely memorial which honors those who have served in the armed forces of the United States.

The Honolulu State Capitol building

The Hawaii State Capitol is the official statehouse or capitol building of the U.S. state of Hawaii. From its chambers, the executive and legislative branches perform the duties involved in governing the state.

Wedding Vows!

The hotel we were staying in organises a complimentary renewal of vows ceremony on Waikiki beach every week and so we took full advantage of this during our stay! It was a lovely event hosted by a real Kalu (priest) complete with Hula Dancer. It was really magical and a lovely memory to add to our holiday!

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Learning to surf

Hubby also couldn’t wait to take advantage of the waves of Waikiki beach and had soon signed himself up for a surfing lesson. As you can see from the pictures, he is one of those irritating people that attempt something for three minutes and then somehow seem to master it! I sat on beautiful Waikiki beach and worked on my tan and played the part of paparazzi whilst he showed off his new found skills!

Paradise Cove Luau

As soon as we had booked our trip to Hawaii the one thing I knew I wanted to do was to go to a luau!! After a bit of research we decided on booking tickets to the Paradise Cove Luau.

Your Paradise Cove Luau begins with a Mai Tai greeting. You then stroll through the Hawaiian Village and learn the Arts and Crafts of the islands and play traditional Hawaiian Games such as:

  • ‘O’o ihe: Spear throwing. ‘O’o ihe, which once trained young warriors in hand-to-hand spear fighting and helped develop skills for food gathering, is frustratingly difficult. A target, sometimes the stalk of a banana plant, is set up. Contestants stand 15 feet away and attempt to stick a lightweight wooden spear into it!
  • ‘Ulu maika: Rolling stone disks. ‘Ulu maika or ‘olohu was one of the most popular sports in early Hawaii. It consisted of rolling carefully crafted playing stones, resembling modern hockey pucks, on specially prepared courses. The stones were rolled between stakes to test a player’s skills or rolled down long courses to show strength.
  • Moa pahe’e: Dart sliding. A player slides a moa, or wooden dart, between two stakes or for long distances much like the competition in ‘ulu maika.

After the delightful Shower of Flowers, where men climb trees and sprinkle beautiful flowers onto the beach and crowd below, you can learn about the net fishing techniques of old Hawaii.

Later you can witness the time-honored techniques of underground oven cooking at the Imu Ceremony. An imu is an underground oven that uses a combination of hot coals, stones and layers of leaves and cloth or mats to steam food.  For a luau, the imu is primarily used to cook the delicious shredded kalua pork, a staple on any luau menu. The ceremony consists of removing the layers of cloth and leaves from the pit oven to expose the cooked pork. The pork is removed from the pit and taken to the kitchen for shredding.

After watching the beautiful sunset, the evening then continues with a traditional Hawaiian feast and an unforgettable display of songs and dances by amazing performers (including fire in some performances!)

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Byodo-In-Temple

The Byodo-In Temple is a temple located at the Valley of the Temples. It was dedicated in August 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The temple is a replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist temple at Uji in Kyoto prefecture of Japan. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a functioning Buddhist temple in the proper sense as it does not host a resident monastic community nor an active congregation.

The TV series Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I. featured several episodes where the temple is incorporated into the plot. The temple and its vicinity also served as a stand-in for South Korea in one episode of the ABC series Lost and as the Presidential Villa in an episode of seaQuest DSV.

The temple was also used in the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor as a replica of the Byodo-In Temple in Japan.

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Chinaman’s Hat Island

Mokoliʻi, commonly known as Chinaman’s Hat, is a basalt islet in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaii. Mokoliʻi is part of Kualoa Regional Park and is located 13 mile offshore of Kualoa Point, Oahu. 

Mokoliʻi translates from Hawaiian as “little lizard.” According to Hawaiian mythology, the island is the remains of a giant lizard’s or dragon’s tail that was chopped off and tossed into the ocean by the goddess Hiʻiaka. The common name of Chinaman’s Hat derives from its likeness to the Asian conical hat.

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La’ie Point

La’ie Point is tucked away behind a neighborhood in Laie, a small town on Oahu’s north shore. This small strip of land is called Laie State Wayside Park but most people just call it Laie Point. The iconic landmark of Laie Point is this small islet with a big hole in the middle. La’ie Point is apparently a popular cliff jumping spot! Rather them than me!!

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Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is on the North Shore of Oahu and is known for big wave surfing during the winter season. The original Hawaiian name for this place is Paumalū. Today Sunset Beach is home to the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which is part of the World Cup of Surfing.

Like many beaches on Oahu’s North Shore, Sunset Beach is considered dangerous for inexperienced surfers, due to extensive coral formations near the surface! All the surfing contests take place in the winter around December and January, that being the time of the largest and best waves for surfing.

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Turtle Bay

The area which is one of the last undeveloped areas on Oahu is recognised for its rock formations, wild coastal beaches, threatened green sea turtles and endangered Hawaiian monk seal habitats. The beach is sandy but the swimming conditions are very poor at Turtle Bay because the ocean bottom near the shore is very rocky. There is a large limestone shelf that spans almost the entire length of the bay.

Due to its still largely unspoiled landscape, natural beauty and large waves along with its proximity to Honolulu, it is a popular area for filming. The area was the setting for the 2008 Universal Pictures film Forgetting Sarah Marshall and also served as a backdrop for the ABC TV series Lost.

Anyway, down to the real reason I wanted to visit this amazing place – check out these beautiful guys who were there to greet us on our arrival!!

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Dole Plantation

Originally operated as a fruit stand beginning in 1950, Dole Plantation opened to the public as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Experience” in 1989. Today, Dole Plantation is one of Oahu’s most popular visitor attractions and welcomes more than one million visitors a year.
Dole Plantation provides enjoyable activities including the Pineapple Express Train Tour, the Plantation Garden Tour, and the Pineapple Garden Maze. And, before you leave you can purchase fresh pineapple to take home!

Diamond Head

Diamond Head is the name of a volcanic cone on the island of Oahu and was given its name by English Sailors who mistook the calcite crystals on the adjacent beach for diamonds. Diamond Head is estimated to be around 400,000 to 500,000 years old and was created after a series of eruptions from the Koʻolau Volcano.

A 0.75-mile (1.1-km) hike (!!) leads to the edge of the crater’s rim. The hike is not a casual one: the mostly unpaved trail winds over uneven rock, ascends 74 steps, then through a tunnel and up another steep 99 steps!! Next is a small lighted tunnel to a narrow spiral staircase (43 steps) inside a coastal artillery observation platform built in 1908. From the summit above the observation platform both Waikīkī and the Pacific Ocean can be seen in detail, and the views really are spectacular and well worth the climb (although – highly recommend not doing the climb in the midday heat, in flip flops, like I did!!)

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As you can see, an incredible place with so much to see and do and so much history to learn about! I would highly recommend paying a visit – if I was offered the chance to go again I would absolutely jump at the chance!

CocoChlo in San Francisco

San Francisco – what a fabulous place!! Another place I visited which I wish I had visited for longer! We only visited for three days but what a fun-filled amazing three days it was! During our trip we saw the following places:

Union Square – the central shopping, hotel and theatre district of San Francisco! Pack a credit card! Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s and plenty of other high end stores await!

Coit Tower – also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower. Coit Tower was paid for with money left by Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Lillie Coit was one of the more eccentric characters in the history of North Beach and Telegraph Hill, smoking cigars and wearing trousers long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She was an avid gambler and often dressed like a man in order to gamble in the males-only establishments that dotted North Beach. Lillie had a special relationship with the city’s firefighters. At the age of fifteen she witnessed the Knickerbocker Engine Co. No. 5 in response to a fire call up on Telegraph Hill when they were shorthanded, and threw her school books to the ground and pitched in to help, calling out to other bystanders to help get the engine up the hill to the fire, to get the first water onto the blaze. Lillie’s will read that she wished for one third of her fortune “to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved. “Two memorials were built in her name as a result – one was Coit Tower, and the other was a sculpture depicting three firemen, one of them carrying a woman in his arms.

Alcatraz – Be prepared to spend a good few hours at this fascinating place! During your tour you can expect to see, amongst many other things, the morgue, the showers, the cells, the dining area, the recreation yard, the lighthouse and the prison office! I think hubby was keen on locking me in a cell and leaving me there though!

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Also while at Alcatraz they cover the amazing stories of those who have escaped the prison, the most famous escape being the June 1962 prison break. More info can be found here.

San Francisco Cable Cars – the worlds last manually operated cable car system and an icon of San Francisco! Only three routes now remain – two routes from downtown Union Square to Fisherman’sWharf (Powell-Mason line 59 and Powell-Hyde line 60) and the third along California Street (California Street line 61).

We travelled on the Powell-Hyde line which I was told was the best one to take to capture pictures of the fantastic hilly streets of San Fran. The route also takes you past the infamous Lombard Street – a street with eight hairpin turns and described as “the most crooked street in the world”.

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The Golden Gate Bridge – The bridge has been described as the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world. As you can see, unfortunately on our trip to the bridge we were the victims of San Francisco’s well known microclimate and the majority of the bridge was covered in fog! Such a shame!

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Presidio Park is a park and former U.S. Army military fort and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is characterised by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a California Historical Landmark in 1933 and as a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

The Painted Ladies Victorian Houses is the row of Victorian houses at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park, sometimes known as “Postcard Row.” The houses were built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, who lived next door in the 1892 mansion at 722 Steiner Street. This block appears very frequently in media and mass-market photographs of the city and its tourist attractions and has appeared in an estimated 70 movies, TV programs, and ads. 

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The Financial District serves as San Francisco’s main central business district. It is home to the city’s largest concentration of corporate headquarters, law firms, insurance companies, real estate firms, banks, savings and loans, and other financial institutions. The city’s tallest buildings, including 555 California Street and the Transamerica Pyramid (see below), and many other tall buildings, such as 101 California Street and 345 California Street are located there. Montgomery Street (sometimes called “Wall Street of the West”) is the traditional heart of the district.

The Transamerica Pyramid is the second-tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and on completion in 1972 it was the eighth tallest building in the world. The building no longer houses the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, but it is still associated with the company and is depicted in the company’s logo. It’s a very fascinating building!

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China Town centered on Grant Avenue and Stockton Street is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia!! Since its establishment in 1848, it has been highly important and influential in the history and culture of ethnic Chinese immigrants in North America. Chinatown is an enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity. There are two hospitals, numerous parks and squares, a post office, and other infrastructure. China Town is also a major tourist attraction, drawing more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge!! Well worth a visit whilst you are in San Fran!!

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Pier 39 – also worth a visit whilst you are here! At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39’s marina. California sea lions have always been present in San Francisco Bay and they started to haul out on docks of Pier 39 in September 1989. Although fluctuations in the number of sea lions at Pier 39 are dramatic, (as many as 1,701 in Thanksgiving Week in 2009, have been officially reported at one time) many of whom are recognisable and some of whom have been unofficially named! 

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An amazing city unlike anywhere else! If you get the chance to visit then do so – my only other piece of advice is to check the temperatures before you go – the weather is very unpredictable and for the majority of the three days we were there, hubby and i were absolutely freezing when we were out at Alcatraz and near the pier! Speaking to some locals, they said that local traders make the most of their profits through tourists mis-judging the weather! Apparently the most popular items purchased from local stores are hoodies and sweatshirts!! Travel prepared guys and wrap up warm!!