So, the beautiful OC is the first of our three stops prior to actually arriving in Oz. I don’t think any two people have ever drawn out a journey as much as we have – I was supposed to be there in January. Ha ha ha.

It’s a little surreal being back here, in honesty, having spent a few weeks here visiting family around Easter this year – we weren’t expecting to be back so soon. But, that’s the beauty of having no plans; whilst in England, the Boy and I heard talk of a birthday celebration happening in Vegas for one of the locals. So we thought, hell, let’s fly over the Pacific instead.

When I say visiting “family”, I don’t mean literally (although they feel nothing less than). I’m talking Godmother/Aunty type family – Diana used to live in Twyford, so I grew up with her around, having barbecues at her place with my sisters and being taught how to bake REAL cookies, American style. When she moved back Across The Pond, our families very naturally merged through various trips back and forth over the past few years. So the general consensus was, OC is an hour flight from Vegas – it makes sense, boys and girls.

It really has been amazing – and certainly not the usual trip for us. By which I mean, staying in the cheapest hostel we can find, cooking pasta every night to save on food, buying cases of cheap beer and downing it to save money whilst out. Oh no – we have been well and truly spoilt. We’ve been wining and dining like no other, from the exclusive Bahia Corinthian yacht club, where Di’s father is a member and was kind enough to invite us to lunch, to gorging ourselves on barbecue food at the Wood Ranch Grill. Nights spent drinking Coors Banquet (which is the best beer… Ever) and playing Uno (the best game… Ever) on the patio, hummingbirds buzzing in the air around us. Just beautiful.

I have definitely put on about a stone in the last 4 days.

Cool. That’s just what I needed to do before Hawaii. Nice one.

It wasn’t until yesterday when the Boy and I went for a hike that we saw the true extent of California’s so-far-5-year drought. We hiked four miles of the Oso Creek trail which, once a gushing stream of water winding through Mission Viejo, is now a mere trickle of its old self. It was a lovely walk, regardless – only in California could everything be so perfectly pristine, despite being the wrong colour (i.e. green turning slowly but surely to brown). We came across a wooded area where, if you delve just slightly off of the path, there are beautiful stone and marble chess tables with two little chairs set up beside them. It’s so cute here.

Oso Creek Trail, Mission Viejo

There’s been a 30% water reduction enforcement on Cali residents – the drought is showing no signs of stopping, despite the changing seasons. The state has so far lost 30 million trees – not bushes, or little trees lining the streets. We are talking actual forested trees, through both lack of nutrition and forest fires. It’s sad – global warming is real, and it’s happening, kitty kats.

Oso Creek

On Friday, my mum and dad flew out from London to join us before we all head to Vegas. We spent the Saturday in Newport, cruising the idyllic harbour in blazing sunshine – the humid weather Cali has been experiencing broke for us this weekend. It was nothing short of the perfect day.

Newport Harbour

Di’s father is an incredible man, who has led a more than incredible life – accolades including numerous degrees and even a knighthood. At 88 years old, he still stands over 6 feet 5 inches tall, sharp as a tack in every way. As we sat on his patio overlooking the harbour, playground for the rich and famous, he raised a toast – “to us all just being together”.

I can’t describe how lucky we feel to be not only involved but welcomed so warmly into their hearts and homes the way we have been. And being together is, in fact, bloody lovely.

Sunset over Newport Harbour