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San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito

We haven’t explored much of California yet and there’s so much I’d love to see.

When it came to my birthday, I wanted to set off on a little adventure. Nothing too far away or too labour intensive, just a little dollop of luxury, some fresh air and a change of scenery.

We found that and more in Montecito.

Only an hour and a half from LA, we arrived in the early afternoon.

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San Ysidro Ranch is a sprawling estate stretching between a babbling creek and towering mountains, the hotel rooms are all charming little cottages, hidden among the trees.

Inside you’ll find a cosy sitting room,

a little bedroom,

and a bathroom.

But outside is why we came all this way.

There’s a little terrace, your own hot tub, outdoor shower and if you choose Willow, there’s the sound of the creek below.

Keen to stretch our legs and see a little more of the property we went on a walk.

Explored the jasmine scented gardens.

Enjoyed the cool sea breeze.

Played a furiously competitive round of mini-golf.

Nibbled on the herb garden.

And marvelled at the bougainvillea.

Named by Franciscan monks in the late 1700s, San Ysidro Ranch pays homage to Saint Isidore, the patron saint of agriculture.

Once a mission farm, then a Citrus Ranch, the gardens feel so lush and well established, it’s easy to forget you’re at a hotel.

With the sun sinking behind the trees a chill set in and we raced back to our cottage to warm up.

All of the food is included in your room rate, so we really went to town and spoiled ourselves silly.

Once the stars came out we meandered down to dinner.

Which we enjoyed snuggled up beneath the trees.

Seared duck breast followed by chocolate soufflé and vanilla custard.

After supper we climbed the hill to bed.

There’s just no better feeling than coming back to a room that’s been all made up for you.

If there’s one thing the last couple of years have given me, it’s a heightened appreciation of every part of a luxurious experience like this.

Not having to cook or clean up for 48hrs? Bliss!

Having someone light the fire, put out your slippers and turn the bed down? Heaven.

All that was left for us to do, was to turn off the lights and enjoy ourselves.

The next morning I woke up another year older and ravenously hungry.

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We ate breakfast with the birds in our little tree house.

And after a quick dunk in the pool, headed out into the world.

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We spent the morning mooching around Montecito and engaging in my most favourite past-time…

…househunting!

I love nothing more than peering into estate agent windows, I get it from my dad, and who could blame me when the estate agents in Montecito look like this:

We walked the length of the highstreet, twice, dipping into every shop we came across.

Clic was a particularly big hit, only partly because it’s next to Bettina.

We took up residence on the terrace with Arnold Palmers and every property magazine I could get my hands on.

We ate dates stuffed with n’duja.

Sweet, salty and spicy all at once,

Something I have to recreate at home!

Arancini.

Ceasar salad and one of the most spectacular pizzas of my life.

Refuelled, we continued on our way at a snails pace, as I wanted to pop into every shop we came across.

It’s been such a long time since I went shopping in real life, it’s really starting to feel like the world is opening up again.

Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, it felt wonderful to feel “small town vibes” again having been in the city for so long now.

We bought gifts

and coffees and then ice creams

to walk along the beach with.

Before going home to change into something a little warmer.

To watch the sun set from Santa Barbara’s famous pier.

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We made some Big birthday wishes.

And had lobster rolls

With some very loud locals.

It was the most magical mini trip and I loved every second of it.

I’ve missed travelling, I’ve missed blogging, I’ve missed so much of the world and I really hope this is just the beginning of getting to see more of it.

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