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Two weeks in Hollywood with Rachel Ritfeld

ICONIC: Rachel Ritfeld with daughter Rosalia near the infamous Hollywood sign

"MUMMY, LET'S never go home!,” Rosalia said excitedly on our second day in Santa Monica.

We lived the Californian dream for three weeks and what a dream it was: sun, sea, shopping, great outdoor lifestyle, fantastic cafes and every child’s favourite: the original Disneyland Park.

It was our first Airbnb experience – the accommodation oozed style and was a stone’s throw away from the beach.

To explore, I recommend hiring one of the widely-available Segways or a bicycle with a ‘kiddy wagon’, like we did. Turn left on Santa Monica beach and you eventually come to the buzzing, bohemian Venice Beach, or walk 10 minutes to the right for the iconic Santa Monica pier, where Rosalia had the best time on the rides.

The Lobster is a landmark restaurant by the pier that lives up to its hype. After indulging there, you can walk it off on the Third Street Promenade for some window shopping or dessert.

Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway was epic, especially next to my number one travel-buddy, en route to Zuma Beach in Malibu. On the way back we stopped at Nobu Malibu for her favourite black cod with miso. Another famous spot you must check out along this route is the cool and trendy Moonshadows restaurant in Malibu. There you can watch the sun set while sipping on cocktails and enjoying delicious food. I never know what to choose there; the entire menu is divine.

CHILLIN: Rachel Ritfeld and daughter Rosalia at the beach

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a hike through Griffith Park to the Hollywood Sign. We took the Hollyridge Trail which is the shortest; even the drive to the trail felt like we were dream house shopping.

Downtown Hollywood itself is a bit over-commercialised for me, but on your first trip there you can’t miss the famous Chinese Theatre or the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Years ago, actress Diane Louise Salinger took me for lunch at The Ivy on Robertson Boulevard after returning from the Angel Film Awards in Monaco, which we co-hosted (just thought I’d shamelessly throw that one in). I immediately fell in love with this street: it’s great for star-spotting and home to one of my favourite shops, Kitson.

The icing on the cake was a two night stay at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. It was truly magical – but my only mistake was taking my daughter on the Space Mountain ride. Let me clarify – it is not a simulator like I thought it was. It is the big daddy of all rollercoasters and not for the weak-stomached like us. Needless to say we spent the rest of the second day at the Disneyland Hotel pool, which was amazing.

Make sure you clear one day for the ultimate discount shopping experience at the Outlets at Orange, Anaheim. I was on a mission – I did not get hungry or thirsty. I simply shopped until I could not physically carry another thing. I’m not proud of my behaviour but I bought some fantastic discounted couture gear!

All in all, this is not a place you want to visit on a budget. It certainly wasn’t cheap, but it was spectacular, and a trip we will cherish forever. #lifeisrosie

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