A Ballerina Abroad: Day 9 of our Hip and Healthy Guide to LA

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams

This morning I woke up to the birds chirping and the sun streaming in through the blinds. Mum and I put on our gym kit and walked up the hill to the fitness centre, which consists of a treadmill, weights and cross trainer all outside and over-looking the pool. Working out at this time in the morning in the countryside is so peaceful and a complete joy.

After our gym session, we ordered breakfast to come to the room, so awaiting us was two bowls of delicious berry oatmeal and a pot of hot water and lemon. We enjoyed this outside on the patio in the morning sun. After breakfast we slipped our trainers on and trekked up the mountain to the San Ysidro Trail. This hike, up and down through the beautiful tracks of The Santa Ynez Mountain range and across the rivers is utterly mesmerising. With lots of “beware of the bear” signs, mountain deer and the verdant trees and flowers, it’s a walk with nature at it’s best. After our hike we settled back down by the pool, with magazines books and my iPad – I was set for the morning. At midday I ordered a simple club sandwich by the pool and continued to bathe in the hot sun. We had a two o’clock checkout, so I just about managed to eat my lunch, shower pack my bags and we were off on the highway. Such an idyllic location for a weekend break, I feel refreshed, serene and  ready to get back to LA. We were back in Santa Monica by four pm.

A film my Dad wrote the music for, ‘Here Comes the Boom’ was recently released in the states and I was itching to see it. I met friends at the Bridge cinema at 7pm and had a great night at the flicks. The bridge is located about 20 minutes away from Santa Monica but worth the drive for the comfy seating and big high quality screens, you can even order dinner while you watch. It was a hilarious movie! I loved it and thought Kevin James was utterly brilliant. A great cast and comedy.

After the movie we drove back via The Native Foods Cafe, this chain spread across LA is a fresh organic vegan cafe, with lots of options. Quick and easy, it’s no fuss, healthy and fast. I ordered the Crunchy Kale Salad with raw kale, shredded cabbage, apples and avocado tossed with a maple orange dressing and topped with currants, almonds and a creamy tahini drizzle. I also ordered a side of sweet potato fries, crisped and  seasoned to perfection. I couldn’t resist their all-vegan sugar-free desert bar with options such as pumpkin pie, boogie banana bread, double choc chip brownies. In the end I chose their Peanut butter parfait, made with tofu, and topped with boogie banana bread crumbs and dark chocolate chips. I believe i’ve mentioned my love of peanut butter in an earlier post, so choosing this dessert comes as no surprise. The salad was nice, the fries were delicious, dessert was incredible! A healthy meal with a sugarless protein packed pudding. The best way to end an evening.