Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

Occasionally, I like to throw caution to the wind and do something dangerous. Intrepid and adventurous, that’s me. Completely aware of the perils ahead, I put my sassy pants on and set out for an adventure that has long been on the bucket list for this holiday. 

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company makes hand-crafted, fully customisable teddy bears that are unbearably adorable.

The bears all carry the trademark labels and eyes which distinguish them from other bears. The eyes have “Born in Vermont” imprinted in the iris. Too cute. Being from Vermont, the Bears all have a chubby tummy that is known at the company as “the belly that Ben & Jerry’s built”. 

There are hundreds of different outfits that can be purchased for the 15″ bears, reflecting seasons, occupations, sports and significant life events. Most of the bears have brown eyes, but can be customised with blue, green or hazel eyes. Paws and outfits can be customised with embroidery. 

The factory tour is fun and entertaining for all ages. I was really pleased to see the tour being led by a delightful guy who has a disability but is obviously living joyfully despite it. 

The bears are very reasonably priced in comparison to other top-quality, hand-crafted collectible bears, such as the Charlie Bears which I also collect. 

All in all, I had a wonderful day here. I made the experience complete by adopting a 15″ Maple Bear with blue eyes. It’s fair to say that he had a pretty good day, too. 

Starlight Tours Hop On/Off Los Angeles Tour Bus

By far the easiest way to get around Los Angeles and see the sights in it’s different areas is by using these buses.
Using cabs will cost you bucket loads of money and it’s all really too far to walk.
Different tours of the various parts of the city are colour coded so it’s easy to plan your activities for the day. The stops where these tours interconnect are clearly marked on the tour maps and announced as you go, so that you can always find your way back to your original starting point if you need to.
Each coloured route takes about 2 hours if you just ride the bus and don’t get off to explore or shop.

The ticket office is outside the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd, right on the Walk of Fame near Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where the hand and footprints of many celebrities are preserved in the cement.
We booked our tickets through our travel agent, which meant that we could get on the bus and start our tour at the stop nearest our hotel instead of having to get up to Hollywood Blvd to begin with.

We did the “red tour” which took us through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the shopping precincts of Rodeo Drive and Melrose Drive, and the iconic Hollywood areas of Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd.

The tour provides you with a set of earbuds for the recorded commentary that explains the different locations and their significance, and highlights points of interest. It struck me as both odd and refreshing that this commentary is recorded entirely with a British accent.

There was lots to see and myriad opportunities for photos from the open-air top of the double-decker bus. It’s a good idea to wear a hat up there though, especially if you sunburn easily or if you have any hairstyle other than a #2 shave, as it does get pretty windy up there.
The seats up on top of the bus are quite slippery, especially when going around corners, so It’s a good idea to wear jeans or other clothing that is less likely to slip around on the plastic seats.

If you have mobility issues and find it difficult or impossible to climb tight stairs, you can still enjoy the tour from the lower deck of the bus. The windows are big, and although you probably won’t get the same opportunities for photos, the tours are still well worth doing.