Brangelina, Dance moms & the Princess

I don’t know where to start. I’ve had a massively LA weekend.

I spent the last half of last week preparing for a “casual” barbie (BBQ/grill) on Saturday night as Mr H invited his team over.  This week one year ago we hopped on a plane for our “look-see” trip to see if we could get the kids into a school at the 11th hour (when applications had been closed for months & there was “no room at the Inn” in 99.98% of LA’s private schools) and find somewhere to live. So it also marks Mr H’s one-year anniversary in Hollywood.  Wow how time flies.

It’s so interesting talking to people that have grown up in LA and worked in “the business” their whole lives.  I’ve made my pitches so hoping that I’ll get to go on more Sets and go to some fun events over the next year (all solely for Blog research of course!).

What does Brangelina have to do with me hosting a casual barbie that I spent 2.5 days prepping for I hear you ask?  I’m so glad you asked.  You see last night I had some of their wine.  That’s right, I drank from Brad’s cup (metaphorically speaking of course).  I’m either going to be waaay ahead of the news or way behind but here goes.  At their “summer residence” in Provence (which also happens to be a “wine estate”) Brad & Ange teamed up with one of the regions finest winemakers to come out with a cheeky Rosé–Chateau Miraval–and it’s really quite nice.  Let me give you the tip it didn’t last long at this gathering.  Here’s a bit of a story from the LA Times if you’re interested and here’s a review from Decanter magazine.

Chateau Miraval

A rose amongst the beers: Chateau Miraval by Brad Pitt & his partner


The Princess

But that wasn’t the highlight of the night (I know, you’re shocked aren’t you?) No, the highlight for the night was getting my princess back (that would be princess the adjective/verb not Princess the noun).

Having some 30 people at our place on the weekend made me call out for help in the way of back-up in the back-office (ie. the kitchen).  One of my gorgeous friends arranged for a friend of her housekeeper’s to come and help me.  It came as a complete surprise to me (because this never happens) but I was so super organised I didn’t need her to come as early as I’d booked her.  I told her to just hang and gave her the rundown on the night (when guests are due, when we plan to serve food, dessert etc).  With that I went to get my make-up and shoes on.  I came back into the kitchen to find her cleaning it–I mean really cleaning it.  She moved everything and wiped underneath and put it all back, cleaned the splashback (backsplash–how funny we use the same word but backwards).  The bottom line? she cleaned places that haven’t been cleaned for a while!  It was all I could do to get down on my knees in front of her and hail her for being the Saviour of my world.

You’ll recall one of my first Blog posts was asking the question whether or not I do the very LA thing of getting a housekeeper.  My final decision was not to because it seemed like my postcode jacked the prices up and because I had time I’d rather keep that money to get my nails or my hair done or have a massage.

Well nine months on and it ain’t working.  You might be surprised to hear but this Blog takes up a lot of my time and after tennis, running the kids around for waterpolo training three nights a week and dance once a week there is not enough time for me to clean the house the way it should be cleaned.

Enter Bertha, saviour of my world.  She will now be coming every week to save me from the dust and grime and get my house in pristine shape.  And she’s not trying to rip me off. Can’t wait!

Very LA

There are a few more things I’ve learnt this weekend about living in LA since my post “Nine things I’ve learnt about living in LA for nine months“.  The first is the whole RSVP thing.  Apparently the trend here is not to RSVP.  Who knows? a better offer might come along and they’ll be stuck trying to back out of the previous commitment in favour of the better party (but later invite).  (This isn’t true for the gathering we had BTW, everybody was very un-LA for our barbie),

The second is the concept of “eat and run”.  We know this to be true of restaurants.  Totally the opposite of what we do in Australia–linger over the meals and when you’re done order another bottle of wine and sit and chat without food getting in the way.

But apparently it’s also true when you invite people over.  We served skewered prawns (of course) and chicken ala Filipino street food and I think many people thought that was the extent of the meal.  Time was getting on but we didn’t realise people were “wrapping up” and getting ready to hit the road.  We hadn’t served mains or dessert yet.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a criticism, it’s simply one of those lost in translation moments.  And it was the people at our party–those leaving–that pointed it out to me.  “Welcome to LA baby,” was the comment, “this is what we do”.  Too funny.

So, I was left with 30 steaks, I lost count of the number of sausages, we still didn’t finish the prawn & chicken skewers and we had four huuuge salads.  And that’s before I put the desserts out of mini cheesecakes, chocolate mousses in mason jars (don’t you just love mason jars?) and one perfect (if I do say so myself) Pavlova.  We’ve got food coming out of our everythings.  What am I going to do with it all–where’s Oz Harvest when you need it?

Thankfully not everyone left but there was another mass exodus after mains (entree in the US) and before dessert.


An Australian favourite: Palova

Chokky mouse

Mini Chocolate mousses in Mason jars–genius!


Back to the eat-&-run-thing though I sort of get it.  Many of our guests drove for up to an hour to come to our barbie.  That’s a long way to come and drink one or two drinks for the night because they have to drive home.

Dance Moms

Sunday saw me change gears as my 11-year-old daughter had her dance recital–her first LA gig.  The beauty of living in LA is your dance teacher is someone who’s not only a professional but has danced at a really high level.  The concert was incredible, the dancers … well, watch this space … and my daughter had me beaming with pride.  The other great thing about it was that the teachers danced a number.  What a treat to see professional dancers doing what they love but also sharing their talent with future generations.  Yes, I cried a number of times through the afternoon, thanks for asking.

Nothing like Dance Moms right? Not at all but I couldn’t shake the vision and voices in my head of Abby Lee and those mothers.  The reason I’m bringing it up though is because I was blown away by the wolf-whistling and woohoo-ing by the audience.  Oh they were getting into it–clapping along with songs, whistling, singing out.  I was back on Oprah, or Dr Phil, or my PA (Parent Association) meeting.  No meekly sitting back watching passively, no the audience was right into it.  Love it, I think it’s contagious.

This week we’re in “finals” mode then by the end of next week we’ll be on summer holidays.  Two months of fun. Yippee!

Have a great week and be thankful if you’re not in “finals” mode!

xx It Started in LA xx

PS: See if you can work out the very Hollywood meaning of the pic–I joked about being very Hollywood offering Coke in the bathroom of our party and lots of people didn’t get it.  Maybe they were fibbing?!
Tongue in cheek only; a bit of fun!

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